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Windows 8 is now out. Companies selling PCs with Windows 7 should either give you a free upgrade to 8 or (Like Packard Bell) offer to refund the cost.
You can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro (even from Windows as old as XP (SP3) using a download from Microsoft for £24.99 or get the upgrade disk for £49.99 (a bit less on Amazon). The specification is not especially high, with a chip speed of 1Ghz, 2Gb of memory and 20Gb of hard disk space. The graphics must be up to a certain standard but, although the Operating System is designed for a touch screen, this is not essential. If you are installing from scratch, and not upgrading) the DVD is around £79.99
So, what apart from touch screen technology, makes Windows 8 superior to its predecessors ? Security has been tightened up considerably :
1. SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS
1(a) Early Launch Anti-Malware. In Windows 8, the integrated
antivirus products can start earlier in the boot-up process to scan the
systems drivers for malware. This helps protect against rootkits that
start before the antivirus program and hide from it. Windows Defender starts
earlier in the boot process out-of-the-box.
1(b). SmartScreen Filter. Previously used only in Internet Explorer, the SmartScreen filter is now implemented at the operating system-level. It will be used to scan EXE files you download from Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and other programs. When you download and double-click an EXE file, Windows will scan the file and send its signature to Microsofts servers. If the application is known-good, such as the installer for iTunes, Photoshop, or another popular program, Windows will allow it to run. If its known-bad, perhaps if it contains malware, Windows will prevent it from running. If its new and Windows doesnt know what it is, Windows will warn you and allow you to bypass the warning. This feature should help less-experienced users from downloading and running malicious programs from the Internet. Even new pieces of malware will be detected by the SmartScreen filter as an unknown new program that should be approached with caution.
1(c). Improvements to the way Windows 8 manages memory. When a security hole is found, these improvements can make the security hole harder or even impossible to exploit. Some types of exploits that function on earlier versions of Windows wouldnt function at all on Windows 8.
1(d). Sandboxed Apps. Apps downloaded from the Windows Store are 'sandboxed' and restricted in what they can do on your computer.This ensures that they cannot also load malware, even if they have been hacked
2. Boot Speed : Windows 8 uses some tricks to dramatically improve its boot speed. Instead of shutting down normally, Windows 8 saves the state of low-level software such as the kernel and hardware drivers to the disk and restores them when you boot it up. It also uses UEFI which boots faster than systems using the old-style BIOS.
3. File Copying in Windows 8 is dramatically improved. The new file copy dialog allows you to pause file-copying operations, view multiple file-copying operations in the same window, and more easily manage file conflicts.
4. The new Task Manager allows users to easily control the software that loads at startup. Its also easier to understand at a glance, with color-coded resource usage columns and more human-readable program names. You can also quickly research a mysterious process online by right-clicking it and using the Search online option.
5. Windows Explorer is now named File Explorer. While some users may dislike the new ribbon interface, it makes it easier to access powerful options like viewing hidden files without digging through menus and dialog boxes. You can also easily collapse the ribbon if you never want to see it.
6. Hyper V Windows 8s includes Hyper-V, which allows you to create virtual machines out-of-the-box. So you can add another operatying system (such asd Ubuntu or XP) easily.
7..Restore to factory settings is easy and you will not lose your data (photos, music, personal files or personal settings) unless you wish to. Some unrecognised apps will be removed.
8.. If you want to get back all of the Windows 7 games and put them in Windows 8, go to this link. http://www.howtogeek.com/122145/what-happened-to-solitaire-and-minesweeper-in-windows-8/
9. Battery life is promised to be better
Good video on Windows 7 HERE
Friend Goh has a useful page on the features of W7 at http://pgoh13.com/win7.php
PSR or Problem Step Recorder is available from Microsoft for Windows 7. If downloaded and turned on it will record the steps you take to solve a problem and even screen shots of every stage
The first Service Pack for W7 was issued on the 22nd February. It is BIG but can be as little as 44Meg but more likely to be nearly a Gigabyte forcing people onto broadband if they are not already there. And it doesn't look as if it has any impressive extra features. But not doubt you will be told you can't do without it.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-vista/products/features/entertainment, has a number of videos on DVD Maker, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery and Media Centre. n.b. Many of these are only available to Windows 7 and Vista Home Premium Edition users (Not Home Basic)
Sharing printers and files on a home network with Windows 7 : This is said to be easy using the Homegroup feature of Windows 7 See article HERE. However, if you also have an XP or Vista machine attached to the network the position is different. Se the other article HERE
A good site about curing Windows 7 problems at http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/top-5-commonly-reported-windows-7-problems-fix/
Windows 7 users wont be able to install Internet Explorer 9 until they have downloaded Service Pack 1 for the operating system, according to the company.
