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So what is my Technological History anyway?

After dealing with some server issues and a recent move I am glad to be back on the site.  I was recently reading some other blogs and one guy had a post where he talked about his Tech background and well why not share mine.  So here we go.

It all began in the early 1990’s, my friend Belinda recently got a new computer in her house (well her parents anyway)  This computer ran Windows 3.1 and had AOL (America Online) which we spent hours on having fun as kids in the early days of the web.  In early 1995 my parents got their first computer.  A Packard Bell 480 CD, running Windows 3.11 Windows For Workgroups on a 75 MHz Pentium with 4 Mb of ram and a 1 Gb hard drive.  Oh yeah it was cool. This computer cost a whopping $2,400. We would never have internet on this machine as that was an expensive monthly bill my parents could not justify and they were paying off the computer.  This computer would later become my first computer.  I upgraded it to Windows 95 and installed a 90 MHz Pentium and 32 Mb of ram.  I completely disassembled this computer and put it back together just for fun and to better understand computers.

I met my friend Jake in Grade School who was into computer games and started learning a few things from him.  We had a lot of fun trying out new things and customizing Windows to our liking, sometimes at our parents disapproval.  We also spent a lot of time online via AOL having fun in chat rooms and talking over instant messenger.

My parents second computer was an IBM Aptiva with an AMD K6-2 I think 350 MHz and like 128 Mb of ram running Windows 98, not the Second Edition just the first version of Windows 98.  This computer was a problem from the start. Windows 98 had a bug in it that caused it to crash and my dad bought a copy of Windows 98 Second Edition and I helped him install it.  By this time I had picked up a few things about computers and was reading computer magazines.  I told my dad to get a Pentium II instead of the K6-2 but oh well.  If I remember correctly this computer cost around $1,200 to $1,800.

Sometime while my parents were using this computer and before I got a new one my parents would get NetZero because it was free.  Free Internet! Man were those the days! I later bought a long phone cable and would sneak out of my room at night and plug in my computer into the phone jack in the other room.  I copied the install files for NetZero of either a floppy disc or CD and would spend time every day online on my own computer.  While other people spent time in chat rooms, playing games, or looking at porn, I would be downloading music (later on to stop because it was illegal and later either deleted all that music or bought the albums{I am a big music supporter today, support bands dang it, buy a CD from them}) or I would be reading about Windows from Paul Thurrott or Mary Jo Foley or other places I could find or download updates and other programs to make my computer cooler in my eyes. (to say that Paul and Mary Jo have not been an influence on my would be a lie and I openly admit it)

When I was in High School in early 2001 my parents recognized two things, first that computers were the future in business and life in general, and two that I was good with them.  So they bought me my own machine.  A Compaq Presario 7120US running Windows ME on a 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 with 128 Mb of Rambus ram and a 60 Gb hard drive.  This computer was around $800 to $1,000 if my memory serves me right and I still have this machine.  I actually liked Windows ME, for a few reasons, first because if crashed less (it seemed) than Windows 98 on my parents computer and second it had some features I really liked such as zip file support and Windows Movie Maker.  I would later in December 2001 install Windows XP Pro on this machine.  I got a disc from a friend at school (we are no longer in contact).  I would later learn online that this was software piracy and later deleted that partition from my computer for fear that Microsoft was going to come after me or something.  Later on I would scrape the money together to buy a copy of Windows XP Home to put on this machine.

I met my friend Ed while I was in High School and we bonded over what we were running on our computers.  When he found out I was already on Windows XP we really had a lot to talk about.  I would learn a ton from him about computers and we are still good friends to this day.

My senior year of High School my friend Jake convinced me to take a Visual Basic 6 class.  He would continue to pursue programing in college and I would not.  So while I can’t really program anything I do at least understand some basics and have a healthy respect for programmers.  Programing is something I would like to get back into because there is more money there.

In college I knew the director of IT because he went to our church.  He hired me on as a student worker to help him keep the classroom computers and the lab running smoothly.  Over the summer my friend Ed would tell me that Best Buy was hiring in their tech bench (this was right before it would be rebranded as Geek Squad) Here I would learn so much on the job.  I became a pro at removing viruses and seldom gave up on a computer.  9 times out of 10 I did not have to format the hard drive and reinstall Windows.  To me that was giving up.

