Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

What’s to say about Windows 7?

I first downloaded the public beta of Microsoft’s new operating system in January, and I have now been using it on a daily basis for five months.

Quite naturally, I wrote about my observations, and tried to describe for you, Dear Reader, what you can expect, and what I thought of this “new beast” that is supposed to replace the “much maligned Vista”.
(see A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 Part 1 of a series.)

imamac.jpg

Recently, it has made the headlines that Microsoft has announced October 22nd as the “official release date” for Windows 7. This is inline with what I expected — plenty of time to make the Holiday Shopping Season.

Yes, I have run the 32-bit ‘beta’, the 32-bit ‘RC’ (release candidate), and now the 64-bit RC. (see A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 64-bit.) You may remember from those articles (or click the links and read them) that – short version – I think there is a lot to like in Win7 and that it was the fastest, smoothest install(s) I have ever experienced… and I have done a lot of Windows installs.

So… we know when it’s coming… and we know that across the board Windows 7 is getting positive reviews. Lots of them.
So… I sit and I wonder, what’s to say about Windows 7? So I can write out an article for you to read… I have had no troubles at all to complain about. No difficulties. I’ve discovered no “bugz”…

Some of the other tech websites are writing articles trying to predict the future — will the public adopt Win7 in a big way? Or will it flop like Vista did? What about Business?
I, Dear Reader, will not try to predict the future: that is a shameless trend of modern “journalism” and it should be abolished as a practice.

Maybe people will camp out in front of the Microsoft Store to be the first to buy Win7 when they open the doors on October the 22nd, and maybe they won’t. Who cares?

So I won’t predict the future but I will say this:
* In spite of what you may hear or read somewhere, Windows 7 is essentially a zero learning curve. You needn’t fear it because it’s new.
* IMHO, from what I’ve seen, this is a speedy, stable, secure, and easy to use operating system and I believe it is Microsoft’s best effort yet. Yes it took a long time; but, yeah, they got it right.
* I will not race out and buy Win7 install DVD’s and go around upgrading my machines. My machines are now all Vista Service Pack 2, and XP is well-retired. But my next machine will be a Windows 7 machine (64-bit), and no I will not “wait for Service Pack 1 to come out”.

Have you been putting off buying a new machine because they all seem to come with Vista? Well, after October 22nd, your wait is over. After that date, go down to your local gizmo and gadget store and play with a quad-core, 6+ Gig, Win7 machine hooked to a 22″ (or bigger) monitor. My money is on that you’ll like what you see.

You can test drive Windows 7 on your current machine if you would like. I suggest creating a dual boot setup for that, and here is a video tutorial on how to make that work, Video Tutorial — How To Dual Boot Win7, and you can click here for the free download. (Please read the system requirements first.)

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

June 4, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 RC

Like many people, I downloaded the Windows 7 “Release Candidate”, and I have been running it for a few days now. I will now describe to you, Dear Reader, my initial impressions of Microsoft’s newest operating system, as I did for Windows 7 beta. (drum roll please)

Win7RC (For those of you who would like to get a copy, please see, Click here to download Windows 7. For those of you who would like to read my earlier statements on Windows 7 first, please see, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7, Part 1. Also, please read this warning Windows 7 RC gets its first bug, and it’s a doozy before you install)

Let’s get started: I opted to install the 32-bit version. I installed a “clean install”, though I could have “upgraded” an existing Vista or Windows 7 install (I recommend ‘clean install’ as a General Rule Of Thumb).

Microsoft is calling Windows 7 a whole new OS, and is expecting it to replace Vista.. in the same way that Vista is replacing Windows XP. I can tell you that it is not a whole new operating system. I can also tell you that it does not give us the new file system (WinFS) that was originally promised as one of the “three pillars of Vista”.

The install itself: My “clean” install on a freshly formatted volume took just 27 minutes, and involved three automated reboots. I then transferred in my settings tweaks and customizations, all my installed programs (except for my antivirus) and games, files and photos, etc., from the Win 7 beta in 20 minutes using Windows Easy Transfer.
It would have taken less time had I migrated the User Profile via my network, but I used a USB storage drive instead.

No device driver issues: I installed Windows 7 on a recent-vintage machine (it shipped with Vista Home Premium) and I had to install zero, zip, nada, device drivers — and this is a beta! Every device worked out of the gate. Microsoft claims Windows 7 is the most ‘backwards compatible’ OS yet and I believe them. A beta.. and no device driver installs??? Amazing.

In case you’re not following along.. From inserting the CD, to a fully tweaked, loaded, and ready-to-go state in 47 minutes.. without the use of 3rd-party programs, tools or special cables.

That is simply… OUTSTANDING! (Yes, I’m shouting.)
MyWin7_RC_Desktop

In my earlier series, (see link above) I wrote “My experience matched that of other reviewers: it was by far the fastest, smoothest, easiest Windows installation I’ve ever had. That this is a beta release makes this fact all the more remarkable.
The RC beat it handily .

Folks, I cannot count the number of Windows Installs, re-Installs, and User State Migrations I’ve done — I am a Support & Repair Tech, after all — but this last was something I had previously only dreamed of.

I’m going to stop here but I will add this statement — I will delay buying my next computer until they come with Windows 7 on them; and I advise you to do the same if you can. (Can you tell I’m impressed?)

More Windows 7 RC “impressions” to come..

Today’s free link(s): see second paragraph, and – if you’re thinking of installing Windows 7 and your machine is a little bit older (say, 2 or more years) please see Download Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor – Can You Handle The Ride!

