How to Speed Up Windows 7 ?



Do you want to speed up your new Windows operating system? Check out our tips on how to speed up Windows 7.


windows7

Microsoft’s new operating system (OS) has been getting rave reviews since the infancy of its beta form. If you’re loving your new Windows 7 OS but wish it was just a little bit speedier, then you’re in luck. There are a couple of ways to make Windows 7 a little quicker for you. Whether you’re booting up, shutting down, or just cruising on your PC, here are some tips to speed up this already light and speedy new OS.


Meet the Minimum

First things first, make sure you’re meeting the minimum hardware requirements to run Windows 7. You should have at least 1GHz processor (32 or 64-bit), 1GB of main memory, 16GB available disk space, support for the Aero interface (DX9 graphics support with 128MB of memory), and a DVD-R/W drive.

Cut Unwanted Programs

Cutting down on the amount of programs running is always a good idea. To figure out and cut down on programs running in the background you can use msconfig or just install software that will identify those programs secretly running. Some programs will open automatically, so try this:

  • Go to Start and enter ‘msconfig
  • Click on the startup tab and uncheck anything you don’t need

Disable Min-Max Animation

By disabling the Minimize-Maximize animation you’ll speed up your window switching and make your Windows 7 PC run faster. To disable:

  • Go to Start and type in ‘SystemPropertiesPerformance
  • Go the Visual Effects tab
  • Uncheck ‘Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing‘ and click OK

Forget the Fonts

Removing unwanted fonts—especially TrueType fonts—will also speed up Windows 7. Keep the ones you need and use, and then remove the rest—but put those unwanted fonts in a temporary directory just in case you want them some day. To do this:

  • Open Control Panel
  • Open Fonts folder
  • Move fonts temporary space

Turn Off System Sounds

This is a basic for speeding things up—and it will definitely free up some resources. To do this:

  • Go To Start and type in mmsys.cpl
  • Click on the Sounds tab and choose ‘No Sounds‘ in the sound scheme drop down

Disable Aero

If you really need the extra speed then yes, you can disable Windows 7 Aero. To do this:

  • Right-click on your desktop and select ‘Personalize‘ and click the ‘Window Color‘ tab
  • Uncheck the ‘Enable Transparency’ box
  • Click on ‘Open classic appearance properties for more color options
  • Choose a Standard or Basic theme from the popup that appears


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can older programs work on Windows 7?

IF an older program will not run automatically in Windows 7, you can try adjusting its compatibility settings. This feature sometimes allows software written for previous systems to work with the current version of Windows.
In Windows 7, right-click on the icon of the older program and choose “Troubleshoot compatibility” from the menu. When you click on the “Troubleshoot program” option, a wizard walks you through a few screens and asks for basic information, including what version of Windows the program used to work with.
Based on your answers, the troubleshooter adjusts your system settings and tries to run the older program. You can also try the troubleshooter on the setup files on the installation discs from older programs if they won’t install properly.
The Windows 7 compatibility settings can be adjusted manually as well. To do so, right-click on the older program’s icon and select Properties from the menu.
In the Properties box, click the Compatibility tab. In this box, you can select the version of Windows the program was intended for and make other changes to settings like screen resolution.
Microsoft has full instructions and a video demonstrating how to use the Windows 7 compatibility mode at bit.ly/4MFF05. The company also advises against changing the settings for security and utility programs that were meant to work with a specific version of Windows.
The Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions can use the Windows XP Mode software to run programs written for Windows XP right in Windows 7. Microsoft has the details on Windows XP Mode at bit.ly/p6Zy.
Adjusting the compatibility settings is not always a sure fix. If you can’t get the software to work, buying a new Windows 7-friendly version of the program may be the last resort.

Tip of the week
Windows, Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux all include a free Calculator program with the operating system. At first glance, the Calculator may seem like just a simple tool for basic math chores, but take a look in the program’s View menu. Here, you can switch between a simple adding machine to a version that does scientific calculations or even one that can handle programmer math in hexadecimal, binary and octal numbers. Each system has its own little variations as well. For example, the Calculator in Windows 7 includes worksheets for calculating a mortgage and the Calculator in recent versions of Mac OS X has a printable Paper Tape option under the Window menu that displays a history of all the calculations made. – New York Times

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Can Windows 7 Kill XP ?



It will be Windows 7 to do the job Windows Vista failed at, namely to kill Windows XP. However, killing XP is a process rather than a single moment in time. Windows 7 will first erode XP’s market share and convert its audience. As XP’s usage rate will drop, less and less hardware manufacturers and software developers will offer support and compatibility of the latest versions of their products for the operating system Microsoft released in 2001. It will be Microsoft to hammer down the last nail in the XP coffin in 2014, when it will cut extended support for the platform entirely. At that time, users still running XP will be left to fend for themselves with no more updates, no more security patches, no more support.


A recent study from Gartner predicts that no less than 75% of corporate PCs will be running a 64-bit version of Windows by 2014 (via DailyTech). Such a scenario automatically implies that enterprises are now ready, and increasingly so, to discard Windows XP and 32-bit machines, for Windows 7 running on new 64-bit architectures which can take advantage of in excess of 4 GB of RAM.

"On the surface, it would appear that the most obvious time to perform a move from 32-bit to 64-bit would be during an operating system migration (such as from Windows XP to Windows 7). Many companies feel that, if they don't make the move now, they may have to wait until Windows 8 or potentially Windows 9 before another opportunity arises. They point to the complexity involved in supporting an additional set of images as a reason to make an all-or-nothing move,” Gartner noted.

With Windows 7, as with Windows Vista, Microsoft is offering both x86 and x64 versions of the operating system. However, the Redmond company is unlikely to continue doing so with future versions of Windows. Whether Microsoft will cut support for 32-bit processor starting with Windows 8 or not, it still remains to be seen. However, there’s little room for doubt that 64-bit is the future. In this context, having available x64 Vista and x64 Windows 7 side by side, it is clear that customers will opt for the latter to replace Windows 7.

Corporate IT environments are traditionally lagging home users in terms of adopting new technologies, including Windows. If by 2014, 75% of corporate computers will be running 64-bit Windows, most probably x64 Windows 7, it is possible a higher percentage of home users would have already upgraded from Windows XP. At the end of November 2009, XP accounted for a market share of 69.05% and dropping, Vista just 18.55%, also dropping, and Windows 7 4%, at just a single month after release.


"Corporate buyers need to establish a position on moving to 64-bit as part of their Windows 7 planning. For many users, moving to 64-bit with Windows 7 may be the right solution with respect to performance and support for new applications. However, others may find significant compatibility issues coupled with little to no benefit from making the shift at this time. Either way, all organizations must take steps to provide a basic level of support for 64-bit Windows 7, particularly for consumer-facing applications,” Gartner added.

With XP end of life in 2014, Windows 7 offers the best alternative for upgrade to customers, especially enterprises, that need to upgrade from XP. Businesses that will run XP until Windows 8 drops, in approximately three years, risk to have little time available to perform the transition, and to have to run XP even after Microsoft has completely cut support.


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How to make keep Windows 7 safe and secure ?



Q Does Windows 7 come with a firewall and other security software installed?

A Like earlier versions of the Windows operating system, Windows 7 includes its own firewall program to help protect against Internet intruders. Microsoft also offers free virus and spyware protection with its Microsoft Security Essentials software. Links to the program, as well as to the company’s Malicious Software Removal Tool, are at microsoft.com/security.

Microsoft’s free security programs offer basic protection, but software suites from third-party companies add things like spam filtering, tools to defend against phishing, wireless-network monitoring and other features, as well as a more customizable firewall. These suites provide a more comprehensive set of protection programs, but they usually cost $40 to $70 dollars. (Some new Windows 7 computers may even come with a trial version or a one-year subscription to a security suite.)

