Tag Archives: drivers

Lady Gaga Tops Vevo

Startup video site Vevo was created by three of the largest record companies – Universal Music, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI Music. Warner Music Group is in negotiations to join as well. They chose to start their site based on the huge following that music videos attract on YouTube. YouTube owner Google helped to create the site, believe it or not. In January, the site posted approximately 35 million unique visitors. That’s not too shabby for a site that only launched a few short months ago.

Lady Gaga has emerged over the past year as a music phenom. Whether or not you approve of how she dresses, you have to admit the woman can sing her face off. Her videos account for over a quarter of all views on Vevo! Additionally, if you click an official video of hers on YouTube, you’ll be redirected to Vevo to actually watch the content. That is the kind of partnership I like to see happening.

Vevo may not yet be profitable, but I have no doubt that it won’t take long. They are seeing billions of page views according to the website. Reactions to the site around our community have been very positive from what I’ve seen, and I admit to using it quite often myself! What are your thoughts on Vevo? Have you used the site yet? If you haven’t checked it out yet, I think you’re silly for waiting!

Don’t forget to stop by our software center to see what great new deals we have in store for you today!

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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Tips for a Good PC Gaming Experience

Getting your computer ready for gaming can be complicated… at least, if you want a good gaming experience. Here are some excellent tips sent in by a community member. These are things you should definitely do before you install your next game.

  • System Requirements and Hardware Always Read the minimal system requirements. If your computer barely meets the minimum requirements, don’t expect your gaming experience to be mind-blowing. You will have to lower the graphics options of the game. Hardware is another issue most people don’t seem to think about. Make sure you have good performance hardware and graphics cards before gaming. Make sure your CPU, PSU and Mobo are up to the task, as well.
  • Installing Procedures Installing the game can be a hassle, especially when some of the manufacturers bloat their ame with extras you really don’t need. Be sure to read carefully through the installation process, so you don’t install something that could harm your computer and its performance. Always install in the Default Directory, and never change that. Type in your serial codes carefully. DirectX upgrades are a must if the game install suggests it.
  • Updating For newer games, updating all of your drivers is definitely recommended. When patching the game itself, make sure your firewall allows the game to get through. Use Manual Patching at your own risk. It’s best to let the game do the work, since that’s how it was intended. Update drivers for your video card, chipset, anything that you can. The more updated you are, the better chance you have of having a smooth gaming experience.
  • Game Settings and FPS This is another thing that people tend to neglect. Your goal in any game is to run between 30-60 FPS. Resolution and graphics settings will affect your FPS, so adjust them accordingly.
  • Maintainence After you have done all of the above things, perform a system Defrag on your computer. This will go a long way to make your gaming experience better.

The Microsoft Windows Vista Rant Continues

Recently, I posted a video about Windows and Microsoft, specifically Vista. My main point is that Microsoft needs to really listen to the Community, and pay attention to our wants and needs. I’ve received many comments, both in favor and against what I said that night. This one is so well thought out, I had to post it to share. Some excellent points here, so please read.

I have also used Windows since 3.1, and even now use Vista. The RTM of Vista was a joke… but now a year later I think its o.k. Not amazing… but o.k.

Microsoft needs to listen to the community for sure, but they also need to take a little bit more control. They should have taken Longhorn by the horns so to speak. My example will be 64bit. It is widely known that Vista x64 or even XP x64 leaves A LOT to be desired. I have a 64bit machine. Surprisingly, driver support was there but software is still lacking. Microsoft needs to be firmer in the push to this new platform, they need to tell developers, hardware vendors, and OEM’s that in order for Windows to continue to grow, 32bit is going to be left behind. I was impressed with 64bits compatibility with 32bit programs.

There wouldn’t be an issue if software and hardware developers started moving to 64bit NOW, instead of later. Windows Vista was going to be only x64 but that changed. They then said Windows 7 would be only x64, but now I learn that Windows 7 will STILL have a 32bit version. I don’t know if its for legacy or if they still aren’t ready to switch, but it should have happened in the XP days. Vendors are holding them back I think… whether it be laziness or some unknown complication they are NOT pushing x64 Hardware and Software like they should be.

