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At the end of March 2010, there were twice as many computers running Windows 7 as machines with Mac OS X installed, although the latest iteration of the Windows client was released to the market just five months ago. According to statistics from Net Applications, Windows 7 currently accounts for no less than 10.23% of the OS market, having grown from 8.92% at the end of February 2010. The data provided by the Internet metrics company also indicates that Windows 7s market share is tenfold that of all Linux distributions put together. The Linux market share grew from 0.98% to 1.03% in the past two months, that of Mac OS X from 5.02% to 5.33%.

Both Linux and OS X suffered decreases in their respective share of the OS market between January and February, the first time in almost half a year when the overall share of Windows grew. Fact is that both the adoption rates of Mac OS X and Linux have been dwarfed by the explosive uptake of Windows 7. And, provided that sales of the latest version of Windows continue at the same pace, Windows 7 will gallop past its predecessor soon enough.

Windows Vista is currently down to just 16.01%, almost at the same level as in February 2009, two entire years after the operating system hit the store shelves. Vista did not hit the 10% market share milestone until May 2008, a whole 15 months after GA. A simple comparison reveals that Windows 7 adoption is three times that of Vista. But while Vista dropped from 16.51% to 16.01%, Windows XPs loss was a tad more steep. XP is currently down to just 64.46% from 65.49% in February 2010.

A recent report by Forrester Research indicates that the vast majority of customers that have upgraded to Windows 7 are very satisfied with the move they made. Microsoft is also doing its part, and is allowing IT professionals in particular, but all users essentially, to download a free copy of Windows 7 Enterprise and test it for free for a 90-day trial period. The availability of the free edition of Windows 7 was prolonged until December 31st, 2010.

People move to a new OS one of two ways: either by buying a new PC or upgrading an existing PC. In the past, most people simply purchased a new PC to get a new version of Windows. With Windows 7, the data in the [Forrester] reports show that upgrading existing PCs was a much stronger trend with Windows 7. In the end, the reports show that early adopters who upgraded to Windows 7 were quite satisfied. Exciting to see the progress, Brandon LeBlanc, Windows communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, revealed.

Dual-Boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu in Perfect Harmony

Windows 7

and Ubuntu, despite their opposing missions, can get along like best pals on a single computer. Here's how to set up a dual boot system that lets you enjoy the best of both worlds in perfect harmony.

By default, Windows 7 takes over your boot-up process and wants to be your only OS, and Linux treats Windows like a weekend hobby you keep in a shed somewhere on your hard drive. But I've been dual-booting Ubuntu and some version of Windows 7 for nearly a year, and I've learned a lot about inconveniences, annoyances, and file-sharing necessities, and now I'll walk you through how to set up your systems to achieve a peaceful union of your dual-boot OSes. (Both with Windows 7 already installed, and with a clean system ready for a new dual-OS existence.)
Follow through this guide, and I'll explain how to rebuild a system from the ground up with Windows 7 and Ubuntu, with either a backed-up and cleaned-out hard drive (recommended) or Windows 7 already installed. When we're done, you can work and play in either operating system, quickly and conveniently access your documents, music, pictures, and other files without worry or inconvenience, and boot into either system without having to worry about whether Windows is going to get mad at you. Plus, when Ubuntu 10.04 or Windows 8 come along, you'll find it much easier to install either one without having to start over entirely from scratch.

What you'll need

Windows 7 installation disc: For clean installations, either a full installation copy or an upgrade disc is needed. If you own an upgrade disc but want to start from scratch, there's a way to do a clean install with an upgrade disc, though that's a rather gray-area route. Then again, there's probably not a person on this earth that doesn't have a licensed copy of XP or Vista somewhere in their past.Ubuntu 9.10 installation image: You can grab an ISO at, or hit "Alternative download options" to reveal a (usually very fast) BitTorrent link. You'll want to get the ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso download for 32-bit systems, or ubuntu-9.10-desktop-amd64.iso.torrent for 64-bit on AMD or Intel systems (despite the name).Blank CD or empty USB drive: You'll need one of these for burning the Ubuntu ISO, or loading it for USB boot. If you're going the thumb drive route, grab UNetBootin for Windows or Linux, plug in your USB drive, and load it with the downloaded ISO image.All your data backed up: Even if you're pulling this off with Windows 7 already installed and your media and documents present, you'll want to have a fallback in case things go awry. Which they shouldn't, but, naturally, you never know.Free time: I'd reckon it takes about 2 hours to pull off two OS installs on a clean system; more if you've got a lot of data to move around.

Setting up your hard drive

If you've got nothing installed on your system, or you've got your data backed up and you're ready to start from scratch, you're in a great position--skip down to the "Partition your system" section. If you've got Windows already installed, you can still make a spot for Ubuntu, though.

(Only) If Windows is already installed: You're going to "shrink" the partition that Windows 7 installed itself on. Before we do that, clean out any really unnecessary applications and data from your system (we like Revo Uninstaller for doing this). Also, open up "Computer" and take note of how much space remains on your main hard drive, presumably labeled "C:". Head to the Start menu, type "disk management" into the search box, and hit Enter.

Windows 7 probably put two partitions on your hard drive: one, about 100 MB in size, holding system restoration data. We don't want to touch it. Right-click on the bigger partition to the right, and choose Shrink Partition.

After a little bit of hard drive activity and a "Please wait" window, you'll get back the size you can shrink your Windows partition by.

If the space Windows offers doesn't jibe with what your Computer view told you was "remaining," you might need to hit Cancel, then head back and defragment your hard drive, and take some of the steps laid out by the How-To Geek. Run the Disk Management tool again and try a Shrink Volume operation again, and free up as much space as you can.

Partition your system: You're aiming to set up a system with three partitions, or sections, to its hard drive: One lean partition for the Windows operating system and applications running from it, another just-big-enough partition for Ubuntu and its own applications, and then a much larger data partition that houses all the data you'll want access to from either one. Documents, music, pictures, application profilesit all goes in another section I'll call "Storage" for this tutorial.

How do you get there? We're going to use GParted, the Linux-based uber-tool for all things hard drive. You could grab the Live CD if you felt like it, but since you've already downloaded an Ubuntu installer, you can simply boot a "live," no-risk session of Ubuntu from your CD or USB stick and run GParted from there. Once you're inside Ubuntu, head to the System menu in the upper left when you get to a desktop, then choose the Administration menu and GParted under it.

You'll see your system's hard drive and its partitions laid out. You're going to create partitions for Linux and your storage space, but not Windowswe'll let the Windows installation carve out its own recovery partition and operating space. On my own system, I give Windows 15 GB of unallocated space, and Ubuntu another 15 GB of space right after it, with whatever's left kept as storage space. Then again, I've only got a 100 GB hard drive and don't run huge games or applications, so you can probably give your two operating systems a bit more space to grow.
Click on the unallocated space and hit the "New" button at the far left. In the "Free space preceding" section, click and hold the up button, or enter a number of megabytes, to leave space for Windows at the front. When you've got the "space preceding" set, set the actual size of the Ubuntu partition in the "New Size" section, and leave "Free space following" alone. Choose "unformatted" under file systemwe'll let Ubuntu do the format itself and hit "Add." Back at the main GParted window, click on the space to the right of your two OS spaces, hit "New" again, and set the file system as "ntfs." Give it a label like "Storage," hit "Add," and at the main GParted window, hit the checkmark button to apply your changes. Once it's done, exit out of GParted and shut down the system from the pull-down menu in the upper-right corner.

If Windows is already installed: If you've shrunk down its partition for free space and booted into a live Ubuntu or GParted, click on the "Unallocated" piece next to the two "ntfs" partitions that represent your Windows 7 installation and system recovery tools. Create a 15(-ish) GB unformatted partition, and give it a label like Ubuntu. If you've got a good deal of space left, format it as "ntfs" and label it something like "Storage." If you can just barely fit the Ubuntu partition, you can just keep your media files in the Windows partitionuntil you can remedy this with a full wipe-and-install down the line.

Experienced Linux geeks might be wondering where the swap space is goingbut don't worry, we'll create one, just not in its own partition.

Installing and configuring Windows

Grab your Windows 7 installation disceither a full copy or modified upgrade disc, and insert it into your DVD drive. If your system isn't set up to boot from CD or DVD drive, look for the button to press at start-up for "Boot options" or something similar, or hit up your system maker's help guides to learn how to change your boot order in the BIOS settings.
Follow through the Windows 7 installation, being sure to choose "Custom" for the installation method and to point it at that unallocated space we created at the beginning of your hard disk, not the NTFS-formatted media/storage space we made earlier:

Work your way through the Windows 7 installation, all the way until you reach the Windows desktop. Feel free to set up whatever programs or apps you want, but what we really want to do is set up your Storage partition to house your pictures, music, video, and other files, and make your Libraries point to them.
Hit the Start menu, click Computer, and double-click on the hard drive named "Storage" (assuming you named it that earlier). In there, right-click and create new folders (or hit Ctrl+Shift+N) for the files you'll be using with both systems. I usually create folders labeled Documents, Music, Pictures, and VideosI could also see folders for saved games and data files from big software packages. Copy your media files into these folders now, if you'd like, but we've got a bit more tweaking to pull off.
In the left-hand sidebar, you'll see your "Libraries" for documents, music, pictures, and video. At the moment, they point to your Public shared folders and the My Pictures-type folders on your main Windows drive. Click once on any of the Libraries, and at the top of the main panel, you'll see text stating that this library "Includes: 2 locations ...". Click the blue text on "2 locations," then click on each of the folders below and hit "Remove" on the right-hand side. Now hit "Add" and select the corresponding folder on your Storage drive. Do the same for all your music, pictures, videos, and other media folders.

Want to add another library for quick access? Right-click somewhere on the desktop, choose New->Library, and follow the steps.
That's about it for Windows. Now get your Ubuntu CD or USB stick ready and insert it in your system. Ignore whatever auto-play prompts appear, and restart your system.

Installing and configuring Ubuntu

Restart your computer, this time booting from your Ubuntu Live CD or USB boot drive. When your system boots up, choose your language, select "Try Ubuntu without any changes to your computer," and you'll boot into a "live" desktop, run entirely off the CD or USB stick. Once you're booted up, try connecting to the internet from the network icon in the upper-rightit helps during the installation process, ensures your network is working, and gives you something to do (Firefox) while the system installs.
Click the "Install" link on the desktop, and fill out the necessary language/location/keyboard info (most U.S. users can skip through the first 3 screens). When you hit the "Prepare disk space" section, select the "Specify partitions manually" option, then hit Forward. Select the free space that's after your first two Windows partitions with ntfs formats, then hit the "Add" button at bottom. Your partition should already be sized correctly, and the only thing to change is set "/" as a mount point. Here's what your screen should look like:

Click OK, then finish through with the Ubuntu installation. If it catches your Windows 7 installation, it might ask if you want to import settings from inside ityou can, if you'd like, but I usually skip this. Wait for the installation to finish, remove the CD or thumb drive, and reboot your system.

When you start up again, you'll see a list of OS options. The only ones you need concern yourself with are Windows 7 and the top-most Ubuntu line. You can prettify and fix up this screen, change its settings, and modify its order later on. For now, let's head into Ubuntu.

We're going to make the same kind of folder access change we did in Windows. Click up on the "Places" menu, choose "Home Folder," and check out the left-hand sidebar. It's full of links to Documents, Pictures, and the like, but they all point to locations inside your home folder, on the Linux drive that Windows can't read. Click once on any of those folders, then right-click and hit Remove.

You should see your "Storage" partition in the left-hand sidebar, but without that namemore like "100GB filesystem." Double-click it, type in the administrator password you gave when installing, and you'll see your Documents, Music, etc. Click and drag those folders into the space where the other folders were, and now you'll have access to them from the "Places" menu, as well as any file explorer window you have open.
Ubuntu won't "mount," or make available, your Windows 7 and Storage drives on boot-up, however, and we at least want constant access to the Storage drive. To fix that, head to Software Sources in the System->Administration menu. From there go to Applications, then the Ubuntu Software Center at the bottom. Under the "Ubuntu Software" and "Updates" sections, add a check to the un-checked sources, like Restricted, Multiverse, Proposed, and Backports. Hit "Close," and agree to Reload your software sources.

Finally! Head to the Applications menu and pick the Ubuntu Software Center. In there, search for "ntfs-config," and double-click on the NTFS Configuration Tool that's the first result. Install it, then close the Software Center. If you've got the "Storage" or Windows 7 partitions mounted, head to any location in Places and then click the eject icon next to those drives in the left-hand sidebar. Now head to the System->Administration menu and pick the NTFS Configuration Tool.

You'll see a few partitions listed, likely as /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, and the like. If you only want your storage drive, it should be listed as /dev/sda3 or something similar--just not the first or second options. Check the box for "Add," click in the "Mount point" column to give it a name (Storage, perhaps?), and hit "Apply." Check both boxes on the next window to allow read/write access, and hit OK, and you're done. Now the drive with all your stuff is accessible to Windows and Linux at all times.

Adding swap to Ubuntu

"Swap" memory is a section of the hard drive that your system's memory spills over into when it gets full and busy. Until recently, I'd been creating a whole separate partition for it. Recently, though, I've found that swap isn't always necessary on systems with a large amount of memory, and that swap can simply be a file tucked away on your hard drive somewhere.

Follow the Ubuntu help wiki's instructions for adding more swap, but consider changing the location they suggest putting the swap file/mnt/swap/ for the place your Storage is held/media/Storage, in my case.

Share Firefox profiles and more

That's about it for this guide to setting up a harmonious Windows and Ubuntu existence, but I recommend you also check out our previous guide to using a single data store when dual-booting. It explains the nitty-gritty of sharing Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin profiles between Linux and Windows for a consistent experience, as well as a few other dual-boot tricks.

