Thursday, December 17, 2009

Office 2010 Gives Windows 7 a Whole New Outlook

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Vol. 1, # 16 - Dec 17, 2009 - Issue # 16 
 Office 2010 Gives Windows 7 a Whole New Outlook

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Office 2010 Gives Windows 7 a Whole New Outlook
    • Follow-up: Windows 7 Media Streaming
    • Newsletter Holiday Hiatus
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Increase performance of external hard drives
    • Windows 7 on your mobile phone - well, sort of
    • Will Windows 7 bring virtualization to the masses?
    • Motion Detector for Windows Webcams
  4. How to: Using the New Windows 7 Features
    • How to turn off system sounds without muting everything
  5. Windows 7 and Vista Security
    • Security predictions for 2010
  6. Question Corner
    • How can I tell if Crossfire is working with ATI video cards?
  7. Windows 7 Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • How to restore your personal files after a custom installation
    • "Inaccessible boot device" error when you start Windows 7 or Vista after changing the SATA mode
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • PCmover: The Easiest Way to Move Your Old PC Programs and Settings to Windows 7

Kiss Your Antivirus Bloatware Goodbye

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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

Office 2010 Gives Windows 7 a Whole New Outlook

Windows 7 is the latest and greatest Microsoft operating system, but what makes it better? The latest and greatest version of Microsoft's productivity suite, Office 2010. It's also sometimes referred to as Office 14 - even though Office 2007 was "Office 12." Yes, Microsoft skipped unlucky 13. As indicated by its official name, the new Office won't be officially released until next year (Microsoft has just confirmed the target release date as sometime in June). However, if you're one of those folks who likes being on the cutting edge, a public beta is available now, so you can try it out for free. Download the beta from this site:

When you click the "Get it Now" link, you'll be asked whether you're a home/small business/school user or an enterprise/mid-sized business user. If you select the first option, you'll be able to download the following applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. If you choose the second option, you'll be given another two choices, depending on whether you identify yourself as a developer or an IT pro. In addition to the applications mentioned above, you'll also get Access, Publisher, InfoPath, SharePoint Workspace and Communicator.

Office 2010 will run on Windows XP with SP3 (32 bit only), Vista with SP1 (32 or 64 bit) or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit). It can also be installed on Windows Server 2003 R2 or Windows Server 2008 with SP2 (both 32 or 64 bit). This is the first version of Office to come in a 64 bit edition, but note that you can install either the 32 or 64 bit edition on 64 bit Windows (but you can't install the 64 bit edition on 32 bit Windows). Most modern computers far exceed the hardware requirements: 500 MHz or higher processor, 256 MB RAM, and 3.5 GB of available hard disk space.

To get the beta, you'll be asked to sign in with a Windows Live ID. If you have a Hotmail, MSN Messenger or Passport account, you already have one. If not, the sign-in page contains a link to get one. Once you've signed in and provided your information (name, company name, etc.), you'll be given a product key that you can use to activate the beta. Copy it down or print the page so you'll have the key when you need it. Then select whether you want the 32 or 64 bit edition and choose your language (English, Dutch, Spanish, French, Japanese, Simplified or Traditional Chinese).

You'll have to install the Download Manager software if you don't already have it. Then pick a place to save the executable. By default, it wanted to save in my Office 12 folder, which was not where I wanted it. The file size is 749.87 MB so it may take a while to download, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. On my FiOS connection, it downloaded in about 7 minutes.

Now here's a little "gotcha." If you already have Office 2007 installed, you won't be able to install Office 2010 64 bit unless you first completely remove the Office 2007 applications. I have been using the Office 2010 Technical Preview in a virtual machine for the past several months, but now that the beta is out, I wanted to experience it on my "real" computer - so I crossed my fingers, knocked on wood, created a system image backup, and uninstalled Office 2007. Then I installed the 64 bit Office 2010 beta.

A few minutes later, the installation completed and I had the new Office programs in my Start menu. Since email is my personal killer app, the first one that I opened was Outlook. I was a little surprised to find that my profile had been retained even though I uninstalled Office 2007. I didn't have to set up my accounts again; all of my mail was just there. So were my signatures and most of my other settings.

There were a few things that I had to reconfigure. It didn't keep my preferred Office color scheme (black). More annoying was the fact that after I deleted a message in my Inbox, instead of displaying the next message in the list in the Preview pane, as I was used to with Office 2007 and with the Technical Preview, I had to explicitly click that next message to see it. Although this new default is a good security measure if you don't have anti-virus software that scans email messages, it also slows you down when you're going through a bunch of mail messages. After a little hunting trip, I located the setting to change this: Click File | Options | Mail and scroll all the way to the bottom, under Other. Then where it says "After moving or deleting an open item," you can select "Open the next item" or "open the previous item."

Outlook is arguably the most changed of the Office applications this time around. So what's new and cool in Outlook 2010? I think my favorite is the Quick Steps feature. This allows me to create a custom button on the tool bar to perform a sequence of actions. A simple example: I often forward messages to my husband. Ordinarily, that would mean clicking Forward, typing his name in the "To" field, and clicking Send. With a Quick Step button that I named "To Tom," when I have a message I want to forward to him, I only have to click that one button.

Another really handy feature is the Ignore button. This is great if you subscribe to mailing lists where members sometimes get into long discussions in which you have no interest. The Ignore button lets you automatically move both current and future messages in that conversation to the Deleted Items folder without having to see them. Unfortunately, this feature is disabled if you're connected to Exchange 2007 or earlier.

There are a few things that aren't so great. I like the idea of the conversations view but I wish you were given the option to arrange purely by date without the conversations. The conversation arrangement does take a little getting used to, but it does save you a lot of time if you need to backtrack a discussion that includes several messages. However, it doesn't always get it right - if you have totally unrelated messages with the same subject line, they still get lumped together as a "conversation." That can be annoying. I'd like to be able to right click a message that doesn't belong in the conversation and remove it. Note that you can move a message out of the conversation by dragging it to a different folder.

The only other real complaint that I have is that once in a while, the selected message goes back to the top (I like to arrange my messages with the oldest on top) for no reason. I'm hoping that's just a bug in the beta. It doesn't happen often, but it's annoying when it does. I also had Outlook stop responding and have to restart one time. Rendering of HTML messages is a bit slower than in Outlook 2007, as well. I expect these types of problems to be fixed in the final release.

All in all, I like the new Outlook a lot, and I'm not using it exclusively on my main work machine. If you don't want to put up with a few beta glitches, you may want to wait for the final release, but it's already very functional and I look forward to it getting even better. In a future newsletter, I'll discuss some of the other new Office applications. I'll also be writing, later, about the free Office Web Apps that will provide stripped down "cloud" versions of Office programs with which you can edit documents stored on SharePoint or SkyDrive.

Meanwhile, if you're still using Outlook 2007, you might want to check out the Best Practices Guide on the Microsoft web site, to help you optimize it for the most efficient way to work with your email, appointments, tasks and contacts.

Now tell us what you think. Have you tried the Office 2010 beta? What do you like? What don't you like? Will you upgrade when it comes out or is your current version of Office good enough? Or are you using a different office productivity solution such as Open Office or Google Apps? Are you planning to switch from "paid" Office to Microsoft Office Web Applications? Why did you make that choice? Would you make the same choice if price were not a factor? Whatever office solution you're using, what's on your wish list? What features would you like to have that you don't? Please let us know your opinions in the forum at

Follow-up: Windows 7 Media Streaming

Last week's editorial was all about the new media streaming features in Windows 7. That inspired some great discussion on the forum with an excellent, detailed post by DavidW about how to get the best sound quality from PC files that every aspiring audiophile should check out, and a great deal of back-and-forth that wanders far afield of the Windows 7 topic but will be fascinating to audio buffs. Thanks for all of the information and opinions, guys!

Newsletter Holiday Hiatus

Due to the holidays, we will not be publishing WXPnews or Win7News for the next two weeks. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and we'll see you back here in January!

'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

Look for the Win7News fan page on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

"If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don't hoard it. Don't dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke." - Brendan Francis

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." - George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

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Cool Tools


20 Free PC Performance Reports. The World's Most Comprehensive PC Health Scan is Free

PCmover: The Easiest Way to Move Your Old PC Programs and Settings to Windows 7

Do a 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 Win7News 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

Increase performance of external hard drives

USB hard drives have become increasingly popular; after all, it's much easier to plug a drive into a port on the back of your computer than to open up the case and install an internal drive. The problem is that sometimes performance isn't so great. But there are steps you can take to speed up the performance of that USB drive in both Vista and Windows 7. Find out more here:

Windows 7 on your mobile phone - well, sort of

If you like the look of the Windows 7 interface, you can get that same look for your Windows Mobile smart phone, with this Win7 theme that has the look and feel of your desktop OS - even the Aero glass effect. See screen shots and download instructions here:

Got a Nokia smart phone instead of WinMo? There's a theme for that, too:

Will Windows 7 bring virtualization to the masses?

Many of us have been using virtual machine software for many years, to run multiple logical computers on a single physical computer. Now, with Windows 7's "XP Mode," many folks who never used it before will be exposed to virtualization. ComputerWorld asks if that is likely to cause a "boom" in the desktop virtualization space. Maybe, maybe not. One obstacle is that XP Mode is only available for Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. Does that mean most home users who didn't already use it won't be using it now? Read more about the subject here:

Motion Detector for Windows Webcams

Here is a very cool, free application that you can run to enhance your security web cam. Motion Detector turns it into a surveillance camera that senses motion and starts recording (either still photos or video). You can adjust the sensitivity, to prevent unnecessary triggering of the motion sensor. You can read about it and find a link to the download site here:

How to: Using the New Windows 7 Features

How to turn off system sounds without muting everything

Thanks to Windows 7 Inside Out for the following tip: There may be times when you want your computer to just shut up - you don't want to hear sounds when you start up, receive email, get an instant message, etc. You could just mute your speakers, but then you couldn't listen to music or hear the audio when you play a video file. The answer is to temporarily change the Windows sound scheme. Here's how:
  1. Right click the desktop
  2. Select Personalize
  3. Click Sounds at the bottom of the window
  4. On the Sounds tab, click the down arrow under "Sound Scheme" and choose "No Sounds"
  5. Click OK
  6. If you only want to turn off sound for specific events (such as email), you can do that, too. Under "Program Events," scroll down to the event you want to silence (New Mail Notification), highlight it, then under "Sounds" at the bottom, click the down arrow and select "(None)."

Windows 7 and Vista Security

Security predictions for 2010

The end of a year and the approach of a new one always bring the closet psychics out of the woodwork, and it's always especially interesting to see what the experts say will be the directions that computer security will take over the next year. From scareware and ransomware to reputation-based security to attacks on online games to application whitelisting, Larry Seltzer has collected some of the best (or at least the most interesting) predictions from security vendors such as Fortinet, Symantec and F-Secure. Read about them here:

Question Corner

How can I tell if Crossfire is working with ATI video cards?

I have a Windows 7 computer that I put together, with two Radeon 5770 video cards. In the ATI catalyst program, it only shows one video card. Is there a way I can tell if both cards are working and if Crossfire is working? Thanks! - Josh L.

I've found a great little utility for getting all sorts of information about your video card(s), both ATI and NVIDIA. It's called GPU-Z and it tells you such info as the die size and technology used, the BIOS version, type of interface, version of DirectX supported, memory type and size, GPU clock speed and whether Crossfire is enabled or disabled. There's also a sensor that tells you the GPU temperatures. It will install on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7. The latest version is 0.3.8, updated December 1, 2009 and you can download it here:

Windows 7 Configuration and Troubleshooting

How to restore your personal files after a custom installation

You've performed a custom installation of Windows 7 (or Vista) instead of doing an in-place upgrade. The installation process kept your personal files in a folder called Windows.old. Now how do you retrieve them and move them into your new installation of Windows? You'll find step-by-step instructions in KB 932912 at

"Inaccessible boot device" error when you start Windows 7 or Vista after changing the SATA mode

If you change the SATA mode of one of your hard drives in the BIOS, so it will use the AHCI specification, you might find that after you restart the computer you get an error message that says "inaccessible boot device." That happens if the drive you changed was your boot drive and the AHCI driver is disabled. You need to enable this driver before you make the BIOS change. To find out how to resolve the issue, see KB article 922976 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

PCmover: The Easiest Way to Move Your Old PC Programs and Settings to Windows 7

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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.