Q. When I move a window to the edge of the screen in W7 it changes shape to occupy half the desktop
A. This is W 7 feature called Snap designed to make it easier to load two pages side by side. If you would prefer this not to happen click Start, Control Panel, Easy of Access, click the Ease of Access Centre link and scroll down to Make the Mouse easier to use and put a tick against 'Prevent Windows from being automatically arranged!
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) was an important update
that includes support for new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards,
and it also includes all the updates that have been released since SP1. For
more information about installing SP2, see Learn how to install Windows Vista
Service Pack 2 (SP2). http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948343 and for
reasons why it might not install. n.b. In 2011 Support will end for
PCs that do not have Service Pack 2. So make sure you install it..
Here are some of the improvements in SP2:
Program compatibility. Microsoft works to ensure that your programs work seamlessly on Windows Vista. We also work with our partners to improve the reliability and compatibility of non-Microsoft programs. So, SP2 includes previously released updates that are available to you when you use Windows Update, and it also includes new compatibility fixes for individual programs.
Hardware support. Among other improvements, SP2 provides you with additional
support for Bluetooth wireless technology and improved performance for Wi
Fi connections after the computer resumes from sleep mode. Additionally,
you can now record data to Blu ray Disc media.
General operating system updates. SP2 includes Windows Search 4.0, which has improved indexing and searching capabilities. SP2 also includes fixes that can improve recording TV using Windows Media Center. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948343
June 2010 Most people have to reinstall their programs (such as their Office Suite) when upgrading from XP or Vista to Windows 7. The company Laplink do a program "PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant 5.0" which backs up your programs to an area on your hard disk, then reinstalls them correctly. The download is 45Mb and the space needed is at least 200 Mb + the vast room required by Windows 7 itself. But it could save you a load of time and hassle.
January 2010 I gather Windows 7 has a Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) which shows clearly the steps you take when trying to solve a problem. This would be very useful to any technician trying to solve it.
Windows 7 Premium has touch screen facilities built in - as long as you have the right sort of screen.
October 09 Early reports on W7 are favourable. See HERE
To check on whether your software will work under Windows 7 refer to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/en-us/default.asp
October 09. Is it possible to jump from XP to Windows 7 ? The answer is "with great difficulty" You can see a video about this at CNET HERE. But it involves the backing up of your complete hard disk, the purchase of TWO external hard disks and my advice is " Forget it ". Get a machine with it already installed and transfer your data to it from the old machine. When you are happy with W7, flog your old machine. You will thank me ! If you have Windows Vista Home premium you can upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium. You can also go from Vista Business to Windows 7 Professional, and from Vista Ultimate to 7 Ultimate. Any other upgrade, like Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional, will require a clean install.
October 09. Windows 7 is nearly on the shelves. The basic version is still being sold for under £65 at Amazon. What sort of PC will you need ? Not too bad really. Processor 1 GHz; Memory (RAM) 1 GB; (Graphics Card with DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver model 1.0 for the posh Aero look); HDD free space 16 GB of available disk space; DVD drive (only to install from DVD/CD Media); If needed, the Windows XP Mode feature in Win7 requires an additional 1 GB of RAM, an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space, and a processor capable of hardware virtualization. The good news is that Windows 7 seems a little lighter on its feet than Vista. So it will probably run just fine, even on computers that are 3 or 4 years old.
24th September 09 Service Pack 2 has just been installed on my Vista PC and apparently contains all the previous Vista updates
September 09. In tests, Microsoft found that upgrading to Windows 7 took varying lengths of time. The best was over an hour. The worst, using a heavily used but medium performance machine (with lots of prior data and programs) took over 20 hours (!). They didn't even TRY to do it on a low performance machine.
