Install Windows 10 on HP Mini 1000 1030NR

This old HP Mini 1000 1030NR and I have been around the block a few times.  I came across it again recently and knew I needed to test Windows 10 on it, and it is easy to install Windows 10 on HP Mini 1000 1030NR.

For my test I installed Windows 10 Pro 32Bit Update 1511 from a USB thumb drive.  After the install and running Windows Update all drivers were installed which makes the install easy.  Below is the System Properties.

System Properties on HP Mini 1000 1030NR

System Properties on HP Mini 1000 1030NR

Windows 10 performs ok on the HP Mini 1000 1030NR, this laptop is getting up there in age but if you’re just doing email and creating documents then it should be ok.  There is a big reason to do this upgrade if you are using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 and it has to do with the small screen resolution.  With Windows 10 you can run the apps from the
Windows Store without any issue. Also after the install and updates there is 5.12 GB of free space and that is without compressing the disk or any other tricks. With this Windows 10 is not a bad upgrade on the HP Mini 1000 1030NR.

Install Windows 8.1 on Lenovo ThinkPad X61

Lenovo has made some great laptops and the ThinkPad X61 is no exception.  This is a laptop that will last a while so that got me wondering is you could install Windows 8.1 on a Lenovo ThinkPad X61 and the answer is yes.

For my test I installed Windows 8.1 Pro With Update 64 Bit.  You will need to either use an external USB optical drive or a flash drive may work too.  I did a clean install keeping nothing.

This will be an easy install and after running Windows Update all drivers will be installed.

Windows 8.1 on Lenovo ThinkPad X61

Windows 8.1 on Lenovo ThinkPad X61

Windows 8.1 performs very well on the Lenovo ThinkPad X61.  This is perfect for general business use but not suggested for gaming.  Below is the Windows Experience Index.

Windows 8 Experience Index on Lenovo ThinkPad X61

Windows 8 Experience Index on Lenovo ThinkPad X61

Windows 8.1 is great on the Lenovo ThinkPad X61 and if you still have one of these laptops I would highly suggest thinking about upgrading it.

Microsoft Announces Free Upgrade to Windows 10 for Windows 7 and 8.1 Users

Microsoft Announces Free Upgrade to Windows 10 for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Users.  This also includes free upgrades for those running Windows Phone 8.1 as well. This was announced today at the Windows 10 The Next Chapter event.  What is not known is if you can upgrade from Windows 8 straight to Windows 10 or if you will have to upgrade to Windows 8.1 first. Also I did not hear about Windows RT in any version. Looks like Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows Phone 8 and older are out of luck.  This free upgrade is available for the first year after Windows 10 is released.

 

This has never happened before to his extent.  Microsoft did make Windows 8.1 free to Windows 8 users but Windows 8.1 was not a full featured release like Windows 10.  This should come as welcome news to anyone running Windows 8.1 and for most running Windows 7.  I wonder what else will be announced today.

Save Disk Space by using Disk Cleanup Part 2

Many newer computers and devices have only a little bit of hard drive space.  While the cloud helps with this you can also save disk space by using Disk Cleanup.  This is part 2 I highly suggest Compressing your Hard Drive first then using Disk Cleanup.

Just a reminder to back up your data if you have not already or not done it in a long time.  No one wants to lose anything.

Before you begin you will want to update Windows as Disk Cleanup deletes backed up system files from Windows updates and from performing a Windows upgrade (like from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1).

While Disk Cleanup has been part of Windows forever it will be most effective in updated versions of Windows 7 and later including Windows RT.  This will free up space in Windows XP and Windows Vista but is not able to remove the backed up Windows update files.

If you completed the steps in part 1 then bring up the Hard Drive Properties window again and click on Disk Cleanup.  If not then just click on Start and in the search box type in Cleanmgr.exe (Start and then Run in Windows XP or in Windows 8 and 8.1 Start and then just start typing as it will search automatically).  You can also try looking in Start, All Programs, Accessories, and then System Tools in the Start Menu.

If you have multiple hard drives you will want to select the one that Windows is installed on usually C: and then click OK, this will not come up if you open Disk Cleanup from the hard drive properties window.  Once you open Disk Cleanup it will take some time looking for temporary files to delete, just wait a bit till the main window pops up from there we will configure some settings.  Once the Disk Cleanup window has opened click on Clean Up System Files.  It will again scan for temporary files to delete but this time it will also look for other system temporary files and Windows update backups.

Disk Cleanup System Files

Disk Cleanup System Files

Once the Disk Cleanup window comes back up again you will want to click on a new tab called More Options.

Disk Cleanup More Options

Disk Cleanup More Options

Now from here click on Clean Up… under System Restore and Shadow Copies.  This will delete all but the most recent System Restore point.  Wait a second or two and then click on the Disk Cleanup tab again.  If nothing happens the system is still deleting old System Restore information wait a while longer and then try again.

Disk Cleanup System Restore and Shadow Copies Clean Up

Disk Cleanup System Restore and Shadow Copies Clean Up

Once you are back on the Disk Cleanup tab make sure all the check boxes are checked and then click on OK.  A dialogue box will come up and then click Delete Files.  It will take some time but these files will be deleted.  In part 3 we will tame System Restore permanently.

