It's a new year, a new decade, with bigger hard disks than ever and new technologies like SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0, and bigger solid-state drives to choose from. So, what do you do with the drives you've replaced (or will replace this year)? From drive enclosures and media streamers to storage for home servers and salvage fodder, find out the best ways to decide which drives get promoted, which drives are out, and which drives deserve a second life.
iYogi, a Windows technical support company, recently conducted a survey of 100,000 of its customers. It is reporting that the top three problems with Windows 7 are: (1) problems with installation (31%); (2) missing applets or components (26%); and (3) Aero not working properly (14%).
XP users moving up to Windows 7 in the same hardware (rather than buying something new), are bound to struggle with the transition. Windows 7 doesn’t mesh well with XP in the upgrade process, placing more demands on users to save then transfer their information (or lose it if they misstep). Given the peril inherent in the process, a 30% figure is probably better than expected.
As for missing programs: Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery, and Windows Movie Maker, they’ve been stripped from Windows 7 and integrated into Windows Live Essentials--which is where users upgrading are told to go look for them. (The download link: “Go online to get Windows Live Essentials”, however, is not as informative as it might be--coming across more like an effort to dump on a lot of unnecessary software rather than retrieve something essential.)
And Aero themes? Most likely inadequate video hardware or out-of-date drivers. Aero is not for the faint of heart. And certainly not for a hardware set-up from the 90s. It isn't, however, catastrophic.
Emil Protalinski of Ars Technica adds some useful caveats to these results: These are only iYogi customers; and only those who sought help with Windows 7. The percentages sound big, but in the entire scheme of things they could well represent a small proportion of the Windows 7 user base.
Windows users are creatures of habit. Once in a groove, it rapidly becomes a rut from which they seem unwilling to escape. Even in the face of upgraded hardware and software, they cling to the ‘tried and true.’ What’s Microsoft got to do to get it’s users to move on?
Microsoft has decided that something’s got to give. It will be running a campaign between now and June 2010 to convince IE6 users that change can be good. According to Ryan Servatius, senior product manager for Internet Explorer: “What we’re doing with the outreach is help users understand how to protect themselves against social engineering threats that exist and to help people understand how Internet Explorer 8 puts people in control of their own privacy online.” Microsoft, in effect, plans to scare people into upgrading. (And what’s scarier than the threat IE6 poses to children?)
How well this will work is a matter for debate. Marcus Yam, at Tom’s Hardware, suspects it won’t have a big impact, because browsers are tied to operating systems, and that the big challenge won’t be everyday users, but corporate users for whom upgrade costs, even for free software, can be substantial.
The Flip digital camcorder may be headed for an upgrade. So reports Pocket-lint, anyhow. According to the website, Cisco, which purchased Pure Digital, the creator of the Flip, is poised to integrate some new features, including its own networking technology.
Pocket-lint confesses “details are thin on the ground” but that the new Flip will have a large screen, which will slide to reveal the record and menu buttons. (It doesn’t seem that touchscreen, because of price, will be part of the upgrade package.) And that it will also have Wi-Fi, allowing users to record and upload with having to use an intermediary.
It’s expected the upgraded Flip will be available about the middle of 2010. No information on pricing was available.
National computer repair outfit Rescuecom admits "there are some compelling reasons for both business and home users to move to Windows 7, but is also cautioning Windows users not to be in such a rush to upgrade until the dust settles (and bugs are squashed).
"Transferring all their data, their digital life essentially, is one of the most common, most troubling issues that users have," said Josh Kaplan, president of Rescuecom. "Even if you're doing an in-place [upgrade], if you don't have a proper backup, you're still at risk. Without the proper preparation, moving ot a new OS is risky for anybody."
According to Kaplan, putting off an upgrade until a later date sports several advantages. Drivers will inevitably mature as more computers are designed for Windows 7, and upcoming patches will help ensure a safer upgrade. But those weren't the only reasons Kaplans says Windows users should sit tight.
"Given the economy, is that really a necessary expense right?," Kaplan questions when referring to the price of Windows 7.
And quite the path it is. Renai LeMay, of Cnet News, judged the current version, 9.04, to be “as slick and beautiful as Mac OS X and Windows 7.” Version 9.10 builds on this, adding faster boot times, a better driver for Intel integrated graphics, build in cloud storage, and a Software Centre that permits better management of applications. Ubuntu offers a suite of office applications, plus games, music, video, photo, email and chat software. And, naturally, includes Mozilla’s Firefox 3.5 for browsing the web.
For individual users the decision to upgrade to Windows 7 is straightforward--there’s only a PC or two to deal with, and our time is our time. For businesses, however, the decision is a bit more complex. It’s not just having to update multiple machines, it’s having to update the entire information technology infrastructure as well--which can be a costly proposition. And as their time is money it is not a decision to be lightly made.
Windows 7 won’t be officially released until October 22, but Dell is currently taking pre-orders for businesses on its Latitude laptops, OptiPlex desktops, and Precision workstations with Windows 7 installed.
The latest Flip MinoHD was announced today featuring a sizable memory upgrade, an aluminum shell and a half-inch on the screen.
With the new MinoHD, you can record up to 120 minutes of HD (720p) video onto the internal 8GB of memory, doubling its predecessor. It sports a 2-inch (diagonal) screen running at a resolution of 960x240. They wrapped it all in an aluminum shell. The folks at Gizmodo got their hands on one and said “The aluminum shell feels great: Much more solid and smaller in the hand than the previous plastic version.”
The newest Flip also supports the latest Flip Video Engine, which adds some onboard editing and clipping features.
Price only jumped 30 bucks to $229 over the $199, 60 minute/4GB version. It is probably worth checking out if you’re in the point-and-shoot video recorder market.
Upgrading your operating system using the “in-place” approach has always come at the cost of some performance and stability, but never would we have imagined that it could take up to 20 hours to complete!
According to a new study released by Microsoft software engineer Chris Hernadez, upgrade times can range wildly depending upon your hardware configuration, and the amount of data it needs to migrate during the install. The worst time recorded during their testing was a whopping 20 hours and 20 minutes for a “Super User” that had roughly 650Gb of data, and about 40 applications installed prior to the upgrade. This might sound like a pretty niche scenario to some of you, but I imagine at least a few of our readers (myself included) fall into this category.
A quick look at the chart reveals that even “Medium Users” are facing upgrade times that are about 3-4x longer than a clean install.If we haven’t talked you out of “in-place” upgrades by now, we probably won’t be able to, but at least the chart shown above can help you figure out how much time you need to set aside.
Looking to make life easier for everyone planning on upgrading to Windows 7, Microsoft this week published a chart detailing which OSes are eligible for an "In-Place Upgrade," and which ones require a "Custom Install."
The chart includes every OS from XP up to Windows Vista Ultimate, and even tosses in Windows Vista Starter, only found in developing nations. It appears daunting at first, but simply find the OS you're upgrading from in 32-bit or 64-bit form and match it to the version of Windows 7 you're planning to install. Owners of 32-bit Vista Home Premium, for example, can perform an In-Place Upgrade to 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate. This means the settings, files, and programs will be preserved. For all other versions, including 64-bit, upgrading from 32-bit Vista Home Premium requires a Custom Install, otherwise known as a clean install.
All XP users will have to perform a clean install no matter which version of Windows 7 is selected.