What’s New in Windows 7 Windows Explorer

Two applications that allow you to view and manipulate files, folders, libraries, and other computer information: Computer and Windows Explorer. You may remember that Computer was dubbed My Computer in Windows XP, and both Computer and Windows Explorer are present in Windows 7 with many of the same functions and features as in Vista, XP, and previous versions of Windows. For example, you can use the built-in tools in Computer and Windows Explorer to move, copy, delete, rename, and create new files and other items on your computer. Indeed, Computer and Windows Explorer have nearly identical interfaces and options. If you’re in Windows Explorer, you can open the Computer folder in the Navigation pane to view your computer’s media. With the
Computer window open, you can view other directories and files.

By default, the Computer folder (or window) opens in the Content pane on the right and shows the current hard drives and removable drives installed on the computer. Windows Explorer is still hidden away in the Accessories area of the Start menu. This is because Microsoft wants to draw your attention away from how files are managed on the hard drive and to direct your attention to displaying folders and documents within libraries (or collections).

Although Computer and Windows Explorer have many of the same features and are highly similar to their counterparts in Windows Vista, they differ from My Computer and Windows Explorer in older versions of Windows as follows:

• The menu bar at the top of the window is hidden by default and is replaced with features closely aligned with the navigation and search tools in Internet Explorer. These include Back and Forward buttons, a box that shows breadcrumbs of where you are in relation to other windows, and the Search box replaces the Search pane in older versions of My Computer/Windows Explorer.

• The toolbar has been combined with organizational features of the menu bar in older versions of My Computer/Windows Explorer; the options in the toolbar change to reflect the type of information you’re viewing in the Content pane so that you can perform tasks more quickly. For example, if you’re viewing picture files in your Pictures Library, you may see toolbar options for burning a disc or creating a slideshow. If you’re viewing your computer media in the Computer window, you’ll see toolbar options to view system properties, uninstall or change a program, map a network drive, and more.

• You now have a wider variety of views when you look at objects in the Computer or Windows Explorer window.

• Instead of clicking Help in the menu bar as you did in earlier versions of My Computer/Windows Explorer, the Computer and Windows Explorer window toolbars in Windows 7 include a Get Help button at the right side of the toolbars. When you click this button, the Windows Help and Center opens and displays the topic that is most germane to your current situation.

• The Favorites group appears at the top of the Navigation pane. This group lets you quickly access the Desktop, master folder for Downloads, and Recent Places. Clicking Recent Places, for example, displays the Windows applications and libraries you’ve recently visited.

• The Libraries group follows the Favorites group in the Navigation pane, followed by Homegroup, Computer, and Network. Clicking Libraries reveals the Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos libraries in the Content pane. Homegroup lets you easily share music, pictures, and documents on your home network. You should already be familiar with the Computer window at this point, so the last item is Network, which enables you to access network settings.

• The Details pane appears at the bottom of the window and displays metadata, or information about the information in the computer (in the Computer window) or in the folder (in the Windows Explorer window).

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows 7 - Dealing with a Crashed Application or Operating System

Even though Windows 7 is fairly immune to crashing, the applications that run on it are not necessarily so robust. Not to be cynical, but many IS professionals don’t consider any version of Windows worth their trouble until at least a service pack or two hit the streets, because they know that bugs tend to be prevalent in first-release software. Still, with an OS as complex as Windows 7, we bet there are a few gotchas lurking.

My point here is that you’re going to bump into some unstable behavior from time to time. If you notice that a program isn’t responding, you might have a crash on your hands. To gracefully survive a crash, possibly even without losing any of your data, try the following steps:

1. Try pressing Esc. Some programs get stuck in the middle of a process and Esc can sometimes get them back on track. For example, if you accidentally pressed Alt, this activates the menus. A press of Esc gets you out of that loop. If you’ve opened a menu, two presses of Esc or a click within the application’s window might be required to return to normal operation.

2. Windows 7 has greatly improved application-management facilities. In most cases, even after an application has crashed, you should still be able to minimize, maximize, move, resize, and close its window.

3. Can you switch to the app to bring its window up front? First try clicking any portion of the window. If that doesn’t work, click its button in the taskbar. Still no? Try using successive presses of Alt+Tab. If you get the window open and responding, try to save any unfinished work in the app and then try to close it by clicking the Close button or selecting File, Exit.

4. If that doesn’t work, try right-clicking the program’s button in the taskbar and choosing Close from the pop-up menu.

5. If that doesn’t work, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch the Task Manager. Notice the list of running applications. Does the one in question say “Not responding” next to it? If so, click it and then click End Task.

6. If Task Manager reports that you don’t have sufficient access to terminate the task, you must reboot the system. First, attempt a graceful shutdown using the Shut Down option in the Start Menu. However, if that fails (that is, it hangs on the hung application or it never seems to complete the shutdown process), you need to resort to power-cycling. When the system reboots, you should be back to normal.

Forcing Your Computer to Shut Down
If your system is really acting erratically or stuck in some serious way and you’ve already killed any unresponsive programs, press Ctrl+Alt+Del. This should bring up the Windows 7 options menu. Click the red Shut Down button in the lower-right corner of the screen. If you get this far, there’s hope for a graceful exit. You might have to wait a minute or so for the Turn Off command to take effect. If you’re prompted to shut down some programs or save documents, do so. Hope for a speedy shutdown. Then reboot.

Ctrl+Alt+Del Doesn’t Work
If Ctrl+Alt+Del doesn’t work, it’s time to power-cycle the computer. Press the power switch to turn off the machine. This might require holding in the power button for more than 4 seconds. You could lose some work, but what else are you going to do? Sometimes it happens. This is one good reason for saving your work regularly and looking for options in your programs that perform autosaving. As writers, we set our AutoSave function in Microsoft Word to save every 5 minutes. That way, we can recover from a system crash and lose only up to 5 minutes of work instead of everything. Incidentally, although it’s extremely rare, I’ve known laptops to not even respond to any form of command or power button when the OS was fully hung. I’ve even had to remove any AC connection, fully remove the main battery, wait a few seconds, and then reinsert the battery and reboot. Removing the battery is important; otherwise, the battery keeps the computer in the same stuck state, thinking it’s just in Sleep mode.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows 7 Exiting Windows Gracefully

When you’ve finished a Windows 7 session, you should properly shut down or log off to ensure that your work is saved and that no damage is done to the OS. Shall we reiterate? Shutting down properly is very important. You can lose your work or otherwise foul up Windows settings if you don’t shut down before turning off your computer. If multiple people share the computer, you should at least log off when you’re finished so that others can log on. Logging off protects your work and settings from prying eyes. When you shut down, Windows does some housekeeping, closes all open files, prompts you to save any unsaved work files, and alerts the network that you and your shared resources are no longer available for consultation. You can always choose to shut down the computer; all or only some of this information might apply to your machine. Newer machines have more shutdown features because they’re likely to have advanced power management built in to them via ACPI (Advanced Computer Power Interface).

These are the steps for correctly exiting Windows:
1. Close any programs that you have running. (This can almost always be done from each program’s File, Exit menu if the menu bar is active or by clicking the program’s close button.) If you forget to close programs before issuing the Logout or Shut Down command, Windows attempts to close them for you. If you haven’t saved your work, you’re typically prompted to do so. You must close some programs, such as DOS programs, manually. Windows alerts you if it can’t automatically close an open program. Quit the DOS program and type exit at the DOS prompt, if necessary. If you are just switching user context, your open application’s status is saved so you can quickly return to it later.

2. Click Start, and then move the mouse over the right-arrow button to the right of the Shut Down button.

3. Click on the desired option.

Consider these points:
• The Hibernate option records the current state of the system to disk and then shuts down the computer. When the power is turned back on, the system reboots. If you log back in as the same user who initiated the hibernation, the system returns to its exact state at the moment of hibernation.

• If you want to log off, expand the Shut Down menu and select Log Off.

• If you attempt to shut down the computer while another user’s desktop is still active (that is, you choose Switch User and at least one other user is still logged on), you’ll see a warning message stating that performing a shutdown could result in data loss, along with the options to continue with shutdown (Yes) or abort (No).

• Sleep puts the computer in a suspended state, letting you quickly come right back to where you were working before you suspended the PC. This means you don’t have to exit all your applications before turning off your computer. You only have to choose Sleep. This also saves energy because the hard drives, the CPU, the CPU fan, some internal electronics, and possibly the power supply and fan go into a low-power state. If your monitor is Energy Star compliant, it should also go into a frugal state of energy consumption. When you want to start up again, a quick press of the power switch (on some computers, a keypress on the keyboard or a jiggle of the mouse will do) should start up the system right where you left off.

• Be sure to press the power button for just a second or so. Anything more than 4 seconds on most modern computers in a Sleep state causes the computer to completely power down.

