Thursday, April 16, 2009


Subscriber David Forness wrote about his recent experiences and the new cartoons:

My computer crashed just before Christmas and coincidentally my tech who has built, upgraded, and repaired, all of my computers for at least the last fifteen years, was on vacation for two weeks. It was more than I could figure out and since the computer was seven months old and still under warranty, I had to wait for his return. We tried a few things via his cell phone but nothing worked.

I have been back in service for a week and am now just getting caught up after a hard drive reformat and fresh installation of the operating system and reinstalling all my programs. Yes! I am definitely, positively, going to purchase an external hard drive very soon both for me and my wife.

All of that is to say that I just saw the comment in today's newsletter so I went back to see last week's cartoon. Keep them coming. I chuckled when I saw it. I could see myself doing the same thing except I am now retired and have a whole lot more patience since things are a lot calmer.

I wrote back to David thank him for the comments and to tell him that I think he wil be a lot happier with his decision to back up to an external hard drive.

I think the best way to do a reinstall is to use an image backup program, effectively creating my own "restore image" with Windows, my programs, my configuration settings and my data. At that point, restoring to the hard drive — or even a replacemet hard drive — is easy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What are the different version VISTA?


Vista is available in 4 versions to the consumer, which adds much confusion. In the past we only had XP Home and XP Pro to decide between. If we were to compare XP to Vista then Vista Home Premium would be comparable to XP Home. Vista Ultimate would be comparable to a combination of XP Media Center and XP Pro.

Home Basic
Home Premium
64-bit processor support
Games Explorer
Instant search
IPv6 support
Parental Controls
Speech recognition
Sync center
User account control
anytime upgrade
Backup & Restore
Windows Calendar
Windows Defender
Display Driver Model
Easy Transfer
Windows mail
Media Player 11
Mobility center
Windows photo gallery
Security center
Windows update
Welcome center
XPS document support
Log-in authentication
Aero interface
Windows meeting space
Windows right management
Windows Tablet PC
DVD maker

Media Center

Movie maker

Movie maker HD

Domain join SBS

Encrypting file system

Smart card management

Group policy support

Roaming user profiles

Virtual PC express

Bitlocker encryption

Fax and scan

Shadow copy

Ultimate Extras

This isn't necessarily bad, but Vista comes in both 32 bit and 64 bit versions (just to add to the confusion). All modern processors will run both, but most of today's software is written in 32 bit. Another issue with 64 bit Vista is that device drivers aren't available for all hardware, meaning some of your hardware may not work. Microsoft requires all device drivers for 64 bit Vista to be signed. This may present a problem when an exploit is identified in a device driver. If this happens the device driver for Vista 32 bit can be rewritten and pushed to the user in very little time. If this were to happen on 64 bit Vista you may be in for a wait, while your computer remains vulnerable.

Key Vista features

Backup and Restore: Finally a better solution which will allow easier file backups included with the OS. The average user (especially one who doesn't read Daves Computer Tips) isn't aware of great programs link Acronis True Image. This will give them an application native to the OS. Hopefully this will result in a lot less data loss.

Speech Recognition: This technology has made great strides in the last 10 years. Inclusion with the OS will but the technology into the hands of millions over the next few years, which (hopefully) will lead to wider use and better integration in other software programs.

Performance Assessment: This your PC has slowed down? Now you can actually see if that's true by taking benchmarks and comparing them to earlier tests.

Windows Flip and Flip 3D: Using Alt+Tab has always allowed switching between programs. In Vista it shows a actual screen shots of the programs. The taskbar will also show a screen shot of a program when you hover over the icon.

ReadyBoost: Physical RAM is the fastest way for Windows to work. When Windows runs out of RAM is starts using virtual memory (the paging file) to store parts of memory that aren't a priority. The paging file is a file on your hard drive and hard drives are extremely slow when compared to RAM. This results in a slower and sluggish PC. ReadyBoost allows the user to insert a compatible flash drive or SD card which Windows will use as the primary paging file, which should help eliminate the sluggishness.

ReadyDrive: Drive manufacturers have started making hybrid drives that contain flash memory. This will allow Windows to read and write to the flash (much faster than the actual hard drive) and have the flash written to the hard drive when there is time. Though these drive aren't common yet they will allow Windows to start and operate faster.

SuperFetch: Windows will monitor which programs you use and will preload them in the background so they start faster.

Kernel Memory Management: The kernel is the brain of the OS, basically controlling everything including memory. The memory management component of the Vista Kernel is a total rewrite with an emphasis on better memory management. This means that what memory we do have will be better utilized.tepuktangantepuktangantepuktangan Read more...