15th September 09.Want Windows 7 features without paying ? See HERE for how to get them if you have Vista
8th September 09 Read about why Windows 7 is better than Vista http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/pc/18-cool-things-windows-7-does-that-vista-doesn-t-628892
24th August 09 Microsoft has decided to bring its Windows 7 Family Pack to the UK after all. The company will offer buyers the chance to upgrade up to three PCs to Windows 7 for £150. Users can upgrade from either Windows XP or Vista, although only Vista users will be able to perform an in-place upgrade where programs, settings and data are kept intact. Microsoft says the Family Pack will only be available in "limited quantities" when it goes on sale on 22 October, the Windows 7 launch date.
To add further to the confusion Microsoft said today (Monday 24th) Monday that it plans to end by 31st August an offer that allowed those buying Windows 7 in Europe to get the full version of the operating system for the price normally charged for the upgrade version.
August 09. Microsoft has retracted and announced that it was abandoning the Internet Explorer-less E editions, and would ship the same version of the operating system worldwide. They will also be issuing a W7 upgrade version (from Vista). And moe surprise news. Amazon.co.uk is selling the full version of Home Premium for £65,. This is much less that it is sold for in the USA
July 09. Upgrading from XP to Windows 7. You could chose to create another partition and 'dual boot', so you keep both Operating Systems on the same machine or you might backup what you want to keep onto a DVD, memory stick or another partition. Windows 7 has a special program to help with this : It is called Migwiz and is in the \support\migwiz folder and you run the migsetup.exe program. It will scan your Windows XP installation drive for things that can be migrated and show you a list of them. You can de-select things you don't want to migrate, and add things that you may be storing on other drives. When you are ready, the wizard will compress and store all the selected things in one file on a drive of your choice. Obviously, you should choose a drive other than the one to which you plan to install Windows 7. An external hard drive, flash drive or writable DVD would do the trick.
July 09. Google is causing a stir by anouncing that it intends to produce a free competitor for Windows by next year. It will be based on the Unix free system, will come with free software and will run on low spec. computers, storing much of the data on the Internet.
9th July 2009 Although you can already download a limited time version of Windows 7 free, the licensed version will cost £50 per manchine if you pre-order by the end of July 09 and this will be available in October. But the Premium Version will eventually be an eye-watering £149.99 each and the European version (W7E) will not even be able to upgrade your existing system But see August above). As usual the Americans will get the whole deal MUCH cheaper. There is some disquiet about the fact that they are not issuing a 3 license version, as they now do with a Office. As the old song goes "When will they EVER learn...." When you think of the cost to larger companies (and even home users who may have three machines) I think the effect will be that people will (a) stick with XP even longer, or (b) will make illegal copies, or (c) will finally make to jump to FREE Linux Operating systems such as Ubuntu and, eventually Chrome OS.
28th April 09 With Windows 7 Microsoft is allowed the installation of a 'virtual' Windows XP. But, being Microsoft, this will just be for the more expensive versions !
So what wont work with Windows 7 ?Internet Explorer 6 - Adobe Acrobat 7 Some 'enterprise' software. Certain hardware drivers - There are plenty of printers, scanners and other peripherals that work on XP, but not Vista. And that means they won't work on Win7, either. That's because the manufacturers have decided not to provide driver software for these older devices. Instead of spending money to replace all that hardware, consumers and businesses can use XP Mode to keep them chugging along under Windows 7.
7th April 09 Microsoft has agreed to allow Windows 7 customers to downgrade not just to Vista but also to XP even though mainstream support for XP is about to end
March 09 The big question for XP users will be whether it is even necessary to bother with Vista or go straight on to W 7. After all, XP will be supported for some years even after W 7 is on the shelves. Generally, I would recommend people to get and stay with XP, even now. There is one fly in the ointment. It seems that to put W 7 on an XP machine will mean clearing the whole thing off, whereas a Vista machine will be able to take an upgrade.
One feature of Windows 7 is that it will be possible to uninstall programs that come with it - including Internet Explorer 8. This will enable people to finish up with a 'lighter' operating system and one which might possibly be less vulnerable to attack. We shall see.
