Archive for Windows 7

End of Windows XP Support

No More Microsoft Windows XP

No More Microsoft Windows XPIn less than 1,000 days, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will stop issuing security patches, updates, and hotfixes for all versions of Windows XP.

You may, or may not, be aware that Microsoft issues FREE updates to Windows and other Microsoft software products every Tuesday evening. Most computers will automatically retrieve them when the computer is connected to the Internet. (Although, some people, who don’t know about the service, choose not to install them. Is that you?)

On April 8, 2014, PCs running Windows XP will no longer find updates and fixes to download, so those computers will remain at risk to any new security threats that arise. Furthermore, many other companies (known as “third party” providers) will no offer service or support for their hardware or software applications on systems using Windows XP.

What about businesses using Windows XP? Business owners and managers may find this may generate more complexity, security risks, and ultimately, added management costs for IT departments.

Industry analysts say that it can take from 12 to 18 months for an organization to migrate, and a recent Gartner report stated that “more than 50% of organizations that do not start deploying Windows 7 by early 2012 will not complete their deployments before Windows XP support ends.” (Read “Creating a Timeline for Deploying Windows 7 and Eliminating Windows XP“)

Several other versions of Windows have had their service runs ended within the last year.

Previous End of Support Schedules for Other Windows Operating Systems

  • Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) support ended on July 12, 2011. SP2 is still being supported.
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2*) support ended on July 13, 2010. SP3 is the most recent and last service pack issued for XP systems.
  • Windows 2000 support ended on July 13, 2010.
  • Windows Vista Release to Manufacturing (RTM) support ended April 13, 2010.

Ready to Deploy Windows 7? Whether your a home user or a business user, I encourage you to consider making the move to Windows 7. If you feel your computer is still going strong on XP you may find it runs even better on Windows 7. Otherwise, if your budget allows, you may find it’s more cost effective to buy a new system.

Windows Easy Transfer

Windows Easy Transfer

What about the files on my old system? Moving fromWindows 7 from Windows XP is easier than ever. Windows 7 comes with powerful tools to assist and guide you every step of the way. If you decide to get a new system, you can use Window Easy Transfer to move your files from one system to another using a network or USB flash drive.

Some of the world’s most prominent companies have made the move to Windows 7 like Boeing, InfoSys, Dell, Samsung, and BMW and getting benefit from the cost-savings, security, and productivity gains Windows 7 delivers.

On the homefront. I have helped several people upgrade their Windows XP computers to Windows 7, and they say their computer is faster than it was with Windows XP. I have been very impressed with Windows 7’s performance. It’s easy to install, and works great with every device I’ve connected to my computer — specially with devices that weren’t supported by Windows Vista (hiss).

Need help? If you have any questions you can send them to me at skylarkingblog @ gmail.com or with the contact page on this site. Or consult with your local computer service professional.

Windows 7 from The Microsoft Store. You can purchase Windows 7 on DVD from The Microsoft Store. If you have more than one computer in your home, or your family, then I recommend the orange package below. It will allow you to upgrade 3 computers for one low price. It’s my favorite package. Click the image below for more information.

Also, if you get the Home Premium version or the Professional version, you can always upgrade to a higher level for a reasonable price using the Windows Anytime Upgrade feature on your Windows 7 installation. I have used it to upgrade one Home Premium computer to a Professional system.

Taking a Screenshot in Word 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 has lots of new and improved features. One feature which will prove very useful is the new screenshot button in Word 2010. With it you can take a snapshot (screenshot) of any image or window on screen. Furthermore, you can crop and edit those shots, too.

This can be a very useful feature for writing articles while including images from websites or other sources on your computer. This tool is found on the “Insert” ribbon in Word 2010. Starting with Office 2007, Microsoft replaced the familiar toolbars with a “ribbon”, thereby reveling features that had long been buried and hard to find.

To take a screen shot, you click the “Insert” tab above the ribbon. (See picture below). You’ll see the Screenshot tool has a arrow below it. Whenever you see a downward pointing arrow on the ribbon that indicates that other options will be made available to you when you click such a tool.

Screenshot Tool in Word 2010

In the case of the Screenshot button, it will reveal “screenshots” of all the available windows from actively running programs on your screen. For example, I might be working on a spreadsheet or browsing a website when I come across information or images I’d like to include in a Word document. In Word 2010 I could click the “Screenshot” button and a snapshot of these open windows would be displayed in Word. Then I juct click on the image of the window I want to include in my document, and voila!, that’s it. The image is embedded into my document.

