Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reach Out and Touch Windows 7

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

Vol. 1, # 6 - Oct 15, 2009 - Issue # 6 
 Reach Out and Touch Windows 7

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Reach Out and Touch Windows 7
    • Follow-up: A New Way to Navigate
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Windows 7 Party Pack Unboxed
    • Windows Mobile 7: Sooner than we Thought?
    • Does Windows 7 need a universal updater?
    • Will Windows 8 support 128 bit architecture?
    • Most common password
  4. How to: Using the New Win7 Features
    • Add link to search the Internet from the Windows 7 Start menu
  5. Windows Security
  6. Win7 Question Corner
    • How do I get my Windows 7 computer on the network?
  7. Win7 Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • How to configure a program to run under a different user account
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • Print Screen Deluxe

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:

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Editor's Corner

Reach Out and Touch Windows 7

Back in the December 6, 2007 edition of VistaNews, I wrote about our HP TouchSmart IQ775 "kitchen computer." Tom and I were both impressed with the ability to open and close windows, move objects, etc. using the touchscreen instead of the mouse. It came with Vista, and a while back we upgraded it to Windows 7 RTM. However, back before the upgrade it had already started having some problems - periodically crashing (not the traditional blue screen but the colorful rainbow hued look of a hardware-based video problem). A format and clean OS install didn't help. We hadn't really expected that it would, but figured it was worth a try.

In addition to the crashes, it's a fairly early model and doesn't support multi-touch, something we really wanted to try in Windows 7. And finally, the 19 inch monitor, although adequate, is a little small for one of the purposes for which we use it - to watch TV through Windows Media Center while we're cooking. All of this added up to a great excuse to update to an IQ800 series TouchSmart - especially when we got a special deal on it from HP that shaved several hundred dollars off the regular price.

So our new kitchen computer arrived last Saturday (only five days after we placed the order) and it's a beauty. It's both bigger - with a gorgeous 25.5 inch screen - and smaller, with a super thin form factor that doesn't include the clunky base that the earlier model had. The keyboard is wafer thin (reminds me of a Macbook Air) but still surprisingly easy to type on. Setting it up and getting everything plugged in took only a few minutes.

Since Windows 7 won't be released until October 22, this one came with Vista, so the first thing I did was upgrade it to Windows 7. With 4 GB of RAM, an Intel dual core processor and a 640 GB hard drive, the specs are more than enough to run 64 bit Windows. I was pleased to find that I was able to do an in-place upgrade from Vista Home Premium x64 to Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with no problems. The upgrade proceeded smoothly and the only things that didn't work afterward were a couple of the HP games, Bejeweled and Chuze. We don't play the games anyway, so that was no big loss. And the setup program warned me ahead of time that those applications might not work.

The design does a good job of fitting everything into such a sleek package. There is a slot-type DVD drive on the right side, along with a hard drive light (I wish they had put the light on the front, so it would be easier to see when there's drive activity, but I'm guessing the thought was that it might be disruptive when watching full screen videos or TV). There's also a FireWire/IEEE 1394 port. On the left side is a memory card reader. It supports SD/SDHC, MMC and Memory Stick, but I was disappointed to see that there's no support for CF cards, since I use a Nikon pro-level digital camera that uses CF. Also on the left side are the headphone jack, audio line-in jack and two USB 2.0 ports. There are three more USB 2.0 ports on the back. The whole thing has a sturdy leg on the back to stand it up at a 10 to 40 degree angle, or it's wall mountable if you prefer to use it that way. There's an Ethernet jack for the gigabit Ethernet card as well as a built-in 802.11b/g/n wi-fi adapter. It also has a Bluetooth adapter, making it easy to pair up with BT headsets or a BT smart phone. And there's an SPDIF out jack to connect the computer to a home theater or audio system, as well as an S-video in jack for connecting a set-top box or analog video camera.

The display is very nice, with 1920 x 1200 resolution, and can display full 1080p high definition video. The built in stereo speakers sound pretty good, but you can also connect external speakers if you prefer. There is only one tuner card, which means you can only record one program at a time, but it does support clear QAM. You can add an external USB tuner if you want to be able to record a second program or watch live TV on one channel while recording another.