Today’s free download: see second paragraph.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

May 9, 2009 Posted by | computers, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Secure Gmail, repair Internet Explorer

A couple of quick tips to start the week, which were stimulated by reader questions.

Tip(s) of the day: How about that? Two for the price of one!
Tip 1) In response to public demand, Google has added a feature to its Gmail service which will force it to always use SSL encryption when you logon (https). This is particularly beneficial to those of you who use wireless, public computers, and/or public ‘hotspots’. All you need to do is turn it on.
[note: a secured session is not the same thing as encrypting your individual messages. For my How To on that, click here.]

To turn on the “always use” feature, log on to your Gmail account, and in the upper-right area, find, and click on the “Settings” link.
Now, scroll down to the bottom, and in the “Browser connection” option, click on the “always use https” radio button, and then click on “Save Changes”.
https 
That’s it. You’re done. Now your connection to the mail server will be encrypted and you’ll be protected from packet sniffers.

Tip 2) Sometimes programs get “corrupted” and just refuse to work right, and usually the way to repair them is to uninstall them (Add/Remove Programs), and then re-Install a fresh copy.
One of my more popular articles has been how to repair the hyperlinks function in IE when clicking on a link doesn’t open a new page (if that’s your issue, click here), and this tip goes a little further than that. (To see all my articles on Internet Explorer, click on “IE 7” in my Categories widget.)

You can resolve many troublesome IE issues by “resetting” it (which also re-registers .dll’s).
For IE 7:
Click on “Tools” and then “Internet Options”.
On the Advanced tab, and then click the “Reset” button.
reset

For IE 6:
[note: I highly, sincerely, and ardently, urge you to stop using IE 6, and switch to 7, or Firefox 3, or Avant, or whatever. Please? It’s only the most hacked piece of software ever!]
a: Click Start, click Run, type “%systemroot%\inf” (no quotes) and then press Enter.
b: Find the Ie.inf file that is located in Windows\Inf folder.
c: Right-click the Ie.inf file, and then click Install.
d: Restart the computer when the file copy process is complete

Today’s free link: In one of the tips above, I mentioned Windows’ Add/Remove Programs tool (found in your Control Panel) which is the standard method for uninstalling programs from your machine. Long-time Windows users can attest that this utility doesn’t always work as it should, and completely remove all traces of the app you want gone. To really remove a program, you may want the power of a 3rd-party uninstall program, and the one that’s most recommended in the Geek community is Revo Uninstaller (also available in a portable version).

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :

August 4, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to, IE 7, Internet, PC, privacy, security, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Precautions for your Internet privacy*

I have posted several advice articles on your computing safety, and that of your child’s, in the past. It is my personal passion to thwart digital Evil Doers. I cannot emphasize enough that there are steps you can — and should — take to reduce your risks of Identity Theft and spyware infections. I have posted these steps for you to take advantage of (free), and I will continue to do so. I encourage you to use the Search box in the upper right to find and read past Tech–for Everyone security articles.

Tip of the day: Increase your security and privacy by removing your browsing tracks. All browsers record histories, store copies of the webpages you’ve visited, and to be helpful, store your log on User Names and Passwords, and the answers to forms you’ve filled out. Your machine is programmed to be as fast, efficient, and helpful as it can, and it takes steps you may not be aware of to do this.

For instance, your browser will store a “temp” copy of this Webpage in one of many “temporary” folders, and make a note of the time. This is done so that should you return to this page, your machine can load it from local memory; which is much faster than downloading HTML instructions, text, and graphics and building the page. It uses the timestamps to determine if there’s been changes to the “source” page, and if there has been, it will download the newer page. This helps to give you the illusion of a “fast Internet”.
Other automatic conveniences that record your personal information are Autocomplete, Autofill, and AutoLogon. This is usually accomplished through the use of cookies. (In spite of what you may have heard, all “cookies” are not “bad”.) Hackers know where to look for all this stored information, and they know how to exploit it. Today I am going to show you how to counteract, and change some of this automatic behavior and help you keep your privacy, well, private.

Start by opening IE and clicking on the down-arrow to the right of the Tools menu and selecting Internet Options. (Loyal readers of this blog will already be familiar with this window.)
iops.jpg

In the “Browsing History” area, click on the “Delete” button. Now a menu window will open…deletehist.jpg
Here you are presented with your choices of what to erase (or to “delete all”) and what not. I recommend getting into the habit of regularly clicking on the first, third, and fourth delete buttons — Temp files, History, and Form data. [Form data is particularly important to erase if you have made an online payment, and/or entered your credit card number. Even if you did so on a Secured site.] Sadly, there is no method to set IE to do this automatically for you (you would need a 3rd party utility for that…see today’s free link) and you must remember to this manually.

You can, however, set IE to erase the “temp” files automatically. Click on the Advanced tab of Internet Options, and scroll down to the Security list of settings. Place a check (select) in the checkbox next to “Empty Temporary Internet files when browser is closed”, as shown below. Then click “Apply”, and “OK”.

advnced.jpg

Today’s free link: the tool I use to erase the digital breadcrumbs on my machines is Absolute Shield Internet Eraser. From site: “AbsoluteShield Internet Eraser protects your privacy by cleaning up all the tracks of your Internet and computer activities. The tool is integrated with IE and it can erase the browser cache, history, cookies, typed URLs, autocomplete list and so on in one click. You can also set the tool to automatically erase those tracks when you quit IE or quit Windows.”

* Original posting: IE 7 and your privacy, 7/8/07.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :

June 10, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, how to, IE 7, Internet, kids and the Internet, PC, privacy, security, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment