Tag Archives: windows-xp

Windows XP Mode for Windows 7

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I love seeking solutions for people. That’s kind of what got me started in this whole Internet thing, way back in about 1996. I also enjoy answering questions when I can, especially from our sister community over at PC PitStop! Mike is a CAD designer, and is wondering if his XP software will install and run on Windows 7.

I can’t guarantee that Mike’s software will automagically work on Windows 7. However, Microsoft already has this all figured out! They know a lot of us are still using programs that ran fine on Windows XP. They released something you need to download called “Windows XP Mode”.

This installs Virtual PC onto your computer that virtualizes your operating system. All Windows 7 users should likely install Windows XP Mode. This will help make sure that all of your old software will run just fine on Windows 7. *NOTE* – This will not work with Windows 7 Home Premium.

The future of computers is all about virtualization. Microsoft has made it easy for you to upgrade, so what are you waiting for?!

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Windows Vista Opinions are not Facts

I hate having to correct my visitors. We had a few helpful pointers added to the comment thread for optimizing Windows Vista, but not without a few jabs.

I’ve been watching Windows desktop mindshare slowly slip away over the past few years, and some Windows “home users” simply can’t accept that – they simply won’t. It’s easier to accuse someone else of taking extreme sides than it is to further the discussion in an intelligent manner, or provide valid counterpoints to further support your position.

John Buffam ~ “Chris, I use both Mac and Vista, and I find Vista to be quite fast. I have a dual core middle of the road intel laptop and Vista is just as fast as any version of XP I have tried. The sleep settings work fine and I find it ironic how guys like you and Leo trash Vista, while all the time plicking away on your Macs, biased as can be. Its a Mac ad site just like Leos. The facts are 95% of people at home choose PCs, its time experts realized thats the market”

You’re assuming that we don’t see holes in OS X? You’re also assuming that 95% of “people at home” want to run Windows – or that Windows is the best choice for them. In either instance, you’re wrong. When you rely on polls, statistics, and numbers to prove your point – you’re proving absolutely nothing. At least true experts understand this. “Experts” who ignore the big picture aren’t experts at all.

At least present numbers from the other side, John. Or tell us what we really need to realize. Open your mind before you open your mouth (and yes, there are times when I need to do the same thing).

kiko ~ “Interestingly I just watched the new Leopard promo video – I presume the “narrator” is a typical Mac user – he sure is glad for the new Time Machine cause he had a folder with some stuff he needed and when he went to look it wasn’t there – he “didn’t know what he did” but luckily he can recover it…actually he had that happen to him a few times in the video….and every time he “didn’t know what he did” but it wasn’t there….are we beginning to find some “operative words” here??????…and wow how about “spaces” ! …uh I think linux had virtual desktops years ago and so did pc’s…but what? – you can move stuff between them? – wow! – oh yeah that how they worked in those days…this is what I believe is called “advertising” which came soon after the first Gutenburg press…( which was closely follewed by the first salesmen…)…”

Sometimes, it’s not about the features – and hardcore technologists often forget that. Do yourselves a favor: don’t forget that. 🙂 You could argue that one operating system copies another, and at one level you’d probably be 100% correct. But that’s no longer an interesting argument, gang. It’s a given. What’s more interesting to discuss is which operating system does what feature better than the other – and sometimes that boils down to raw truth (as opposed to personal preference).

mark64 ~ “I am sorry to say chris because i have watched you since Sceensaver days , and must say you are becoming exactly like what the article describes. Think about some of your most recent articles and being easily “wowed” by certain features of Apples new OS. I am not sure you even used those features before being wowed. Vista has many features, but you have ignored them. If You find any problems (Many vista users dont have) you magnify them and seem to want to jump on the oh so popular, bash windows bandwagon. Many windows haters have never even used or spent any real time using vista. I like the people that have said ‘after 30 minutes i knew vista sucked, and so i went to buy mac or went back to XP'”

Actually, no… if you bothered to read the article you recommended, you’d quickly see that I’m not an apologist. You’re also incorrect in assuming that I haven’t seen the features in person.

I have most certainly NOT ignored the features in Vista – but “this” isn’t just about features, if you haven’t figured it out already. Moreover, you can’t bash Windows – you can only CMD it. 😉

I’m not a Windows hater, and I resent that you would label me as such. It was my love for Windows that drove my passion – and that passion for it has almost disappeared. If I hated Windows, why would I bother writing about it? If you take my public issues with Windows as hatred, then you’re not understanding why I’m bringing them up publicly in the first place.