Microsoft has a list of companies selling security software that works with Windows 7 at bit.ly/ecMt. The CNet site has reviews of many security programs at reviews.cnet.com/software and PC Magazine’s roundup of this year’s suites at bit.ly/14gXJi.

QDo I need to buy an external microphone to use with my camcorder?

AIf you plan to use the camcorder in all types of recording situations and want to capture high-quality audio along with your video, investing in an external microphone is a good idea.

A built-in microphone is probably just fine for sporting events or other occasions where hearing distinct voices isn’t necessary. But an external microphone can make a big difference in situations where audio clarity is important — recording an interview, for example — or where the goal is to eliminate as much background noise as possible.

Most camcorders include a microphone jack, so check to see what type your model has; many lower-priced camcorders have a stereo jack, while those on the higher end may use an XLR connector. Microphones are now available in wired or wireless varieties. There are many different types of external microphones. The smaller ones include the hand-held TV news reporter variety, or the discreet lavalier microphone that clips onto a shirt collar or jacket lapel.

A shotgun microphone is generally larger and picks up sound in the direction it is pointed. Shotgun mics can be attached to the top of the camcorder or clamped to a pole and held out of the video frame while recording.

Prices for external microphones vary from about $12 for an inexpensive lapel clip-on to more than $1,000 for a professional handheld model. Web sites that specialize in audio gear and camcorder accessories usually have reviews and information on many current microphones, so you can research before you buy.

Tip of the week: If you accidentally hit the Ignore All button while spellchecking a long Microsoft Word document, you can still make the program go back and proofread your work.

Just visit the program’s Options or Preferences area for the Spelling and Grammar settings. For example, in Word 2007, click on the Office button in the ribbon toolbar at the top, then click on Word Options. Click on Proofing, and in the Spelling and Grammar area, click on the Recheck Document button.

In older versions of Word for Windows, the Recheck Document button is on the Spelling and Grammar tab of the Options box in the Tools menu. Mac Word users can find it by choosing Preferences from the Word menu and clicking on the Spelling and Grammar icon in the Preferences box.

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Windows 7 bugs has been fixed



Assigned to the patch for IE security bulletin MS09-072 warns against four vulnerabilities in the browser. These errors have been reported there immediately Microsoft. According to the assessment team Security Team for all of these gaps will soon appear smooth exploits. Three of them also apply to Internet Explorer for Windows 7 and can cause serious problems - thanks to the harmful site is able to infect your computer. Particularly annoying is that once again has to be patched vulnerability that is associated with an error in the Active Template Library.

The Internet Authentication Service Microsoft (IAS) - by MS09-71 - were discovered two vulnerabilities. The problem is not limited in this version of the Server, because it seems that the client code to connect to authenticated using MS-CHAP2 is exposed to the existence of this vulnerability. Nevertheless, specialists of Redmond recognize that Windows itself does not execute the code on the client machines - or at least not in such a way that gave this vulnerability to exploit. Vulnerability becomes dangerous only in conjunction with other companies.

In turn, MS09-074 describes a third critical vulnerability in Microsoft Office Project, which can be exploited by a specially formed project file. The potential attacker can create a web page constructed in such a way that it will lead to a visit to open a malicious file by the application.

This above situation does not happen in the event of another failure, the document in Word 97 It consists in the fact that a properly crafted documents may provoke an error in Wordpad, and Office's converter. Here's consent is required to carry out the conversion and as a result of this vulnerability described in MS09-73 has received the highest degree of hazard classification. Despite this, it means the attacker can also take full control over your computer.

Two errors in Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) are described in MS09-70 apply only to servers within the network. The last patch released with bulletin MS09-69 fixes a bug that leads to the fact that the attacker uses the IPSec service can fix the LSASS Windows server system.

Solution

Installation of the amendments prepared by the manufacturer eliminates the problems described.


from : it-chuiko.com

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Windows 7 family pack now available






Microsoft announced the Windows 7 Family Pack option, it said that the three-user bundle of Windows 7 Home Premium would be available only for a limited time.

That time, it appears, is drawing to a close. As noted by WindowsITPro, supplies are drying up fast

"The Windows 7 Family Pack was introduced as a limited time offer while supplies last in select geographies," Microsoft said in a statement. "Response has been very positive and in some cases, the offer has sold out. "

The company wouldn't say how many copies have sold or how many it allocated for the family pack option. It also said it has no current plans to extend the offer.

Microsoft's own online store appears to be sold out, though those in Orange County, Calif. or Scottsdale, Ariz. could check out the retail spots.

Amazon itself is sold out, although some other sellers are offering it on Amazon's site, but at prices well above its suggested price.

Computer users had been asking Microsoft since the days of Vista and longer to offer a discount to those trying to outfit more than one PC with the latest version of Windows. Microsoft finally confirmed in July that it would have a family pack option.

When it announced full details later that month, though, Microsoft said that the $149 package would be available "while supplies last." At the time I pressed them for more details and the company would not say how many copies it planned to sell nor how long the offer would last.

Apple, by contrast, has offered its Mac OS X family pack since 2002. That version covers up to five computers in a household.



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Windows 7: Seven Points of Imperfection part 2



Windows 7: Seven Points of Imperfection part 2


#4. Windows 7 isn't impervious to viruses.

Well, no OS is impervious to viruses, actually. But in examining Windows 7 just after its release on October 22, the security firm Sophos found that, when configured to follow the system defaults for User Account Control (UAC), Microsoft's latest OS was vulnerable to eight out of ten viruses tested.

More recently, the security firm Prevx spurred an uproar by claiming in a blog post that "Black Screen woes could affect millions on Windows 7, Vista and XP" and charging that the issue was caused by a patch issued by Microsoft. Yet as noted by Tony Bradley, a fellow PC World blogger, it turns out that while there does seem to be a real black screen of death issue, it's affecting much smaller numbers of PCs, more like thousands or even hundreds. Further, a Trojan virus could be the actual culprit.

But as with previous editions of Windows, Microsoft doesn't include any anti-virus software in Windows 7. So here's another place where Microsoft hasn't learned from experience.

#5. Installation of Windows 7 can be a real bear, especially in upgrades from XP.

While many users have installed Windows 7 quite seamlessly, others have run into major problems around moving to the new OS, including endless reboot cycles and product keys that don't work, for example. Upgrades from Windows XP can be especially cantankerous. Yet Microsoft doesn't even give official support to upgrades to Win 7 from XP.

"It was my understanding that Win7 was supposed to answer the problems people faced with Vista. So you would think all the people who had to go back to XP would be able to jump right to Win7. Very disappointing," complained one frustrated user, 68Vistacruiser, in a support forum.

"Upgrading from XP to 7 is a mission for the A-Team. When upgrading from pre-XP to XP, you just put the CD/DVD in and click next, enter a s/n and press next. With 7 you have to back up all your current data and system files into a folder using a tool on the 7 DVD and then install 7 next to XP, then manually delete XP without [losing] your current data," chimed in a user named UK-Penguins.

#6. Windows 7 pricing is both too high and too complex.

With family and business budgets pinched right now, why is Microsoft charging anywhere from about $100 to $300 for an upgrade disk for Windows 7, depending on the version? C'mon, Microsoft. Windows 7 beta testers got their upgrade disks for only $50. The latest edition of the Mac OS cost $29, and distributions of the Linux OS can be downloaded free of charge.

