windows 7 en Apple to Windows 7 Users: It’s Time to Move On <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Boot Camp" title="Boot Camp" width="228" height="142" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>The latest MacBooks don’t support Windows 7 installation via Boot Camp</h3> <p>It has now been more than five years since Windows 7—the most widely used desktop operating system out there—first walked into our lives, promising to right Vista’s many wrongs. Although it has carried the workhorse mantle previously associated with XP pretty well, the OS is proving to be more durable than Microsoft would like. The Redmond-based company would, of course, like nothing more than for all the Windows 7 users out there to move to Windows 8/8.1 or the forthcoming Windows 10 en masse. But it’s not alone as even its arch-rival <strong>Apple apparently thinks the OS has overstayed its welcome.</strong></p> <p>The company’s latest MacBook Pro and Air models <a href="" target="_blank">no longer support Windows 7 installation through the Boot Camp Assistant utility</a> that has come built-in with Mac OS X since 2007. Boot Camp, for those who don’t know, enables Mac users to install Windows on their Intel-based machines for dual-booting. </p> <p>This is not the first time that a Mac device has hit the market with Boot Camp support for Windows 7 disabled, though. The <a href="" target="_blank">last instance dates back to 2013</a>, when the company launched a Mac Pro workstation with support for only Windows 8. </p> <p>Windows-loving Macheads intent on avoiding Windows 8/8.1 like the plague can get around this by running Windows 7 in a virtual machine. Or, alternatively, just bide your time and wait for Windows 10.</p> <p><em>Image Credit: ixbt</em></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> apple boot camp dual boot Mac OS X MacBook Air microsoft windows 7 News Mon, 23 Mar 2015 04:03:54 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29621 at Ask the Doctor: Imaging Rigs, Replacing TrueCrypt, and Installing an SSD <!--paging_filter--><h3>Photo Rig Conundrum</h3> <p>I understand most of your computer builds are predominantly for gaming enthusiasts, but I am contemplating a build that is primarily for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom 5 use, but with occasional gaming capability. I am also looking for a machine that hums on the net and for media streaming. I am looking for a build for less than around $2,000. Would one of your current blueprints serve this purpose, or maybe an existing high-end build but with a lesser graphics card? Or maybe an existing mid-range build but with more RAM etc. Would you be able to provide any advice with this regard? Any existing Internet articles for imaging type rigs always seem to be way out of date. —Gary Legg</p> <p><strong>The Doctor Responds:</strong> For a Photoshop and Lightroom 5 box, you should be fine with a current-generation Haswell CPU quad core. A quad-core Core i5 will work but there will be times when Photoshop and Lightroom 5 will see a boast from the Hyper-Threading in a Core i7 CPU. Photoshop does need a moderate GPU to enhance performance. Since you intend to also play games, you should probably get a decent GPU in the $300 range for your gaming. A card in that range should work just fine with Photoshop CC. Lightroom 5 performance is a little harder to predict as it’s not GPU accelerated and does on occasion need lots of cores. To sum up: buy a Core i7 Haswell CPU, a $300 GPU, and maybe 16GB of RAM, or even 32GB if you work with very large files in Photoshop, and then sink most of your money into a large SSD, a large HDD, and an adequate system to back up those files, too. If you’re looking at our Blueprints, a Baseline rig should suit you just fine.</p> <h3>TrueCrypt Replacement</h3> <p>What encryption programs would you recommend to replace the now-unsupported TrueCrypt? I don’t need any fancy automated backup or anything, just something easy to lock down my storage drives when I’m not using them. —Dan</p> <p><strong>The Doctor Responds:</strong> We’ve also been looking for a replacement for TrueCrypt, as it was our go-to free app for password protecting our important files. For those who aren’t aware, the makers of TrueCrypt ended support in May 2014 when Microsoft put a bullet in the dome of Windows XP. The TrueCrypt team recommended everyone just move to the integrated encryption tools built into Windows Vista, and Windows 7/8. However, we did find an alternative named DiskCryptor. It’s free, and each release is signed with the author’s PGP key, so it’s quite safe. The only catch is it only encrypts entire partitions instead of individual folders like with TrueCrypt. Still, it could be useful for an external drive, a USB key, or even your boot drive if you’re a bit paranoid.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="DiskCryptor screenshot lg" title="DiskCryptor" width="620" height="648" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>With TrueCrypt now unsupported and out of the picture, we’ve moved to DiskCryptor as a replacement.