Geeks in Phoenix

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Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (Part 1)

I am currently planning my migration from Windows XP to Windows 7. Since there is no way to do an 'in-place' upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7, I normally would need to back-up my current system. But this migration also happens to fall into my personal three year workstation cycle, so this will be a 'side-by-side' migration.

As I have written in a previous blog, Upgrading your computer cheaply (part 1), I have two theories on computers:

1." Infant Mortality" is the belief that if it will run for a day (24 hours), it will run for it's lifetime.

2. A computer "Lifetime", from my experience, is three years from start of service. At three years or older, it's not 'if' it will break down, but 'when' will it break down. Just like a car, the older it gets, the more repairs it will need.

My current system has hit three years in production and has developed a couple issues. I built a system to beta test Windows 7 on (see Beta testing Windows 7 - Part3 and Custom Cases: The Antec Skeleton) and am going to migrate over to this workstation.

I usually back-up all documents, photos, etc. and then make an image of the hard drive. I then reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. I then will install all of the applications and restore my documents. All custom settings done to the previous operating system will be lost, but this is to be expected with a 'clean' installation.

Since migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 requires reformatting the hard drive and performing a clean installation, there is one feature in Windows 7 I find really nice. The product key for Windows 7 can be used to install either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 7.

As I wrote in the blog Beta testing Windows 7 - Part 2 how I felt that the 64-bit version of Windows 7 was the way to go, I am going with Windows 7 64-bit. In the following articles, I will chronicle my endeavors.

Till then,
Scott


How to perform a clean installation of the operating system on a netbook

In my last blog, I reported on the new Acer Aspire One Netbook (Model AO571h) I had just purchased. It came pre-loaded with Windows XP Home. Since I need to connect to a domain, I needed Windows XP Professional on the netbook.

Normally, I check the hardware manufacturers web site(s) for the latest drivers and download them. Then I just wipe the hard drive clean and boot to the installation media. Once it finished installation I immediately install the specific drivers for the hardware installed, starting with the chipset first.

But the netbook's hardware architecture is new and a standard OEM version of Windows XP does not recognize the hardware correctly. I contacted Acer and was told that they do not support the installation of any operating system other than what was shipped with the computer. But their web site had the drivers for all 32-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista.

It became obvious that I had to add the chipset drivers to the Windows XP Pro cd. I extracted the chipset drivers and found the instructions for adding the drivers into the installation media. I then created an image file from the installation media and opened it up for editing. I added in the chipset drivers that I had downloaded and saved the file. I then burned it to a cd.

The netbook booted right up on the modified installation media and the setup went flawlessly. I installed the rest of the drivers I had downloaded and it's running beautifully on Windows XP Professional.

Till then,
Scott

Monitor your computer's performance, programs and processes with Task Manager in Windows (Video)

Task Manager provides information about programs and processes running on your computer. It also displays the most commonly used performance measures for processes.

You can use Task Manager to monitor key indicators of your computer's performance. You can see the status of the programs that are running and end programs that have stopped responding. You can also assess the activity of running processes using as many as fifteen parameters.

In addition, if you are connected to a network, you can view network status and see how your network is functioning.

If you have more than one user connected to your computer, you can see who is connected, what they are working on, and you can send them a message.

Open Task Manager:

  • To open Windows Task Manager, right-click an empty space on the taskbar, and then click Task Manager or by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC.

Note:
You might need to be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to perform some tasks.

Programs that are running

The Applications tab shows the status of the programs running on your computer.

On this tab, you can end, switch to, or start a program.

Processes that are running

The Processes tab shows information about the processes running on your computer.

For example, you can display information on CPU and memory usage, page faults, handle count, and a number of other parameters.

Performance measures

The Performance tab displays a dynamic overview of your computer's performance, including:

  • Graphs for CPU and memory usage.
  • Totals for the number of handles, thread, and processes running on your computer.
  • Totals, in kilobytes, for physical, kernel, and commit memory.

Viewing Network performance

The Networking tab displays a graphical representation of network performance. It provides a simple, qualitative indicator that shows the status of the network(s) that are running on your computer. The Networking tab is displayed only if a network card is present.

On this tab, you can view the quality and availability of your network connection, whether you are connected to one or more than one network.

Monitoring Sessions

The Users tab displays users who can access this computer, and session status and names. Client Name specifies the name of the client computer using the session, if applicable. Session provides a name for you to use to perform such tasks as sending another user a message or connecting to another user’s session.

The Users tab is displayed only if the computer you are working on has Fast User Switching enabled, and is a member of a workgroup or is a standalone computer. The Users tab is unavailable on computers that are members of a network domain.

Using Dual Monitors in Windows for users who have impaired vision (Video)

I little while back, I wrote an article on using Dual Monitors. In it, I wrote how a person with a visual impairment could use two monitors. Here's a snippet:

"This scenario also works well for those with visual impairments that require a magnification utility. You can use a larger monitor as the ‘main’ display and a smaller monitor as the ‘secondary’ display. Using the main display for all normal functions, the secondary display shows a magnified view of the main display. And without the need for matching monitors, you could pick up a cheap used one to run as secondary. Try your local Goodwill, Savers, thrift shop, etc."

Here's a video showing how to use dual monitors in Windows for users who have impaired vision.

Till then,
Scott

Using Dual Monitors in Windows (Video)

I little while back, I wrote an article on using Dual Monitors. Here's a snippet:

"With newer computers having the ability to run multiple displays, here is a ‘Geek Tip’ for those of you thinking about using two monitors on one computer. There are various scenarios, I am going to describe just a few. I currently have two systems here with dual monitor setups."

Here's a video showing the two different computer scenarios I have that use dual monitors in Windows.

Till then,
Scott

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