Some discounts on Windows 7 are now available from Microsoft and retailers. You can also get a bit of a price break by buying an OEM or "system builder" version online. But Microsoft isn't doing a lot to make deals like this widely known. And why does Microsoft need to have multiple versions of the same OS -- with names like Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate - all with different features and price points? Isn't Windows 7 installation complicated enough, anyway?

#7. Customer support for Windows 7 is too scanty.

Many people say they've turned to user forums only after calls to Microsoft's customer support lines prove unsuccessful. Often, it's a matter of an inability to get through the busy phone lines to an actual person.

Even after Win 7's commercial release, support in Microsoft's TechNet forum tended to be erratic. Microsoft reps handily answered some questions from users. Yet other questions went unanswered, and in some casers, users got conflicting advice from different reps - or, at least, that's how they interpret the situation. "This page says you can only upgrade Vista to Win7 for the same edition. The main MS page says you can upgrade from any edition. Which is correct?" asked one confused user, B-C-S, in the TechNet forum.

In early sales, Windows 7 has been beating Vista by a wide margin. But does the company have enough customer support in place to handle the load?

To its credit, Microsoft is now providing some new support alternatives with Windows 7, including automated troubleshooters built into the OS, new "Fix Its" to supplement Microsoft Knowledge Base articles, support through Twitter, and a new Win 7 forum on Ask Microsoft. In the Ask Microsoft forum, Microsoft reps often answer questions within a matter of a few hours. Still, when a user is facing a critical system error, just about nothing in the customer support realm beats the immediacy of a phone call.

from pcworld

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Windows 7: Seven Points of Imperfection part 1




Since its highly ballyhooed rollout near the end of October, Windows 7 has been applauded by many as Microsoft's best operating system yet. But no OS is perfect, and that goes for Windows 7.

Windows 7 is earning high marks from many users. People "will appreciate significant improvements in areas such as boot time, resume from sleep/hibernation and faster connections to networks," wrote one early user, Andre da Costa, on a Microsoft forum.

Also on the positive side, users are citing advantages such as much better disk performance, a more streamlined design, longer battery life, and out-of-the-box support for 3G wireless, for instance. The list goes on.

In fact, in a survey conducted by Technologizer's Harry McCracken, a PC World contributor, a sizable majority of more than 550 Windows 7 early adopters said they're "extremely satisfied" with the new OS.

So what's not to like about Windows 7? Although the widely publicized Windows "black screen of death" issue has turned out to be largely a bunch of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), Windows 7 does have its flaws.

Here's my personal list of seven points of imperfection in and around the new OS. Some of these - such as your need to learn a new user interface (UI), Windows 7's omission of Movie Maker, or its lack of support for older printers -- might or might not matter to you personally. But issues related to Windows 7 pricing,installation and customer support are more universal in scope.

#1. Windows 7 doesn't include certain earlier Windows components.

In the interests of reducing bloatware and improving performance, Windows 7 strips out components such as Windows Messenger, Movie Maker, and Live Mail, a program rolled out in 2007 to replace XP's Outlook Express and Vista's Windows Mail.

If you never use these components, you're not really going to care. You can always go ahead and add this software later, anyway. But if you're a long-time user of Windows Messenger, for example, and you don't know ahead of time that it's not supposed to be there, you might be a bit mystified as to where to find it.

#2. Windows 7 lacks support for older printers and other external devices.

With Microsoft now imposing a more stringent approval process for compatibility of external devices, drivers for a lot of devices aren't yet available for Windows 7 -- even six weeks after the release of the new OS. If you're among the many people who are stepping to a 64-bit version of Windows for the first time ever with Windows 7, you could face even worse problems around peripheral support.

Assuming that your PC hardware supports it, 64-bit Windows accommodates a lot more RAM. But like 64-bit Vista before it, 64-bit Win 7 requires drivers to be digitally signed for security reasons. So if you have a six-year-old laser printer or an aging Webcam you really want to hang on to, you might be out of luck.

#3. Windows 7 forces you to learn a new UI.

In creating Windows 7, Microsoft made a lot of tweaks to its previous UI, adding new features such as Jump Lists, One-Click WiFi, HomeGroup, and Device Stage, along with smaller UI enhancements like Aero Snap and Aero Shake.

I find some of these to be quite useful. HomeGroup, for example, makes it a lot easier to set up a home network. Device Stage helps you to manage external devices such as printers and phones. With Aero Snap, you can quickly resize windows on your desktop. But as with any software changes, there's some degree of a learning curve involved in getting used to the new tweaks. So if you're especially short on time right now, you might want to hold off on Windows 7 until you have more time to dabble.

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Windows 7 black screen critical bug




A security firm that's developed a fix for the so-called "black screen of death" affecting Windows PCs said more than 50,000 users have downloaded the utility in just five days—an indication that the problem is widespread.

"Following the issue of our fix, which continues to receive significant downloads, we believe that this problem is still affecting a very large number of users in a very diverse range of Windows environments," said Prevx CEO and chief technology officer Mel Morris, in a blog post Wednesday.

"There have been more than 50,000 downloads of the free fix tool since we made it available 5 days ago," said Morris.

The black screen of death, or BSOD, occurs when users attempt to boot their PCs. In cases where the bug occurs, the user is faced with a black or blank screen and is forced to reboot. It has reportedly hit PCs running Windows 7, Vista, and Windows XP.

Prevx caused a hubbub earlier this week when it posted a blog indicating that the problem was caused by a recently issued Microsoft security patch. But the company later backtracked, stating the cause is still unknown and may be the result of malware or some other security breach.

"The emergence of this issue coincided with the recent set of Windows updates, therefore our investigations were focused on identifying if any of these could have been the cause of the problem," said Morris, in Wednesday's post.

"Regrettably, it is clear that our original blog post has been taken out of context and may have caused inconvenience for Microsoft. This was never our intention and we have already apologized to Microsoft," Morris wrote.

For its part, Microsoft insists it's not behind the BSOD glitch, but to date has not offered an explanation or a fix of its own.

"Microsoft has investigated reports that its November security updates made changes to permissions in the registry that are resulting in system issues for some customers," said a Microsoft spokesman.

Microsoft's Customer Service and Support organization is "not seeing 'black screen' behavior as a broad customer issue," the spokesman said.



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AMD is ready for Windows 7

MANILA, Philippines - Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) unveils seven key benefits of running Windows 7 on its platform, together with the latest graphics card series from ATI, the Evergreen series.

Go green with AMD: AMD collaborated with Microsoft to develop a new AMD product-specific power management driver in Windows 7. This new driver optimizes power and performance for power state transitions. In other words, it boosts performance when needed and reduces power consumption when the devices are not utilized.

Virtualization with ease: All of AMD’s latest CPUs support Windows XP mode for Windows 7. AMD also worked closely with the Windows 7 virtualization team to improve performance

Upgradability and scalability: Apart from the latest platforms, AMD also provided Microsoft up and coming platforms to ensure compatibility with Windows 7 across both current and future platforms.

Evergreen Christmas: Currently, ATI’s Evergreen series is the only graphics card series to be compatible with Windows 7 DirectX 11, with over 20 other DirectX 11 titles in development and more on the way, gamers can be ready for a whole host of DirectX 11 gaming experiences this Christmas with the ATI Evergreen series.

Harnessing that extra power: DirectX 11 Compute Shader is a new API in Windows 7 that enables the utilization of the massive parallel processing power of modern GPUs. What this means is that developers are able to bring you richer experiences such as video transcoding, game physics simulation and Artificial Intelligence.

Photostream from Facebook: With AMD Fusion Media Explorer, a new and free feature from AMD, you can easily view and organize not only the images on your desktop but the pictures of your friends and family on Facebook.