• Be aware that Sleep holds your system state only as long as the computer has power. In XP, if the power failed, everything stored in the computer’s RAM is lost. You’d end up doing a cold boot when the power is restored or, if it’s a laptop with a dead battery, when you hook up your AC adapter to your laptop again. The good news is that in Windows 7, Sleep is more intelligent. When the battery level gets too low, the power management system in Windows 7 switches into gear and initiates Hibernation (which we’ll discuss next). One of the more interesting features of recent versions of Windows, including Windows 7, is hibernation. Like Sleep mode, hibernation lets you pause your work and resume later, without laboriously shutting down and reopening all your applications and files. But unlike Sleep, Hibernate isn’t “volatile.” If the AC power fails or batteries run flat, it doesn’t matter because Hibernate stores the system state—that is, the contents of memory and the status of all hardware devices—on a portion of the hard disk, instead of keeping the system RAM alive in a low-power state. After storing the system state to the hard disk, the computer fully shuts down. When it’s restarted, a little internal flag tells the boot loader that the system has been stored on disk, and it’s reloaded into memory.

• Hibernation requires as much free hard disk space as you have RAM in your PC. If you have 512MB of RAM, you’ll need 512MB of free disk space for hibernation to work. When you choose Hibernate from the Shut Down menu, Windows 7 has to create a fairly large file on disk. In my case, for example, it’s 2GB in size. On a 3GHz Intel Pentium 4, the entire process takes about 15 seconds. Restarting takes about the same amount of time. Remember, if you’re going to put a laptop running on batteries to sleep for more than a few hours, use Hibernate or just do a complete shutdown, closing your applications and documents. That way, if the batteries run out, you won’t lose your work.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows 7 - The Taskbar, the Start Menu, and Other Tools

The taskbar is the command center for your user environment under Windows 7. With few or no desktop icons after initial setup, everything you do within Windows 7 has to start with the taskbar. The taskbar is host to several other highly useful tools, including the Start menu, the taskband, the open application buttons, and the notification area.
The Start menu is the control center for Windows 7. Most native applications and installed applications have an icon within the Start menu that is used to launch or access them. The Start menu has two columns of access elements.

By default, the Start menu displays the most recently accessed applications. A fresh installation of Windows 7 includes prestocked items in this list, such as Windows Media Player and the Getting Started menu, which walks you through various configuration items, such as adding additional users and personalizing the Windows 7 environment. This leaves room for only a single recently accessed application. These prestocked items will disappear, but if you are impatient you can forcibly remove them one at a time by issuing the Remove from This List command from the rightclick pop-up menu.

At the bottom of the left column is All Programs, which is an access point to the rest of the Start menu. Those of you from Windows 9x and above will recognize this as the Programs section of the Start menu. The Start menu’s right column lists Documents, Pictures, Music, Games, Computer, Network (optionally), Control Panel, Devices and Printers, Default Programs, and Help and Support. Below the right column is the Shut Down button and the Shut Down menu, marked by a right arrow. The Shut Down button works exactly as advertised—it shuts down and powers off the computer with no confirmation dialog boxes, other than prompts to close any open files. The Shut Down menu enables you to choose other options for shutting down Windows 7, including Switch User, Log Off, Lock, Restart, Sleep, and Hibernate. Sleep is used to put the computer in a low-power state so you can quickly recover and continue working from where you left off, while Hibernate writes the contents of the computer memory to the hard drive and powers off the computer, so it can be left unattended for longer periods of time without fear that a power failure will wipe out any work you might have in memory at the time. It is important to note that the Hibernate option is available only if Hybrid Sleep is disabled. Hybrid sleep is enabled by default on desktop machines but not on laptops. The Lock button locks the computer so no one else can access it without the proper password—obviously, your user account will need a password set for this option to do any good.

Clicking any of the items listed on the Start menu either launches an application or opens a new dialog box or menu. Clicking All Programs scrolls to a second page of programs, while leaving the quick links such as Control Panel still visible, which is the same behavior as in Windows Vista. You can add new items to the Start menu by dragging an item from Computer or Windows Explorer over the Start menu button, then over All Programs, and then to the location where you want to drop it. You can even manipulate the Start menu as a set of files and shortcuts through Computer or Windows Explorer. You need to go to the system root (usually C:, but it could be anything on multiboot systems) and drill down to \Users\\Start Menu\Programs (where is the name of the user account whose Start menu you want to modify). To the far right on the taskbar is the notification area. Some services, OS functions, and applications
place icons into this area. These icons provide both instant access to functions and settings, as well as status displays. For example, when you’re working on a portable system, a battery appears in the notification area indicating how much juice is left. The clock is also located in the notification area.

Notice that the far-right portion of the taskbar, to the right of the clock in the notification area, is blank. Microsoft has done away with the classic Quick Launch bar in Windows 7 and put the Show Desktop button in its place. If you hover over the Show Desktop area of the taskbar, all the currently open windows will “turn to glass” and allow you to see what is currently hidden on the desktop. Never fear, however, as the applications will come back just as quickly once you move the mouse away from the Show Desktop section of the bar. You can also click the Show Desktop button to quickly minimize all open windows (much like the classic behavior of the Show Desktop button), and restore them just as quickly by clicking the button a second time.

Between the Start button and the notification area are the active application buttons. These are grouped by similarity, not by order of launch. Notice that instead of the traditional application buttons you have grown accustomed to since Windows 9x, applications that are running in the Windows 7 GUI are represented by a square icon, with no accompanying window title text. This is a major change from previous Windows versions, but once you get used to it you will see that it is quite superior to the previous methods of organizing the running applications.

As previously mentioned, the Quick Launch bar that has been around since Windows 9x is missing, much to the chagrin of Quick Launch bar enthusiasts everywhere. In Windows 7, Microsoft has replaced the Quick Launch bar functionality with “pinning,” which enables you to take an application shortcut and place it permanently on the taskbar. You can then click any of the pinned applications to launch an instance of that application. You can also pin frequently used documents to the pinned applications on the taskbar (how’s that for recursion?) for quick launch at any time. To accomplish
this, you simply drag a file onto its respective application on the taskbar, and the application file is now pinned to the taskbar application. You can access these pinned applications by rightclicking the pinned application and choosing one of the application files.

With practice, most users find that this is a superior alternative to the Quick Launch bar. There is, however, a way to get the Quick Launch bar back:
1. Right-click an open section of the taskbar and choose Toolbars, New Toolbar.
2. In the Folder: bar at the bottom of the dialog box, enter %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.

You’ll now find the Quick Launch bar on the far right of the taskbar, and you can move it anywhere. Each running application has a gray border around the application icon. If you hover over the application icon, you will see thumbnails of each of the windows that particular application has open. Unless you have super-human eyesight, you probably won’t be able to read the text in those thumbnails, which can make for an interesting time trying to figure out which of those tiny thumbnails was the email you were just working on. Windows 7 comes to the rescue with an enhancement called Aero Peek. Simply hover over one of the presented thumbnails, and all the other open windows “turn to glass” and the selected window rises to the foreground so you can see exactly what is in that window. You also have the option of closing any of the application’s open windows directly from the thumbnail view. You can further control and modify the taskbar and Start menu through their Properties dialog boxes.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows 7 Shortcut Keys

Longtime users of Windows have probably grown accustomed to navigating around the Windows user interface using the keyboard. This especially comes in handy when your mouse or trackball decides to suddenly quit working, and you need to save the document you’re working on. On modern computer keyboards, you will see a Windows key that looks like the Microsoft Windows logo—pressing this Windows key once will bring up the Start menu. However, starting with Windows XP, you can use combinations of the Windows key and other keys to perform certain system tasks quickly. Although not an exhaustive list, several Windows key shortcuts that are useful in Windows 7 that might help speed your way through the Windows UI.

Windows Shortcut Keys
Windows+Shift+left, right arrow
Moves the active window to the left or right monitor in multimonitor setups

Opens the Projector Settings application to select where the active display is presented (used mainly with laptop and multimonitor computers)

Shows the desktop; all windows become transparent so you can see the desktop behind them

Windows++/– (plus/minus keys)
Zooms in/out

Opens Windows Explorer

Locks the computer

Minimizes all windows and show the desktop

Windows Aero task switcher—works like Alt+Tab but shows a preview of the window you are switching to

Opens a search window

As you can see, there are a multitude of Windows key combinations that can make your day-to-day life easier as you’re jetting around the Windows interface. A more comprehensive list of Windows shortcut keys can be found in the Windows 7 online help.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Types of Malware

Malicious software comes in many forms. All forms have certain things in common, though. For one, they’re invisible — you don’t even know they’re there. For another, they all do something bad, something you don’t really want happening on your computer. Third, they’re all written by human programmers to intentionally do these bad things. The differences have to do with how they spread and what they do after they’re on your computer. I tell you about the differences in the sections to follow.

Viruses and worms
Viruses and worms are self-replicating programs that spread from one computer to the next, usually via the Internet. A virus needs a host file to spread from one computer to the next. The host file can be anything, though viruses are typically hidden in e-mail attachments and programs you download.

A worm is similar to a virus in that it can replicate itself and spread. However, unlike a virus, a worm doesn’t need a host file to travel around. It can go from one computer to the next right though your Internet connection. That’s one reason it’s important to always have a firewall up when you’re online — to keep out worms that travel through Internet connections.