With the help of Ed I would later build my first computer.  This machine would see many installations of Windows sometimes many at once. I ran this computer into the ground and then used my laptops till I had enough money to build the computer I have now and like any good tech it is in need of an upgrade I think.

From there I would work for the local water treatment plant for my city as a tech, as well as Staples and a school district.  It was at this time I would start a blog that would become Useful Windows.  I would later be a remote technician for a local company with clients nation wide and eventually go back to work for Best Buy Geek Squad, funny enough for my old boss though neither of us realized it till we met for the interview.  Today I work mostly side jobs when it comes to technology but I would like to go back to full time.  I have four versions of Windows installed on my desktop and about six others in virtual machines just to I can test and write articles here.  In addition to that I have multiple desktops and laptops for testing as well.   My wife thinks I have a problem but I have gotten rid of some and clearing out old computers.

So what is next for Useful Windows, well I hope to cover as much about Windows Threshold (9) as I can.  Some usability guides for Windows 8.X, more install and upgrade articles and anything else you suggest.  I have been looking into doing weekly videos where I talk about tech news if you all are interested.  In the mean time thank you for reading and supporting me all these years.

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.

 

Need to Buy Windows XP, No Recovery Discs Avaliable For Your Computer?

Did you have a hard drive die in your computer or was it infected with a virus so bad it needs to have Windows XP reinstalled?, Did you try to find your Recovery discs only to find they have gone missing?  If you have called your computer manufacturer to order a new set you may find they no longer make and sell them anymore.  This has happened to a lot of people recently.  But hope is not lost.

Windows XP came out in late 2001 and was soon coming pre-installed on new computers.  2001 is 11 years ago and a lot of computer manufacturers do not really support hardware older than about five or six years old.  Windows XP had a good run on new computers from about 2001 to 2007 and then even a little longer on Netbooks and Nettops till about 2009.  During this time a lot of computer manufacturers also stopped providing the recovery discs with the new computers so that the customer had to create the discs themselves, indeed this is how it is today with the exception of Samsung computers.  So If you need recovery discs what are you to do.

Simple, you can buy a copy of Windows XP and install it. You may have to install drivers but you can usually download those from the manufacturer’s website or visit your local computer repair shop and have them do it.  There are a few websites that still sell Windows XP.  I would suggest using Amazon as it is a trusted online retailer so you can be sure not to be scammed.

There were a few main versions of Windows XP and I will give you the links for all the major versions so you can get the one that fits you. Also, you may only need the Upgrade Version and not the Full Version since Windows XP already came installed on your computer.  The Upgrade version is also fine for those who had Windows 2000 or Windows ME installed on their machines too.

If you need Windows XP Home Edition you can get the Full Version or the Upgrade Version.

If you need Windows XP Professional Edition you can also get a Full Version or the Upgrade Version.

The links above will allow you to buy the Window XP version you need.  This will allow you to reinstall Windows.  Like I said before you may have to install drivers to get everything to work but if you do not feel comfortable there are many computer repair shops that have services to do this task as long as you give them a disc.

I hope this helps some people get longer life out of older machines that no longer have recovery discs.

Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Vista (XP Too) Part 3

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.

In Part 3 we will be looking at more utilities this time from Microsoft.

Utilities from Microsoft

1. Microsoft Security Essentials This is my new favorite antivirus software.  It is light weight, does not bog the system down and does a great job.  I highly suggest this for anyone’s home computer, non-profit, or small businesses.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can learn more and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 in Windows 7

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 in Windows 7

2. SyncToy   This actually started as a Power Toy for Windows XP and has been evolved over the years into what it is today.  This tool is for synchronizing files between two different areas, whether on the same drive, different ones, or different devices.  This is a quick way to keep files synced and ready to go.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can check it out and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=C26EFA36-98E0-4EE9-A7C5-98D0592D8C52&displaylang=en

SyncToy in Windows 7

SyncToy in Windows 7

 