</strong></p> <h3>Teaching an Old PC New Tricks</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">I have two older PCs I’m considering converting to a Windows Home Server 2011 system. One of these will be set up to work with a Sans Digital 8 bay (8TB) eSATA box, and whatever PC I use will get multiple GB Ethernet cards. The first PC is a P4 Northwood, running at 2.4GHz, with 4GB of RAM running XP SP3 32-bit Home Edition. It has 500GB of PATA HDs on board, an EVGA GeForce 6800, and is currently used to run some older printers that don’t have Win7 drivers. It doesn’t connect to the net, and everything runs like new including the printers. The second is a Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfi eld 2.85GHz, with 8GB of dual-channel RAM, running Win7 Home Premium 64-bit, a 1GB Gigabyte I-Ram drive (for Temp, Tmp, and IE files), 500GB of SATA II HDDs, and a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 550 1GB video card. It is currently used as a secondary gaming rig for guests. This PC does have net access and everything also runs like new. Do you think the P4 will work well as the WHS 2011 server (with all the extras, such as media streaming), or will it just not have the horsepower? (I’m thinking of how many newer NAS boxes only have Atom or ARM processors and low RAM.) I was also thinking of a dual boot setup to run the old printers. —George</p> <p><strong>The Doctor Responds:</strong> First, you’re out of luck with the Northwood Pentium 4 machine. Windows Home Server 11 is a 64-bit only OS and requires a CPU with x86-64 support. The Northwood P4 (the original Socket 478 CPU) was 32-bit only. Only later versions of the P4 and Pentium D had 64-bit support once Intel realized AM was going to win that battle. The Core 2 Quad Q9550 is 64-bit so you’d have to use that machine. That may be overkill for a home server as there are lots of ARM-based and Atom-based NAS units out there. In the doc’s experience though, those machines have atrocious performance and even the most basic Celeron NAS units are faster.</p> <h3>SSD and HDD Decisions</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">When installing an SSD, besides the OS, what other programs should be installed on it? I had an SSD on my PC, but it died, and I had a computer tech move everything over to my regular drive. The original SSD was only 60GB, but I am planning on buying a larger one. Should I move all of my programs over or just my web browsers? —William R. Miller II</p> <p><strong>The Doctor Responds:</strong> This is a common situation William. You have your smallish SSD sitting there, and a “regular drive” to use your words, so how do you split up your data and programs? The answer is actually quite simple, and is dictated mostly by the capacity of the drives in question. Since most of us are rocking SSDs ranging in size from 128GB to 512GB, we simply can’t put all of our data on the SSD like back in the day when we had one hard drive that held everything, including our OS, data, and all our programs. Therefore, the division is quite simple. You put your OS and installed programs (including games) on the SSD, and all your “data” on the hard drive. You can then change all the shortcuts in Windows to be on the hard drive by right-clicking those shortcuts and fiddling with their properties. Be sure to check out <a href="" target="_blank"></a> for our more in-depth explanation of how to do this.</p> <h3>CPU or GPU Bottlenecking</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">I have pre-ordered one of the Pentium Anniversary Editions, and already have an Asus GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB OC. Is this a good match, or will one of these parts be a performance bottleneck? Also, what would be a good mobo for this build? Normally I would just get the most expensive one I can afford, but this system will already have some built-in limitations, so I don’t want to go overkill. —Chris Hall</p> <p><strong>The Doctor Responds:</strong> Chris, if you mean the unlocked Pentium Anniversary Edition, the Doc thinks it’s a good match. For those who don’t know, the Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition is an unlocked budget dual-core chip. The staff at Maximum PC likes to call it the Pentium K to denote its unlocked status. With a base clock of 3.2GHz, the part does not have Hyper-Threading but should overclock into the 4GHz range easily. You asked if that would create a bottleneck situation and it shouldn’t. However, you didn’t say what you intend to do with the system. If it is primarily a gaming box, you’re in good shape as most games are still optimized for dual cores. If you intend to do a lot of video editing or multithreaded tasks, that dual-core CPU will certainly be the limiting factor. The good news is you can make up for some of the performance loss by overclocking the chip. As far as motherboard expenditures, you should probably buy primarily on the features you need. The best example is Thunderbolt 2. If you don’t intend to use it, don’t pay for it. If you never intend to overclock or run multi-GPUs, pick a board without those features to save some cash.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="Asus cooler" title="Asus cooler" width="620" height="350" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>CPUs and GPUs should be evenly matched to prevent performance bottlenecks.</strong></p> <h3>OEM SSD Upgrade</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">I have an Asus M51AD Essentio Series computer, which came with an HDD, Windows 8.1 installed, and a recovery partition. My problem is I want to replace the HDD with an SSD, but I have no Windows disk to do a fresh install to the SSD. I have created a separate recovery drive from the recovery partition, but queries on the Internet indicate a fresh install to a new drive cannot be done from either the recovery partition or drive. I can’t install the SSD along with the HDD because the motherboard Asus used for this unit only has two SATA connections available, one used for the optical and the other for the HDD. —Hal Smith</p> <p><strong>The Doctor Responds: </strong>This is an advanced maneuver, Hal, but it is possible. Manufacturers obviously don’t want that recovery partition, which is a bootable OS, copied to any old drive, so they usually lock it down. However, if