Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What Do You Need to Do to Get Ready for Windows 7?

Published by Sunbelt Software FORUMS | BLOG | RSS | MY PROFILE | PRIVACY  

Vol. 3, # 83 - Aug 6, 2009 - Issue # 92 
 What Do You Need to Do to Get Ready for Windows 7?

  1. Editor's Corner
    • What Do You Need to Do to Get Ready for Windows 7?
    • Follow-up: Goodbye to Vista?
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Technical beta testers to get a free copy of Windows 7
    • Microsoft announces pricing for Windows 7 family pack, Anytime Upgrade
    • Skype shutdown?
    • Is a MacBook the best portable for running Windows 7?
  4. How to: Using the New Vista Features
    • How to hide optional updates in the Windows Update list
  5. Vista Security
    • How secure is your smart phone?
    • Government wants to regulate file-sharing services for security purposes
  6. Vista Question Corner
    • Partition getting full - what can I do?
  7. Vista Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • How to fix Fax transmission problems
    • All about the Windows registry
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • WinCleaner OneClick Professional Clean - Fix Errors and Speed Up Your PC With Just One Click

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

What Do You Need to Do to Get Ready for Windows 7?

Maybe you're one of those cutting-edge types who's chomping at the bit to install Windows 7 when it's released. Maybe you're already using the release candidate, and want to know what you should do when the final version comes out. Maybe you're planning to get a new computer for Christmas, and anticipate buying one with Windows 7 installed. Maybe you're perfectly happy with your Vista machine at home, but your company is one of the 40 percent or so that are planning to upgrade to Windows 7. Whatever the situation, you might be wondering now whether there's anything you need to do in order to get ready for the new OS.

If you plan to keep your current hardware, the first thing to do is make sure it has the specs to run Windows 7. If it's running Vista, you can be pretty certain that it will. If it's running XP or Linux, check out the system requirements checklist on the Microsoft website:

If you plan to use Windows Virtual PC with XP Mode on Windows 7 (which allows you to run XP applications that aren't compatible with Windows 7), be aware that you'll have to have a processor with hardware virtualization capabilities. That means Intel VT or AMD-V. Even if the processor itself is capable, some hardware vendors ship some of their lower end computers with virtualization turned off and they don't provide any way to turn it on. And if your computer does support VT/AMD-V, it will probably be turned off by default and you'll need to turn it on in the BIOS (Setup) settings.

As with Vista, if you want to use the Aero glass GUI, you'll need a video card that's capable of it. That means a card that supports DirectX 9 or above with a WDDM driver.

If your hardware passes the test, next you need to consider what operating system you're running now. If you're using Vista with SP1 or SP2 installed, you have the option to do a direct in-place upgrade, installing Windows 7 over the current OS so that you don't have to reinstall your applications. It's the fastest and easiest way to get Windows 7. In the past, I always recommended a clean installation, but I've tried in-place upgrades of Vista to Windows 7 on several machines and have been pleasantly surprised. I haven't yet experienced any of the problems that used to plague upgrades. That said, I still personally prefer a clean installation.

If you're running XP, an even older version of Windows or a non-Windows OS, or if you're running Vista and for some reason can't install a service pack (I had one computer on which the SP installation failed no matter what I tried), you'll need to do a clean installation of Windows 7. The good news is that, in my experience, the installation goes quite a bit faster than that of Vista or XP. The bad news is that you'll have to reinstall your application programs. But you can use the free User State Migration Tool to migrate application settings (along with your data) so you don't have to reconfigure everything from scratch. Here is a walk-through on how to use it:

If you buy a new computer with Windows 7 installed, you can transfer the files and your operating system settings from your old computer by using the Windows Easy Transfer feature. You can also use this to transfer your files and settings when you migrate from the Windows RC to the retail version. Easy Transfer is built into Windows 7. Read here about how it works:

Speaking of the RC, exactly when do you need to be prepared to switch over to the "real thing?" Although the release candidate won't expire until June 2010, you're probably going to want to upgrade to the final version before that. Beginning March 1, 2010, the computer will start "reminding" you - by shutting down every two hours. That could be pretty annoying, so make plans to make the change prior to that date.

Another element in preparing for Windows 7 is to determine which edition you want/need. With Vista, the only way to get both the common business features (EFS encryption, ability to join a domain) and desirable consumer features such as Windows Media Center was to buy the Ultimate edition. With Vista, you may not need to go that far. Now every edition contains all the features of the ones below it on the price scale, so Windows 7 Professional (which replaces Vista Business) has both the business and consumer features mentioned above.

