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.

 

Is 64 Bit Always The Best Way To Go?

With Server 2000 we saw the release of a 64-bit version of that Operating System, and then soon there after a 64-bit version of XP and Server 2003.  These were for the Itanium Processors from Intel.  Later after the introduction of X86-64 instructions from AMD, we would see non-Itanium 64-bit versions of Windows released (Server 2003 and XP)  Those early adopters would find hardware support to be buggy, however.  It would not be until the release of Windows Vista that 64 Bit Windows would start to gain momentum.  Today we still have the option of installing 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows 7, but is 64 Bit always the best way to go?

I asked this question about my old laptop, a Compaq Presario C700 (C712NR)  It had an Intel Core 2 Duo T5850 running at 2.16 Ghz with 2 Gb of Ram.  It came with 32 bit Windows Vista Home Premium and I wanted to upgrade to Windows 7.  After a bit of research, I decided to just try installing Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.

Now this computer came with 32 bit Vista and I had also installed 32 bit Windows 7 to test, I had looked at which is faster Vista Vs 7 and XP Vs 7  which you can read here

For those interested here are the numbers for Windows Vista 32 bit on this machine.  The Pass Mark Performance Test got a score of 537.8  this is not bad at all for a laptop.  Below is the Windows Experience Index (in Vista scores range from 1.0 to 5.9)

Windows Experience Index from Vista

Now Windows 7 32 bit got a 590.4 out of the same Performance Test.  Below is the Windows Experience Index (in Windows 7 scores range from 1.0 to 7.9)

Windows Experience Index from 7

Now Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit gets results that are not what I expected.  The Pass Mark Performance Test score is a 528 This is slower than both the 32-bit version of Windows 7 and Vista. When you look at the test results Windows 7 64 bit actually does better in some areas but worse in others, however, this result is in every test group, there is not one group where Windows 7 64 bit does worse in comparison to its 32-bit counterpart.    Below is the Windows Experience Index and note that these values are the same as the 32-bit version.

Windows Expirence Index on Windows 7 64 Bit

Windows Experience Index on Windows 7 64 Bit

It is odd that the Windows Experience Index is the same but the test results are different.  After using the computer I would suggest the 64-bit version as I felt is was improved over the 32-bit version.  As always your results may vary, so in conclusion I would say if you have a slower system with less than 4 Gb of ram stick with 32 bit but if the system is faster and still under 4 Gb or ram go with 64 bit, and always go with 64 bit when you have more than 4 Gb of ram.  At least that is my opinion.

Free tool for Dual Monitors

I recently built a new computer and have dual monitors and I love it, but there were a few things I really wanted that would make this helpful.  I found a free tool to make having dual monitors more fun and productive.  Display Fusion helps a lot for this.

Fist I don’t like having the same image on both screens, now if you have a very large image Windows will stretch it across both screens but I have two screens, why not to images.  Display Fusion will allow two images to be displayed at the same time.

Display Fusion configuring two backgrounds

Display Fusion configuring two backgrounds

Second I would like a quick way to send an open window to the other monitor well Display Fusion delivers again.  It adds an extra button just to the Left of the Minimize and Maximize buttons.

Switch Monitor Button

Switch Monitor Button

To enable this feature in Display Fusion click on the Wallpaper Settings button and then click on TitleBar Buttons

Display Fusion Settings

Display Fusion Settings

All in all for the Free tool Display Fusion offers it is a great tool.  You can get it for Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7, from here at http://www.binaryfortress.com/displayfusion/

If you want to pay for the full version you can get a TaskBar on the second monitor too, I would love to have this, however, I like to keep it on the cheap.

Install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on Asus KV8 SE Deluxe Motherboard with Promise 378

If you have tried to install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on Promise 378 on Asus KV8 SE Deluxe Motherboard you have had issues but I am here to help.  To start this seems to work on other motherboards that use the Promise 378 chipset, so give this a shot and let me know how it works.  When I did my comparison of Windows 7 to Windows XP, I needed an XP machine to install 7 on.  I chose an older one I had that ran an Athlon64.  I partitioned the hard drive and booted up the Windows 7 disk.  Now this motherboard has the Promise 378 SATA chipset and if any of you are familiar with the Promise 378 chipset for SATA you know how much of a pain it is.  It’s hard enough to get Windows XP installed.  Well, I tried to install Windows 7 and things went fine until I got to the point in the installation to select the hard drive where Windows is to be installed.  There were no hard drives listed!!! I was confused.  I did some searching and found that there were no Promise 378 drivers made for Windows Vista let alone Windows 7 or Windows 8.  So I got to thinking and working.

I knew I was running the Promise 378 in ATA mode so I could connect only one hard drive.  So I thought of loading an older driver and looked at Asus website for one.  But before I did that I thought for a moment, an XP driver might not work.  Windows 7’s code is based on of Vista’s.  Vista’s code is based on Server 2003.  And that was the ticket.  I went here http://support.asus.com/download.aspx?SLanguage=en&m=K8V%20SE%20Deluxe&p=1&s=20&os=20&hashedid=65HeDI8XM1u6Uy6o

Now it will say XX Files Found and under there click on IDE

Then download the second driver (pictured below), Promise SATA378 Driver V1.00.0.26 (ATA Mode)

The Second Driver is the IDE Driver

The Second Driver is the ATA Mode Driver

Expand the zip file to a folder and burn that folder to a disc.