You might also want to consider creating virtual machines with VirtualBox for those moments when you're in one OS and need to get at the other. Ubuntu is free to create as many instances as you want, of course, and Windows 7 (Professional and Ultimate) are very friendly with non-activated copiesnot that either can't be otherwise activated in cases where it's just a double-use issue.

I have reserved a great deal of time not passing judgement on Windows 8, but so far I am not as enthused as, perhaps, I should be. This is not to say that I have given up on Windows 8, but for me, the Consumer Preview just isn't doing it. The main problem, of course, for me, and I suspect many others, is not so much the lack of Start Orb, but the Metro UI itself. Please allow me to explain:

Is Windows 8 a service, a product, or both?

I have discussed this quite entangling issue to some length with others in confidence, and have found myself to be disappointed with Metro UI. Some concerns that I see myself and others having is the Metro UI as a service platform for Windows Live. It is clear to me that this is likely the reason that Metro UI has been embedded into the operating system. While its usability is no doubt optimized for touch screens and next generation human interface devices, I find myself frustrated with the pre-installed applications in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. In fact, I find myself quite annoyed, and in some cases, startled by what happens when you link your Windows Live ID to Microsoft Windows 8.

In Microsoft Windows 98 SE, upon launching Internet Explorer 5, one of the first screens a user saw was:

"Welcome to MSN Internet Access"
"Get fast, reliable Internet access and e-mail from Microsoft."

During that time, it was uncommon for someone to be on a LAN (local area network) using a router. A LAN would actually have to be manually set up, and so Microsoft attempted to use MSN as an Internet Service Provider to give you dial-up access to the Internet using a dial-up modem.

However, this terminology is telling to me. The issues with Active Desktop from the Windows 9x series of operating systems have not been lost on me. In this context, I am mindful of the fact that Microsoft has attempted to control the desktop, and did make an early bid to control and monetize on the Internet, from its early ages. This is not so much condemnation of Microsoft as it is a realization that Microsoft is a business: just like Google and Facebook.

But what was once seen as a massive attempt to take over the Internet by a corporation that controls the majority of the operating system market, now seems to be getting a welcome reception with bells and whistles from a new generation, corporations, media, and people planning on selling books off their review sites. Indeed, even Paul Thurrott threw me for a loop in one of his more recent reviews, when he concluded something like (paraphrase) "More soon... I have a book to write! (Windows 8 Secrets)".

I have always admired Paul, and his contributions with reviews and early access to Microsoft software. In fact, I have nothing against the guy. But it is true. He has a book to write. About all of the secrets of Windows 8. Much of that review was spent explaining what certain features do. And why they actually may be relevant. To me, this was a sharp departure from highlighting some of the improvements that could be found in the OS or talking about faster benchmarks and better ease of use. What I saw was a middle-of-the-road exploration of features that are so difficult to interpret or understand, even though they are deeply embedded into the operating system, that he has to go around telling you what they are for.

Most of the benchmarks performed on the CP show that there is a small performance blow in comparison to Windows 7, thus far. The system does not run any faster, but boot times have been expedited by code optimization. We have seen this before, with other Windows releases besides Windows 7. One major drag on the operating system seems to be battery usage. The results seem to be inconclusive in this realm, with one site showing better returns, and another site showing massive battery consumption compared to Windows 7. Even though memory deduplication is supposed to improve battery life, benchmarks show either less battery utilization, or much more.

Better Battery Life:
Hands on with Windows 8 CP: Battery life test | ITworld

Less Battery Life:
Windows 8 Consumer Preview: A Quick Look at Battery Life (Updated) | Your source for downloading popular benchmarks

Then there is the whole idea of interest in this OS:

windows 8 cp vs 7 vs xpsp3 benchmarks? - Neowin Forums

Huh? What is going on here? Where is the main interest in the system that we saw with the likes of Windows 7 and even Windows Vista? Windows Vista was a major flop for Microsoft, and it was released years after Windows XP. Still, it offered robust security, and was a step in the right direction for many of us. This is because Windows XP was released in October 2001, and something had to go in the right direction after so much time. Now, with Windows 7 only a couple years old, one is left to ask whether they even need a new operating system. With five years of time between Windows XP and Windows Vista, we still saw big manufacturers like Dell and HP offering downgrades to Windows XP - which many businesses took to save money, at their own peril. But Windows 7 offered something its predecessor, Windows Vista, could not offer. And that was performance on par with Windows XP, a much more slick look, and virtualization technology that would allow anyone with a fairly decent computer system to run, not just a legacy Windows XP application, but the entire Windows XP operating system, in a virtual machine inside Windows 7.

My first point was about Windows 8 as a service, and that is where I also run into some difficulty swallowing the results. Windows 8, when connected with a Windows Live account, seems to want to download your life from Facebook. The "People" Metro application runs a Facebook-based application that, with your consent, downloads all of your information from Facebook and syndicates it to your Windows Live page and Windows Live Messenger. It then uses that information to help you find your "people", by literally just taking all of the data off of your Facebook account. Then, your Windows Live status page becomes something of a Facebook clone. You can find even more people by performing the same task on LinkedIn, and presumably, in the future, all other services, perhaps maybe Google. But what if they let you link Google as well? Then, you can just access everything from "People", which is your Windows Live Messenger status page. What incentive do those other sites have to continue to develop their own social networking sites?

Next up was the product placement in Metro UI applications. When going to video, I found advertisements for popular television shows like The Walking Dead on AMC. It appears that you will eventually be able to purchase video content from this store, and watch videos on your computer. Where will this content come from? Microsoft, of course. This would not be a problem for me, if other services did not exist, like Netflix, for this very purpose. Then, going to Music doesn't show any advertisements just yet - but it does show a blank user library, where you can't add any music to it unless you go into the Desktop any way. Chances are this will be changed, but that doesn't discount the fact that over a decade of software development went into Windows Media Player, which has taken almost a dozen versions for any serious audiophile to even remotely take into consideration. Most will still jump over to iTunes, Winamp, and foobar. Does the Music app interact in some way with Windows Media Player? Is Windows Media Player being phased out? Is Microsoft going to offer its own music service now? We are left to try to figure this out.

You may be wondering where this is going. For me, any way, controlling the presentation means controlling the content. I am very pleased that services have been created like Steam for games and Spotify for music. With these programs, you are able to purchase music as a service. You are also able to purchase and download the full version of games. This software is fantastic, has its own interface, and offers remarkable service when you create an account. You are free to buy stuff, or never do that at all. You can take advantage of social networking within these services. But the great thing about these programs, in my opinion, has always been that you can install and uninstall them at your leisure. Thus, I ask the question, why can't Metro UI itself, just be an icon on the desktop, and a component of Windows that can be removed at any time? After testing the Windows Live features in the built-in Microsoft apps, I am left to make a conclusion I don't really want to make. That conclusion is that because Microsoft could not market social networking to the masses on par with Facebook or Google+, and because the company could not market their operating system to phones and tablets, they have decided to use forced obsolescence to make sure that everyone on the entire planet that buys a PC desktop or laptop computer, besides Linux users, will be forced to interact with their online services like Windows Live and Bing.

When I use the term forced obsolescence, I specifically state that Windows 8 is being designed to make Windows 7 obsolete - eventually. While the touch screen features are great, they seem to be an excuse for giving us a brand new version of Active Desktop. However, this time, everyone actually uses the Internet, and bandwidth/connection speed/throughput is no longer a major concern.

I am left to imagine an Internet where everyone who used a Microsoft Windows computer signed up for MSN Internet Access in Windows 98 and never bought a router. What if everyone in the world was OK with Microsoft placing advertisements for their own or preferred online services in all of their applications years ago? Well, you'd never have Facebook, Google, Yahoo, or a number of other companies. Everyone would be using MSN Search (Bing), Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Live Mail (Hotmail). I am reminded of America Online.

I have never really minded that Microsoft sells their online services to the world. Windows Live has always been something I considered a decent alternative to Google. However, I do have a problem with the operating system that I use also being designed directly to connect to a slew of services I do not use, and likely never will. This includes everything I listed above about Windows Live. This integration of applications that are dependent on Windows Live is a sharp contrast from Windows 7, and I, at least right now, would have major privacy issues divulging all of my Facebook information, online information, and handing it over to Windows Live. I like the fact that I can use multiple social networks, and that I have options. I use Windows Live for a variety of reasons, but I would never want it to be the only option on my phone. much less my desktop. I would want to be able to uninstall software applications associated with Live.

Because Microsoft controls the operating system market, they have decided to expand their business and compete in other areas. This includes gaming consoles, phones, and tablets. I have never taken issue with this, but I do take issue when these services are being bundled and forced down my throat in an OS release. I am reminded of how, on nearly every operating system installation I performed for years, I would have to be sure to remove the "Online Services" section from Microsoft Windows. These "Online Services" included America Online, AT&T WorldNet, CompuServe, and Prodigy.

Today, the desktop is being phased out. Many Windows 8 Consumer Preview users have found this to be a difficult issue to deal with. They claim they prefer the traditional desktop and Start Menu. I find that to be true, but for different reasons. At the click of a few buttons, in order to use the People app in Windows, Microsoft downloaded nearly the entire contents of my online Facebook account. They downloaded my data from LinkedIn. And they turned it into a Windows Live service. When I go to the Videos app, they're trying to sell me movies and TV shows when I already have Netflix. When I go to the desktop, I'm led to believe that the entire concept is a legacy feature. When I want to access a web browser, I don't want it to take up my entire screen and use 20% of my entire monitor to show me what my browser URL is. What happens when I actually need to do some real work? What happens when I need to bypass all of this junk?

For me, it will probably be easy. I have worked in IT and trained myself on how to get around almost anything. I have learned, over the years, what services are not essential on a Windows desktop, and how to install, manage, and maintain all kinds of different services. But for a person who is basic to intermediary with computers, they will never get passed Metro. They will have their content presented to them in a way Microsoft can control. And instead of the Internet being divided up into different areas operated by different corporations and public interest groups, it becomes very clear to me that Microsoft will showcase a heavy hand in controlling all online content, including multimedia, browsing, search, and social networking. Whereas before people didn't use their services because Google or Facebook may have had an edge, tomorrow people will be led to believe that this is much easier. With no off switch, Metro UI becomes a platform for delivering "online services" as part of the computing experience itself. And in so far that Microsoft could not put a dent in the multi-billion dollar online advertising network run by Google, or take advantage of the benefits of data mining that Facebook has had with their one billion users, they will now use their operating system platform to scoop up hundreds of millions, if not billions of new Windows Live members. To me, this matters.

While I have never had an issue with Google managing my e-mails and search, they also don't control the presentation of all the apps on my desktop. And while I may rely on their online services, I would never purchase an operating system released by them for just that reason. And that brings me back to Metro UI, and the reason why, at least right now, I can't tolerate it.

Here will be my test: If Windows 8 is even significantly slower or more resource intensive than Microsoft Windows 7, I will likely have no reason to upgrade. With a big magnifying glass being placed on my online presence through the integration of Windows Live into my operating system, I won't want to. If my computer boots a few seconds faster with Windows 8, I'll still breathe a sigh of relief that someone isn't trying to sell me zombie flicks directly on my desktop with no off switch.

I won't have as many privacy concerns as others will. If people were upset that Microsoft was going overboard with including Internet Explorer with their operating system, they will be infuriated by the massive takeover of the desktop with intrusive data-collecting applications that make up the Windows 8 Metro UI interface on install. While Microsoft was once a software development company that released products, they have now concerned themselves with maintaining a strong and marketable online presence on the web. They want people using their services on every phone, every gaming console, every desktop, every laptop, and every type of device in existence that uses a micro-processor. For me, this is overboard, and not what I'm interested in spending my money on.

I would have liked if Microsoft came out with an option for consumers: Pay a $100 annual subscription for feature improvements to the operating system. That is a service I would have been willing to buy. And under those circumstances, I'm willing to bet I'd be promptly allowed to uninstall Metro UI and delete the shortcut to it off my desktop; something that will never happen once you examine the changes that have been made between the Windows 8 Developer Preview and the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

When discussing the new OS with even some of the most technically minded individuals, a guy who designed a Skype app for Windows Phone before the official one was even announced, I found these types of comments:

"Im going to place a shortcut to shutdown.exe -s on my desktop. Although I have my power button assigned to turn it off too."

If that's not being "Vista'd" I don't know what is. But perhaps here are some other considerations:

If this is the most advanced operating system in the world, is it going to even detect whether or not you have a touch screen monitor, and adjust the situation to compensate?

As one other expert put it, why do you have to do "double-backflips" to shut it down?

If the Windows 8 installation asked if you wanted to install Metro UI, would the majority of desktop users currently say no?

Does the operating system showcase more opportunities to market Microsoft online services than it does actual improvements to productivity, usability, and computing power?

How come the only way to close an app is to hit ALT-F4 or CTRl-ALT-DEL, but the option to download TV shows seems to be fully developed? Is this thing like a hotel room menu or something?

Is this OS release inspired by a spur of new innovation or a desire to compete more directly with iOS, Android, Google, Facebook, and Apple?

Does Windows 8 outperform Windows 7?

I'd love to read your comments.

(These are my opinions and they do not reflect on anyone else here at They are subject to change, of course. Here's hoping Microsoft gets it right.)

So I've been reading some news about windows 7 release dates, specifications, types, etc. I recently found out that there will be some sort of a "free discount" upgrade to Windows 7 for Vista Premium, Business, and Ultimate users. Well I find that fine and dandy but there's just one snitch...They left out Home Basic!
Is it just me, or does this seem a little bit discriminatory? I'm a Vista Home Basic user and I find this a little bit outrageous!
I read up on this and found a few interesting things in this article right here:

Microsoft to offer 'special' Windows 7 upgrade deals | Vista Home

To quote: "That leaves out Vista Home Basic, the lowest-priced edition available in most markets, including the U.S. 'Windows Home Basic is not in scope for this program as there is no 'like' version of Windows 7 in mature markets,' said the site."