If you don’t share why you’re disappointed in something, how in HELL do you expect they’re ever going to get fixed?! Would you be so quick to label either John Gruber or Paul Kafasis Mac haters?!


Steve A ~ “I’m really beginning to tire of all of this crap you keep spouting about Vista. You have to be doing something wrong to have so many problems. I agree it wasn’t rock steady before the main consumer launch, but now it’s more than ready for a production/work environment. I’ve seen a massive boost in speed of programs on my machine over XP. Photoshop now loads in less than two seconds, and that’s with hundreds of extra fonts. Show me that on XP or OSX.”

Ugh. Okay. Seriously. Take off your rose-tinted glasses, Steve:

I suppose they’re we’re all doing something wrong?

Optimizing Windows Vista Performance

My problem with recommending Windows Vista is that many of its features are considered bugs by a good portion of the community. Doesn’t that say it all? No, this isn’t Windows bashing – it’s the bare-faced truth. Here’s TheDub’s legitimate experience, as emailed to me earlier today:

After using Windows Vista I find it hard to work on Windows XP again… there are just to many things I miss about Vista. I think Vista is a great operating system at heart but not going to lie it needs many improvements before it replaces the speed and stability of Windows XP.

I can’t disagree with any part of this statement, but what exactly are we trading speed and stability for? What’s more important than those two items? The true answers to these questions remain elusive. I could recommend that you download a “speed up” utility, but those programs seldom work as advertised (and some of them can actually decrease overall system performance). There really aren’t any Vista-specific tweaking tools out there, sadly – and yes, I already know about TweakVI.

I am having two issues with Windows Vista. One speed! Windows Vista seems horribly slow especially for me. I am a “power user” sometimes I am working with many programs at once and many files at once. Vista lags.. all the time! Another strange thing that I can’t explain is how much it access’s the hard disks. My hard disk is almost always going nuts even when just sitting on the desktop. The noise is not only annoying but just the idea of my computer is doing something I have no idea what is. It is also a performance drag. I have 2gb of RAM and a 2gb Flash Drive dedicated to ReadyBoost so I don’t think it is paging all the time. Any ideas? Or are there any performance tweaks you would recommend? I have done some research and found that windows is always making shadow copies of files and disabling that feature really is a performance boost. Also there is the famous ‘shut off the indexing service’ to increase speed but I don’t know if that will really help this.. any thoughts you could share with me and the others?

Windows Desktop Search may be the culprit – another “Wow” that’s more of a “Whoa.” That’s a feature, not a bug. If you want a performance tweak, move back to Windows XP. You’re not going to find massive performance gains with Windows Vista.

If your hard drive is close to full, think about archiving some of the things you don’t need – or buy a second hard drive (for documents, programs, etc.) if you don’t already have one. Telling you to buy a faster hard drive isn’t really a good answer, but it may be the only one (and that, itself, may not solve the problem of Windows Vista thrashing you senseless).

Turn off all your eye candy?

My second issue with Vista is sleep. Windows Vista goes to sleep once… thats it. The second time I shut the screen on my laptop it doesn’t go to sleep, shuts the screen off, annnd thats it. I have to power it down with the power button and start it back up to get back to my desktop… This doesn’t seem right at all.. ever heard of this issue?

Join the club. Watch my live stream with any regularity and you’ll see just how flaky Vista’s power management can be – especially in conjunction with USB devices. I wish I was making this up, but I’m not (and neither are you).

It’s much easier to blame the user than the hardware or software, don’t you think?

I am running Windows Vista Ultimate. Maybe my system simply isn’t strong enough for vista though I would like to think that is not the case, after all it came with home premium and stamped ultimate ready. It’s specs include a AMD Turion 64 x2 TL-50 (1.6ghz), 2GB Ram, ATI Xpress 1150 (this is the weak link in the system but impressive for integrated graphics), and a 5400RPM 160gb HD, I know that 5400 RPM is a slower drive but it is a laptop computer and it seems most laptops include this speed HD for power and heat issues.

If you’re expecting a portable system to deliver desktop-level performance, you’re… going to be waiting a long time. Sounds like you’re trying to squeeze blood from a stone, and are likely best served by Windows XP on that machine. Sorry.