26th February 2009. Vista, like previous Windows makes regular restore points. But only the more expensive versions have access to a program called vssadmin.exe, which enables you to see exactly what files have been backed up. A free program called Shadow Explorer enables you to see in great detail every file that has been backed up on each restore date. Even photographs and word processed documents can be found and exported (thus retrieved) Unfortunately it does not work for XP. It is amazing to see how often the whole thing is recorded - and how much space it is taking. Mine had done 5 backups on one day in quick succession. I exported a photograph taken ages ago and it arrived on my desktop intact.
February 09 Windows 7 (Vista's successor - out in Beta) has had some very good reviews on speed and looks but has already been found to contain security flaws because of the desire to cut down on the multiple cautions that Vista displays. But at least it might work on your old laptop without the need to have more than a gig of memory. But, so far, it has dropped an e-mail program and Movie Maker for the sake of reducing its 'footprint' by a couple of gig.
23rd December Windows XP has been granted yet another reprieve by Microsoft. The software maker had originally planned to put the aging operating system to pasture on 31 January 2009, but a "flexible inventory program" means system builders will now have until 30 May 2009 to get hold of their copies. OEMs had been planning to stockpile copies of XP in order to sell them after the deadline was up. However, the new scheme means they'll be able to order their Windows XP licenses before the deadline, but take delivery of them any time up to 30 May. XP is increasingly looking to be the operating system that won't die. It was originally scheduled to be retired in January 2008, a deadline that was swiftly put back to the end of June, and then again to January 2009
November 2008. Windows 7 (Vista without the pain?) Early viewing reveals the Sidebar is dead, Calculator, WordPad, and Paint got overhauled. It will run longer on your notebook's battery power. You can switch between Wi-Fi networks in one click from the system tray. You can decide what you do and don't want to see in the system tray. You get more control of User Account Control. (Decide whether you want to be nagged about running a new program) You can instantly snap your windows to size, and clear the desktop in one motion. Windows 7 starts up faster. You can do MUCH more from the Windows 7 taskbar.
Microsoft has now agreed to extend its support (bugfixes) for XP until 2014. PC manufacturing companies will still be able to supply XP until January 2009 but may charge extra for the 'downgrade' from Vista. The new Windows, Windows 7 came out in 2010 It is considered to be a slightly faster, more stable version of Vista (like an SP2). There are 32 bit as well as 64 bit versions. But, with most PC makers offering machines with 3Gb RAM (the 32 bit limit) it is expected that 64 bit computing will become the norm, with up to 128Gb memory being possible. Windows 7 also includes touch screen technology - like an IPod.
Sept 08. Surprisingly Vista Home Basic 's Windows Media Player does not include a CODEC to play DVDs (although XP would do this) You can get free CODEC off the net.
18th August 08 Vistas death march picked up some pace yesterday, after a researcher revealed that nearly 35 per cent of PCs built to run the Windows operating system have been downgraded to XP. In a survey of more than 3,000 computers, performance testing software developer Devil Mountain Software estimated that more than one in three new machines had either been downgraded by vendors such as Dell, or by customers once they bought the PC.
In view of my own labours in transferring programs and data to the new Vista machine I have written a section on this subject on the next page
I have Vista Home Premium and paid extra for things like the AERO interface. If you look in Vista help for Aero you don't get much (help). But hidden down in the Quickstart icons on the bottom line you may find and item called " Switch Between Windows " If you click on that, after opening and minimising a a few programs, you will start the 3D interface. And I thought Vista was supposed to be intuitive.