64bit capability: All AMD Athlon, Opteron, Neo and Turion microprocessors are 64bit capable. So there is no need to worry if the microprocessor you are buying or already have can handle Windows 7 64bit version.

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Windows 7 run on a Dual Screen Netbook PC





The technology world is full of surprises and always has something new to amaze us all. Don’t believe me? check this netbook out. A dual screen netbook has emerged onto the scene from a Japanese manufacturer company called Kohjinsha, and it has been named as Kohjinsha DZ series. This netbook features dual 10.1 inches widescreen displays with each having 1024×600 resolution, and 2048×600 resolution when combined. These two screens slide out left and right, resulting in an extra long centered display.
This dual screen netbook runs on a 1.6GHz AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 processor with S780MN chipset and ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics card. And, Yes it is powered by Windows 7, the latest OS sensation from Microsoft. Detailed specifications of this netbook are listed as follows.

Kohjinsha DZ Series Specifications

The dual screen notebook, also known as DZ6KHE16E has the following specs.

* Dual 10.1 inch LCD screen
* 1.3 megapixel camera
* 1.6 Ghz AMD Athlon Neoprocessor
* 1 GB RAM (with maximum support for 4 GB RAM)
* ATI Radeon HD 3200
* 160 GB harddisk
* WiFi
* Bluetooth 2.1
* Ethernet
* Battery life:4.5 hour
* Weight: 1.84 kg
* OS: Linux or Windows 7

Here is a video of the dual screen netbook in action, running Windows 7 Home Premium:


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Dual Screen Netbook PC with Windows 7
By Ali | November 28th, 2009

The technology world is full of surprises and always has something new to amaze us all. Don’t believe me? check this netbook out. A dual screen netbook has emerged onto the scene from a Japanese manufacturer company called Kohjinsha, and it has been named as Kohjinsha DZ series. This netbook features dual 10.1 inches widescreen displays with each having 1024×600 resolution, and 2048×600 resolution when combined. These two screens slide out left and right, resulting in an extra long centered display.

Kohjinsha DZ series

This dual screen netbook runs on a 1.6GHz AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 processor with S780MN chipset and ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics card. And, Yes it is powered by Windows 7, the latest OS sensation from Microsoft. Detailed specifications of this netbook are listed as follows.

Kohjinsha DZ Series Specifications

The dual screen notebook, also known as DZ6KHE16E has the following specs.

* Dual 10.1 inch LCD screen
* 1.3 megapixel camera
* 1.6 Ghz AMD Athlon Neoprocessor
* 1 GB RAM (with maximum support for 4 GB RAM)
* ATI Radeon HD 3200
* 160 GB harddisk
* WiFi
* Bluetooth 2.1
* Ethernet
* Battery life:4.5 hour
* Weight: 1.84 kg
* OS: Linux or Windows 7

Here is a video of the dual screen netbook in action, running Windows 7 Home Premium:

This unique netbook will go on sale in Japan on 11th December with options to get it in both Linux and Windows flavor. Price of this netbook with Linux will be around $1,110, while the one with Windows 7 Home Premium will cost around $1,160.

You can join me on feedburner to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Windows based netbooks.

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Google Chrome OS vs. Windows



Inevitable, the advent of a new operating system has to be branded with certain coordinates that position the platform in relation to the ubiquitous Windows OS from Microsoft. Google Chrome OS has in this manner joined the club of non-Windows operating systems, and don’t think for a minute that this does not apply to Microsoft’s itself. The Redmond company is also cooking non-Windows platforms (Singularity and Midori), and time will come when the software giant will have to go against itself on the OS market. However, which such a scenario is most probably reserved for the next decade, the Google Chrome OS has become tangible
Almost tangible, because the actual bits for the Google Chrome OS aren’t yet available for download. Instead, what the Mountain View-based search giant did was release the source code associated with the Chromium OS project. Users and developers, familiar with the way that the Google Chrome browser is built, already know that it too has a Chromium underlining project. And in fact, the similarities between the Chrome browser and the Chrome OS doesn’t stop at this.

“We released Chromium OS, the open source project behind Google Chrome OS. Google Chrome OS is an operating system that is intended for people who spend most of their time on the web. It aims to provide a computing experience that is fast, simple and secure. The Chromium OS project as you'll see it today is comprised of the code that has been developed thus far, our early experiments with the user interface, and detailed design docs for many parts that are under active development,” said Kan Liu, product manager.

Don’t expect to start running Google Chrome OS on your computer anytime soon. According to Caesar Sengupta, group product manager and Matt Papakipos, engineering director, the actual bits for the operating system won’t be delivered for approximately a year. It will be only ahead of the 2010 holiday season that the first machines equipped with Google Chrome OS will hit store shelves.

Moreover, there will be additional impediments preventing end users from embracing Google Chrome OS. In this regard, the Mountain View-based search giant explained that its own breed of open source OS would be intimately connected with a specific hardware reference. What this means is that the platform will not run on legacy hardware. Computers capable of playing nice with Chrome OS will have to be powered by x86 or ARM CPUs while sporting SSDs. In addition, don’t think for a moment that you’ll be able to install your favorite Windows-based game and start playing, because this will not be the case.

“First, it's all about the web. All apps are web apps. The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs,” Papakipos added. “Second, because all apps live within the browser, there are significant benefits to security. Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn't trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer. Furthermore, Chrome OS barely trusts itself. Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code. If your system has been compromised, it is designed to fix itself with a reboot.”

source : softpedia.com

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Windows 7 vs Snow Leopard






THE RIVALRY between Apple and Microsoft has been good for computer users. Each has borrowed ideas from the other to the benefit of both, and inevitably there has been some convergence in the way their operating systems function.

Microsoft fell behind with the release of Vista early in 2007. Apple had made a big advance with Mac OS X, offering a consumer-friendly graphical interface on a battle-hardened Unix core. And now it was running on Macs built with the same Intel processors, chipsets, graphics cards and I/O devices and ports as the x86 PC, eroding some of the price and compatibility advantages of Windows machines. Vista improved with time but Mac fans still had a lot to crow about.

New versions of both operating systems, Windows 7 and Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6), have been released in the past few weeks. So how do they stack up against each other? I've picked out a few of the highlights that differentiate the two operating systems for me.

Snow Leopard wins hands down on price. The upgrade costs just £25, compared with between £80 and £200 off the shelf for Windows 7. True, Windows 7 is a more substantial upgrade but users can argue that they are paying the Vole to correct Vista's faults.

My impression, after using both side by side for some time, is that Windows 7 easily holds its own with Snow Leopard on usability - something Apple has always claimed as its strong suit. The Windows 7 task bar has borrowed features from Apple but for me it works better than Snow Leopard's Dock. This is partly a matter of habit and taste.

A major function of Apple's Dock is to launch favourite applications. I tend to do this from desktop icons, which works well with the Windows 7 taskbar because it is designed primarily for managing rather than launching tasks. Its snap-up preview boxes are excellent for keeping track of multiple Windows, and less cumbersome than Apple's Expose system. You can, of course, create desktop launch icons under Snow Leopard but they will duplicate rather than complement Dock functionality.

One very useful Windows 7 feature that Snow Leopard might take on board is that if you right-click a taskbar icon you get a list of files recently used by the related application.

Snow Leopard deals more gracefully with the safe ejection of plug-in storage, an operation that Windows 7 still relegates to a barely visible taskbar item - though it has abandoned Vista's annoying habit of vetoing an eject simply because a listings box is open.

In both operating systems I find myself using the search boxes far more often to access applications and files, breaking an old habit of ploughing through file or program listings.

One niggle with Snow Leopard is that given a choice of two known WiFi access points it uses the first on its profile list. You can change the default but Windows 7 avoids the need by picking the one with the strongest signal.