I’m sure this isn’t what you wanted to hear, but… that’s just the way it is. If anybody recommended Vista over XP in your situation, I’d be surprised. Feel free to read what Tom’s Hardware had to say on the performance differences u can pore over the entire article, but Tom’s Hardware has an excellent summary on between Windows XP and Vista.

Windows Vista Isn't for Developers?

Joel Spolsky praises Microsoft for designing such an elegant box for Microsoft Office 2007:

I bought a retail copy of Office 2007 today (I’m loading up the new laptop I got for the world tour, which is a Thinkpad X61s), and I must be a complete spaz, but I simply could not figure out how to open the bizarre new packaging.

Joel eventually figured it out, but only after searching for a solution on Google (to add insult to injury):

Wasting five minutes trying to get the goddamned box open is just the first of many ways that Office 2007 and Vista’s gratuitous redesign of things that worked perfectly well shows utter disregard for all the time you spent learning the previous versions.

Remind me again when the “Wow” was supposed to start? Joel is still waiting as well:

I’ve been using Vista on my home laptop since it shipped, and can say with some conviction that nobody should be using it as their primary operating system — it simply has no redeeming merits to overcome the compatibility headaches it causes. Whenever anyone asks, my advice is to stay with Windows XP (and to purchase new systems with XP preinstalled).

Now, when one of the world’s leading software developers states this (privately or publicly), you have to wonder why I’ve been taking such a beating for my position on Microsoft’s flagship desktop products. Initially, I didn’t complain about Vista or any Office product without always giving Microsoft suggestions for improvement. I only complain about the things I care about – as should you.

But they stopped listening a long time ago – and the Microsoft MVP program is about as effective in influencing product direction as eating graphite makes you a better swimmer.

Windows Vista Updates

They called me crazy when I said that Windows Vista wasn’t ready for prime time. The Windows Vista Performance and Windows Vista Reliability update packs only serve to strengthen my original assertions:

  • When you copy or move a large file, the “estimated time remaining” takes a long time to be calculated and displayed. [This dialog has never worked properly in Windows. It probably still won’t after this “fix.”]
  • When you synchronize an offline file to a server, the offline file is corrupted. [Wasn’t Vista supposed to be more reliable with networks?]
  • Poor memory management performance occurs. [No joke, this is ACTUALLY in the KB]
  • The computer stops responding or restarts unexpectedly when you play video games or perform desktop operations. [So, pretty much – random wacky shit happens with Vista all the time by design.]
  • Visual appearance issues occur when you play graphics-intensive games. [Just what the hell is a graphics-intensive game? Like, Pong?]
  • You experience poor playback quality when you play HD DVD disks or Blu-ray disks on a large monitor. [Windows Vista Ultimate-so-long-as-you-dont-own-ultimate-hardware.]
  • Windows Calendar exits unexpectedly after you create a new appointment, create a new task, and then restart the computer. [So, either stop using the lame-ass iCal knockoff, or stop restarting your computer. Your choice.]
  • The Printer Spooler service stops unexpectedly. [This is Microsoft’s way of helping save the rainforests.]

And these are only SOME of the known bugs, finally patched. And now, I sit back and await the barrage of attacks from those who state that these kinds of bugs are inevitable with every new operating system. On that point, I cannot argue – but I still go on record by saying quite loudly and clearly: Windows Vista is still “beta” in both feel and functionality.

I really want Windows to win – I really want Windows to work.

Windows Vista or XP?

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Ed in Detroit wants to know if his dad, who will be buying a new computer in the near future, should install Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Chris has dealt with this problem in the past (just check out his blog), and he isn’t entirely ready to tell people to go out and buy Vista. If it’s a new system, then they’ll probably have a better time with Vista, but Chris does encourage people to wait until; Service Pack 1 comes out.

If you want to install XP on the system you need to format the drive, and then install XP. If you install XP over Vista, it won’t work properly.

Do you have any recommendations?

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Vista vs XP

Chris Benkendorf:

I watched your webcast regarding issues with Vista and your wanting to revert back to XP. My question is… what am I doing wrong or right? I feel as though I am the only one not having any real problems with Windows Vista, and I am running the 64-bit version. The only small issue I am having is that Adobe Flash Player does not have a 64-bit Flash Player, so I am running 32-bit Firefox to view flash-based websites. Visual Studio 2005 runs great, as does Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop CS3 and all of my hardware. Most of the work I do on my platform is web design, software design and and putting together photo-based publications.

Hey man, if it’s working for you – great! By all means, don’t change a thing.