A simple pricing scheme and two versions would also be nice. What was wrong with XP home and XP Pro? Why couldn’t there have been a Vista Home and a Vista Professional? Scrap Tablet edition, Media Center Edition, just make Home and Pro BOTH come with those features. Make the differences more obvious and make it more obvious that only PROFESSIONALS would need the Pro version. Vista’s ultimate add-on’s are a joke. As a Vista Ultimate user I am EXTREMELY disappointed. I expected some really cool things to be released. Instead, I’m playing my expensive game of Texas Hold’ Em. Do I dare say they need to stop copying Apple? They are not being innovative at all. While I appreciate the search box in the start menu and the instant searching… couldn’t they have done something more with it? For example, someone inside Microsoft wrote a PowerToy that I’m testing. Its in Alpha stage and sometimes buggy. Iwouldn’t recommend it for everyone right now. It further enhances the start menu in Vista which should have been done to begin with. How it works is lets say I want to Google something. I can type Google or just g and follow it with lets say your name it shows your blog and I click the link it opens in a browser. Little things like that to make things convenient for the user and community would be nice. That tool also implements definitions through google, Wikipedia, and you can type play followed by a song name and it pops up in your default media browser. While not amazing… I think it’s nice. Flip3D is… well it shouldn’t have been made as anything more then maybe a technology demo to show that the desktop is now rendered in 3D. Its pretty much useless when you have 10+ windows open, and Alt+Tab is the winner. Alt+Tab is not getting replaced by Flip3D anytime soon. Microsoft, if you’re going to introduce new features that exist in other Operating Systems, make sure they work at least as good… if not better… then what is already out there.

OEM’s have been dropping the ball for years and years, even before Vista was in the picture. The fact that I can’t go into a store and buy a PC without crappy software on it disappoints me. My non-geeky friends often bring me with them to pick out a good machine. I pick out the hardware, they buy it and then they give it to me to freshly install. I have not found one OEM that does not load up so much garbage that the system is unusable. I picked out a nice little laptop for a friend going to college. It had plenty of power for what she needed to do and most importantly it had 2GB of RAM. She however insisted I don’t mess with it and she took it home. The next day, she calls me frustrated that she hasn’t gotten it to even turn on. I looked at it and it consistently blue screened after login. She blamed Windows Vist,a which I’m sure a lot of people who buy PC’s off the shelf do. Upon a fresh installation, I gave it back to her. she was mad that I put Vista on it and insisted Windows XP. I told her I would hunt down drivers and to just test it out again because it worked much faster. I got the drivers and talked to her again and she said “No now that I’m used to it I don’t want to use XP”. OEM’s are another one of Microsoft’s enemies, perhaps one of the largest ones they have.

As someone who likes to play games I can’t see myself switching Operating Systems any time soon. I do own a Mac Mini now, and after a few weeks with it find Leopard rather slick. It is WAY more polished then Windows Vista is, and it disappoints me that my Operating System of choice is NOT as good as an Operating System I don’t think I could live in full time. I don’t want new features. I want a fast, usable, Operating System that I know is going to work. If I had the choice between the new Aero visuals OR faster performance and stability improvements on the same old Windows XP desktop API… well I think it is obvious which one I would have chosen.

Microsoft should take some control, but at the same time listen to the community about what THEY want in the Operating System, and OEM’s should stop loading up all that junk-ware and start caring about the consumer NOT how much money they can make with trial-ware.

See ya in the chat room tonight.


How to Unbox and Set Up a New Computer

I recently received an email from Emmanuel. He has watched friends and family members receive a new computer many times, and then promptly do something to inadvertently harm it. Or worse… they don’t properly set the machine up! He asked me to pass along his email, in the hopes it may help you get started once you receive your next machine.

First of all, unpack carefully. How many times have I heard about people having issues with a new product? Then they have to do all these sorts of things and in the process, end up damaging the computer? I’ve heard it enough times, believe me. So please, unpack with caution. Also, wait until you are in a quiet, safe spot for opening and unpacking your computer — like your desk, or your normal computing place. Bad things are possible with all of the confusion that could happen with people running around and pulling power cables or accidentally spilling something on the computer or its peripherals and documentation. So wait for the best time to unpack.

Next, when you turn on the computer, follow any directions the computer tells you. It may ask you to set the language, time, etc. Once you complete such a course, you will hopefully be greeted by the desktop. Now this is where the fun begins.

Next, remove all the pre-installed crapware. Crapware is basically trial or crippled software that gets factory installed by the manufacturer. On a Mac, usually you would get iLife, which is a great suite of creative applications that are pretty awesome and are the only things pre-installed usually. On a Linux computer, you will see a lot of pre-installed software, however, they actually are not trial or crippled software either. On a Windows computer, well, that is not usually the case. So go to the Add/Remove feature in Windows in remove everything that is unnecessary, except the trial anti-virus that comes with the computer usually. You will need some way to protect yourself until you get a decent anti-virus. Then, get your computer updated as soon as possible. Once you are done, we move on.

Next, get your favorite anti-virus software and remove the old one. Nod32 is about the best anti-virus software there is. For a free anti-virus, use AVG Free Edition.

Next, get your favorite applications, as well as hardware drivers installed. Firefox and OpenOffice are wonderful examples, and plus they are FREE! So check those out. Get your driver discs, software discs, etc. Install what you need. This is important — the less unnecessary software you have, the faster your computer will be. Trust me.