Snow Leopard feels more secure than Windows 7 in the way that you feel less threatened in a relatively safe area of town - Windows, still running on nine out of ten consumers' computers globally, clearly gets attacked more often. Yet some analysts rate Mac OS as less secure than Windows 7 and it is certainly not invulnerable, especially because its users tend to be less on their guard.

Both platforms therefore need anti-malware software, which is now available free from Microsoft in the form of Security Essentials. This has yet to prove itself, but if effective it amounts to a points win to Windows 7.

Security measures have bought the two platforms closer together in how they operate. The days of roaming Windows PCs at will are over. A Windows 7 machine feels as locked down as a Mac, with access to system files strictly policed - and far less obtrusively than under Vista.

In one respect the platforms have swapped structure. The Mac interface was born graphical, whereas Windows began as a bolt-on front-end for the DOS command-line operating system. You could always drop down into DOS for tasks such as running batch files.

Now it is Snow Leopard, or rather its Unix underpinning, that has a comprehensive command interface, though relatively few Mac users will even be aware of the fact, while the command-line box in Windows 7 has the feel of a bolt-on.

The adoption of Unix was a clever move by Apple, making Macs more credible for enterprise use. But in other respects the company seems cussedly set on cutting itself off from that market.

Snow Leopard, unlike its predecessor, will read files on Windows NTFS disks but it will not, out of the box, write to them. The feature was apparently disabled shortly before the release of Snow Leopard, a baffling decision that is hardly going to increase its chances of corporate adoption.

The official reason is given implausibly as "security", but it is a poor class of security that stops people from doing their work. A high proportion of Mac users have to work in a Windows environment and many will also own Windows machines or at least need to share data with others who do. Oddly, Snow Leopard will write to a networked NTFS drive, presumably because it is the file server that soils its hands with the Windows disk.

Could it be that Apple got cold feet about encouraging people to run the two operating systems side by side? In some ways Windows 7 is patently better - it can use virtually any peripheral going and it will run on any modern make of PC. Many problems under Windows are caused by third-party drivers, so this could be at the cost of some reliability. But Microsoft now takes great care to validate drivers and the greater choice in hardware makes for lower machine prices. Businesses in particular do not like single-source products - a major drawback of Macs, which are of course exclusive to Apple. The same can be said about Microsoft software, however.

And Mac OS X is not infallible. I got delayed for hours, preparing to load Snow Leopard, because the earlier version hung trying to read one of its own disks to allow me to change a forgotten password. There was no error message or explanation given.

The fact of the matter is that for workaday use there is little to choose between the two operating systems. You may quibble that one is fractionally faster at this or that operation, but for most users the performance differences would be trivial.

Snow Leopard and Windows 7 are much more than operating systems. Each is a marketplace and comes with a bundle of software and services. The Mac's software suite, including Iphoto and Itunes, is more consumer focused than Microsoft's and more tightly coupled to the Apple selling machine.

Microsoft, with its legacy of antitrust cases, is more circumspect about using Windows 7 as a marketplace. You do, however, have to sign up to its free Windows Live service to get some of the bundled software, which includes Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and the blogging applet Writer. Live has other useful features that, for the moment at least, are free. These include 25GB of online storage, and the ability to synchronise files across machines. In general Windows comes with far more freebies.

None of this will influence the kind of person who would not be seen dead with a PC. Apple's hardware designs may tempt Windows users to swap platforms but there is no compelling reason to do so because of the operating system. This is no reflection on Snow Leopard. It means computing is blessed with two user-friendly, mature, and very good consumer mass market desktop operating systems. And yes, we can thank Apple for that. ยต

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Windows 7 or Ubuntu 9.10 : Which OS will you prefer?




Since its launch five years back, Ubuntu has turned into one of the most popular Linux operating system. After the launch of Windows 7, a major update of Vista, Ubuntu 9.10 or "Karmic Koala" has launched on October 29th. At present, Linux operating system has about 1% market share for desktops as compared to 92% of Windows, whereas it is popular for servers or embedded systems. Ubuntu, based on the Linux’s Debian flavor has focused to bring Linux OS to the common people.

Here, the article compares some of the features of Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10:

Installation and upgrades

Users can easily upgrade their PCs with the new version of Ubuntu and it can also installed on your vintage PCs. Further, like Windows 7 and Mac OS X, Ubuntu 9.10 automatically keeps users’ operating system up-to-date. While, Windows 7 will update only the Microsoft software and the OS, Ubuntu updates itself with any other software installed on users’ system.

Multimedia

Due to their own terms and conditions, Ubuntu does not ship with the ability to play commercial DVDs. However, you can download the commercial DVD support via Ubuntu Restricted Extras in the Software Centre. It has Rhythmbox player for music and the Movie Player for video.

Microsoft’s Windows 7 come preinstalled with Windows Media Player and Media Centre, which take care of your personal files. Further, if your hardware permits, you can also watch live TV on the PC.

Software and applications

According to developers, Ubuntu is like Apple’s iPhone and supports vast softwares and applications. Users can have instant access to thousands of free and open-source applications. It comes with free OpenOffice.org 3.1 installed by default as its office productivity suite through which you can create professional documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The suite is compatible with all office apps including MS Office.

Windows 7 users have to buy Microsoft Office, or they can download OpenOffice and GIMP. While Windows users will have Outlook for their email, Ubuntu comes with Evolution, its emailing and calendaring software.

Windows 7 comes with Internet Explorer 8 and MSN Windows Live messenger, Ubuntu 9.10 ships with Firefox 3.5 and Empathy multiple protocol IM client.

Cloud Service

The new Linux version offers cloud storage to the masses with its Ubuntu One service, where users can store upto 2GB of data for free, but will have to pay for more storage. Ubuntu 9.10 can also take advantage of Amazon's EC2 cloud computing service.

Microsoft also provides a cloud storage application called Live Mesh that offers 25GB of storage for free, but the service is not integrated with the OS as in Ubuntu.

Speed and hardware

In terms of speed, the latest OS of Microsoft is definitely lighter on hardware than its predecessor, Vista and it will run well on older hardware. However, Ubuntu 9.10 also works well on a wide range of hardware.

Security

According to various analysts, Linux OSs are more secure than Windows and are not easily infected by bugs and viruses. In Windows 7, Windows Security Center has been renamed to Windows Action Center, which covers both security and maintenance of the computer.

Pooja Vij/ITvoir Network

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Download 10 essential Windows 7 tools

PC World - Windows 7 may be brand spanking new, but that doesn't mean you can't find free or cheap tools to tweak its settings, add features, or smooth an upgrade from XP or Vista. We've compiled a list of ten valuable software tools -- many of them free -- that can make your Windows 7 experience a lot more rewarding.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Windows 7, like its predecessors, doesn't provide built-in protection against malware such as viruses and spyware. (It does have a firewall, however.) You could pay McAfee or Symantec for this service, but why bother with their protection racket when Redmond's does the same thing for free? Microsoft Security Essentials provides solid protection for home PCs, and it's gratis. If you prefer third-party security, check out AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition instead.

Ninite

Brave souls upgrading to Windows 7 from XP must do a clean install, a tedious process that includes, among other things, reinstalling all of your apps. Why not load most of your free and open source programs all at once? Ninite does just that. First, go to the Ninite site and pick the programs you want (e.g., Firefox, iTunes, and Skype). Next, download Ninite, which installs the apps on your PC without additional crapware. Ninite is free for personal use.

Windows Live Photo Gallery

To keep Windows 7 slim and trim -- and avoid the code bloat that slowed Vista -- Microsoft left a few utilities out of its new OS.

