Posts

Make Windows 2000 More Secure, Free Antivirus, Free Antispyware, And More

While support for Windows 2000 ended over a year ago, there are a few people still using it, or running it in a virtual environment for compatibility reasons.  This being the case lets look at some ways to make Windows 2000 more secure and safe for those users still rocking a 12-year-old operating system.

First, Update Windows!  Yes this sounds like a no-brainer, but did you know you can use Microsoft Update (which updates all Microsoft products) instead of just Windows Update, you can check it out at http://www.update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate/

Second, use a different internet browser, you can read my post here on that

Third, update the components used by internet Browsers,  You can download the current version of Java at www.java.com Get the current version of Silverlight at www.silverlight.net The last version of Adobe Reader that is compatible with 2000 can be obtained at http://get.adobe.com/reader/ (make sure once it is installed to open up the program and click on Help and Update, this will get all the updates for the program)  Finally you can download the newest version of Flash for both Internet Explorer and for Firefox and Opera, go to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/  For step one select Windows 7/Vista/XP/2008/2003 and for step two select for Windows Internet Explorer, for Internet Explorer, and then do this again from Firefox or Opera but for step two select Windows – Other Browsers (if you have both Opera and Firefox installed you only have to install Flash for Other Browsers once, it will install the plugin for both browsers)

Fourth, how about Antivirus and Anti-spyware software.  There are a few things still out there for the die-hard Windows 2000 user.

Antivirus software is key if you are going to be surfing the internet in Windows 2000, you really want full Antivirus protection, Thankfully there are a few choices.

AVG Free Antivirus 9 While the newest version does not support 2000, Version 9 does, and AVG still releases updates to the program making this a great AV software for 2000, especially if you do not want to spend the money on software for a virtual installation of the operating system.  You can download a version of AVG 9 Free from http://www.oldapps.com/AVG_antivirus.php?app=f86fd982885094416ab9f08ca1bda07f

AVG 9 Free in Windows 2000

AVG 9 Free in Windows 2000

Now AVG is the only free offering out there for Win 2K but if you would rather pay some money and get better protection Eset Nod32 Antivirus 4 does support Windows 2000 and does it well. I suggest just the Antivirus, but they do have an Internet Security solution as well.  You can check it out below, and they often have deals running.
ESET Smart Security - Save 25%

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro is also another option, they have expanded their product to include Antivirus, I am not sure how well this will work but Ad-Aware has been a good tool in the past.  I know there is a Free version, however the Free one does not have real-time protection making that not a very good option. The Pro version is $29.95 for a year and you can check it out at http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_pro.php

Now if you are wanting something Free with real-time protection but that is not going to be as much as a strain on system resources as a full-fledged antivirus solution,  Spybot – Search and Destroy fits the bill.  It is just anti-spyware, but does have some Immunization features to help block unwanted content and supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera.  It is at version 1.6.2 and you can check it out at http://www.safer-networking.org/en/ownmirrors1/index.html

Spybot 1.6.2 in Windows 2000

Spybot 1.6.2 in Windows 2000

Now if you would just like the immunization protection from Spybot, but do not want the extra overhead of a program, I would suggest SpywareBlaster.  It has immunization options for Internet Explorer and Firefox, and supports Netscape (sorry no Opera support)  The free version you have to manually update but hey its free.  What is great is not having to have to program run, in fact the only time you open the program is to update it and to set the protection.  You can download SpywareBlaster 4.4 from http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

SpywareBlaster 4.4 in Windows 2000

SpywareBlaster 4.4 in Windows 2000

Finally no talk about security would be complete without talking about a good Temp File and Registry Cleaner.  I always suggest CCleaner for the job.  Supports all the browsers available for Windows 2000, and has a great registry cleaner to help keep the machine running at its best.  You can check it out at http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

CCleaner in Windows 2000

CCleaner in Windows 2000

All of this should help to keep you better protected whether your running Windows 2000 on your desktop or just in a virtual environment.  I do suggest looking into some protection, even when using virtual machines security is important.

Part 7, The Best Internet Browser for Windows 7 64-Bit

I have used Windows 7 64-bit for a while now and while I was still a little hesitant at first from leaving the land of Win32, I found myself quite impressed with what I think is the best 64-bit operating system ever.  That being said is Internet Explorer still the best in this version of Windows.  Also in 2011 there are many great Browser choices out there now, many that people are familiar with, and from different operating systems as well.  So let’s dive in and see what is good, and not so good.