Want your XP cake and eat Vista ? What if you have XP and want to add Vista as a dual-boot system ? Fortunately, installing Vista on a machine that already has XP is much simpler than the the other way round. First, make sure you have a separate drive or partition that's big enough to hold Windows Vista (roughly 10GB). Next, run the Vista installer, taking care to install Vista on its own drive or partition. The Vista installer will do all the work of setting up the dual-boot menu for you. To manage dual boot loading you may wish to get a free program called Easy BCD from http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1
Oct 07 For people who are REALLY fed up with Vista take a look at this site as to how to revert to XP ! http://askbobrankin.com/vista_to_xp_downgrade.html
Aug 2007 Finally took the plunge and got a Windows Vista Premium PC. I also purchased a cheap laptop for a friend with the Home Basic version installed. I was quite impressed, especially when it installed her HP printer with no effort on my part. Outlook Express had been replaced by a similar program but in setting up her e-mail I was surprised not to be asked for her dialup number. The mystery was solved when I found the dialup number entry was only required in Internet Explorer Connection, Settings, Properties. I transferred her e-mail addresses via a memory key using Export and Import (CSV). No problem. The smart under-£300 HP laptop (Ebuyer) came with no disks at all. On boot up it went through a lengthy process of creating a new partition and copying the rescue files to it but it also recommended making external rescue disks in case of boot failure. No icons on the desktop but shortcuts can be created by dragging things such as Internet Explorer from the Start Menu onto the Desktop page.
Although I was pleased to get a machine with 2Gb memory I cannot really see what the fuss is about Premier Edition (as opposed to Home Basic) It is supposed to have a wonderful interface called Aero (and this requires at least 1Gb memory). But I cannot see the difference and clicking Help... doesn't. The Home Basic machine came with another disk called Easy Upgrade but I am not sure what it upgrades to and whether it contains Aero (but I don't think so) I THINK it is a suggestion that one might upgrade to the most expensive edition and I would expect the next thing would be to ask my credit card details !
After all the anti comments about Vista, guru Fred Langa has this to say ...
"Saying "forget about Vista" is sensationalistic and simplistic. Of course, the appearance of Vista didn't suddenly make XP obsolete. XP remains a mainstream operating system. If you're running a well-tuned, stable copy of XP and it meets your needs, there's no four-alarm reason to drop everything and upgrade to Vista right away. But that's not the same thing as saying we should forget about Vista completely. Make no mistake, sooner or later, Vista is in your future. All of Microsoft's products have a defined and published "life cycle," and Microsoft will "retire" full support for XP Home and Professional on Apr. 14, 2009. That's just two years from now. XP will continue to work after that date, of course. But you can think of Apr. 14, 2009, as the date when Microsoft's support attentions will turn away from XP. For the next five years thereafter (until 2014), online self-help for XP (e.g., the Knowledge Base) will remain available. Microsoft may, if it chooses, continue to release critical patches and updates."
For people who upgraded from XP to Vista and didn't like it see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933168/en-us on how to get your XP back. Not for the faint hearted though.
For support from Microsoft go to
Windows Vista, the replacement for Windows XP, 2000 and Media Edition, is now available from www.ebuyer.co.uk at a mere £55.51 for the OEM Basic and £70.48 for the OEM Premium edition. That is the one which is supposed to be sold to Original Equipment Manufacturers. However there appears to be great confusion on the web whether it will be possible for private individuals to obtain this VERY much cheaper version when they build their own system. Some people think there is even a way to use this on an existing XP machine by reformatting.
What is like ? What does it need in the way of a PC in order to run ? Do you need it at all ?. There is a video on Youtube describing differences. See http://www.pcpitstop.com/news/rob/vistavid/vistavideo.asp One of those fast talking Americans
Most people will go for either the Home Basic or the Home Premium edition. The advantage of the second, slightly more expensive one is that it includes Media Centre, DVD burning and a fancy new interface called Aero. At only £15 more than the Basic version I see no contest apart from it needing 1 Gb (or more) of memory. But this amount is becoming standard on new machines.
The Microsoft site describing these things is at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/experiences/default.mspx and you can check your current computer (and installed software compatibility) by downloading the 6.1 Mb advisor from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/upgradeadvisor/default.mspx. You may also need a recent XML Microsoft installer called MSXML6.Msi (1.5Mb) which you can get from a link on the site. The Advisor then does a ten minute study of your machine. There is another advisor at www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/upgradeadvisor.
In my case it said that my Nero Ahead CD writing software was definitely OUT, as was my 56k dialup modem. Many other programs were a little doubtful at this stage. In view of the fact that my memory is only 512Mb at this stage it only recommended the Basic Home Vista. Inevitably, it was better to get a new machine with Vista installed.
