Tag Archives: microsoft-windows

Windows 7 eBook

My new Windows 7 eBook is available for $7 now (and includes the following information).

Buy My Windows 7 eBook Now!

  1. System Requirements For Windows 7
  2. Windows 7 Editions
  3. Configure User Access Control In Windows 7
  4. Burn ISO Image In Windows 7
  5. Minimize Programs To The System Tray/Notification Area In Windows 7
  6. Pin A Folder To Windows Explorer Jump List In Windows 7
  7. Change The Number Of Items On The Windows 7 Jump List
  8. Reorder Taskbar Icons In Windows 7
  9. Bring The Quick Launch Toolbar Back In Windows 7
  10. Quickly Launch A Program As Administrator In Windows 7
  11. Quickly Open A Second Instance Of An Application In Windows 7
  12. Hide Or Reveal Empty Drives In Windows 7
  13. Record Your Problem In Windows 7
  14. AppLocker In Windows 7
  15. Create Your Own Desktop Slideshow In Windows 7
  16. Create Sticky Notes In Windows 7
  17. Change The Appearance Of Sticky Notes In Windows 7
  18. Decrease The Windows 7 Taskbar
  19. Group Taskbar Buttons In Windows 7
  20. Handy New Shortcuts In Windows 7
  21. Configure System Restore In Windows 7
  22. Add Additional Clock To The Task Bar In Windows 7
  23. Change The Size Of The Start Menu Icons In Windows 7
  24. Require CTRL + ALT + DEL For Logons In Windows 7
  25. Configure Windows 7 For Automatic Logon
  26. Show Hidden Files And Folders In Windows 7
  27. Install New Fonts In Windows 7
  28. Do Not Highlight Newly Installed Programs In Windows 7
  29. Disable User Account Control In Windows 7
  30. Assign A Password To A User Account In Windows 7
  31. Disable Thumbnail Previews In Windows 7
  32. Create A System Restore Point In Windows 7
  33. Change Your User Account Picture In Windows 7
  34. Delete All But the Most Recent Restore Point In Windows 7
  35. Configure Mouse For Left-Handed User In Windows 7
  36. Encrypt Offline Files In Windows 7
  37. Turn On Bitlocker Without TPM In Windows 7
  38. Create User Account In Windows 7
  39. Rename The Guest Account In Windows 7
  40. Disable System Protection In Windows 7
  41. Customize The Appearance Of The Mouse Pointer In Windows 7
  42. Delete A User Account In Windows 7
  43. Enable/Disable The Administrator Account In Windows 7
  44. Is Your Computer Ready For Windows 7?
  45. Create A Group In Windows 7
  46. Change The Disk Defragmenter Schedule In Windows 7
  47. Rename Your User Account In Windows 7
  48. Remove Icons From Notification Area In Windows 7
  49. Compress A Folder In Windows 7
  50. Windows 7 Action Center
  51. Undo A System Restore Operation In Windows 7
  52. Set The Time Zone From The Command Prompt In Windows 7
  53. Make Windows Transparent With Aero Peek In Windows 7
  54. Turn Off Smart Window Arrangement In Windows 7
  55. Open A Folder In A New Window In Windows 7
  56. Secure Data On USB Drives In Windows 7
  57. Clear Recent Search Entries In Windows 7
  58. Quickly Launch Programs In Windows 7
  59. Disable Security Alerts In Windows 7
  60. Aero Shake In Windows 7
  61. Quickly Browse Tasks In Windows 7 With The Keyboard
  62. Windows 7’s Windows Easy Transfer
  63. Backup And Restore In Windows 7 Part I
  64. Backup And Restore In Windows 7 Part II
  65. Windows 7’s System Restore
  66. Schedule Disk Cleanup In Windows 7
  67. Windows 7’s Accessibility Features Part I
  68. Windows 7’s Accessibility Features Part II
  69. Windows 7’s Accessibility Features Part III
  70. Windows 7’s Accessibility Features Part IV
  71. Windows 7’s Accessibility Features Part V
  72. Schedule Disk Defragmenter In Windows 7
  73. Schedule Disk Cleanup To Run In Windows 7

Buy My Windows 7 eBook Now!