the hard drive that came with your system dies, then you’d lose your only copy of Windows that you rightfully purchased, so OEMs usually give you the option of making recovery disks in case of hard drive failure. This will copy the hidden partition with the OS on it to an external drive, so you can copy your OS in “factory condition” to a new hard drive in the future. What you need to do is make those disks (we usually use an 8GB USB key for this), which creates a bootable backup of the recovery partition. Once that’s complete, pull your HDD and install the SSD. Next boot from the new recovery backup (the USB key, if you used one), and it should give you the option to recover your OS to a drive. Select the SSD and it should install. You should just buy an external USB enclosure for your old hard drive and use it for data storage, but be sure to back up that data either to the cloud or to another external drive.</p> <p><strong>Submit your questions to:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p> asus bottlenecking HDD i5 OEM Photoshop CC quad core ssd truecrypt windows 7 windows 8 Windows Home Server Windows Vista windows xp From the Magazine Mon, 16 Feb 2015 23:52:45 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 29592 at Fujitsu Expands Enterprise Mobile PC Lineup with Broadwell Models <!--paging_filter--><h3>Tablets and laptops powered by 5th generation Intel Core processors</h3> <p>Earlier this week, Fujitsu joined many other PC vendors around the world in <a href="" target="_blank">announcing new mobile PC models built around 5th generation Intel Core processors</a>. The <strong>Broadwell-powered models announced by the Japanese company include both tablets and notebooks</strong>, and they all mean business.</p> <p>These new models include the 14” Lifebook U745 ultrabook, 13.3” Stylistic Q775 tablet, and a couple of Lifebook T series convertibles with 180-degree rotatable displays.</p> <p><img src="/files/u46168/20150120-q775.jpg" alt="Fujitsu Broadwell Lineup" title="Fujitsu Broadwell Lineup" width="620" height="406" /></p> <p>Weighing a shade under 2.2 pounds, the Stylistic Q775 sports a full HD anti-glare display, and comes with a choice of the latest Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB SSD storage. Optional upgrades include the company’s PalmSecure palm-vein sensor, detachable keyboard dock and 3G/LTE connectivity. According to the company, the device is capable of lasting around 9 hours on a single charge.</p> <p>Next up is the Lifebook U745, which is a 0.75” thick ultrabook that tips the scales at 2.5 pounds. Inside its slender magnesium-encased frame there is enough room for a 5th generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, 4GB of RAM (up to 12GB) and up to 512GB solid-state storage. The screen on this 14-incher is an HD+ (1600x900 ) anti-glare display (touchscreen optional).</p> <p>The 13.3”&nbsp; Lifebook T935 and 12.5” T725 are both convertibles that feature touchscreens that can be rotated 180 degrees in either direction and come standard with a stylus. But don’t make the mistake of thinking of them as the same device in two different sizes. Not only is the T935 bigger of the two, but it is also the higher-end model. Take, for instance, their displays. While the T725 is limited to a 1366x768 display, the T935 comes with the option of either a WQHD (2560x1440) or a full HD (1920x1080) display. Likewise, when it comes to battery life, the T935 fares much better with around 13 hours and 20 minutes of battery life on a single charge to the latter’s 10 hours and 30 minutes. However, the T725’s “multi-bay design” means that it can “configured with a super-multi drive or with an internal battery for about 16-hour runtimes.”</p> <p>The T935, T725, and U745 are all set to hit the market in February, with the Q775 arriving the following the month. No word on pricing yet.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> 2-in-1 broadwell Fujitsu Hybrid intel lifebook notebook tablet windows 7 windows 8.1 News Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:01:19 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29307 at Microsoft Yanks Two Patch Tuesday Updates After Problems Arise <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_bug.jpg" alt="Windows Bug" title="Windows Bug" width="228" height="225" style="float: right;" />Buggy updates caused problems with some Windows rigs</h3> <p>It's been a bit of a rough month for Microsoft and various Windows users, at least in terms of software updates. It started with Microsoft telling Windows 10 Preview users to <a href="">uninstall Office</a> prior to applying Patch Tuesday updates or else the installer would fail. However, it's not only uses of pre-release software who ran into trouble. <strong>Microsoft has gone and pulled two security patches because they were causing problems for some users</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>InfoSecurity</em></a>, the first incident involves KB 3004394, a patch that prevented some Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 machines from being able to install future updates. Those affected are advised to install an update title KB 3024777, which will remove the original patch from their systems.</p> <p>The second issue involves Exchange Server 2010 SP3 Update Rollup 8. A day after it was released, Microsoft had to pull it offline while it works on putting out a new version.</p> <p>"The issue impacts the ability of Outlook to connect to Exchange, thus we are taking the action to recall the RU8 to resolve this problem," Microsoft said. "We will deliver a revised RU8 package as soon as the issue can be isolated, corrected, and validated."</p> <p>Microsoft bundles security fixes and bug patches into a monthly roll out on the second Tuesday of every month known as Patch Tuesday. Typically they fix a bunch of issues, but every so often, they cause trouble themselves, as is the case here.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft Patch Tuesday Software windows 7 News Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:24:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 29084 at Windows 8 and 8.1 Finally Topple XP in Market Share <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_xp_bsod.jpg" alt="Windows XP BSOD" title="Windows XP BSOD" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />A once mighty giant has fallen</h3> <p>With so many people clinging to Windows XP despite Microsoft's repeated attempts to bury the legacy OS and the lukewarm (at best) response to Windows 8, it didn't seem like the latter would ever overtake the former in market share. Never say never, right? <strong>For the first time ever,</strong> <strong>the combined share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 is higher than that of Windows XP</strong>, based on the latest data provided by Net Applications.</p> <p>Windows XP's share of the market has been slowing declining for the past couple of years, but the biggest plunges have only occurred recently. Here's a <a href=";qpcustomb=0&amp;qpsp=167&amp;qpnp=25&amp;qptimeframe=M" target="_blank">rundown</a>:</p> <ul> <li>August: 23.89 percent</li> <li>September: 23.87 percent</li> <li>October: 17.18 percent</li> <li>November: 13.57 percent</li> </ul> <p>Just five months ago, Windows XP was still found on a quarter of all PCs; now it's fast approaching just 1 out of every 10 systems. This recent rapid decline has allowed Windows 8 to catch up and surpass XP, at least if you factor in version 8.1 installs as well. The combined share for both platforms for the past four months looks like this:</p> <ul> <li>August: 13.37 percent</li> <li>September: 12.26 percent</li> <li>October: 16.8 percent</li> <li>November: 18.65 percent</li> </ul> <p>Data from StatCounter tells a similar story, though with <a href="" target="_blank">different numbers</a>. According to StatCounter, Windows XP's share of the desktop is down to 11.84 percent, trailing Windows 8.1 at 12.12 percent and Windows 8 at 5.42 percent, which combine for a 17.54 percent share of the market.</p> <p>Of course, Windows 7 is still the go-to OS for Windows users. Net Applications and StatCounter have Windows 7 sitting handsome at 53.71 percent and 55.75 percent, respectively.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Daniel Oines)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft net applications netmarketshare operating system Software windows 7 windows 8 windows 8.1 windows xp News Mon, 01 Dec 2014 16:47:07 +0000 Paul Lilly 29015 at HP Pushes Windows 7 PCs for Back to School Season with Instant Discounts <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hp_envy_0.jpg" alt="HP Envy" title="HP Envy" width="228" height="166" style="float: right;" />Save money on a Windows 7 system</h3> <p>With Windows 9 (Threshold) rumored for an introduction next month along with a Release Preview for consumers and developers alike, it's safe to say that the Windows 8 era is winding down, though some would argue it never truly began (market share figures would back that argument). So, what do you do if you're an OEM looking to pick up sales for the back to school season? Well, <strong>if you're HP, you promote Windows 7 and offer shoppers an enticing discount</strong>.</p> <p>HP has been sending out a newsletter to customers with the heading, "Windows 7 PCs on sale, just in time for school." That's an interesting sales pitch some two years after Windows 8 has been on the market. Nevertheless, consumers just haven't reacted to Windows 8/8.1 the way Microsoft hoped they would, so this isn't a terrible move by HP.</p> <p>If you head over to HP's "<a href="" target="_blank">Laptops &amp; hybrids</a>" section, you'll see HP pushing Windows 7 laptops with instant savings of up to $170. You can save up to 20 percent off of Windows 7 laptops in certain cases, such as the HP Pavilion 15t-n200 -- it normally sells for $750 but is currently marked down to $600. The HP Envy 15t-j100 Quad Edition is close behind with a 19 percent reduction to $730, down from $900.</p> <p>Time is running out for Microsoft's hardware partners to sell Windows 7 PCs to consumers. After October 31, they'll no longer be able to sell systems with Windows 7 as a standard option.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> back to school Hardware hewlett-packard hp OEM operating system OS rigs Software windows 7 News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:55:20 +0000 Paul Lilly 28401 at Windows 8 Market Share Stands Pat as Windows 7 Gains Ground <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_ultrabook.jpg" alt="Windows 8 Ultrabook" title="Windows 8 Ultrabook" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Windows 8 may have hit a brick wall</h3> <p>Not much has happened in the Windows space this summer, though what little movement there's been indicates that <strong>users are still trending more towards Windows 7 than Windows 8/8.1</strong>. The combined share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 in July was 12.48 percent, down a sliver from 12.54 percent in June and 12.64 percent in May. All of those figures are up slightly from the 12.24 percent share Window 8/8.1 held in April when support for XP ended, but nothing to brag about.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Windows 7 continues to inch forward month after month. Here's how the market share numbers have been playing out for Windows 7 since April of this year, according to data from <a href=";qpcustomb=0&amp;qpsp=163&amp;qpnp=25&amp;qptimeframe=M" target="_blank">Net Applications</a>:</p> <ul> <li>April: 49.27 percent</li> <li>May: 50.06 percent</li> <li>June: 50.55 percent</li> <li>July: 51.22 percent</li> </ul> <p>That's a 2 percent bump since Microsoft yanked support for Windows XP. And speaking of which, the legacy operating system is still installed on about a quarter of PCs around the world at 24.82 percent, which is down from 26.29 percent in April.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software windows 7 windows 8 windows xp News Mon, 04 Aug 2014 18:21:22 +0000 Paul Lilly 28287 at Don't Fret Over Microsoft Ending Mainstream Support for Windows 7 in January 2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/Windows_7_Boxes.png" alt="Windows 7" title="Windows 7" width="228" height="188" style="float: right;" />Microsoft updates end of support deadlines for various software</h3> <p>Now that we're well into July, Microsoft felt it was a good time to update its list of products reaching end of support in the next 6 months. One entry that's gaining a lot of media attention is Windows 7. According to the list, <strong>Mainstream Support for several versions of Windows 7 will end on January 13, 2015</strong>, though that doesn't mean you need to rush out and grab a copy of Windows 8. Here's why.</p> <p>After "Mainstream Support" comes another cycle known as "Extended Support," which <a href="" target="_blank">lasts 5 years</a> (January 14, 2020) and includes "security updates at no cost, and paid hotfix support." In other words, as the January 13, 2015 deadline comes and goes, it will be of little consequence to most home users.</p> <p>As for hotfixes, you'll receive those as well, as long as they're security related. It's only the non-security hotfixes that require an extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending. It's something for IT admins and businesses to consider, but again, nothing of relevance to home users.</p> <p>You can check out Microsoft's <a href="" target="_blank">Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ</a> for more on the differences between Mainstream Support and Extended Support.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software support windows 7 News Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:41:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 28134 at Why You Must Upgrade From Windows XP <!--paging_filter--><h3>Make your Windows XP-using friends/family members read this important PSA</h3> <p>Microsoft has officially <a href="" target="_blank">pulled the plug on support for Windows XP</a>. &nbsp;That’s it. &nbsp;Finite. &nbsp;Done. &nbsp;No more. &nbsp;Don’t expect to see any future patches, services packs, fixes, hotfixes, critical updates, anything — if you’re one of the <a href="" target="_blank">one-fourth of desktop users</a> or so who are still running the antiquated operating system (yes, there’s that many of you), you’re about to enter the Wild Wild West of computing.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/windows_xp.jpg" alt="Windows XP broken" title="Windows XP broken" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows XP. Which means, "hello, hackers!"</strong></p> <p>So, what does that actually mean? &nbsp;Simple: You have to upgrade. &nbsp;There are no buts about it; staying on Windows XP is a bit like seeing a waterfall ahead on a river and opting to stay in the boat instead of safely paddling to shore. &nbsp;You might not know when you’re going to go over the precipice, but it’s likely that something quite bad is going to happen to you at some point in your future.</p> <p>We’re not just being overdramatic for the sake of it. &nbsp;Why do you think a number of businesses (<a href="" target="_blank">banks, especially</a>) are spending a small fortune to get their systems upgraded as quickly as can be? &nbsp;Why do you think that a number of them are likely going to be paying Microsoft a princely sum for XP support after the fact, as they’ve simply been unable to upgrade important devices like, say, ATMs before the big cutoff date?</p> <p>If you’re still not convinced — or know those that need a little bit of extra convincing — we’re going to run through <a href="" target="_blank">a few Windows XP scenarios</a> to show you that, yes, it’s time to kick this legacy OS to the curb for good.</p> <h4>Patch Tuesdays Could Break Windows XP</h4> <p>Patch Tuesday sounds like it’s a good thing, right? &nbsp;That tried-and-true time that comes around once a month, on the second Tuesday of each month, where Microsoft dishes out new security updates for its operating systems.&nbsp;</p> <p>Only, it’s not going to be doing that for Windows XP any more. &nbsp;And that doesn’t sound quite so bad until you realize just what this might mean for the legacy OS. &nbsp;Consider the following situation: Microsoft finds a security exploit in Windows Vista, 7, and 8 and decides to fix it up using a Patch Tuesday update. &nbsp;Since Windows XP isn’t being fixed anymore, an industrious hacker reverse-engineers Microsoft’s fix and heads on over to his or her Windows XP installation to see if the exploit exists there as well. If it does, he'll most likely exploit it, and then we could be in some serious trouble. &nbsp;</p> <p>In other words, Microsoft will now be feeding those interested in breaking Windows XP a constant stream of possible exploits to investigate. &nbsp;It’s like turning Patch Tuesday on its head.