One such app, Photo Gallery, is a free, easy to use photo manager/editor that's worth a download, particularly if you're not already using Google Picasa to organize your pics and videos.

Windows Easy Transfer

Anyone moving to Windows 7 from XP or Vista should check out this free download, which helps you copy files and settings from one PC to another. (Windows 7 comes with Easy Transfer.)

The new version of Easy Transfer adds a file explorer, which simplifies the task of selecting the exact files you want to copy. Easy Transfer won't hang if it comes across a file or setting it can't move. Rather, it'll complete the transfer and provide a report of everything it couldn't copy. The bad news: Easy Transfer won't copy your programs. For a PC-to-PC connection, you'll need an Easy Transfer Cable (about $20). Other transfer options include a USB flash drive, external hard disk, or network connection.

Ultimate Windows Tweaker v2

This free customization tool detects whether you're running Windows 7 or Vista, and offers only those tweaks that are relevant to your OS. "Ultimate" is a fitting description for this mega-tweaker, which provide dozens of configuration options for UI, network, security, and system settings. If you're all about personalizing Windows 7, this app's for you.

WinZip 14 Standard

So you're about to ask: If Windows 7 has zip compression built in, why do I need the latest version of WinZip? Well, if you seldom use zip archives, you probably don't. But zip fans will appreciate the improvements in WinZip 14 Standard, which has simplified the process of zipping and mailing archives in Win 7.

The latest version offers better compression ratios too. WinZip 14 Standard costs $30.

EnhanceMySe7en Free

Windows 7 may be easier to use than Vista or XP, but diagnostic and maintenance chores can still be tricky. EnhanceMySe7en is a handy utility for anyone doing a little system housekeeping.

This free app makes it easier to select which programs will load when Windows starts, monitor your hard drives' performance, "health," and temperature, and fiddle with the Registry -- if you dare.

Image Resizer Powertoy Clone

Need to resize pictures in Windows 7? This free utility makes it easy -- simply right-click one or more image files in Windows Explorer. You can select one of four sizes: small (640 by 480); medium (800 by 600); large (1024 by 768); or handheld PC (240 by 320). You can create your own custom sizes too.

Systerac Tools for Windows 7

This bundle of 16 tools from Systerac has everything you'll need to keep Windows 7 running smoothly. You can tweak Windows' performance and appearance, optimize memory, clean up the hard drive, cover your tracks by shredding files, and so on. The Systerac interface is aesthetically appealing, nicely organized, and easy to learn. The $20 Windows 7 version runs on Vista too.

Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

Don't upgrade to Windows 7 before running this free utility from Microsoft. Upgrade Advisor scans your PC to see if it's ready for Win 7. If it detects any potential problems, including insufficient memory, incompatible hardware, or outdated software, it'll let you know in a brief summary report.

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7 Things to Know About Windows 7







The latest version of Microsoft Windows — Windows 7 — is now on the market. So if you're like the average PC user, it's fated to become a factor in your life. Here are seven things to keep in mind about it.

1. It's really a "maintenance release."

Basically, it's Microsoft Vista with accumulated fixes and performance enhancements. That's a good thing, since there's no dramatic break with the past to cause festering compatibility issues, and no steep learning curve for the users. Compared to Vista, Windows 7 does better running on low-performance machines like netbooks. It boots and shuts down faster — but that's less of an issue since its sleep mode is reliable, letting you shut down in two seconds and restart in two seconds. With Vista, desktops often refused to go into sleep mode, or would restart randomly from sleep mode, noted PC industry watcher Rob Enderle, principal analyst the Enderle Group in San Jose, CA.

2. It's more secure.

A new release always is, since the malware writers haven't had time to pick at it for weaknesses, and there are too few installations to amount to a worthwhile target. They'll get around to Windows 7, although its built-in antivirus facility has been well-reviewed. In the meantime, malware's favorite target is the older Windows XP. Anyway, the bad guys are turning more and more to phishing, where they dupe users into spilling their personal information on the pretext of "restoring" their "suspended" online bank accounts. Technology is not much help there.

3. There is new stuff.

While most of the news concerns performance, the desktop and taskbar have been given enhancements that should make it easer to invoke specific applications and documents. The reviled User Account Control, which warned Vista users any time any application did anything to the system, has been given settings to make it less annoying. And, yes, Internet Spades, Backgammon, and Checkers, which had been dropped in Vista, are back. The enhanced Search facility, meanwhile, is now actually useful. For future expansion, Windows 7 makes better use of multiple cores, and includes handwriting recognition.

4. Pick the right version.

There are two retail versions: Home and Professional. The Pro version has a feature called Active Directory, which lets it be assigned an address and privileges in a corporate network. It is of no interest to a home or small business user. The Home version can also be found in a family pack that can upgrade three PCs. (Strictly speaking, there is also a third version called Ultimate, of interest only to software developers.)

5. If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.

If you are happy with Vista, there is little reason to upgrade to Windows 7, cautioned Enderle. If you are annoyed with Vista, Windows 7 should help. If you are running Windows XP, upgrading may make sense if your hardware is less than two years old. Otherwise, you are better off getting a new machine, with Windows 7 pre-installed, he advised.

6. If it's broke, do fix it — correctly.

If you're upgrading with the retail package, you can use either the clean (also called custom) or the in-place installation method. The first will wipe the disk clean and you'll need to re-install your applications. (It keeps your data intact. You did back up, of course.) The second performs the installation with your applications in place. The second is easier, but the first will remove any malware, broken drivers, and other evidence of the hard life your computer's been living, Enderle said. It's also the only method available when upgrading from Windows XP. Even easier is to buy a new machine with Windows 7 pre-installed.

7. Resistance is irrelevant.

Among Internet users, 93 percent use some version of Microsoft Windows, and that is not going to change dramatically in the near future. You can assume that all future PC software worth mentioning will be written for Windows 7, and new PCs will be shipped with it. The alternative is to go with the Apple Mac, Linux, or something esoteric.

This article was provided by TopTenREVIEWS.


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Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 9.10 - Good and bad

Over the past few days I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the differences between Microsoft’s latest Windows 7 and Canonical’s Ubuntu 9.10. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of each of the operating systems. Is a free operating system really as good as one that you pay for?

Let’s take a look at several aspects of using operating systems and examine the various strengths and weaknesses of each OS.

Installation

Windows 7

  • Pros
    - Install is quick, easy and painless.
    - After working through a few wizard screens at the beginning, the install is automatic
  • Cons
    - None really

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    - Option to “try before you install” using the Live CD feature
    - Can easily install as a dual boot or even inside Windows using the Wubi installer
  • Cons
    - Unless you’re luck to get a CD, you do have to mess about with .ISO files and burn a disc. If you’re happy doing that, it’s not really a problem.


Speed/Performance

Windows 7

  • Pros
    - Both are excellent
  • Cons
    - None really

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    - Both are excellent
  • Cons
    - None really

Usability

I’ve thought long and hard about this one and I’ve come to the conclusion that while neither OS is perfect (far from it), both are also just as usable once you devote the time to figuring things out. I have years of Windows experience under my belt and a lot less with Ubuntu but I can’t say that’s a problem.