If you want to just show a portion of a window, then select the “Screen Clipping” link at the bottom. (Show at right). Then the last screen you displayed is redisplayed (but faded) with some crosshairs for you to drag a selection around the portion of the image you want to display, then Word embeds that portion into your Word document.

Need to enhance the image further? Use the the “Picture” tools tab to manipulate your new image.

Buy or Try Out Microsoft Office 2010 Online from the Microsoft Store. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 Download can be yours today for only $149. Or you can order the package and have Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 delivered anywhere you choose. The Home and Student edition comes with the popular Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications.

Business users might be interested in either Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote) or Microsoft Office Professional 2010 (Includes all the previous applications, plus the Access database application and Publisher). These packages cost $280 and $499 respectively and are available for download or delivery.

For Windows (Windows 7, Vista, or XP SP3)


Microsoft Office
Home and Student 2010

$149

Microsoft Office
Home and Business 2010

$279

Microsoft Office
Professional 2010

$499

For Mac (Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later)


Microsoft Office for Mac
Home and Student 2011

$149

Microsoft Office for Mac
Home and Business 2011 Download

$279

Trouble with Windows 7 and the T-Mobile G1

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

I don’t have any complaints with Windows 7 whatsoever. Really I don’t, but I have read about some people experiencing a problem accessing the G1’s SD card with Windows 7.

Okay, I experienced this problem too, but, luckily, I knew how to fix it.

What happened? I was connecting my T-Mobile G1 Smartphone to my computer to backup the memory chip in the phone. For your information, the G1 was the first phone to use Google’s Android Operating System for smartphones. Today’s leading Android based phones are Verizon’s Droid, Google’s Nexus One, and T-Mobile’s new Samsung Vibrant.

But, as they say, I digress.

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

Shortly after upgrading to Windows 7, I attached my G1 to my PC via the docking station, and then I “mounted” the SD card in the G1 by selecting “Mount” option from the G1’s notification panel.

Now, for those who don’t have a G1, you “mount the SD card” — sounds ‘dirty’, I know — so you can transfer files to and from the SD or memory card in the phone to your computer.

But, now, with Windows 7, one time I attached my G1 via its USB cable (or docking station) I saw a notification on my computer’s desktop that Windows was “installing a driver” for the “HTC Dream”. (For your information, HTC is the company that makes the G1 for Google and T-Mobile. Dream is HTC’s model name for the G1).

I had never seen this happen before, but I thought it was cool because I was thrilled that Windows 7 was capable of recognizing so many devices when they were attached to the computer.

My thrill was short lived.

Once I mounted the card, and I double clicked the “Computer” icon on the desktop, I expected to see an icon, as I had in the past, that represented the SD card in my phone.

The icon wasn’t there.

I unmounted the card, remounted it, and, again, no icon for the card visible after double-clicking the Computer icon.

Uh oh!

This meant I wouldn’t be able to get my files the old fashioned way. Instead, I would have to remove the card from the phone and insert it into the memory card reader on my desktop computer. That would work, but I would prefer being able to just access he chip by attaching the phone to the computer as I always had.

The Fix. Here’s the solution for anyone who has experienced this problem, too.

  1. Right-click the Computer icon.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Device Manager.
  4. Locate “HTC Dream” on the list. You may need to double click a few items on the list to reveal the HTC Dream listing. I think I found it under “Other Devices”.
  5. Double-click HTC Dream.
  6. Click the Driver tab.
  7. Click Update Driver.
  8. Select “Mass Storage Driver”.
  9. Click OK to close out the dialog boxes.

Now when I connect my T-Mobile G1 via its USB cable or dock, and then mount the SD card, I am able to access the G1’s memory chip and transfer my files without a hitch.

Yahoo Email and Upgrading from Vista to Windows 7

I read this question online recently:

I am upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7. How do I back up my Yahoo! emails and do I need to do it?

If you have a free Yahoo! email account then there is no need to back up your emails because the emails are stored on Yahoo!’s servers and not your computer.

If you have a paid Yahoo! email account, called Yahoo! Mail Plus, which costs $19.99 per year, then it is possible that you could be downloading email messages to your computer with a program such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Eudora, or some other program or email client.