My NVidia 7300 GS graphics card runs well with WDDM drivers, and even my PCI video cards work better under Vista then they did in XP. I guess so far, I have been lucky with Vista. It even networks seamlessly with my XBOX 360. I HAVE been tempted many times to buy an iMac to reduce space being used in my home development studio, however, I have invested a lot of money in the PC I built for myself and the hardware I handpicked has always run very well. That being said, am I not the power user I thought I was? Do I not push Vista far enough to see what its problems are? Please fill me in. Many thanks.

If it ain’t broke for you – don’t fix it. You may be a different kind of power user, Chris. You use powerful software, and you may not care to change defaults, but when you start to look past the surface of Vista – you’ll quickly see its cracks. Vista isn’t horrible – but it really needs an SP1 before I could recommend it for everyone.

There’s more than a few users having Windows Vista Audio Problems:

Speed up Windows XP with Software

I’m very happy to report that Thomas Reimann and his crew have released a new version of CachemanXP (and are apparently working on a Cacheman for Vista, too – which I can’t wait to see). Here’s what’s new in this version:

  • Improved Dual Core processor support (Intel and AMD).
  • Several new Cache settings and Tweaks.
  • Extended Process information.
  • Sortable Process list.
  • Allows to change CPU Priority of all programs, including system processes.
  • Ability to hide Automatic Updates restart dialog.
  • Two, fully configurable Tray Icons.
  • Auto-Optimize finetuned for latest computer systems.
  • GUI redesigned to (optionally) take less screen space.

This has always been one of my favorite Windows tweaking tools (if only due to its simplicity and ease of use). Fits in pretty well with tonight’s discussion on “Dual Core” and what it means to the average user:

Ignore the Windows Apologists

Yeah, I’m crazy for being annoyed by all the shims and hacks that Microsoft Windows software developers have tried to slip past our respective radars. I think we should excuse this multi-billion dollar company for not being able to standardize software across their future flagship OS. I think it’s perfectly normal for every other application to have a different toolbar settings and dimensions. I also think that menu option height discrepancies are sexy.

“Good enough” is a mantra that belongs in another era.

All you Windows apologists are further enabling this behavior – reinforcing the very shortcomings that will add up to an inferior user experience. It’s been so long since you’ve seen anything new that you’re happy to have SOMETHING different. And lest you think I’m the only “idiot” who isn’t excusing Microsoft, you need to read what Louderback scribbled:

The new version of OS X is also impressive. After a recent tour, I found myself constantly asking, “When will Vista do that?” Time Machine, which delivers constant backup and versioning of your software, seems to be a fail-safe way to preserve music, photos, and other important files at work and at home. The multi-desktop capability is nothing new, but seems particularly well integrated into the OS. I’m still not sold on OS X as an alternative to Vista, but others are less hesitant. In fact, Apple has a significant opportunity to trump Vista as the desktop OSâ€â€?if only it would stop insisting on being the sole hardware supplier for the operating system.

As a Windows evangelist, I’m rooting for Apple in this space (and you should be, too). Microsoft needs truly healthy desktop competition – and that’s only going to come if, as Jim puts it, Jobs can forego his ego. Windows apologists, however, are not to be trusted. If you don’t believe that UI matters, why not just slap yourself back into the days of the command line and be done with it?

Aero, on its own, is absolutely outstanding – but the half-assed platform implementation is what leaves such a sour taste in my mouth. Vista runs fast enough, so long as you have a high-speed memory stick acting as a ReadyBoost device. Is Vista better than XP? I guess that all depends on how you choose to define “better” at the end of the day.

Fifty Windows XP Tips eBook

Ya know that secret thingy I was telling you about? Well, it's not that much of a secret (actually, I don't think it's a secret at all). Anyway, I believe it's well on its way. If you'd like to get 50 Windows XP tips in PDF, CHM, MHT, TXT, PDB, LIT, **and** TR formats for a total of $5 (the price of an Extra Value Meal), then click here. The transaction is only for PayPal people right now, but we hope to have regular CC transactions ready soon. If this is worth doing in the first place, that is. If we don't get a good response from the idea(s), then we'll stop doing them altogether. If we get a great response, then there will be more eBooks to come. There may still be some snags in the documents, but I will personally e-mail you any updates when a truly final version is available. As always, I appreciate your candid feedback. Now you see why I've been so silent lately! The content won't change, mind you – it's the copyright and (minor) formatting crap that may need tweaking.