The only reason to shell out the extra bucks for Windows 7 Ultimate is a need for BitLocker full disk encryption (which is a very nice feature for protecting the data on laptops that get lost or stolen), DirectAccess (a replacement for the traditional VPN, but which works only with Windows Server 2008 R2), the UNIX based applications subsystem and other enterprise level features like BranchCache and Applocker. For the vast majority of individual users, the Pro edition will do everything you want and more. For a detailed comparison of the features in each edition, see

How are you preparing for the release of Windows 7? Will you install it as an upgrade to Vista? Will you install it in a dual boot configuration with Vista, XP or some other OS? Will you wipe your drive and do a clean installation? Will you buy a new computer that comes with it pre-installed? If you're using the release candidate of Windows 7 now, when will you switch to the final version? Or will you just go back to Vista? Which edition do you plan to buy? What features influenced your decision? We invite you to discuss this topic in our forums at

Follow-up: Goodbye to Vista?

Last week, I talked about how all of the IT pundits seem to be eager to say goodbye to Vista and never look back. Our readers let us know that not everybody is planning to jump ship the minute Windows 7 hits the retail shelves. On the other hand, some folks are convinced that Vista will be another Windows Me, an OS used by relatively few people and soon forgotten.

I do want to address a few of the issues raised in the forum. Lara wrote that she chose not to take advantage of the Vista to Windows 7 upgrade because Windows 7 seems "even more dumbed down" and because she has a 120 GB hard drive and doesn't have "any space to spare for a bigger OS." Win7 is in no way dumbed down, although it doesn't include the extra applications (Mail, Photo Gallery, Messenger) that many people never use. You can download the Windows Live apps from the Windows Live site.

Lara opined that Vista's Photo Gallery is better than the Windows Live version. I would love to know in what way that's true. Windows Live Photo Gallery provides much more photo editing control than its Vista counterpart. For example, you have the ability to adjust exposure for just the highlights or just the shadows, instead of one overall exposure control. This makes me, as a photographer, very happy. It also includes panorama stitching that the Vista version doesn't have, as well as sharpen, noise reduction and the ability to convert a photo to black and white or sepia. In the past, I had to open the picture in a commercial photo editing program such as PhotoShop or PhotoPaint to do all this. It's also important to note that depending on the edition, Windows 7 is the same size or only slightly larger in terms of hard drive space than Vista, and it will run on less RAM than Vista. That's not to say that Lara should upgrade, just that the two concerns she voiced might not be the best reasons not to do so.

It was also interesting to see how many people said they initially hated Vista, but now they like it. Whether that's due to getting past the learning curve or to the improvements in the service packs, we can't say for sure. Quite a few readers said they plan to upgrade to Windows 7 as soon as they can, but an approximately equal number wrote that they will be staying with Vista until they buy new computers that come with Win7 preinstalled. And of course, many of you have multiple machines and won't necessarily run the same OS on all of them. That indicates to me that the newsletter will have a healthy mix of Vista and Windows 7 users for some time to come.

Thanks to all of you who participated in this discussion. To read other readers' comments, visit the forum at

'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 on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice - that is, until we have stopped saying "It got lost" and say, "I lost it." - Sydney J. Harris (1917 - 1986)

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived and dishonest - but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963)

Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever. - Philip Adams

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


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!

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

News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Technical beta testers to get a free copy of Windows 7

Many of those who participated in the technical beta testing program for Windows 7 (not the public beta and RC) spent a lot of hours putting the earlier versions of the OS through its paces and filing bug reports to help Microsoft fix the problems they found. So they weren't very happy about not getting a free copy of the final code. Well, Microsoft listened and has now done an about-face on that decision. On July 30th, they announced in the Windows team blog that technical beta testers will each get a full copy of Windows 7 Ultimate for personal use only. Read more here:

Microsoft announces pricing for Windows 7 family pack, Anytime Upgrade

We notified you last week that Microsoft had confirmed the existence of a family pack deal, whereby you can get three licenses for Windows 7 Home Premium that are valid for three computers in the same household. Now we finally have pricing information, which is $139. Pricing for the Anytime Upgrade options was also announced. Find out those prices here:

Skype shutdown?