</p> <h4>Disbelief</h4> <p>A number of novice users might feel that they’re protected from the effects of the Internet underground by running a box-copy virus or malware scanner on their system and calling it a day. &nbsp;While that’s certainly true in some cases, even the best malware scanner on the market isn’t going to protect a person from any raw exploits that can be found or abused within the base level of the operating system itself. It's really apples and oranges.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="dangerous waterfall" title="dangerous waterfall" width="620" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Using Windows XP today is like dangling over a dangerous waterfall. You wouldn't do that now, would you?</strong></p> <p>Malware might take advantage of core areas within the operating system, but running Avast, or Norton Antivirus, or what-have-you is only going to help a user out by scanning what he or she downloads from the Web (or plugs into his or her PC). &nbsp;If a weakness is discovered that’s core to Windows XP’s operation, and doesn’t need a software vector in order to affect one’s system, then a scanning app isn’t going to be able to do anything about it.</p> <h4>What to do?</h4> <p>If we’ve finally managed to convince you that it’s time to switch – or you’ve successfully convinced a friend or loved one that it’s time to move away from Windows XP for good — there are a few routes you can go. &nbsp;The first and most obvious solution is to upgrade, and we recommend that you jump to Windows 7 or Windows 8 when you do. &nbsp;You’ll have an easier time finding copies of the latter and, while it’s a bit of a learning curve for those accustom to the no-frills Windows XP UI experience, more changes coming as a result of Windows 8.1’s official “Update 1” patch will hopefully ease the learning curve ever so slightly.</p> <p>Before you do, however, make sure that you download, install, and run Microsoft’s official upgrade “advisors” for either <a title="Windows 7" href="" target="_blank">Windows 7</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">Windows 8</a>. &nbsp;They’ll tell you whether your system will work well with the new OS from a hardware and software perspective, and they’re valuable tools for getting a general sense of just how well your PC stacks up before you splurge money on an OS upgrade that might not work out that well for you.</p> <p><em>Read our Windows 8.1 review <a href="">here</a>.</em></p> <p>If you’re stuck in that camp, those looking to use the death of Windows XP as an inspiration for a shopping trip can also benefit from some of the current promotions running as a result. &nbsp;Microsoft, for example, is offering <a href="" target="_blank">$100 off new PC purchases</a> for those who access its online store from a Windows XP machine — or, if you want to be truly awesome, for those who drag a Windows XP system into one of the company’s retail stores.</p> <p><em>Learn how to install Windows 7 from a USB key <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <p>That said, some users will still face a bit of heartbreak when moving up to a new operating system. &nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Outlook Express</a>, for example, does not exist in Windows Vista or higher – if that’s your XP-using grandmother’s favorite email client, you might need to help her out in moving on up to something a bit more comprehensive… and supported.</p> <p>Learn how to install Windows 8 from a USB key <a title="windows 8 install usb" href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>For what it’s worth, you can go back to <a title="windows xp virtualized" href="" target="_blank">running Windows XP in a secure, virtualized environment</a>. &nbsp;While we don’t recommend that you do anything super-secure in your virtual machine (Amazon shopping might be out), you can at least have access to legacy applications and/or anything else you need from good ol’ Windows XP. &nbsp;And, should this virtualized copy of XP get infected with (or exploited by) something horrible, it won’t affect the contents of your primary operating system – and deleting it / restoring up a new version of Windows XP is super easy.</p> <p>The truly die-hard can also switch on up to a free Linux variant if they feel as if they’re done with Microsoft now that Windows XP has been put out to pasture. &nbsp;Newbies to Linux can give a <a title="live CD" href="" target="_blank">Live CD</a> a try, which packs an entire, working operating system onto removable media – an operating system whose contents cannot be affected beyond the point at which you power down your PC for the day. &nbsp;If your sole interest in having a Windows XP machine is to have a simple way to browse the web and check email, this might be a great way to do that — on a legacy PC — without having to spend a penny post-XP.</p> <h4>Stop reading; start upgrading</h4> <p>We’ve covered some of the more general concerns and issues related to the imminent loss of Windows XP. &nbsp;There are plenty more scenarios as to why upgrading is in your best interest, and there are surely quite a few more ways to do it. &nbsp;What’s clear is that Windows XP support is over. &nbsp;Any additional days you spend chained to the legacy OS, you do so at your own risk. &nbsp;Upgrading is easy. &nbsp;Buying a new computer is easy. &nbsp;Setting up your new apps and migrating your data over is… <a href="" target="_blank">less easy</a>, but it’s better you spend the time doing that than, say, calling up your credit card companies because some industrious hacker connived their way into your Windows XP-based Web shopping, to name one example.</p> <p>If you’re on Windows XP, stop reading right now. &nbsp;Start upgrading. &nbsp;Stay safe.