Generally, when you are upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 there is no need to erase your hard drive. When the hard drive is erased it is usually referred to as a “clean install”. While it’s always good idea to do a backup before an upgrade, it isn’t necessary. When upgrading from XP to Windows 7 the hard drive must be erased, so this is a case where it would be a good idea to have a backup of some sort.

Still, if you want to take the precaution of doing a backup, go to a computer store and get yourself an external USB drive such as a MyPassport from Western Digital and use the Windows Easy Transfer wizard to copy important files to the external drive. For more info on Windows Easy Transfer go here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/features/easy-transfer.aspx

For more info on upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 go here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/help/upgrading-from-windows-vista-to-windows-7

$450 Computer with a Future

PowerSpec TX366 mATX CaseThanks to everyone who contacted me yesterday by email and on the Skylarking Facebook page to wish me well amid all my respiratory problems and woes. It only takes 4 or 5 kind words to really lift the spirits. Thanks everyone!

One of the things I had been doing when I was able to breathe and function was building a new computer for a friend with a tight budget. They were actually a business client, but I like to call them friends, too. That’s just what I do.

So they had a tight budget of around $400, and I wanted to see to it that they got quality parts that weren’t going to give them any problems. I also wanted to get them setup with Windows 7 as an operating system. They had a Sony DVD burner in their old Windows XP computer, so I was able to transfer that to the new system. So I am not counting the cost of that DVD burner in the price of this system. I also reused their old monitor, but they could get a new flat panel for about $90 — 100.

As for the rest of the parts, I managed to spend about $60 on each component:

  • ASUS P5KPL-AM Motherboard: This is the base of the system. Everything attaches to the motherboard (mainboard). Asus makes a lot of fine computer components, and they also make the Asus Eee PC netbook I often talk about.
  • Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 Processor: This processor operates on the motherboard’s low end, but I let my friend know they could always get a better processor in a year or two when they had another $120 or so to spend. After their old Windows XP machine, the current processor is plenty fast for them.
  • Crucial Ballistix, 2 GB RAM: Again, they could spend more money here later to double or even quadruple their total memory. Using the 64 bit version of Windows 7 allows them to add up to 8GB of RAM.
  • Hitachi Deskstar 500 GB SATA Hard Drive
  • PowerSpec TX366 mATX Case with power supply: $35
  • Windows 7 Professional, 64 Bit Edition (OEM): $90. OEM means “Original Equipment Manufacturer”, which means it is meant to be installed by a computer builder. It also means if they have trouble with Windows, I am supposed to help them, and not Microsoft. Another $30 or $40 might have got them a standard retail copy, but I stand behind the parts I’ve added to this machine. I don’t anticipate them having any problems.

I am a little short on time this morning, so I’ll be back later or tomorrow to talk a little bit more about this system, the parts, etc. Have a great day!

Windows 7 Home Premium 3 Pack – Install Anywhere

windows-7Back on October 23 in my post I’ve Upgraded to Windows 7, No Static At All, I discussed installing WINDOWS 7 FAMILY PACK on three different computers, and a reader calling himself Ballpeen asked:

Have you installed on your family members’ pcs yet?
I am wondering if the pcs need to be installed from the same physical location? (does it check IP?)

Example, my brother & father live in different cities, can all 3 of us use the key that comes with the family pack?

TIA!!

I have made that installation — and one other — and there were no problems whatsoever activating Windows 7 Home Premium Family 3 Pack on three different machines in three different locations.

I installed Windows 7 in my computer first (as you know), then a few days later I installed it again from the same 3 pack DVD on a friend’s computer. They live in another town, and they use a different Internet service than I do. I activated Windows 7 on their computer with no problem. Then, a few days later, I installed the last of the 3 installs allowed with the WINDOWS 7 FAMILY PACK on my dad’s computer. He, too, lives in another town, and uses a different Internet service, and there were no problems activating Windows 7 on his computer either.

So there you go. Three installs from the same DVD on three different computers, in three different locations, on three different ISPs. No problems.

So if you and you’re friends are interested in upgrading to Windows 7, why not consider chipping in together on a Windows 7 Home Premium Family 3 Pack.

I upgraded from Windows Vista, and I’m very happy with the results. My friend and my dad were both running Windows XP previously, and they, too, are very pleased with Windows 7. My friend claims his computer even starts up faster now than it did before.

