Fingerprint Problems in Windows


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My finger is very secure! It’s attached to my body. However, PC PitStop community member Bob isn’t so sure his fingers are secure. He wrote in to ask about fingerprint sensor on his laptop. He’s been having trouble with them since updating from Vista to Windows 7.

Hopefully Bob ran Microsoft’s Upgrade Advisor. That will tell you whether or not a driver is avaiable for the fingerprint scanner to work inside of Windows 7. Just because it ran fine on Vista doesn’t mean it will run on Windows 7. Sometimes, drivers are poorly written – or not updated at all.

The bottom line is that Bob will need to contact the laptop manufacturer and find out where he can get an updated driver for his fingerprint scanner. If there isn’t one available, he may have to roll back to Windows Vista (*shudder*) if he really wants to use the fingerprint scanner.

Sadly, there’s no magic answer here. Bob needs a driver. The hardware worked perfectly in Vista, but stopped as soon as he upgraded the operating system. To me, that points a big red arrow right to the drivers.

Bob, check with the manufacturer of your laptop. You can even log on to their website, and look for drivers there, without having to call them. Most reputable manufacturers will have a section devoted to the most up-to-date drivers that are available.

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Microsoft History


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Community member Scott emailed me recently to ask for my help with a documentary he is creating about Microsoft. He knows that I’ve been using Microsoft since the days of DOS, and wanted to get my thoughts on a few questions he had. Not only did I agree to answer them in this video… I want YOUR opinions, as well. Go ahead and leave a follow-up comment with your answers to the questions that Scott asked. It will be interesting to see what everyone thinks, and how our opinions on the matters vary.

  • How do you think that Microsoft changed the way that computing was made simpler for the average user? – Back in the day, it wasn’t easy to use a computer. It was very confusing, actually. If you knew something was DOS or Windows compatible, it was a load off your mind. You knew it would work on your system. Despite any type of business practices that I may not agree with, I have to give props to Microsoft for uniting the industry. If you bought a PC, you knew it would be compatible, and there would be a ton of software available wherever you went. It was also a great opportunity for developers. If Microsoft hadn’t taken the lead in that capacity, someone else would have.
  • How did Microsoft make it possible for most people to own a computer and be able to use it without advanced knowledge? – DoS wasn’t easy, and neither were the old Apple systems. Microsoft has never actually created a computer. They created an operating system, that could run on any computer. I always laugh when people compare Microsoft to Apple in that respect. They are nothing alike! Apple would be more comparable to a company such as Dell or HP. There may be Microsoft-branded hardware, but there has never been a Microsoft computer. Therefore, you cannot fairly compare Microsoft to Apple! You can compare their respective operating systems, yes. Microsoft was the first to make an operating system be user-friendly. Most of them are these days, but that wasn’t always the case. Microsoft, back in the day, made it possible for any average Joe (pun intended, Dad!) to sit down and be able to use a computer in their home without any training.
  • Going through the history of operating systems, what has improved from DOS to Windows 7 that impacted society today? – You really can’t get along without a computer these days, whether it’s in your pocket or a desktop. To think that you could get a job these days without knowing how to use something like Word or Excel is laughable to me. By making a home computer more affordable, Microsoft opened up the opportunities for developers and regular users alike. If it weren’t for Microsoft, we’d likely be a lot further behind than what we are these days.

I think that the Internet itself has done more to impact our society than even Microsoft. The Internet snuck up on Microsoft and surprised them. Back in the day when Windows 95 shipped, it didn’t ship with a web browser. You had to upgrade to a plus pack, or buy Netscape off the shelf. It was crazy!

Overall, Microsoft has become less invasive and more pervasive. When you buy a computer today, you know it’s going to work. You know it’s going to allow you to do the things that you want and need to do. The computer is not an appliance these days, it’s an appliance. It’s inclusive in terms of its place inside our lives, giving us the ability to do things that we’d never have been able to do otherwise.

Thanks, Scott, for the questions and for making me sit and really think about some of these things.

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Who Loves Windows Vista?


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During a recent live call, Charles nearly knocked me out of my chair when he proclaimed that he LOVES Windows Vista. I was honestly shocked, especially since the calls were supposed to be about Windows 7. Charles stated emphatically that he never had issues with Vista, and that it actually just worked for him. He fully admits that he may be the only person in his entire town – or state! – who feels this way. We did, of course, end up discussing his views on Windows 7, and about Microsoft in general.

I feel that Windows Vista was, of course, one of the worst things to happen to Microsoft. Also, of course, the iPhone was bad for Microsoft, as well. The iPhone has been probably the most sought-after gadget in recent years, which only enhances Microsoft’s lackluster products. Even people at Microsoft have admitted that Vista wasnt’ fully baked, so how was the public supposed to like it?

Charles actually liked the fact that there were five different versions of Vista. He didn’t want to pay for features he wasn’t interested in. However, I don’t feel that languages should have been part of any type of upgrade, such as in the Ultimate edition. It should be built right in to the operating system as a core component!! Having so many different versions of one operating system creates confusion amongst the public, at least in my opinion. People who don’t know better automatically assume that they need the best they can afford, whether they truly need those additional features or not. That’s just not always the case. Often, they end up having paid for things that they never end up using.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel Microsoft is consumer-friendly, and that there should be many different versions of each Windows release? Or are you thinking what I’m thinking…

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How to Disable the UAC in Windows Vista


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Recently I threw down the gauntlet, asking all of you to submit your best screencasts. I plan to highlight the best of the best here in my channel, and help promote yours. Dylan has sent a few in to us now, and they’re fantastic. This particular screencast is going to help you quickly and easily turn off the UAC in Vista.

The first way that Dylan shows us to disable the UAC is to go into your control panel, and select “User Accounts and Family Safety”. Then go to “Add or Remove User Accounts”. Highlight your account so that it’s selected. You’ll see an option at the bottom that says “Go to the Main User Accounts Page”. Select that, and at the bottom of that screen, you’ll see where it says “Turn the User Account Control On or Off”. Choose that, and uncheck the box. You’ll then need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

For more advanced users who are comfortable when using msconfig, you can use this method, instead. Go to your Start menu, and type msconfig in the search box so that it will open that up. Once in msconfig, click on the “Tools” tab. Scroll down until you see where it says “Disable UAC”. Click the “Launch” button, and another small box will pop up telling you the operation was completed successfully. Close that little box, click OK in msconfig, and close everything. Reboot your computer, and you’re finished!

See how easy that was? Thanks much to Dylan for providing us with this screencast. Keep them coming, everyone! Who knows – you could be featured next.

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What Does Windows 7 Bring to the Table?


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During live calls recently, the main topic of discussion was Windows 7. Ross was happy to get through, and immediately asked what he felt I think Windows 7 brings to the table for an average or intermediate computer user. I have my own opinions, of course. I’m interested in seeing what all of YOU think. So, let’s hear it!

I feel there are a variety of features that Windows 7 brings to the table. The most prominent ones are the taskbar and Start Menu changes. Those are excellent, for sure. Some people are complaining about them, of course, wishing they were more like very old versions of Windows. Personally, I think it’s about time they were so different! Functionality-wise, everything works very well on these.

I feel there is an epic UI fail, but that’s just me. Maybe it’s because I’m anal-retentive? Do you think? But I just don’t like that the popup menu where it shows recent programs has huge gaps between the program names. However, the normal “all programs” menu is missing those gaps. That just bugs me, but I’ll survive.

Ross also wanted to let all college students know that if you go to Win741 and use a college.edu email address – you can buy Windows 7 Home Premium for only $29.99! That’s official folks, and one heck of a great deal for students!

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