The harm caused by viruses and worms ranges from minor pranks to serious damage. A minor prank might be something like a small message that appears somewhere on your screen where you don’t want it. A more serious virus might erase important files, or even try to erase all your files, rendering your computer useless.

Spyware and adware
Spyware and adware is malware that’s not designed to specifically harm your computer. Rather, it’s designed to help people sell you stuff. A common spyware tactic is to send information about the Web sites you visit to computers that send out advertisements on the Internet. That computer analyzes the Web sites you visit to figure out what types of products you’re most likely to buy. That computer then sends ads about such products to your computer.

Adware is the mechanism that allows ads to appear on your computer screen. When you get advertisements on your screen, seemingly out of the clear blue sky, there’s usually some form of adware behind it. Spyware and adware often work in conjunction with one another. The adware provides the means to display ads. The spyware helps the ad server (the computer sending the ads) choose ads for products you’re most likely to buy.

Trojan horses and rootkits
You may have heard the term Trojan horse in relation to early mythology. The story goes like this. After 10 years of war with the city of Troy, the Greeks decided to call it quits. As a peace offering, they gave to the people of Troy a huge horse statue named the Trojan horse. While the people of Troy were busy celebrating the end of the war, Greek soldiers hidden inside the horse snuck out and opened the gates to the city from inside. This allowed other Greek soldiers, lying in wait hidden outside the city, to storm into the town and conquer it. (This is definitely a case in which it would have been wise to look a gift horse in the mouth.)

A Trojan horse is a program that works in a similar manner. In contrast to other forms of malware, a Trojan horse is a program you can actually see on your screen and use. On the surface, it does do something useful. However, hidden inside the program is some smaller program that does bad things, usually without your knowledge.

A Trojan horse can also be a program that hides nothing but could be used in bad ways. Take, for example, a program that can recover lost passwords. On the one hand, it can be a good thing if you use it to recover forgotten passwords from files you created yourself. But it can be a bad thing when used to break into other people’s password-protected files. A rootkit is a program that is capable of hiding itself, and the malicious intent of other programs, from the user and even from the system. As with Trojan horses, not all rootkits are inherently malicious. However, they can certainly be used in malicious ways. Windows 7 protects your system from rootkits on many fronts, including Windows Defender.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

Windows 7 - Working with Objects in Folder View

Working with folders and files in this view is simple. As explained previously, you just click an item in the left pane, and its contents appear in the right pane. Choose the view (Large Icons, Small Icons, and so on) for the right pane using the toolbar’s More options button, near the top-right corner. In Details view, you can sort the items by clicking the column headings. When they’re displayed, you can drag items to other destinations, such as a local hard disk, a floppy drive, or a networked drive. You can drag and drop files, run programs, open documents that have a program association, and use right-click menu options for various objects. For example, you can right-click files or folders and choose Send To, DVD RW Drive to copy items to a DVD disc. I use the
Send To, Mail Recipient option all the time, to send attachments to people via email. With a typical hard disk containing many files, when its folders are all listed in the left pane, some will be offscreen. Because the two panes have independent scrollbars, dragging items between distant folders is not a problem. Here’s the game plan:

1. Be sure the source and destination folders are open and visible in the left pane, even if you have to scroll the pane up and down. For example, a network drive should be expanded, with its folders showing.

2. Click the source folder in the left pane. Now its contents appear to the right.

3. Scroll the left pane up or down to expose the destination folder. (Click only the scrollbar, not a folder in the left pane; if you click a folder, it changes the displayed items on the right side.)

4. In the right pane, locate and drag the items over to the left, landing on the destination folder. The folder must be highlighted; otherwise, you’ve aimed wrong.

This technique suffices most of the time. Sometimes, it’s too much of a nuisance to align everything for dragging. In that case, use the cut/copy-and-paste technique. Remember, you can copy and paste across your home LAN as well as between your local drives.

Here are a few tips when selecting folders:

• You can select only one folder at a time in the left pane. If you want to select multiple folders, click the parent folder (such as the drive icon) in the left pane and select the folders in the right pane. Use the same techniques described earlier for making multiple selections.

• When you select a folder in the left pane, its name becomes highlighted. This is a reminder of which folder’s contents are showing in the right pane.

• You can jump quickly to a folder’s name by typing its first letter on the keyboard. If there’s more than one folder with the same first letter, each press of the key advances to the next choice.

• The fastest way to collapse all the branches of a given drive is to click that drive’s black triangle sign.

• You can quickly rearrange a drive’s folder structure in the left pane by dragging folders. You can’t drag disk drives, but you can create shortcuts for them (for example, a network drive) by dragging them to, say, the desktop.

• If a folder has subfolders, those appear in the right pane as folder icons. Clicking one of those opens it as though you had clicked that subfolder in the left pane.

• When dragging items to collapsed folders (ones with a plus sign), hovering the pointer over the folder for a second opens it.

• You can use the right-click-drag technique when dragging items if you want the option of clearly choosing Copy, Move, or Create Shortcut when you drop the item on the target.

• To create a new folder, in the left pane, click the folder under which you want to create the new folder. Right-click in the right pane and choose New, Folder.

• Delete a folder by right-clicking it and choosing Delete. You’re asked to confirm.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows 7 - Properties and the Right-Click

Ever since Windows 95, a common theme that unites items within Windows is the aspect called properties. Properties are pervasive throughout Windows 9x, NT 4, 2000, XP, Vista, and now Windows 7. The Properties dialog boxes provide a means of making changes to the behavior, appearance, security level, ownership, and other aspects of objects throughout the OS. Object properties apply to everything from individual files to folders, printers, peripherals, screen appearance, the computer itself, or a network or workgroup. All these items have a Properties dialog box that enables you to easily change various settings. For example, you might want to alter whether a printer is the default printer or whether a folder on your hard disk is shared for use by co-workers on the LAN.

Properties dialog boxes are very useful and often serve as shortcuts for modifying settings that otherwise would take you into the Control Panel or through some other circuitous route. With some document files (for example, Word files), you can examine many settings that apply to the file, such as the creation date, author, editing history, and so forth.

Here are some typical uses of right-click context menus:
• Sharing a folder on the network
• Changing the name of your hard disk and checking its free space
• Changing a program’s icon
• Creating a new folder
• Setting the desktop’s colors, background, screen saver, and so on
• Adjusting the date and time of the clock quickly
• Closing an application
• Displaying a font’s technical details
• Renaming an object

As an example of the right-click, simply get to an empty place on the desktop and right-click on it. Right by the cursor, you’ll see a menu. Notice that you can slide your cursor up and down the menu to make choices. Choose Personalize down at the bottom of the list. You’ll see the Personalization settings for your desktop (as well as general video display, screen saver, and other related items). By the way, many menus (Start, menu bar, pop-up, and so on) have commands with a small arrow to one side. If you highlight one of these commands, a submenu flies out—hence, the term flyout menu.

If you want to use Windows most efficiently, make a habit of right-clicking on objects to see what pops up. You might be surprised to see how much time you save with the resulting shortcuts.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Putting Items on the Windows 7 Desktop

The desktop is a convenient location for either permanent or temporary storage of items. Many folks use the desktop as a home for often-used documents and program shortcuts. I’m quite fond of using the desktop as an intermediary holding tank when moving items between drives or computers, or to and from removable media. It’s particularly good for pulling found items out of a search window or other folder while awaiting final relocation elsewhere. Here are some quick helpful notes about using the desktop:

• You can send a shortcut of an object to the desktop very easily by right-clicking it and choosing Send To, Desktop (thus creating the shortcut).

• The desktop is nothing magical. Actually, it’s just another folder with a few additional properties. Prime among them is the option to have live, active, Internet-based information on the desktop using Windows gadgets, such as stock tickers, weather reports, and the like.

• Each user on the machine can have his or her own desktop setup, with icons, background colors, screen saver, and such.

• Whatever you put on the desktop is always available by minimizing or closing open windows, or more easily by clicking the Show Desktop button on the far right of the taskbar. It is for just this reason that almost every application enables you to save files directly to the desktop, and many programs default to saving files on the desktop. Keep in mind that some items cannot be moved onto the desktop—only their shortcuts can. (For example, if you try to drag a Control Panel applet to the desktop, you’ll see a message stating that you cannot copy or move the item to this location.)

If you want to be able to access a Control Panel applet from the desktop, you have only one choice: create a shortcut to the applet and place it on the desktop. However, in other cases, when you’re copying and moving items, particularly when using the right-click method, you’ll be presented with the options of copying, moving, or creating a shortcut to the item. What’s the best choice? Here are a few reminders about shortcuts:

• They work just as well as the objects they point to (for example, the program or document file), yet they take up much less space on the hard disk. For this reason, they’re generally a good idea.

• You can have as many shortcuts scattered about for a given object as you want. Therefore, for a program or folder you use a lot, put its shortcuts wherever you need them—put one on the desktop, one on the Taskband, one on the Start menu, and another in a folder of your favorite programs on the desktop.

• Make up shortcuts for other objects you use a lot, such as folders, disk drives, network drives and printers, and web links. From Internet Explorer, for example, drag the little blue E icon that precedes a URL in the Address bar to the desktop, to save it as a shortcut. Clicking it brings up the web page.