In addition to the Basic Home and Premium Home Editions, there is a Business Edition and a Vista Ultimate. The Basic Home and Business Editions will do not include the current all - singing Media Edition facilities. The Home Premium version would be better for the 'Gamers' and those who wish to record and play videos and music in a Home Cinema style with surround sound, using a remote control. I understand it would also be better for laptop users.
Incidentally All versions of the program will be present on all full version disks. Upgrading will be by obtaining a code from Microsoft.
I understand that OEM versions can only be installed (ever) on one machine. The detail is then copied to the motherboard. You could reinstall it from disk on the same machine but not on another.
Not all versions of Windows can be upgraded to Vista. See chart below. It will NOT be possible to upgrade from Windows 98 to Vista (even if the machine is capable of running it). A new install would be necessary.
System Requirements (minimums)
Basic Home Edition : 512Mb RAM; 800 Mhz processor and a graphics
processor capable of Directx 9; 15Gb free hard disk space
Premium and Ultimate : 1Gb Memory; 1Ghz processor; 15Gb free space; If the graphics card is separate it should have 128Mb memory. If it is on board the 1Gb of memory should suffice. Premium Home version will probably run in a reduced mode on 512Mb (but at least 2Gb is recommended)
In fact I believe that much more disk space would be required as early evidence of Premium installations show a 'Noname Partition' which is devoted to Recovery. This partition alone is over 12 gigabyte.
Support of older Windows The site at http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeselectwin may give you some idea how long versions of Window will be supported by Microsoft. It describes the difference between Mainstream and Extended support. Whilst Windows 98 and ME are already no longer supported (despite the millions of people using them) there are still some security updates available. However, although it seems that XP Professional and Professional 2000 will have some sort of support for five years, the site says nothing about extended support for XP Home and Media Editions beyond 'two year after the release of the next version' (which is Vista).
N.B. Most of the well-know makes of PC bought between now and March (with XP) will have a Vista Home upgrade voucher. See the Microsoft website at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/experiences/default.mspx for details of which makes will qualify.
What is new in Vista ?
See and hear demos of Vista HERE (providing you can understand Microsoft rapid-fire American speech)
www.ebuyer.com give the following description of the Premier Home Edition
The preferred edition of Windows Vista for home desktop and mobile PCs. Its easierget things done and get on with life!
Its easier and faster than ever to find, use, manage, and share the information on your PC or on the Web.
The Windows® Aero desktop brings new clarity to your PC experience with dynamic visual effects, like Windows Flip 3D, that allow you to see everything youre working with at a glance.
Instantly locate any document, photo, e-mail message, song, video, file, or program with ease using Instant Search.
The new Windows Photo Gallery makes it much easier to find, edit, enjoy, and share your favorite memories with family and friends
Bring live information like weather and news directly to your desktop with easy-to-use gadgets in Windows Sidebar.
Its saferthe security and health of your PC are automated. Relaxthe security and health of your PC are automated across everything you do, so you can focus on the things you enjoy. Help protect private information and remove spyware with Windows Defender.
Help your children use the PC and surf the Web more safely and productively with built-in Parental Controls.
Help keep your system safe from data loss with the new, automated Scheduled Backup and Network Backup.
Help protect your PC and your personal information against malicious software, fraudulent Web sites, and online phishing scams with Windows Internet Explorer® 7.5
Its more entertaininggo BIG with Windows Media Center!
Expand your ability to enjoy and share your television, movies, memories, music, and gamesin your living room or around your houseits right there at your fingertips! Sit back and enjoy your favorite television shows on your own time with Windows Media Center.2 Use the built-in television guide and a compatible remote control to find, watch, record, and pause live TV on your PC or a TV screen. Share big, beautiful photos and home videos in full glory on your TV. Add your own soundtrack and set a party mood!
Enjoy Windows Media Center entertainment on TVs throughout your home with Xbox 360TM and other devices connected to your home network.2,4 Blend your photos and home videos seamlessly into a rich movie experience, complete with soundtrack, titles and credits, and creative transitions with Windows Movie Maker. Project your production to your home theater with Xbox 360 and other devices, and share it with an audience! Burn your slideshows and home movies to a DVD with Windows DVD Maker3 and watch them on your PC or DVD player whenever you like.
Its designed to be mobiletake it all with you!
Enjoy your entertainment and connect and share information with friends and family on the go. Work your own way with Tablet PC technologies that let you use a digital pen to navigate through files or websites, jot down notes, and make sketches on the run. Keep your devices up-to-date with your latest contacts, calendar, music and more with Sync Center. Set up your mobile preferences and confidently connect wherever life takes you with Windows Mobility Center, Network and Sharing Center, and Sync Center.5. Set up your own wireless network, or find and join a wireless network at your favorite hotspot, with Network and Sharing Center. Entertain yourself anywhere, using Windows Media Center on your mobile PC to enjoy your favorite TV programs, movies, photos, home videos, and music when youre on the road.
A normal Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1. 1 GB of system memory.
Support for DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)2, Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel.
40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space. DVD-ROM Drive3. Audio output capability. Internet access capability.
800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1 ; 512 MB ; SVGA (800x600)
; 20 GB (15gb Free Space) ; CD-ROM drive2
PCs that meet the minimum supported system requirements will be able to run (only) the core features of Windows Vista with the Basic user experience. End of article from Ebuyer (But I wouldn't recommend it... see below)
In addition to the Microsoft hype above (!)
It makes Accessibility functions easier to start. By pressing the Windows key and U you get immediately to a screen which enables you to turn on
Narator. This will speak selected text or even say which keys you are pressing. Better voices are provided than hitherto
Additional facilities can be purchased such as software called a 'Dwell Cursor'
which activates a click when the cursor is kept over a menu or letter on
the on screen keyboard.
Did you know that a company produces a foot operated mouse ? And Prentrom make touch screens and head pointing devices and it is even possible to control a computer with eye movements
Vista - The problems. And now it begins !
Having transferred most things to my Vista machine (see next page) I have now discovered problems with the Outlook Express Replacement called Windows Mail. Firstly it wont let me shut it down in the usual ways. Unless I click Cancel twice it just reopens. Other people are having this trouble but no-one seems to have an answer. Secondly, on occasion, things are left in the Deleted folder, even though I have tried to empty it. The items are cleared of content (the message has gone) but the title stubbornly remains. Someone on a forum suggested that I could get round this by clicking any OTHER folder (not Deleted) then right clicking the deleted folder and clicking Empty it. This does get rid of items one by one. So it is a workaround but not an answer. Next, and much worse, I found that Send and receive was not sending all mail. They remained in the Outbox. And I could not delete those. As usual I get " An Unknown Error has occurred". Great help that ! I have tried Mozilla's email program. Quite good, but had a difficulty with sending a message to many people (with BCC). So, lastly I am trying Windows LIVE Mail, which seems better.
Good News : ZoneAlarm Internet Security System Suite (and free firewall) is now said to be compatible with Vista (July 07). Magazine Web User gave ZA free firewall only three stars (failed their Trojan test(!)). They gave a five star rating to Comodo Personal Firewall (www.personalfirewall.comodo.com). Ashampoo Free Firewall got a four star rating.
The way Vista handles graphics is different from before. If you have a Creative graphics card and move to Vista you need to download the new driver.
The bigger your hard disk the more space is allowed for XP Restore files. It is based on 12% of your drive. So, if you have a 160gb drive a vast amount of space (up to 19gb) is automatically given over to months and months of Restores (it normally does one every day). In the case of XP it is possible to limit the amount of space used : Right click 'My Computer' on the desktop, click Properties then Restore. Move the slider down to a smaller percentage. Click OK and wait until the drive is adjusted. However, according to my information, Vista does not have this facility, which means that vast tracts of your drive will be cluttered with useless restore data. Whoever restored as much as a month ago? I suppose one could shut off Restore and Restart it - which will clear all restore points. But who knows with Vista?
Microsoft's on-the-box minimum RAM requirement "really isn't realistic," according to David Short, an IBM consultant who works in its company's Global Services Division. He says users should consider 4GB of RAM if they really want optimum Vista performance. With 512MB of RAM, Vista will deliver performance that's "sub-XP," he warned. I gather that 4Gb makes it really move but for most people 2Gb will be sufficient for the Premier Edition. The 512Mb suggested as 'Vista Capable' would, according to Dell, be OK for loading Vista (Basic), providing you didn't want to run any applications (programs) !!