1 .Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0.1 (9.0.8112.16421 64-Bit Edition)  Microsoft really outdid themselves with this one.  This is not the IE of the past, yes IE7 and IE8 were great improvements and brought many new features to Internet Explorer, but IE9 really shines.  It is fast, quick, and very standards compliant.  The new user interface is clean but still keeps a lot of usefulness in it.  Also, a few feature is being able to pin a website to the Task Bar in Windows 7 which is like putting a shortcut to the website there so you can launch it anytime, but be able to keep a different homepage for normal browsing.  Currently, there is only a preview version of Adobe Flash for 64-bit which you can download from here, but hey Apple would say that Flash is not that important.  I have to give IE9 the number one spot in Windows 7. You can download Internet Explorer 9 from here at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/downloads/ie-9/worldwide-languages

Showing information about Pinned Sites

Internet Explorer 9 in Windows 7 64-Bit

2. Firefox 4.0.1  We have been waiting for a new version of Firefox for a while now, and it is here.  Like Internet Explorer is has a new less cluttered user interface.  Also, it now has an orange Firefox button up at the top left.  Clicking on this brings up a Start Menu-like menu with commands and options.  The user interface feels like a combination of Opera and Chrome.  What makes Firefox useful in Windows 7 is its integration with the new features in the Operating System.  Firefox 4 supports both Jump Lists and Tab Previews (however Tab Previews has to be enabled in the options)  This makes Firefox a great alternative browser in Windows 7.   Firefox 4 is fast and very standards compliant.  If you have moved from Firefox to Chrome, I may suggest you look at Firefox again and see if it doesn’t win you back.  You can download Firefox 4 here at  www.firefox.com

Firefox 4 in Windows 7 64-Bit

Firefox 4 in Windows 7 64-Bit

3. Google Chrome 12.0.742.100 Google has taken a dud of a browser and turned it into something that competes. In fact, its user interface is what has inspired other browsers to clean their interfaces up.   The sad thing is that despite it being on its 12th revision it is not more mature than it is.  The only reason this is not my number two browser for Windows 7 is that it does not support Tab Previews in Windows 7 making it not as useful since I use that feature a lot. (Come on Google, Get this done in an update)  It does, however, support Jump Lists.  Every release it does get better and better, one of the newer features that is interesting is Instant, which tries to guess what page you are typing in the address bar and starts loading it before you are done typing.  (this is not enabled by default and you will have to enable it, but it is impressive) It is fast and standards compliant making it a great contender.  If you are not using Internet Explorer or Firefox, then you really should be using Chrome, if not take a look because it will surprise you.  You can get Chrome from here at http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/make/download.html?brand=CHKZ

Chrome 12 in Windows 7 64-bit

Chrome 12 in Windows 7 64-bit

4. Opera 11.11 (Build 2109)  When talking about Internet Browsers, there are not many that have been around as long as Internet Explorer and Opera.  Opera 11 builds on an interesting browsing platform.  While many Netscape fans have moved to Firefox because of the relationship between those two browsers, many Netscape fans feel more at home with Opera.  It still tries to be more than just an internet browser and I would suggest any old Netscape users out there to check Opera out if you find yourself missing the old rival to Internet Explorer.  Opera supports both Jump Lists and Tab Previews in Windows 7 and has its own Tab Preview like feature, if you mouse over a tab that is not being displayed, a preview of that tab will show up below the tab (pictured below).  Opera is pretty quick and is standards compliant as well.  The interface features a red O button in the upper left side of the window. Clicking on this brings up a master menu of commands and options.  Opera actually had this button before Firefox implemented their own.  If you want a browser that is different then I suggest checking out Opera 11, wich you can do so here at http://www.opera.com/browser/

Opera 11 in Windows 7 64-bit

Opera 11 in Windows 7 64-bit

5. Apple Safari 5.0.5 (7533.21.1)  Apple has always done things differently, and Safari is no exception.  Originally designed as part of the Apple Mac OS X operating system, they have created a Windows version and have improved it over the years.  It uses most of the standard Windows interface which will make Windows users feel at home .  It does support Tab Previews in Windows 7 but not Jump Lists. (Come on Apple this is useful)  Safari supports multiple tabs however for some reason Apple hides this in the user interface.  To open a new tab you must click on the file button on the right side and on the menu that pops up click on New Tab.  While Apple’s website will say that this is the fastest browser in the world it is actually quite slow in Windows 7 compared to other browsers.  It is standards compliant however and does have some interesting features like Top Sites and Safari Reader (which is supposed to unclutter a webpage making it easier to read the information on it)  If you would like to check it out you can get it from here at http://www.apple.com/safari/download/

Safari 5 in Windows 7 64-bit

Safari 5 in Windows 7 64-bit

6. KDE Konqueror 4.5.4  I have not written about this Browser in Windows before but there is now a Windows version.  Konqueror was originally made for the Linux operating system.  Linux has been at the center of the open source community since its inception and some would say it created the open source world as we know it.  That being said a group has decided to create a port of the KDE software from Linux for other operating systems, including Windows.  The Windows version is a bit of Windows, and a bit of the KDE user interface from Linux.  It is not as fast as any of the other browsers tested, and is not as compliant with current web standards as the other internet browsers.  I also have not found out how to get it to work with Flash or Java on a Windows machine yet.  But like most things out of the Linux and open source communities, it is a work in progress.  It does do multiple tabs, but you have to click on File and then New Tab.  It does not work with either Jump Lists or Tab Previews in Windows 7 at this time.   It is interesting, and can only be installed with the KDE software installer, (no standalone installer at this point)  You can check it out as well as a bunch of other free software here at http://windows.kde.org/download.php

Konqueror 4.5 on Windows 7 64-bit

Konqueror 4.5 on Windows 7 64-bit

As the internet changes, the programs we use to view it change as well.  It is interesting now with the all the options including some from the Linux world.  We will have to see what companies and organizations come out with next to help us do our day-to-day tasks.

If you were wondering how I test these browsers, I use my trusty Acer Aspire 5534-1146 Laptop.  It has an AMD Athlon X2 L310 1.2 Ghz Processor and 4 Gb of ram.  I am running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit on here.  All updates have been applied to Windows and all internet browsers, and I am using the latest versions of Flash, Adobe Reader, Silverlight, and Java.  All temporary internet files and caches have been cleared with the use of Ccleaner (www.ccleaner.com) and from the programs themselves so all pages are loaded from the internet and not from local cache.  For standards testing, I am using Acid3 at www.acid3.acidtests.org.  I load up everyday web pages that people use and that I use in every browser and time how long it takes from hitting enter till the page has completed loading.

Check out Part 6 for Windows XP

Attention Students, Get Windows 7, Office 2010 for an amazing Deal, This is official from Microsoft

Yes, Students, that is right, Microsoft is giving you a break, and it’s so good I have to tell you about it.  I have already taken advantage of this.  This is an amazing offer from Microsoft and it is limited. You can get Windows 7 for $30!!! Yes, you can order now and upgrade to a real operating system that will get you through college. This is good for Windows 7 Professional.   This offer can end at any time Microsoft deems fit so take advantage. Just go down to where it says other student offers from Microsoft.  You will need a valid .edu email address.  Check it out at http://www.microsoft.com/student/office/en-us/default.aspx

Microsoft Student Offer for Windows 7 Professional

Microsoft Student Offer for Windows 7 Professional

To see if your computer supports the 64-bit version of Windows go to    on the page click on download and then click on run.  No installation is required. Feel free to read the page as there is some good information on there.  I have run SecureAble myself many times and it will not harm a thing and does not contain viruses or spyware.  Below is the screen from my old laptop.  http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

SecureAble tells you the information you need to know before upgrading Windows

SecureAble tells you the information you need to know before upgrading Windows

You can also get Office 2010 Professional for $80 as well.  You can buy now and get every Office tool you need to succeed.  Microsoft Office is the standard for creating documents.  Again this offer can end at any time so check it out and take advantage of it.  You can check it out at the same website  http://www.microsoft.com/student/office/en-us/default.aspx

Microsoft Student Offer for Office 2010

Microsoft Student Offer for Office 2010

Hey, I say do yourself a favor and check these offers out if you are a student.  Get the software you need to do well in school.  And save some money in the process, remember school starts soon so maybe now is the time to update your computer.

Also if you’re on the go check out the new Office 2010 Web Apps, you can read more here

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Applications, Goodbye Google Docs

Microsoft Office has been the standard in creating office documents and organizing them for many years.  Google did release an online document editing software for free but it lacked many features, did not have good spell check, and ignored many formatting elements of documents you had created in other software.  In short, Google Docs was not very compatible with Microsoft Office; the standard.

With Office 2010, Microsoft has released an online version of Office for Free!  These Office web apps are great for doing quick editing and creating documents on the go or away from home or the office.

There are two ways of accessing the Office web apps, first if you already have a Hotmail email address (or Live, or MSN, or any other Windows Live ID) then you can already access them, just sign into you email and you will see Windows Live in the upper left-hand corner of the webpage.  Just click on that.

Hotmail interface showing Windows Live link in the upper left hand corner

Hotmail interface showing Windows Live link in the upper left-hand corner

 

Once you have clicked on that it will take you to the Windows Live home page, from there go to the top of the page and put the mouse pointer on Office and a menu will appear.  (if you click on Office it will take you to the Office Web Apps home page which I will show later)

Windows Live home page showing Office menu

Windows Live home page showing Office menu

 

Now you can select a few different options and web apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and One Note, or go to you documents stored in Windows Live Sky Drive. Once you click on an app, you will have to create a document name, if you want to open an existing document open the one you want from your Sky Drive.   Below is what the Word app looks like

Microsoft Office 2010 Word Web App

Microsoft Office 2010 Word Web App

 

You can see the now familiar Tab and Ribbon user interface.  It does not have as many options as the real version of Office but it is great and handy for quick editing or creating that document on the go.

Now if you do not have a Hotmail you can get access to the Web Apps directly by going to www.office.live.com

Windows Live login for Office Web Apps

Windows Live login for Office Web Apps

 

You can use an existing Windows Live ID or create a new one.  Once logged in it will take you directly to the Office Web Apps home page.

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps home page

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps home page

 

This new tool from Microsoft will no doubt be a big help for those that use Office every day or for people who can not afford Office but need to create a document.  I know I will be using it a lot going forward.

Also, students can take part of the student offer from Microsoft for Office 2010 Professional Academic and Windows 7 Professional, you can read more here

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.

Fix Microsoft Flight Similuator X Graphic Glitches

If you have spent any time with Microsoft Flight Simulator X you know two things.  One it is just awesome to play and very real.  Two it really taxes a system.  I recently bought a new computer for my Dad who loves this game, and the computer helped a lot but it still had issues with the graphics glitching when you turn.  So we bought a nice graphic card, Nvidia Geforce GTS 250.  The video card has a gig of ram.  I thought this would take care of it, nope.  So I got to looking and researching.  Here is the simple way to instantly improve this game.  Instantly and for cheap.

First If you are looking to buy this game get the Gold Edition, it has the fixes and the Acceleration Expansion pack.

Second, if you want to add some fun to the game then just buy and install the Acceleration Expansion Pack as it has the fixes to the game as well.

If you do not want to buy anything and just want to update the game here is what to do.  Fist install Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X you can download it from http://www.microsoft.com/Products/Games/FSInsider/downloads/Pages/FlightSimulatorXServicePack1.aspx

You Must install Service Pack 1 first (Do not install if you have installed the Acceleration Expansion pack or if you have MFS X Gold)

Then download and install Service Pack 2 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X from here http://www.microsoft.com/Products/Games/FSInsider/downloads/Pages/FlightSimulatorXServicePack2.aspx

You must have installed Service Pack 1 first and again (Do not install if you have installed the Acceleration Expansion pack or if you have MFS X Gold)

Now the game should run better and have some enhancements, especially if you have a Direct X 10 capable graphic card.

There are other things you can do, once Flight Simulator is open click on Settings and then click on the Customize  button under Display Settings.

Here you can change the frames per second which will help smooth the video out.  I suggest putting it at 30 as this is about what the human eye can see anyway.  Feel free to move it around and test it for best results.

Advanced Space Settings in Flight Simulator

Advanced Graphic Settings in Flight Simulator

 

Also, there is a PDF document on Microsoft’s site that has some good info check it out here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=199a2ddd-4be1-493b-96d8-b9c7d395ffe1

I hope this helps.

Part 5 The Best Internet Browser For Windows 7

Windows 7 is almost always sold in its 64-bit version on new computers, except on Netbooks have the 32-bit version as the hardware is not 64-bit compatible.  So we are going to tests this on a Netbook.  As always these tests are done uncached.  I am running these tests on Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit on an HP Mini 1000 (1030NR)  with 2 Gb of RAM and a 1.6Ghz Intel Atom.  I will also state that there are come clear winners here unlike in Vista,  because of the companies that embraced the new user interface in Windows.

