Mike Thoene

Windows 7

Well har-d-har.. Windows 7 maxes out RAM pretty fast, then chokes

by on Feb.18, 2010, under Windows 7

When I pay the money to drop at least 6GB of RAM into my system, I want it all to be put to use. Compared to Windows XP, both Windows Vista and Windows 7 make more active use of system memory. But according to Devil Mountain Software’s community-based Exo.performance.network (XPnet) CTO, Craig Barth, that sort of RAM management results in undesirable performance.

According to the Computerworld report, XPnet found that 40 percent of its Windows XP machines ran into low-memory situations, while 86 percent of its Windows 7 machines are regularly consuming 90 percent to 95 percent of their available RAM.

Barth said that the hungry RAM consumption of Windows 7 result in slow-downs. “The vast majority of Windows 7 machines over the last several months are very heavily-memory saturated,” he said. “From a performance standpoint, that has an immediate impact on the machine.”

“This is alarming,” Barth said of Windows 7 machines’ resource consumption. “For the OS to be pushing the hardware limits this quickly is amazing. Windows 7 is not the lean, mean version of Vista that you may think it is.”

Alarming findings aside, XPnet observed that Windows 7 PCs sport an average of 3.3GB of RAM, compared to 1.7GB for Windows XP and 2.7GB for Windows Vista machines.

We recall that the design of Windows Vista (and by extension, Windows 7) has it consuming more RAM for practical, useful purposes rather than letting it sit idle. Nevertheless, we have contacted Microsoft for an official answer to this memory issue. More to come.

I wouldn’t nesasarily call this a bad thing, it just means that people are beefing up their computers much faster than Microsoft expected, and now that a report such as this has hit the surface maybe the guys in Redmond will do something about it and push out a major update. Maybe something along the lines of Service Pack 1? I know it may seem a little early to pull the SP card but there seems to be certain bugs that need a fixin’. Rest assured Windows 7 is lean and mean, it just isn’t what people thought it would be.

Stills kicks Vista’s ass, though.

Source : Tom’s Hardware US

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A great third party battery app, for Windows 7

by on Feb.14, 2010, under Windows 7

Often times the applications that come along with Windows are just not quite as good as you really want them to be, and for myself, this happened to be the case with my just about dead Dell battery. I needed something that showed me how much power it had, and I needed something super specific for when I am working with customers. I don’t want to look like a fool and have my laptop die on the job!

So I did some snooping around, and luckily I found BatteryBar. BatteryBar works for all flavors of Windows, but since I am currently running Windows 7 that is what I was focused on. The information that shows on the taskbar is concise and to the point, and of course you can always get more information with a small, short, single click. It is simple and straight-forward which is great.

If you really like BatteryBar, you can purchase the full version which offers some nice alarms and also some cool styles. It is a really nicely laid out business model that basically asks you how much you want to pay. It costs between $1 and $10. A lifetime subscription costs $6 at minimum, and $10 at maximum. If you are going to purchase it I don’t see why $10 would hurt too much.

All in all it’s a great, simple application that gets extremely specific and really lets you know the skinny about your laptop’s battery. It is worth the download, and if you use your laptop on battery power often, it might even be worth the purchase.

Give BatterBar a view by clicking here.

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Install Windows 7 With The Greatest of Ease.. from a USB Drive!

by on Feb.10, 2010, under Hardware, Windows 7

As everyone knows, Windows 7 is definitely worth the upgrade. It is especially worth the upgrade if you happen to be using Windows Vista still, for whatever reason that might be, is beyond me.

If you have ever installed Vista or XP or even Windows 7 from a DVD, you know that it can sometimes be a consuming drag of waiting and watching status bars, well why not make things a little bit speedier the next time you need to install this 4 month old operating system? I think it’s about time you learn!

Step One

The first thing you need to do is get Windows 7. It doesn’t matter the version you get, from Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Ultimate, from x68 or x64, it just simply doesn’t matter. Which makes this whole situation so much more enjoyable! Once you have the disc (or an ISO..) you need to make sure you have a few other things to make this go smoothly.

Step Two

A flash drive is important for this operation, I promise you! You will need a flash drive that is at least 4gb in size so it can fit all of the goodies on the drive, we are doing a full copy here not a “Streamlining” or what have you.

Step Three

Plug the flash drive into your computer, and make sure you know what drive letter it is assigned to (ex. Drive E:). You are then going to want to load up the Command Prompt and type in “diskpart“, which will load the utility you need to set the drive up to become bootable.