• The link between shortcuts and the objects they point to can be broken. This happens typically when the true object is erased or moved. Clicking the shortcut can result in an error message. In Windows 7, this problem is addressed in an ingenious way. Shortcuts automatically adjust when linked objects are moved. The OS keeps track of all shortcuts and attempts to prevent breakage. Shortcut “healing” is built into Windows 7 for situations in which the automated recovery mechanism fails.

• If you’re not sure about the nature of a given shortcut, try looking at its properties. Right-click the shortcut and choose Properties. Clicking Find Target locates the object that the shortcut links to and displays it in a folder window.

Remember that shortcuts are not the item they point to. They’re aliases only. Therefore, copying a document’s shortcut to a floppy or a network drive or adding it as an attachment to an email doesn’t copy the document itself. If you want to send a document to some colleagues, don’t make the mistake of sending them the shortcut unless it’s something they’ll have access to over the LAN or Web. If it’s a shortcut to, say, a word processing document or folder, they’ll have nothing to open.

To quickly bring up the Properties dialog box for most objects in the Windows GUI, you can highlight the object and press Alt+Enter.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows 7 - Configuring a Default User Profile

It can take quite a bit of time to tune up a user account and set it up “just so.” There are taskbar icons to add, things to change in Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer, and potentially dozens of other applications to configure. It’s bad enough doing this once, but if you have many accounts on your computer and you want them all to be set up more or less the same way (at least initially), you’re looking at a lot of setup time. Fortunately, you can do this just once and have Windows use your settings as the base settings for other accounts. You can set up one account as you want it and copy that account’s profile to the Default user profile so that all future accounts start with a copy of your finely tuned setup. The trick is that you have to do this before other users have logged on to the computer for the first time. It’s also best to do this after setting up, but before really using, your own account.

To use this technique to set up nicely pre-tweaked accounts on your computer, follow these steps:

1. Log on to a Computer Administrator account and set it up just as you want all the accounts to look. (Of course, other users can change things after they log on; you’re just setting up their account’s initial look and feel.)
In addition to setting preferences, you can add icons to the desktop and taskbar and add documents to the Documents folder and favorites to the Favorites list in Internet Explorer. You can also delete marketing junk installed by Microsoft or your computer manufacturer.

2. Create a new Computer Administrator user account named xyz. Don’t bother setting a password for it.

3. Log out or switch users, and then log in using the new xyz account. Don’t bother making any changes.

4. Click Start, Computer. Click Organize, Folder, and Search Options. Select the View tab and select Show Hidden Files and Folders. Click OK; then close Computer.

5. Click Start, Control Panel, System and Security, System; then in the left Tasks list, select Advanced System Settings.

6. In the middle User Profiles section, click Settings.

7. Select the entry for the account that you originally logged on to and set up. Click Copy To. Then click Browse.

8. In the Browse for Folder dialog box, open the drive that Windows is installed on, dig into Users, and select Default. Click OK to close the Browse for Folder dialog box; then click OK to close the Copy To dialog box.

9. When prompted, click Yes to overwrite the original default profile.

10. When the copying finishes, close all the windows and log out.

11. Log back in to the original account.

12. Click Start, Control Panel, User Accounts and Family Safety, Add or Remove User Accounts.

13. Select account xyz and click Delete the Account. Click Delete Files; then click Delete Account.

Now, when any other user logs on for the first time, his or her user profile will be created with the settings, files, and icons exactly as you set them.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows communities

Windows Communities are newsgroups in which other users hang out, ask questions, and answer questions. Nobody gets paid to work on newsgroups. It’s all done voluntarily. So there’s no charge to access the newsgroups.

Newsgroups aren’t an immediate gratification type of help. There isn’t anyone there waiting for your questions and standing ready to answer on the spot. It’s more like group e-mail: People post messages, and other people reply as convenient. This is another resource you can add to your list of resources for information.

To get to the newsgroups, first make sure that your computer is online. Then click the Ask button in Help and Support and click Windows Communities. Your Web browser opens to the home page for the communities. I can’t say exactly how it will look because it’s a Web page, and Web pages change all the time. But you should see a Search For box and some basic instructions.

It’s important to understand that when you type something in the Search For box, you’re not sending your question to an expert to read and answer. There is no live person on the other end to read and respond to your question. Instead, what you get is a list of all the previous newsgroup posts that contain the word or phrase for which you searched.

The idea is to scroll through all the messages to see whether one looks as though it might help. Then click its message header (the text in bold) to expand the thread. A thread consists of the original message and all the replies to that message. To read any message in the thread, click its header in the left pane. The message text appears in the right pane.

To post your own question to a group, you need to set up an account. Don’t worry; you don’t have to give up any personal information. Nor will there ever be a charge. You need to set up the account only once, not every time you use the newsgroups.

Posting a question starts with clicking Ask a Question. If you haven’t set up an account yet, you’ll be given the opportunity to do so on the next page that opens. Otherwise, if you already have set up an account, you can sign in by entering your username and password. After you do so, you’ll be able to create a new post.

When you’ve set up an account, you might find it easier to use a newsgroup client rather than your Web browser to access the newsgroups. You can use Windows Live Mail as that newsgroup client (even if you don’t use Windows Live Mail for e-mail). For more information on using newsgroups with Windows Live Mail.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

Windows 7 - Accessing the Real Administrator Account

In Windows NT, 2000, and XP, there was an account named Administrator that was, by definition, a Computer Administrator account. You may have noticed that it’s nowhere to be seen in Windows 7. Actually, it’s still there, but hidden. There’s a good reason for this. It’s disabled by default and hidden on the Welcome screen and even in Safe Mode. And it requires no password to log on. This was done to provide a way to recover if you somehow manage to delete the last (other) Computer Administrator account from your computer. In this case, Windows will automatically enable the Administrator account so that you can log on (without having to remember a password) and re-create one or more Computer Administrator accounts, or turn a Standard User into an Administrator. (You would then immediately log off and use the restored regular account.)
This is a good fail-safe scheme, and we recommend that you leave it set up this way. Still, if for some reason you want to set a password on the Administrator account or use it directly, here’s how:

1. Click Start, right-click Computer, and select Manage.

2. Select Local Users and Groups, and open the Users list.

3. Right-click Administrator and select Properties. Uncheck Account Is Disabled and click OK.

4. Log off or Switch Users; then log on as Administrator (which now appears on the Welcome screen).

5. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del, and click Change a Password.

6. We strongly urge you to click Create a Password Reset Disk and make a password reset disk for the Administrator account. Be sure to store it in a secure place.

7. Back at Change a Password, leave the old password field blank and enter a new password as requested. Press Enter when you finish.

Now, the Administrator account is accessible and secured. If you’re worried that the default passwordless Administrator account is a security risk, remember that by default it can’t be accessed unless all other Administrator accounts have been deleted, and only an Administrator user could manage to do that. So, a non administrator can’t do anything personally to get to Administrator. If you enable the Administrator account, then, yes, you really must set a password on the account.

When you are logged on using the real Administrator account, User Account Control is bypassed, and all privileged programs run with elevated privileges.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows 7 - After You Forget Your Password

Forgetting the password to your computer account is an unpleasant experience. It’s definitely no fun to have your own computer thumb its proverbial nose at you and tell you it’s not going to let you in to get your own files. If this happens to you, take a deep breath. You might recover from this. Here are the steps to try, in order of preference:

1. If you created a password reset disk, as described earlier in the chapter in the section “Before You Forget Your Password,” you’re in good shape. Follow the instructions in the next section, “Using a Password Reset Disk.”

2. If you are a member of a domain network, contact the network administrator to have him or her reset your password. The administrator might be able to recover any encrypted files you created.

3. Log on as a Computer Administrator user and use the User Accounts control panel to change your primary account’s password.

4. If you don’t remember the password to any Administrator account, or you can’t find someone else who does, you’re in big trouble. Programs are available that can break into Windows and reset one of the Computer Administrator account’s passwords. It’s a gamble—there’s a chance these programs might blow out your Windows installation. Still, if you’re in this situation, you probably will want to risk it.

Here are some programs you might look into:
• Windows Key (www.lostpassword.com) creates a Linux boot disk, which pokes through your NTFS disk volume, finds the Windows security Registry file, and replaces the administrator’s password so that you can reboot and log on.

• Active@ Password Changer (www.passwordchanger.com) works on a similar principle, booting up in Free-DOS from a CD or floppy disk. The program finds the security Registry file on your Windows installation and deletes the password from selected accounts.

• There are several free password-reset programs that you can download from the Internet. The ones we tested did not work with Windows 7 or Vista, and we found that some of them didn’t even work on earlier versions of Windows as they claimed to. We’d try to get one of the for-sale products if possible and would attempt a free program only if we were really desperate.

5. If you need to retrieve only files, you can remove the hard drive and install it in another Windows 7, Vista, XP, or Windows 2000 computer as a secondary drive. Boot it up, log on as an Administrator, and browse into the added drive. You probably need to take ownership of the drive’s files to read them. (If the hard drive is encrypted with BitLocker, this technique won’t work either).