3. Windows Mobile Device Center   This software is for syncing files and information for Windows Mobile smartphones.  It works with Windows Mobile 6.5 and earlier.  Windows Mobile Device Center is available for Windows 7 and Windows Vista and you can learn more and download the 32Bit version here at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/device-center-download.mspx And get the 64-bit version here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=4F68EB56-7825-43B2-AC89-2030ED98ED95&displaylang=en

Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows 7

Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows 7

 

4. Microsoft ActiveSync     The Windows Mobile Device Center is not available for Windows XP and this is where ActiveSync comes in.  ActiveSync is the older version of Mobile Device Center and it again works with Windows Mobile devices to sync files and information.  You can check it out and download it at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/activesync-download.mspx

Microsoft ActiveSync in Windows XP

Microsoft ActiveSync in Windows XP

 

5.  Windows Virtual PC   This is great software to run operating systems in a virtual environment.  This new version of Virtual PC integrates very well into the Windows environment.  I have used this recently and plan to write more articles about it.  The awesome thing about it, this is available for all versions of Windows 7.  You can check it out and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=2B6D5C18-1441-47EA-8309-2545B08E11DD&displaylang=en

Once you have it installed there is an update to remove the Hardware Virtualization need you can get here for the 32Bit version and here for the 64-bit version.

Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7

Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7

6.  XP Mode   This is a great feature.  This feature is only available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate.    Let’s say you have an older program that does not run in Windows 7.  Well if you install it in XP Mode you can have it run right off of the Windows 7 Start Menu.  Once you have XP Mode installed it runs out of Windows Virtual PC which you must have installed first.  Please note if you are going to set up XP Mode you need to install things in order, first Windows Virtual PC, then XP Mode then one of the updates above.    You can download XP Mode here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=FB633E9D-DDBC-4044-BB09-4F99E757064E&displaylang=en

XP Mode desktop In Windows 7 Ultimate

XP Mode desktop In Windows 7 Ultimate

7.  Virtual PC 2007   If you are using Windows Vista or XP and you want to run operating systems in a virtual environment then you can download Virtual PC 2007.  While it does not have all the features of Windows Virtual PC it still does the job well.  Also, Virtual PC 2007 supports running older operating systems.  If you want to check it out you can read more and download it from here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=28C97D22-6EB8-4A09-A7F7-F6C7A1F000B5&displaylang=en

Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista

Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista

8. Microsoft Mathematics    This program should have its own blog post.  This is the old Windows XP Power Toy Calculator on crack. You can do just about anything Math related on this thing.  Solve equations, convert units, graphing, trig, etc.  Best of all it is Free.  It uses the Tab and Ribbon interface from the Windows Live and Windows 7 programs.  You can install it in Windows 7, Vista, and XP (Please note that the .Net 3.5 framework must be installed for Vista and XP users).  You can learn more and download it from here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=9caca722-5235-401c-8d3f-9e242b794c3a

Microsoft Mathematics in Windows 7

Microsoft Mathematics in Windows 7

 

These are some great additions to Windows that add functionality and customization.

For Non-Microsoft Utilities check out Part 2.

For Communication and Games check out Part 1.

Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Vista (XP Too) Part 2

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.  In Windows 7 we really don’t see any Power Toys or Ultimate Extras… or do we?  I have a list of some great add-ons for Windows 7 that will bring functionality and fun to this great OS.

Now some of these are from Microsoft others from third-party developers, but all are tested and are very useful.  In Part 2 we will be looking at Utilities.

Utilities Not From Microsoft

I do not use a lot of third-party applications but the ones I do use are very helpful, here are a few utilities I use a lot and suggest.

1. 7-Zip   7-Zip is a great program to work with compressed files.  It works with every major format including .rar   No more installing Winrar.    Best of all it is free.

7zip in Windows 7

7zip in Windows 7

I suggest changing the options though if you click on Tools and then Options you will see the following.

7Zip File Type Options

7Zip File Type Options

I select all but .zip .cab and .iso which I let Windows manage .cab and .zip and I let another app manage .iso which I will cover later.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can get it at http://www.7-zip.org/

2. Ccleaner  Ccleaner is short for Crap Cleaner.  It is an awesome utility for removing temporary files and registry errors from Windows.  It is very customizable and supports many applications.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can get it at http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

Ccleaner 3 in Windows 7

Ccleaner 3 in Windows 7

3. Context Menu Editor   Is is an application for editing the right-click context menu in Windows.  You can put links to any application, Win32 Command, or website that you wish.  This tool is only available for Windows 7 and Vista and you can get more information and download it here at http://www.thewindowsclub.com/context-menu-editor-for-windows-7-vista-released

Context Menu Editor in Windows 7

Context Menu Editor in Windows 7

4. Right Click Extender If the Context Menu Editor is a little over your head check out the Right Click Extender.  It has many options that you can enable for Context Menus on the Desktop, My Computer, Files/Folders, and Drives.  It is easy to use just select the ones you want. It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and some features work in XP too.  You can learn more and download it at http://www.thewindowsclub.com/right-click-context-menu-extender-for-windows-7-released

Right Click Extender in Windows 7

Right Click Extender in Windows 7

For more check out

Communication and Games in Part 1

Utilities from Microsoft in Part 3

Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Windows Vista (XP Too) Part 1

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.  In Windows 7 we really don’t see any Power Toys or Ultimate Extras… or do we?  I have a list of some great add-ons for Windows 7 that will bring functionality and fun to this great OS.

Now some of these are from Microsoft others from third-party developers, but all are tested and are very useful.  I will be looking at them in sections starting with Communication and Games.

Communication

These first three programs all come from Windows Live Essentials which you can download here at http://www.windowslive.com/desktop   For XP users you can get the older version of Windows Live Essentials from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials-xp

1. Windows Live Mail  With all the webmail there is today would it not be nice to manage them all from one program.  But no one wants to pay and configure Outlook to do that.  This is where Windows Live Mail comes in. It even looks like a small version of Outlook 2010.  It can easily manage all your e-mail accounts all in one place.  It works with many popular e-mail services like Hotmail and Gmail.   This easy to use program is available for Windows 7 and Vista.  You can learn more and get it here at http://windowslive.com/Desktop/Mail For XP users you can get the older version here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-mail-xp

The New Windows Live Mail in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Mail in Windows 7

 

2. Windows Live Messenger   While instant messaging has started to decline with things like Facebook and Texting lets face it, it is still handy and still free.  Windows Live Messenger allows you to chat with your friends that have Hotmail, MSN, or Live e-mail accounts and even those friends on Yahoo.  This program is evolving into a social media hub for the PC in the newest version which is out now.  I have it configured with MySpace integration which shows you updates from your friends and even lets you chat with them, this also works with Facebook.  It again is available for Windows 7 and Vista.  You can learn more and download it at  http://windowslive.com/desktop/messenger  and get the older version for Windows XP from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-Messenger-XP

The New Windows Live Messenger in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Messenger in Windows 7

 

3. Windows Live Writer  This program I have been getting to know.  It is a tool used to write blogs and it does a great job.  It has almost any feature you can want in a small word processing program that is ready with the tools for modern blogging.  The new version picks up the Ribbon interface making it work like Word 2007 or 2010.  It works with most blogging sites including WordPress.  It is also available for Windows 7 and Vista and you can read more information and download it from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer and for XP users the older version is available here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer-xp

The New Windows Live Writer in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Writer in Windows 7

Games

1. Carioca Rummy  This is a form of contact rummy that is addicting to play, very addicting.  It is from Chile and is very fun to play.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP.  You can get it from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9F295184-A788-49D6-8C7A-966B72C014F7&displaylang=en

Carioca Rummy in Windows 7

Carioca Rummy in Windows 7

 

Come back for more Power Toys and Ultimate Extras soon.

For Non-Microsoft Utilities check out Part 2.

For Utilities from Microsoft check out Part 3.

How is Windows 7 the 7th version of Windows?

If you think about it Windows 7 is not the 7th version of Windows or is it.  If you look at Windows at first you start counting from Windows 1.0

Win 1.0, Win 2.0 (286), Win 3.0, Win 3.1 (Win 3.11), Win 95 (4.0), Win 98 (Win 98 SE {4.1}), Win ME (4.9)…   Well, that’s 7 already, that does not add up.