Features in the Vista Explorer are Somewhat Lost

The question, as asked by live chatter Alix:

I just bought a new laptop that came pre-installed with Vista Business. I upgraded DIRECTLY from 2000, more or less. I have used and still do use it, but I didn’t like it for my personal use. Vista, I am very happy with.

My question is… what happened to the toolbar that was in folder view (and can I get it back)? It’s a tiny think, I know. The toolbar (for clarity) that’s similar to a browser toolbar that had the icons for delete and refresh etc. I know that these options are still available through the ‘Organise’ or through keyboard shortcuts like ‘delete’ and f5′ etc… All Google has come up with (for my search terms anyway) are results on adding toolbars (folders) to the taskbar or desktop.

Thank you (in advance) for any info you can direct my way.

Solution: upgrade back to Windows XP. Microsoft changed the Explorer interface in Vista, and there’s no way around it (other than possibly using third-party Windows Explorer replacements / alternative file manager tools).

And before any of you Windows apologists swing in to “save the day,” Alix is most certainly talking about the Toolbar (which cannot be customized at all). He’s not refering to the Explorer Menu bar, which remains hidden by default (but can be toggled on). There’s a difference.

Breaking Windows Habits

A month ago, “Oli Kenobi” emailed me and asked for my opinion on the Airport Extreme – which is turning out to be one of the better wireless routers I’ve ever owned, if only in terms of raw usability and user friendliness. He emails with a brief update this morning, including some surprising news – my shared experiences have inspired him to make the switch from Windows to OS X:

So I got the Airport Extreme a couple weeks ago, and it’s working perfectly. I shared my printer with the usb port. It was pretty easy to set up. Install the drivers on the macs and the PC, install Bonjour on the PC and it found the printer. It took me no more than 5 minutes! I also upgraded my 2 Macs to Leopard and it’s amazing! Since a couple years now, many people are thinking “That would be great if there was a competitor to Windows, because I’m sure they can make it easier to use a computer.” and think now’s the time.

I share a large disk with the mac mini, and it’s SO much easier now with Leopard to share and access it!

I still have some ‘bad old’ Windows habits that I try to give up on OS X: – when I launch a program, I double-click the icon, and wait… nothing happens, then I realize I didn’t see the ‘icon zooming’ animation, so I might have clicked somewhere else. I’m so used to wait and have no indication that the program is launched (as usually in Windows) that I don’t have yet the reaction that if I don’t see the animation, then I might have done wrong.

When I work, it happens that I start rewriting a whole file, and sometimes, I don’t keep a copy of the previous version. Then I screw up and have no way to go back. So until now, I tried as much as I could to anticipate and make a backup of the file in a separate folder… but I just realized there’s no need anymore! Time Machine does it for me! Many of us might take Time Machine as a backup if we lost a file, but it’s also an excellent way to get back to previous versions.

Since one week, each day I’ve been finding several new features, I’m thrilled!

Finally, Apple is SO right with its customers, I’m in Canada, and I just received a minute ago an email with what’s in the attached image. That’s what I call a good customer service. Keep doing great videos, and giving great advices! People love it.

I have a feeling I’m going to have to produce more “cusp” content in the coming years. In an informal chat room poll, 20% of my audience have at least one Mac, 40% want a Mac, and the remainder don’t really give a rip about the Mac. If majority rules, I need to balance my OS coverage – even though some idiots out there seem to think I have to be in one camp or another.

Doesn’t matter what I write, I’m always going to be labeled as a “Microsoft basher,” “Windows hater,” “Windows lover,” “Microsoft apologist,” “Apple fanboy,” “Mac zealot,” “Jobs suck-up,” “Gates follower,” et al – based on the same content. 😉 You see what you want to see in what I write, and nothing more.

To Switch or Not to Switch

“General Walnut” poses excellent (if not rhetorical) questions on the matter of Windows vs. OS X:

I am nowhere near as much as an expert at this kind of stuff that you are and I’m not going to pretend that I am, but you were talking about how because of Vista that Apple might get more of the market. If they did catch up or even pass Microsoft, don’t you think that they will end up facing many of the same problems that Microsoft faces now? I mean, third party companies will want to start making machines that run their OS, and if Apple agrees then they would have to deal with the same hardware adjustments that Microsoft has to deal with. I don’t know, it just seems like, if the positions switch then it will just be the same thing with a different company, and if Apple computers aren’t running in that controlled environment that they have created then they will run into just as many, if not more, problems than Microsoft.

Apple will be forced to open up sooner or later. It’s inevitable, no matter how much larger they may get. The more interesting question might be to ask: what will be opened up, and how far?

Also you mentioned how people that don’t know a lot about computers don’t care if you can switch hardware out and stuff like that (you used not wanting to replace a cars steering wheel as an example I believe). But when somebody that doesn’t know a whole lot about computers walks into a store like Best Buy what do they see? They see hp, sony, compaq, gateway, some other companies, and Mac. They don’t see pc or mac, so wouldn’t these people who know nothing about computers be more likely to buy one of the brands of PC that buy a Mac?

What they see is a price tag. Consumers notice that there’s a $300 computer with a rebate sitting over there and assume it’s just the same as a $1300 computer. Both can get on the Internet, after all. They’re justified to make decisions based on personal finance, but seldom take into account TCO.

Remember, most people don’t know about the free or open source alternatives.

You also asked to answer if the headache that is Vista has had people wanting or considering switching to a Mac, and I say no. I haven’t ever considered switching to an Apple computer, not even for a little bit. I probably don’t do nearly as much on a PC as you do, but for what I do, I haven’t noticed even a fraction of the bugs that people are talking about. At this point I probably wouldn’t even go back to XP. I’m not going to say because I haven’t had problems that means nobody else must have, but for what I have done so far, I actually enjoy Vista. Yea It’s slower that XP, but I didn’t even notice the parts of it that are slower until recently, when people started talking about it to me. I have talked to people that say that the Network and Sharing section of the Control Panel takes about 30 minutes to load, but the most time it has taken for it to load for me is about 5 seconds. If what I have experienced in Vista was half as buggy as what people are telling me it should be, or half as slow for that matter, there wouldn’t be any debating over whether or not I should switch back to XP, I just would.

By admitting that Vista is slower than XP, you’re only furthering my earlier assertions. Quite a few people are reporting that (in some ways) Leopard is faster than Tiger – myself included. When a new OS doesn’t run faster or better on the same hardware, you have to question why it’s worth trading performance for a questionable set of new features.

It boils down to a matter of personal preference, but if you’re fine with what Windows delivers and haven’t tried anything else – how can you know what you prefer?

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.

Robert and Robert: Duh!

McLaws says Vista Needs More Time and Scoble says McLaws is right on Windows Vista ship date. Pirillo has been saying this for several months now, and has been labeled a “nitpicking whiner” for his attacks on Windows Vista’s UI and UX. Welcome to the club, boys – I’m happy to no longer be standing out here alone. I’m singing the “I Told You So” song today, which sounds a lot like the Blackeyed Peas hit: “My Humps.” Microsoft Windows is bleeding influencers like never before. And now, further commentary from the memetic echo chamber:

Windows Vista will not be a failure on the scale of Windows ME – but it’s certainly looking to be one of those “Growing Pains” releases that Microsoft must bounce back quickly from. And by quickly, I mean: Microsoft must issue a significant upgrade of the OS within a year’s time. Security is important, but future service packs best be laden with performance increases and feature refinements. I tried telling y’all long before the McLaws admission – VIsta just ain’t comin’ together.

George is getting very upset!

Windows Vista: Lipstick on a Pig

I wish I was making this up – I really do. I also wish that someone at Microsoft would wake up to the fact that the user experience in Windows Vista is 10x worse than it was in Windows XP (if only because they couldn’t get developers to adhere to XP guidelines, and now Vista apps look even more Frankenstined). I wish Microsoft would hire somebody to look at this stuff before it ships – and do something about the problems before the world has to deal with them.

I wish users didn’t have to put up with this level of sloppiness from a multi-billion dollar company. I wish I didn’t have to play the “bad guy” and point out that Classic Mode is still the only way to experience a clean, consistent Windows environment. I wish more people would look past Vista’s translucent veneer to see that it’s nothing more than lipstick on a pig. I wish people would see that I care more about this product than most Windows users do. I wish geeks cared more about UI… so that I wouldn’t feel like such a sore thumb here. Thanks to Brandon for posting this – and thanks to Ryan for pointing out that Windows 3.1 is still alive and well in Windows Vista (screenshot).

Windows Vista: Download vs. DVD

A few minutes ago, in an online group chat, Microsoft Windows Featured Community leaders received the following stream of information regarding the number of sanctioned downloads for Windows Vista Beta 2. This report comes directly from Microsoft’s own Aaron Coldiron:

Yes, you can immediately publish what I’m about to tell you. You are literally the first to hear this – but I probably won’t be able to satisfy all your appetite for questions. 😉 I wanted to update you on downloads for the Windows Vista Beta 2. Demand for Beta 2 has been huge – which we expected. But, we are hitting ceilings on bandwidth. Right now we are serving out product keys 10x faster than we can serve the downloads. Already this is the biggest software download event in history. There’s two points I want to give you:

  1. We are pumping out bits as fast as we can. If we pushed out bits any faster there would be a measurable impact for the Internet. So, we are literally saying that if we increased our bandwidth any further there’s a possibility of taking down the Internet – people might have problems with World Cup viewing, etc. That would [sic] be bad. So, it isn’t that we weren’t anticipating demand – we were and are – it is that we are at the threshold of what the Internet can bear.
  2. We want to encourage people who can wait to order the DVD. The DVD guarantees you RC1 upgrade (as long as you activate). DVDs will take about 1 – 4 weeks to arrive depending where in the world you live. And, I want to emphasize that we aren’t making money on the DVDs. We are just charging for cost of goods and shipping. Along with that – people who have PID keys may have a wait on their hands to get the download. This could be several days to even up to a week or more in some cases. That speaks to why ordering the DVD might be a good option. People who already have PID keys and want to get the DVD just need to go back to the GetReady site and go through the process there. They will get a new PID key.

When I asked why they couldn’t just seed it as a torrent (BitTorrent), Aaron responded:

There are legal and privacy issues which unfortunately make that not an option for Microsoft to officially sponsor a BitTorrent. I really wish we could do it, but we can’t. If someone [seeds or downloads a torrent] we can’t guarantee that they’ve got an unaltered copy, etc.

Even though Microsoft can’t sanction the seeding of a Windows Vista Beta 2 torrent, they’re probably not going to do anything to stop it from happening. I do hope that someone will officially produce an MD5 hash so that users can compare checksums! Aaron continued:

Stats – right now we don’t have any specific stats to share. Let me just say that demand is on the upper ends of our projections. We’ve been pretty clear in all our messaging that this beta will be limited. Limited in the # of people. I can’t give you any direction on this at this time. So, no comment.

The Internet needs to decide: Windows Vista Beta 2 or World Cup? 🙂

User Interface

Dinner with Lili Cheng and her band of Merry Men (and Women) indicated that there were still a few more Vista UI fixes coming down the pike in pending releases. I’ve been reporting and recording as much as humanly possible, but until Microsoft officially assigns Lili as the Goddess of ‘All Things UI’… we’re screwed. Guess what else is probably not going to be fixed in Vista? Errant ToolTips. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy – but this is an oversight that will likely slippy, slippy, slippy.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Lili’s team needs to be given the final say on whether (or not) an app is ready for core inclusion BEFORE it’s included. As of right now, there’s no UI accountability; any team can submit any code they want at any time – with nobody signing off on UI. Since this isn’t handed down from on-high (where I believe Lili sits anyway, but not with a true ability to clean these problems before the world sees them), we’re left with the classic Microsoft “it works, therefore it’s good enough” mentality. The inmates, indeed, are running the asylum.

…and I get labeled a “nitpicker” for pointing out ways that Windows Vista can look better? Give me a break. It’s obvious that some of Microsoft’s developers aren’t designers – painfully so. The only people who have the right to call me a “nitpicker” are those responsible for user interface and user experience. IMHO, Jim Allchin’s legacy isn’t necessarily Windows Vista – it’s the power he hands to people like Lili moving forward [a thought that is equally shared with Ed Bott].

“User Interface” isn’t just about software design – it’s the communications gateway between a company and its most vocal supporters.

Vista Forums

Hey, we’ve got Vista Forums online – including categories for Multimedia, Networking & Sharing, Performance Management, Scan, Security, General Discussions, Hardware Devices, Games, File Management, Account Administration, Mail, and Setup & Installation. Each one of these Vista forums has a separate RSS feed, too – so if you want to track what’s happening in the world of Vista support, you can do it with ease. The forum servers are much happier now, and we’re only going to add more categories over time. Vista Help, ho!