6. If you get this far and are still stuck, things are pretty grim. You’ll need to reinstall Windows using the Clean Install option, which will erase all your user settings. Then, as an Administrator, you can browse into the \Users folder to retrieve files from the old user account folders. Again, you’ll need to take ownership of the files before you can give yourself permission to view or copy them.

If you are not a member of a domain network, you can avoid all this by creating a password reset disk ahead of time.

If you have to resort to option number three (logging on as an administrator and changing your primary account’s password), you will lose any stored website passwords linked to your account and, worse, any files that you encrypted using Windows file encryption (a feature found on Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate only). There will be absolutely no way to recover the encrypted files.

The existence of such programs that allow you to reset passwords should raise your eyebrows. The fact is that with physical possession of your computer, people can get into it. However, these break-in tools won’t work if your hard drive is encrypted with BitLocker, a feature available in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions.

Source of Information : UE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Windows 7 Software Compatibility

We regularly use and otherwise test what we feel is a representative collection of mostly modern software. This includes standard software applications—productivity solutions and the like—as well as games.

We both run a standard set of applications across most of our desktop and mobile PCs. We’ve also tested numerous video games to see how they fare under Windows 7. (Hey, someone has to do it.) The results have been very positive: not only do most Windows XP-compatible applications and games work just fine under Windows 7, many pre-Windows 7 games also integrate automatically into Windows 7’s new Games Explorer as well. Unless it’s a very new game designed specifically for Windows 7, you won’t get performance information as you do with built-in games, but the game’s Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating is enough to enable parents to lock kids out of objectionable video games using Windows 7’s parental-control features. It’s a nice touch.

If you’re coming from Windows Vista, the extra performance boost you get from simply migrating to Windows 7 is astonishing. No, Windows 7 doesn’t offer the same raw performance as does Windows XP. But it’s close. And it’s much faster than Windows Vista. Much faster.

The biggest software-compatibility issues you’re going to see in Windows 7 will involve very old applications that use 16-bit installers, and classes of applications—especially antivirus, antispyware, and other security solutions—that need to be rewritten to work within Windows 7’s new security controls. Security vendors will fix their wares, no doubt about it. But what about 16-bit applications and other software that just won’t run under Windows 7? Surprise. Microsoft has an answer. It’s called XP Mode.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets (2009)

Windows 7 Hardware Compatibility

One of the best things about Windows historically is that you could go into any electronics retailer, buy any hardware device in the store, bring it home, and know it would work. Conversely, one of the worst things about any new version of Windows is that the previous statement no longer applies. Paul (who, let’s face it, is old) often tells the story about the time he was wandering down the aisles of a Best Buy in Phoenix, Arizona, over a decade ago when Windows NT 4.0 first shipped, with a printed copy of the Windows NT Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) in his hand. He needed a network adapter but had to be sure he got one of the few models that worked in the then new NT 4.0 system. Windows 7 users face a similar problem today, though there are some differences. First, there’s no HCL available anymore, at least not a public one, so you’re a bit more on your own when it comes to discovering what’s going to work. Second, Windows 7 is already far more compatible with existing hardware than NT was back in the mid 1990s. Indeed, thanks to a 3-year head start with Windows Vista—with which Windows 7 shares the same compatibility infrastructure—Microsoft claims that Windows 7 is actually far more compatible with today’s hardware than Windows XP was when it first shipped back in 2001. Based on our extensive testing and evidence provided by Microsoft, this is clearly the case. But then, that was true with Windows Vista as well, though overblown tales of that system’s compatibility issues burned up the blogosphere during virtually its entire time in the market.

We’ve tested Windows 7 for over a year on a wide variety of systems, including several desktops (most of which use dual- and quad-core x64-compatible CPUs), Media Center PCs, notebook computers, Tablet PCs, TouchSmart PCs, netbooks, and even an aging Ultra-Mobile PC. Windows 7’s out-of-the-box (OOTB) compatibility with the built-in devices on each system we’ve tested has been stellar, even during the beta, and it only got better over time. (In this case, OOTB refers to both the drivers that actually ship on the Windows 7 DVD as well as the drivers that are automatically installed via Automatic
Updating the first time you boot into your new Windows 7 desktop.) On almost all of these systems, Windows 7 has found and installed drivers for every single device in or attached to the system. So much for all the compatibility nightmares. Myths about how the Windows Aero user interface requirements would require mass hardware upgrades also dissipated during the Vista time frame. And sure enough, by the time we got to Windows 7, we stopped seeing anything other than the Windows Aero UI on every single modern (2006 or newer) PC we’ve tested. (With the following exception: when you install Windows 7 Home Basic or Starter, you don’t gain access to Windows Aero—but this is due to limitations of the OS, not the hardware.)

As always, you could still run into hardware issues with older scanners, printers, and similar peripherals, especially if you’re coming from Windows XP. Paul’s network-attached Dell laser printer wasn’t supported by Windows 7–specific drivers at launch (though it was in Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 and newer). But because it’s really a Lexmark printer in disguise, he was able to get it up and running just fine using Lexmark drivers. If you’re coming from Windows Vista, or are using Windows Vista-era hardware, you’re in much better shape. For the most part, everything should just work. TV-tuner hardware? Yep. Zune? Done. Apple’s iPods? They all work (even on x64 systems). Windows Media–compatible devices? Of course; they all connect seamlessly and even work with Windows 7’s Sync Center interface.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets (2009)

Understanding Windows 7 Compatibility Issues

Any discussion of PC compatibility, of course, encompasses two very different but related topics: hardware and software. In order for a given hardware device—a printer, graphics card, or whatever—to work correctly with Windows 7, it needs a working driver. In many cases, drivers designed for older versions of Windows will actually work just fine in Windows 7. However, depending on the class (or type) of device, many hardware devices need a new Windows 7–specific driver to function properly on Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Software offers similar challenges. While Windows 7 is largely compatible with the 32-bit software applications that Windows users have enjoyed for over a decade, some applications— and indeed, entire application classes, such as security software—simply won’t work properly in Windows 7. Some applications can be made to work using Windows 7’s built-in compatibility modes, as discussed below. Some can’t. Those that can’t—like legacy 16-bit software or custom software typically found in small businesses—might be able to find solace in the new XP Mode feature in Windows 7.

A final compatibility issue that shouldn’t be overlooked is one raised by the ongoing migration to 64-bit (x64) computing. Virtually every single PC sold today does, in fact, include a 64-bit x64-compatible microprocessor, which means it is capable of running 64-bit versions of Windows 7. However, until Windows 7, virtually all copies of Windows sold were the more mainstream 32-bit versions of the system. We’ll explain why this is so and how the situation is now changing in favor of 64-bit with Windows 7.

From a functional standpoint, x64 and 32-bit versions of Windows 7 are almost identical. The biggest difference is RAM support: while 32-bit versions of Windows “support” up to 4GB of RAM, the truth is, they can’t access much more than 3.1GB or 3.2GB of RAM because of the underlying architecture of Windows. 64-bit versions of Windows 7, meanwhile, can access up to a whopping 192GB of RAM, depending on which version you get.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets (2009)

Avoid Installing Windows 7 over Windows Vista

We recommend that you get Windows 7 preinstalled with your next new PC. This is the best way to acquire Windows 7. Another reasonable option, assuming you know what you’re doing and have recent hardware, is to purchase a retail version of Windows 7 and then perform a clean install of the OS on your existing PC. We don’t recommend that you install Windows 7 over Windows Vista.

Here’s why. Installing Windows 7 on top of Windows Vista may cause incompatibility problems that you might not be able to fix easily. When you buy a new PC with Windows 7 preinstalled, it’s almost certain that the components in the PC will have been selected for their compatibility and will have the latest driver software. PC makers also support their products with Web sites that provide the latest known drivers. These sites aren’t usually as up-to-date as they should be, but they will at least work.

In general, you shouldn’t consider installing Windows 7 on a PC that previously ran Windows XP or Vista unless the following conditions are true: You need a feature of Windows 7 that you can’t add to • XP. (Much less likely with Vista.)
• You need an application that requires Windows 7.
• You can’t afford even the least expensive new PC that comes with Windows 7 preinstalled.

Even if one of the preceding conditions is true, you may be better off backing up all of your old data to a CD/DVD or removable hard disk, formatting the old PC’s hard drive, and doing a clean install of Windows 7. This avoids the possibility that some components of the old OS will hang around to cause conflicts. If you’ve never backed up and formatted a hard drive, however, don’t try to learn how on any PC that’s important to you.

If you do decide to install Windows 7 on an older PC, at least run Microsoft’s Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, to determine which drivers you may need to update first; and regardless of how you need to install Windows 7.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets (2009)

Windows on Mac: Virtualization Solutions

If you’d prefer to join the ever-increasing ranks of Mac switchers—you traitor, you—you can still run Windows and, more important, Windows applications, from within Mac OS X. You do so via a virtualized environment such as VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop, both of which fool Windows into running inside of a software-based PC that itself runs as an application under Mac OS X.

