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Windows Tips & Tricks - From XP to W7

Discussion in 'Software' started by Ljs, 15 Mar 2011.

  1. Ljs

    Ljs Modder

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    Within or a week or so I will be switching for XP to W7...

    A bit geeky but I'm a bit excited about it, as I have never even used W7 before.

    Can anyone cast their minds back to their own transition, and disclose any tips and tricks for me to ease change?

    Thanks,
     
  2. pyro1son

    pyro1son Linux User!

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    i just backed up all my files and jumped in head first! :rock:
     
  3. lp rob1

    lp rob1 Modder

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    Desktop background transitions! You can have several images in a transition system that rotates the background every x minutes/hours.
     
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  4. llamafur

    llamafur WaterCooled fool

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    Pretty much what pyro said. Back up everything then do a clean install. Try to go the 64 bit route if you can, it's totally worth it.
     
  5. bulldogjeff

    bulldogjeff The modding head is firmly back on.

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    Have you used vista? If so you won't notice much difference other than it's a lot slicker, the layout is very similar. One thing to look out for is, add and remove programs will have changed it's name to program features.
     
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  6. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Here are some GoodBytes tips and tricks:

    1- As you probably know, Windows 7 is not based on the aged old XP. So the OS doesn't work the same at all. A big thing you will notice (or realize the hard way when you'll re-install as you screwed up your system), is that XP tweaks don't apply to Win7 (or Vista). Avoid tweak tools (they might be OK now, but I read and experience too many bad stories with them. Most of them are badly programed, or tested. Don't take the chance)

    2- DO NOT hesitate to ask any Windows question or customization related things on this forum. You'll get a fast response, and everyone here is ready to help.

    3- Windows 7 update manager is a xillion times better than XP, you will love it! Super fast too!

    4- One common thing, is that in Win7 items are grouped on the task bar. You can have the old style back. Simply right-click on the task-bar, select Properties. Under the Taskbar tab, you have a drop down box titled: Taskbar buttons, it's set to Always combine, change it to Combine when taskbar is full. Click on OK.
    The new task bar is about merging Alt+Tab, Preview of Flip 3D, and the task bar all together.

    5- A cool thing about Win7, is that you can move open programs on the task bar, by dragging them. Lets say you have [firefox][something][something][something][dreamwaver] on your task bar. You want Firefox next to Dreamweaver, well you can drag the Firefox button next to Dreamweaver. so you can have: [something][something][something][firefox][dreamwaver]

    6- The Start menu has a search bar, you can search any file, any program and down to a sub-section in an option of Windows, instantly. Most probable answer is picked by default and is on the top of list. If it is what you are looking for, just hit Enter. Let's say you want to open Firefox (assuming you don't have the icon on the task bar or anywhere), you can just hit the Windows key (which will open the start menu), and type "Fire", and firefox will show. Well for the few times you'll get "Windows Firewall and Advance Security" and Firefox was never ran the most, but after 2, 3 time of picking "Firefox" it will put it on top.

    7- Windows 7 (and Vista) Firewall is kick-ass. It's real (unlike XP), fully functional, and has complete inbound and outbound control which you can define based on the location network type you are in (Home, Work or public). You can define a program, service, or even go for a port. You truly don't need a firewall software.

    8- Microsoft Security Essential (MSE), is the best free A/V solution you can find (extra download for free at: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/), It's also available in 64-bit for greater performance. Non-intrusive, easy to use, doesn't slow down your computer, you won't feel you have it. MSE also scans for malware and spyware.

    9- To get Windows PhotoGallery, and other programs, you need to get separately Windows Live Essential (free) here: http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials?os=other. I like the Sync tool, I use it to sync some folder, between my laptop and desktop. So for me, my laptop becomes my desktop. If you are at home, it will automatically detect that, and use your network connection to sync, instead of the internet.