Skype, the popular Internet phone service owned by eBay, has over 480 million users worldwide. People save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year, using it for international calling instead of paying expensive landline and cell phone rates. Now a legal dispute over the software licensing could cause the company to shut down, which would make for some very unhappy campers. You can read more about it here:

Is a MacBook the best portable for running Windows 7?

Now that Apple computers are Intel-based, you can install Windows on them. Many folks have done just that, and I have to admit that I've been tempted to buy an AirBook to run Windows, simply because I can't find a PC laptop that's that thin and sleek and cool looking. The high cost always stopped me; I just can't justify spending that much, for those specs. But if you're thinking about it, you might want to know the pros and cons of running Windows 7 on a MacBook, from someone who's doing it. In that case, check out this article:

How to: Using the New Vista Features

How to hide optional updates in the Windows Update list

Windows Update is a good feature for ensuring that your operating system gets the critical security patches it needs, but it also often offers a bunch of optional updates that you may not be interested in. If you keep seeing the same updates offered every time and you're tired of seeing them, you can hide them so they don't show up in the list anymore. Here's how:
  1. Open Windows Update and click "View available updates."
  2. Select an item that you don't want to see anymore and right click it.
  3. Select "Hide update" from the context menu.
What if someday you find that you do need that update after all? No problem. On the left side of the window, click the selection to "Restore hidden updates" and you can get them back on the list.

Vista Security

How secure is your smart phone?

A recent high profile case involving an SMS vulnerability on the iPhone has brought smart phone security further into the public eye. Next came a study by a mobile security company that claims about 1 out of every 63 phones running the popular Symbian operating system is infected with viruses, worms and Trojans. This becomes more of a problem when you consider that many people connect their smart phones to their computers, possibly opening up a pathway for some malware to spread to PCs and then over the network. Read more here:

Government wants to regulate file-sharing services for security purposes

A U.S. congressman recently said the federal government should regulate online peer-to-peer file sharing services, citing instances where users of LimeWire were able to access FBI files, social security numbers and medical records. It's stirred up quite a controversy, with some good points made by both sides. You can read about it here:

Vista Question Corner

Partition getting full - what can I do?

I bought a new computer with Vista and it has a 500 GB hard drive and just one partition, c. After I installed my programs I still have over 400 GB of free space. But I was told I should save my documents and pictures and such on a different partition so if something happens to the operating system it won't wipe them out. My old computer had two partitions like that, with just one actual hard drive. Do I have to buy a separate new hard drive or is there a way that I can divide this one into two partitions (without starting all over) since it has all this extra room? - Pam. J.

Yes, you can shrink the size of the c: partition and then create a new partition out of the leftover space. Here's how:
  1. Click Start, right click Computer and then click Management and select Disk Management in the left pane (or alternatively, type diskmgmt.msc in the Start/Run box) to bring up the disk management console.
  2. Click Continue if prompted by UAC.
  3. Right click the C: partition in the top pane and select Shrink Volume.
  4. Enter the amount of space to shrink (the size you want to make the new partition) and click Shrink.
  5. Now the space you took off of the C: partition will appear as "Unallocated" in the bottom pane. Right click this space and select "New Simple Volume."
  6. Follow the steps of the wizard to assign the new partition a drive letter and format it (preferably in NTFS). You can also give the partition a name (volume label).
Now you have a new partition where you can save your data, and if you should ever have to format and reinstall the operating system, the data partition won't be affected.

Note that this procedure also works the same way with Windows 7.

Vista Configuration and Troubleshooting

How to fix Fax transmission problems

If you use the Windows Fax and Scan program that's built into Windows Vista to send or receive a fax, but the transmission won't finish after a connection is established, this may be caused by line noise or problems with communication between the computer and modem. There is a workaround by which you can use a different class support to transmit the fax. To do this, you have to edit the registry. For step-by-step instructions, see KB article 927526 at

All about the Windows registry

If you're an advanced user, you've probably edited the registry from time to time. But do you really know what each of the registry hives is for the differences between the different types of values such as DWORD, binary, string and so forth? If you're new to editing the registry, you've probably seen the advice that you back it up first, but do you know how to do that? Find out all this and more in "Windows registry information for advanced users," a.k.a. KB article 256986, 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

WinCleaner OneClick Professional Clean - Fix Errors and Speed Up Your PC With Just One Click

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 About VistaNews

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These documents are provided for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Sunbelt Software on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Sunbelt must respond to changes in market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Sunbelt and Sunbelt cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


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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.