Software

Windows 7

  • Pros
    - If you’re willing to pay, there’s a lot of software for the Windows platform
    - Equally, there’s a LOT of free stuff if you look around
  • Cons
    - Bundled fayre is pretty poor

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    - Comes complete with an excellent array of software
    - Access to, and installing, new software is a snap
  • Cons
    - None really … just don’t expect to run Windows software (even if you do resort to Wine)

Media Support

Windows 7

  • Pros
    - Excellent support for media formats, including DRMed media, out of the box
  • Cons
    - Windows Media Player isn’t the best bit of software around

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    - Good support for media formats
  • Cons
    - If you want to play DVDs then you need to resort to “Restricted” codecs
    - Many media formats that use proprietary DRM just won’t work on Ubuntu because of DRM restrictions

Hardware support

Windows 7

  • Pros
    - On the whole, Windows 7 offers excellent support for modern hardware right out of the box
  • Cons
    - You might be out of luck with old hardware

Ubuntu 9.10

  • Pros
    - Overall, hardware support is good, and getting better
    - On really low-end hardware you can substitute Ubuntu for Xubuntu
  • Cons
    - There are no guarantees
    - There’s no “Works with Linux” logo that buyers can look for when buying new hardware

Final thoughts

There’s no doubt that Windows is the default OS for many users. In fact, for most users out there it’s the only OS and many of those aware that a different OS exists know about Mac OS rather than Linux.

That said though, Linux is a very good, robust and highly-usable operating system. It’s also fun to use and free. I understand how for many people operating systems are akin to religions, but there are huge advantages to being OS-agnostic. One advantage is that you can pick and choose the right OS for the job.

written by

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

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Ubuntu 9.10 vs Windows 7

Canonical will release the latest version of the open-source operating system Ubuntu this Thursday, and we look at how it stacks up against Windows 7


Ubuntu 9.10, known as Karmic Koala The latest update to the open-source Ubuntu operating system will be released Thursday

Apple let Snow Leopard out of its cage earlier this autumn, and Canonical will release another beast this week: Karmic Koala, otherwise known as the open-source operating system Ubuntu 9.10. This comes on the heels of Microsoft's launch of Windows 7, a major update of Vista.

There are hundreds of different versions or distributions of Linux, some pitched for general use and others for specific needs or tasks such as high security, older machines or multimedia. In the five years since its launch, Ubuntu has risen to become one of the most popular.

Linux is popular running servers or embedded systems, but it remains a minority sport as a desktop operating system. Desktop Linux use figures are difficult to pin down and highly contested. Some put the figures as low as 1% while Linux enthusiasts say that figure is closer to 12%. As Bruce Byfield wrote earlier this year when looking at the figures, choose your logic and choose your figure.

Based on the Debian flavour of Linux, Ubuntu has focused on trying to bring Linux to the masses, promising "Linux for Human Beings". I'm going to put Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 head-to-head in this review.

Installation and upgrades

I'm relatively agnostic when it comes to operating systems, although I know that Linux purists and Microsoft advocates will be looking for any hint of bias in this review. Every day I use Mac OS 10.4 and Windows XP via virtualisation on a MacBook and Ubuntu 8.10 on an Athlon XP 2400+ desktop. I also have been using Windows 7 on the MacBook via multi-boot setup using the very useful rEFIt bootloader.

I'm using the latest release candidate for Ubuntu 9.10, and I'm using the Windows 7 beta on the MacBook for comparison.

For the purpose of this review, I did an in-place upgrade on a Dell Latitude Cpx with a 750Mhz Pentium III and a fresh install on the MacBook.

Upgrading to a new version of Ubuntu is easy. Like Windows and Mac OS X, Ubuntu automatically keeps your operating system up to date. Windows will update Microsoft software and the operating system. However, Ubuntu will not only update itself but also update any software installed on your system.

For the upgrade to 9.10, Ubuntu downloads the software to carry out the upgrade and steps you through the process. Even on this vintage hardware, it took about two hours, but on a faster machine, it would have taken far less. However, the time of the upgrade depends on the speed of your internet and the speed of your computer.

If it's the first time that you've installed Ubuntu, you can download a CD image and burn your own installation CD. One of the reasons that I began using Ubuntu is that the CD allows you to run the operating system without installing it to your hard drive. It's a try-before-you-format-your-hard-drive option. There is a shortcut on the desktop to begin the installation process.

The Wubi installer for Ubuntu The Wubi installer makes adding Ubuntu to a Windows system very easy

I also installed Ubuntu 9.10 on the MacBook using a helper application called Wubi, which makes installing Ubuntu alongside Windows a breeze. It asks how much of your hard drive you'd like to turn over to Ubuntu and asks you to set up an account for Ubuntu. Copying over the necessary files took less than 10 minutes. When I rebooted into Windows, I now had the option to boot into Windows 7 or Ubuntu. The first time I booted into Ubuntu, it finished up installing in about 5 minutes. While Ubuntu installs, you'll see useful information for those not familiar with the operating system and the open-source application included by default.

I installed the Windows 7 beta on the Athlon desktop upgrading from Windows XP. Upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 is relatively straightforward, but the update from Windows XP is more complicated. Jack Schofield has already given a full review of Windows 7. Of course, the big challenge for Ubuntu or any other version of Linux is that hundreds of thousands of computers will ship with Windows 7 pre-installed. However, Ubuntu does come as an option on computers from major manufacturers such as Dell, HP, Acer and Toshiba.

The main benefits of Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala, over its predecessor are:
• Faster boot times, which Ubuntu has been working on in the last two releases.
• If you have a computer with Intel integrated graphics, Ubuntu has a new driver to improve graphics processing and stability.
• Ubuntu has added an excellent cloud storage service, Ubuntu One. More on that in a bit.
• Ubuntu has revamped the way to add new applications with a new Software Centre.

You can see all of the updates and new features in Ubuntu's 9.10 Technical Overview.

Verdict: Upgrading Windows Vista to Windows 7 was about as easy as upgrading Ubuntu from a previous version. Upgrading Windows XP to 7 was much more complicated. The Wubi installer is a study in simplicity. Ubuntu wins this one with more options and simplicity across all options

Speed

In terms of speed, Windows 7 is definitely lighter on hardware than Vista. It was quite usable on the Athlon desktop, especially after I shut off the Aero visual effects.

This review isn't about speed tests but a feature comparison, and I'm not going to compare Ubuntu running on a nearly 10 year old laptop to Windows 7 running on a 2.0Ghz dual-core Core Duo MacBook or even an Athlon XP 2400 desktop.

However, if you've got an older computer that is starting to feel sluggish but you either don't want to or can't afford to buy a new computer, give Ubuntu a go. You'll get an up-to-date operating system running quite smoothly on your out-of-date computer.

Ubuntu also comes in several different versions. Ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop, which has a nice mix of style and speed. Xubuntu uses the lighter-weight XFCE desktop to get the most of older hardware.

Verdict: Windows 7 is much better than its predecessor in terms of running well on older hardware. Ubuntu always has been strong on a wide range of hardware.

Drivers and hardware

Ubuntu has pros and cons when it comes to drivers. It is generally quite good at recognising a wide range of hardware. With Windows, I had to download a driver for my vintage 3Com WiFi PC Card, but with Ubuntu, it works out of the box. The support for the WiFi card even improved from Ubuntu 9.04 to Ubuntu 9.10.

Ubuntu added extensions to take advantage of special keys for my laptop, and when I plugged in a spare Mac keyboard, it handled special Mac-centric keys too such as the CD eject button.

Those are the pros, but there are cons. My home desktop uses an ATI Radeon 9600XT video card. ATI's proprietary video driver is excellent for Linux, but they moved my not terribly old card to legacy support so I have to rely on the open-source driver, which doesn't deliver the same performance. I'm not going to upgrade Ubuntu on my home desktop until I get a newer video card. This isn't Ubuntu's fault, but it is a source of irritation.

If Ubuntu doesn't automatically install a driver, it can be quite a bit of effort getting something to work, and not all hardware and peripherals will work with Linux. Sometimes to get hardware to work, you'll have to go to the command line, which is terrifying territory for most users. It's worth checking to see if Linux drivers exist for your printer and other key peripherals.

