Thursday, August 13, 2009

Close Encounters of the Problematic Kind: Issues You Might Run Into When You Migrate to Windows 7

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Vol. 3, # 84 - Aug 13, 2009 - Issue # 93 
 Close Encounters of the Problematic Kind: Issues You Might Run Into When You Migrate to Windows 7

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Close Encounters of the Problematic Kind: Issues You Might Run Into When You Migrate to Windows 7
    • Follow-up: Getting ready for Windows 7
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Lost your Office product key?
    • Windows 7 on sale now for a little over 5 bucks in China
    • New version of Chrome supports Windows 7 jump lists
    • Windows 7 vs. Snow Leopard: the Wallpapers
  4. How to: Using the New Vista and Windows 7 Features
    • How to set Vista or Windows 7 to activate a window by hovering over it
  5. Vista/Windows 7 Security
    • How Windows 7 modification and additions will make you more secure
    • Are "Flash Cookies" a threat to your privacy?
  6. Vista/Windows 7 Question Corner
    • Can I turn off the automatic window "popping"?
  7. Vista/Windows 7 Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • The Windows Features dialog box is empty
    • Error message when you try to perform a full backup on a Vista computer
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • Disk Doctors Outlook Mail Recovery (.pst) - Could you Survive a Loss of All Your Outlook Data?

Kiss Your Antivirus Bloatware Goodbye

We asked users of antivirus products what they didn't like about their AV software. They told us they are resource hogs and slowed their computer down. They told us that scan times took way too long, and that the AV software nagged them. In short, old-style AV software takes too much Memory and CPU. Time to switch to VIPRE! It gives you malware protection that combines antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and other technologies into a seamless, tightly-integrated product. Even if you run "free" antivirus software, it hijacks 20% of your PC, so it's really not free at all! Get VIPRE now and see how fast your PC can really be:

Editor's Corner

Close Encounters of the Problematic Kind: Issues You Might Run Into When You Migrate to Windows 7

Whether you're already running the release candidate, or have no experience at all with Windows 7 but anticipate upgrading when the retail version is released in October, you're probably wondering what to expect in making the transition to the final version. Having installed the final code (RTM) on several machines recently, I can tell you about a few issues you might encounter when you take the plunge.

Of course, the easiest way to upgrade your OS is to buy a new computer that has it preinstalled. But if you have a perfectly good computer already, one that has plenty of processing power and memory, there's no reason to go out and make a big ticket purchase just to get the benefits of the latest operating system. However, there may be a few "gotchas" that you should be prepared for when you install any new OS. And even if you've been running the beta and RC happily, there are a few changes in the final code that might pose problems. And there are also the challenges that you always face with a new installation - but there are ways around some of those that we'll tell you about here.

First, of course, is application compatibility. You might think that if a program runs fine on the Windows 7 RC, it's going to work on the final version too - but that's not necessarily true. I was completely surprised to find that one of the security programs I had used on both the Windows 7 beta and RC wouldn't install properly on my shiny new RTM installation. It seems the driver won't load. The program vendor is well aware of the issue and working to develop a hotfix, which will no doubt be out long before the general public gets Windows 7. But it illustrates how even small changes such as those made between RC and RTM can cause unexpected behavior.

Many Vista apps actually will run fine on Windows 7 - except that they won't install. That's because the application's installation program does OS version checking. It's programmed to install on the operating system(s) specified in the program (for example, XP and Vista, designated by version numbers 5.x and 6.x). If it checks the version and doesn't see one of those operating systems, it refuses to install and you get a message saying something like "This application requires Windows XP or higher." Yes, Windows 7 is higher, but the program isn't smart enough to know that. Luckily, you can overcome this problem by running the installation program (usually Setup.exe) in compatibility mode. To do that, right click the shortcut or executable and click the Compatibility tab. Select the appropriate operating system from the drop-down box.

Application compatibility isn't the only issue you're likely to encounter when you decide to switch to Windows 7. If you're using Vista, deciding whether to do an in-place upgrade or a clean installation can be a dilemma. If your Vista installation has any problems, installing Windows 7 over it might fix them; this happened with my laptop, which had both performance problems and application errors that were cleared up by an upgrade to Windows 7. On the other hand, you may bring the problem along with you or even exacerbate it. We upgraded the HP TouchSmart (our kitchen computer), hoping that the graphics card crashes that started just recently would be fixed. Instead, in Windows 7 it was worse: instead of only crashing when Media Center was on and idle, it now crashed at random times even when Media Center was closed.

