Installing a password onto your default user account in Windows 7 is one of the best--and easiest--ways to keep average folk from messing around with your system. However, if you don't often have said "folk" around to bother with your PC, you might be tempted to relax your own security settings for convenience's sake.
After all, locking down your Windows account means that you'll never be able to just hit your power button and brew a coffee while your system boots. To get into the real meat of your operating system's boot process, you'll have to hover around your system and enter your password to continue onward. That's not the most frustrating of situations, however, it does become a pain if you're ever running a huge batch of downloads that's set to restart your system when it's done--or updates, for that matter. Or, worse, if your system just takes forever to boot.
Simply put, you'll never be able to just one-shot it to your desktop. Your own security settings prevent that... until now!
Anyone can benchmark a Web browser. While the overall validity of any given browser test can vary, in terms of how well it actually indicates a browser's average performance, there are nevertheless a ton of different ways to approximate your browser's rendering speeds. And not only can you run these tools across different versions of a single browser--you can use the benchmarks to compare competing browsers to determine which is really the best combination of speed and features for you.
Nobody likes slow websites, but you know who really hates them? Google. The search first discussed their intention to consider site speed when ranking search results late last year. Now they're actually rolling it out. Google was looking to assuage fears in their blog post saying, "While site speed is a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page."
Google makes its case by citing internal studies showing that people like fast websites. The fact that Google designed and performed a study to show this is just illustrates how much money it has. Aside from the obvious, the Big G also noted that faster load times can decrease a site's operating expenses over time. Google will use two measurements to determine a site's speed, the response to the Googlebot and load times from the Google Toolbar.
Google's algorithm has about 200 variable in it. Adding this one is not expected to affect most sites. In their blog post, Google said that currently only 1% of results are being altered by the new rules. Interestingly, this new system was rolled out a few weeks ago. At least at this point, the difference isn't great enough that anyone noticed a change.
Make... Chrome... faster? It's not quite a match under this browser's butt, but the helpful extension Fastest Chrome builds in a number of great tweaks for speeding up a number of common functions during your browsing experience. This won't help you render pages quicker per se, but you will find yourself with a host of new features for taking some of the routine out of common browser tasks. And that, in itself, will reduce your total browsing time--which is kind of like making Chrome faster, isn't it?
Oh, Cisco. What a tease you are! The company's been pumping up the general Internet crowd for a game-changing announcement, one that would--and I quote--"forever change the Internet." I was honestly hoping that said unveiled device would be like, a super-crazy consumer router that would... well. I'm not really sure what it would do. Gigabit speeds are more than sufficient for anyone's home networking needs right now (when I'm looking for this column on a terabit connection in five years, I'll have a hearty laugh.) And it's not like we have a new wireless draft on the way any time soon.
It would have been nice and revolutionary for Cisco to embrace--you guessed it--a more open-source platform for its hardware devices. One, it's what I write about and, two, we're kind of in a hardware lull, don't you think? When it comes to consumer routing and switching devices, there's only so much one can do. Aside from adding on new antennas, shifting antennas around in new ways, or adding more ports to the back of a device, what's really propelling router technology forward nowadays?
Can we use Windows 7's new fast-boot capability and BIOS optimizations to get to the desktop in less than 30 seconds?
If you’re the kind of person who fumes at the microwave because it takes so long to nuke popcorn, you probably can’t stand the plodding boot of your PC, either.
And who can blame you? Time spent waiting for first the BIOS and then Windows to come to life is time that could have been spent working, gaming, or surfing the web.
Microsoft’s claim that Windows 7 could boot (from the BIOS) in 11 seconds first gave us the hope that such idle time might be lessened dramatically, but being Maximum PC we wanted to take the idea even further. We sought to not only replicate Microsoft’s claim, but to see how much time we could shave prior to the OS loading, with a combination of hardware and BIOS tweaks. Our ultimate goal: to have a machine up and running within 30 seconds of hitting the power switch.
So if your attention deficit disorder hasn’t already caused you to click to the next story, find out how we were able to achieve the shortest boot possible.
I have an HP HDX18T laptop with an external drive that holds my old stock 250GB/5,400rpm 2.5-inch drive. The external case uses an internal SATA connection and has both a USB 2.0 and eSATA connection externally for my laptop. I’ve read that there is a theoretical transfer rate of 4GB/s with eSATA, but I’m lucky to get 40MB/s copying to or from. Can you tell me what I’m missing? BTW, the external drive case is an Eagle ET-CS2PESU2-BK.
Read our answer to James' question after the jump.
Every new version of Windows promises faster booting, but PCs still take too long to boot. Despite faster processors, hard drives, memory, graphics, etc., we still waste a few minutes watching the machine come to life.
Indeed, many PCs seem to never stop booting. Years ago, we measured boot times by clicking a stopwatch while pressing the power button and waiting until the disk activity light stopped flickering. Nowadays, background tasks (antivirus scanners, software updaters, incremental defraggers, application preloaders, and various other daemons) awaken at startup and can stay busy for hours.
We might say the system has finished booting when the Windows desktop appears and we can launch apps and start working. But performance can be sluggish as the machine struggles to finish its startup chores.
Intel today announced the availability of a couple of new tools and a new firmware for its 34nm X25-M SATA SSDs. The Intel SSD Optimizer and the new firmware, both of which leverage the Windows* 7 ATA Data Set Management Command (known as Trim), are designed to preserve the out-of-box performance of Intel SSDs, while the Intel Solid-State Drive (SSD) Toolbox contains applications to better monitor the health of SSDs.
According to Intel, the Trim attribute of the ATA Data Set Management Command "synchs the operating system's view of deleted files with those that are deleted, but not erased on the drive."
Trim helps the SSD identify unused blocks of data, thereby lending stability to the health and performance of the SSD. Intel said in the press release that 34nm X25-M 160GB owners can expect an improvement of around 40 percent in sequenstial write speeds with the firmware update, which amounts to write speeds of up to 100MB per second.
"Not only will Windows 7 users receive the performance enhancements of the Trim command, but so will our Windows XP and Vista users," said Pete Hazen, director of marketing, Intel NAND Solutions Group.
Although the task force didn’t name any decent ways to express dissent, it is suggested that indignant consumers learn the art of protesting from the true masters of the art: the Palestinians, who have pioneered some of the most effective and economical techniques, including stone pelting and the fabled catch-and-hurl-back-teargas-grenade technique.
Coming back to the subject of broadband access, the task force is busy preparing a report on ways to enhance broadband penetration in rural and urban areas. The panel will submit its final report to Congress in February. It said in an interim report that anywhere between $20 and $350 billion might be needed for installing necessary wireless and landline infrastructure. Its estimate depends on the internet speed.
The panel said in its report that while nearly 2/3 of Americans are wallowing in broadband bliss and 1/3 have access but haven’t subscribed, 4% have no access whatsoever. The panel also expects smartphones to march ahead of blander phones by 2011.