Okay, that's understandable but for whatever reason (too many bugs, too slow, etc) shouldn't home basic users get a piece of the cake too? They could simply give us the discount to the Windows 7 Premium edition! I purchased my copy of Vista long ago when Premium was a bit too expensive for me and I knew I wouldn't get certain features but I find this new ordeal pretty ridiculous! So I'm pretty much stuck with paying a huge price for it?

Windows Vista Home Basic users (or others) what are your thoughts on this?

By Joe Wilcox, Betanews

The other night, I got quite the shock. A good friend, who is a Windows enthusiast and IT administrator/consultant, informed me that he had dumped Windows 7 for Ubuntu. I didn't see that coming. For one, he's a Windows fan. For another, I would rate Windows 7 as nearly Microsoft's best operating system ever (sorry, even with the driver problems, Windows NT 4 still ranks as my fav; for its time -- 1996ish). My buddy contacted me by Skype, and I kept the transcript which I offer here with his permission.

Many of my questions were deliberately pointed, for three reasons. 1) As with all interviews, I strive for impartiality. 2) This friend, whom I'll call IT Guy for this post, is a good buddy. I know his personality enough to press hard about certain things. 3) I don't want to give some of Betanews' more rabid commenters cause to accuse of bias against Microsoft or Windows (I have none, but they accuse anyway). Hey, I'm just as surprised as you about my buddy's Ubuntu conversion. He had tried Linux years ago and didn't really like the experience, particularly because of driver problems and deficient or missing applications.

I don't see that IT Guy gave very good technical reasons for abandoning Windows 7. He mostly states what I consider to be perception problems -- that there are daily updates (which isn't the case), that there are massive security problems (because of the number of patches) and that Microsoft's anti-piracy mechanisms are harassing. These are actually emotional reasons, which is why I am posting the conversation. Even for experienced users, a purchase decision is still an emotional one. My friend didn't feel good about Windows 7. Microsoft doesn't want long-time loyal users like IT Guy going rogue and switching to Linux or Mac OS X.

With that introduction, I present the conversation, which has been edited in four places for flow (We asked and answered some questions out of sequence). The opening question reflects IT Guy contacting me by Skype, where my username isn't my real name. So he wasn't initially sure he was skyping me.

IT Guy: That you, Mr. Joe?
Joe Wilcox: Hey, bud. What's shakin?
IT Guy: Same ole same ole! And you?
Joe Wilcox: Working. Caught me at bad time.
IT Guy: I've tossed Windows7 Ultimate!
IT Guy: Ahhhh. sorry....
Joe Wilcox: Oh?
Joe Wilcox: Wait.
Joe Wilcox: Do tell.
Joe Wilcox: Tossed for what?
IT Guy: Yeah, moved back to Linux. Using Ubuntu.
Joe Wilcox: Because?
IT Guy: Very satisfied, very impressed!
IT Guy: Couldn't keep Win running with any speed.
Joe Wilcox: What about drivers? Software?
IT Guy: That's with 8 GB of RAM.
Joe Wilcox: Really. What's the system config again?
IT Guy: Everything including video if you want to vid chat.
Joe Wilcox: I can't vid chat now. Later perhaps.
IT Guy: It is a truly amazing system. Especially with the spec's I'm running.
Joe Wilcox: But give me some more details. Start with complete system specs.
IT Guy: Intel quad i7 proc.
IT Guy: 8 GB Ram
Joe Wilcox: Laptop?
IT Guy: Yes
Joe Wilcox: Just spell out specs in one sentence.
IT Guy: 500 GB HD
IT Guy: sorry
Joe Wilcox: Model and manufacturer too.
IT Guy: HP Pavilion DV6T. 1 GB dedicated vid ram, and the rest listed above. Came with win7 home, upgraded to Ultimate. Wireless internal of course.
Joe Wilcox: You ran Ultimate for how long?
IT Guy: Now running Ubuntu Desktop 10.04 Lucid Lynx. I ran Ultimate for about 3 mos.
Joe Wilcox: Why so little time?
IT Guy: Just got tired of fighting with it all the time with rights issues and such. A patch an hour somedays? Come on...
Joe Wilcox: What kinds of rights issues?
IT Guy: I've got some stuff I never want to lose, and with Windows I wasn't feeling warm and fuzzy anymore.
Joe Wilcox: Because?
IT Guy: Anytime installing anything from software to copying doc's localy folder to folder...
IT Guy: I understand some of that but come on. I upgraded to Ultimate to get access to some of my old db files created on XP.
Joe Wilcox: You couldn't access them?
IT Guy: No. Windows 7 Ultimate is the only version that will.
Joe Wilcox: Did you try and identify why? Use Microsoft Knowledgebase or forums?
IT Guy: They are up front about that though.
IT Guy: The KB for sure. Most didn't have the time of day.
Joe Wilcox: What about performance? Powerful system, should be plenty of oomph for Windows 7 Ultimate.
IT Guy: Yes it was at first. I could never keep it that way short of doing a sys restore.
Joe Wilcox: So what about performance?
IT Guy: Oddly enough, I came here from the Ubuntu forums
Joe Wilcox: Came here, meaning where?
IT Guy: A refreshing change from MS. Not only is the OS free, if you're kind in your approach on the forums, it's almost like free tech support as well!
IT Guy: I highly recommend Ubuntu.
IT Guy: In case you couldn't tell.
IT Guy: Been using it about a month.
Joe Wilcox: You still haven't answered question about Windows 7 Ultimate performance.
IT Guy: With NO problems!
IT Guy: The performance degraded as time went by.
Joe Wilcox: How so?
IT Guy:: I have no explanation why. That was the most frustrating part of the whole thing.
Joe Wilcox: What makes you sure Ubuntu won't degrade in another two months?
IT Guy: I consider myself, if not a 'computer guru', then pretty darn close.
IT Guy: With Linux today you can monitor and control everything the system is doing.
Joe Wilcox: So let's discuss that. You have how much IT experience?
Joe Wilcox: You've managed systems?
Joe Wilcox: Meaning, as I recall, your experience is broader than just an end user.
IT Guy: Started my first programming classes in 1983. Been working in the industry in one way or another ever since. You know that.
IT Guy: Went to Devry or however they spell it.
IT Guy: Ended up as a full time employee for my COBOL professor.
Joe Wilcox: OK. How about you give me three things you liked and also disliked about Windows 7 Ultimate?
IT Guy: It was pretty.
IT Guy: It was shallow!
IT Guy: Reminded me too much of a cheap woman! hehe
Joe Wilcox: Are you describing Windows or your first date?
IT Guy: Liked the new Aurora interface and how fast my games played.
Joe Wilcox: Cheap woman as in easy to get or hard to please?
IT Guy: I disliked that it has so many security flaws. There were literally patches per hour some day!
Joe Wilcox: Microsoft releases patches on second Tuesday of the month. There couldn't have been that many.
IT Guy: No stable OS should have to be updated continuously in order for the end user to have some sense of security.
Joe Wilcox: Apple regularly updates Mac OS X.
IT Guy: True enough.
Joe Wilcox: What about Ubuntu?
IT Guy: If I want the update yes.
Joe Wilcox: How often? More often in one month than Windows?
IT Guy: My kernel is protected and I only update it in the event of hardware change.
IT Guy: I've updated the kernel once since install.
Joe Wilcox: The Windows 64-bit kernel is pretty hardened. Did you run 64-bit Ultimate?
IT Guy: Yes I did.
Joe Wilcox: Could it be Microsoft is just more proactive about security?
Joe Wilcox: Crime goes up after cities put more cops on the street. It's a well-documented occurance. More cops means more crime recorded not an increase in actual crimes.
IT Guy: That is a possibility. I was thinking about it more from the disgusted end user perspective of 'what is so wrong that I have to have all these updates' feeling.
Joe Wilcox: So the updates generated fear -- that Windows isn't safe enough?
IT Guy: I just figured that as loaded up hardware wise as this laptop is, that I shouldn't have noticed any slowdown, or at the most it should have been imperceptible.
IT Guy: It wasn't so much a fear factor thing though it did weigh on me at times.
Joe Wilcox: Got it. OK, now to those three things you didn't like most about Windows 7 Ultimate.
IT Guy: The slow down, the security, and having it act like I was a new user every time I tried to do something at the sys level.
Joe Wilcox: OK. So what about Ubuntu? What three things do you like most or dislike most?
IT Guy: I like most the fact that when I turn on the laptop, I'm able to be editing my website live, in about a minute flat!
Joe Wilcox: How do the bootup times compare?
IT Guy: Three weeks later I like that it still is booting just as fast.
IT Guy: Ubuntu=1 minute up and able to start an app.
IT Guy: Windows 7 Ultimate=At the end about 4 and a half minutes before you could try to start an app..
Joe Wilcox: That's from bootup? What about sleep? I find Windows 7 Ulitmate to resume quickly on a much less powerful system than yours.
IT Guy: Ahhh, never used sleep.
Joe Wilcox: Really? I assume most everyone uses sleep.
IT Guy: I can't give you a good answer there because I just never used it.
IT Guy: I now do! Took Ubuntu for me to 'discover' the value of sleep mode.
Joe Wilcox: My experience is about 10-15 seconds from sleep.
IT Guy: With Win7?
Joe Wilcox: Yes.
IT Guy: Wow.
Joe Wilcox: That's hardcase scenario -- using Outlook. Outlook was super slow on Vista.
Joe Wilcox: From sleep.
IT Guy: Now I'm going to have to reinstall and look at it again. I used it hard as well. Outlook, Word, Access and typically a media player app of some kind running.
Joe Wilcox: What else do you like about Ubuntu? How is the UI and drivers?
IT Guy: The UI for Ubuntu is on a level with OS X.
Joe Wilcox: That's good?
IT Guy: As far as I'm concerned, it's the best, most intuitive UI I've ever had. The drivers are superlative and run everything very well.
IT Guy: I'm using Gnome, by the way.
IT Guy: KDE was just to much like windows for me. Seemed like there were two ways to do everything.
Joe Wilcox: OK. Driver installation compares how with Windows 7 Ultimate?
IT Guy: Ahhhh.
IT Guy: Are you talking initial install? Of Linux?
Joe Wilcox: Both for drivers.
Joe Wilcox: What if a device doesn't work? How easily can you get a new driver?
IT Guy: At present, I've not come across anything hardware wise that hasn't worked. I have intentionally reinstalled the nVidia drivers with no problems or issues.
Joe Wilcox: What about applications?
Joe Wilcox: Can you watch DVD movies? Make home movies, etc.?
Joe Wilcox: Microsoft has Windows Live Essentials, and there are plenty of good third-party apps. Apple has iLife and its pro products.
IT Guy: All my writing is done with OpenOffice, I watch movies with VLC, I've been happily burning my DVD's with Brassero, and so on and on...
IT Guy: All of the apps I use are free. Part of the OpenSource community.
Joe Wilcox: You do some photography. Have you got anything comparable to Adobe Lightroom?
IT Guy: I am using Gimp for all my photo needs.
Joe Wilcox: That's enough? Really?
IT Guy: Matter of fact the photo used on my twitter account was imported and edited with Gimp today.
IT Guy: It's a really awesome graphics program actually.
IT Guy: So far, I've found there is nothing I can't do with this OS that I was doing with Mac or Windows.
Joe Wilcox: And it handles your Nikon RAW files?
IT Guy: Very well.
IT Guy: Actually found a nikon driver for the camera that imports them directly to Gimp and then wants to know if I want to convert them to a different format.
Joe Wilcox: Would you recommend Windows 7 Ultimate to friends? Would you recommend Ubuntu to friends?
IT Guy: hmmm.
IT Guy: Yes to Ubuntu.
Joe Wilcox: And WIndows 7 Ultimate?
IT Guy: I don't think right now I'd recommend Windows. I mean Ubuntu is free, and you can do everything with it that you can do with Windows, so do the math!
IT Guy: Also, Linux tends to keep your skills honed. Windows seems to not want the end user to have any smarts!
Joe Wilcox: Skills honed how?
IT Guy: You can do a lot from the terminal. Learn basic commands to run in the terminal to maintain the overall health of the computer...
IT Guy: Stuff that harkens back to the Unix console days.
Joe Wilcox: Windows has a sophisticated command line feature.
IT Guy: It definitely does.
Joe Wilcox: But you prefer the Unix/Linux terminal?
IT Guy: Unless you know more or can do more than the basic old dos commands it is really limited compared to the console in Linux.
IT Guy: Especially compared to Unix...
IT Guy: So yes I prefer the Unix/Linux command line over Windows.
Joe Wilcox: And how many years have you used Windows?
IT Guy: Holy *^#*. since ver 1.0.

Copyright Betanews, Inc. 2010

Windows 7 - Linux - Operating system - Joe Wilcox - Microsoft Windows


Sure, I know I'm going to get a lot of static for this, but here goes anyway:

Left and right panes of Explorer windows are not synchronized. The inevitable result will be (and has been) that people will press the Delete key on the wrong item. This is a major design flaw which causes the loss of data. It is anti-intuitive to have the same window represent two different locations in the navigation pane and in the contents pane.

Shared folders do not have an icon indicating that they are shared. (The argument made by the Microsoft team that users wanted it removed because it cluttered the display is a lie.)

If you delete a file or folder in an Explorer window, the file or folder might not disappear from the display until you refresh the view. (This is probably a bug.)

With full row selection in the Details view of Explorer windows, it's harder to draw a selection box around a group of files. Full row selection can't be disabled. Users may unintentionally drag items to different locations when they are trying to draw selection boxes.