A clean installation, however, can present problems of its own. On my Core i7, I kept the RC intact and did a clean install of the RTM on a separate partition. But of course, with a clean install, you lose all those configurations that you spent hours or days or weeks or months getting just the way you wanted them, along with any applications you installed and their configurations. I decided to try to shave some time off the setup of the RTM by using the Easy Transfer wizard that's built into Windows 7. It lets you save the user account information, wallpaper and desktop icons, custom Explorer settings, documents, e-mail, music, pictures, videos, IE favorites, etc. from the old computer or installation to a hard drive, USB key, or network location. Then you can restore it to the new computer or installation. I saved all my info from the RC and transferred it to the RTM. Generally, it worked great; you can read about my experience (and see the screenshots) in the Amazon EndUser blog at

One of the nicest things about Easy Transfer was the way it migrated the settings for my Office applications - even before I installed the programs. My Word custom quick access toolbar was there. My Outlook profile was there, with my preferred view, autocomplete list, etc. However, I discovered there was a problem with Outlook. I don't know whether it was something that got messed up during easy transfer, or a result of the errant security program I installed that wasn't compatible with the RTM, or something else entirely, but after a day or so I started getting errors upon opening Outlook, saying that the data file didn't close properly. I tried turning off cache mode, which usually fixes this problem. I then tried doing a repair installation of Outlook, but the problem was still there. Next I tried creating a new profile for my Exchange account. That fixed the problem - but now I was back to where you are after a normal clean installation. The most annoying thing about that is that all those addresses I had in autocomplete were gone.

However, you don't have to use the Easy Transfer tool to get those in your new Outlook installation. Those addresses are kept in a file with an NK2 extension. I knew that, but I at first I couldn't find that file. In XP, it's in \ Documents and Settings \ \ Application Data \ Microsoft \ Outlook. But in Windows 7 and Vista, it's at C:\ Users \ \ AppData \ Roaming \ Microsoft \ Outlook. You can find yours, and edit or delete information in it, with a handy little program called NK2View from NirSoft. It's a free download at

Once you find the NK2 file, just copy it over to the folder referenced above on your new computer or installation. There's a trick, though. If you've created a new profile, as I did, you'll need to rename the NK2 file. By default, it's named Outlook.NK2 because "Outlook" is the name of the default profile. My new profile was named Deb, so I had to rename the file to Deb.NK2. Then I had all my autocomplete addresses back, and Outlook worked great. Sweet.

In general, reported problems with the RTM have been few, but when the final version is released to the public, we're sure to see some interesting issues pop up on various configurations with different applications. If you're running the RTM, tell us about any new problems you've come across (or problems from the RC that have been fixed). Do you have any tricks and tips for the smoothest transition from Vista to Windows 7 based on your own experiences? If you haven't tried Windows 7 yet, what problems do you fear most? We invite you to discuss this topic in our forums at

Follow-up: Getting ready for Windows 7

Last week's editorial provided some tips on how to prepare for the switch to Windows 7, including checking hardware specs, ensuring that your system supports hardware virtualization, upgrade options, and transferring files and settings with the Easy Transfer tool. Here are some responses to readers' comments and questions in the forum:

One reader questioned my statement that you can do an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 if you're running Vista SP1 or SP2. As he mentioned, I should have been more specific: you can do an in-place upgrade, but you have to upgrade to the equivalent or higher edition (for example, you can upgrade Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional or Ultimate, but you can't upgrade Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional). In addition, you can't do an in-place upgrade of Vista 32-bit to Windows 7 64-bit or Vista 64-bit to Windows 7 32-bit.

Another forum member asked if it's true that only signed drivers can be installed on 64-bit Windows 7. This is indeed the default. On the RC, you could disable the driver signing requirement using the bcdedit.exe command. I haven't needed to try this yet in the RTM. I'll be checking it out; meanwhile if you've done it, let me know whether it worked for you. Here are the instructions for disabling driver signing enforcement:

Someone else asked if the Windows 7 RTM version of Easy Transfer will support Windows Live Mail. He wrote: "When I converted to the RC from the Beta I lost all of my old email and all of my contacts in Live Mail ... There needs to be an easy way to transfer everything from Live Mail from one installation to another." I don't use Live Mail so I didn't test that part of Easy Transfer. However, this is a way to back up and restore your Live Mail accounts, contacts and messages to a new machine or new installation. First, follow the directions here:

Then to set it up on the new OS, install Windows Live Mail but don't create any accounts. Import the Mail accounts, using the .iaf files. Then import the messages. If you're using a Windows Live ID account, it should import your contacts, too. There are also free third-party programs for backing up WLM, such as this one:

Finally, I noted the discussion about Sony VAIOs that don't support enabling of Intel VT in the BIOS even though the processor itself supports VT. Unfortunately, Sony is not the only vendor that does this. We have run into the same problem with an HP laptop, too. If you want to run Windows Virtual PC with XP Mode, be sure to check out the specs in regard to VT or AMD-V for your particular computer model, not just for its processor.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the discussion of this topic.

