Tag Archive for Windows 7

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.

$450 System Hardware Wrap-up

In two earlier posts I spoke about a PC I built for a client last month. The whole system costs about $400—$450 in parts. The goal was to spend about $60 per part or less. The basic parts needed to build a complete system were:

  1. a motherboard (also called a mainboard)
  2. a processor. For $60 I could get a good basic dual core processor. The best thing is in the next year or two the client can upgrade to a faster, more modern processor for about the same price. Currently a quad core processor will set you back about $130.
  3. RAM (memory). For around $60 I used 2 GB of RAM, but the mainboard and 64 bit operating system will allow this system to be upgraded to 4 or even 8 GB if the client chooses to do so later.
  4. a hard drive for storage or programs and other files
  5. a case (to put all the parts above into) with a power supply. This part was only $35 in my budget.
  6. an operating system. For this system I used the new Windows 7 Professional 64 bit edition.
  7. an optical drive, or in this case a combination CD and DVD burner. I didn’t have to buy this part; I just reused the one that was installed in the client’s previous computer.

Apex Mid Tower CaseSeagate SATA hard driveIn my second post on this system I recommended some parts available from Tigerdirect.com to cover the first 3 items on the list above. Please note the client will be reusing the monitor from their previous computer system. You can probably do the same.

Here are my recommendations to cover the final 4 items on the list, and I’ll add on a DVD drive just in case you don’t have one, but you’d like to build a similar system.

  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500 GB SATA driveicon ($50)
  • Case and power supply: Apex PC-375 Black Mid-Tower Case with a 300 watt power supplyicon ($35)
  • Operating System: Between all the hardware I’ve only spent $283 before taxes and shipping. So I’ve got about $167 left for the Windows 7 operating system. I have two flavors to choose from in my budget: (1) Windows 7 Home Premium edition (32 bit)icon for $110 or (2) Windows 7 Professional (64 bit)icon for $150. The 32 bit system will limit my future RAM potential to 4 GB, while the 64 bit system can upgrade to 8GB. 4 GB is fine for most systems. I went with the Pro version.
  • DVD Burner: Samsung SH-S223C DVD-RW Driveicon ($25) This one burns CD-R discs, too. The client had a Sony DVD burner from their previous system. A similar Sony model would cost about $50 to $60. If you already have a DVD drive from your previosu system, you can reuse. Windows 7 comes on a DVD, so that’s why your need a DVD drive. A CD drive will not do.

So that’s all the parts. Now comes the assembly once you’ve got them all. Tomorrow I’ll tell the steps in brief for putting it all together.

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.


Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.

Microsoft Scores

Nick Wingfield of the Wall Street Journal reported some significant news regarding Microsoft this past Friday, and agreed with what they had to say.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES 2009

First, let me tell you this were mostly business deals that will greatly benefit Microsoft. Two of them involved raising the profile of Microsoft’s Windows Live Search service, and the last bit of news concerned the next version of Windows, Windows 7, the successor to Windows Vista, due out later this year.

These news bits were all connected to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote address at this past week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This was Ballmer’s first time delivering Microsoft’s keynote address at CES. Previously it has been done by Bill Gates, but Bill Gates stepped away last year from day-to-day matters to become more involved in his philanthropic projects.

verizonVerizon and Windows Live Search

Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft had a 5 year deal with Verizon Wireless to make Windows Live Search available on Verizon’s mobile phone network.  Microsoft and Google have supposedly been in a bidding war to provide their search services on the network. The deal is estimated to cost a minimum of $650 million with Microsoft paying on a per phone/handset basis.

windows-liveThis bodes well for Microsoft, as they have been trying earnestly to get an advantage on Google. For example, Microsoft’s efforts to acquire Yahoo!have been reported for a long time in the news. Microsoft is the third most popular search service after Google and Yahoo!, but the Verizon deal will get them more visibility.

The Verizon deal will take off in the early half of this year.

dellDell and Windows Live Search

Microsoft also secured a Dell, I mean deal, to have Windows Live Search and the Windows Live toolbar setup as the default search service and tool on Dell’s line of consumer and small business computer systems for the next three years. Microsoft already has similar deals with Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo.

The Microsoft/Dell deal displaces an existing deal between Dell and Google. Windows Live Search will start appearing on new Dell systems starting in February.

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft Sr. VP

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft Sr. VP

Microsoft Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi admits that Microsoft needs more deals of this sort to truly compete with Google, but that “These two partnerships are very significant for us, because it…gives an opportunity to put our search offering out before a broader audience now in a pretty mainstream way, and I think you should think about it as the first step of us slowly bringing up the dial on how we start to promote our product.” 

Windows 7

windows-7Steve Ballmer’s other big announcement was that a “test version” of Windows 7 — the successor to Windows Vista which is expected to be released late this year — is now available. The test version, also known as a “beta” version in the computer industry lingo, is available for consumers to tryout on their systems.

Let me warn you that test or beta copies are far from being final, and that bugs do exist in these programs, and that harm could be done to your system and files. Do not use it on your primary computer. The purpose of beta versions if to help Microsoft determine what bugs exist and how to fix them.  It is strongly recommended that should you decide to “try it out” that you back up your entire system first, and, I repeat, don’t use it on your primary computer system.

Microsoft has setup a page discussing things you should know about the beta version, and they have another page for information on the upcoming Windows 7 and its features.

The beta version expires on August 1, 2009. You will need to install a prior version Windows on your system before that date.

Tune in tomorrow morning when I discuss the new features of Windows 7, as well as my theories on how it will be received.




Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.