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Beta testing Windows 7 - Part4 (Antec cases)

Antec cases have always been great investments, as I have owned several. They range from ...

Antec AT Server Tower
an old Antec AT Server Tower, circa '97-98,
Antec Mid-tower
Antec Mid-tower
Fuax Stone and Chalkboard
of course, the Faux Stone and Chalkboard is one,
Antec P180
and my Antec P180, with dual air-flow chambers

I guess it won't be a surprise when I tell you I decided to go with Antec. Their designs are terrific. And the latest one is sweet. It's called the Skeleton. Click here to see it in operation.

Here are the specifications on it:

Case Type Open Case Design
Color Metallic Silver
Dimensions 13”(H) x 14.8”(W) x 16.5”(D)
33.02 (H) x 37.6 cm (W) x 41.9 cm (D)
Weight 15.5 lbs / 7 kg
Cooling 1 x Super Big Boy 250mm Multi-LED Fan
1 x 92mm Hard Drives Fan
Drive Bays 2 x Quick Release 5.25” Bays
2 x Quick Release 3.5” Bays
4 x Externally Mounted 3.5” Bays
Motherboard Size Mini-ITX, MicroATX, Standard ATX
Front I/O Panel 1 x IEEE 1394 Firewire
2 x USB 2.0
1 x eSATA
AC’97/HD Audio In and Out

It's build time.

Beta testing Windows 7 - Part3

Well, I went shopping, and here is what I came up with. I like to utilize local vendors whenever 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. Considering that I am going to use a 64-bit operating system, I need to have a larger amount of memory. 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 relatively 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. Intel and NVidia, both have Windows 7 32 and 64-bit drivers on their web sites.

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

Managing accessibility programs with Utility Manager in Windows XP

Utility Manager enables users to check an accessibility program's status and start or stop an accessibility program. Users with administrator-level access can designate to have the program start when Utility Manager starts. Users can also start accessibility programs before logging on to the computer by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U at the Welcome screen.

The built-in accessibility programs available from the Utility Manager are Magnifier, Narrator, and On-Screen Keyboard. Narrator, a text-to-speech program, starts when Utility Manager opens. This gives users who are blind or have impaired vision immediate access to the Utility Manager.

Using Utility Manager, you can tell Windows to automatically start accessibility programs each time you log on to your computer, when you lock your computer desktop, or when Utility Manager starts. For example, you can specify that Magnifier starts automatically the next time you log on to your computer. This eliminates the need for you to go through the steps of opening Magnifier each time you log on to your computer.

Open Utility Manager by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + U.

Notes:

  • You can also open Utility Manager by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, pointing to Accessories, pointing to Accessibility, and then click Utility Manager. Please note, however, that you will have limited program management capabilities. You will only be able to start or stop accessibility programs from within Utility Manager.
  • If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from using Utility Manager.
  • The accessibility tools that ship with Windows are intended to provide a minimum functionality level for users with special needs. Most users with disabilities will need utility programs with more advanced functionality for daily use.

Accessibility options in Windows XP

The following accessibility tools are frequently used when configuring accessibility options in Windows XP.

Turn on High Contrast

High Contrast improves screen contrast with alternative colors and font sizes. High Contrast is designed for people who have vision impairment. High contrast color schemes can make the screen easier to view for some users by heightening screen contrast with alternative color combinations. Some of the schemes also change font sizes for easier reading.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Display tab, under High Contrast, select the Use High Contrast checkbox.

To turn off High Contrast, clear the Use High Contrast checkbox.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • If the Use shortcut checkbox in the Settings for High Contrast dialog box is selected, you can turn High Contrast on or off by pressing the left ALT + left SHIFT + PRINT SCREEN keys (depending on the other settings you have selected in the Accessibility Options dialog box). To open the Settings for High Contrast dialog box, open Accessibility Options, click the Display tab, and then, under High Contrast, click Settings.

Turn on StickyKeys

StickyKeys enables simultaneous keystrokes while pressing one key at a time. StickyKeys is designed for people who have difficulty holding down two or more keys simultaneously. When a shortcut requires a key combination, such as CTRL+P, StickyKeys will enable you to press a modifier key (CTRL, ALT, or SHIFT), or the Windows logo key (Windows logo key), and have it remain active until another key is pressed.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Keyboard tab, under StickyKeys, select the Use StickyKeys checkbox.

To turn off StickyKeys, clear the Use StickyKeys checkbox.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • If the Use shortcut checkbox in the Settings for StickyKeys dialog box is selected, you can turn StickyKeys on or off by pressing the SHIFT key five times.
  • For more information on changing StickyKeys options, click Related Topics.

Turn on FilterKeys

FilterKeys adjusts the response of your keyboard. FilterKeys is a keyboard feature that instructs the keyboard to ignore brief or repeated keystrokes. Using FilterKeys, you can also slow the rate at which a key repeats when you hold it down.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Keyboard tab, under FilterKeys, select the Use FilterKeys checkbox.

To turn off FilterKeys, clear the Use FilterKeys checkbox.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • If the Use shortcut checkbox in the Settings for FilterKeys dialog box is selected, you can turn FilterKeys on or off by holding down the right SHIFT key for 8 to 16 seconds (depending on the other settings you have selected in the Accessibility Options dialog box). To open the Settings for FilterKeys dialog box, open Accessibility Options and then, under FilterKeys, click Settings.