Many people using older Broadband modems, especially if connecting via the USB port rather than an Ethernet socket, have experienced problems with Vista and need at least to get a CD upgrade program from the manufacturer or from their ISP.
JAWS, the expensive screen reader used by blind and partially sighted people all over the world will not work with Vista
Not just sour grapes because I was cheated out of my Medion-cum-Vista package at Aldi but, if you are on Broadband and want to have a laugh at Microsoft's expense have a look at the poor guy demonstrating the Vista Speech Recognition package at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyLqUf4cdwc&eurl= I would have given up long before he did.
Windows Vista users who wish to use AOL software to enjoy the Internet must install AOL® 9.0VR (Windows Vista Ready), which is fully compatible with the new operating system. AOL 9.0VR is the newest version of the AOL Internet software -- no matter what kind of Internet access you have, broadband or dial-up. Note: If you use a dial-up connection to access AOL and are considering switching to Windows Vista, you must first install AOL 9.0VR to ensure you'll be able to connect to the Internet once on Windows Vista.
AOL is saying that an Ethernet modem is required, which means that all those people connecting via a USB modem will be out of luck and will need and Ethernet card, cable and suitable modem..
Checking my computer with Microsoft's Vista Checking program it said that the Nero 6 program and my dialup Modem would no longer work.
A note has been issued to folk who use Fsnet, Freeserve, Wanadoo, Orange and an ISP (Internet Provider) that their Broadband modem may not work with Vista. Please contact them.
Early users have been surprised to find that, after years of developing 'drop-down' Menus since Windows 3.1 they are suddenly out of fashion. They appear here and there.
If you love drop down menus, such as always being able to find Open and Save under File and Find, Copy, Paste and Undo under Edit you will want a clue as to how to reinstate them
But when you try the same things with Vista, it doesn't work the same way. There aren't any menus. You hunt and click and peck and swear, and 10 minutes later come up empty-handed. Things that are easy to do in Windows XP's Explorer just aren't possible in Vista's Explorer. Or at least it appears that way.
Several of the new Office apps have done away with menus completely you can't get them back for love nor money. But other Office 2007 apps will only work if you deign to click the menus. Outlook 2007 only works with menus, but its e-mail editor (Word 2007 in drag) hasn't a menu to its name. Media Player 11 sports clunky buttons that act like menus, if you can hit the teensy, tiny down-arrows.
Internet Explorer 7 employs half-hearted (half-fast?) menus that look like icons, cramming "all other" under a Tools icon
Vista's Photo Gallery displays a line of icons that look like menus processed through The Great American Makeover and the Open icon (which isn't under the File icon) doesn't really open anything at all.
Windows Live Messenger has menus, but to get to them you have to hit the correct little icon in the upper right corner. It's hard to find amid all the advertising.
How to get your explorer menus back ?
So how do you get Vista's Windows Explorer to show you menus? It's easy. Press the Alt key. That brings Windows Explorer's menus back. The same trick works in Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, pressing the Alt key doesn't bring the menus back permanently. In fact, if you click just about anywhere inside the Explorer window, Vista takes it upon itself to turn the menus off again.
Fortunately, there's a quick way to make the menus appear all the time. Here's how:
Step 1. In Vista, bring up Windows Explorer (click Start, Documents or Start, Computer).
Step 2. Press the Alt key. That brings up the menus.
Step 3. Click Tools, Folder Options. Then click the View tab.
Step 4. Near the top, check the box that says Always Show Menus.
Step 5. While you're in this dialog box, you can configure some improvements:
a. Make Vista show you hidden files and folders by clicking the box marked Show hidden files and folders;
b. Make Vista show you filename extensions - uncheck the box marked Hide extensions for known file types; and
c. Have Vista show you all of your files. To do this, uncheck the box marked Hide protected operating system files
(recommended). Note that you also have to click through a warning dialog box.
Step 6. Click OK.
The UAC. Vista keeps asking you whether you are sure you want to do things. A security measure, for sure, but it gets to be a bit of a hassle each time you want to install a program you know to be perfectly safe. To disable this (User Accounts Control Panel) go to User Accounts in the Control Panel and click to turn off this 'facility'. You have to restart the PC.
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