By the way, I’ll be keeping the original DVD. If they ever need it, they’ll have to call me for it. But I’ve never needed to access the original disc unless I was reinstalling the operating system.

Gestures with Windows 7

I’m sure you Windows Vista users out there had several gestures you used when Vista let you down, but with Windows 7 gestures are more productive.

Gestures refer to mouse movements on your screen, and how they affect objects on the screen. Today’s video demonstrates the new windows minimization technique, and the “Aero Snap” gesture.

Minimize gesture: Windows 7, as other Windows versions before it, allowed you to minimize a window and hide it from view by clicking the minimize button on the top right of the window’s title bar, but now with Windows 7 you can grab the title bar of one window with you mouse, give it a shake, and the other windows on your screen will minimize.  So, instead of minimizing each window seperately, you just shake the window you want to keep on screen to hide the other windows.

Aero Snap: This gesture involves dragging a window toward the left or right edge of the screen, or towards the top of the screen. When you drag a window towards the left edge, the window will snap into place and cover the left half of the screen once the mouse arrow touches the edge of the screen. Similarly, dragging the mouse to the right edge will cause the window to fill the right half of the screen. This makes it very easy to organize your workspace. For example, you might be reading a web site on the left side, while taking notes in your word processor on the right side.

Dragging the window towards the top of the screen with your mouse will cause the window to maximize and fill the screen. The previous methods of double clicking the title bar or clicking the maximize button still apply. Similarly, you can restore a maximized window to a smaller size simply by dragging the title bar away from the top of the screen.

It’s nice to see that gesturing at your computer will actually have an effect, and it will probably help you fel better at the same time.

Windows 7 and ClearType

This is the second post in a series of articles about the new Windows 7 operating system from Microsoft. You can read the first post about installing Windows 7 here.

An interesting feature of Windows 7 is ClearType. ClearType was available for Vista, but it has some enhancements for Windows 7.

ClearType is a technology developed by Microsoft for sharpening the appearance of yext on the monitor’s screen. Earlier versions didn’t work on every monitor, but those problems have largely been cleared up by now. As a matter of fact, monitor manufacturers can even label their monitors with the “ClearType” logo to indicate that it works with ClearType technology.

With Windows 7 there is an option in the Display properties for adjusting ClearType text so that it appears clean and crisp on your screen. Or “as you like it.”

Adjusting ClearType text with Windows 7

  1. Click Start >> “Control Panel” >> “Appearance and Personalization”
  2. Under “Fonts”, click “Adjust ClearType text”
  3. The ClearType Text Tuner appears onscreen
  4. Make sure the checkbox for “Turn on ClearType text” is checked
  5. Click “Next”
  6. Windows 7 will make sure your monitor is set to its “native resolution” or “out of the box settings”. If the native resolution isn’t correct, you may need to check your monitor’s manual to reset it.
  7. Now, click on each sample of text shown that looks best to you. Click Next after each selection to proceed to the next step. There will be 4 sets of samples to compare.
  8. Lastly, click “Finish” and you’re done.

If you have two or more monitors on your computer, the process will repeat for each of your active monitors. This allows each monitor to have its own individual “best” settings.

I’ve Upgraded to Windows 7. No static at all

This is the first of a series of articles about the new Microsoft Windows 7 operating system which was released on Thursday, October 22, 2009.

windows-7Well, I ran out yesterday afternoon and picked up the Windows 7 Upgrade package from Costco. They had three or four different versions to choose from, from what I was told,and the pricing was fair for an upgrade. I had intended to shop around locally, but I was under the impression their price would be the best because they order in such large quantities.

The versions the had were Windows 7 Home Basic (Full or Upgrade), Windows 7 Home Premium (Full or Upgrade), and Windows 7 Professional (Full or Upgrade). I only saw the Upgrade editions, not the Full Installation versions. (This was fine becuase the Upgrade edition allows for a full install so long as XP or Vista is already installed on the system.) There was some confusions at the store because they hadn’t put out all their display boxes. Only Home Premium was on display, but I asked a salesperson for help, and got what I was looking for.

What was I looking for? I was looking for the Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack Upgrade. The Family Pack allows you to install the software on three PCs. The price was only $125. I contacted a few relatives before hand and asked if they were interested in upgrading, and we decided to split the cost amongst ourselves. So it cost us a little over $45 each. Not bad. (Tigerdirect is selling the Family Pack for $149, but maybe you know someone who’d be interested in splitting the cost with you. Click the image at right for more info.)