Then restart your installation and when you get to the point that no hard drives show up, take out your Windows 7 install disc and put in the one with the drivers, or if you have a second optical drive insert the burned disc into that.  And then in setup hit load drivers and select the 2003 driver, it should find it automatically.  It did for me and after a while of searching the drive shows up.  Continue the setup as you normally would.  That is all you have to do.  This should work for Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.  Here are the end results.

Device Manager Showing The Win2003 SATA Driver Installed

Device Manager Showing The Win2003 SATA Driver Installed

It took some doing but here is the proof, a screen shot of the Computer Properties.

Asus KV8 SE Deluxe running Windows 7

Asus KV8 SE Deluxe running Windows 7

It does not do too bad performance wise although I get weird graphic glitches, AMD is not going to release a Windows 7 driver for the X800 graphic card in this machine, but the card could be going bad as well.  Below is the Windows Experience Index.

Windows Experience Index

Windows Experience Index

Well, I think I would leave Windows 7 on here if I could get the graphic glitches fixed, but this computer is old and is slated to be rebuilt.  It does not handle Microsoft Flight Simulator X very well.  I hope this helps people figure out how to get Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 installed on their Promise 378 hardware.

The Best Internet Browser for Windows Vista 64-Bit

I want to take another look at the best internet browser for Windows Vista 64-bit as I wrote this article shortly after starting Useful Windows.  Let’s just say a lot has changed between now and then.  Windows Vista helped to make 64-bit computing a household name and today almost every computer comes with a 64-bit version of Windows.  Since then Vista has been replaced twice, so let’s look at the best internet browser for Windows Vista 64-bit.

1. Opera 19, Opera has come a long way and the latest version is very fast.  They moved from the Presto engine to Webkit (like Google Chrome and Apple Safari) and have done a nice job making Oprea one of my favorite web browsers.  If you are starting to question if Google is watching your browsing habits then check out Opera.

Opera 19 on Windows Vista 64-bit

Opera 19 on Windows Vista 64-bit

2. Google Chrome 32, While Google has been put under scrutiny recently, I have to admit that on Windows Vista Google Chrome is very fast and works great.  I am not always happy with some of the updates that Google pushes out but it is updated very often.  You can not look at web browsers for Windows Vista and not take a look at Chrome.

Google Chrome 32 on Windows Vista 64-bit

Google Chrome 32 on Windows Vista 64-bit

3. Mozilla Firefox 26, Firefox dared to challenge the dominant player years ago and has never stopped.  The current version is still just fantastic and if the other two browsers are not your thing then you need to consider Firefox.

Mozilla Firefox 26 on Windows Vista 64-bit

Mozilla Firefox 26 on Windows Vista 64-bit

4. Internet Explorer 9 64-bit, While Internet Explorer 9 has been a great improvement over earlier versions it is not as standards compliant as the newer versions available in Windows 7 and 8.X.  That being said it is still a great option for Windows Vista as most sites work fine in it.  For the sake of security, even if you do not use Internet Explorer you need to keep it updated since it is part of Vista.  I suggest you download Internet Explorer today.

Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Vista 64-bit

Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Vista 64-bit

5. KDE Konqueror 4.10, Konqueror will be familiar to many Linux users.  It does not have a standalone installer but is part of the KDE software, however, you can choose to just install the base apps.  While the new version of Konqueror is better than versions past I think all the other browsers listed above do a better job.  Still, if you want to check out the KDE on Windows Initiative.

KDE Konqueror 4.10 on Windows Vista 64-bit

KDE Konqueror 4.10 on Windows Vista 64-bit

There are still great options for Windows Vista and I think you will find the best internet browser for Windows Vista 64-bit that works for you.  I also want to thank my friend Ed W. who let me use his computer running Windows Vista 64-bit years ago when I first wrote this article, I am glad to have the resources today to write these articles but I am even more glad for friends like him.

Check out the best internet browser for Windows Vista 32-bit

If you are still using it, check out the best internet browser for Windows XP Professional X64 Edition

Looking to upgrade, check out the best internet browser for Windows 7

The Best Internet Browser for Windows, Part 1 An Introduction

I started this look at internet browsers on Windows years ago. Since then web browsers have changed a lot, so I try to update these articles every once in a while.  Here is a list of the articles for the best internet browser for Windows broken down by version. Feel free to check them out and as always, thanks for reading!

The Best Internet Browser for Windows 2000, it is 15 years old but can still get online.

The Best Internet Browser for Windows XP 32-bit, Soon to be unsupported but still installed on many machines.

The Best Internet Browser for Windows XP Professional X64 Edition, one of the first 64-bit versions of Windows, it had limited support.

The Best Internet Browser for Windows Vista 32-bit was not received well upon release but there are still a few people who have not yet upgraded their machines.

The Best Internet Browser for Windows Vista 64-bit, this version started making 64-bit computing a household name.

The Best Internet Browser for Windows 7, this is becoming the next Windows XP and we will be using Windows 7 for years to come.

Also check out my review of browsers in Ubuntu, one of the more popular Linux versions.

I hope to have these articles updated this year and add one for Windows 8, as well as maybe looking at older versions of Windows, and one for Windows Phone 7 and 8.  Make sure to like Useful Windows on Facebook to keep tabs on new articles.