There is a built-in webcam and microphone array. After installing Windows 7, we had to reconfigure the array as the default microphone in the sound settings. The mic's range is only about two feet, but if you're using the touch interface, you're probably going to be close to the screen. The webcam's picture quality is average; not as good as my Logitech Pro 9000 but better than most built-in laptop webcams and the low-cost snap-ons I've used.

There is a Pocket Media Drive bay, into which you can pop an HP Pocket Media drive. This is a small portable hard drive you can use to transfer files from one HP computer to another. Our main Media Center tower PC also has a bay. At around $100 for 160GB, the drives are relatively expensive, but the convenience factor is high as is the aesthetic appeal - no dangling USB cables are involved.

The skinny keyboard has a handy sleep button, as well as media controls (stop, play, fast forward, and so forth) and a rocker style volume control in addition to the usual Windows keyboard keys. A Media Center remote control is included, as are an infrared emitter to hook up a cable company set-top box, a Y-audio cable to connect sound input from an external audio source, and even a cleaning cloth to clean the screen (which you will be using frequently).

The custom HP TouchSmart interface has been completely revamped to take advantage of the multi-touch capabilities, so that you can do the pinch and other multi-finger gestures to zoom and resize, double finger swipe to scroll, etc. It takes a little practice to get the moves right, but once you do, it's a very cool and intuitive way to work, especially when dealing with photos.

The new HP overlay interface (which you can get to via an icon on the desktop or a hardware button on the front of the monitor) also includes a much more functional calendar (which can be synchronized with Windows calendar in Vista or with your Google calendar, but unfortunately not with Outlook), an enhanced Notes app that supports multi-touch gestures, Photo, Videos and Music apps, and integration with more applications than before. Curiously, however, they did not include a link to Windows Media Center (although you can always start it by pushing the Big Green Button on the remote control). Another minor gripe is that the TouchSmart Photo, Video and Music apps only give you access to media on the computer's hard drive, not to shared media on other computers on the network. Of course, you can access those through Windows Media Center or the Windows 7 libraries.

Software that comes with the computer includes CyberLink DVD suite that includes CD/DVD recording software, YouCam video capture and editing software, PowerDirector for making movies, and LabelPrint for printing labels directly on a disc. There is a nice 60 page "Getting Started" booklet that covers most setup issues and answers questions on how to perform basic tasks with the HP software.

All in all, we're happy with the new addition to the family, and you can see some photos of it in my blog at

Have you thought about investing in a touchscreen computer or do you already have one? Do you plan to take advantage of big savings on current models or wait until the new models come out with Windows 7 pre-installed? What do you think of the touchscreen experience vs. the traditional keyboard-and-mouse way of inputting information? If you have a TouchSmart, do you like the HP interface or do you prefer to just use the regular Windows 7 interface to access your media? What types of applications would you like to see that take advantage of touch technology? We invite you to discuss this topic in the forums at

Follow-up: A New Way to Navigate

In last week's editorial, readers got two for the price of one as I talked about new ways to navigate in Windows 7 and did a review of my favorite (so far) Windows 7 "fat book."

I'm with Davewolfgang, after reading through all the complaints in the forum about the Windows 7 libraries. It's not as if you can't continue to click through all those layers of the file system to get to your files if, for some reason, you want to do it that way. The file structure in Explorer is exactly the same. Libraries in no way take away your ability to know where your files are "really located" nor do they impact your ability to back up your data. They just give you a way to get to those files much more quickly and intuitively if you want to.

How is Microsoft "changing things just for the sake of changing things" when they didn't change things? They just added things, giving you more options. If you don't want to take advantage of them, that's okay. But I'll bet you that I can find the file I'm looking for, using all my options, more quickly than you can by clicking through folders and subfolders all over the hard drive and network.

Thanks to all of you who wrote this week!

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

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Quotes of the Week

When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. - Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker. - Charles M. Schulz (1922 - 2000)

Remember that nobody will ever get ahead of you as long as he's kicking you in the seat of the pants. - Walter Winchell (1897 - 1972)

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Cool Tools


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 Genius 9.0. Free scan.

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

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.

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

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! But which ones can I kill? Try this:

News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Windows 7 Party Pack Unboxed

Those of us who were selected to host the Windows 7 launch parties have begun receiving our official party packs. Mine came last Monday and I was eager to open it up and see what was inside. If you're curious too, you can find out about the contents and see screenshots in my Amazon End User blog post at

Windows Mobile 7: Sooner than we Thought?

In last month's editorial, "Is 7 Microsoft's Lucky Number," I mentioned that all the rumors indicated at that time that the next version of Microsoft's handheld/phone OS, Windows Mobile 7, would be released "sometime in 2010." The latest reports, based on a leaked slide and comments from some folks in the industry, is that it's likely to happen earlier rather than later, with WM 7 going RTM in the spring. That does present a dilemma for some of us. Should I get a new Omnia II phone when it comes out (supposedly in the next few weeks) or wait a few months? The Omnia II will support WM 6.5 but will it support WM 7? It would be nice to have a little more info, but it's trickling out at an excruciatingly slow rate. Here's more about the WM 7 release:

Does Windows 7 need a universal updater?

Do you get exasperated with all the individual application updaters that run on your computer? You probably have update programs for Java, Adobe, your anti-virus program, Dell, HP, Sony or whatever hardware vendor made your system, and more. Often you get updates that you don't even need. This article suggests a universal updater that would let you control what apps get updated and when and how. I rather like the idea. What do you think?

Will Windows 8 support 128 bit architecture?

Many folks haven't even upgraded yet from 32 bit to 64 bit computing, and now we're hearing that Microsoft may be building 128 bit compatibility into the next version(s) of Windows. However, apparently it was supposed to be a big secret - until a senior researcher at Microsoft (inadvertently?) let the cat out of the bag with a post on his LinkedIn profile. Find out more here:

Most common password

If your password is 123456, you're not alone. A recent examination of 10,000 stolen and published passwords for Hotmail email accounts revealed that was the most common of the lot, with 64 people using it. More disturbing, only 6 percent of the passwords showed an attempt to set a strong password by mixing alpha- numeric and other characters, and many of them used people's names as the password. Read more here:

How to: Using the New Win7 Features

Add link to search the Internet from the Windows 7 Start menu

In Vista, you could search the Internet from the Start menu's Search box. You can add this same functionality to Windows 7, if you're using the Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate edition, by editing the local group policy. Here's how:
  1. Click Start and in the Search box, type gpedit.msc
  2. At the UAC prompt, click Yes
  3. In the left pane of the Local Group Policy editor, click to expand User Configuration, then Administrative Templates, then click Start Menu and Taskbar.
  4. In the right pane, right click Add Search Internet Link to Start Menu.
  5. Click Edit
  6. Click the option button Enable
  7. Click OK
  8. Close the Local Group Policy editor

Windows Security

October 13 Patch Tuesday includes security updates for Windows 7 RTM If you're running the RTM of Windows 7, be aware that this month's slew of security updates (thirteen in all) includes five that affect Win7 RTM, both 32- and 64-bit editions. However, only one of these is rated critical and it applies to IE 8. These are the first security updates released for Windows 7 RTM. Read more here:

Win7 Question Corner

How do I get my Windows 7 computer on the network?

I have a laptop computer with Windows 7 RC installed. I connected it to my home network with a wireless connection (my other two XP computers are connected, one wireless and one with Ethernet cable and they can see each other). I can get on the Internet so I know the Windows 7 computer is connected, but my XP computers can't see it and I can't get the XP computers to see the printer that's attached to the laptop. How do I get it on the network so the other computers can share files with it? Thanks. - Jim H.

The first thing to check is whether Network Discovery is turned on in your Windows 7 computer because you won't be able to see other computers on the network if it's turned off, and they won't be able to see yours. You also need to enable file and printer sharing if you want In Control Panel, go to the Network and Sharing Center. Click Change Advanced Sharing Settings. Now click "Turn on network discovery" and "Turn on file and printer sharing." If you want others to be able to access the files in the Public folders on the Windows 7 machine, also click "Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can read and write files in the Public folders." If you don't want everyone else on the network to be able to access the public shares, turn on password protected sharing. Then you can set a password and others will have to enter it to access the public shares from one of the other computers.

Win7 Configuration and Troubleshooting

How to configure a program to run under a different user account

If you're moving to Windows 7 from XP, you might wonder what happened to the "Run as" option. It's no longer there in the right click menu for a program, but you can still use it at the command line to run a program under a different user account. Here's how:
  1. Click Start and type cmd to open the command prompt window
  2. Type runas /user: username programname
  3. You'll be prompted to enter the password for the user account you specified

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

Print Screen Deluxe

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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.