Finally, restore your documents from a backup or transfer from your previous computer. And then you are done! In the end, you will have a nice, fast, new computer that has been tweaked to suit your needs.

Find Windows Drivers for Hardware

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I had a caller the other night on the 888-PIRILLO line who was asking where he can find drivers for old Windows hardware. His machines are, of course, home-built.. making this even more challenging.

I used to be friends with the guy who originally built the WinDrivers website. It has since been aquired by Internet.com. They’re bragging now that there is free unlimited access. I still recommend it, as it is a “one-stop source for device drivers, anti-virus updates, and security patches”.

Some of the features you’ll receive (in addition to driver downloads) with your free membership:

  • Comprehensive Hardware Manufacturer Directory You can browse by product type (covering everything from BIOS/motherboard to printer/driver to USB and video) or by manufacturer (from Acer to Zoltrix).
  • Anti-Virus Center WinDrivers.com reports on the ten leading anti-virus software vendors and links you directly to the latest data file downloads.
  • Security Update Alerts Receive automatic alerts when security updates occur.
  • Latest Driver Updates Use Windrivers to help you locate current and out-of-date device drivers & BIOS through our “Driver Updates” section. Every day, the WinDrivers.com staff adds the latest new BIOS and drivers covering thousands of products across virtually every PC hardware category.
  • Hard Drive Center Moving a hard drive to a new computer? The Hard Drive Center will help you identify the correct jumper settings and guide you through the treacherous process of partitioning and formatting.
  • Networking Center Need to identify the pin-outs in a network cable? Need to identify an unlabeled network card? This is the place to go.
  • DLL Search Get access to hundreds of DLL files through the Windrivers DLL Search lists, which explain their purpose and link to the most recent updates so you know how to proceed when receiving a “DLL File Not Found” message.
  • Service Packs Direct links to more than a hundred Microsoft Service Packs for Windows, NT and Office, covering virtually every service pack Microsoft offers.

I definitely trust this site. I don’t often recommend ANY download site. However, since I know the guy who started it all… I’m comfortable telling you all it’s a great place to go.


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Windows Vista vs. XP

I warn you: this is a long one, but my perspective seems to resonate with hundreds of geeks from around the world. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to sneak in a plug for my sponsors (GoDaddy and AMD).

In Vista’s nutshell, I’m having problems with:

  • My video card and motherboard chipset (NVIDIA)
  • My Microsoft Mouse software (Intellipoint)
  • My scanner (HP LaserJet 3052)
  • The Windows Explorer (forgets settings quickly)
  • Various programs that made my life easier

Yeah, so… what OS are you running?

He's paying me to move to the Mac?!

Daniel Miessler has thrown down the gauntlet:

There’s not much suspense here, as I’m sure you know what I’m going to say, but I’ll say it anyway. Dude, enough already. Spend 60 days in OS X and see if you want to go back to XP/Vista. If you do, I’ll pay you $250 cash, plus I’m donating $100 to get you your first Mac. I’m not even playing, Chris. Windows is beneath you, man. If you don’t go OS X then do Ubuntu. Just do SOMETHING. Stop messing with Windows 95 Version 4; it’s a waste of your time.

Dunno. It’d take substantially more than that to invest in comparable infrastructure. I couldn’t go from using a powerful Quad FX workstation to anything less than a Mac Pro. These aren’t inexpensive decisions to make, Daniel – though I appreciate the sentiment. Even so, do you realize that my life still revolves tightly around Outlook?

Switching from XP to Vista to XP to…?

I was getting ready to post a follow-up on my switch from Vista, but it turned into my next article for CPU Magazine (sorry, you’ll have to wait for it to hit newsstands in a few months). Suffice it to say, it seems I really struck chords and nerves the other day.

I’m uneasy, in the sense that Christopher Null’s proposal to re-release Windows XP sounds a helluva lot better to me than waiting two more years for another version of Windows (which is likely to be a radical departure from everything we’ve come to know and understand in Windows itself). So, my plans are:

  • Keep Vista running on my laptop. Since I don’t rely on that machine for workaday taks, using XP isn’t necessary. However, I’ve already had to reinstall Vista once on that machine (due to a faulty Windows Update execution) – and I’m looking at having to reinstall Windows Vista yet again because something in the system is causing it to run substantially slower than it should – and I think it’s related to the hard drive.
  • Start using XP on my primary workstation desktop, while keeping Vista 32 and 64 installed and ready on separate system partitions. I’ll have to do this relatively soon, I fear. Microsoft’s IntelliPoint software keeps crashing and the scroll wheel doesn’t work properly in Google Earth, Sound Forge, etc.
  • Wait another year before trying Windows Vista again – and until/unless XP starts to get in my way, I’m still going to approach Vista SP1 with extreme caution.
  • Wait another two years (2009) for Microsoft to show me what Vista should have been in the first palce.
  • After Leopard is released, think about finding a sponsor to do a 30-day “Switch” documentary, running Windows in Parallels / Boot Camp, etc. Crazy idea.

