Install Windows 8 on Dell Vostro 230 with Dell SX2210T Touchscreen Monitor

The Dell Vostro line of computers is great for business large and small and the Dell Vostro 230 is a great machine.  I had to wonder how it would work with Windows 8 especially since we also had a Dell SX2210T touchscreen monitor.  I use this computer almost every week and figured if I use Windows 8 at home on non touchscreen computers why not on this one as well.

It was easy to install Windows 8 on Dell Vostro 230 and I even got the Dell SX2210T Touchscreen Monitor working.  For the install I used Windows 8 Professional and did a clean install keeping nothing.  You can also do an upgrade from Windows 7 keeping your files, installed programs, and settings.  After Windows 8 was done installing the device manager was pretty clean except for the Dell SX2210T touchscreen.  So I first made sure that the computer was up to date using Windows Update. Then you will want to download the driver for the Dell SX2210T touchscreen.  This will download a Zip file, extract the file (right-click on it and click on Extract All) then in the extracted folder double click on dpinst64.exe this will install the driver needed for the Dell SX2210t Touchscreen Monitor.  Now using Windows 8 on the Dell SX2210T is ok there is no room to swipe in from the side to bring up the Charms Bar or any other experiences that have to be swiped in from the sides, top, or bottom as the bezel is too close to the screen. Other than that it is not bad and I like being able to reach out and touch the screen and have it respond.  This monitor will not replace a mouse and keyboard on this machine but it compliments it nicely.  So once you have the driver installed that is it you are done you should have a clean device manager.

Windows 8 Device Manager and System Properties on Dell Vostro 230

Windows 8 Device Manager and System Properties on Dell Vostro 230

Windows 8 runs very well on this Dell Vostro 230 and it is going to stay on here, I have noticed a speed increase over Windows 7.  Now you will not be able to install Client Side Hyper-V 3.0 on this machine as the processor does not support SLAT, I thought that the Intel E8400 did, if your Vostro 230 has a different processor then your mileage may very.  I did run the PassMark Performance Test and the Dell Vostro 230 got a 599 with Windows 8 installed on here.  Below you can look at the Windows Experience Index.

Windows 8 Experience Index on Dell Vostro 230

Windows 8 Experience Index on Dell Vostro 230

So my conclusion is you are thinking about an upgrade to Windows 8 on your Dell Vostro 230, go for it, you will love the performance.  If you have a Dell SX2210T monitor and want to use it with Windows 8 why not but I would not buy one just to use with Windows 8, I would look for something else that is going to allow you to swipe in from the edge of the scree.  Still it is pretty cool to have a touch screen desktop now. It was easy to install Windows 8 on Dell Vostro 230 with the Dell SX2210T Touchscreen Monitor and I do suggest the upgrade.

Microsoft Reveals the New Xbox One Console, All In One Entertainment

Today Microsoft revealed the new replacement for the Xbox 360 and its third video game console the Xbox One.  The Xbox One really seems to be the console that Microsoft has wanted to have in the living room for years and then some.  They are marketing this as the All In One console for your entertainment needs.  The Xbox One has an eight core 64-bit processor with 8 GB of RAM, a 500 Gb hard drive, Blu-Ray optical drive, built-in Wireless N support, and Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI in and out ports, optical audio out, and what looks like an IR out for controlling set-top boxes.  The Kinect sensor has been redesigned with a 1080P camera, and there is a new controller.

New Xbox One Console

New Xbox One Console

New hardware is not the only thing that is new there is new software that drives new experiences on the console.  Microsoft said during the reveal on Tuesday that the Xbox One has three operating systems.  I really think it is more a combination of three operating systems.  These three systems are the Xbox OS which game makers can use to take advantage of the Xbox One’s power, There is another system that is based on the Windows kernel which should make porting Windows 8/RT and Windows Phone apps very easy, and finally a third that allows switching between these systems seamless.  You can also snap another app along side what ever you are doing like watching TV or playing a game.  There are also a love of voice commands and hand gestures to control the Xbox One without the use of a controller and since the console is powered down in a more connected standby state you can just say “Xbox On” to turn the Xbox One on.  Also Microsoft has integrated Skype into the Xbox software so you can video chat right from your living room and do so will still watching your favorite TV show or playing you favorite game with the Skype app snapped to the side of the screen.  This really changes things like we have not seen since the Nintendo Wii was revealed.