The functional Internet Explorer Icon can't be put on the desktop. Only a normal shortcut can be used. After more than a decade of having a functional IE icon on the desktop, which made our lives easier, arguments that not giving users the choice to have that functionality available from the icon do not make sense.

All Explorer windows which show folders open to the same size. You can't customize the size of a window for a particular folder. Being able to adjust the size of individual windows was one of the most useful features of windows. Removing the ability to personalize particular windows when personalization should be a core objective of any user interface is foolish.

The user can't create a secondary file association action which he would in Windows XP. The Microsoft UI team seems to have decided that removing functionality is a good thing. I believe that removing the Microsoft UI design team would be a good thing.

The user can't set security properties/ACLs/permission on multiple items from Properties because there is no Security tab like Windows XP for multiple files or folders.

Explorer toolbars can no longer be customized.

The "Details" metadata tab is gone from the file and folder Properties dialog. Metadata cannot be edited for popular file types without third-party add-ons.

The Details pane of Explorer windows cannot be disabled even though it takes up a lot of screen space to display very little information. And, sadly, neither the Details pane nor the Status Bar show the total size of a folder being displayed when no files are selected. The only way to get a folder's size is to view its properties from the context menu.

File lists in Explorer windows are automatically sorted. Auto-sorting cannot be disabled. This can be very inconvenient when working in folders with large numbers of files.

The user cannot execute multiple actions on a set of files from the GUI which was possible in Windows XP.

Autologon cannot be bypassed with the Shift key.

The user cannot set multiple connection icons, cannot customize connection icons, and cannot access connection status quickly from the connection icon all of which was possible in Windows XP.

There are no indicators of network activity in the Notification Area. They have been removed.

Easily customized searching is gone.

Taskbar buttons are now permanently grouped rather than displayed in the order in which they were opened. Grouping cannot be disabled (although some third-party tweakers offer ways to do this). This is anti-intuitive.

The user cannot disable jumplists in favor of old context menu. Jumplists are just another menu that changes unpredictably, making navigation more difficult for the average user.

The user cannot quickly access the Network Connections folder and actual wired/dial-up connections. It is buried several clicks inside the UI.

New network connections, such as VPN or dial-up connections, are made from the Network and Sharing Center. But they are not shown there. They're shown and available for editing in the Network Connections windows, in which you cannot create a new out-going connection. You can only view existing connections or create a new incoming connection. This is not logical.

File and folder security settings are still as cumbersome as they were in Vista, with separate dialogs used to view and edit settings. Many dialogs could be combined, and lots of extra mouse clicks could be avoided. If the goal is to clean up the UI, why this?

The new Start menu style cannot be disabled in favor of the "Classic" menu. The Windows Classic Start Menu was a masterpiece of sound ergonomic design. The new style eliminates the logical structured tree view of the Classic style and confines the menu to a small window in a corner of the display. The menu does not stretch as the number of menu items increases, making scrolling necessary.

The new Start menu style (actually introduced in Vista) lists folders below single items, completely reversing the format we've become familiar with over the years.

Explorer now has “Favorites” and “Library” nodes that can't be removed in the left pane. They waste space and present the same logical UI problems as having a menu that constantly changes, making it harder to find things. Items on menus and navigation links shouldn’t move unpredicably; it makes navigating harder, not easier. The Library does not make it clear to average users that files may be located on different computers or in different user accounts on the same machine. Accurate navigation requires that you know where you are and have a clear path to follow. These new “features”, as well as the new Start Menu, blur the path and make it difficult to know what you are looking at both on your computer and on the network. While this is less of a problem for expert users than for average users, average users must be the target audience.

Explorer no longer shows free disk space in the status bar. This is a big problem for portable drives.

Various hardware interfaces, including audio outputs and keyboard controls, are not restored properly after after waking a Windows 7 machine from Standby or Hibernate mode. The only solution is to restart the computer. These are major problems that will frustrate a lot of people.
If you drag a window to the side of the display, it automatically expands to occupy half of the display. In what way is that a useful “feature”? Who decided that filling half of the display would be a useful size for a window? (Some third-party tweakers allow you to disable this questionable “feature”.)

As with Vista, user interface design controls are split up into many different windows and dialog boxes rather than being conveniently accessible in a single dialog box as they were in XP.

During installation, you cannot specify on which drive the boot manager will be installed.
Overall, a lot of useful functionality and information have been removed from the GUI which should not have been, and there’s no way to get it back without third-party tools. While the GUI certainly needed cleaning, this is ridiculous. It’s as crippling and expensive as forcing the world to learn a completely new UI with the Office ribbon bar after more than a decade in which the world learned to use the menus.

Microsoft should realize that sales are up not because people are happy, but because we simply have to upgrade our aging machines. Balmer’s claim that he has “no responsibility for anything besides the making of money” will come back to bite him in the ***, hopefully very soon. Microsoft did the world a good service when it created a useful visual “language” for using computers. Drastic changes such as these only muddy the waters and make their products less useful. While it’s true that a significant, if uninformed, part of the population is satisfied with eyecandy, the rest of us are not so easily fooled.

after the release of windows 7 , many notbook useres wonder if they would set up it in there netbooks ? because its performance , so read this article to know how to ...
Windows 7 is free for now, and works extremely well on netbooks. That said, installing the OS on these tiny laptops—especially low-end models—can be daunting. Here's how to do it, the easy way:

If the Release Candidate is any indication (and it should be), then Windows 7 will be a nice upgrade for any Windows user. The new OS, however, is a huge step up for netbook users. Vista is notoriously poorly suited to netbooks; a buggy resource hog that subjects its users to incessant dialog boxes and requires far too many clicks to perform basic tasks, it's kind of a nightmare to use on a 9-inch laptop with a 1.5-inch trackpad.

Windows XP has been given a boost by netbooks, as its system requirements—more-or-less decided in 2001—are more in line with the specs hardware like the Eee PC and Mini 9. But let's face it: XP is nearly a decade old. Its user experience is trumped by free alternatives like Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Linpus, and it's not at all optimized for solid-state drives—especially cheap ones. This means that on low-end, SSD-based netbooks, it borders on unusable.

Hence, Windows 7. It's noticeably faster than Vista on low-spec machines, properly optimized for netbook hardware, and, most importantly, free (for now). Thing is, installation isn't quite as easy as it is on a regular PC—in fact, it can be a pain in the ***: netbooks don't have DVD drives, which means you've either got to get your hands on an external drive or boot from a USB stick for a clean install. Furthermore, smaller SSDs, like the 8GB units in popular versions of the Dell Mini 9 and Acer Aspire One, make a default installation impossible, or at least impractically tight. Luckily, there are simple methods to deal with both of these problems. Let's get started.

to read the whole article please visit : computer news: how to setup Windows 7 On Any Netbook ?

How easy is it for you to use Windows 7, versus say, whatever you are normally used to? This is a question that has decided the fate of not just entire households, but entire businesses when it comes to a proposed Windows 7 migration. I have noticed that one of the biggest preconceptions about Windows 7 is that it must be extremely difficult to use and understand, despite its rave reviews. This must be due to the fact, as some would contend that so much time has gone by since the release of Windows XP. Another preconception I have found is that driver support must be a problem, especially if you use the 64-bit version. Are these quickly becoming stereotypes? How fair are these statements?

I look at these statements with interest from a different lens. For an IT department, writing off Windows 7 as too difficult for employees to use and impossible to upgrade to may be statements that are easier to make to senior management, than, say, actually upgrading an entire business. For home users, it may be a good way to rationalize hanging on to that old computer for just one more year.

Through my use of Windows 7, I have found that the ease of use is roughly the same as Windows XP. I have not had any issues with drivers, as most of my hardware is new, and I haven’t used Windows XP, except at work, since the RTM (release to manufacturing) of Windows Vista. Many of us in the technology fields share a commonality – whether we have certifications, awards, experience, or not – we have a skillset that less experienced computer users don’t have. Therefore, it may be hard to judge what exactly constitutes ease of use.

Who are these people, who consider themselves skilled in other areas, but not in computers? According to some studies, it’s a large chunk of the workforce and a majority of consumers in the industrialized world. This group is complimented by the baby boomer demographic: People born from the 1940s to the 1960s view computers as difficult to work with. This is quickly becoming the oldest generation living today. Outside of that, a majority of people born in developing nations, where the tools necessary for widespread home computer use has been lacking, share a lack of confidence about ease of use. In some cases, due to trade imbalances and a variety of complex political and social issues, it could be argued that people in the developing world have been deprived of this technology and innovation. How can it be possible, though, that so many people around the world have a lack of confidence in their own abilities in general, especially with computers?

It is safe to say that many, if not most, jobs in the United States and Western Europe must require at least a basic to intermediate level of understanding on how to use computers – and more specifically, word processor software, basic file and database retrieval, and in many cases data entry.

It has amazed me, personally, to see the CEO of a business, which has made millions – if not billions - of dollars due to savvy business skills and entrepreneurial spirit, know absolutely nothing about computers except how to navigate Windows Explorer and write e-mails in Outlook. This strange dichotomy, to a computer person, almost seems like something from outer space. Then again, one could argue a business owner in such a position can, quite literally, afford to pay someone else for their ignorance. When we realize that many business moguls alive today lived without powerful desktop computers capable of inconceivable floating-point operations and immersive graphic user interfaces, the idea is not so far-fetched. In fact, many business owners such in my example are uniquely aware of their own limitations, keen on the capability these computers have when placed in the right hands, and have a vision for their business where computers play a central role. They can also recognize, as pragmatists, that they better serve their business by focusing on what they know and delegating computer, MIS, and IT responsibilities to others.

In a younger world, the new workforce is expected to have intermediate to advanced level of computer skills. College entrants are expected to be computer proficient, to know how to use online tools to their advantage, and the idea of not having a laptop to conduct research or write reports has become alien in academia. It is noted that the Internet itself was nurtured by large universities before it became generally available, and ultimately accepted, by consumers around the world.

The older segment of the workforce may need similar skills, but this requires that a company with older employees engage in skills training. If the boards of directors of a company, or their own CEO, do not know much about computers, they could receive poor advice from an understaffed IT department. “We need to come to an understanding that the majority of our employees will never be able to learn Windows [insert whatever version here]”. This could be considered an easy out for many IT departments, unless the marketplace and nature of the business demands fundamental change. One area where accountability and free market economics takes a back seat pass, at least as we can confirm it, is in the United States government. Many government computers in large urban areas continue to run Windows 2000 or Windows XP – unpatched. Viruses continue to be a daily occurrence and threat. Many of these departments are inundated with bureaucratic wrangling, are also understaffed, due to the competitive nature of the private sector and the mindset of information technology experts – who may not want to find themselves locked into a public service position at a low base salary for several decades. Ironically, it may be the federal government, which many perceive to be as inept, which comes out with the policies necessary to keep public computer systems around the country up to date. Local municipalities, state, and city governments may be less likely to have implemented end of life cycle practices.

So when we consider all of these possibilities, how is it possible that some people still fear Windows 7, and is that fear justified? From an objective standpoint, it is not difficult to see how budget restrictions can prevent large organizations, or even individual people, from upgrading to Windows 7. When market forces begin to demand faster computers, people will gradually latch on to the new operating system. While the base system is markedly improved from Windows XP, with advanced security features and enhanced stability, Windows 7 could be considered just as easy – if not easier to use – than Windows XP. The area where people may be getting confused the most is in driver and software support.

For one thing, Windows XP uses an older graphical display driver model for video graphics cards. Older computers with integrated video graphics cards or video cards that just don’t cut the mustard may have trouble under Windows 7. While the base operating system and the majority of its functions will still work under Windows 7 – in some cases even outperforming Windows XP – extremely old systems will have difficulty rendering the transparency effects known as Aero which have, by now, become well known to enthusiasts. Therefore, Windows XP users with old school games and graphics cards, may not be too pleased when it comes to their Windows 7 experience. To placate this group of people, “XP Mode” was created, which allows a virtual instance of Windows XP to run side-by-side with Windows 7 using Microsoft Virtual PC technology. This prevents any lazy IT department from saying “our software won’t run on Windows 7”. However, on older systems, graphics issues will still create a gap, often requiring upgrade.

The mindset under which people approach device drivers is confusing to computer technicians, consultants, and IT gurus who have worked in the field. As it seems, most people believe that Microsoft itself is 100% responsible for driver support. This is not the case at all. When your old Epson (or insert any brand name here) printer or scanner doesn’t work in Windows 7, it is very well due to the fact that the manufacturer, in our example, Epson, has not designated development time to create the proper device drivers for the next version of Windows. While Microsoft has written and co-authored tens of thousands of compatibility drivers, not every device will work with these, and even if they did they would not be performing very well. It is almost always up to the manufacturer to support their hardware. Such is a problem with old Windows XP peripherals being brought up to par with Windows 7. Since Windows XP was released in 2001, Windows 7 is nearly, but not quite, a decade older than Windows XP. Hardware manufacturers had plenty of time to see where development was going, and most Windows Vista drivers will work under Windows 7. Therefore, if your printer, scanner, or USB turntable doesn’t work under Windows 7, this is a very rare instance, and is usually due to the fact that the manufacturer of these peripherals probably wants you to buy a new one. It may seem lowdown, dirty, and rotten, but these companies make most of their money by consumers buying new products. They do in fact spend (and lose money) by supporting discontinued models.