</p> hack hacker important microsoft Patch Tuesday psa scam Should I upgrade upgrade virus Windows windows 7 windows 8 windows xp News Features Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:11:12 +0000 Dave Murphy 27633 at Windows 7 is Growing Too Fast for Windows 8 to Catch Up <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_signs.jpg" alt="Windows 8 Signs" title="Windows 8 Signs" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Will Windows 7 become the next XP?</h3> <p>With yet another month's worth of data to digest, it's becoming increasingly clear that <strong>Windows 8 might never catch up to Windows 7</strong>. How you want to view that is up to you -- it could mean that Microsoft hit it out of the park with Windows 7, making it exceedingly difficult on itself to duplicate that kind of success, or that Windows 8 is a foul ball off of a broken bat. Let's look at some numbers.</p> <p>According to <a href=";qpcustomb=0&amp;qptimeframe=M&amp;qpsp=172&amp;qpnp=11" target="_blank">NetMarketShare's data</a>, Windows 7 gained more than a percentage point in March, increasing its share of the desktop OS market from 47.31 percent to 48.77 percent (+1.46 percent). Meanwhile, Windows 8 and 8.1 grew from 10.68 percent to 11.3 percent, representing a 0.62 percent gain. As for XP, it's share of the market fell from 29.53 percent to 26.69 percent, a drop of 2.84 percent. What this appears to indicate is that twice as many people jumping ship from XP are going to Windows 7 instead of Windows 8/8.1.</p> <p>If we zoom out, it becomes increasingly clear that Windows 7 is a tough act to follow. In March 2013, Windows 7 accounted for 44.73 percent of all desktops. Minus a few minor blips along the way, it's been gaining share ever since.</p> <p>The good news for Windows 8/8.1 is that its share is in double digits. And as far as competing platforms go, both Windows 8 (6.41 percent) and Windows 8.1 (4.89 percent) individually account for more desktops than Mac OS X 10.9 (3.75 percent).</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software windows 7 windows 8. windows 8.1 windows xp News Wed, 02 Apr 2014 18:29:45 +0000 Paul Lilly 27553 at Puget Systems Offers Free Service on New PCs to Make Windows 8 Look and Feel Like Windows 7 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/classic_shell_start.jpg" alt="Classic Shell Windows 7" title="Classic Shell Windows 7" width="228" height="167" style="float: right;" />For when you want Windows 8, but not really</h3> <p>Here we are more than a year after the release of Windows 8 and it still remains a hot topic. The points of consternation among its critics are that Microsoft overhauled the user interface with a focus on touch computing, and then added insult to injury by removing the Start button and Start menu (the Start button has since returned, but without the handy menu). Nevertheless, it's a faster and more secure operating system than Windows 7. What's a user to do? Well, if you're buying a rig from boutique builder <strong>Puget Systems, you can have the company give Windows 8 a makeover so that it essentially feels like Windows 7</strong>.</p> <p>The new service is called "<a href="" target="_blank">Windows 8 Makeover: Emulate Windows 7</a>" and it's a free as a courtesy install on new system orders. It includes a handful of tweaks that you can apply yourself, but for less savvy users, this is a neat option that starts with installing Classic Shell, a utility that brings back the Start menu and prompts the system to boot directly into the desktop.</p> <p>Beyond the installation of Classic Shell, Puget Systems will configure desktop programs to be the default over Windows 8 apps where possible (Windows Photo Viewer, Windows Media Player, etc.). And finally, the Charms bar is disabled, as Puget Systems says it's an unnecessary feature with the added functionality of the Classi Shell Start menu.</p> <p>Is a service like this even necessary? Puget Systems says the adoption of Windows 8 from its customers is "very weak" and even slower than it was with Vista. At the same time, the boutique builder recognizes there are some distinct advantages to running Windows 8, one of them being a longer support windows from Microsoft.</p> <p>You can read more of the company's reasoning in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a> by its founder, Jon Bach.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Classic Shell OEM Puget Systems rigs Software windows 7 windows 8 News Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:00:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 27506 at Microsoft Pushing Users To Adopt Windows 8 Over Windows 7 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u160391/windows8_0.jpg" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />Windows 7 support is being phased out</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft </strong>has set a firm date of October 31st for final sale of consumer Windows 7 machines, but business machines are another story. The official website has been updated as such to reflect this, with Microsoft noting that October 31, 2014 is the new end-of-sale date for Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, or Ultimate PCs. Home Premium takes the cake when it comes to sales, but now Microsoft is pushing for Windows 8 to take over as reigning champ, per <a href="">PC World</a>. </p> <p>Last year, Microsoft gave the same date for the halting of sale of all Windows 7 PCs, but then redacted that same announcement. It's standard practice to give a year's notice before pulling the plug on support, and this is projected to be the case with business machines, but it's possible this will change over the course of the year. Are you still using Windows 7 or have you updated? What about any business computers at the office?