Tag Archive: IDE

Testing Windows 8 Developer Preview Version

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

I’ve finally decided to test the next Windows edition, probably to be called Windows 8, although things like that are never certain in Microsoft-land.

Virtual Box

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

I did a Virtual Box install, which is fairly straightforward.  There are many tutorials on-line now which show how to do this, so I won’t do a walk-through. I installed the 64-bit version which I downloaded from MSDN using my licence.  You can get the installs from the Microsoft Website here, which come in ISO format.  You can also find out more from the horse’s mouth here.

You can also set aside a partition on your hard-drive and install to that.  However, Virtual Box is the safe way to go should the partition install fail and corrupt your current installation somehow.

What I will say, is to use more memory allocation to the virtual installation than recommended elsewhere or as the default,  and to use as many virtual processors as your host machine has.….. My machine is an AMD 955BE, which is quad-core running at around 3GHz.  In other words, if you don’t want it to run like treacle, give it plenty processor and memory room;  at least the recommended values for Windows 7.  You can see all of this in the VirtualBox settings screenshot above.

Fast Install (added 24/11/11))

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Microsoft, on their MSDN blog, have made a big thing about the rapid installation for Windows 8, particularly for the upgrade route.  See Improving the setup experience.  I can say now that the clean install into the VirtualBox environment was very fast….

Briefly:

  1. You make a virtual machine in Virtual Box
  2. You set it’s parameters – processors, memory size, footprint size, IDE/SATA storage etc
  3. You set the downloaded ISO image to boot from in the settings.
  4. You boot by “Starting” the virtual machine.
  5. You install Windows into the filespace that you’ve previously set aside for it – I gave it a dynamic sized 50Gb.
  6. After that, let windows do it’s thing.  It took 10 minutes or so.
  7. Let it reboot.
Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Following this, you get a green screen from which country specifics are added, a username and finally, you enter your Live.com identity, if you have one, and if you want to!

Appearance

It’s a big green screen.  I don’t have a touchscreen, but it’s obviously designed for one.  It has massive buttons to a host of online services like weather & stocks, plus a few to your computer’s functions.

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

If you log off, you get presented with an American Rockies vista of a lonely winding road.  Essentially, the entry into Windows 8 is like a smartphone.  But what’s it like beneath the surface?

Windows 7 Legacy, and Vista Too!

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Obviously, this is a development preview release, and we can expect more of the same to come.

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

But most work has gone onto the main intro screen because beneath the surface, all the various apps and settings controls are the old (current) Windows 7 interface.

Bizarrely, some screens even have vestiges of the green Vista, notably the main screen itself.

Personally, I think it’s very, very dour.  I can’t believe that two years of effort has gone into doing something that Android does on a more than twice-annual cycle….

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Accessing the menus is the most unintuitive thing I’ve seen for ages!  Following on from the impressive Windows 7, it’s truly not just a user let-down, but somewhat infuriating as well…….    Whereas previously I just typed into the run bar to do almost anything, now I can’t even find programs or files!   No doubt there’s a way – but after Win7, it’s not intuitive and not helpful either.

I hope that’s not the end of the run box, because that feature in Windows 7 is awesome.

Control Panel

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

I haven’t checked through many apps (except a few desktop ones like the weird child-like paint thing and the weather which won’t do anywhere except California) but this is the control panel.

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

You then drill-down to get the old Win7 control panel on “More Settings”.

Initial Investigation Ends

Well that’s it for now.   To say I’m un-impressed by the big green monstrous front doesn’t give my opinion justice.  There doesn’t appear to be an easy way out of the front-screen apps and to have an app made for a  3-inch screen sat on a 23 inch desktop monitor really demonstrates the infantile  apps for what they are.

Way back in the nineties Microsoft tried their in-house Microsoft Network (MSN) which was a disc install that gave you a black desktop that gave dial-up access to features giving almost the same as this big green toy-town monster.

Not happy.

Watch this space as I delve more….

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Windows 7 Impressive First Experience

Windows 7 Ultimate Install

To say that I’m seriously impressed is an understatement!

Having an MSDN subscription confers certain benefits, but for most Microsoft stuff that I have to use, it’s usually an exercise in teeth-gritting somewhere from the banal to the infuriating as I plod on through.

My personal experience of Vista comes into the latter which is why I’ve never used it and have stuck with XP… like most professionals in the Windows camp have done.