The installation went pretty smoothly on the MacBook apart from the sound driver. Sounds plays from the speakers but not from headphones. UPDATE: As commenter Yelvington points out, the headphone issue isn't down to drivers but something even slightly more bedeviling. The headphone sound is muted by default after the installation, and I had to install the Gnome Alsa Mixer to unmute it.

Windows has always had issues with drivers. I still am baffled why Windows forgets hardware that I have installed previously. Windows 7 doesn't seem to have completely solved these issues.

The Windows and by extension Linux hardware eco-system has always been both a strength and a weakness. Thousands, if not millions, of vendors make hardware and peripherals for Intel-based computers that can run Windows or Linux. It is wonderful to have so much choice and competition. However, it does make handling drivers much more complicated than in the relatively limited Apple hardware world.

Verdict: Both Microsoft and Ubuntu could improve on how they handle drivers.

Multimedia

Windows Media Centre Windows Media Centre is included on all but the entry level version of Windows 7, and it manages media well and is great software to watch TV

Looking at the default applications that come with both Windows 7 and Karmic Koala, Ubuntu installs the Rhythmbox player for music and the Movie Player for video. Both are capable, and anyone familiar with Apple's iTunes will find the application easy to navigate.

Due to licencing restrictions and Ubuntu's own philosophy, it does not ship with the ability to play commercial DVDs. It's relatively easy to add commercial DVD support by adding Ubuntu Restricted Extras in the Software Centre, which I'll get to in a minute.

Most versions of Windows 7 come with Windows Media Player and Media Centre. The Media Centre is impressive and polished. It organises your pictures, video and music files, and it gives you the kind of 10-foot interface that works well from your couch in the lounge.

If your computer supports it, Media Centre also has an excellent interface for watching television. The electronic programme guide is excellent and makes it easy to schedule recording of TV programmes.

Verdict: Microsoft wins this one. Windows Media Centre ships with all but the most basic version of Windows 7, and it's a nice piece of software. I'm sure that Linux enthusiasts will be quick to point out the digital-rights management issues of Windows, but in terms of included software, Windows Media Centre beats the applications included with Ubuntu.

Software and applications

Ubuntu Software Centre Ubuntu has a new application to add software, the Software Centre

In terms of software, Ubuntu is like the iPhone. Almost anything you'd care to do, there's an app for that. However, you'll have to learn to translate from the applications that you're used to on the Mac or Windows. For people looking to make the switch to Linux, Osalt.com is a good directory of open-source alternatives to common commercial software.

Ubuntu comes with OpenOffice installed by default as its office productivity suite. The default installation has word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, and a database application can be added. Ubuntu also has GIMP photo editing software installed. GIMP is full featured, but the interface is confusing. Similar to Apple's included photo management software iPhoto, Ubuntu comes with F-Spot.

Windows 7 users will need to buy Microsoft Office, or you can also download OpenOffice and GIMP. Windows users will be used to Outlook to handle their email. Ubuntu ships with Evolution, which handles email and also has calendaring software.

Ubuntu 9.10 comes with Firefox 3.5 as standard, and it now ships with the Empathy multiple protocol instant messaging client. Empathy works with most instant messaging systems including AIM, Gtalk/Jabber, MSN and IRC, just to name a few.

UPDATED: Windows 7 has MSN Windows Live messenger and ships with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8, which is a vast improvement over previous versions. As commenter Briantist and snipsnip point out, you'll have to download Windows Live messenger as part of the Windows Live apps.

To install other applications, Ubuntu 9.10 changed the Add/Remove Software application with a refreshed tool called Ubuntu Software Centre. You can search the directory full of hundreds of applications.

Other software sources can be added to install software such as Skype and Google. It's not an uncomplicated process,

Windows 7 comes with a simple application to manage your photos and do basic editing, quite capable multimedia software and an internet browser. Everything else you'll have to pay for, although many of the open-source applications available on Linux are now also available for Windows.

Verdict: Ubuntu wins this hands down with a huge range of free software packages ready to download.

Ubuntu in the cloud

Ubuntu One cloud storage on the desktop Ubuntu One cloud storage appears as a desktop folder

The last release of Ubuntu, 9.04 or Jaunty Jackalope, brought a lot of cloud-computing features to the open-source operating system. OpenNebula and Eucalyptus ave system administrators the flexibility to build private, public and even hybrid clouds. The additions allowed Ubuntu to easily take advantage of Amazon's EC2 cloud computing service. However, these additions were aimed at system administrators not consumers.

Ubuntu 9.10 brings cloud storage to the masses with its Ubuntu One service. It's simple and well integrated. Whenever you save a file, you have the option to save it directly to Ubuntu One. Up to 2GB of storage is free, and you can pay for higher amounts of storage.

You can also share files with other people, and your files are easily available on other computers, even ones not running Ubuntu. However, I had some issues accessing Ubuntu One on a MacBook with Safari. However, it worked well on the open-source browser Firefox. The service is in beta so I'd expect a few glitches.

Apple has long had it's .Mac and MobileMe services. Microsoft doesn't have a similar service built into Windows.

Microsoft's Live Mesh I stand corrected. Microsoft does have a cloud storage application, Live Mesh, which also boasts desktop sharing

UPDATE: As commenter snipsnip reminds me, Microsoft does have a remote storage and remote desktop service in beta called Live Mesh and SkyDrive, which offers 25GB of storage for free. It's not yet integrated into the operating system in the way that Ubuntu One is, but Microsoft is under scrutiny about what it integrates into the OS because of its market dominance. It is cross-platform to a point. Like Ubuntu One, you can access it via a browser. However, some of its functionality relies on Microsoft's Silverlight.

Verdict: Ubuntu wins this as well. Microsoft doesn't really have an answer for this feature, yet. UPDATE: Microsoft does have an answer in Live Mesh and SkyDrive. Live Mesh isn't quite yet as well integrated as Ubuntu One is immediately from startup.

Ease of use

This is a subjective decision. I've spent the last two years using Ubuntu, and I find it relatively easy. However, just like anyone moving to a new operating system, there is a learning curve, and Linux advocates often gloss over this. Ubuntu has made great strides in ease of use, but average users will still struggle with it at times.

Adding new software sources so that you can easily install applications such as Skype or Google Earth will be beyond most average users. User interface design for Linux has made huge strides this decade, but it still lags behind software on Mac OS X and Windows 7.

Windows 7 will be an adjustment for XP users. Vista users won't notice a change apart from a faster, smoother experience and less annoying pop-ups second-guessing your choices.

Verdict: Windows still is easier to use than Linux for some key tasks. As I said, this is a subjective choice based on assumptions I'm making about average computer users. I don't find Ubuntu difficult to use, but I have invested quite a bit of time learning how to use it over the last two years. Most users just want things to work. Ubuntu is making a lot of progress, but Microsoft has stepped up its game as well.

Final Verdict

Windows 7 is a worthy successor to Windows XP. Vista had well known flaws, which meant that it never replaced XP for most users. For those with a lot of investment in Windows software, there probably will be no reason to look elsewhere. Windows 7 is a worthwhile upgrade. Most people use Windows not because they really think about operating systems but because the software they use runs on Windows.

For those not that tied into the Windows world, Ubuntu is worth a look for people looking for an alternative. My final take away from using Mac OS X, Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 is that consumers have never had more choices for capable, powerful and easy to use operating systems. Linux users will be quick to point out that Ubuntu is only one Linux distribution.

I had tried Linux frequently as soon as I got broadband almost 10 years ago, but I always gave up after a few days until Ubuntu. It's a relatively easy to use, modern operating system that will only cost you the time to download it.


Posted by Kevin Anderson

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