What about software? Many people in the workplace and at home approach Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet applications with a sense of fear and loathing. It is as if this one program has become the bane of the workplace – the new abacus; the confirmation that, at the start of the day, a mountain of paperwork must be created – but this time with dreaded formulas. How then, could one ever learn to use Excel 2010 when Excel 2003 is still being learned? Much development time is spent on making programs easier to use. In Excel 2010, for example, it is far easier to actually print out and display reports in an easier way than it could ever be in 2003. The ribbon menu, which was so harshly criticized in Office 2007, is now seen as a welcome upgrade in Office 2010, after feedback and Q&A testing showed how to make it right. Still, I have gotten the sense that many people approach their programs emotionally, and not logically. The ones that provide entertainment are innately good, and the ones that are used for productivity are just terrible. This sort of stigmatism can prevent entire offices from upgrading their software for years on end, especially when senior management adopts the same mentality.

Readers who know me would not be surprised to see me advocating the latest and the greatest as far as software and hardware. It has always been my opinion that more can get done and be enjoyed on a computer when it’s being used to its fullest resources. While my vision of future offices running the latest version of every operating system and processor may be a bit far-fetched, it becomes clear to me that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. I emphasize that the middle I am talking about does not lie somewhere between 2010 and 2001, but in finding middle ground with people who are truly intimidated by their computer – worried they may damage it at any time or that they do not have the skillset to properly use it.

People can have confidence in their ability to use computers, and Windows 7, once they realize that their skills are not limited to what they have learned in grade school, high school, or college. New skills can be developed at any time, so long as a person is willing to pursue it. That motivation must come from within. This is particularly important for older readers. One needs only to understand the basis, and importance of logic, in order to draw a parallel between how a computer works and how the human mind can also function. What interests me, and perhaps others, is that we, as a group of collective individuals, may soon find that an operating system, or computer system itself, is limited in only what we put into it. Accessible from a computer today is the sum of all human knowledge on the Internet – as well as movie rentals and all of Vanilla Ice’s music videos. Truly, the opportunities are endless.

So do I believe Windows 7 is easier to use than Windows XP? Absolutely. Conventional wisdom and the facts tell us so. It is up to the end-user to challenge themselves to something new – and not to fear the unknown. It appears that many people are doing just that. This year, Windows 7 became the fastest selling operating system of all time.

7 is almost immune to a piece of malware that has proven a real nightmare to users running older versions of the Windows client. Windows XP SP3 customers particularly have been hit extremely hard by Alureon, a rootkit that failed to play nice with a Windows kernel update and ended up rendering unbootable infected PCs earlier this year. Microsofts Malicious Software Removal Tool cleaned no less than 356,959 Windows computers infected with Alureon, with the Redmond company pointing out that the statistics are associated exclusively with the May release of MSRT. Out of all the machines cleaned by the software giants free security tool, only 3.5% were running Windows 7.

In this context, Alureon comes to prove just how unsafe are older versions of Windows, as XP SP3 PCs account for the bulk of infections, no less than 64.8%. The runner-up is XP SP2 with 13.6%, Vista SP2 with 7.3%, Vista RTM with 6.9% and Vista SP2 with 3.8%. Combined, machines running XP SP2 and SP3 make up 78.4% of all the Windows computers compromised by the rootkit. At this point in time, Virus:Win32/Alureon.H is the most prevalent flavor of the browser, having been cleaned from 155,394 PCs, Vishal Kapoor and Joe Johnson, from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, note.

The new .H variant is the most prominent in terms of prevalence. There were several changes to the design of the rootkit to avoid detection and cleaning, revealing that the rootkit is still under active development and distribution. One of the notable changes was to infect arbitrary system drivers instead of only the hooked miniport driver. Expectedly, this can have negative side effects on the machine depending on the chosen driver. For example, weve seen some machines having their keyboard disabled as a result of an infection. On other machines, Windows XP unexpectedly requests reactivation because the infection appears like a significant hardware change, Johnson reveals.

The Redmond company indicates that the authors of Alureon are working to upgrade older versions of the rootkit to the most recent builds, which are better equipped to dodge antivirus products. The April version of the MSRT cleaned Alureon from 262,969 machines, namely 37% less compared with May. As far as the MSRT May malware families go, Alureon has climbed to the first spot, the software giant notes.

Continuing the trend from last month, more than three-quarters of the infections occur on machines running Windows XP. This is likely due to better security in the later versions of the Microsoft Windows operating systems. The dominance of XP SP3 can be attributed to the combination of the above in conjunction with its high prevalence of use, Johnson adds.

Upgrading to the resource hog that was Windows Vista meant that home and business users alike also required a hardware upgrade. The fact that Vista required quite expensive new hardware in order to run at a level of performance equivalent to Windows XP’s turned customers away from the new platform, and kept the share of the product on the operating system market under 20%, according to Net Applications. However, the same is not valid for Windows 7. Much to the contrary, Windows 7 is perfectly capable of running on older machines, with less the hardware resources required by Vista. Windows 7 makes old PCs feel new again, Microsoft notes, citing its own customers. (read about Free Windows 7 RTM Tests)

Online retailer Essential Apparel is one of the small businesses that have jumped from XP to Windows 7 and that found the latest Windows client to breathe new life into the older computers in their infrastructure. Essential Apparel embraced Windows 7 when the OS was in Beta stage in February 2009, a month after Build 7000 was released to the public. Crucial in the decision to abandon XP was the fact that the new platform did not require hardware upgrades.

“And because Windows 7 can run on the same PCs we were using for Windows XP, moving to Windows 7 effectively extended the useful life of our older PCs,” noted Bob Mayer, Essential Apparel’s president. The financial estimates indicate that by simply upgrading to Windows 7, the company managed to save approximately $20,000 in capital spending in 2009 alone. The $20.000 in cut expenditures come from the deferral of hardware upgrades.

But there are additional success stories in the small business universe that Microsoft unearthed. Retailer GameWear also migrated its IT infrastructure to Windows 7, citing the necessity to kick up a notch the efficiency of its business. GameWear’s Frank Cerullo explains that Windows 7 makes it easier for customers service representatives to manage and find items related to over 4,000 stock-keeping units (known as SKUs) and spread throughout 50,000 files.

““When a retailer calls asking for a photo they can put in their catalog, we have to quickly locate the right photo and graphics,” Cerullo noted. “It’s easy to misplace a PDF, Word or Outlook file. We used to spend hours tracking down mislaid files.” But at the same time he revealed that it’s not all about search: “I can’t point to just one feature of Windows 7 as the most important for a small business like mine. Rather, it does hundreds of things a little bit better or faster than previous operating systems, and at the end of the day that adds up to a significant productivity improvement. I would estimate it is about 30 percent faster than Windows XP, which we used to run, and that it has provided my employees with at least a 10 or 15 percent improvement in productivity. And it took less than a day to upgrade all 12 of our PCs.”

Cerullo also explained that Windows 7 has been designed from the get go to embrace legacy Windows applications, that are otherwise incompatible and unsupported on the operating system. The secret behind the way Windows 7 deals with legacy programs is Windows XP Mode. GameWear installed Windows 7 in the first half of 2009, when the Release Candidate Build 7100 came out. “As a small-business owner, especially in an economy like the one we’re in now where we’re trying to do everything we can to squeeze as much productivity out of our work force, why not start taking advantage of the latest technology as soon as it becomes available, rather than play a catch-up game with your competitors later?” Cerullo asked.

Both Essential Apparel and GameWear upgraded to Windows 7 guided by IT consultant and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Carl Mazzanti, of New Jersey-based eMazzanti Technologies. Mazzanti also assisted dozens other clients in their migration to Windows 7, including Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky.
“It’s a quality of life thing. How can I squeeze more productivity out of the same or a lesser amount of time? The technology that answers that need has got my attention,” explained Stephen Kramarsky, one of the Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky partners. “If I’m rushing to a meeting or deposition, I can be up and working again in seconds versus waiting a minute or more with other operating systems. Attorneys work in a time-compressed environment where some seconds are longer than others.”

Just two months since general availability on October 22nd, 2009, the usage share of Windows 7 jumped over 5% of the market eroding Vista’s, but also, more importantly, XP’s share. And with Windows XP’s end of life approaching, more and more customers are bound to start upgrading.

“Small and medium-sized businesses today want to get more out of what they already have, whether that means getting by with less staff, being able to leverage their existing infrastructure, top-line growth or bottom-line improvements. Windows 7 is an enabler of all of these. For nearly every business, it saves time and it saves money. The path to savings may be different for different businesses, but the savings are there. You’d be surprised how quickly seconds and pennies add up to hours and dollars,” a Mazzanti representative said.

Just in time for Christmas: How to install, reinstall and uninstall Windows | All about Microsoft |

If you’re one of those who’ve bought a Windows 7 PC or a copy of the new operating system as a gift, Microsoft’s new Web site dedicated to how to install, reinstall and/or uninstall Windows might be a handy resource to have at your fingertips.
The new site has links to performing all three tasks for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. While terms like “custom install” may not scare off techies, they likely mean little to average consumers playing amateur sysadmin at home over the holidays. (My ZDNet blogging colleague Ed Bott has done his best to help simplify the upgrade questions Windows users have encountered as they have started the move to Windows 7, but there’s still room for more demystification around the steps needed to get Windows 7 up and running.)
On a related note, here are a few other Windows-related links of potential interest that I’ve collected so far this week:
Microsoft is offering PC makers an OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) for its free security suite, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). Earlier this year, when I asked Microsoft officials whether they expected much OEM demand for MSE, they dowplayed the idea. PC makers get a kickback from security vendors who preload trial versions of their security software on new PCs, so why would they want to preload a free product for which Microsoft wasn’t going to pay them? I guess there’s been PC maker interest, after all — at least enough interest to release an OPK for MSE — which is slated to arrive on December 22.
On December 15, Microsoft also released MSE in 17 additional markets bringing the total number of available markets to 56, company officials said. The newest countries where MSE is available for free download (if you can prove you have a Genuine copy of Windows) are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. MSE also is available now in Russian and Romanian, in addition to the nine other languages it already supported.
Microsoft has launched a new Windows 7 Test Drive site, aimed at developers who may not have Windows 7 installed on their development environments. The new site offers devs a virtual environment experience, highlightingf Windows 7 features of interest to developers (as opposed to end users). From a new post on the Windows Developer blog:
“The idea behind the Test Drive lab is to create a very low barrier-to-entry development experience for Windows 7. It is a free tool for you to use whenever you want and requires no special software installation (besides a single ActiveX). All you need is a Windows Live ID, a few clear hours, and a visit to the Windows 7 Test Drive for Developers to take a guided tour of Windows 7.”Microsoft adds the Windows Live engineering blog to its Windows Team blog uber-site. It was ages ago that Microsoft moved the Windows Live organization in with the Windows one, both under Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky. But it took until December 15 for the Windows Live team to start a new blog that melds all the different Windows Live blogs into one. The “Inside Windows Live” blog will focus on the behind-the-scenes engineering stories of various Windows Live products, like Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, the Windows Live Essentials suite and other Live software/services. Seems like a good time for such a blog to go live, given Windows Live Wave 4 is expected in 2010….
The new blog will discuss new features, share customer usage stories, provide updates on service interruptions and more. The first post on the new site is from Corporate Vice President Chris Jones, who says: “Over the next few months you will also see this site become integrated with Windows Live ID, giving you even more ways to interact with us on Windows Live.”

You can read all of their propaganda here. I'm sure you'll find it either hilarious or as aggravating as I did. In response to this stupidity I wrote them an email. Would you like to read it?... Of course you bloody would
I am writing to give my two cents on the "Windows 7 Sins" Website.
About three years ago, I was looking for a comparison between Windows XP and Windows Vista's performance to render judgment upon whether I would upgrade. It was then that I found a website, I think it was something like "badvista" or something to that effect. It was run by the Free Software Foundation and it listed many scary and frightening facts about Windows Vista. At the time I was an impressionable fifteen year old and I took in all of these facts like a sponge. It was then that I discovered Ubuntu and I've had a windows system dual booted with Linux ever since, be it Mint, OpenSuse or Ubuntu. I was terrified at the idea that Microsoft would be spying on me if I installed Windows Vista. Since then I have come to understand many things. For instance, Open Source isn't immune to the "evil" of propriety software, just look at Darwin, or as it is known in it's modern guise: Apple Mac osX 10.6 Snow Leopard. I have also come to understand that the facts presented in badvista and windows7sins is nothing more than mindless propaganda designed to instill fear in people and sell (not in a literal sense) Open Source software.
In my eyes you are using devious scare tactics which make you no better than Microsoft. And did you ever stop to think about Apple and it's monopoly? Or is the fact that osX is based on a GNU distro enough to absolve them of their "sins"?
I, personally, am currently sporting a desktop PC dual booted with Linux Mint and Windows 7 RTM (final) And have had no impediments when it comes to copying, distributing or sending media files, this DRM crap is no more than a myth to me. WGA is just another fun challenge to circumvent. And to be frank, if Microsoft were spying on me, surely they would have had me arrested by now.
I would like to clarify that I don't have anything against Open Source software, I love Linux and always will. I also love Windows 7, It's the most wonderful operating system I've ever had the pleasure of using. Vista was crap, XP was not much better, but Microsoft seem to have gotten it right this time. I love and respect this OS so much that I'd go out and pay for it were it not for the fact that Microsoft have given me a complimentary copy of Windows 7 Ultimate for participating on the Technical Beta. I invest as much time in using Linux Mint as I do in Windows 7, and if games companies produced Linux versions of their games, I'd consider switching permanently. But as it stands, that's where Microsoft has beaten Linux.
I think this whole website was designed as a spiteful backlash at the fact that Linux is no longer the only operating system that runs effectively on netbooks.

I just wish software vendors would stop taking cheap shots at each other and allow the end user to decide which software they want to use.

I anticipate your reply. I just get so annoyed when people pull stunts like this.

Saw this press release yesterday, just wondering if anyone else's tried it yet.