Save Disk Space by Compressing Your Hard Drive Part 1

Many newer computers and tablets that came out this holiday season have limited storage, sometimes as low as 16 GB hard drives.  Thankfully there are some tricks in Windows that will maximize your disk space and over the next few posts I will help show you how to put that disk on a diet.  First lets look at how to save disk space by compressing your hard drive.  This should work for just about all versions of Windows going way back (Windows 95 or 98 I believe) it is an old trick but it works. This also works in Windows RT.

Before you do any of these tricks I suggest you back up your data, I have had great success with these tricks but I would hate to see someone lose something that is important for any reason.

First start by opening up File Explorer (Windows Explorer) and click on This PC (My Computer) and then right-click on your hard drive (you may have more than one, Do this on the one that Windows is installed on).  Then click on Properties.

 

Hard Drive Properties

Hard Drive Properties

Once the Hard Drive Properties window opens you will want to check the box next to Compress This Drive To Save Disk Space and then click Apply. A Dialogue box will open asking you to confirm, make sure Apply Changes to drive Subfolders and Files is selected and then click OK.  You may have an error pop up just click on Ignore All.  Then sit back and wait as this will take some time to complete.  If your device runs on a battery plug it in as this can drain a battery fast.  It will take a while but it will free up a lot of space.

Compress Drive to Save Disk Space

Compress Drive to Save Disk Space

Once done I always suggest restarting your computer or device.  After that if you bring up the Hard Drive Properties window again you can click on Disk Cleanup for Part 2.

30 Days With Windows RT on a Microsoft Surface RT

This past Black Friday there were many great deals out there including some on the Microsoft Surface RT.  Both Best Buy and Microsoft had the 32Gb Surface RT on sale for around $200. No to mention I also saw it being sold with a touch cover for around $230 to $250 at other stores.  Well I had to jump on the chance to get one of these devices for many reasons if not for the fact that they are kind of a unique computing device.  So I picked one up from a Best Buy in Las Vegas and got a Type 2 Cover with it.  I know, I spent more than half of the total cost of the Surface RT on that Type 2 Cover but I think it was worth it.

After using this for a few days though I have to admit, I think this could replace my laptop almost full time.  Windows RT is just that good enough.  Of course it is also a year later so much has changed from a year ago and it does not hurt that Windows RT looks and works almost exactly like Windows 8, which I have used for over a year so I know a thing or two about it.  When I installed Windows 8 on my laptop it took me all of 10 minuets to know I could use that Windows operating system full-time, but without support for any desktop applications on windows RT can I really use the Surface RT like I use Windows 8 on my desktop and laptop?

So for the next 30 days I will only use the Microsoft Surface RT for my computing needs.  I will write many articles to help some of you out there that also picked up one of these devices and I will write about my usage every so often.  I think this will be an interesting month.

So for my first note about the Surface RT, I wrote this whole article on it using only the default touch on-screen keyboard.  Yeah its going to be an interesting month.  So make sure to subscribe to the blog, or follow Useful Windows on Facebook or Twitter and see how I do this month.

Using Free Windows Media Center Keys Will Render Windows 8.1 Not Activated

I have an important warring; using free Windows Media Center Keys will render Windows 8.1 not activated.  I know everyone wants to keep using their free copy of Windows Media Center for Windows 8 but do not attempt to use that key to upgrade to Media Center with Windows 8.1.  The Add Features to Windows 8.1 option in Control Panel will take the free Windows Media Center and it will install Media Center but as soon as Windows restarts it will not be activated.  I did not create a System Restore point before trying the upgrade so I could not do anything but reinstall Windows 8.1.

Now if you installed Windows 8 used the free Windows Media Center key and got that to activate and then upgraded to Windows 8.1 that may work but I have not tried it yet to verify.

So just some warnings and ideas for those of you wanting to clean install Windows 8.1 but keep Windows Media Center.  I suggest either trying my suggestion or just pay the $10 to get Windows Media Canter after you clean install Windows 8.1.

Microsoft Posts the Support Lifecycle for Windows 8.1, Windows 8 Users Have Two Years to Upgrade

I came across a page on Microsoft’s website about the Support Lifecycle for Windows 8.1 stating that “the lifecycle of Windows 8.1 will remain under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8 with support ending 1/10/2023″.  This is interesting because it tells us that Microsoft really does consider Windows 8.1 just an update to Windows 8 and not a new version.   They state this later on the page that “Windows 8 customers will have two years to move to Windows 8.1 after the General Availability of the Windows 8.1 update to continue to remain supported under the Windows 8 lifecycle”.  So if you want to continue to get updates to Windows 8 you will have to upgrade to Windows 8.1 within two years after Windows 8.1 is released this October.  This is more in like with a service pack which is what Windows 8.1 basically is but it is a new way of doing service packs and really I like it.  You can read the support lifecycle for Windows 8.1 and check it out.