But there is something you have to realise, After Windows ME the old Windows line (DOS Based) was merged into the Professional line (NT)

Since Windows 7 is based on the Professional (NT) line lets look at it.

Now NT was not based on of the same DOS-based code like the earlier versions, instead, it is more related to the joint venture that Microsoft and IBM had with OS/2.

Win NT 3.1, Win NT 3.5 (Win NT 3.5.1), Win NT 4, Win 2000 (NT5), Win XP (5.1), Win Vista (6.0), and Windows 7 (6.1).

That’s how it adds up to 7, the code is based on that NT line.

The Best Internet Browser for Windows XP

Ah Windows XP, I still remember seeing it installed on new computers in late 2001 and I wanted a copy for myself, it was just a great OS.  Now in 2010 I would take Windows 7 over it any day, however, Windows XP is still being used a lot to this day.  That being said, a 9-year-old operating system in this modern-day of online trouble is just not up to the demands placed on it.  But all is not lost as there are many Internet Browsers out there that one can use.  Let’s take a look at them.

1. Firefox 3.6.3  Firefox seemed to load web pages the fastest and since the new version of Internet Explorer will not be available for Windows XP and that new version will support web standards, websites in the future will have some rendering issues in Internet Explorer 8.  Firefox is a great replacement for IE and offers a lot of customization.  you can get it at www.firefox.com

Firefox 3.6.3 in Windows XP

Firefox 3.6.3 in Windows XP

2. Internet Explorer 8.0.6001.18702  While there is a new version of Internet Explorer in the works and it will not be available for Windows XP Version 8 works fine for now.  It has a lot of nice features and is rather fast at loading web pages from my tests.  It seems too that computers running IE 8 are less likely to get viruses and spyware. Even if you decide to use a different browser you should keep IE updated in Windows XP it will help keep you safe as the operating system uses parts of IE.  You can download it at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx

Internet Explorer 8 in Windows XP

Internet Explorer 8 in Windows XP

3. Apple Safari 5.0 (7533.16)  Apple has done a great job at getting Safari turned around from the dud that version 3 was.  While version 4 finally looked like a normal Windows application version 5 has picked up speed.  I prefer its interface to Google Chrome, however, Chrome seems a little faster and is a little safer, however, those looking for something to replace Internet Explorer I would suggest Safari first.  You can get it at http://www.apple.com/safari/download/

Apple Safari 5 in Windows XP

Apple Safari 5 in Windows XP

4. Google Chrome 5.0.375.70  Google Chrome has gotten better with every release.  Version 5 gets some nice speed boosts.  While it is faster and safer than Apple Safari the user interface for Chrome is lacking, looking rather odd in Windows XP.  Still, if you want to check it out you can get it here at http://www.google.com/chrome

Google Chrome 5 in Windows XP

Google Chrome 5 in Windows XP

5. Opera 10.53  In Windows XP the other browsers leave Opera in the dust, and to make matters worse Opera changed the default user interface and it is not a win in my opinion.  It too looks out-of-place in Windows XP however if you click on the red Opera button in the upper left-hand corner and click on Show Menu Bar it will take it back to the older user interface that I like a lot.  The nice thing about Opera is that if you mouse over a tab it will show you a preview of that web page, something I think other browsers could use.  Oh if you have a mobile phone I would suggest getting their mobile version it is much better than any other mobile browsers out there.  You can get opera at www.opera.com

Opera 10.5 in Windows XP With the New User Interface

Opera 10.5 in Windows XP With the New User Interface

Opera 10.5 in Windows XP with the old user interface

Opera 10.5 in Windows XP with the old user interface

It is nice to see that there are still great internet browsers for the aging Windows XP.  I do suggest people start to upgrade to Windows 7 as soon as they can though as Windows 7 has a lot of great features like jump lists and the thumbnail previews in the start menu bar that makes it even easier to browse the internet.

Go back to Part 5 for Windows 7 32bit

Go on to Part 7 for Windows 7 64-Bit

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.

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