    10- Windows Media Player 12, also available in 64-bit, is VERY VERY good. Thanks Zune team. Not only you can stream your music between devices and computers (and even control the audio playback of a device (including computer) in your home, from your computer). In addition, if you have another system with Windows 7, you can access and stream your music via Internet. Windows Media Player 12 is light and fast. It's hard to believe this, but it is.


    11- Windows 7 comes with a wide variety of superb video and audio codecs, including DVD codec, in both 32 and 64-bit. Due to the restructure of codec system, based on my tests, I notice that many codecs pack (although I haven;t tested their latest version recently, as very XP focused for some odd reason, so they don't work well under Windows 7, despite the success of that OS, and popularity... it's like they are stuck in time, or too laze to read documentation) HOWEVER, I use and HIGHLY recommend a codec pack specially designed for Windows 7 and Vista 32/64-bit. It doesn't conflict with Windows built-in codecs, you can play all formats, it makes Windows Media Player 12 like VLC (plays anything without problem), both version, 32-bit and 64-bit.
    The codec pack is called Shark007. Not a great name, website needs some work, but it's so good I donated to the project.
    32-bit: http://shark007.net/win7codecs.html (install first)
    64-bit: http://shark007.net/x64components.html

    When done installing, to enable the usage of 64-bit codecs with WMP12, go to the Start menu, go under the Shark007 Codecs folder, and right-click on Settings Application x64, and select Run As administrator. In it, go under the Config tab, and click on set 64-bit player, now go to the Help tab and click on Windows Filetype Associations. Now every-time you open a video or open Media Player, you will get the 64-bit version of WMP12 open instead, and ready to use 64-bit codecs.
    NOTE: The pined down Windows Media Player 12 icon on the task bar is still set to the 32-bit. Right-click on it, and select unpin to remove it, open from the start menu Windows Media Player 12 (which will be the 64-bit), now right-click on the task-bar WMP12 item, and now pin it back. Your done! Oh and Shark007 doesn't override Win7/Vista codecs.

    Note: Items on the task bar are now pinned. No shortcut are made like the quick lunch bar.

    12- Do NOT insteall DivX, Nero, or RealPlayer as it will break all your OS codecs

    13- Folders has been restructures. Now it's organized! No more 20 "Application Data" and all that crap.

    14- Every folder has a search bar. You can use specific term in it for advance search. Here is the list (it's super long, you have like everything possible)
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/desktopsearch/technicalresources/advquery.mspx

    15- If you have a lot of files, Windows 7 might be slow a bit due to heavy HDD activity. What is happening is that Windows 7 is indexing everything that is on it's index list (Start > type: Index > for options and areas to index). If that is the case, simply leave the computer overnight under High Performance so that it doesn't sleep. This way tomorrow your system should have WAY than enough time to index. Index happens faster when the computer is idle

    16- IE9 is out, and I suggest you give it a try. It's a pretty good web browser. I updated for security purposes, and have programs that uses IE embedded it them-self, to actually use a good web stranded ready web browser. I also use some of it's feature, like pining a web site on the task bar, or use a demanding website, thanks to it's super rendering speed, which beats all web browsers out there: http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/

    17- To get additional nice looking themes for Windows 7: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/personalize/themes

    18- You don't need to start disabling services and stuff under Win7... it's all been fixed. Services only run on an event (even if they are started).

    19- Disabling page file is totally useless. As you can see form task manager, Windows 7 uses your RAM FIRST (unlike XP). Hence why it consume more memory. The difference? Huge increase in response time, and is faster

    20- Current versions of DivX and Nero has reports of breaking media software.. just saving you hours of trouble. Beside you don't need them. Windows 7 can also burn ISO, and burn CD and DVD's perfectly. And DivX codecs is part of Win7 codecs. But if you need additional burning options: I recommend IMGBurn (free) : http://www.imgburn.com/

    21- Check out Win7 video to know more features of this new OS: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-CA/windows7/products/videos

    22- If you use a high speed USB memory stick and put Windows 7 setup on it (you can use Microsoft own tool, to make your USB key bootable: http://wudt.codeplex.com/ (Microsoft Open Source community website). I was able to install Windows 7 in 7 min (no advertisement, just a coincidence). Via DVD it take about 25min.