Windows Experience 2.0

Win7 1st install showing it working on minimal system specifications

Win7 1st install showing it working on minimal system specifications

Having only 2 x 256MB memory sticks in my old main-board, and because of it’s on-board graphics there’s only 383MB spare for the operating system, I installed the thing onto a bit of spare hard-drive (an old Samsung 160GB IDE) and was amazingly surprised by the ease of the install…

  • XP is still there and appears on the new boot menu.
  • Networking worked out of the box and I flipped between the configurations with absolute ease.
  • All the drivers were installed straight from the Microsoft website:
    • ATI Radeon system and graphics
    • Realtek sound and network
  • Once drivers were updated, the monitor was detected and set up automatically.
  • The networked HP All-in-One printer installed in seconds…
  • The new taskbar/start-menu right-click pinning works like a charm.
  • IE8 is installed by default and Firefox can be installed and defaulted without any bother
  • I even like the new  way of classifying user files and the concept of “libraries” is intuitive and easy to use and understand.

Absolutely amazing – even the aero interface works!

Windows 7 system requirements

Windows 7 system requirements

For a bit extra speed, the aero has been turned off in the “Themes” area.  Also, I don’t actually like it that much, but that’s just me I guess. More importantly, my system is well below the Microsoft Minimum System Requirements – I only installed it for a laugh and to see what would happen!

You’ll see in the screen-dump above, (which contrasts markedly with the Microsoft Minimum recommendations), that windows rates the system as 2.0 – it recommends 3.0 for the Aero interface.  What I plan to do is stick 1GB of memory in the spare slots from my other PC, and then put new giblets in that one’s box.  I intend to make that one a 4-core 64-bit platform to play with this new Microsoft OS….  Reaper should work fantastically!

Windows Experience

It’s truly an order of magnitude better than Vista and 5x better than XP!

In actual fact, it’s more like the jump from 3.1 to Win98.  I have actually been smiling at how good it is! The effort Microsoft has put in seems to have been worth it – this same install that I’ve just done is supposed to work on netbooks with ARM processors!  In fact, the claim that file-copying is faster on a Win7 Arm laptop than WinXP is probably true – I just copied several gigs of user files from the old partition which went extremely quickly.

All this copying was done after installing Office 2007 Ultimate and ESET’s NOD32 antivirus software (which works much better than on WinXP, by the way).  Microsoft’s Defender is installed and runs by default – it’s a spyware catcher and doesn’t seem to slow stuff up.

However, to show how impressed I am, the copying was done while Windows/Microsoft Update downloaded ~300MB of updates!!!  Before the copying was finished, the long process (about 20mins) of installing the updates had begun…

This is some serious disc and processor activity, I can tell you – and all done on a single 64-bit processor running in 32-bit mode in 383 of system memory!  It never missed a beat or got confused once!

In fact, during the copying, it prompts for Videos/Pictures & Music, which were previously in the \My Documents\My Music\ etc path to go into their correct library!…..   It’s the little touches like this, plus the sensible ease of installing programs (goodbye to Vista mad-clickitty-click HELL) that has put oodles of polish onto an already robust and comforting experience.

Conclusion

  • I’m typing this as Win7 is de-fragmenting the old partition.
  • I’m doing it from within Firefox (running the Web-Developer, Screengrab and British Dictionary plugins)….

……so you’ll guess that I’m impressed by this serious bit of software kit.  With another Gig of Crucial Ballistix memory it should fly even more and be good for another three years!

Finally: Never in a million years could I have dreamed of praising Microsoft so much!!!

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Try CPU-Z

Strangely post on October 10th, 2007
Posted in Technology Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BIOS

This is a CPU-Z dump from my PC of the CPU-Z app to be found here. Download it and then install it and run the exe file to find all the deep down details about your PC, like what date is your BIOS. Remember the dates are in US format.

I see that there are two BIOS’s for your machine; 1.20 & 1.30 and they are both dated 2003. There’s a good chance that you don’t need to do it, and to be fair, if the machine works okay then a little BIOS change won’t affect it much. However, the dates are quite close together so that usually means there was a “bit of bother” with the earlier one so they didn’t hang around fixing it!

Toshiba readme This Toshiba BIOS readme is the details of the update. It gives complete details on how to do it and there are four reasons for the update from the earlier version at the bottom. Of course, if you are already 1.3 dated 03-15-2003 then you are okay.

Display (Nvidia)

I’m assuming that your machine has nvidia in it or you wouldn’t ask! Apply the filter on your Toshiba page and you’ll see one overall nvidia driver here. Follow the link through and there are extra details that are probably what you need. Same goes for anything else on your machine like ide bus drivers, lan, sound etc.

New Compy

If you are getting something like we talked about, then you probably have EIDE drives in your old PC so the new one MUST have EIDE (or IDE) sockets to connect to the old drives. How big are your old drives? If they are 40-80Gb or smaller, it’s a false economy to stick them in the new one, even if they fit, except as an experiment. You can get HUGE drives now quite cheaply (£30-40). Another benefit of the big drives is that data access is a lot faster, especially over the new SATA interface. Also, drives are mechanical. That means the bearings and stuff WILL wear out eventually (you can’t change the laws of physics), so you’re looking at gradually deteriorating performance or even massive data loss.

Old Hard Drives: Experiment = Yes, Actual work machine = No

Rees

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