New Xbox One Dashboard

New Xbox One Dashboard

If you look at the above screen shot you will see that they were watching Live TV, and if you noted earlier I said that there was a HDMI input.  the Xbox One can pass through the HDMI signal from your Set Top Box and overlay additional content.  Also the IR out allows the Xbox One to control the Set Top Box to change the channel.  This allows the Xbox One to make TV much more interactive and allows apps to be snapped next to what you are watching on TV.  The Xbox One also has Xbox Guide which is like in interactive TV guide allowing you to find the shows you want to watch and go right to them.  In addition Microsoft announced that there will be a live action Halo TV show directed by Steven Spielberg.

Xbox Live is also getting additional features allowing for your content to be synced to the cloud and they are ramping up the amount of servers from 15,000 to 300,000.  I think Microsoft is expecting increased traffic on their servers.

So what about gaming, well I can say what I have seen looks great and games are going to look fantastic on this system.  EA announced they had new titles coming to the Xbox One and their will be a new Call Of Duty game coming out soon.  All downloadable content for Call of Duty will come out exclusively on the Xbox One first.  Microsoft’s own Game Studios will be releasing 15 new games only on Xbox within the first year.  Eight of those games will be new franchises.  The only thing Microsoft did not talk about was backward compatibility of Xbox and Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One.  We will have to wait till E3 to hear more about the system.

I am excited about the new system and can’t wait for it to come out which should be later this year.  It looks great and the new features and not only compelling they are just down right cool.

 

Watch the New Xbox One Reveal Live Right Now, Even If You Missed It

If you wanted to watch the new Xbox One reveal you can check it out right now.  Just head over to the Xbox website and check out the live feed. Also you can watch it on your Xbox 360.

Windows Live Messenger (MSN) Support Has Ended, Users Must Upgrade To Skype

Microsoft has retired the Windows Live Messenger, formally MSN Messenger, in favor of Skype.  This comes after Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011 and started integrating other Microsoft technologies into it like Lync and most recently migrating Windows Live Messenger users to Skype.  This transition was supposed to be done at the end of April.  Now when users try to open Windows Live Messenger they are presented with a message to download an update in order to continue.  This update is in fact the latest Skype for Desktop.

Windows Live Messenger Message To Download Skype

Windows Live Messenger Message To Download Skype

If you chose no, you will not be logged in and instead Windows Live Messenger just sits there at the login screen.  If you click the What’s New… button you are taken to a website urging you to download Skype and explaining it to users.  Now Microsoft had made it so you can sign to Skype with your Microsoft Account and all your Windows Live Messenger contacts will be there ready for you to chat with.

Skype supports Windows XP (Including Windows XP Professional X64 Edition) all the way to Windows 8 Desktop (there is a Windows Store app as well).  You can also get Skype for Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

I do think it is a good thing that Microsoft is pushing forward with Skype instead of Messenger.  There are a lot more users on Skype today than there were on Messenger.  Now Skype does not have all the features that Windows Live Messenger had and I hope Microsoft adds these to Skype goes on.  I also would like to see Skype better integrated into Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox like Messenger is today.  (For now these Windows Live Messenger integration features are still active and useable) I am sure as we go forward Skype will only get better and those users that miss features from Windows Live Messenger will hopefully get any features they miss.  Either way, welcome to the future, welcome to Skype.

Amazon Releases Cloud Player for PC, an iTunes, and Xbox Music Alternative

Amazon has released the Cloud Player for PC which it really starting to set them up as a good alternative to iTunes and Xbox Music / Zune.  The software is very simple to use and does not have a lot of features but I imagine that more is coming in future versions.  In this version you can listen to music on your computer which Amazon Cloud Player for PC will auto scan you computer for or listen to music in the cloud that is stored in Amazon Cloud Player, this includes any AutoRip or mp3’s you have purchased with Amazon.  You can also export those song to iTunes or Windows Media Player.  There are also links that take you to the Amazon MP3 Store but at this time it is not integrated into the software like iTunes or Zune PC software.  There are also no options to Sync to a device unless you export the music to Windows Media Player or iTunes.  Of course you could also use Winamp to sync music to your device of choice once you have exported it to either option.  The interface looks like other Amazon software and services out there.

Amazon Cloud Player For PC in Windows 8

Amazon Cloud Player For PC in Windows 8

One great feature I have found about the Amazon Cloud Player for PC is that is supports Windows XP Professional X64 Edition.  I know that there are still a few fans of the 64 Bit version of Windows XP and both the Zune PC software and iTunes do not install or work on that platform but this does.

I am glad Amazon made Cloud Player available for the PC and I hope to see a Windows 8/RT and a Windows Phone app soon as well.  Going forward for me I will be purchasing my music through Amazon or Xbox Music à la the Zune PC software.  If you want would like give the Amazon Cloud Player for PC a chance and see how you like it.