    23- Once you install Windows 7, do a Windows Update, it will find about all your drivers. You might need to install your sound card manually, and may want your GPU latest drivers, but the rest is fine.

    24- Aero is what you want. Aero theme system uses your GPU to draw instead of the CPU. This include background and your cursor. This means that moving windows, having a high resolution background, doesn't affect your system performance, your CPU is freed up for your software. "Aero Basic" theme engine, is XP system, which is CPU rendered and uses the GPU for shadow. And "Classic" theme is exclusively your CPU.

    25- Windows 7, based on Vista architecture, means that drivers are no longer tied to the kernel. This means that if it crashes, Windows can restart it. Let's say your graphic card driver crashes. In XP, it's a direct BSOD. While in Windows, Windows will attempt to restart the drivers, so the screen will go black for a second and come back. Voila! A balloon pop-up will tell you that the graphic card driver crashed and recovered successfully. Pretty cool system!

    26- Windows 7 (and Vista) now managers your power system (with the help of your hardware, of course) of your hardware components. See power option for additional options. By default, it's on Balance. You want that to reduce system noise and save on power. It doesn't provide you any performance increase by using High Performance. As they are no delays in adjusting your hardware to the work load.

    27- If you don't use HomeGroup feature, you can remove it from the side navigation column in folder, by unjoining it, and disabling 2 HomeGroup services.

    28- XPS format is Microsoft PDF alternative. While crazy simple in feature, and only for Windows, it does uses your GPU to render. This makes it ideal for going through large document as its super fast. Doing Ctrl+H, shows a cool thumbnail view. Every-time I have a large document in PDF, I print it as XPS before working with it. PDF uses the CPU, and despite a Core i7 930, it struggles.

    29- Libraries are special folders which regroup several folder together. You can add/remove folder of your selection any time. You can also make your own library.

    30- You can save a search. When you perform a search, let's say *.mp3. you can save that search. And when you load the saved search the results will be updated if anything new appears. This makes point 14 above, more useful.

    Well that is all that comes to mind. Be sire to check out the video tour (point 21).

    Pre-installing requirements

    • It is important that you set your set SATA controller in your BIOS, to AHCI (or RAID if you have one) before installing Windows 7.
    • If you plan to install Windows 7 64-bit (which you will to take full advantage of your system), don't forget to set HPET mode (if you have this feature (Intel CPU only)), from 32-bit mode, to 64-bit mode.

    Enjoy your Windows 7. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2011
  7. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    Incredible post GoodBytes. +rep

    Windows Live and MSE are available via Windows Update btw, they are in the optional updates. I think ie9beta is in there too, now.
    Also, if you forget to set sata to ahci, you can set it afterwards with a quick regedit fix.
     
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  8. Nealieboyee

    Nealieboyee Packaging Master!

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    +1 and +rep.
    Awesome post and very informative. Just when i thought i knew win7....
     
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  9. Ljs

    Ljs Modder

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    Haha, sounds awesome - I'll give it a whirl! Thanks...

    Yeah, I've used Vista on my GF's laptop but not really extensively, literally just to browse the web. Thanks for the tip - will help me avoid scratching my noggin for a few hours I bet.

    Wow, thanks GoodBytes, exactly what I was looking for! I'm tempted to even print this out!!

    Very helpful and useful. Much Obliged!
     
  10. TSDAdam

    TSDAdam Beard!

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    Have you got a link for this fix, I'm not sure what I had set up during my install, so it'd be good to be able to check :)
     
  11. Ljs

    Ljs Modder

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    Ahh thanks, I missed this after reading through GoodBytes post.

    Cheers!
     