FWIW, I still freakin’ LOVE Microsoft – nothing could tear me away from the Xbox 360, I can’t live without my Wireless Laser Mouse 8000, I can’t wait for my Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 to arrive, I think they’re more transparent than most tech companies on the planet (especially the way they’ve embraced blogging), I love their Research Labs, I love many of the people who work there, I love wearing my Windows Vista ballcap, I love that WIndows generally does what I need it to do faster than I’ve seen it done on OS X, I love that Windows has the ability to handle a near-infinite variety of hardware, I love my Smartphone…

…but I still can’t say that I love Vista.

Where Windows Pundits Went Wrong

I’m really starting to get pissed off with the distributed lynch mob that’s forming around my recent decision to drop VIsta for XP. Now, the saddest part of this is – I’m not pissed off at the people telling me to switch to OS X, I’m really pissed off at the people who are blaming me for Vista’s shortcomings. Witness Ed Bott’s jabs:

It’s vintage agitprop from Chris…

Hey, Ed? How much money did you make from your book, “Windows Vista Inside Out?” No, seriously – let’s talk about full disclosure here. If you honestly believe that I’m the only Windows enthusiast who thinks the way I do, think again. Moreover, since going public with my decision and reasoning, I’ve received at least THREE separate emails from WIndows community leaders who have also decided to work regularly inside XP (in some capacity) rather than stick it out with Vista.

Despite the glitches (and yes, I’ve had a few), my productivity is up, way up, thanks to Vista and Office 2007. On balance, I prefer Vista over XP. I do, however, have an XP system running in one corner of my office because the drivers and supporting software for my Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner won’t be ready until April.

Good for you, Ed. I’m happy you’re content with running A SECOND SYSTEM IN ANOTHER AREA OF YOUR OFFICE TO DO WHAT YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO ON YOUR PRIMARY SYSTEM!!! You’ve proven my point, Ed – “agitprop” or not. Let’s turn our attention now to Dwight’s perspective:

If he were to take a moment and look back, chances are he’d find he was jumping through the same hoops 5 years ago, when he was working with the initial release of Windows XP.

Bullsh*t. If XP had acted this way in the beginning, I would have moved back to 2000 in a heartbeat. That didn’t happen, however – as I was able to get all of my hardware and software to work well inside of XP. I’ve already come out and said that I was “forced” to upgrade from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2007 since Vista didn’t support the older version at all, but that hasn’t been without its own share of frustrations. You weren’t there with me when I made that move, and you’re not here with me when I have to make these decisions. What’s more, I’m still willing to stick with the Windows brand altogether – much to the dismay of my colleagues.

Chris says he’ll be back to Vista when Service Pack 1 releases, a familiar refrain for those who are holding off upgrading. But you’d think that, as long as he’s been involved in technology, he’d learn that it just goes with the territory.

Again, you’re missing my point – I’m telling you, I simply can’t deal with this right now. I need my operating system to do the things I need it to do TODAY – not six months from now. I’m fully willing to concede that my problems are partially tied to hardware choices, but that still doesn’t make your argument to “stick it out with Vista” any stronger (in fact, it further serves to support my decision). Don’t apologize for anybody but yourself. Adrian takes a similar stance, but redeems himself with a counterpoint:

If you ask me, all Chris is doing by avoiding Vista now is being a weasel to his future self. The problems he’s having now are likely to be there 12 months from now, and 24 months from now. There might be less driver and software hassles but different hassles will replace them. Fact.

Weasel? Tell ya what: I’d rather run Vista in a virtual machine on an XP desktop than vice versa. I realize there are always going to be hassles, but when those hassles cause me to pause my own workflow… they become more than hassles, they become obstacles. I have to start thinking around my operating sysetm instead of my operating system doing the thinking for me. If you want a REAL, TANGIBLE fact… I rely less and less on desktop-based software and more and more on Web-based apps. Hey! Watch replaced a thousand media problems in one fell swoop.

Ed, Dwight, Adrian… I respect each one of you, but you’re not giving me salient arguments for why I, or anybody else, should stick with Windows Vista if we’re running into problems with it on a regular basis. You act as if I’m totally alone here, an exception to the rule… and that’s wrong. I did my best not to make knee-jerk, blanket statements like Jason did this morning, although I understand and share his frustration.

Believe me, nobody feels worse about this decision than I do. I’ll still be running Vista on my laptop (despite recently having to reinstall the OS after something went awry with a Windows Update procedure), but my primary desktop will soon be XP again. Oh, and let’s just pound one more nail into your argument’s coffin: French researcher says Vista’s user interface suffers from more ‘friction’ than XP. Booya!