I know it's shareware but I'm too lazy to download :P

Major Unofficial Upgrade for Microsoft® Windows® Vista and XP Released by Extensoft

Extensions for Windows® provides the ‘missing link’ by enhancing computer operating system’s functionality through advanced features

Seattle, Washington – September 3, 2008 - In an answer to the market's demand for a better, more user-friendly Microsoft® Windows®, Extensoft announced today the release of its Extensions for Windows - a product that significantly broadens the functionality of both Windows XP and Vista. Extensions for Windows is the first community driven, modular upgrade for Windows XP and Vista and contains a number of new features Windows users have desired as part of the operating system.

When the initial news of the Extensions for Windows product was leaked in the form of a video to YouTube by one of the Beta testers, it was seen by over half a million viewers - many regarding the product as the next version of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 7.

Extensions for Windows provides a variety of useful functions that will solve many of the shortcomings in Windows. At a time when Microsoft has been reported to be spending $300 million on a new advertising campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Extensoft is working to provide the actual features that Windows users have been waiting for in undelivered products such as Windows Vista and Ultimate Extras. Extensions for Windows also provides a great alternative for Windows XP users still unconvinced about switching to Vista.

“Extensions for Windows is meant to enhance the typical Windows user’s experience,” says Eugene Zvyagintsev, Product Manager for the Extensions. “One of our primary goals is to work with the Windows user community and act on their behalf, bringing more features, usability and value to the operating system that so many of us use every day.”

Extensions for Windows gives users many new features, applications and improvements that typically cost between $20 and $100 each, while providing consistent interface and seamless integration with Windows. The Extensions features include:

• Screen Capture and Desktop Recorder - extends the Print Screen key functionality to capture screenshots and live demos to a file, email or printer.

• Extended Windows Explorer – enhances the Windows Explorer with a two-panel file manager and ability to group multiple folders.

• FTP & SFTP Locations – extends "My Computer" with simplified connectivity to Website hosts for uploading images, blogs and programs.

• Keyboard Shortcuts Manager - extends "My Computer" with convenient keyboard shortcut management.

• Image and Document Converters – converts variety of document and image formats, including image resizing.

• PDF Converter – converts printable documents to Adobe® PDF format.

• Disk Usage Analyzer – helps manage and organize computer disk space by locating large files and folders.

• Search & Replace – provides advanced file search with ability to replace text in text files.

• File Comparer – compares text files side by side

Extensions for Windows provides a management console from which extensions can be downloaded, installed, and managed. The current version includes 13 separate extensions, each of which can be installed or disabled at any time. Two additional extensions are planned by end of the year, with many more to follow.

Extensions for Windows is priced at $49.95 per user and is now offering a free 60-day trial at the company’s website at Extensions for Windows. A free, ad-supported version is also planned. Extension for Windows works with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 2000.

About Extensoft

Extensoft is a unique consumer software company with the goal of bringing creativity and productivity to computer users worldwide. Extensoft is located in Seattle, Washington and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The latest video release showcasing Microsoft Windows 8 benchmarks, and a quick press release by Emily Wilson at Microsoft, shows that Windows 8’s boot time capability will be superior to Windows 7. No, the system was not in hibernation; otherwise we would have seen the restore from hibernation animation after the POST. And no, we have no involvement in the design or development of these marketing pieces from Microsoft, but that still hasn’t prevented YouTubers from around the earth clamoring to claim it is an advertisement for Hewlett-Packard, a fake video created by Ms. Wilson and Microsoft to drive sales, or some other technology conspiracy.

The reality is that Windows 8 will be a revolutionary step in the right direction for Microsoft if the current circumstances give us any pause. The release of an operating system that can boot faster than Windows 7 shows that Microsoft is still committed to the streamlined policies that led them to grand success with Windows 7. We know that Windows 8 is also being designed for ARM processors, such as those found in cellphones and tablets. This is a great concept for regular computer users. It means that Microsoft has to be careful about how they allocate resources during development. When services are redesigned or updated, their impact on system usability has to be measured carefully in order to ensure that users are not plagued by an operating system riddled with slowdowns. This was the case with Windows Vista, but was not the case with 7. During Windows 7 development, it was revealed that Microsoft had developed proprietary tools that allowed them to simulate every possible scenario under which a system bottleneck would take place, using software that would run every possible system interaction at an accelerated rate. While this method was used for Windows Vista to security harden the operating system, its use in performance led to stunning results: The streamlining of the system kernel, services, and essential applications led to a reported revolt from some processor and GPU manufacturers, who, as the allegations go, wanted the operating system to actually run slower than Windows Vista in order to spur hardware sales.

As we move closer to a future release of Windows 8, Microsoft Windows users around the world have a reason to look into this technology as a constructive alternative. One element that would help many business environments would be a direct XP to 8 upgrade. And although we know such an upgrade path is unlikely to ever be developed due to the epic problems it would cause on many system set ups, it would provide businesses with a direct path to get out of the way of obsolescence. Just imagine, though, a Windows XP to Windows 8 upgrade... while technically possible the number of support incidents would generate from people on ancient hardware would create a support volcano. The reality is old systems that run WDDM as the graphics model can't even run Aero properly. And that's just the price we often have to pay for innovation.

That obsolescence is becoming more and more apparent as Windows XP users curmudgeonly complain about the superiority of an operating system that was released in October 2001. While it has stood the test of time, after 3 Service Packs, it has already been placed on life support: Microsoft extended support for the OS due to business environments being incapable of handling the task of keeping their IT infrastructure up-to-date, even when Windows 7 itself has a virtualized XP Mode.

It is not hard to see why people still like XP: RAM requirements are minimal, the OS is simple to use, and it seems “good enough”. But under-the-hood, and for those of us in the known, we are keenly aware of the kernel-level security flaws that allow buffer overrun errors, system injection exploits, and systemic problems that lead to security, and system failure. Old customers with old computers running IDE hard drives that should be dead by now (the hard disk drives, not the customers) shouldn't expect anything less than a nightmare on their hands.

These problems are embedded deeply into the operating system and the components designed around it. They are from another era. A pre-9/11 era, and a pre-"Why is my computer so slow?" tech support nightmare era. While a lot of this is only known to long-time Windows users who have either serviced other computers, worked in the IT industry firsthand, or suffered catastrophic failures due to lax security, we know these problems exist in the core of the operating system – or the kernel – and will never be patched. The only time in recent memory that Microsoft has literally replaced a Windows kernel free of charge was during the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 rollout. Under that scenario, Microsoft decided to upgrade Vista with Windows Server 2008’s revised kernel in order to add boosted reliability and to squeeze out some additional performance.

There is nothing wrong with being content with using an old or different operating system, for so long as you understand the risks involved. Many businesses, instead of upgrading their IT infrastructure, or formulating an end-of-life cycle for their hardware and software, have instead decided to attempt to security harden their systems with utilities like Symantec EndPoint. Under such conditions, Windows systems are typically managed from a centralized domain controller and EndPoint is used to deter potential threats. But from my experience, this can still lead to additional problems. Programs have begun to require more memory and hard disk space, as well as processing power. All of the security software in the world cannot do away with internal problems that can be manipulated once a computer is on a network. And certainly, as we have seen with the “fortress IT” model of doing things, systems are prone to compatibility issues, lack of driver support, and a general tendency for employees to be beguiled or confused when approached with the concept that their computer – operating with a system that is 10 years old, might actually have some serious internal problems. While the model allows businesses to save money, it also allows IT admins to lounge around looking up Dilbert cartoons.

This intrigue has led me to pursue the latest breaking updates with Windows 8. It is interesting for me to see Windows XP proponents going hog wild at the idea that the next version of Windows may actually boot at twice the speed of their 10 year old bar of gold known as Windows XP. Meanwhile, back in reality, new processors, general hardware, memory modules, and peripherals are all being designed with the NT 6.1 and 6.2 models in mind. Game studios are prepping their million dollar productions to be optimized for multi-core processors and the latest version of DirectX that will ship with Windows 8. Website developers have stopped supporting Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and have instead moved back into a position of HTML5-compliacne and W3C validation. The good old days of Windows XP may still exist for some, in theory, but increasingly, those days are numbered. This is coming from a man who entered an organization with deep, systemic problems in their infrastructure. Unpatched Windows XP machnies running in 2008 with no service packs and IE6... the scenario could not have been worse. Half of one segment of a network on one workgroup, another half on another, and another chunk on a domain controller. Meanwhile no one could figure out why they were having problems sharing files... These problems can be the norm in many environments.

With Windows 8 looking at a traditional October-November 2012 release date, one is left to wonder when, if ever, Windows XP proponents will upgrade anything.

It is not unheard of to enter a government office, a doctor’s office, a small business, or even a large enterprise and notoriously see dozens of Dell machines with the Windows XP label gleaming on the back. The dust corroded ventilation shafts on the chassis are a reminder of age. This system, released in 2001, is incapable of fundamental operations needed: not just by publishers, but soon by content consumers.

Windows 8 has a lot to offer, and the bar has been raised high, ironically, even by those individuals who still recommend Windows XP as though it is the gold standard of our era. Even by Mac OS users who prefer Apple everything. What happens if Windows 8 doesn’t just meet those stringent requirements laid out by its biggest critics? What happens if it raises the bar? Such is the case with revolutionary operating systems. When we look at Microsoft’s operating system release timetable, Windows 7 was considered a minor revision. Yet its development has led to advancements in high-end SSDs, better monitor quality, enormous improvements in video graphic card design, and computer processors that are capable of simulating 16 cores on a home computer. Take a trip back to 1985, and the only concept of computers that most residential home users had was of a fictional DeLorean time machine powered by a flux capacitor that seemed to use vacuum tubes. In Terminator 2, the T-800 was using some kind of Apple debug code whenever his infra-red eyeball view was displayed (we now know that these eyeballs were likely highly advanced Logitech web cameras... or since Cyberdyne may have been acquired by Apple, perhaps he was using the iBall or something...).

In any event, and on a more serious note, Windows 8 seems like it will raise the bar and raise standards in information technology. With it scheduled as a major release, as a opposed to a minor one like Windows 7, we can expect to see some groundbreaking features that will entice many enthusiasts to upgrade. And that may surprise a lot of people. That alone should be good enough to say “Hasta, la vista” to your old computer. After all, how long are you going to keep using a dot matrix printer and then complain it doesn’t work right?

These are just my views, but I’ve seen enough OS releases to know that this one is going to surprise a lot of Windows customers. Why fear or reject innovation? It's time to say goodbye to our friend Windows XP. We can still visit XP once in awhile: in a virtual machine where he belongs.


Classic Shell is now official for Windows 8, you don't have to run the Windows 7 version any more.

I just installed it and I'll let you know how it goes in a day or so.

The new version has more options for style, Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7.
And other new features here's the blurb....


Classic Shell
Version 3.6.0 general release

Thank you for installing Classic Shell. It adds some missing features to Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 - like a classic start menu, start button, a toolbar for Windows Explorer and others.

The latest version can be found on Source Forge:
Welcome to Classic Shell

Report problems in the Classic Shell bug tracker: Classic Shell: Bugs

For answers to frequently asked questions look here:
Classic Shell: FAQ
Or use the forums to get help:
Help: Classic Shell: Help
Discussion: Classic Shell: Open Discussion

Classic Start Menu

Classic Start Menu is a clone of the start menu from Windows 2000, XP and Vista that sadly is gone missing in Windows 7. It has a variety of advanced features:

Drag and drop to let you organize your applications
Options to show Favorites, expand Control Panel, etc
Shows recently used documents. The number of documents to display is customizable
Translated in 35 languages, including Right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew
Does not disable the original start menu in Windows. You can access it by Shift+Click on the start button
Right-click on an item in the menu to delete, rename, sort, or perform other tasks
The search box helps you find your programs without getting in the way of your keyboard shortcuts
Available for 32 and 64-bit operating systems
Has support for skins, including additional 3rd party skins. Make your own!
Fully customizable in both looks and functionality
Support for Microsofts Active Accessibility
Converts the All Programs button in the Windows menu into a cascading menu (Vista and Windows 7)
Implements a customizable start button (Windows 7 and 8)
Classic Explorer

Classic Explorer is a plugin for Windows Explorer that:

Adds a toolbar to Explorer for some common operations (Go to parent folder, Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Properties, Email). The toolbar is fully customizable
Replaces the copy UI in Vista and Windows 7 with the more user-friendly classic version similar to Windows XP
Handles Alt+Enter in the folder panel of Windows Explorer and shows the properties of the selected folder
Has options for customizing the folder panel to look more like the Windows XP version or to not fade the expand buttons
Can show the free disk space and the total size of the selected files in the status bar
Can disable the breadcrumbs in the address bar
Fixes a long list of features that are broken in Windows 7 missing icon overlay for shared folders, the jumping folders in the navigation pane, missing sorting headers in list view, and more
Classic IE9

Classic IE9 is a plugin for Internet Explorer 9 and 10 that:

Adds a caption to the title bar so you can see the full title of the page
Shows the security zone in the status bar
Shows the loading progress in the status bar
Installation instructions

The toolbar for Windows Explorer will not show up automatically after installation. You have to do a few things before you can use it:

1) Open a new Windows Explorer window (Win key+E)

2) Go to the View menu and select Toolbars -> Classic Explorer Bar to show the toolbar.

3) If that option is not available (you only see Lock the Toolbars) you may have to enable the plugin from Internet Explorer. Run IE, right click on its toolbar and select Classic Explorer Bar. It will ask you if you want to enable this add-on. Select Enable, then do steps 1 and 2 again.

4) If that doesnt work, try going to Tools -> Manage addons in Internet Explorer. Locate the addons Classic Explorer Bar and ExplorerBHO Class and make sure they are enabled.

5) If even then you don't see the toolbar, maybe the browser extensions are disabled on your system. This is usually the default for servers. Open the "Internet Options", go to the "Advanced" tab, and check the option "Enable third-party browser extensions".