1.  Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0.2 (9.0.8112.16421 32-Bit Edition)  Microsoft really outdid themselves with this one.  This is not the IE of the past, yes IE7 and IE8 were great improvements and brought many new features to Internet Explorer, but IE9 really shines.  It is quick, and very standards compliant.  The new user interface is clean but still keeps a lot of usefulness in it.  Also, a few feature is being able to pin a website to the Task Bar in Windows 7 which is like putting a shortcut to the website there so you can launch it anytime, but be able to keep a different homepage for normal browsing.  I have to give IE9 the number one  in Windows 7 though because of recent independent tests which say that it is the most secure browser you can use. This shows the dedication the IE Team has to turn it around.  You can download Internet Explorer 9 from here at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/downloads/ie-9/worldwide-languagesInternet Explorer 9 in Windows 7 32-bit

2. Mozilla Firefox 6.0    Like the new version of Internet Explorer, it has a less cluttered user interface.  Also, it now has an orange Firefox button up at the top left.  Clicking on this brings up a Start Menu-like menu with commands and options.  The user interface feels like a combination of Opera and Chrome.  What makes Firefox useful in Windows 7 is its integration with the new features in the Operating System.  Firefox 6 supports both Jump Lists and Tab Previews (however Tab Previews has to be enabled in the options)  This makes Firefox a great alternative browser Windows 7.   Firefox 6 is very standards compliant and it screams on this Netbook it’s so fast.  If you have moved from Firefox to Chrome, I may suggest you look at Firefox again and see if it doesn’t win you back.  You can download Firefox 6 here at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

Firefox 6 in Windows 7 32-bit

Firefox 6 in Windows 7 32-bit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Google Chrome 13.0.782.215 m Google has taken a dud of a browser and turned it into something that competes. In fact, its user interface is what has inspired other browsers to clean their interfaces up.   The sad thing is that despite it being on its 13th revision it is not more mature than it is.  One of the reasons this is not my number two browser for Windows 7 is that it does not support Tab Previews in Windows 7 making it not as useful since I use that feature a lot. (Come on Google, Get this done in an update already) The second reason is that on this Netbook it is not as fast as Firefox.  It does, however, support Jump Lists which is quite handy.  Every release it does get better and better, one of the newer features that is interesting is Instant, which tries to guess what page you are typing in the address bar and starts loading it before you are done typing.  (this is not enabled by default and you will have to enable it, but it is impressive) It is fast and standards compliant making it a great contender.  If you are not using Internet Explorer or Firefox, then you really should be using Chrome, if not take a look because it will surprise you.  You can get Chrome from here at http://www.google.com/chrome

Google Chrome 13 in Windows 7 32-bit

Google Chrome 13 in Windows 7 32-bit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Apple Safari 5.1 (7534.50)  Apple has always done things differently, and Safari is no exception.  Originally designed as part of the Apple Mac OS X operating system, they have created a Windows version and have improved it over the years.  It uses most of the standard Windows interface which will make Windows users feel at home .  It does support Tab Previews in Windows 7 but not Jump Lists. (Come on Apple this is useful lets see this get added)  Safari supports multiple tabs however for some reason Apple hides this in the user interface.  To open a new tab you must click on the file button on the right side and on the menu that pops up click on New Tab.  It is standards compliant however and does have some interesting features like Top Sites and Safari Reader (which is supposed to unclutter a webpage making it easier to read the information on it) The new version 5.1 seems to actually speed up the browser a little, but it is not as fast as Chrome.  If you would like to check it out you can get it from here at http://www.apple.com/safari/

Apple Safari 5.1 in Windows 7 32-bit

Apple Safari 5.1 in Windows 7 32-bit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Opera 11.50 (Build 1074)  When talking about Internet Browsers, there are not many that have been around as long as Internet Explorer and Opera.  Opera 11 builds on an interesting browsing platform.  While many Netscape fans have moved to Firefox because of the relationship between those two browsers, Netscape fans may feel more at home with Opera.  It still tries to be more than just an internet browser and I would suggest any old Netscape users out there to check Opera out if you find yourself missing the old rival to Internet Explorer.  Opera supports both Jump Lists and Tab Previews in Windows 7 and has its own Tab Preview like feature, if you mouse over a tab that is not being displayed, a preview of that tab will show up below the tab (pictured below).  Opera is pretty quick and is standards compliant as well however I have had it display some websites incorrectly, including this one (hope to get that fixed soon).  The interface features a red O button in the upper left side of the window. Clicking on this brings up a master menu of commands and options.  Opera actually had this button before Firefox implemented their own.  If you want a browser that is different then I suggest checking out Opera 11, wich you can do so here at http://www.opera.com/browser/