</p> microsoft news Windows windows 7 windows 8 News Mon, 17 Feb 2014 07:18:29 +0000 Brittany Vincent 27273 at HP Explains Decision Bring Back Windows 7 PCs <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hp_laptop_desktop.jpg" alt="HP Laptop and Desktop" title="HP Laptop and Desktop" width="228" height="160" style="float: right;" />Selling Windows 7 in a Windows 8 world</h3> <p>In case you missed it, Hewlett-Packard (HP) last week <a href="">began advertising</a> the return of Windows 7 desktops. The OEM said its decision to sell Windows 7 systems in a Windows 8 world was influenced by "popular demand," but what we found interesting is how aggressively the world's second largest PC maker promoted its Windows 7 machines. Was there more than meets the eye? <strong>HP today posted a blog further explaining its reasoning for bringing back Windows 7</strong>.</p> <p>"The answer is dead simple: Choice. We like giving our customers the option to get the computer that's right for them," <a href="" target="_blank">HP explains</a>. "For some folks, that's Android. We've got everything from 2-in-1 detachables like the SlateBook x2 to the giant-sized Slate 21 All-in-One."</p> <p>HP reiterated that it still offers Windows 8.1 systems and emphatically stated in all caps that it has no plans whatsoever of dropping the touch-friendly OS from its lineup. However, "some people still want to run Windows 7 on their computers," hence why the last generation OS is still an option.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware hewlett-packard hp OEM rigs Software windows 7 windows 8 News Fri, 24 Jan 2014 17:26:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 27134 at HP Cites "Popular Demand" for Bringing Windows 7 Back <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hp_desktop.jpg" alt="HP Desktop" title="HP Desktop" width="228" height="137" style="float: right;" />It's what the people want</h3> <p>Hewlett-Packard (HP), the world's second largest PC maker by volume, is giving potential customers the ability to configure systems with Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. The <strong>OEM is advertising that Windows 7 is "back by popular demand,"</strong> and as a bonus, customers can save up to $150 instantly. Based on the available systems, that's a savings of anywhere from 13 percent to 20 percent off the normal price.</p> <p>You can still purchase Windows 8/8.1 PCs from HP, but what's interesting here is how aggressive the OEM is pitching the return of Windows 7 as a default option. If you head over to the <a href="" target="_blank">Desktops &amp; All-in-Ones section</a> of HP's Home &amp; Home Office Store, Windows 7 machines are the only ones displayed, located prominently above a Windows 8.1 section with a "Learn More" link.</p> <p>There's no sugarcoating the fact that this is a condemnation of sorts against Microsoft's touch-friendly Windows 8 OS. This is the world's second largest OEM, after all, and it's openly advertising a previous generation OS for no other reason than that's what its customers are demanding.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/hp_pcs.jpg" alt="HP PCs" title="HP PCs" width="620" height="314" /></p> <p>As far as we know, HP is the only major OEM promoting Windows 7 in such a fashion. It will be interesting to see if its competitors do the same thing.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware hewlett-packard hp microsoft OEM rigs Software windows 7 News Mon, 20 Jan 2014 17:02:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 27101 at Microsoft Removes Retailer Deadline to Stop Selling Windows 7 PCs <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_7_pc.jpg" alt="Windows 7 PC" title="Windows 7 PC" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />The new sales deadline is to be determined</h3> <p>Microsoft last week made it be known that system retailers would not be allowed to sell <strong>Windows 7 PCs</strong> past October 2014. The deadline is known as the "End of sales" date, which refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or OEMs, as well as the last day partners are allowed to peddle the OS. After listing October 30, 2014 as the end of sales date for Windows 7, Microsoft pulled a 180 and is now leaving it up in the air.</p> <p>The revised end of sales for PCs running Windows 7 is <a href="" target="_blank">now listed</a> as "To be determined," the same as listed for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. So, what happened?</p> <p>"We have yet to determine the end of sales date for PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled. The October 30, 2014 date that posted to the Windows Lifecycle page globally last week was done so in error," Microsoft said in a statement. "We have since updated the website to note the correct information; however, some non-English language pages may take longer to revert to correctly reflect that the end of sales date is 'to be determined.' We apologize for any confusion this may have caused our customers. We’ll have more details to share about the Windows 7 lifecycle once they become available."</p> <p>What's interesting about this is that Microsoft typically stops selling a version of an OS one year after the next version launches, and stops delivery of the prior edition to OEMs two years after the new one ships. For reference, Windows 8 came out in October 2012, so October 2014 would be the proper date to halt Windows 7 PC sales based on past policy.</p> <p>If Microsoft extends the deadline past October 2014, it would be the first time since initiating the policy in 2010.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware microsoft Software Systems windows 7 News Tue, 10 Dec 2013 21:31:18 +0000 Paul Lilly 26857 at