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Windows Vista – the forgotten OS?


As the new kid on the block Microsoft is pushing Windows 8 hard.  They are also trying to get people still on XP to upgrade to either Windows 7 or even Windows 8, however there is no mention of that other OS Vista.  Now I know that Vista isn’t liked very much (by both the public and Microsoft itself) and Microsoft would rather it went away but the fact is it is still used by millions of people worldwide.  So lets take a look and see how bad it really is.

First the good points.

1. New flashier interface.  Vista looks good especially with the new Aero interface.  The icons look snappier and navigation around the menus is good.

2. The Network Center.  At last Microsoft put networking at the centre of the OS.  Setting up either a wired or wireless network on Vista is a breeze.

3. Security.  Vista is a lot more secure than its predecessor Windows XP. In XP the user runs with administrative privileges by default which means that if the system gets infected with a virus and that virus compromises the user account it would then have administrative privileges for the system.  This could not happen on Vista because of the UAC (User Account Control) which asks you to specify a password before you carry out administrative tasks.

4. Reliability and Performance Monitor.  I love this and was surprised Microsoft dropped the Reliability monitor from Windows 7.  The ability to produce reports about the current state of the system is invaluable from a troubleshooting point of view and coupled with the ability to monitor the system over a period of time using the Reliability Monitor is priceless.

Now onto the not so good stuff.

1. Resource hog.  To run Vista you require much beefier hardware than what was required for XP.  Vista loves memory and if you don’t have enough of it to say it is slow is an understatement.  You can run it on 1 Gb but watch what happens when you try installing software and actually using it.

2. Drivers.  When Vista came out it wasn’t compatible with a lot of the peripherals (eg printers) that users were using at the time.  This should be largely sorted but the damage to its reputation has been done.

3. Pricing.  Vista came in 6 different versions starting from Basic and ending up at Ultimate which cost a whopping £160 (approx).  This was more than its predecessor Windows XP.

4. The interface.  Yes the Vista interface was better but it was also too different from XP for a lot of customers.  Customers didn’t want to relearn how to use the system.

5. The UAC.  This was the biggest complaint from users by far.  When you try and do any administrative task in Vista the UAC appears and asks for a password (usually preceded by a blank screen) and shocks many users.  It is very intrusive and a lot of users turned it off which kind of defeats the purpose of having it there in the first place.

6. Windows 7.  Basically Windows 7 is what Vista should have been out of the blocks and because of this many people and businesses are bypassing Vista on their upgrade paths and going straight to Windows 7.

From a personal point of view I would rather work on a Vista system than an XP system anyday. With the inbuilt troubleshooting tools it is much easier to diagnose problems and fix them plus everytime I have had to reinstall XP on a system it never loads all the drivers. Vista doesn’t have this issue.  I will probably miss it when it eventually goes but I know of many that wont.

About the Author

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Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should you upgrade to Windows 8?

Last week saw the release of Windows 8 the biggest change to to the Windows operating system since Windows 95.  If you listen to all the marketing blurb it is faster, leaner and full of new features but after all the dust has settled one question still remains.  Should you upgrade to Windows 8?  Lets take a look.

Advantages

1. New touch screen enabled interface looks bang up to date.  If you do a lot of work using a tablet or smartphone then you are going to love the new interface.

2. New features like Windows To Go and Boot speed are nice inclusions.

3. You now have the same interface across multiple platforms (smartphone, tablet and PC).  If you use Microsoft technologies a lot for your daily tasks this could be a huge bonus as the interface will look the same no matter what device you are using.

4. Sync all your data with the cloud.  Windows 8 has been designed with the cloud in mind and Windows 8 makes it very easy to store all your data online.  No more data loss when your hard drive dies (if you use it of course).

5. You can upgrade directly from Windows XP.


Disadvantages

1. There is a steep learning curve.  The interface is completely different so you will have to re-learn how to use the system.  For a lot of users this will prove to much of an inconvenience.

2. Without touch screen the new interface doesn’t really work.  Should work well on a tablet though.

3. Windows 8 will require new hardware to really shine.

The new interface has completely split opinion.  Personally I don’t think it will work very well on a traditional laptop or PC as using a mouse seams ‘wrong’.  Windows 8 has been designed for touch screens and on a system with touch screen technology it should work fine. Saying that you would have to forget most of what you already know about Windows and learn the new interface.  On your Windows XP system with 1 Gb of RAM and a mouse? Um…………………………..

As for business adoption I think Microsoft is going to have problems convincing companies to upgrade to Windows 8.  Companies would have to retrain users and this takes time and money which could be spent elsewhere.

So to conclude if you ‘need’ the latest Windows operating system I would go out and buy a touchscreen enabled laptop or tablet as this will bring out the best of Windows 8.  If you already have a Windows 7 system which is fully functional with no issues I wouldn’t bother upgrading and if you have XP go for Windows 7 instead.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

 

 

 

Files required to use Microsoft Update are no longer registered or installed on your computer


Came across this little baby last week when trying to update a Windows XP laptop after a reinstall.  Turns out that although there were no errors during installation some of the dll files used by Windows update were not registered.  This is how to fix it.

Click on Start – Run and then type the following.  Remember to press return after each one.

regsvr32 wuapi.dll

regsvr32 wups.dll

regsvr32 wuaueng.dll

regsvr32 wucltui.dll

regsvr32 atl.dll

regsvr32 msxml3.dll

Once completed restart your computer and Windows Update should work as normal.  In my case it turns out I was actually missing the last file which I had to download first and then register it.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

How to set up Skype


Today we are going to have a look at Skype.  Skype is a fantastic piece of software that allows you to make video calls with someone anywhere in the world for free. To use Skype you will need a webcam (most laptops have these built in), speakers and a microphone.  So lets take a look at how you set this up.  This tutorial uses Windows XP but the steps work on all Windows based operating systems.

First thing to do is to download Skype.  If this is your first time using Skype you will be asked to create an account.  Make your username unique and your password memorable. Once your account is set up double click your download to start the installation.

On the first page pick your language and then click next.  On the following page you are asked about Skype Click to call.  Unless you have signed up for this uncheck the box and click continue.  Your installation will now start.

Once installed you will be taken to the sign in screen.  Enter your details that you created earlier and make sure you tick the “Sign me in when Skype starts box”.

Next Skype will get you to test your speakers and microphone.  Click “Test sound” under your speakers  and you should hear a test sound.  If not check your speakers are turned on and plugged in.  Next click ‘Video’.  You should see yourself on the screen.  If not again check the connection and power.  Adjust the microphone setting to the the sound level you require.

On the next page you will be asked if you want to add a profile picture.  Your choice if you want to or not.  And that is it.  Skype has been successfully installed.

Now we have to find people to talk to!! The best way to do this is to use the search function on the top left of the screen.  Type in a name and Skype will display the people with that name.  You just pick your friends and add them as a contact.  To call a friend right click them in your contact list and then choose call.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

How to set up a Windows network


Today we are going to learn how to set up a simple network using different versions of Windows.  This tutorial will use Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows XP Home Edition but works just as well on Vista.  We will share a folder from Windows XP to the Windows 7 machine but it works well the other way too.

On the XP Machine

Click on Start and locate My Computer.  Right click on My Computer and go to Properties.  Click on the Computer Name tab and find the change button which is situated next to “To rename this computer or join a workgroup, click Change”.  Click the button.  In Workgroup pick a name for your new network and click OK.

Next we want to share some files.  Best way to do this is to run the network wizard.  Locate the folder you want to share, for example My Documents, and right click.  Go to the sharing tab and locate Network sharing and Security.  Under Network Sharing and Security you will see the new network wizard.  Click on this and follow the instructions.  When completed restart the system.

Once restarted again locate the folder you want to share and right click.  Go to the sharing tab and you will see a box titled “Share this folder on the network”.  Check the box and give it a shared name.  If you want other users to change files in your folder check the box “Allow network users to change my files”.  That’s it for XP now onto Windows 7.

On The Windows 7 Machine

Go to Start and then right click on Computer.  Click on Properties and when the “View Basic Information about your Computer” screen appears click on change settings, which is located on the bottom right.  Locate “To rename this computer, click Change” and click change.  Add the network name you chose for the Windows XP machine under Workgroup and click OK.

Windows 7 will now attempt to find the network and when it does it will ask you if the network is Public, Home or Work.  If this is home network click Home and so forth.

Now to accessing the shared files.  Go to Start and right click on Computer.  Click on map network drive.  Browse for the shared folder on your XP machine and when located click finish.  The shared folder will come up as a network drive and can be accessed from going into Computer.

Word here about firewalls.  If you are using the inbuilt Windows firewalls you should have no problems as these open up the required ports to allow the computers to communicate.  If you are using a different firewall then either turn it off (not recommended unless you have a another firewall between the computers and your router) or manually open up the required ports. And that is it.

To share the files the other way round name your Windows 7 workgroup the same way you did in XP and then right click on the folder you want to share.  Click on share with and then go to specific people.  The operation for mapping the drive is exactly the same in XP.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

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