Opera 11 in Windows 7 32-bit

Opera 11 in Windows 7 32-bit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. KDE Konqueror 4.7 Konqueror was originally made for the Linux operating system, but there is now a Windows version.  Linux has been at the center of the open source community since its inception and some would say it created the open source world as we know it.  That being said a group has decided to create a port of the KDE software from Linux for other operating systems, including Windows.  The Windows version is a bit of Windows, and a bit of the KDE user interface from Linux.  It is not as fast as any of the other browsers tested, and is not as compliant with current web standards as the other internet browsers but version 4.7 does render most websites very well. (myspace.com will crash it though)  I also have not found out how to get it to work with Flash or Java on a Windows machine yet.  But like most things out of the Linux and open source communities, it is a work in progress.  It does do multiple tabs, but you have to click on File and then New Tab.  It does not work with either Jump Lists or Tab Previews in Windows 7 at this time.   It is interesting, and can only be installed with the KDE software installer, (no standalone installer at this point)  You can check it out as well as a bunch of other free software here at http://windows.kde.org/download.php (as a note you should have the latest MS Visual Studio runtimes installed as well before installing Konqueror which you can get here)

KDE Konqueror 4.7 in Windows 7 32-bit

KDE Konqueror 4.7 in Windows 7 32-bit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all the options for Internet Browsers out today, and how fast it changes, it can be hard to keep up on which one works better, however, I hope I have helped.   For the browser tests all updates have been applied to Windows and all internet browsers, and I am using the latest versions of Flash, Adobe Reader, Silverlight, and Java.  All temporary internet files and caches have been cleared with the use of Ccleaner (www.ccleaner.com) and from the programs themselves so all pages are loaded from the internet and not from local cache.  For standards testing, I am using Acid3 at www.acid3.acidtests.org.  I load up everyday web pages that people use and that I use in every browser and time how long it takes from hitting enter till the page has completed loading.

Go back to Part 4 for Windows Vista 32bit.

Go to Part 6 for Windows XP

Check out Part 7 for Windows 7 64-bit

Part 4 The Best Internet Browser for Windows Vista

Windows Vista was given a bad rap because of the release candidates and because of some software and hardware no longer worked with it.  Vista has matured a lot from its 2006 release and now after Service Pack 2 is a nice operating system to use.   It is not as good as Windows 7 I will admit but it’s not that bad either.

As with every Windows version starting with some releases of Windows 95, Internet Explorer has been included with Windows, but is it really the best to use, I will look at the five major browsers and see which one works the best in my opinion. For a look at the 64-bit version click here.  This time, I am doing these tests on my Compaq Presario C700 (C712NR) laptop with a 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb of ram, and a 7200 RPM hard drive.  This computer is running Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit.  All updates have been run for Windows, the internet browsers, Java, and Flash. All tests are run uncashed.

1. Internet Explorer 8.0.6001.18828  If you have passed on the newest Internet Explorer, well it’s time to look again.  This is not the Internet Explorer from Window past, nor is it the one that shipped with Vista.  IE 8 is fast a loading normal web pages but is not as fast when it comes to Java or Flash.  This will be improved in IE 9 however, for now, all we have is 8.  But 8 is nice, I love the new features like the Web Slices pictured below.  These give you a quick glance from Ebay auctions to the weather in your area.  There are is also new visual search and accelerators.  IE is my main browser for a lot of things, and my daily browsing.  You should check it out at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=79154fb4-c610-4a1e-811d-dfe0f1dd84d1&displaylang=en

Internet Explorer 8 in Windows Vista

Internet Explorer 8 in Windows Vista

2.  Firefox 3.5.5 Firefox is not the fastest program to open but it renders pages faster than IE.  I use Firefox for work because of the built-in spell check which I wish IE had.  Firefox also supports a wide variety of plugins.  The interface is dated and cluttered but it still does a good job, I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out in version 3.6.  you can check it out at http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ie.html?from=getfirefox

