Tech – for Everyone

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

Video Tutorial — How To Dual Boot Win7

Want To Try Windows 7 RC? Don’t Delete Your Current OS — Dual Boot

Ever since I posted A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 RC, I have been asked questions about deleting the existing operating system to install Windows 7. So I want to be very, very clear — you do NOT want to delete your current, functioning Windows XP or Windows Vista installation, and then put Windows 7 on your machine.

Windows 7 is a beta. And it will “expire”. Those two facts preclude it from being your main operating system.

What you do want to do, is create a new partition and install Windows 7 there, and create a “dual boot” setup. This allows you to keep your old AND try the new. This brief tutorial from C/Net shows you just how to do this.. and how easy it is.

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If after watching this video, you want to do this, Click here to download Windows 7

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

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May 19, 2009 Posted by | computers, file system, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7

Part 2 — Transferring Your User Account To Windows 7

In Part1 of this series, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7, I described the install process for Microsoft’s new operating system, and today I will proceed to the next step of setting up a new computer.. transferring all your stuff from the old machine, and ‘tweaking’ things to just your liking.

Last year I wrote wrote about the fastest, easiest, user state migration I had ever had — New PC? Migrate Your User Account The Easy Way — and described a Microsoft download that allowed me to not only transfer settings and preferences (aka ‘tweaks’) and my files (.doc, .jpg, mp3, etc.), but my installed programs as well. (Which to me was about the neatest thing since sliced bread.)
[note: Microsoft has since removed the utility, Windows Easy Transfer Companion, referenced in the link/article above. Apparently, it doesn’t work on Vista SP1, and/or XP SP3.]

For the purposes of this article (and, simulating what the typical user will do with a new computer and/or OS), I took an older machine running XP that had been one of my “daily usage” machines before being relegated to testbed duty and re-attached it to my home network (LAN).

Easy Files and Settings Transfer: On my Windows 7 machine, I typed “File an” into the search area of my Start menu, and Windows Easy Transfer showed up in the results immediately. A click launched the Easy Transfer Wizard, and I was asked if *I was on the new machine or the old?
New.
* How did I want to make the transfer?
Over the network. (the other choices were an Easy Transfer Cable, or an external HD/USB flash drive.)
* Does the old machine have Windows Easy Transfer?
Um.. probably not, so, No.
It offered to provide the program if I would plug in a thumb drive, so.. I did.

It said “Finished” and told me to go plug the thumb drive into the old machine and let it “autoplay”, so.. I did.
The old machine (slow!) did its thing and presented me with a code, 123-456, and told me to go to the Windows 7 machine and enter the code, so.. I did.

Bingo, I was connected, and the Windows Easy Transfer tool started to scan the XP machine for “transferable items”.
transfr1.jpg

When the scan finished, I was provided with a result, and there were some default items already checked off — pictures, music, documents. No surprise there, but I was very pleased to see the “Programs” folder.. could it be?
transfr2.jpg
So.. I drilled down into the “Customize” section and selected the applications I wanted to try to transfer to the new machine (though, I could’ve just done the whole folder). That will save time.. and hunting down install CDs!

I clicked the “Save” button”..

transfr1plus.jpg

And presto. Seven minutes later my “user state” was now on my new machine. And so I have a new “easy champion”, and I confess.. I’m impressed.

Plus number five…

Well, I ran long. Tweaking the Desktop, and “Superbar”, and other personalization’s will have to wait for the next article.

Part 3 – Improvements over Vista?

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

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January 13, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, dual boot, file system, how to, PC, performance, Plug and Play, software, tech, tweaks, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7

Part 1 of a series

Yesterday I downloaded the official Microsoft beta release of its new operating system — called Windows 7. (Technically, for those of you i7logo nterested in this sort of thing, it is “Build 7000”.) I opted to install the 32-bit version, as I think this will remain the “standard” and most common.
I installed a “clean install”, though I could have “upgraded” an existing Vista install (I recommend ‘clean install’ as a Rule Of Thumb).