  12. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    how do i set HPET mode? this is the first time i've seen this HPET mode.

    nicely written Goodbytes. i think you need to start a thread of all your guides and just link to it :)
     
  13. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    HPET - found in the bios, under CPU settings or somesuch usually.

    How to enable ahci after installing.

    Taken from a guide off the net (can be found by searching for 'enable ahci'):

    1. Exit all Windows-based programs.
    2. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
    3. If you receive the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
    4. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
    5. In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
    6. In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.
    7. On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor.

    After rebooting, the drive controllers and drives will be redetected. You will have to reboot. Iirc, you have to reboot again after the drives are detected once more. After succesful installation, download the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Drivers (link) to ensure you have the latest ahci drivers installed and running.
     
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  14. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    I don't know about ASUS board BIOS. So I can't help you there.
    However, under Gigabyte board BIOS (replica I made: http://helpweaver.com/BIOS.html)
    It's under Power Management

    Thanks kenco_uk, +rep.
    But of course, setting the SATA controller before installing Windows 7 makes thing easier.
     
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  15. thelaw

    thelaw What's a Dremel?

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  16. microsoftPerson

    microsoftPerson What's a Dremel?

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    Have you tried right clicking the game file (even the shortcut), going to the properties tab and running the older games in Windows XP Mode?

    You can go back even further than Windows XP mode and in my experience it works well. I told a guy at an old job about this and he said he was able to play a bunch of old Windows 95 games that he hasn't played in ages. Furthermore, you don't need anything better than Home Premium to use this technique.

    That was a really good list GoodBytes - Codecs are the biggest problem I have had. I have gone through a few different codec packs and DivX works for my MKV files but I really don't like it. I'll have to give that codec pack you suggested a try after a fresh install of Windows 7.
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2011
  17. Pete J

    Pete J Employed scum

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    Well, I think GoodBytes has covered everything :D .

    The one bit of advice I'd give is to download SP1 and the preparation file in advance so that you can install it AS SOON AS YOU'VE INSTALLED WIN 7. It'll be quicker and reduces the chance of Windows buggering up (as it did in my case).
     
  18. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Windows 7 has compatibility mode system which works very well to run older programs.
    Windows 7 Professional and up has XP Mode, which is running a program under, literally Windows XP. However, it's design more for application, and not games.

    XP mode example:
    [​IMG]
    Notice IE6 running (from XP) ON Windows 7

    VirtualBox (free, but you need your own XP License), allows you to do something similar, but provide game support.

    Any Windows version on 64-bit, has dropped 16-bit programs support. That means any DOS base games and software don't run, no mater what you do, OTHER THAN, using XP Mode, or VirtualBox or any other virtual environment, with a version of Windows with 16-bit support (ie: Windows XP and older).

    Sadly, despite XP being based on NT architecture, and no longer a DOS overlay (like what Windows 1.0 to Windows 98 essential was), still game developer made games in 16-bit. Some game developer are nice enough to have a provide a nice patch which solve this problem (which increased the game performance in many cases). Some not, which is sad, that in 2003+ they still made games in 16-bit. 2001, I can understand as XP was new, and most people still used Windows 95, 98. Especially that XP was bombarded with bugs and issues, like Windows Vista 32-bit, if not, more. But 3002, or even 2004... it's like come on! Oh well.
     
  19. microsoftPerson

    microsoftPerson What's a Dremel?

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    Have you tried DOSBox for your old DOS Games? It has worked pretty well for me without much tweaking at all.

    Also have you tried running these older programs just in a different compatability mode? You don't need the higher versions of Windows 7 (ie Windows XP Mode) for this and it works well with games. My friends been playing oldschool Windows 95 games.
     
  20. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    i justed started a fresh, and copied the data i wanted to the new install. and reinstalled only the applications i wanted.

    all the games i play work on win 7, i'll have to have a look and see if i have some of them older games, hmmm might&magic
     
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