Firefox 3.5 in Windows Vista

Firefox 3.5 in Windows Vista

3.  Opera 10.01  This browser has come a long way, Version 9 was just not that great but 10 is fast and slick.  The user interface is very good at staying out of your way.  I like the thumbnail previews on the tabs.  It also has a most used page like other browsers called Speed Dial.  It is actually a good alternative browser if you’re looking for something other than the leaders IE and Firefox or want something different from the hyped up ones like Safari and Chrome.  You can get it at http://www.opera.com/

Opera 10.01 in Windows Vista

Opera 10.01 in Windows Vista

4.  Chrome 3.0  The newest version of Google Chrome is actually better than version 2.  It sure beats Safari in all but one thing, the user interface leaves much to be desired.  I prefer Safari’s user interface however Safari is a dog compared to Chrome, still does not have anything for me to want to switch and it is made by a company that makes money off advertising.  You can check it out at http://www.google.com/chrome?hl=en&brand=CHMI

Chrome 3 in Windows Vista

Chrome 3 in Windows Vista

5. Safari 4.0.4 Looks better than any version before it, they have finally use the Windows interface instead of porting the ugly grey Mac interface.  Safari 4 looks better than Chrome too, however, it is not as fast, the top sites take some time to load and the browser itself does not load web pages very quickly.  We will have to see what Apple does with Safari 5.  You can get it at http://www.apple.com/safari/download/

Safari 4 in Windows Vista

Safari 4 in Windows Vista

What will be interesting to see is how the browser makes will react to Windows 7, with the jump lists and such.  IE, Firefox, and Opera already are working on some things.  IE 8 is the only one that uses the jump lists to their fullest in Windows 7.

Go back to Part 3 for Windows 2000

Go to Part 5 for Windows 7 32Bit

Windows 7 on an HP Mini 1000 (1030NR) Yes it works better!!!

Some of you know that I set up Windows Vista Home Premium on this Netbook earlier and you can read that here.  I was glad to say goodbye to  XP and see Vista running on this little machine.  Well, the day after Thanksgiving I was able to get the family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium for $150.  It was time to upgrade the Mini, I knew my fiancé would love the new features and I wanted to see how much better it would run on there.  So again I went to work.

Here is some background, I got this Netbook because it is light and portable, not to just check e-mail and look cool.  This thing is very light.  I would suggest any of the HP Netbooks if you are interested in them.  This one is an HP Mini 1000 the true model number is the 1030NR.  I have read that the best thing you can do to these computers that run Intel Atom processors is to upgrade the ram and I did just that, I upgraded it to 2 Gb.  Other than that this thing is still stock.

The upgrade was much simpler than putting Vista on this and I would say that anyone could do this very easily.  I had purchased an external DVD drive when I got the Mini so I attached it to it and booted off of the Windows 7 install disc.  The Mini will only support 32bit versions of Windows. I booted off of the 32bit disc and formatted the hard drive and installed Windows,  it was simple.  Afterward, I ran Windows Updates and installed Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate.  Total Windows, Office, and a few programs fill up the 16Gb Solid State hard drive.  Just a few gigs free when it is all said and done.  I again disabled System Restore and set to a manual page file size instead of letting the OS manage it.

Windows 7 on HP Mini 1030NR

Windows 7 on HP Mini 1030NR

 

This was an easy install, the Device Manager was clear from the end of the installation.  However, a basic mouse driver was installed.  If you want the scroll function, download the Vista mouse driver from another HP laptop that used a Synaptics driver.  Also, just a note the built-in webcam in the Mini works just fine in Windows 7, did not have to load any drivers for it the Windows Setup did it automatically.

Nice Clean Device Manager

All in all this Mini seems faster with 7 installed than with Vista.  The numbers are interesting, below is the Scores from Windows 7, check out my other blog here for windows Vista’s numbers on the same machine. Remember in Vista the highest score was a 5.9, in Windows 7 the highest score is a 7.9

Windows Experience Index in Windows 7 on the Mini

Again I ran the Passmark Performance Test and Vista got a 172, while Windows 7 gets a 178.8, not a big jump but it is still a performance increase and you notice it on the Mini, the system is much more responsive.

So if you bought that Netbook on Black Friday or have an older one  I would suggest a Windows 7 upgrade.  If you do not have an external DVD drive you can look into local computer service shops to do an upgrade for you.  Windows 7 takes everything good about Vista and makes it better, as well as taking the bad and making it great. This upgrade is simple and recommended.