It goes without saying (but Ill say it anyway!) that you have to turn on the status bar from the View menu if you want to see the file sizes.

The caption in Internet Explorer may not show up automatically after installation. You may get a prompt to enable the ClassicIE9BHO plugin. If you get the prompt, select Enable. If you dont get a prompt, go to Tools -> Manage addons and make sure the addon ClassicIE9BHO is enabled. After that restart Internet Explorer.

To uninstall Classic Shell follow these steps:

1) Stop the start menu if it is installed (right-click on the start button and select Exit)

2) Open a new Windows Explorer window

3) Make sure the toolbar is hidden (if you uninstall while the toolbar is visible, the menu bar in Explorer will get stuck in the visible state and you wont be able to hide it)

4) Close all Windows Explorer windows

5) Open Control Panel -> Programs and Features and double-click on Classic Shell. Then follow the instructions. You may have to restart Windows to complete the process.

6) If you installed any additional skins for the start menu you will have to delete them manually

If you missed step 3 and now you cant hide the menu bar in Explorer, install Classic Shell again, and follow the uninstall steps carefully.

If you upgrade from version 2.8.3 or older

The new settings system will not preserve any of your old settings. Neither the ones done in the Settings dialog, nor the ones in the ini files.

The new system is designed to be forward-compatible, so any future version will be able to preserve your settings during upgrade.

Frequently Asked Questions for Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Where do I download and get a license key for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Official US English Page @ Microsoft:

Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview

What is the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a beta build of Microsoft Windows 8. The build is 8250 and identifiable as version 6.2 of Microsoft Windows. It is an upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7, and is expected to reach a commercial release during the final months of 2012. This release follows a number of leaked builds since 2011, as well as an official Windows 8 Developer Preview that was released in September 2011.

How can I identify this version?

The build string is 8250.winmain_win8beta.120217-1520
The build lab string for 64-bit is 8250.0.amd64fre.winmain_win8beta.120217-1520

.ISO Verification for Windows 8 Consumer Preview English x64 (64-bit)

Filename: Windows8-ConsumerPreview-64bit-English.iso
Size: 3.33 GB (3,583,707,136 bytes)
CRC32: B88B61A2
MD5: CDA63E335FB9AF5354C63441F5AA5169
SHA-1: 1288519C5035BCAC83CBFA23A33038CCF5522749

English SHA1 hash for x32 (32-bit): E91ED665B01A46F4344C36D9D88C8BF78E9A1B39

Other valid SHA1 hashes for localized languages (64-bit and 32-bit):









To make sure the SHA1 hash is correct for the .ISO image you download, verify using HashCalc or HashTab:

Hash Calculator to Get, Compute and Calculate MD5 and SHA1 File Checksum or Hash Value My Digital Life

What are the requirements to run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?
According to Microsoft, "Windows 8 Consumer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 7":

Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device or higher

To use touch, you need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch

To access Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768

To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768

How do I perform a "clean install" of Microsoft Windows (not an upgrade from Windows 7)?

Microsoft is now providing a product key directly from the download the .ISO image file from the link found off that page (previously you had to run the upgrade installer first to get a random key):

Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO formats

Burn the .ISO file to DVD using the official instructions listed on that page.

Universal product key is now listed as DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J for testing.

How do I get a working Start Menu in Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Unfortunately, this seems to be a looming question, as the traditional Start Menu and Start Orb have been deprecated in favor of the touch screen friendly Metro UI (User Interface). LifeHacker in Australia recommends using a third party app to bring back the Start Menu:

Get The Start Menu Back In Windows 8 | Lifehacker Australia

One of our members, Ted Myers, recommends:

There is also a recommendation from our friends at EightForums shown in the above thread. Feel free to contribute your solutions and thoughts.

Can I use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview forever?

No. There is an expiration date set for January 15, 2013. This is also known in software development terms as a “time bomb”. After this date, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview will cease to function. The only way this will change is if Microsoft extends the preview duration.

Should I run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in a production environment?

No! If you have any sensitive data that you would risk losing by running beta software, you should not run an unfinished operating system.

Is Windows 8 Consumer Preview “feature complete”?

This is a more difficult question. It does not appear that Windows 8 Consumer Preview is feature complete. When we use terminology to discuss software that is in development, we often use “bugs” and features”. Bugs, of course, being problems and issues with the operating system, and “features” being new stuff added to the operating system that can be used. Because Windows 8 is in a beta stage, many of the core features have likely been added. However, because of the unpredictable and secret nature surrounding the development of Windows 8, new features will likely appear in the final build. Under no circumstances could we assume that the operating system is aesthetically complete, and many features existing in the core operating system are almost definitely to be overhauled before release.

What is the point of running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Running the Consumer Preview allows both yourself and millions of people around the world, to test the next version of Microsoft Windows 8 before it is ready for use in businesses and homes. Windows 8 appears to be a unified platform for personal computers, workstations, smart phones, and touch pads.

Where is the ARM-based version of Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Windows 8 for ARM processors does not appear to be available for public use at this time. In fact, there is some evidence that it may be released separately from the retail and OEM versions of Windows 8. In all likelihood, the ARM-compatible version of Windows 8 that you will find on smart devices and touch pads will be sent to manufacturers for testing, and not necessarily public consumers. For those of you who do not know, ARM processors now power many miniaturized computing devices like smart phones and certain netbooks. It is different processor architecture.

What is the benefit of unifying Windows 8 and putting it on phones, pads, and other mobile devices?

The most obvious benefit, from a user perspective, is that you would potentially be able to run essentially any Windows-compatible applications on these devices, provided that you had strong enough hardware. This could include DirectX-powered games or software applications like Microsoft Word. This would require a consolidation of architecture or development of applications for both architectures at present time. The other obvious, and major advantage, would be Windows Live integration and a more cloud connected experience. There are likely to be some disadvantages to be discussed.

What happens now that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is released?

There are several things that could happen between now and the end of the year. Although it currently seems unlikely, it is very possible that Microsoft may elect to publish one or more Release Candidate (RC) versions of the operating system. Release candidates are typically feature complete, and are usually made public for bug squashing and feedback. All sorts of factors could become involved and we do not know if that will happen. If it does not happen, Windows 8 will simply be released-to-manufacturers (RTM) as OEM software, and then retail in public stores once development is finished.

Can I upgrade from the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to the final version of Windows 8?

While it *may* become technically possible to do this, no information technology professional will ever recommend that you do it. It is the same reason that no one really recommends that you upgrade Windows XP to Windows Vista to Windows 7 simply to install Windows 7. It is simply not advisable to even plan on doing this due to the nature in which software is developed. Any remnants left behind from the Consumer Preview would, in theory, at the least, use up unnecessary hard disk space, and at most, create the conditions for failure.

I am having problems with Internet Explorer 10. What do I do?

IE 10 is not done yet. Time to download Google Chrome or Firefox. You can also try to switch out of the Metro UI mode and use Compatibility View, but don't hold a candle waiting for this to work at this stage.

How can I report problems or feedback that I find with Windows 8 Consumer Preview to Microsoft Corporation?

Microsoft will check their official forums for user generated feedback, but hopefully they will check sites like,,, and the hundreds of other high quality websites that make up the larger Windows Community of users, paying customers, and enthusiasts. Microsoft created an entire worldwide industry and network for people to become accredited and certified to manage and use their hardware and software, and that industry responds. Very effectively. If you don't like something about Windows 8, you should probably go let them know now.

You can also use these forums to discuss, sound off, and talk about Windows 8. Just remember that we are not owned or operated by Microsoft Corporation. Our Terms of Service and Usage Guidelines may allow for you to discuss issues more candidly, and one of our main goals is to remain unbiased and allow for free speech. This does not mean that this website is better or worse than the official Microsoft forums, it simply means that we exist as a service that you can use.

I have more questions that have not been answered in this FAQ. Is there an official FAQ somewhere?

Yes. Windows 8 Consumer Preview: frequently asked questions

The official Windows 8 Consumer Preview FAQ will help you with some more specific questions and answers.

Please feel free to contribute to this thread at your leisure.

Windows Blue is Real!

We're told that the Bing team is working closely on Windows Blue to improve search in a significant way. A number of scenarios are being targeted, including the ability for users to search for a movie and have apps surface that content and provide a quick way to play it. The current implementation of search in Windows 8 supports deep search within apps, but users currently have to select those apps to search within them. Blue will expand on that, providing apps are updated to support it, by extending the search abilities of the OS. Source: The Verge @ Microsoft preparing Windows Blue public preview with significant search improvements | The Verge Constant media rumors in the tech world are giving credence to the idea that Microsoft will release an update called Windows Blue or Windows 8 Blue at some point in 2013. From a technological and IT sales perspective, this would be a feature-related update similar to a service pack, but with a brand name. Why a brand name? If Microsoft is planning to deliver future operating system feature improvements under a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, this could be one way to go about it. Speculative rumors indicate that the Windows Blue update could range anywhere from $19.99 to the original upgrade price of Windows 8 at around $40 USD. Some other sites seem to think it will be free. It is important to note that the subject of these rumors is almost entirely coming from Win8China, which in the past, has made some accurate predictions. But without an official announcement, there was no way to know if Windows Blue even exists. Until recently.

Heres what weve got from Win8China:
IE11 Windows Blue - Windows8֮ңWin8֮

And heres what we have from some random guy at NeoWin:
Windows Blue News Update (Milestone Preview, IE11) - Neowin Forums

He says:
Windows Blue development has passed Milestone 1 (no details as to what that entails). The next milestone is called MP, or "Milestone Preview" because Microsoft will release a preview version of Windows Blue after meeting that milestone. The Milestone Preview will precede the final product by "a few months," so developers and early adopters can work with it. Win8China claims that RTM is scheduled for June 7, at which point Blue will be made available on MSDN, followed by general availability in August. Blue will be free to Win8 customers.
Windows Blue will be faster, use less power, and run with a new, smaller kernel, version 6.3 (recall that Win8 runs kernel 6.2). The UI hasn't changed -- no Start button, no Aero. Windows Blue will support more screen scaling -- presumably for smaller (and larger?) screen sizes. There's some talk of "multi screen applications," although in the context it isn't clear if that refers to Metro apps. Not much change for PC and mouse users. And one guy who talked about it went bottoms up: After talking in great length about the update (or upgrade, depending on how you would classify it), he redirected his entire website to, disappeared from Twitter, and generally fell off the face of the blogosphere.

Our old friend Paul Thurrott, from Supersite for Windows, has had a critical view of Windows 8s shortcomings:

Microsoft hasn't taken very obvious and logical advice to fix Windows 8... on an ongoing basis. Instead, they're just doing what they've always done: Methodically prepare, test, and then release a big-bang, monolithic update. The only difference is that they're doing it in one year instead of three. Of course, Thurrott implies in this message that something is intrinsically wrong with Windows 8 - or that it has serious shortcomings.

Why would Microsoft want to get customers used to something like Windows Blue?
IT managers and directors often talking about waiting for Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 for new product adoption. They are often skeptical of Windows releases until some serious patching takes place. With the introduction of Windows 7, those same types found themselves leaving their company in the dust and with a 10-year old OS called Windows XP by waiting for Service Pack 1. Microsoft may want to move away from this tradition and look at bringing back more than just security updates into their service pack roll-ups. Feature improvements and kernel updates could be deployed directly over the Internet, for a small fee.

With video games and software suites being sold by companies like Valve and Adobe as downloadable and directly over the Internet, Microsoft would have very little to lose by making Windows a subscription based service that you pay to update once in a while. Few people with tablets want to go to the store to buy books, movies, or music anymore. Why would they want to go to the store to upgrade or add features to their operating system?

While Microsoft purposefully limited service packs to a roll-up of updates (a lot of people used to look forward to them for feature and performance updates), maybe they are looking at Windows Blue as a way to provide new features once more. The last big service pack that everyone in the IT world seemed to be excited about was actually Windows Vista Service Pack 1, an update which actually replaced and upgraded the entire Windows kernel, making Windows Vista much more palatable for adoption.

Find out more of the strange at Windows 'Blue' rumors fly fast and furious | Microsoft windows - InfoWorld

Hello, I upgraded to windows 7 with the Cd that was given with the Free windows update for recent vista purchases. It's windows 7 Home Premium. Anyway, the installation was smooth and everything works, except my audio and i would really appreciate some help, thanks here are my specs.
Some was removed due to space issues, refer to the attachment for more detail .
System Information
Time of this report: 10/27/2009, 22:41:03
Machine name: BLAKES-PC
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (6.1, Build 7600) (7600.win7_rtm.090713-1255)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: System manufacturer
System Model: System Product Name
BIOS: BIOS Date: 03/27/09 10:24:37 Ver: 16.03
Processor: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 955 Processor (4 CPUs), ~3.2GHz
Memory: 8192MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 8192MB RAM
Page File: 1446MB used, 14934MB available
Windows Dir: C:Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
User DPI Setting: Using System DPI
System DPI Setting: 96 DPI (100 percent)
DWM DPI Scaling: Disabled
DxDiag Version: 6.01.7600.16385 32bit Unicode

DxDiag Notes
Display Tab 1: No problems found.
Sound Tab 1: No problems found.
Sound Tab 2: No problems found.
Input Tab: No problems found.