Turn on ToggleKeys

ToggleKeys emits sounds when locking keys such as CAPS LOCK, SCROLL LOCK, and NUM LOCK are pressed. ToggleKeys is designed for people who have a vision impairment or cognitive disabilities. When ToggleKeys is turned on, your computer will provide sound cues when the locking keys (CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK) are pressed. A high sound plays when the keys are switched on and a low sound plays when they are switched off.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Keyboard tab, under ToggleKeys, select the Use ToggleKeys checkbox.

To turn off ToggleKeys, clear the Use ToggleKeys checkbox.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • To use the keyboard shortcut which allows you to turn ToggleKeys on and off by pressing the NUM LOCK key for five seconds, on the Keyboard tab, under ToggleKeys, click Settings.
  • If the Use shortcut checkbox in the Settings for ToggleKeys dialog box is selected, you can turn ToggleKeys on or off by holding down the NUM LOCK key for five seconds.

Turn on SoundSentry

SoundSentry provides visual warnings for system sounds. SoundSentry is designed for people who have difficulty hearing system sounds generated by the computer. SoundSentry allows you to change settings to generate visual warnings, such as a blinking title bar or a flashing border, whenever the computer generates a sound.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Sound tab, under SoundSentry, select the Use SoundSentry checkbox.

To turn off SoundSentry, select the Use SoundSentry checkbox to clear the checkbox.

Note:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.

Turn on ShowSounds

ShowSounds instructs programs to display captions for program speech and sounds.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Sound tab, under ShowSounds, select the Use ShowSounds checkbox.

To turn off ShowSounds, clear the Use ShowSounds checkbox.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • ShowSounds instructs programs that convey information by sound to also provide information visually, for example, through text captions or informative icons.

Turn on MouseKeys

MouseKeys enables the keyboard to perform mouse functions. MouseKeys is designed for people who have difficulty using a mouse. MouseKeys allows you to use the numeric keypad to control the mouse pointer. If you want to use the numeric keypad for data entry as well as for navigation, you can set the MouseKeys to be activated by pressing NUM LOCK.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the Mouse tab, under MouseKeys, select the Use MouseKeys checkbox.

To turn off MouseKeys, clear the Use MouseKeys checkbox.

To turn on MouseKeys using keystrokes

  1. Press left ALT + left SHIFT + NUM LOCK.
  2. In the MouseKeys message dialog box, press SPACEBAR to clear the Turn off keyboard shortcut for this accessibility feature checkbox.
  3. Press TAB, and then press ENTER.

If MouseKeys does not turn on using the keystrokes above, follow the steps below.

  1. Press the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + R to display the Run dialog box.
  2. Type access.cpl and press ENTER.
  3. Press CTRL+TAB until the Mouse tab is selected.
  4. To select Use MouseKeys, press SPACEBAR.
  5. Press TAB twice to select OK, and then press ENTER.

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.
  • To change settings for MouseKeys, on the Mouse tab, click Settings.
  • If the Use shortcut checkbox in the Settings for MouseKeys dialog box is selected, you can turn MouseKeys on or off by pressing left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK.

Turn on SerialKeys

SerialKeys allows the use of alternative input devices instead of a keyboard and mouse. Serial Keys is designed for people who have difficulty using the computer's standard keyboard or mouse. Serial Keys provides support so that alternative input devices, such as single switch or puff and sip devices, can be plugged into the computer's serial port.

  1. Open Accessibility Options (see below).
  2. On the General tab, under SerialKey devices, select Use Serial Keys.

To turn off Serial Keys, clear the Use Serial Keys checkbox.

Important

  • To use Serial Keys, Fast User Switching must be turned off. (Fast User Switching is only available on Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional when it is not joined to a domain.)

Notes:

  • To open Accessibility Options, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Accessibility Options.

Accessibility Options in Control Panel can be used with other accessibility programs included with Windows XP. See the following links for more information.

Zoom in on your screen in Windows XP with Magnifier

Read text aloud in Windows XP with Narrator

Type using a pointing device or joystick with On-screen Keyboard in Windows XP

Zoom in on your screen in Windows XP with Magnifier

Magnifier is a display utility that makes the screen more readable for users who have impaired vision. Magnifier creates a separate window that displays a magnified portion of your screen. You can also change the color scheme of the magnification window for easier visibility. You can move or resize the Magnifier window, or drag it to the edge of the screen and lock it into place. Magnifier is intended to provide a minimum level of functionality for users with slight visual impairments.

When using Magnifier, you can:

  • Change the magnification level
  • Change the size of the magnification window
  • Change the position of the magnification window on your desktop
  • Invert the screen colors

Magnifier also has several tracking options, including:

  • Following the mouse pointer as it moves on your screen
  • Following the keyboard focus which centers on the location of the cursor
  • Following text editing

When Magnifier is open, you can right-click the magnification window to set these Magnifier options, or hide or exit Magnifier.

  • To open Magnifier, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Accessibility, and then click Magnifier.
  • To open Magnifier using the keyboard, press CTRL+ESC, press R, type magnify, and then press ENTER.
  • Utility Manager enables users to check an Accessibility program's status and start or stop an Accessibility program. Users with administrator-level access can designate to have the program start when Utility Manager starts. Users can also start Accessibility programs before logging on to the computer by pressing the Windows logo key (Windows logo key) + U at the Welcome to Windows dialog box that appears when Windows starts.

Maginifer is also useful when used with dual-monitors. Click below for more details.

Using Dual-monitors

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