Tag Archives: Windows 2000

Windows 7

windows-7

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that Microsoft were trying to confuse us.

The approach for naming Windows appears to change with every release.Back when I first started using Windows we were running 3.11 which we then upgraded to Windows 95 (although NT 4.0 was also available).Next we switched to Windows Millennium Edition (although a rather similarly sounding Windows 2000 was available) then we moved on to versions named after aspirational monikers such as XP and Vista.

It seems confusing as to whether they wish to name the Operating System after the version number, year of release or an alternative name but thankfully they have decided to make it ‘simple’ by settling on Windows 7 for their next release.This however is the point where the confusion arises once again; Windows 3.11 was obviously a later release of version 3, Windows 95 was commonly considered version 4, Windows 2000 was version 5 and Vista version 6.The more astute among you may notice that Windows XP, possibly the most common Operating System on the market, doesn’t seem to feature in this numbering system so I am therefore assuming that Windows XP must have either been considered unworthy of its own version number or that Microsoft cannot count.

Anyway, back to the point, Windows 7 (although I argue it should be called ‘Windows 8′) will be the next Operating System release from Microsoft.Penned in for a Beta (test) release in early 2009 with the final product becoming available in 2010 I thought it would be worth looking at some of the features they have planned:

Sensors - Windows 7 will include the ability for applications to obtain information through a number of different sensors and act on the information accordingly.An example would be using a GPS sensor so that the OS could establish that you were at work and change your profile accordingly or a proximity sensor that could determine that with no one close to the machine that it could enter power saving mode.

Multi-touch - Windows 7 will include integrated support for multi-touch displays.Conventional touch screen has never particularly excited me but with multi-touch, rather than simply allowing you to crudely point at something you want to click you are able to use multiple fingers from both hands.An example of a practical use would be to select multiple items on screen simultaneously or select an item with your left hand whilst flicking through windows to find somewhere to drop it with your right.Alternatively you could use it in a photo application to resize an image by pulling or pinching either side of it with the index fingers of either hand until you get it to the size you desire.

Speech and Handwriting Recognition –Unfortunately speaking to your computer is embarrassing and writing by hand is usually slower and more laborious than typing although there is the very real need for speech recognition to continue to improve for those with disabilities who cannot use a keyboard.That said, there are those that do see a future in these technologies so they will no doubt be delighted by their inclusion.

The graphical interface has reportedly been tweaked and the user interface is very much customizable with support for ‘gadgets’ (small lightweight applications) that can be added to areas of the Operating System such as Windows Explorer or Media Centre.Of course, a lot of what is being planned is ‘under the hood’ so to speak with Microsoft claiming that Windows 7 will have improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot speeds and extensive kernel improvements.I will bring you more information as and when I get it.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works at the UK based supplier of cartridges, Refresh Cartridges. They supply a range of compatible and original Kodak 10 Cartridges at a low price.

WindowsCare

Advanced_WindowsCare

Being a guy who used to make a living from repairing computers, you might understand that I’m slightly cynical about the prospect of people repairing their own machines when things go wrong; if anything serious should happen then you’re certainly best off calling a professional.In my experience, a little knowledge in the wrong hands can be deadly and often attempting to repair your Operating System yourself will end in tears!

That having been said, I do certainly see the need for applications that can provide an element of automated system repair and preventive maintenance and one such application I recently discovered called Advanced WindowsCare fits that bill nicely.

The version of the software that I will be reviewing today is the free personal edition; however there is also a $29.95 professional version.Compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista, both versions can be obtained from www.iobit.com, and with the personal edition weighing in at only 6mb it shouldn’t take two minutes to download.Once installed the level of automation is quite scary; simply click the scan button and the application will look inside your computer and will categorise your problems in to the following areas:

Spyware – Provides details of any Spyware or Adware installed on your computer; whilst there are a million and one applications providing this facility, another one certainly won’t hurt.

Security Defence – Identifies areas of your system that can be ‘immunised’ to prevent possible security compromising software from being installed on your machine.

Registry Fix – The Windows registry is a huge file that contains thousands of Windows settings and parameters.This section will highlight any entries that are invalid or incorrect.

System Optimisation – Any areas of your system Operating System identified as being inefficient by the software will be listed in this category.

Startup Manager – I have in the past explained the importance of minimising the amount of unnecessary software which launches on system startup and this application makes removing it extremely simple.

Privacy Sweep – This category will list all activity history and traces on your computer.Removing them will potentially increase your computers security, or avoid potential embarrassment if you’ve been doing something you shouldn’t have been.

Junk Files Clean – Windows stores a surprisingly large amount of rubbish that can quickly and easily identified and removed with no ill effects.