DirectX Debug Levels
Direct3D: 0/4 (retail)
DirectDraw: 0/4 (retail)
DirectInput: 0/5 (retail)
DirectMusic: 0/5 (retail)
DirectPlay: 0/9 (retail)
DirectSound: 0/5 (retail)
DirectShow: 0/6 (retail)

Display Devices
Card name: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series
Manufacturer: ATI Technologies Inc.
Chip type: ATI display adapter (0x9440)
DAC type: Internal DAC(400MHz)
Device Key: EnumPCIVEN_1002&DEV_9440&SUBSYS_24481682&REV_00
Display Memory: 4083 MB
Dedicated Memory: 1015 MB
Shared Memory: 3067 MB
Current Mode: 1440 x 900 (32 bit) (75Hz)
Monitor Name: Generic PnP Monitor
Monitor Model: E19T6W
Monitor Id: EMA0782
Native Mode: 1440 x 900(p) (60.070Hz)
Output Type: DVI
Driver Name: atiumd64.dll,atidxx64.dll,atiumdag,atidxx32,atiumdva,atiumd6a.cap,atitmm64.dll
Driver File Version: 8.14.0010.0700 (English)
Driver Version: 8.661.0.0
DDI Version: 10.1
Driver Model: WDDM 1.1
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Driver Date/Size: 9/23/2009 18:00:58, 4649472 bytes
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
WHQL Date Stamp: n/a
Device Identifier: {D7B71EE2-D700-11CF-8E77-4204A1C2C535}
Vendor ID: 0x1002
Device ID: 0x9440
SubSys ID: 0x24481682
Revision ID: 0x0000
Driver Strong Name: oem2.inf:ATI.Mfg.NTamd64.6.1:ati2mtag_R7X:8.661.0.0civen_1002&dev_9440

Sound Devices
Description: Speakers (High Definition Audio Device)
Default Sound Playback: Yes
Default Voice Playback: Yes
Hardware ID: HDAUDIOFUNC_01&VEN_1106&DEV_E721&SUBSYS_104382EA&REV_1001
Manufacturer ID: 1
Product ID: 65535
Type: WDM
Driver Name: HdAudio.sys
Driver Version: 6.01.7600.16385 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
Date and Size: 7/13/2009 20:07:00, 350208 bytes
Other Files:
Driver Provider: Microsoft
HW Accel Level: Basic
Cap Flags: 0xF1F
Min/Max Sample Rate: 100, 200000
Static/Strm HW Mix Bufs: 1, 0
Static/Strm HW 3D Bufs: 0, 0
HW Memory: 0
Voice Management: No
EAX(tm) 2.0 Listen/Src: No, No
I3DL2(tm) Listen/Src: No, No
Sensaura(tm) ZoomFX(tm): No

Description: Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High Definition Audio Device)
Default Sound Playback: No
Default Voice Playback: No
Hardware ID: HDAUDIOFUNC_01&VEN_1106&DEV_E721&SUBSYS_104382EA&REV_1001
Manufacturer ID: 1
Product ID: 65535
Type: WDM
Driver Name: HdAudio.sys
Driver Version: 6.01.7600.16385 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
Date and Size: 7/13/2009 20:07:00, 350208 bytes
Other Files:
Driver Provider: Microsoft
HW Accel Level: Basic
Cap Flags: 0xF1F
Min/Max Sample Rate: 100, 200000
Static/Strm HW Mix Bufs: 1, 0
Static/Strm HW 3D Bufs: 0, 0
HW Memory: 0
Voice Management: No
EAX(tm) 2.0 Listen/Src: No, No
I3DL2(tm) Listen/Src: No, No
Sensaura(tm) ZoomFX(tm): No

Sound Capture Devices
Description: Microphone (High Definition Audio Device)
Default Sound Capture: Yes
Default Voice Capture: Yes
Driver Name: HdAudio.sys
Driver Version: 6.01.7600.16385 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Date and Size: 7/13/2009 20:07:00, 350208 bytes
Cap Flags: 0x1
Format Flags: 0xFFFFF

Description: Line In (High Definition Audio Device)
Default Sound Capture: No
Default Voice Capture: No
Driver Name: HdAudio.sys
Driver Version: 6.01.7600.16385 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Date and Size: 7/13/2009 20:07:00, 350208 bytes
Cap Flags: 0x1
Format Flags: 0xFFFFF

Description: Microphone (High Definition Audio Device)
Default Sound Capture: No
Default Voice Capture: No
Driver Name: HdAudio.sys
Driver Version: 6.01.7600.16385 (English)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Date and Size: 7/13/2009 20:07:00, 350208 bytes
Cap Flags: 0x1
Format Flags: 0xFFFFF

System Devices
Name: PCI standard host CPU bridge
Device ID: PCIVEN_1022&DEV_1204&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_003&267A616A&0&C4
Driver: n/a

Name: Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_439C&SUBSYS_82EF1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&A1
Driver: n/a

Name: Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4390&SUBSYS_82EF1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&88
Driver: n/a

Name: PCI standard host CPU bridge
Device ID: PCIVEN_1022&DEV_1203&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_003&267A616A&0&C3
Driver: n/a

Name: Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4399&SUBSYS_82EF1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&A5
Driver: n/a

Name: ATI I/O Communications Processor SMBus Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4385&SUBSYS_82EF1043&REV_3A3&267A616A&0&A0
Driver: n/a

Name: PCI standard host CPU bridge
Device ID: PCIVEN_1022&DEV_1202&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_003&267A616A&0&C2
Driver: n/a

Name: Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4398&SUBSYS_82EF1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&99
Driver: n/a

Name: ATI I/O Communications Processor PCI Bus Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4384&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_003&267A616A&0&A4
Driver: n/a

Name: PCI standard host CPU bridge
Device ID: PCIVEN_1022&DEV_1201&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_003&267A616A&0&C1
Driver: n/a

Name: Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4398&SUBSYS_82EF1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&91
Driver: n/a

Name: High Definition Audio Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4383&SUBSYS_82EA1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&A2
Driver: n/a

Name: Realtek RTL8168C(P)/8111C(P) Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (NDIS 6.20)
Device ID: PCIVEN_10EC&DEV_8168&SUBSYS_82C61043&REV_024&C9CCDE8&0&0030
Driver: n/a

Name: PCI standard host CPU bridge
Device ID: PCIVEN_1022&DEV_1200&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_003&267A616A&0&C0
Driver: n/a

Name: Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4397&SUBSYS_82EF1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&98
Driver: n/a

Name: High Definition Audio Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_AA30&SUBSYS_AA301682&REV_004&31C4F86D&0&0110
Driver: n/a

Name: Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_4397&SUBSYS_82EF1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&90
Driver: n/a

Name: PCI standard PCI-to-PCI bridge
Device ID: PCIVEN_1022&DEV_9603&SUBSYS_82EE1043&REV_003&267A616A&0&10
Driver: n/a

Name: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series
Device ID: PCIVEN_1002&DEV_9440&SUBSYS_24481682&REV_004&31C4F86D&0&0010
Driver: n/a

Audio Compressors:
WM Speech Encoder DMO,0x00600800,1,1,WMSPDMOE.DLL,6.01.7600.16385
WMAudio Encoder DMO,0x00600800,1,1,WMADMOE.DLL,6.01.7600.16385
IMA ADPCM,0x00200000,1,1,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
Microsoft ADPCM,0x00200000,1,1,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
GSM 6.10,0x00200000,1,1,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
CCITT A-Law,0x00200000,1,1,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
CCITT u-Law,0x00200000,1,1,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
MPEG Layer-3,0x00200000,1,1,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385

Audio Capture Sources:
Microphone (High Definition Aud,0x00200000,0,0,qcap.dll,6.06.7600.16385
Line In (High Definition Audio ,0x00200000,0,0,qcap.dll,6.06.7600.16385

Audio Renderers:
Speakers (High Definition Audio,0x00200000,1,0,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
Default DirectSound Device,0x00800000,1,0,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
Default WaveOut Device,0x00200000,1,0,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High De,0x00200000,1,0,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
DirectSound: Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High Definition Audio Device),0x00200000,1,0,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385
DirectSound: Speakers (High Definition Audio Device),0x00200000,1,0,quartz.dll,6.06.7600.16385

Take it for what it's worth...This is from CNNMoney Website. What code (under advanced settings) are they talking about? Is it "custom install"? That isnt a "code". What is the "code" and where does one type it in?

Users of the new operating system say the upgrading process is buggy. But once the kinks are worked out, customers are liking Windows 7 a lot more than Vista
Microsoft launched Windows 7 in late October to much fanfare. But, just like with previous Windows upgrades, complaints about bugs have already started rolling in.
A whopping 31% of clients have reported problems with upgrading to Windows 7, according to a recent survey of more than 100,000 customers conducted by consumer helpdesk firm iYogi.
More from

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• Windows 7 Student Upgrade Hell"Most of the problems that customers have with Windows 7 have to do with installation, or application and data migration," said Vishal Dhar, co-founder of iYogi. "These are all fixable problems, but they're annoyances and they're time consuming."

One common gripe, experienced by 9% of installers, is that the half-hour to an hour-long upgrade process gets to the "62% completed" point and then freezes. It's a problem that Microsoft is aware of, and can be fixed by rebooting the computer, going into advanced settings, and typing in a code that instructs the computer to ignore plug-ins.

However, issues didn't stop with the upgrade process. Many users still experienced glitches even after successfully installing Windows 7 on their machines.
Most common among those complaints was that basic "applet" programs, like Mail, Movie Maker and Photo Gallery, were missing. That's because Windows 7 deletes those programs and makes users download them from the Windows Live Essential Web site. IYogi said 26% of their customers were confused about that extra step.
More from Yahoo! Finance:

• What the Car You Drive Reveals About You

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• 13 Simple Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill
Visit the Family & Home Center Others had problems getting their computers to work properly: Eight percent said their DVD drives couldn't be found and 2% couldn't sync their iPhones with Windows 7.
One in seven users also complained that the sleek new "Aero" theme doesn't work. The Aero theme enables users to see through a window to view the desktop or other programs that are open behind it. According to iYogi, most of the 14% of users that have problems with Aero don't have the graphics capabilities on their PCs to handle the program.
Other common complaints included an inability to view file extensions, too many "mini-dumps" (memory images saved on the computer when it crashes), problems with the "Aero snap" feature, changes to custom icons and problems with the new taskbar.
Microsoft (MSFT), which debuted Windows 7 on Oct. 22, did not return requests for comment.
Smoother sailing once it's debugged. Once the bugs from upgrading have been worked out, users have had a relatively hassle-free experience. And those who bought a new computer with Windows 7 preloaded have seen the fewest issues.
"Customers who finally get it up and running love Windows 7," said Dhar. "We haven't had a lot of people calling for usability issues, because it's a much more intuitive interface than Windows XP."
That's not to say that Windows 7 is perfect.
According to Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group, one of the biggest annoyances with the new operating system is that the "ribbon menus" at the top of programs have been redesigned and must be relearned. In previous Windows versions, the menus remained very consistent (File, Edit, View, Insert, etc.), but in Windows 7, they can be wildly different from application to application.
"It took me a long while to figure out how to print," said Kerravala. "Microsoft tried to improve the user interface, but there's a learning curve because it's inconsistent."
Microsoft also did away with many favorite applications like Windows Movie Maker, which is particularly surprising given the propensity of cell phone videos and Flip video camera movies.
But all of the gripes about Windows 7 pale in comparison to the angry complaints about Microsoft's previous Windows iteration, Windows Vista. That version was an outright disaster after it was released in 2007. Vista was plagued by bugs, software incompatibilities, sluggishness and annoying security alerts. The episode nearly destroyed the tech giant's reputation with consumers.
"While there are a few bugs, I haven't seen or heard of any show-stoppers," said Laura DiDio, principal analyst at ITIC. "In fact, just the opposite. Some Vista users can't wait to upgrade. So far, this has been a home run for Microsoft."

Copyrighted, CNNMoney. All Rights Reserved.

Windows has been around for as long as we could remember. It's installed in 90% of computers in the world leaving only 9% for mac osx and 1% for linux. I personally think Microsoft came up with great business ideas, such as making deals with every single computer company in the world to have windows installed on their platforms.

Xp came out in 2001 and is still the most used operating system in the world. Microsoft had an increasingly high shock price, the same apple is now. Then they got sued for having a monopoly. If you don't know, Microsoft was sued by the government for having a monopoly. Usually, companies have competition, but Microsoft didn't (And still doesn't.) have competition. They stated that people should have a choice, if Microsoft was to expensive to get another operating system, but that just wasn't the case, and still isn't the case which is why there upgrade prices remain so high.

Then came windows vista, the fall of Microsoft, like they always say, nothing last forever. Personally, I've never ran into problems with Windows vista, my mother has it installed in her laptop, never an issue, but I'm basing this off reviews I've read off the internet from users. They claimed Windows Vista crashes to often, it isn't stable, it's slower than XP, the only good thing they had to say about windows vista was it original glass design which I like. I personally think they tried to add to many new features in windows vista which caused all these issues. I'm not going to even discuss windows vista SP2, lets move on ahead to windows 7.

Personally, although windows 7 isn't my main operating system, I sort-of like it. I mean, it's nothing far from vista, it's just a less annoying version of vista with new aero features in which are very CPU consuming. I don't think windows 7 is worth the 170 dollar upgrade. I know, you could get it cheaper from other places, but I feel Microsoft owed there customers a cheaper price. They want to encourage windows XP users to make the switch, but most won't. Why not you ask? Well, most computers users use the computer to browse the internet, and talk to friends etc. Some people can't afford the 170 dollar upgrade, it's just way to expensive for what your getting for your money. Maybe a 50 dollar price tag would've been better...

And now as we look at Windows, we wonder where it will be in the future. The stock prices aren't doing to hot, and they plan on coming out with a Windows 8 which they claim will be a huge risk on there part, so I'm left here to wonder, what do they mean by that.

Back to my other point, Microsoft is definitely a monopoly. What other choices do you really have. If you want MAC OSX you'll need to purchase a mac, or you could go with linux, but it's free which therefore means Microsoft is a monopoly (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

Anyways, where do you guys think Windows will be in the future? Will windows 8 be this huge risk? What do you hope to see in windows 8? Do you ever think mac osx or even linux will take windows slot, I personally don't think so, but I'm sparking up a conversation.


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