So the thing to remember, Windows 8.1 is not a new version of Windows, just an update to Windows 8, and the Support Lifecycle for Windows 8.1 is the same as Windows 8. I really feel like Microsoft is trying to avoid having another Windows Vista by not calling this update a service pack, which after getting this information Windows 8.1 is basically Windows 8 Service Pack 1, granted there are many user interface changes we usually do not see in service packs.  It will be interesting to see how this play out and if this helps the perception about Windows 8 and Microsoft.

Install Windows 8 or 8.1 on HP Compaq DX2400 Microtower D2400M

Windows 8.1 Device Manager On HP Compaq DX2400

Windows 8.1 Device Manager On HP Compaq DX2400

You can install Windows 8 or 8.1 on HP Compaq DX2400 Microtower D2400m  and it is in fact very easy.  We will look at how easy it is to install Windows 8 or 8.1 on the DX2400 and how it performs on there as well.  For this test I did a clean install of Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit (and also Windows 8 Enterprise 64 bit) but you could do an upgrade install from Windows 8 keeping you files, settings, and programs or an upgrade from Windows 7 keeping you files and settings but not your installed programs.  If you have Windows Vista or Windows XP on this machine you will have to either upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 or just do a clean install, keeping nothing, like I did. (If you and installing
Windows 8 you can do and upgrade from Windows 7 keeping all your files, settings, and installed programs, from Windows Vista keeping your files and settings but not your installed programs, or from Windows XP keeping your files but not your settings or installed programs.) The Windows 8 install is just like the Windows 8.1 install on this machine. For the install I booted off of the Windows 8.1 Pro DVD and did a clean install.  After the computer restarted it ran well and once I connected it to the internet Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 automatically installed the graphic card and after that I had a clean device manager which is pictured to the right. Below is the PC Info in the new Modern Settings in Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 PC Info HP Compaq DX2400

Windows 8.1 PC Info HP Compaq DX2400

One of the things that was cut from Windows 8.1 was the Windows Experience Index so we no longer have that to compare the performance of the computer however I did post the Windows Experience Index from Windows 8 below.  I ran PassMark’s Performance Test which this computer scored a 143.9 in Windows 8.1 and a 153 in Windows 8 and I also ran Futuremark’s PCMark7 Basic which this computer scored a 1193 in Windows 8.1 and a 1216 in Windows 8. I believe these numbers show that Windows 8 is a little faster than Windows 8.1 because Microsoft is still testing the performance of Windows 8,1 and will issue an update or two before Windows 8,1 hits General Availability on October 18.

Windows 8 Experience Index on HP Compaq DX2400

Windows 8 Experience Index on HP Compaq DX2400

Windows 8.1 is not only a great upgrade to Windows 8 for usability but Windows 8.1 runs very well on this HP Compaq DX2400 Microtower D2400M and I believe that Windows 8,1 performance will improve before October 18.  If there is anyone out there that is considering this upgrade should go for it.  It is very easy to install Windows 8 or 8.1 on HP Compaq DX2400 Microtower D2400M and it is recommended.

How to use Xbox Music in Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and the Desktop in Windows 8

If you are using Windows 8.X, or Windows RT then you can jump right in and start using Xbox Music today.  In Windows 8.X and Windows RT, there is a Metro app that allows you access.  And it is great, but what if you are using Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or want to use Xbox Music on the desktop in Windows 8.X?

Xbox Music replaces the short-lived Zune Music Pass and unfortunately it does not offer everything Zune did.  For Instance, the Zune Pass let you download ten songs a month that were yours for life.  Those who still have the Zune Pass can still do this now but the new Xbox Music Pass does not have this feature.  To get the ten free songs if you still have the Zune Pass you have to use the Zune desktop software. The Xbox Music Pass can be bought in both a 12-month subscription and a three-month subscription although it is not needed to stream music from a Windows computer but there will be ads every once in a while.

Users have two choices to use Xbox Music in Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or the desktop in Windows 8, you can use the website which has all the features, like streaming, or use the Zune PC software which only allows you to download the songs (it may let you stream as well if you are subscribed to Xbox Music, I have not tested this)

To use Xbox Music via an internet browser in earlier versions of Windows simply visit the Xbox Music website and log in with your Microsoft Account (Outlook, Hotmail, Xbox Live etc.) The website will ask you to agree to the Xbox Music terms of service.  Below is a screen shot of me playing my favorite new album in Xbox Music in Windows 7 using Internet Explorer.

Xbox Music Website on Windows 7

Xbox Music Website on Windows 7

The other option is to use the old Zune PC software.  It still works with Xbox Music and you can install it in Windows XP and later.  The Zune PC software does not allow you to stream music from Xbox Music for free and I am not sure if it will if you have an Xbox Music Pass I may have to test this later.  Below you can see me playing the samples of the same album on the Zune PC software in Windows 7.

Zune PC Software on Windows 7 Showing Xbox Music Content

Zune PC Software on Windows 7 Showing Xbox Music Content

So there you go two different ways to use Xbox Music on Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or the desktop in Windows 8.  It is nice to see Microsoft expanding support for Xbox Music.  There are even iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps out as well.