You will be given a chance to review any changes that the application plans to make although doing so would be extremely labour intensive as on my three month old laptop 40,000 issues were raised; the majority of them being 33,000 odd possible system immunisations.Giving WindowsCare the benefit of the doubt I simply clicked on repair and so far I have had no cause for concern however it is worthwhile bearing in mind that the application does allow you to back up your system settings before any changes are made, then restore them if you suffer any problems.

I don’t think there’s really a huge amount left to say about this application.It installed easily, it worked efficiently and it removed countless potential problems from my system in a matter of minutes.I would certainly recommend downloading and installing this fantastic piece of free software - if you are currently having problems with your system it could solve them, and if you’re not then it could prevent them.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges. They are a UK based company who specialise in the supply of high quality printer cartridges, including Dell 593-10094 at incredibly low prices.

Windows Power Options

One of my loyal readers Ian McMillan suggested that perhaps I should focus an article on the power options available in Windows as the most people won’t get any further than using the ‘shut down’ option when they have finished using their machine and there are some potentially more useful options available to users of Windows 2000 & XP that may suit your needs better.

I should start by saying that whilst I doubt many of you are just disconnecting power from the machine in order to shut it down, those of you who are should stop immediately as damage can be caused to the Operating System or files lost if the machine is not allowed to shut itself down properly.

The options ‘shut down’ and ‘restart’ should be fairly obvious to most people – Both shut down all Windows programs and wrap up the Operating System to a state where it is ready to be closed down. At this point, if you had selected ‘shut down’ the power will then be cut from the machine but if ‘restart’ was selected then the computer will then soft reboot and begin to load Windows again.

Other options available include:

- Standby mode: This power option turns off all power consuming components of your machine; the display is turned off, the hard disks spin down and what little power it does use is for preserving the contents of the memory (RAM) so that when you wake the computer from standby you lose no data. This option is more useful for those with laptop computers who don’t require their machine for a short period but don’t want to go to the trouble of completely shutting down the machine. It can also be useful for those with desktop computers who want to minimise the amount of power their computers are using whilst they are away from their machine.

- Hibernate mode: The ‘hibernate’ mode is one of the most useful power options for most users whether they have a laptop or desktop machine. When you choose to hibernate, the contents of RAM are saved onto the hard drive and the machine is shut down as normal so that it is using no power whatsoever. When you then choose to restart the PC the data saved to the hard disk is loaded back into the RAM so that the machine effectively continues operating from the exact point that you left it.

This feature means that you can choose to hibernate with a number of applications and documents open, leave the machine off for however long you require and then resume from the exact point that you left it. Laptop users will be able to set it so that their machines hibernate automatically when they close the lid on their machines which can be extremely useful and timesaving.

- Log off: If you have multiple user profiles set up on your machine then this function will return the computer to the user selection screen so that when you have finished using your profile you can close it down and prepare the machine for someone else to make use of it.

- Lock: This mode is useful if you are leaving your machine unattended for just a few minutes a populated surrounding and don’t want anybody to have access whilst you are away. You will be required to enter a password in order to resume using the machine.

Ian also pointed out a useful free utility ‘PowerClick’ which can be downloaded www.asmdev.net which can start up with Windows and then sit in the taskbar and provide instant access to all these power saving options.

Give the ‘hibernation’ feature a try rather than always using the option to completely turn off your machine and you may be surprised by how much time you can potentially save waiting for your machine to start and all your programs and documents to load into memory every day!

RPC Bug

I’m starting Click this week with an apology relating to the article that I published last week in which I mentioned an insurance quote I had received through Bartlett Davies Bicks and suggested that it was higher than I would have expected. This caused some upset and so I would like to point out that Bartlett Davies Bicks is an independent broker and the quotes they offer as with any other insurance company will vary from driver to driver. I didn’t intend to imply that they were uncompetitive in the market place as obviously this is not the case, rather that their quote just wasn’t suited for me personally.

Anyway, now that’s out the way, I’m going to repeat an article that I published some weeks ago as I’m still getting at least an e-mail a day with people asking me the same question and it’s my hope that this will alleviate the problem. The problem I’m talking about is involving a bug in Windows 2000 and XP that shuts down your computer when it’s connected to the Internet - Those afflicted will find that their computer will give them a message saying that it has to shut down and give you a short amount of time to save your work; usually around 30 seconds.