In the past, virtualized environments presented a number of huge issues, especially on the Mac. First, performance was abysmal, owing mostly to the underlying architectural differences between the PowerPC and Intel x86 platforms and the difficulty in translating running code between them. Second, virtualized environments have typically presented Windows and its applications as a sort of thing-in-a-thing, whereby the entire Windows environment would run inside a closed-off window that was quite separate and distinct from the Mac environment in which it was running. Moving back and forth between the Mac and Windows environments was jarring and difficult.

Modern virtualized environments—such as VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop—have mostly overcome these issues, just as Windows Virtual PC has on the Windows side. Thanks to the underlying Intel x86 platform now used by the Mac, virtualization offers better performance because there’s no need to do on-the-fly code conversion. Yes, performance still suffers, but you might be surprised by how well Fusion and Parallels Desktop actually work.

More impressive, perhaps, both VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop offer unique new usage modes that blur the line between the Mac and Windows desktops. VMware Fusion offers a feature called Unity that enables you to run a Windows application directly from the Mac Dock, switch between Windows and Mac applications using the Mac’s Exposé window switcher, and drag and drop files between both systems. Parallels Desktop offers a similar feature called Coherence, which also integrates Windows applications into the Mac desktop experience. Coherence even supports copy and paste between Mac and Windows applications, and many other integration features. VMware Fusion also offers an impressive bit of integration with Apple’s Boot Camp functionality. If you’ve already installed Windows 7 in a dual-boot setup with Mac OS X using Boot Camp, Fusion will detect that Windows install and automatically enable you to access it as a virtualized environment from within Mac OS X. This, truly, is the best of both worlds, as you can choose to access Windows 7 natively via Boot Camp or virtualized from within Mac OS X using Fusion, all on the same machine. You can find out more about VMware Fusion from the VMware Web site at www.vmware.com/products/fusion. Likewise, you can find out more about Parallels Fusion online at www.parallels.com/products/desktop.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets (2009)

Windows 7 Dual Boot with Mac: Using Boot Camp

Boot Camp is a feature of Mac OS X and is configured via that system’s Boot Camp Assistant. Boot Camp Assistant is available from the Mac OS X Utilities folder (Applications -> Utilities) and provides a wizard-based configuration experience.

Boot Camp is available only in Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” or newer, and it supports only 32-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista, and 7.

The key to this wizard is the Create a Second Partition phase, where you can graphically resize the partition layout on the hard disk between Mac OS X and Windows. (Macs with multiple hard drives can be configured such that Mac OS X and Windows occupy different physical disks, if desired.)

After that, Boot Camp prompts you to insert the Windows 7 Setup DVD and proceed with setup. From a Windows user’s perspective, setup proceeds normally and Windows looks and acts as it should once installed. Be sure to keep your Mac OS X Setup DVD handy, however. It includes the necessary drivers that Windows needs to be compatible with the Mac’s specific hardware. Once you have Windows 7 up and running on the Mac, there are just a few Mac-specific issues you should be aware of:

• Configuring Boot Camp: When you install Windows 7 on a Mac using Boot Camp, Apple installs a Boot Camp Control Panel application, which you can access by selecting Start Menu Search and typing boot camp. This application helps you configure important functionality such as the default system to load at boot time (Mac or Windows). There’s also a system notification tray applet that enables you to access the Boot Camp Control Panel and Boot Camp Help and choose to reboot into Mac OS X.

• Switching between operating systems at boot time: While you can choose the default operating system at boot time via the Boot Camp Control Panel application, or choose to boot into Mac OS X from within Windows by using the Boot Camp tray applet, you can also choose an OS on-the-fly when you boot up the Mac. To do so, restart the Mac and then hold down the Option key until you see a screen with icons for both Mac OS X and Windows. Then, use the arrow keys on the keyboard to choose the system you want and press Enter to boot.

• Understanding Mac keyboard and mouse differences: While Macs are really just glorified PCs now, Apple continues to use unique keyboard layouts and, frequently, one button mice. As a result, you may have to make some adjustments when running Windows on a Mac.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets (2009)

Installing Windows 7 on a Mac

When Apple switched its desirable Macintosh computers from the aging Power PC architecture to Intel’s PC-compatible x86 platform in 2006, the computing landscape was changed forever. No longer were PCs and Macs incompatible at a very low level. Indeed, Macs are now simply PCs running a different operating system. This fascinating change opened up the possibility of Mac users running Windows software natively on their machines, either in a dual-boot scenario or, perhaps, in a virtualized environment that would offer much better performance than the Power PC–based virtualized environments of the past.

These dreams quickly became reality. Apple created software called Boot Camp that now enables Mac users to dual-boot between Mac OS X (Leopard or higher) and Windows XP, Vista, or 7. And enterprising tech pioneers such as VMware and Parallels have created seamless virtualization environments for Mac OS X that enable Mac users to run popular Windows applications alongside Mac-only software such as iLife.

Now consumers can choose a best-of-both-worlds solution that combines Apple’s highly regarded (if expensive) hardware with the compatibility and software-library depth of Windows. Indeed, Paul has been using an Apple notebook running Windows 7 ever since Microsoft’s latest operating system shipped in early beta form.

The differences between these two types of Windows-on-Mac solutions are important to understand. If you choose to dual-boot between Mac OS X and Windows using Boot Camp, you have the advantage of running each system with the complete power of the underlying hardware. However, you can access only one OS at a time, and you need to reboot the Mac in order to access the other.

With a virtualized environment running under Mac OS X, you have the advantage of running Mac OS X and Windows applications side by side, but with a performance penalty. In this situation, Mac OS X is considered the host OS, and Windows is a guest OS running on top of Mac OS X. (This works much like Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode, which we document in Chapter 3.) Thus, Windows applications won’t run at full speed. With enough RAM, you won’t notice any huge performance issues while utilizing productivity applications, but you can’t run Windows games effectively with such a setup. Note, too, that the Windows 7 Aero user experience is not available in today’s virtualized environments, so you would have to settle for Windows 7 Basic instead. Regardless of which method you use to install Windows 7, be aware of a final limitation: you need to purchase a copy of Windows 7, as no Mac ships with Microsoft’s operating system. This is a not-so-fine point that Apple never seems to mention in their advertising.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets (2009)

Linking Online IDs with Windows Accounts in Windows 7

Windows 7 gives you the capability to link online IDs with your Windows account. For example, you might link your Windows Live ID with your Windows account. Linking online IDs enables other people to share files with you on a homegroup using that online ID rather than a Windows account. The advantage to other people is that they don’t have to add an account for you on their computers.

Instead, they can use your online ID — such as your e-mail address — to share files with you. Linking your online IDs with your Windows account is a two-step process. First, you add the online ID provider to Windows, and then you link the ID to your Windows account. For example, you first add the Windows Live ID provider to Windows and then link your Windows ID to your Windows account.

Follow these steps to accomplish both tasks:

1. Log in to Windows using the account you want to link; then open the User Accounts object in the Control Panel.

2. In the left pane, click Link Online IDs.

3. Click the Add an Online ID Provider link near the bottom of the dialog box to navigate to the Windows 7 online ID providers Web site.

4. Click the provider for the service you want to link. As I write this, only Windows Live is supported. However, other providers will potentially be supported by the final release of Windows 7.

5. When you click the provider in the list, you should see a download page that will enable you to download and install the ID provider add-on. Follow the instructions provided by the Web site to accomplish that task.

6. After you have installed the online ID provider, navigate back to the User Accounts object in the Control Panel for your account. You should now see the provider listed.

7. Click the Add Linked ID link in the Online ID column. What happens at this point depends on the selected provider. For Windows Live, you enter your Windows Live credentials and sign in. The ID is then linked to your Windows account.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

Using Credential Manager in Windows 7

Credential Manager enables you to manage your usernames and their associated passwords (collectively called credentials) for servers, Web sites, and programs. These credentials are stored in an electronic virtual vault. When you access a server, site, or program that requests a password, Credential Manager can submit the credentials for you so that you don’t have to type them yourself. If your password cache has dozens of sets of credentials in it, as mine does, you’ll be more than happy to put Credential Manager to work for you.

Credential Manager can’t interact with every Web site that requests credentials. For example, when you log in to your online banking site, the site probably displays a form in which you enter your credentials. Credential Manager can’t store this type of forms-based credentials, but you can have Internet Explorer remember the credentials for you.

Although you can add credentials to your vault directly, you don’t need to do so in most cases. Instead, you can let Windows do it for you. To do so, navigate to a server or other computer on your network, or to a Web server that prompts you for credentials. Enter the username and password in the Windows Security dialog box, select Remember My Credentials, and click OK. Windows stores the credentials in Credential Manager.

You can add credentials to your vault yourself if you want to. For example, if you have lots of credentials you use with multiple servers or sites, you might want to prepopulate your credential vault so that you don’t have to enter them the next time you visit that resource.

To add credentials, open the User Accounts and Family Safety item in the Control Panel and then click Credential Manager. Click Add a Windows Credential and in the resulting form, enter the following:

• Internet or Network Address: Type the path to the resource. For example, enter
\\fileserver\Docs to specify the Docs share on a server on the network named fileserver.
Or, enter portal.mycompany.tld if your company intranet portal is located at

• Username: Enter the username you want to use to log on to the specified service.