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

PS: Did you know this newsletter has a sister publication for XP users called WXPnews? You can subscribe here, and tell your friends:

And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at

Look for the VistaNews fan page (and soon, the Win7News fan page) on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable invented to make them laugh. - Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe. - Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841 - 1935)

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

Keep The Bad Guys Out With The Sunbelt Personal Firewall

Why do I need a firewall? Together with antivirus and antispyware, a firewall is a "must" to protect your computer. PC Magazine gave the Sunbelt Personal Firewall a "Very Good" rating with 4 Stars and a conclusion of "good protection". Check out the Reviews on the site and it will be clear why you need the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to protect your PC. One good example: Unlike the Windows XP and Vista Firewall, you can tell the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to look carefully at the data leaving your browser, so that sensitive information like your credit card numbers, email address, bank account, social security number and PIN code do not get stolen by hackers!

Cool Tools


What was that password again? Organize password and order info with RoboForm. Saves me a ton of time and hassle! Secure password storage:

WhiteSmoke 2009 is an innovative proofreading and editing tool with a single aim - to help you write better.

Backblaze is the no fuss solution to getting all your data backed up online securely, easily, automatically, and for only $5/month for unlimited storage.

Ever use a download manager? You might not know what your missing, try this one!

Rip DVDs for your iPhone, iPod touch, Apple TV, or iPod Video Nano. Bundle includes video converter too! Free Trial:

Advanced Vista Optimizer does a great job tweaking Vista for Max performance.

Eliminate your online traces with CyberScrub. Privacy equals security.

Backups? Why back up when you can sync? Simply replicate every piece of data to another drive in real-time. Set it and forget it.

Your Uninstaller! 2008 takes the place of the clunky Windows Control Panel "Add/Remove Programs" and offers many other useful functions

Kill the background tasks belonging to (legitimate) software that run all day. Why? To get your speed back!

News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Lost your Office product key?

Here's an all-too-common migration scenario: you want to wipe out your current OS and install your copy of Microsoft Office 2007 on the new one, but you can't find that pesky product key. You lost the CD case and you didn't write it down in your trusty green book (well, the book in which I write all my keys is green). What do you do? The key is in the registry, but it's encrypted. Luckily, though, there are free software programs that will help you regain it. Read more here:

Windows 7 on sale now for a little over 5 bucks in China

The Windows 7 OS isn't even officially for sale yet, but they're already selling pirated copies for the equivalent of a few U.S. dollars in Beijing. And the RTM has already been cracked and placed online, using a product key stolen from Lenovo. Meanwhile, legitimate users will have to jump through the activation hoops to use their legally purchased products, for which they pay close to twenty times as much. On the other hand, it's not likely that your boxed retail version of the OS will also contain a malware surprise. Chinese pirated software often contains nasty "extras" that steal personal information. Read more here:

New version of Chrome supports Windows 7 jump lists

Jump lists are one of the coolest additions to Windows 7. This is a taskbar feature that lets you right click the taskbar icon and perform various tasks without actually going into the application's window. Once you get used to using them, you wonder how you ever lived without them. I wrote all about them here:

IE8, which comes with Windows 7, has always supported jump lists. But what if you like Google's Chrome browser better? Well, now you can have jump lists with it, too. The latest version, Chrome (don't you just love those long version numbers?) brings jump list support to Chrome. Read more about it and see screenshots here:

Windows 7 vs. Snow Leopard: the Wallpapers

This article seems to contend that the wallpaper selections included with the Windows 7 and OS X Snow Leopard operating systems reflect the tastes of the companies' founders. And the two selections that are shown certainly appear to support the premise that Steve Jobs wins out over Bill Gates - but when you click the links and look at the full selections, you find that Windows 7 actually includes some pretty nice photos. Okay, maybe Microsoft didn't offer the Van Gogh and Monet paintings, and I have to admit that the leopard pictures are great - but the good news is that you can use those Mac photos as your wallpaper on Windows 7, too. It's as easy as clicking the picture you like (to go to the higher resolution version, right clicking and choosing "Set as Background."

