Geeks in Phoenix

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Beta testing Windows 7 - Part3

Well, I went shopping and here is what I came up with. I like to utilize local vendors when ever possible, but this system had a processor requirement that I could not find cheaply from my favorite vendor. I wanted a Quad-core processor that has Virtual Technology (VT). I also want to be able to assign programs to cores (very cool!). I did a little research and found the Intel Q8400 processor a good match. It has Quad cores, Virtual Technology and was the cheapest I could find in-stock locally. My first stop was at Fry's Electronics where I picked up a ...

Intel Q8400
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400

I then went over to my friends at Technology Partners Inc. where I picked up the rest of the components (less the case, that's coming). Here's the list of parts:

Intel DG41RQ Motherboard
Intel DG41RQ Motherboard
Buffalo DDR2 PC6400
Buffalo DDR2 PC6400 Memory (2gb x 2)
Microstar NX8400GS
Microstar NX8400GS Video Card
Western Digital 3200AAKS
Western Digital 320 gb Hard Drive
Liteon 24x DVD-RW
Liteon 24x DVD-RW
iMicro 500 watt Power Supply
iMicro 500 watt Power Supply

All these components have standard specifications, except for the motherboard. Taking in to consideration that I am going to use a 64-bit operating system, I need to have a larger amount of memory. By using a 64-bit operating system, I am also getting past the 4 gigabyte memory limit that plaques 32-bit. The Intel DG41RQ has a maximum memory capacity of 8 gb (2 x 4gb). Since 2gb modules are rather inexpensive, I decided to go with 4gb of memory (2 x 2gb) for right now.

Since Windows 7 is built on Windows Vista, finding drivers was simple. Both manufacturers, Intel and NVidia, both have Windows 7 32 and 64-bit drivers on their web sites.

I guess it's time to built this system. But I still need a case. I think I'll go see what Antec has been up to.

Till then,
Scott

Beta testing Windows 7 - Part 2

Since my last post, Windows 7 RC1 has been released. I am now assembling a production system to use for the installation of RC1. I have changed my mind on how I wanted to test this new OS from Microsoft. My original idea was to use a typical system with components that were widely available.

I then thought back on all of the new technology that has come out since Windows XP was released. I think everyone will agree that Windows Vista was somewhat of a stepping stone. Just like Windows Millennium was to Windows 98SE.

We now have hard drives over 1 terabyte, Quad-core processors and 64-bit computers. And quite a bit of these are now out in production systems, like yours. 64-bit enabled motherboards have been out for years now. If your computer’s motherboard was manufactured within the last few years, your computer is probably 64-bit compatible.

With that said, I started to look at some of the features of Windows 7 and what hardware I would need to run them. As I stated before, 64-bit enabled computers are pretty much main stream now, and with the memory limit of 128 gigabytes, opposed to 4 gigabyte memory limit on 32-bit, I think this is the way to go.

Note:
You cannot do an in-place upgrade of a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit operating system. To do this, you have to backup your files and settings and then restore them to the new installation.

Microsoft has had two different versions (32-bit & 64-bit) of their Windows operating systems (XP & Vista) that support x86-64 architecture since 2005. So I will use the 64-bit for this installation. I also want to use the Windows XP mode for Windows 7. This requires a processor that has Virtualization Technology (VT). The Intel E6600 processor in my system has VT. So the VT processors are out there, you just have to check with the manufacturer to see if it is compatible.

So with all of that information, I am going to put together a production system in the next few days from standard parts from my favorite vendors. I already have a parts list and it’s time to see how cheaply I can put this together (I have a big surprise for what I use as a monitor).

Till then,
Scott

 

Track free space on your computer with SpaceMonger

One of the software tools I use quite often client systems is SpaceMonger. SpaceMonger is a tool for keeping track of the free space on your computer. It shows graphically the size of each folder and file on your computer.

SpaceMonger

Each file or folder on a given drive is displayed in a box in the main window whose size is a relative comparison to all the other files in your system. So, for example, if the "Windows" box takes up 90% of the screen, the "C:\Windows" folder and all its sub-folders and files are taking up 90% of your "C:" drive.

SpaceMonger runs on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 RC1.

Click here to download the latest version


Windows explorer keyboard shortcuts

Windows explorer keyboard shortcuts


Press To
END Display the bottom of the active window.
HOME Display the top of the active window.
NUM LOCK+ASTERISK on numeric keypad (*) Display all subfolders under the selected folder.
NUM LOCK+PLUS SIGN on numeric keypad (+) Display the contents of the selected folder.
NUM LOCK+MINUS SIGN on numeric keypad (-) Collapse the selected folder.
LEFT ARROW Collapse current selection if it's expanded, or select parent folder.
RIGHT ARROW Display current selection if it's collapsed, or select first subfolder.

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

 

PressTo
Right SHIFT for eight seconds Switch FilterKeys on and off.
Left ALT +left SHIFT +PRINT SCREEN Switch High Contrast on and off.
Left ALT +left SHIFT +NUM LOCK Switch MouseKeys on and off.
SHIFT five times Switch StickyKeys on and off.
NUM LOCK for five seconds Switch ToggleKeys on and off.
+U Open Utility Manager.

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