To rectify the problem we need to download a patch from Microsoft and your latest Anti-virus software updates but to do this we have to prevent the PC rebooting as soon as you go online and so the RPC restart function has to be disabled which is done as follows:

Before you go online click on ‘Start’, then run then and type: services.msc. When the Services window opens up, scroll down the list to the first Remote Procedure Call (RPC), right click on this and select ‘properties’ and then click the Recovery tab. You will see the drop-down menus labelled First failure, Second failure and Subsequent failures and these will be set to ‘Restart’ as default. Change each drop-down menu to ‘Take No Action’ then click Apply and OK. Close the Services window and now connect to the Internet.

We have to now download a Windows patch which will prevent infection from affecting your system which can be done by heading to www.microsoft.com and clicking the link for the ‘Blaster Worm’ on the main page; simply follow the instructions to download and install this patch and the vulnerability in the operating system that allows this nasty file in will be removed.

Now simply update your anti-virus software and do a complete system scan, removing any viruses that it finds; it is essential that you download the latest updates otherwise the software will not find it. If you don’t have an anti-virus scanner then download the fantastic AVG from www.grisoft.com

That’s it; your PC is now clean and you sit back and relax, ignoring all the scare stories that you’re bound to hear about on the news over the coming weeks.

RPC Bug

This week has been one of those weeks where there have been a million and one things to catch up on and so I was hoping for a fairly quiet week which would allow me to do this. Not likely; my phone has been ringing continuously with people all experiencing the same problem, a bug in Windows 2000 and XP that shuts down your computer when it’s connected to the Internet. Those afflicted will find that their computer will give them a message saying that it has to shut down and give you a short amount of time to save your work; usually around 30 seconds.

To avoid me repeating myself over and over I will dedicated Click this week to the removal of this problem as it is almost certain that half the Bay is panicking at this very moment. Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms then please follow these instructions anyway otherwise you can expect to become infected shortly!

We need to download a patch from Microsoft and your latest Anti-virus software updates but to do this we have to prevent the PC rebooting as soon as you go online and so the RPC restart function has to be disabled which is done as follows:

Before you go online click on ‘Start’, then run then and type: services.msc. When the Services window opens up, scroll down the list to the first Remote Procedure Call (RPC), right click on this and select ‘properties’ and then click the Recovery tab. You will see the drop-down menus labelled First failure, Second failure and Subsequent failures and these will be set to ‘Restart’ as default. Change each drop-down menu to ‘Take No Action’ then click Apply and OK. Close the Services window and now connect to the Internet.

We have to now download a Windows patch which will prevent infection from affecting your system which can be done by heading to www.microsoft.com and clicking the link for the ‘Blaster Worm’ on the main page; simply follow the instructions to download and install this patch and the vulnerability in the operating system that allows this nasty file in will be removed.

Now simply update your anti-virus software and do a complete system scan, removing any viruses that it finds; it is essential that you download the latest updates otherwise the software will not find it. If you don’t have an anti-virus scanner then download the fantastic AVG from www.grisoft.com

That’s it; your PC is now clean and you sit back and relax, ignoring all the scare stories that you’re bound to hear about on the news over the coming weeks.

Website Hosting

Once again I take a week to answer questions that my readers have recently put to me, focussing this week on Tony Venton who is interested in designing and maintaining his own website.

I am planning a web site as a hobby; a family album for those of my family spread around the world to keep them up to date with photos, stories and the such like so I have acquired FrontPage 2002 for this purpose but have to upgrade from my Windows 95 (which can’t run it) and a new PC is also well overdue. I am advised that I need Windows 2000 Professional for the task but I find that my Internet Service Provider does not have the necessary collection of software called Microsoft Server Extensions version 2002 which support hit counters, data collection, e-mailing, database processing and other FrontPage features (Eclipse.co.uk, my current provider have FrontPage 2000 only so some features won’t work, they tell me).

What are my choices? -

a) Go ahead with my ISP taking cognisance to avoid features that don’t work

b) Find another ISP having the required FrontPage Extensions version 2002

c) Develop with 2002 and then set up a “production” site on my own PC as a server rather on the ISP’s server.

I am particularly seeking advice on (c) since I am a novice! -

x) Would my PC have to be online continually for effectiveness as a “site”?

y) Would a new PC running Intel Pentium 4 (2.4 GHz) and FrontPage 2002 be adequate to support my own web site?

z) Anything I should be wary of?

If I am not talking rubbish I would be grateful for any advice you can offer me.

Tony Venton, via e-mail

I think to be honest for someone who describes themselves as a novice you are looking far too deep into things if you are just looking to do a site for family members. I will however take your points one at a time so you can see my reasoning and I will attempt to guide you in the right direction.

Your first choice as you point out would be to stay with your current provider who only has FrontPage 2000 extensions which I personally I believe should be more than sufficient for anything that you would be planning to do for a family website. The obvious alternative is to look for a company using a suitable search engine such as Google (www.google.co.uk) who could offer you a hosting package with the FrontPage 2002 extensions; I think you would be surprised by quite how cost effective this option would be however I am unable to recommend such a site unfortunately as the hosting companies that I use run only FrontPage 2000 extensions and I have always found this more than sufficient.

As to hosting your website on your own PC; don’t even think about it - Ever. Such a venture is not for the faint hearted and will require you to have your PC on the Internet 24/7 via a high speed connection, you will need a static IP address and it would just cost you far much more and give you much more hassle than simply buying a ready made hosting package online. For a home user, hosting your own website on your personal PC is really not necessary or practical. Just for the sake of completeness, you don’t need Windows 2000 Professional in order to run FrontPage 2002 as it will run on Windows 98 or above.

Without trying to sound too condescending I would say that I believe you are trying to run before you can walk; try your hand at completing a couple of websites on your computer, upload them to your Eclipse web space and see where you go from there. I think the worst case scenario is that you utilise the services of a web-hosting company such as www.wiserhosting.co.uk to provide you with some of the features that Eclipse won’t give you as standard but as a home user you certainly won’t require anything greater than this.

Windows XP

With the successor to Windows ME and Windows 2000 just having been released to manufactures, I thought that this week I would review the newest Operating System on the market from Microsoft; Windows XP. For most people in the industry this new product is the most exciting development in its area since Windows 95 was released however, most home users may also have something to gain from this new release.

You may or may not remember the very first article I published for the Herald when I discussed the distinct differences between Windows ME (Millennium Edition) and Windows 2000. To summarise the article, Windows ME was targeted at the home user; it was designed to be fast and with large amounts of support for games but wasn’t as hot on issues such as security and stability that Windows 2000 (the business product) excelled at. This new product, Windows XP makes a valiant attempt at bridging the gap between these two distinctly different versions – It has the speed of Windows ME and the stability of Windows 2000 in one product. I have seen this package running on a number of machines and phrases such as the infamous ‘You have performed an Illegal Operation’ are few and far between due to the increased stability of the system – In fact when the computer does come down with such an error Windows XP actually apologises for the inconvenience and ensures that instead of the whole system going down that just the offending program is terminated.

For most home users however, the cool new interface will probably be the first thing to grab their attention rather than the finer workings of the Operation System. Windows XP is a lot more slick and colourful than any of the previous incarnations which all had a reputation of being rather dull; you could change your desktop background and screensaver but that’s about as far as it went. For XP all the icons have been completely redesigned, new colour schemes have been put into place along with a really neat looking start menu. The biggest change though is that all the small things that you may have thought would have been a good idea when using Windows 98 or ME have all been added to this release.

Another important point to note is that even through all these changes, Windows XP is still compatible with all your old programs and even programs written for an older version of Windows adopts all the new visual styles of this later version. To see this new design for yourself, point your browser at http://www.winsupersite.com.

Windows XP has been designed to be a much more multimedia oriented Operating System; the newest features include an updated version of Windows Media player with support for ripping tracks straight off any music CD onto your hard-disk as well as the ability to play DVD’s. There is also support for writing to CD discs without any additional software (using a compatible recorder) as well as simplified and improved scanner and camera support.

One of the most negative points of Windows XP has to be the anti-piracy software built into the Operating System. While I do understand that piracy is an issue that has to be taken very seriously and should not be condoned in any form, I feel that this new system verges very closely upon being intrusive.

Once you have the product out of the box and installed it onto your computer, Windows has to be ‘activated’ which involved either ringing up Microsoft or registering the product over the Internet. If the product isn’t registered within 30 days then it will disable itself and therefore rendering the machine useless.

During registration, the details of the users’ machine (sound card, processor etc.) are taken into account and a unique product ID created meaning that the product would fail to run if installed on a machine with a different specification. This does mean however that if you were to change an item of hardware such as your PCs motherboard then you would have to phone Microsoft up and get a new Product ID for the new computer specification. I can see that this system will help to reduce piracy but could also serve to annoy people who have legally purchased the product for £80; imagine if you had to call up Ford when you’d spent £10,000 on a new car so that it could be activated thereby ensuring that it wasn’t a stolen model.

That is actually my only real complaint about the product. It is nice to hear of a large company such as Microsoft who has really starting listening to exactly what it is that people require from a product, Windows XP is a great new piece of software and makes other operating systems such as Mac OS and Linux seem far to complex in comparison. Although not quite released at the time of publication, the product should be out on the 25th of October and will most likely cost the same as Windows ME does at present; £135 for the full version or around £40 for those upgrading from an older version of Windows.

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