Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is 7 Microsoft's Lucky Number?

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

Vol. 1, # 2 - Sep 17, 2009 - Issue # 2 
 Is 7 Microsoft's Lucky Number?

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Is 7 Microsoft's Lucky Number?
    • Follow-up: Welcome to Win7News
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • How to turn Vista into Windows 7
    • Fix for the PDF preview bug in 64 bit Windows Vista/7
    • New Bing feature: Visual Search
    • SSDs on Desktop PCs
  4. How to: Using the New Win7 Features
    • How to adjust UAC settings in Windows 7
  5. Windows Security
    • Get security help and advice from the Security at Home discussion group
    • Facebook Security Q&A
  6. Win7 Question Corner
    • Can I show empty card reader slots in My Computer?
  7. Win7 Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Configure a Homegroup in Windows 7
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • Expert PDF 6.0: View, Create, Edit and Convert any PDF Document!

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

Is 7 Microsoft's Lucky Number?

So far, most of the press for Windows 7 has been good. IT pros and consumer beta testers have, for the most part, praised the new operating system as faster, nicer looking and easier to use than Vista. Folks are finding that they can install it on less powerful hardware than Vista requires, including inexpensive netbooks, and get good performance. What's not to like?

We need to remember, though, that all the reviews thus far have been based on the (free) public release candidate or the RTM that certain IT pros get as part of their MSDN/TechNet subscriptions, MVP status, their companies' beta testing relationship with Microsoft, etc. Folks have a tendency to be less critical of a product that they don't have to pay for. Will the user satisfaction factor hold up once people start paying for the OS?

Vista actually got many positive reviews, too, when it was in beta testing. It was after it was released to the general public that most of the complaints started coming in - including complaints from the same tech pundits who had good things to say about it before. I think we have the OEMs to thank for much of that. Too many of the hardware vendors installed it on machines that just weren't up to the task, and frustrated computer buyers found themselves working on systems that operated at a slow crawl. Of course, Service Pack 1 helped a lot with those performance issues, but by the time it came out, the damage to Vista's reputation was already done.

With Windows 7, Microsoft obviously made performance a priority, whereas in designing Vista, security seemed to be at the forefront (no pun intended). They quickly discovered that although most computer users will say they want their systems to be secure, many of them want that only as long as it doesn't inconvenience them. Thus another thing that got Vista off on the wrong foot was User Account Control (UAC), which so many people saw as much too "in your face." Win7 still has UAC, but its default behavior has been toned down to make it less annoying and users have been given more control over it. At the same time, new technologies in Windows 7 such as BitLocker to Go and AppLocker (in Enterprise and Ultimate), DirectAccess (in Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate), and improvements to smart card support, the Windows Firewall, and other existing security technologies make this the most secure version of Windows ever - without getting in your face.

Something that I've not yet been able to try out is Windows 7's improvements to handwriting recognition. I thought the Tablet PC was a great idea, but unfortunately it didn't catch on, and it's you don't see as many Tablets for sale as you did for a while. It would be great if Windows 7 changed that, but I don't know whether it will happen. HP's TouchSmart tx2z is one that looks interesting, with the ability to handle up to 8 GB of RAM. Fujitsu is still putting out a number of machines in the Tablet form factor, including the teeny tiny 5.6 inch LifeBook U820 that's cute as can be, if not overly functional. Its slightly bigger brother, the LifeBook P1630 (8.9 inch screen) always catches my eye, but I'm not going to pay almost $2000 for a system that has only 1 GB of RAM and a 1.2 GHz processor. I think the biggest problem with the Tablets is that they have continued to be significantly more expensive than regular laptops/notebooks with comparable specs. That's because of the expense of the touch screen, I suppose.

In fact, one new focus in Windows 7 that most beta testers didn't get a chance to fully appreciate is its Touch capabilities. That's because using it requires that you have the proper hardware - a touch screen monitor. There aren't that many of those floating around out there yet, and they're relatively expensive. I'm lucky to have an HP TouchSmart as our "kitchen computer" but it's not the latest incarnation and doesn't support all of the Windows 7 Touch goodness, such as multi-touch (ability to grab with two fingers, like you can do with the iPhone). To see a demo of Windows 7's multi-touch, watch the video at

Speaking of the iPhone, the Windows 7 desktop operating system isn't the only "7" in Microsoft's lineup. Those of us who haven't fallen under Apple's spell are looking forward to Windows Mobile 7, the next full version upgrade of Microsoft's phone/handheld OS. An incremental upgrade, WM 6.5, will be out next month and it has some nice new features, but it's WM 7 - especially running on high end phones like the Omnia II with its drop-dead-gorgeous AMOLED screen (coming soon to Verizon) - that we're hoping will be the iPhone killer.