Microsoft is calling Windows 7 a whole new OS, and are expecting it to replace 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 over half an hour, and involved at least two automated reboots. (It may have been three.. but I got up and walked away for a few minutes. I have performed countless Windows installs – literally – and watching one more isn’t my idea of a “good time”.)

Once I clicked “go”, I only had to answer three screens– my time/location, a computer name/user name/passwords (recommended), and did I want to set up a sharing network “HomeGroup“? That last, because it’s new and still unfamiliar, I chose “Not now. Ask me again later.”

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.

Plus number one.

No device driver issues: I installed Windows 7 on a recent-vintage machine (it came 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, so clearly Vista device drivers work well on Windows 7.

Microsoft claims Windows 7 is the most ‘backwards compatible’ OS yet (I guess, maybe they learned from Vista’s release?) and I believe them. A beta.. and no device driver installs??? Amazing.
As a test, I connected to a rather ancient HP DeskJet 970Cse printer over my LAN. Windows 7 found the printer and installed it it with one “Yes” click.

Plus number two.

Once installed: As a Vista user, the change in Vista 7’s GUI (graphical user “interface”) was not that startling to me.. in fact, aside from the desktop and QuickLaunch icons being larger.. and a change to the System Tray/”Notification Area”.. it is Vista. The QuickLaunch now has (even more) shades of Macintosh OS X’s “Dock”.
Yes, it looks more “modern” (and makes XP look absolutely archaic), but is very, very Vista.

One nice change.. I noticed rather quickly that 7 has a Desktop slideshow feature (found because the default – plain, w/a Chinese fighting fish in the center – was quite drab after Vista’s spectacular nature images), and your Desktop can alternate images very much like your screensaver can in older versions of Windows (see Show off your photos with a screensaver slideshow).

The Start button, menus, icons, etc. are (basically) all the same. With the exception of the new networking and media sharing features, this is a zero learning curve change for Vista users, and a very modest one for XP users. If you use Windows, you can use 7, and you won’t have to take a night class or read a For Dummies book to do it.

Plus number three.

Speaking of the Start button..
* In Windows 7, Windows Mail, Windows Calendar, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Contacts are part of Windows Live Essentials.
* Windows 7 removes InkBall and adds online versions of Spades, Backgammon and Checkers.
* It comes with IE 8.
* Programs and applets – like Paint – have been updated, enhanced, and now sport the Microsoft “Ribbon”.. which was introduced in Office 2007.
ms_ribbon

Well, I have only been using Windows 7 for a few hours.. and I will be writing more in this series.. so I’ll stop here for now. So far, I have installed both Call of Duty 5 and the original Call of Duty (patched to 1.4) and played a few rounds of each.
Yup.
They’re a tad faster than on Vista.

Plus number four…

Part 2 — Transferring Your User Account To Windows 7
Part 3 – Improvements over Vista?

Today’s free download: So.. you want to download the Windows 7 beta too? Click here.

Today’s free link: Mark Russinovich: Inside Windows 7 How has Windows evolved, as a general purpose operating system and at the lowest levels, in Windows 7? Who better to talk to than Technical Fellow and Windows Kernel guru Mark Russinovich? Here, Mark enlightens us on the new kernel constructs in Windows 7.

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

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January 11, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, News, PC, software, System Tray, Taskbar, tech, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Attention XP fans– get your copies NOW

Redmond laid to rest rumors that they might reconsider pulling XP from retail shelves and from most PC makers next Monday. Bill Veghte, the Senior Veep who manages Microsoft’s online and Windows business groups, confirmed that June 30 would indeed be the deadline when MS halts all shipments of boxed XP copies to retailers and stops licensing the OS directly to major computer manufacturers.*

So, if you’re one of those folks who thinks XP is the last Microsoft OS (version) you’re going to run, you better go buy whatever copies you think you might need for the future.
It’s going bye bye. Adios, amigo.

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

* Source: WServerNews Vol. 13, #27 – Jun 30, 2008 – Issue #681

[Addenda: For more on the latest (last?) Service Pack for XP, including troubleshooting, click here]

June 28, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, PC, software, tech, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment