Tag Archives: vista

How Much Computer Memory Does Windows Need?


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I guess I need more memory, since I keep forgetting my own name! Sadly, I can’t just buy and install some in my brain. The question that Lynn sent in to PCPitStop is centered around the amount of memory her computer has. She purchased a computer with 128MB of memory, which is running Vista. The store clerks keep telling her she needs more RAM, but she is wondering if they are just trying to get her to spend more money.

I’m not sure how she even bought a computer with only 128MB of RAM installed. I honestly don’t think that’s totally correct, but I have been known to be wrong before. She mentions that the computer isn’t heavily used – it’s mainly a web browsing/email machine. Even so, I’m fairly sure that Vista won’t even run on that amount of memory.

No matter – whatever amount you have is fine, as long as the machine is running ok. If it’s working to your satisfaction – don’t change a thing. If you feel it is draggy, slow to respond or do things… then by all means, look into upping the amount of memory you have.

Vista will run optimally with 2GB of memory. Keep in mind that memory isn’t where you store files and folders… that’s the hard drive. The memory is where things happen, such as opening a program. When you click a program, the pc takes it and throws it into the memory. Poof! It then opens.

If you’re happy with the way everything runs, then leave it alone. Don’t tempt fate. I never recommend that! At some point in the future when things feel sluggish, you may want to check out Windows 7. It runs a heck of a lot faster than Vista. For the money… it’s a better operating system.

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Can a Windows Vista PC Run Windows XP Instead?


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They say that when God closes a door, he makes you use Windows. Of course, it depends on what kind of God you have as to what version he makes you use. My God would make you use Windows 7. Your God may not be so nice, and make you use Windows Vista. We have to deal with Windows, even if we don’t use it on a regular basis. Michael from the PCPitStop community wrote in asking about using Windows XP on his Vista machine. Michael says that his Acer machine currently runs Windows Vista, but he prefers to use XP Pro. He says he ‘knows’ that the operating system is burned onto the HDD, and so he thinks he’ll have to change the HDD.

Michael – this isn’t going to be as difficult as you imagine it will be. It is quite possible to change from Vista to XP on a computer. You may run into snags relating to drivers, and will have to try and find compatible ones. Be aware that some of your hardware may not have drivers for XP – meaning that a switch back to XP would be impossible.

The operating system isn’t burnt into the hard drive. It can be taken off (wiped clean) and another operating system can be placed right onto the hard drive you already have. You could alternately set yourself up with a dual-boot, running both XP and Vista.

Theoretically, yes.. you can do what you’re asking. Practically, you may want to check with your hardware manufacturers (or even Acer) websites to make sure that they have drivers available for XP. Watch out for it, because that’s the one thing that could hurt you the most.

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What’s New in Windows 7: A Lot!!

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Yes, I’m now running Windows 7 on my HP TouchSmart PC, instead of using Vista. I knew that the Beta had been released, after hundreds of you had come pouring into our chat room asking if I had used it yet – and what I thought of it. I gotta say – so far it’s running very well!

I wasn’t able to get Windows 7 to recognize all of the hardware. I had to install it twice. The first time, it wouldn’t really work well. The second time, I did the same thing and it worked great. The only thing I cannot get to work still is the multi-touch feature of the TouchSmart. I was surprised to see that things I hadn’t expected to change have done so – and for the better! A lot more features have been fleshed out.

There are a few things I think will plague Windows for all of eternity. Once again, this version of Windows is chock full of the Tahoma font. For that reason alone, I could never think of any version of Windows as more than a Beta. I just can’t stand to have to look at it! I don’t think any self-respecting designer would release an operating system that had the use of MS Sans Seriff Tahoma throughout the UI. It’s kind of sloppy in my book.

However, if you can look past something like this, then Windows 7 will likely be an excellent upgrade for you. It’s definitely a lot faster than Vista. There isn’t any lag at all when doing a search from within the start menu or elsewhere on the system. When I plug in a USB device, it is recognized immediately.

A lot of the things that I appreciate are the things that they’ve seen through. A lot of what we saw added into Vista were taken out even more. They’ve added even more functionality without overwhelming the users. If you’re a power user, my recommendation is that you download Windows 7 Beta and give it a shot. I don’t know that I’d use this yet as your primary system, but it’s definitely worth trying.

I do plan to do a small series on Windows 7, to prepare people for what they’ll see. I am going to focus small videos on things that I have found within this new operating system that I already like. Windows 7 isn’t enough to make me want to “switch back” and away from Mac OS X. But I do like it, yes. It’s an excellent experience so far, and I know many of you are going to be happy with it. It feels so much more complete than Vista – it feels like what Vista should have been. There isn’t a lot of “wow” factor, but they have taken a lot of time to develop features that are important.

If you want to send feedback to Microsoft, you can download the Beta. Inside of every window, there is a direct feedback link. You can give it a star ranking, type in your feedback, and more. Allegedly, Microsoft will be taking a serious look at everything you have to say.

Keep in mind, you will likely run into issues as you begin to use Windows 7. Remember – you’re using a Beta, not a final release! Identifying and fixing bugs and issues is what a Beta is all about. Let me know what your experience is like so far – both positive and negative. If you have excellent tips and tricks already, let us hear from you!

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How Community Works: Past, Present, and Future

The following is a partial transcript of my presentation at Macworld. For full effect, you might just press play on this embedded video on How Community Works: Past, Present, and Future.

How Community Works: Past, Present, and Future

I’ve been a geek for much of my 35 years on this Earth. Most of my life I spent as a Windows user. Yes, I know, and I’m sorry. Don’t worry, since I’ve obviously seen the light to a better path now. It took a long time, and there were actually three key things that led me to throw myself deeper into the Apple community:

  • Apple switching to the Intel platform
  • Leopard
  • Vista

You could say that in the past, I was a person who championed the idea of software on the Windows platform. I was a community leader of sorts, writing a lot of material primarily relating to Windows. When Vista’s Beta 2 began to ship, I met Jim Allchin in person at a Blogger’s Roundtable. He told me specifically that he wanted my honest feedback. So – I gave it to him. My post Windows Vista Feedback listed more than 100 issues that I had with Vista. Little things bothered me, such as the developers using three different fonts in the same window. I was cast out of the Windows community because they said “Who cares?!”. Well, I DID care. I DO still care. To make that long story much shorter: one of my most prized possessions is a DVD of Windows Vista Beta 2, autographed by Jim Allchin. Under his name her wrote: “I’m sorry”.

Community is Already There, Inside Everyone.

The idea of community… of belonging… is everywhere, including inside of you. You are a walking Venn diagram. Think of circles that sometimes intersect with one another. You are a part of many various communities. I live in Seattle, so I belong to that community. I’m now a Mac user, so I’m part of that community as well. There are others who both live in Seattle, and use a Mac. There may even be another layer of people who own a Tenori-On. The idea of community intersects – it flows in between us all. This idea goes with you. It may be odd to think about, since the Internet is set up in silos. You have to say you’re someone’s friend on one website, and then again on another, and yet again on another! It’s unintuitive, and very non-user-centric, this idea of community.

Community isn’t about a Company – It’s about a Culture.

Years ago, I read the Cluetrain Manifesto, and the revelation came to me. The book is based on the idea that markets are conversations. Given the news that Apple will no longer be participating in Macworld, it makes me realize more that this is about the culture, but not necessarily the company. Most of you are disappointed in the news. I am not really surprised by it. To me, this is less about the company, and more about the culture… and the people you connect with. Hopefully you’ve made good connections here. That’s my favorite part of going to events like this. If given a choice between an event like this where I know I’ll share a common bond and some hoity-toity “other” conference… I’m choosing this every time. Making those connections, and spending time with people who want to be here, instead of being told they have to be, is invaluable to me. It doesn’t matter how large a trade-show floor is. A conference is all about the value of the connections you make with people.

Community is Becoming Increasingly Distributed.

This idea of community online used to exist in silos, but those walls are starting to be broken down; the idea of being able to connect with someone on one site and know that you are going to be able to connect with them everywhere else. There are people that know me, just as there a lot of people who DON’T know me. That’s fine. The people that do know me, don’t have to know me through a certain website to connect with me. They don’t have to go to website XYZ to get to know me – I bring that community with me. So if I’m on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, MySpace… if I know someone on one, they are as much of a friend on the others. Community no longer exists in only one place. It’s everywhere – omnipresent. You bring those relationships with you, whether you are visiting another website, or you are actually meeting people in person, in “meatspace.”

Community Requires Tools that Can’t be Built.

People ask me all the time what I use to build a community. It’s impossible to pinpoint this. A community isn’t something that you just create by installing something. It doesn’t happen that way. The best community tools are ones that cannot be built. It exists in your heart, and extends from there. From your heart, it goes to your mind, then your mouth, and potentially to your fingers (depending on how you are communicating). The idea of putting something in front of a group of people and just expecting things to happen is asinine. I’ve seen people over and over cry out “I started a forum, but no one is joining!”. Well, gee – it’s not like they started the only forum dedicated to whatever it was. What makes one stand out over another? It’s all about what is in your heart, what you take with you wherever you go – that sense of community.

This is just the beginning of what I covered in this presentation at Macworld 2009. There’s more to be discovered about community in this video, including:

  • Community is a Commodity, but People Aren’t.
  • Community Cannot be Controlled, only Guided.
  • Community is no Longer Defined by Physical Boundaries.
  • Community Grows its own Leaders.
  • Community is the Antithesis of Ego.
  • Community needs Macworld more than Apple Does.
  • Community is Everywhere – Including Inside of You.

Do You Think Windows Will Last?

There’s been an interesting discussion going on over at Geeks surrounding the future of Windows. There are hot tempers on both sides of this coin, so I had to ask some other friends to chime in with what they thought, as well.

As long as it comes with almost every PC you buy..then yes – Dennis Bjørn Petersen

at least until the computing paradigm migrates away from single machines to cloud computing/ubiquitous computing – Victor Ganata

as with everything, widows will eventually cease to exist. But, for the foreseeable future, windows will be the preferred OS for business. Mac OS just doesn’t provide the flexibility and security that corporations seek. – Bob Blunk

Bob: I think you need to clarify that. MacOS doesn’t provide security and flexibility? – Dennis Bjørn Petersen

dennis: he didn’t say OSX doesn’t have any, consider the ease at which you can lock a system or user down with active directory group policies allows an immensely flexible transition of staff between job roles and the securities required per role. Still, a computer system is only as secure and flexible as the user – have a dumb user, you’ll have holes and problems regardless of what OS you throw at them. Also, you’ll find that the overwealming majority of software security holes come from 3rd party apps. – alphaxion

also, something that I *never* see in "anything vs windows" arguements is commentary on corporate network structure and use… can those of you who have extensive knowledge on linux and OSX networking provide comparisons with the active directory integration you get in the windows world. – alphaxion

@victor cloud computing will never take 100% in the corporate world – they’ve been trying to push cloud computing for decades now, from IBM’s centralised servers and MS terminal servers with dumb clients to Suns "the network is the computer" tag line. Some companies will use it, the majority will be very reluctant to allow their precious data to be elsewhere and/or to allow net downtime to cripple their entire office staff. – alphaxion

@alphaxion of course it’ll never be 100%. There are lots of mainframes and servers out there that aren’t connected to the Internet, and maybe aren’t even connected to the corporate intranet because they deem the data to sensitive. But those systems probably aren’t even running Windows in any case, and as technology continues to advance, the dominant paradigm is certain to change – Victor Ganata

I don’t deny that some companies will go for it – just look at services such as message labs anti spam or mail serving and archiving companies. I just don’t think it’s going to be the massive sea change people are making it out to be. My job entails that I keep an eye on this just in case it turns out to be a better solution than in house development and services. We are looking at moving our phone system to the "cloud" so to speak. My experience suggests that it’ll be a few things rather than everything. – alphaxion

What do you think? Where is Windows – and Microsoft – headed?

What Would You Like to See in Windows 7?

Much talk is surrounding the upcoming Windows 7. People are blogging loud and proud about what we feel should be (and should not be) included in the next release. Many people have sounded off about this, so let’s take a peek at what they’re saying.

Consumer level support for Hyper-V technology – but it will be in there most likely. The 2008 core work has been a fantastic advancement. – Soulhuntre via twhirl

Time Machine, Spotlight, XCode and QuickSilver. Oh, and more cowbell. – Gerald Buckley

Support for common hardwares, less or no BSOD, less memory usage… – AJ Batac

A system that works and is secure. Something that doesn’t require trickery through clever advertising to generate buzz about the product. Something that actually delivers on the promises that Microsoft never seem to deliver on. Regardless, I am already a Mac convert, so it needs be something that can make me a true believer before I even consider it. – James Mowery via twhirl

MinWin. – Akiva Moskovitz

Oh yeah, and a product that doesn’t have 6 different options (or however many it is). Give us something for server usage, business usage, and home usage. Microsoft doesn’t need to confuse the hell out of their users to sell an operating system. – James Mowery via twhirl

Fan Control and Exposé – John Worthington

Mac OSX Leopard, to satisfy the fanbois – Jon Limjap via twhirl

i would like to see it forgotten. 😛 – imabonehead

The service packs included – Charlie Anzman

The source code. – Jack Carlson

it should suck ‘less’ – Saad Kamal

a new file system…finally. – Carlos Ayala

A new file system would be nice, but it isn’t like NTFS isn’t very solid. I woudl also liek to see the SKU’s drop in quantity – again, the Server 2008 work is a real boon there – the fully modular install from command line only all the way to full blown UI with bells and whistles. No need for separate SKU’s to tune for a use case any more. – Soulhuntre

A working and non sluggish OS and no IE – Outsanity

Option to downgrade to XP on new PCs. – Brian Norwood

The ability to punch smug OS elitists in the gonads from anywhere in the world. – Akiva Moskovitz

Better integration with webcams which are now included in most notebooks. If I buy a notebook with a webcam, Windows ought to be able to do something interesting with it right away. Along these lines I’d also like to see a virtual camera model that facilitates switching between cameras, screencasts, and the like. This is too low of a level of behavior for 3rd parties to do. And of course there ought to be an API in the .NET Framework that makes using the video stream(s) easy. – Loren Heiny

dual-boot OSX & Final Cut – Richard Walker via twhirl

Vista with an emphasis on performance. WinFS. A security model that doesn’t piss me off. Unlock theme support so people can customize without having to "hack" their system or download/purchase software to do it for them. Take a note from OS X on usability. Give Explorer a redesign inline with Finder, or even better Gnome’s Nautilus. – Evan Sims

Open source but the relied upon build still coming from Microsoft. That’s not going to happen. So how about making it a lean OS maybe putting some of the code in the BIOS. So then UMPC’s and MID’s can have some direction. – Rodfather

What do YOU want to see in the next version of Windows? Be specific, and give some good feedback that maybe we could actually show to Microsoft. Don’t just say “Suck less!”, as someone else already has.

Mojave Experiment: If you have to trick people into using your product, what does that say about your product?

Have you heard about The Mojave Experiment? You know, the experiment where Microsoft ‘tricked’ people into checking out Windows Vista, but they didn’t call it Vista. They renamed it, to attempt to get “unbiased opinions”. Now, I’m not even going to get into the results of this little test. I want to focus on the experiment itself. Was it wrong of Microsoft to ‘trick’ people, or was it a brilliant move by the Marketing department? What do you think others have to say about this?

Apparently Microsoft thinks it makes their product look totally cool and awesome! I don’t think Vista is bad—I just don’t think it is good enough quite yet: http://onlyjames.com/2008/07/t… Also, the advertising itself was uncreative and stale. I was unimpressed and disappointed. – James Mowery

You mean like IE7 being a forced upgrade? – keif

You’re a politician. – Andy Wibbels

It worked didn’t it? – [email protected]

It means Apple has a really good marketing department. – Chris Romp

i believe mahalo had done something similar. replaced their logo with google’s, told them it was google’s new interface, and recorded user reactions. http://www.fastcompany.tv/vide…Chris Farrugia

Microsoft has openly admitted to the public that Vista has been burdened with bad press since launch. (Some, rightfully so!) They are simply proving the negativity is pushed into their heads mostly by bloggers quick to get the First Scoop and exploit vulnerabilities. ANY Company run by people with business smarts would find a way to protect their product. ESPECIALLY with millions/billions of dollars invested. – If Microsoft were to sit back and say NOTHING, you’d be the first to exploit THAT! Get Real! – Michael Johnson

Your product and/or your marketing sucks – Sally Church

They weren’t "tricking" people into using it (Vista). The idea was to show what people thought if they believed they were using an alternate product in order to rule out any notions they might have about that product due to negative press … and we all know how much negative press Vista has been getting – some of it warranted, some of it not. – Kittyburgers

By the way, I am a user and fan of MS and Apple products. All have their weaknesses, especially upon initial release… hence updates! These SAME issues repeat with each New OS Release, and are eventually ironed out to an overall dependable OS. – Michael Johnson

who really cares about new OS releases anyway!?! I thought it was all about the cloud and AJAX applications running in the browser. – Jon Price

You got the point Chris! I don’t think this is good publicity for Microsoft. I’m gonna write about it tonight on iswitchd.com – Oli Kenobi

It says people are sheep that take what the geek elite say and run with it until someone calls them out. Kudos to MS. I think they just called people out in a nice way. – Mike Lewis

depends on the product, i don’t see a trick here. call it a blind ‘taste test’. – Ryan

Chris, why would you say that? – Alan Cheslow

Nah. You know this is true. I know so many people who bad mouth Vista and never even set finger in it – Vincent Guerrero

Apple said they had push email when they really didn’t – did they trick people into using their product (MobileMe)? …I think people are missing the point the whole idea behind the Mojave Experiment was to challenge misconceptions about Windows Vista – that’s it. In the case of Vista, people made opinions based on "what they heard" but never tried it. – Brandon LeBlanc via twhirl

Microsoft claims they have "push" email in ActiveSync, but it’s really poll+pull. No one calls them out on that and they’ve gotten away with it for years. At least Apple can admit when they screw up. – Vermyndax via twhirl

But I don’t use ActiveSync – I use Exchange which does have push email and so does the new Windows Live for Windows Mobile – which does push for Hotmail. ActiveSync is just a app that sits on the desktop that lets you sync your phone. – Brandon LeBlanc via twhirl

Does Apple have public betas of its OS? I’ve never heard of any. – MiniMage via NoiseRiver

They could have used a beta of MobileMe. – Brandon LeBlanc via twhirl

Brandon LeBlanc (brandonleblanc): I thought MS referred to Exchange Server’s synchronization as "Server ActiveSync."http://tinyurl.com/7xw4wMiniMage via NoiseRiver

It just means that 1) there’s a lot of misconception out there about your product and 2) you’ve got a crappy marketing department. – Rajinder Singh

Personally I thought it was a good way to show the misperceptions out there. – Nate Pilling via twhirl

MiniMage, you’re right – it is also called Exchange ActiveSync on the server side. My apologies. But Exchange 2007 currently includes Direct Push Technology – so whenever I get a email its automatically pushed to my mobile phone. Instantaneous. – Brandon LeBlanc via twhirl

If you like or dislike a product based on it’s name, what does it say about the value of your opinion? – Darian Rawson

How many people dissing the mojave experiment didn’t actually view the videos? Maybe there should be a mojave experiment experiment. – Alan Cheslow

So what do you think? Should Microsoft be commended for taking this route to try and dispel the myths, or should they be thumped with a clue-by-four?

Have You or Are You Switching from PC to Mac?


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If I don’t say this right, people will be upset. I know that some will chastise me for even doing this video. What I’m referring to is a situation that you may have either found yourself in… or will in the future. I’m talking about switching your primary operating system from Windows to Mac OS X. You could say it was curiosity that won me over. I was a life-long Windows user, like many of you are. However, I felt as though I was ready to expand my horizons and learn more. I started playing in Linux and OS X. I love to learn new things. Heck, I’m excited to try out the newest version of Windows when it’s ready to beta test.

Until you are me, you cannot tell me what I can choose for myself, and vice-versa. I hate it when people email me to ask me what they should get. I don’t know what you should get! What will fit your budget and needs the best? No matter what, I’m happy with whatever you decide. Do your research and choose whatever you are comfortable will be the best product for you.

As far as operating systems go, there is no “best”. Again, it’s a matter of choice. What will suit your needs and preferences? When you first turn on a Mac, you will be ticked off if you’re expecting to just jump in and know what to do, where everything is, and how to use it all. It’s different. Of course it is! It’s a completely different experience. Does that make it a bad one? Does that make it better? Of course not! It just makes it different.

There may be some features inside of Windows that you miss. I have a few tools that I have found that may help you feel more comfortable using a Mac.

  • When you right click inside an Explorer menu, you’ve got “new” and it cascades out from there. Some people miss that in Mac OS X. If you download Document Palette, it will do essentially the same thing. Document Palette runs in the background and allows you to create new documents in the current folder.
  • If you like that cascading right click menu, but don’t really like Document Palette, you can try NuFile. It adds a new file menu when you right click at a folder just like what you can do in Windows. With this menu, you can create an empty file of your favourite type with just two clicks.
  • I fell in love with this instantly. Inside of Windows, it’s easy to change file types on a mass scale… not so much in a Mac. MisFox will show all the file mappings settings and the protocol helpers. You can inspect these settings, but you can also edit, delete and create new items for these settings.
  • How can you configure your sounds in OS X? Well, now it’s as easy as it is in Windows. BleepBlop is a simple utility which allows you to customise all your OS X sounds through an easy-to-use sexy interface. Bleep Blop also allows you to save your sound settings as Blundles.

So if you’ve already made the switch to OS X, what other applications and programs have you used to make life easier on a Mac?

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Is the Windows UI Important?

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It’s kind of funny. The 45 minute long video I recorded ranting about Windows Vista still gets a ton of traffic to this day. Ponzi isn’t too happy with Vista. It makes her feel stupid, according to her. She’s run into quite a few walls, even with SP1. She’s very frustrated, to say the least. She likes the way it looks, though. I’m also kind of “famous” for my Windows Vista feedback post.

I had been asked to give feedback for Beta 2, long before the product was even officially released. I was going through it and couldn’t believe it. Fonts were off. Pixels were all over the map. There was no consistency. I was noting all of this as I went through it. It took such a toll on me, because I felt like I was doing this for literally no reason. I was sure that none of it would get fixed. There were so many bugs with Windows Vista UI, I couldn’t see past it.

Recently, Long Zheng initiated a Call for Action. He’s asking the community to highlight some user interface inconsistencies… you know, things that bug us. Things that he’s complaining about now are the same things that I ranted about back then. Ed Bott even tried to take a small potshot at me. He said that instead of my ‘personal list’, Long is inviting the community to participate. Well, anyone could have posted this same list. Nothing on either list is something new and unique. They are the same grievances that many MANY people are having.

If you care a lot about the Windows User Interface and want to have a say in attempting to help shape the future of Windows, head over to Long’s TaskForce. You can vote on, and leave comments for, different bugaboos with the Windows experience. Here’s the thing, though. When I posted my list, people raked me across the coals. They thought I was nuts for nitpicking seemingly small things. But it was about the big picture. All those little things add up. These are the same things that Long and the community are now up in arms about. I guess my list was just bad timing, since the product wasn’t even out yet.

I see user interface inconsistencies in every operating system. It’s just that with Vista, I was genuinely trying to make it better. That’s the reason I posted it when I did. Some of what I had to say did make it into the product prior to shipment, and for that I (and everyone who uses Vista) am grateful.

I’m a huge UI guy. It’s got to be clean. It’s got to be consistent. It’s got to be usable. I’m a power user. But if the User Interface makes me think… it’s a bad program. Period, end of story.

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