How to: Using the New Vista and Windows 7 Features

How to set Vista or Windows 7 to activate a window by hovering over it

If you don't want to have to click on an application window to make it the active window so you can interact with it, here's a tip that works for both Vista and Windows 7. It lets you activate any window by hovering your pointer over it.
  1. Click Start
  2. In the Search box, type Ease and then Enter (if you have sound turned on, you'll hear a computerized voice)
  3. In the Ease of Access Center dialog box, click Make The Mouse Easier to Use
  4. Under "Make it easier to manage Windows," check the box labeled Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse
  5. Click OK

Vista/Windows 7 Security

How Windows 7 modification and additions will make you more secure

This article examines how Microsoft has steadily improved its reputation in the security arena over the last several years, first with Vista and now with Windows 7. One security researcher went so far as to say that the new security technologies in Windows 7 might cause attackers to shift the focus from technical-based attacks (those that exploit vulnerabilities in the software) to social attacks (that exploit human nature). Read more here:

Are "Flash Cookies" a threat to your privacy?

Unlike regular cookies, a technology that uses Adobe's flash plug-in to track users and store info about them can't be deleted using the cookie controls in your web browser. It seems a large number of sites are now using these "Flash cookies" and most of them don't tell you so in their privacy policy. Read more here:

Vista/Windows 7 Question Corner

Can I turn off the automatic window "popping"?

I like Windows 7 but there is one feature that I'm not crazy about. I know lots of people like it, but I don't want my windows to "pop" to the edge of the screen when I drag them there, and get stuck (I hope I'm describing this correctly). Is there a way to stop this from happening? Thanks. - Bill J.

I do like that you can drag a document window to the left side and another to the right side and they automatically snap into place for comparison. But if you don't, it's easy to turn that feature off. Just open the Ease of Access Center (as described in the "how to" section above) and on the "Make the Mouse Easier to Use" page, check the box that says "Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen." Click OK and you're good to go.

Vista/Windows 7 Configuration and Troubleshooting

The Windows Features dialog box is empty

If you go to Control Panel | Programs and Features and click the "Turn Windows features on or off" link, and discover that the Windows Features dialog box is empty, what does that mean? You may also find that after getting this error message, you're unable to install any more software updates, and you might get an error message when you use the Windows Update site to try to install an update. There are a couple of different methods for resolving the problem. You'll find them in KB article 931712 at

Error message when you try to perform a full backup on a Vista computer

If you attempt to perform a full backup on your Vista-based computer, you might get an error message that says the request cannot be performed because of an I/O device error. This could be caused by a disk error. Find out what to do about it in KB article 952272 at

Fav Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: VistaNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

Product of the Week

Disk Doctors Outlook Mail Recovery (.pst) - Could you Survive a Loss of All Your Outlook Data?

Don't ever risk losing your PST file which contains all your valuable information. This PST recovery tool does much more than what the Microsoft Inbox repair tool (i.e. "Scanpst.exe") can do. This Outlook recovery software has the most advanced algorithms ever designed to recover data from Microsoft Outlook email archive files (.pst) The primary function is recovery of (.pst) files for Microsoft Outlook 97, 98, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007. Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager, and is included as part of the Microsoft Office suite. Although it is typically used as an email client, it also provides a calendar, task and contact management, notes and a journal. Microsoft Outlook can be used as a stand-alone email-client application, and can also operate in conjunction with Microsoft Exchange Server in a network to provide better functionality for multiple users in an organization, such as having common mailboxes and calendars, public folders and meeting time allocation and scheduling. Get an incredible $37.25 USD off the price and download the trial version here.

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Personal & Educational Use Only This blog consists mainly of FREE newsletters from computer web gurus that I receive. I thought you might like to see them all in one place than try to discover them on your own. A moderate amount of editing may be done to eliminate unrelated repetitious ads or unnecessary text which bloat the post. However I have given the authors full credit and will not remove their site links because you deserve to see where it comes from and they deserve to get credit for what they have written. Your use of this site is simply for educational purposes. For more computer-related help go to: CPEDLEY.COM for free software, advice and tips on low cost products which are very helpful. If you want to contact the editor, please go CPEDLEY.COM and check the Contact page for email address.