Although we don't know much about it yet, I'm hoping that WM 7 will be a lot like a pared down version of Windows 7, made for the small screen. The problem with Windows Mobile in the past was that it was too stylus-centric; that is, you couldn't easily navigate its interface with just your fingers, as you can do on the iPhone. Some of the phone vendors have addressed this with their own interface overlays. For instance, the Touchwiz 2.0 interface on the Omnia II brings the same type of touchability to that device that iPhone users enjoy. See it in action here:

WM 7 is expected to be released in 2010 and there are rumors that beta testing will begin before the end of this year. Microsoft has kept it under close wraps, but there have been leaks, and even suggestions that it's already in the early phases of beta testing:

We have to say 7 hasn't always been a lucky number for Microsoft, though. Internet Explorer 7, although it introduced tabbed browsing for the first time in IE and greatly improved browser security, was plagued with usability and reliability problems. I experienced frequent browser crashing or freezing with it - problems that I haven't seen in IE 8.

Tell us what you think. Is 7 going to be Microsoft's lucky number? As the Windows 7 launch date grows closer, what new features do you think will make or break the new operating system? Do you expect all the enthusiasm for Win7 to continue, or do you think folks will start nitpicking and complaining after it hits the retail market and is exposed to a broader range of users? Will the handwriting and touch features remain just something for a small group of niche users, or do you think these ways of interacting with a computer comprise the way of the future? What do you think about Windows Mobile 7 (if you do)? What features would you like to see in a Microsoft mobile/phone OS that could lure people away from the iPhone? We invite you to discuss these and other questions related to this topic on our forum at

Follow-up: Welcome to Win7News

Last week marked the debut of this newly branded newsletter, which took the place of VistaNews. I got a few email messages from folks who weren't happy with the change. Some of them were downright plaintive; apparently a few of our Vista users are feeling abandoned. Please don't! We will continue to write about issues relevant to Vista in this newsletter, and you can keep sending your questions about how to do things in Vista. I'll just try to give the answers for both operating systems (when they differ).

Some interesting discussion has arisen around the Windows 7 launch party idea and I have to say that I, too, am disappointed with the fact that Microsoft farmed this out to House Party, Inc. I especially don't like the fact that the site asks for your date of birth - which is prime meat for identity thieves - on a non-secured connection. I have voiced my concerns about this to my connections at Microsoft. I still intend to have a party to introduce my friends and relatives to Windows 7, but I won't be doing it through the HouseParty site (which means, I suppose, I won't get the "official" party favors and the free copy of Windows 7).

One reader mentioned Windows 7 RTM incompatibility with VIPRE. Indeed, when I first installed the RTM, VIPRE gave me constant messages that I needed to reboot. I uninstalled it and installed the new version that Sunbelt very quickly made available. VIPRE is now working great with Win7 RTM on all of my machines. You can download the newest version here and just use the same product key that you used with the previous version:

As always, thanks to all of you who weighed in on this topic.

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

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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

Join the Win7News fan page on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

The trouble with facts is that there are so many of them. - Samuel McChord Crothers

You can't turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again. - Bonnie Prudden

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. - Carl Sagan

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Cool Tools


ExpertPDF 6.0: View, Create, edit and convert any PDF document. Discount for VistaNews readers!
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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.

Search for a driver and you get a ton of Driver Software offers instead. But how do you know which one is good? Try Driver Genious 9.0. Free scan.
Driver Genius Professional 9.0

Advanced Vista Optimizer does a great job tweaking Vista for Max performance.
Advanced Vista Optimizer 2008

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
Your Uninstaller! 2008

Kill the background tasks belonging to (legitimate) software that run all day. Why? To get your speed back! But which ones can I kill? Try this:
The Ultimate Troubleshooter

News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

How to turn Vista into Windows 7

Well, sort of. If you like the Win7 features but not quite enough to pay for an operating system upgrade, there are a number of tweaks you can make and third party applications that you can install on your Vista machine to make it more 7-like. The changes give you a taskbar that works more like the Win7 one, a theme to make the UI look more like 7, and functionality that approximates new Win7 features like Aero Shake and Snap. Read more about how to get this "poor man's Win7" here:

Fix for the PDF preview bug in 64 bit Windows Vista/7

If you've been using the 64 bit version of Vista and/or Windows 7 with Adobe Reader installed, you may have come up against this problem: you can't preview PDF files in Windows Explorer or the Outlook preview pane. How annoying. But now there's a fix. It requires that you edit the registry or use a .reg file that makes the edit for you. Thanks to Ed Bott for pointing out that Leo Davidson has created such a file, and you can find both it and the instructions for doing it manually on his web site at

New Bing feature: Visual Search

Earlier this week, Microsoft added a new feature to the Bing search engine. It's called Visual Search and it's useful for those cases where you just can't find the words ... but you know it when you see it. The idea is that you can do searches using images instead of text. I've often had this problem when trying to look up a particular type of bird I've seen, for instance. It also works well with dog or cat breeds, electronics, automobiles and a number of other things. The Visual Search gallery is still in beta, but it looks like it could morph into an interesting and handy option. Read more about it here:

Try it out yourself here:

SSDs on Desktop PCs

We've seen a number of netbooks with small Solid State Drives, and now HP is planning to release a new business desktop model that features a 64 GB SSD. Solid state storage devices are significantly faster than traditional SATA hard drives - but they're also more expensive. The 6005 Pro will try to give users the best of both worlds, with the OS and programs installed on the SSD and a larger SATA drive for storing data. Read more here:

If you're thinking about going solid state for faster boot and access times, do your homework first. In our experience, not all SSDs are created equal. The Intel models appear to be superior to those of other brands, but their price reflects that.

How to: Using the New Win7 Features

How to adjust UAC settings in Windows 7

User Account Control is still there in Windows 7, but unlike with Vista, you don't have to choose between putting up with its annoyances or turning it off completely. Now you can "have it your way." Here's how to adjust the UAC settings based on your preferences, comfort level and risk environment:
  1. Click Start and type UAC in the Search box.
  2. Click "Change User Account Control Settings"
  3. In the dialog box, you can use the slider control to select from one of four settings: Always notify, Notify only when programs try to make changes, Notify only when programs try to make changes (do not dim my desktop), or Never notify.
  4. Click OK to apply the change.
Note that if you're using Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise or Ultimate, you can also control UAC via the Local Security Policy in Administrative Tools.

Windows Security

Get security help and advice from the Security at Home discussion group

Do you have questions about Windows security issues, but don't know where to get them answered? Have security tips you want to share with others? Turn to the user community for help - join in on the Security at Home discussion group hosted by Microsoft. Take a look at it here:

Facebook Security Q&A

Social networking is becoming more and more popular and we know many of our readers have accounts on Facebook, the largest SN site. As with any technology, some people will try to exploit the site and its applications for nefarious purposes, and there are scams, hacks and other security issues associated with using this or any other social networking site. Facebook has put together a page of questions and answers regarding some common security related issues, so be sure to check it out if you're a member:

Win7 Question Corner

Can I show empty card reader slots in My Computer?

This might seem silly but ... here goes. When I have a USB memory (flash) card reader plugged in on my Windows 7 computer (RTM) it doesn't show up if there's no card inserted. I'm wondering if there is a way to show the card slots (there are three, for different types of cards) even when they're empty. If not, no big deal but it would be nice. Thanks. - Jeff C.

You're in luck - you can indeed configure Windows 7 to show those empty card reader slots. Just click Start | My Computer, then press ALT to show the toolbar (unless you have it set to always display) and then Tools | Folder Options. Click the View tab, and scroll down under Advanced Settings to find the item that says "Hide empty drives in the Computer folder," which is checked by default. Click that box to clear it, click OK, and now you should be able to see those empty drives in My Computer.

Win7 Configuration and Troubleshooting

Configure a Homegroup in Windows 7

You might be wondering: what's a Homegroup? It's a new network entity in Windows 7, like a workgroup but aimed at sharing of pictures, music, recorded TV and the like as well as the traditional file and printer sharing. Setting up a Homegroup is pretty easy: When you set up the network, in the "Select a location" dialog box, choose Home Network, then in the next box, choose to create a homegroup to share libraries and devices in your home. Or you can join a previously created homegroup: click Start | Control Panel | Network and Sharing Center. Under "View your active networks," you'll see any Homegroup that's available for you to join.

The Homegroup is protected by a password, which you need to enter in order to join (much as you have to do to connect to an encrypted wi-fi network). When you belong to a Homegroup, you will be able to share files in the libraries, and Media Player will automatically search the Homegroup for music and add the files to the Media Player library on each Homegroup computer. Find out more and see screenshots here:

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

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 About Win7News

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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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