Pre-Installation. Microsoft has received some flak regarding the necessity for backing up and erasing your existing system in order to install Windows 7, but I know many computer fanatics, myself included, who periodically eras their computer and reinstall their software. It’s a sort of overhaul and cleanup process. You could almost say I look forward to erasing my computer.

 

Windows 7 Boot Screen

Windows 7 Boot Screen

Installation.

To install on my system, I turned on the computer, which was currently running Windows Vista Ultimate, and once the computer had fully started, I inserted the Windows 7 DVD. They provided a 32 bit and a 64 bit version. Since I am using and Intel Core 2 Duo processor I used the 64 bit disc, but I could have used either one. (Though, since I was using a 64 bit Vista package, Microsoft recommends using the 64 bit Windows 7 disc.) If you’re not sure which one you need you can always run the Windows Advisor. It’s a free download from Microsoft.

Once I inserted the disc I cancelled the installation, and shut down the computer. I waited about 45 seconds, then turned the computer back on. When asked to “Press any key to boot from the CD” I tapped the space bar.

Here’s the only odd part of the installation. This may not occur on all systems. A prompt came up asking which boot method my CD/DVD drive used. The choices were “1” or “2” with no description. I took a guess and went with “1”, and it seems that worked out fine. It’s possible this question might not arise for everyone. I’ll let you know after I install on my dad’s PC next.

win7-default-desktop

Windows 7 Desktop

Beyond that the installation took about 30 minutes or more. I flipped though a copy of Windows 7 All-in-One For Dummies to pass the time. (Also available is a smaller book, Windows 7 For Dummies, and another edition that comes with a 2 hour DVD.)

Finally, I arrived at the Windows 7 desktop. It was nice and simple. Often when a new operating system is installed not all the software drivers for the computer’s hardware can be found. I went into the device manager to see how many drivers were missing, and was surprised and delighted to find that all the drivers had loaded. All my hardware was supported by Windows 7. I could remember on one Vista installation finding over a dozen missing drivers. (To check your results with Windows 7, click the Start pearl, then right click on “Computer” and choose “Properties”. Then click “Device Manager”. If you see any yellow question marks, then it means that some of your devices weren’t supported.)

Anyhow, I’ve been working on the Windows 7 for almost 6 hours straight without a single problem.  I’ve already found a lot to like, I’ll let you know if I find anything I don’t like too. Please share your experience or questions on the new system in the comments below.

Rating so far: Thumb’s UP!

Windows 7: Its Features and My Theories

windows-7

My Theories on Windows 7

There appears to be a trend with Microsoft Windows release, in my opinion.  It appears that one version comes out which receives a lot of bad press and criticism, and then that system is followed up by a version which becomes popular and accepted.  People often say the newer version is the “working version” of the previous version.

New Desktop

New Desktop

Historically speaking, I have noticed that Windows 98 was called “Windows 95 that works”, and Windows XP was “Windows Me that works”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Windows 7 is called “Windows Vista that works”.

What’s In Windows 7?

  • Touchscreens! The new version of Windows will support touchscreen technology which allows you to manipulate objects on screen with your fingers instead of a mouse. You’ll have to buy touchscreen monitor, of course. HP has been promoting and selling a Touchscreen system for several months now.
  • Touchscreen

    Touchscreen

  • The taskbar at the bottom of the desktop, looks and acts a lot more like the Dock in Mac OS X by listing open applications as icons without the names, along with lists of common commands and recently opened documents.  A feature I like is the ability to re-arrange the running application buttons by dragging and dropping them in a preferred order.
  • Dragging a program or document to the top of the screen maximizes that window to fill the screen. Dragging the window to the left or right causes it to cover that half of the screen. Additionally, you can hide other windows on the screen by “grabbing” one window with your mouse and shake it.  Or you can grab and shake by touching your touchscreen monitor.
  • Vista’s User Account Control is revised in 7 to allow the user to select four control levels.
  • Roku Soundbridge

    Roku Soundbridge

  • Home audio and video features are extended in 7, allowing music and video to be shared and viewed on other devices in the home such as networked media players like the SoundBridge wireless media receiver from Roku, and Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 game console.
  • Cell phone and smart phone synchronization features are developed further in Windows 7, thereby allowing you to sync your calendars or contacts or copy over your music.

See yesterday’s article on the Windows 7 Beta release.


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