• Password: Enter the password associated with the username.

You can also add a certificate resource, which associates a network resource with a certificate that is already installed in the Personal certificate store on your computer. In this case, verify that you have already installed the certificate, click Add a Certificate-Based Credential, type the resource URL, and click Select Certificate to select the certificate. You can also choose to use a smart card certificate (a certificate installed on a smart card that you insert in your computer).

The third type of credential you can add is a generic credential, which are credentials used by applications that perform authentication themselves rather than rely on Windows to perform the authentication. As with a Windows credential, you specify the URL, username, and password for a generic credential.

You can specify a port number in the resource path, if needed. For example, if an application is connecting to a SQL Server at sql.mydomain.tld on port 1433, you would specify sql.mydomain.tld:1433 in the Internet or Network Address field in Credential Manager.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

About Windows CardSpace

Windows CardSpace lets you store user account information for online services that support the CardSpace feature. It’s a means of creating a digital identity that can be used instead of a username and password to log in to online accounts that support the CardSpace feature. CardSpace adds security to Web relationships by encrypting data in your card before sending the information to a Web site. You can also review cards from Web sites that use them to get more information about a site before signing up for an account.

CardSpace is still relatively new, with a limited number of Web sites supporting it. The idea of CardSpace is fairly simple, however. You can create one or more digital cards, each with whatever information you want to provide to Web sites with which you do business. For example, you might want cards that include only your name and no further identifying information. Other cards might include your street address and phone number.

When you set up an account with an online site that supports CardSpace, you can send your card rather than fill in blanks on that site’s user form. After you’ve established an account, you can submit your card whenever you need to log in to the site.

You can choose from two kinds of cards to use:

• Personal cards: These you create yourself and provide to online Web services as you see fit.

• Managed cards: These are like membership cards provided to you by organizations and businesses that support the CardSpace identity system.

Use one of the following methods to access Windows CardSpace:
• Click the Start button and choose Control Panel -> User Accounts and Family Safety Windows CardSpace.
• Tap [windows], type card and click Windows CardSpace.

If you’re taken to a welcome page, click OK to proceed. To create a personal card, click Add a Card in the right column. Click Personal Card and fill in whatever blanks you’re comfortable with. You might want to start by creating a basic card that contains your name, e-mail address, and perhaps a picture or logo. You can create other cards with more information, if necessary, for sites that you trust with that information.

You don’t create managed cards yourself. Instead, you set up an account with a service that uses managed cards. When you receive such a card, you’ll likely get instructions on its use. But the basic procedure is to go into CardSpace, click Add a Card, click Install a Managed Card, and then import the card that the online service has sent you.

If the CardSpace technology catches on, you’ll be able to access your cards right from your Web browser. When you go to log in to a site, you’ll see an option to log in the traditional way through a user account and password, or by using CardSpace (or an InfoCard). Click the option to use CardSpace, click the card you want to use, and you’re logged in.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

Add the Built-in Administrator Account to the Login Screen

The built-in Administrator account is intentionally hidden to keep out users who don’t have sufficient knowledge to understand the risks involved in using such an account. Typically, the only way to get to it is by starting the computer in Safe Mode. If you’re an advanced user and want to be able to get to that account from the login page, you just have to enable the account. Here’s how:

1. Log in to an account that has administrative privileges.

2. Click the Start button, right-click Computer, and choose Manage.

3. In the left column of the Computer Management tool that opens, click Local Users and Groups.

4. In the center column, double-click the Users folder.

5. Right-click the Administrator account and choose Properties.

6. Clear the check mark beside Account is Disabled and click OK.

7. Close the Computer Management window.

When you log out of your current account, you’ll see the Administrator account on the login page. It will also appear there each time you start the computer.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

Running Programs as Administrator

Most newer programs work with UAC’s privilege escalation on the fly. But sometimes that won’t work, especially with older programs. You can run any program with administrative privileges by right-clicking its startup icon and choosing Run as Administrator.

The same method works for programs that you can’t launch from the Start menu. Use Windows Explorer to get to the folder that contains the executable file for the program. Then right-click the filename and choose Run as Administrator.

You can make older programs that aren’t part of Windows 7 run with elevated privileges automatically by changing program compatibility settings. Right-click the startup icon for the program, or the executable file’s icon, and choose Properties. In the Properties dialog box, click the Compatibility tab. Then, under Privilege Level, select Run This Program as an Administrator and click OK. If the option to run the program as an administrator is disabled, then one of the following is true: the program doesn’t require administrative privileges to run; you are not logged in to an administrative account; or the program is blocked from always running elevated.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

Windows 7 Compatibility and Virtualization

In previous versions of Windows, applications could store files inside the \Program Files and \Windows folders, and they often took advantage of this to store common data that was shared among all users. The same was true for the Registry, a database of user and setup information— programs frequently stored information in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Registry section. To make Windows more secure, user programs are no longer allowed to store files or Registry data in these areas unless their setup programs explicitly change Registry security settings to permit it. (And this has to happen while the program is being installed under elevated privileges.)

Most of the applications that ship with Windows are subject to these restrictions. Try it yourself— open Notepad, type a few words, and try to save a file in \Program Files. You can’t. Any application that Windows deems as “modern” or “should know better” is entirely blocked from saving information in these protected areas. (Technically, the presence of a manifest file in the program’s folder or inside the program file itself is what tells Windows that the program is “modern.”) Older programs, however, expect to write in these privileged directories and Registry areas, and to maintain compatibility Windows 7 gives them an assist called file and Registry virtualization. What happens is that if an older program attempts to create a file in one of the protected folders or Registry areas and access is blocked, and the program is not running with elevated permissions and the file doesn’t have a manifest file, Windows stores the file or Registry data in an alternate, safer location. Whenever an older program tries to read a file or Registry data from a protected location, Windows first checks the alternate location to see whether it had been shunted there earlier and, if so, returns the data from that location. Thus, the application doesn’t actually store information in the secure locations but thinks it has. Why are we explaining this to you? There are two reasons:

• One consequence of virtualization is that programs that try to share data between users can’t. Each user will see only his or her private copy of the files that should have been stored in a common place. For example, in the “high score” list in a game, each user may see only his or her own name and scores. This may also cause problems with programs that track licensing or registration.

• If you go searching for files in Windows Explorer or the command- line prompt, you won’t see the files that got virtualized where you expected them to be because explorer.exe and cmd.exe have manifests—they don’t get the virtualization treatment, so they see only the files stored in their intended locations.

The first problem can’t be helped; the older programs just have to be redesigned and replaced. Knowing that virtualization occurs, you can work around the second problem by knowing where to look. Files intended for \Windows or \Program Files (or any of
their subfolders) will be placed into \Users\username\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Windows or …\Program Files, respectively. Registry data intended for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE will be
shunted to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\ VirtualStore\Machine. There is no quick-view button in the Registry editor, so to find this data, you have to browse to it.

If you view a folder in \Windows or \Program Files in Windows Explorer, a button named Compatibility Files appears in the window’s taskbar If you click this button, Explorer displays the corresponding subfolder in your VirtualStore folder. This is an easy way to examine your virtualized files.

Some Registry keys are not virtualized in any case. For example, most keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows will not be virtualized; attempts to write data in this key or most of its subkeys will simply fail. This prevents rogue applications from creating startup program Run entries.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Taking the Virtual Machine Approach

If you need access to multiple OSs primarily for testing purposes rather than for long periods of work, there’s another way to use multiple OSs without the hassle inherent to multiboot setups. In fact, you can even use multiple OSs simultaneously on the same computer. It’s done with a setup called a virtual machine. This is an old concept—IBM used it on its mainframes as far back as the 1970s—and it’s making a big comeback, thanks to today’s fast processors and huge hard disks. A virtual machine program emulates (simulates) in software all the hardware functions of a PC. It lets an entire operating system (called a guest operating system) run as an ordinary application program on a host operating system such as Windows 7. Because all the hardware functions are emulated, the guest OS doesn’t “know” it’s not in complete control of a real physical computer. When the guest OS requests access to a hard disk, display card, network adapter, or serial port, the virtual machine program calls upon the host OS to actually carry out the necessary operations.

Even though software might occasionally need to execute hundreds of instructions to emulate a single hardware operation, the overall speed penalty is only 5%–10%. And if a guest OS crashes, it won’t take down your system. You can simply click a Reset menu choice and “reboot” the virtual machine.

Another advantage of the virtual machine programs currently on the market is that they don’t allow a guest OS unfettered access to your real disk drives. Instead, you create a virtual disk, a single large file on your host OS that contains what a virtual machine sees as a hard drive. With today’s large hard drives, it’s no big deal to create a 15GB–30GB file to serve as a virtual hard drive for an older version of Windows or even Linux.

If you make a backup copy of the file after installing a guest OS on a virtual disk drive, you can return the guest OS to its original, pristine state just by copying the backup over the virtual disk file. You can even boot up a guest OS, start a bunch of applications, and save the virtual machine in this exact state. When you want to use it again, just fire up the whole system from that point. If you’re a tester or experimenter, a virtual computer can save hours of time installing, reinstalling, and rebooting.