This part kind of got me mad at the beginning, because I realized I was trying to do it with XP. If you are using XP then you need to find someone who has a version of of Windows Vista or Windows 7 installed, or you need to find a copy of VMWare and use that to setup the flash drive. Sadly there is no way around this, I did a lot of research and I ended up using the VMWare method myself.

So as long as you have Vista+, have disk part loaded up, and have your flash drive and Windows 7 DVD inserted in the computer, you can continue! Awesome, right?

Step Four

Next you will want to type in “list disk” in to the command prompt where it says  DISKPART>. This will show all of the disks that are attached to your computer, find out which one is the Flash Drive that you want to format. For this demonstration, let’s use Disk 5. You will then want to type “select disk 5″ in the command prompt, which will set that as the disk you are editing.

Step Five

After you have that all setup and good to go, your next step will be a long string of commands, followed one after another:

create partition primary
select partition 1
format fs=fat32

What did we just do do your drive? Destroyed it!!! No, just kidding. All we did was create a primary partition, make it the active partition, and then format it with FAT32 file system. Easy!

Step Six

This is the part that seems to be the most time consuming, you need to copy all of the files from your Windows 7 DVD to your Flash Drive. It is pretty simple it just takes about 15 minutes or so to fully copy everything, but this of course depends on your system and your DVD reader. For this demonstration lets say we are going to have our DVD player set as Drive D: and our USB Drive is just one drive down the line, Drive E:.

Drive D:   –   DVD Player
Drive E:   –   USB Flash Drive

xcopy d:*.* /s/e/f e:

The drive letters may be different that yours, but that shouldn’t be a problem. If you got this far, hopefully you know the alphabet at least a small bit.

When it is done copying, it will say something along the lines of “791 File(s) copied), then give you a C: prompt again. The number of files changes depending on build, edition, etc.

Step Seven

The last and final step before you get on your merry way would be booting from the USB Drive. Lot’s of guides make you go into your BIOS to change your boot order, but I don’t really see myself booting off a Flash Drive every day, so all I do is simply Hit F11 when the computer is starting up which loads up the “One-Time Boot Menu”. You then chose the drive that you want to boot off of, every computer is different, but hopefully since you did all of the previous steps, you can figure it out from there. It isn’t always F11, on most Dell computer’s you need to hit F12, ASRock is F11, some are F8. You will have to watch your screen when you first load up the computer to double check, or even check out motherboards manual for more help.

I think that is just an all-around better way to install Windows 7, it is easier to carry around a Flash Drive, it is faster than a DVD, and it’s just easier, period. I hope this guide has helped you out some how, and I hope it makes your future a little bit.. smoother. 🙂

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Windows 7 is plagued with a 17 year old priviledge escalation bug..

by on Jan.20, 2010, under Security, Windows 7

It’s about time for an update, Mr. Microsoft! How can you possibly have a bug that has been around since 1993? It is amazing that things like this get through, but luckily Google is around to fix that problem, or at least suggest a way to get it fixed, The Register has the full article, here is a snippet:

A security researcher at Google is recommending computer users make several configuration changes to protect themselves against a previously unknown vulnerability that allows untrusted users to take complete control of systems running most versions of Microsoft Windows.

The vulnerability resides in a feature known as the Virtual DOS Machine, which Microsoft introduced in 1993 with Windows NT, according to this writeup penned by Tavis Ormandy of Google. Using code written for the VDM, an unprivileged user can inject code of his choosing directly into the system’s kernel, making it possible to make changes to highly sensitive parts of the operating system.

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77 Windows 7 Tips and Shortcuts, as told by TechNet Pro's

by on Jan.19, 2010, under Windows 7

A few months back there was an excellent article written by several Microsoft Professional writer’s, and I happened to bump into the list again today while doing some research on Windows 7 for a perspective client of mine, and why they should upgrade from Windows Vista. This list is, hands down, stunning. It gave 63 tips, AND 14 keyboard shortcuts that made everything about Windows 7 even better. Windows 7, Microsoft’s ace in the hole is now out and lot’s of people now use it on a day to day basis, myself included. Here is the list that is definitely worth the once over, or twice over if you please. A lot of these tips are what I tell users to try out all the time, a lot of it is about change. Since that seems to be such a key word these past couple of years, you might as well just go ahead and embrace it, it won’t kill you. If anything it will just spice up your life and make things a little more.. awesome. Try out these nifty little features if you haven’t already, they are pretty much 100% worth it. (continue reading…)

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