Of course, you still need separate licenses for all the extra Oss you install, but a virtual machine can let you run as many Oss and as many configurations of these OSs as you like, separately or simultaneously. And all this comes without the hassle of editing the Windows 7 boot menu or worrying about partitions. If full-blown virtualization sounds interesting, check into these products:

• VMware, now an EMC company, located at www.vmware.com. VMware Workstation was the first commercial system to emulate a PC on a PC. It’s the most “industrial-strength” PC emulator available. You can get a 30-day free trial of VMware Workstation from the VMware site. Or, you can use the free VMware Player version to run virtual computers set up by others.

• Microsoft Virtual PC. Microsoft bought this program from Connectix Corporation. Versions are available for Windows and for the Mac; check out www.microsoft.com/virtualpc.

The Windows version of Virtual PC 2007 is a free download that anyone can use. In general, the experience for non-Windows OSs on Virtual PC is not as good as with VMware Workstation. However, it’s free, so we can’t complain too much. Be sure to download the Virtual PC extensions and give a Windows 7 Virtual PC at least 1GB of memory (a setting in Virtual PC) for it to run with any appreciable speed. This requires that at least 1.5GB of physical RAM in your host PC.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

Activating Windows 7

Product Activation is one feature in Windows 7 that ensures that a software product key has not been used to install more than the allowed number of instances of that specific software. In general, Product Activation works by transmitting the product key used during the Windows 7 installation along with a nonidentifying hardware hash that is generated from the computer’s configuration to Microsoft. Product Activation typically occurs via the Internet, and occurs automatically in Windows 7 after 3 days, but you can opt to perform activation earlier if desired, as we discuss next. Please understand that Product Activation is not intended to prevent you from reinstalling Windows 7 on the same computer more than once—it’s intended to prevent you from installing Windows 7 on more computers than the license covers (usually, one installation for any given key). As such, you should typically have no issues with reactivating your instance of Windows 7 on the same computer multiple times—at least, as long as the hardware configuration stays more or less the same (it’s the source of the hash value that Microsoft uses as part of its checks).

To activate Windows 7 yourself, before it does so automatically, follow these steps:

1. Open the Computer window, by clicking Start, Computer.

2. In Computer, click the System Properties link. The system properties are displayed.

3. At the bottom of the Properties dialog box, click the link to Activate Windows Now. The Activate Windows Now dialog box opens.

4. Click the Activate Windows Online Now link to get activation going.

You must activate Windows 7 within 30 days of installation, or it will begin to nag you to perform this task. For Windows 7, computers that fail its activation or validation tests will bug their users much like an XP system does when it fails validation. Upon logging in, a pop-up dialog box that can’t be dismissed for 15 seconds appears, and reappears every hour by changing the desktop wallpaper or background to plain black and flashing activation and balloon help dialog boxes near the system tray. You can ignore the pop-ups and change the background back to your favorite photo, but it all repeats again in another hour. The good news is that you won’t lose any real functionality, as with Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) and non-genuine Windows mode (NGM) in Windows Vista prior to the release of Service Pack (SP1). Microsoft heard users complaints and showed some mercy.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth (09-2009)

What’s that mysterious 100-MB partition in Windows 7 ?

If you install Windows 7 on a clean disk with no existing partitions, it creates a System Reserved partition of 100 MB at the beginning of the disk and uses the remainder of the unallocated space to create your system drive. That small partition isn’t assigned a drive letter, so you won’t even know it exists unless you look in the Disk Management console (as shown here) or use Diskpart or a similar low-level utility to inspect the disk structure.

This stub of a partition, new in Windows 7, serves two functions. First, it holds the Boot Manager code and the Boot Configuration Database. And sec¬ond, it reserves space for the startup files required by the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature. If you ever decide to encrypt your system drive using BitLocker, you won’t have to repartition your system drive (a genuinely tedious process) to make it possible.

If you’re confident you’ll never use BitLocker and prefer to do without the additional complexity of this 100-MB System Reserved partition, your best bet is to make sure it’s never created. For a truly clean installation starting from an unformatted hard drive, you must use an alternative disk-management utility, such as the setup disk available from many hard-disk manufacturers or a startup disk from Windows Vista. Create a single primary partition using all unallocated space, and then point the installer to the newly created partition as the setup location. Note that you cannot use the graphical disk management tools available from the Windows 7 DVD to perform this task. After you use the third-party tool to create a partition on the drive, you can point the Win¬dows 7 installer to that location and it will proceed.

If you’re comfortable with command-line disk management tools, you can use the Diskpart utility from the setup program to create the necessary partition. At the begin¬ning of setup, before you select the location where you want to install Windows, press Shift+F10 to open a Command Prompt window. Then type diskpart to enter the Diskpart environment. Assuming you have a single clean hard disk, use select disk 0 and create partition primary to manually create a new partition, which you can then use as the setup location.For a more detailed discussion of Diskpart, including some caution¬ary notes.

Source of Information : Microsoft Press - Windows 7 Inside Out

It’s OK to share a partition in Windows 7

Thanks to the radically revised setup architecture introduced in Windows Vista and also used in Windows 7, you can safely discard one of the basic tenets that have governed installation decisions since the beginning of the Windows era. You want to point Windows 7 setup to a partition on which another version of Windows is already installed? As long as you have sufficient free disk space and you don’t plan to use the copy of Windows on that volume any more, go right ahead. When you choose to do a clean installation in this nondestructive configuration, Windows 7 setup moves the old Windows, Program Files, and user profile folders (Documents And Settings for Windows XP, Users for Windows Vista or Windows 7) to a folder named Windows.old.

Why would you want to do this? Let’s say you currently have a system that has a single disk with a single partition and plenty of free disk space. You want to start fresh with a clean installation, but you have lots of valuable data and you don’t want to lose any of it. Performing a nondestructive clean installation gives you the fresh start you’re looking for, with your data files safely ensconced in the Windows.old folder.You can no longer start up your old Windows installation, but you can copy any of the saved files from that folder to your new user profile whenever you’re ready. (In addition, all the device drivers from your previous installation are available for your use; you’ll find them in Windows.old\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository.)

Why is this option acceptable now? In Windows XP and earlier versions, the operation of the setup program invariably involved some commingling of files in the old and new Windows installations. Those unwanted system files and leftovers from previously installed programs defeated the purpose of doing a clean installation. But the image-based Windows setup used by Windows Vista and Windows 7 quarantines your old files and allows you to do a truly clean installation of your new operating system.

Source of Information : Microsoft Press - Windows 7 Inside Out

TROUBLESHOOTING - You can’t boot from the Windows 7 DVD

For a bootable CD or DVD to work properly, you must set the boot order in the BIOS so that the drive appears ahead of the hard disk drive and any other bootable media; we recommend setting the DVD drive as the first boot device, followed by the hard disk, floppy disk (if present), and any other bootable devices in whichever order you prefer. The boot options available for every computer are different, as is the technique for accessing the BIOS setup program. During boot, watch for a message that tells you which key to press for setup.If you’re lucky, the BIOS setup program on your computer includes a Boot section where you can specify the order of boot devices; if this option isn’t immediately apparent, look for a page or tab called Advanced CMOS Settings or something similar.

What if your computer lacks the capability to boot from a DVD drive? This problem is most likely to affect you if you’re trying to install Windows 7 on a notebook computer that doesn’t include an integrated DVD drive, or if the DVD drive in an existing system is damaged. Try one of the following alternatives to work around the problem (you’ll need temporary access to a computer with a functioning DVD drive to complete any of these steps):

● Copy the DVD files to a folder on your hard disk, and run the setup program from that location.

● Copy the DVD files to a partition on an external hard disk, set that partition as active, and boot from the external drive. This option might require adjusting the order of boot devices in your system BIOS.

● Copy the DVD files to a USB flash drive, and run setup from that location. The drive must have enough space to accommodate all installation files (2.5 GB for 32-bit, 3.2 GB for 64-bit).The procedure for preparing the flash drive to be a bootable device is cumbersome but straightforward.Step-by-step instructions are in this blog post by Microsoft’s Jeff Alexander: w7io.com/0204.

● On another computer, use a full-featured DVD-burning program such as Nero (w7io.com/0205) or Roxio Creator (w7io.com/0206) to copy the Windows 7 DVD to an ISO image file.Then install an ISO image-mounting program such as Vir¬tual Clone Drive (w7io.com/0207) or Daemon Tools (w7io.com/0208), and point it at the ISO file you created. The mounted image file appears as a DVD drive in the Computer window, and you can run the setup program from that virtual drive.

Any of the preceding options allow you to upgrade the current Windows installation or to install a clean copy on a separate volume or on the same volume, alongside the current copy of Windows. You must boot from a removable storage device (an external hard drive or USB flash drive) if you want to delete the current partition on which Win¬dows is installed and install a clean copy in that location.

Source of Information : Microsoft Press - Windows 7 Inside Out

Cloud storage is for blocks too, not just files

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