Tag Archive: Virtual

Windows Experience Index – in 8.1 – Where is it?

Strangely post on September 25th, 2013
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Introduction

Win8 Experience Index (also in Win7)

Win8 Experience Index (also in Win7)

Recently Microsoft announced  a bit of a climb down over its release of Windows 8.1 to MSDN developers (like me).  Their previous stand was for developers to get 8.1 at the same time as commercial release.

So I’ve had a look, installing it into a VirtualBox environment…

The focus of this article is on one difference, the Windows Experience Index, mine is shown in the screenshot in the top right.

Differences?

Win8 Control Panel

Win8 Control Panel

Well yes and no.  Apart from the much talked about “start” button (not) re-instatement, the control panel throws out some differences for sure (see screenshots)…

Win8.1 Control Panel

Win8.1 Control Panel

….. notably the Windows Experience Index (or Performance Indicator) (or Assessment), a Microsoft gauge of the “goodness” of your machine.

Well in Win 8.1, it’s gone!  See highlight…

Or Has It?

WinSat Usage

WinSat Usage -not all shown!

Actually, it’s still there under the command line…  All you need to do is add a switch (I chose ‘formal’ as it does the lot).

The actual file that does the work is called winsat.exe and it’s in the System32 folder.  Give it a ? switch from the command prompt and all it’s inner options and usages are revealed!  (see left)

So fire up your command line and run:

C:\Windows\system32\winsat.exe formal

…then watch the process stream past.

Results

There no nice GUI web report, of course.  The results are still there, tucked away (as they always were) as a set of XML files in the Windows directory.  Go to:

C:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore

Win8.1 System Assessment Files (cmd process finished in background)

Win8.1 System Assessment Files (cmd process finished in background)

..to find them.  The screenshot right shows the files I’ve just created and you’ll see that the process has just finished in the Command Line window and that it took 2min 49.59 secs to run all the tests.

Examining Results

WinSat Win8.1 CPU Results

WinSat Win8.1 CPU Results

Running all assessments has produced 7 files.

The screenshot here on the left shows the end of the CPU one.

The time it took is plainly visible along with the plainly poor CPU assessment (well it is in a virtual environment after all!!)

Conclusion

Windows Performance Index is not dead and buried in the new Windows 8.1 – it’s only been buried.

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FTC Take Action: Is This The End of The Fake News Site?

FTC Permanently Stops Six Operators from Using Fake News Sites that Allegedly Deceived Consumers about Acai Berry Weight-Loss Products

Above is the FTC’s own headline from a news release yesterday.  The story is that they’ve hammered six operators of fake news sites into making settlements that surrender their assets.  They’ve also halted the six operations plus those of four others, making ten by my calculation!

What Is a Fake News Site?

Do you really need to ask?   !!    (These are for news7digest, see more below on this!).

Anyone who even casually browses the web will have seen these news exposes, quite often advertised down the right side on Facebook and in banner adverts on even the most sensible of websites – like this one, say!

How the adverts work is that they are paid for by the operators.  They deliberately pay to get premium visibility slots, using Google often, but not exclusively.

The fake news site itself will be plastered with well known icons of top companies (like CNN, BBC, CBC, ABC, Google even!) and purport to be a serious investigation by a journalist into whatever the scam may be.  A short list of such scams that we’ve revealed here are:

  • Acai weight loss
  • Tea weight loss.
  • Acai bowel cleanse.
  • Other bowel cleanse.
  • Get rippling muscles.
  • Make money on Google.
  • Get a cheap payday loan.
  • Get a cheap government grant.
  • Get rejuvenation skin cream.
  • Look younger in other ways.
  • Gamble on penny auctions.

channel4online.co.uk

Just yesterday, Peter Farrahy asked why these fake news sites are still going on this post about Jesse Willms.

So taking his example of the very plausible looking channel4online.co.uk and doing a search on it like so:

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=channel4online.co.uk

…produces several links to the actual Channel 4 in the UK, and the scam site….

This shows the deliberate, deceptive and despicable way in which the site name has been chosen to closely imitate a legitimate and bona-fide news organisation.  Fraud, in other words – as the definition says – “an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual”

Amazingly, if you click the link several times, each effort takes you to one of three different landing pages for a new site, the actual fake news site of,

news7digest.com

This shows up in the header image in two, but confusingly is called Consumer Reporter in the other!  They are all visually quite different.

The three screenshots near the top of this article are indeed the three fake news sites which you’ll land on by clicking on channel4online.co.uk.

Here they are again, to save you scrolling:

Conclusion

Is this the end of the fake news sites?  Well, obviously not.

They are still very very current and still very very visible.  The highly photoshopped images adorn well known websites to the point of irritation.  However, the settlement was only yesterday.  The note on the FTC statement goes on the say;

A settlement order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated. Settlement orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

Despite this, it appears the six defendants are caving in as no appeals have been launched.  They are and the details of the settlements are as follows:

  • Ricardo Jose Labra Labra’s $2.5 million judgment will be suspended when he pays $280,000 and records a $39,500 lien on his home.
  • Zachary S. Graham, Ambervine Marketing, LLC and Encastle, Inc. Graham’s $953,000 judgment will be suspended when he pays $110,000 plus most of the proceeds from the sale of a truck.
  • Tanner Garrett Vaughn Vaughn’s $203,000 judgment will be suspended when he pays close to $80,000 over a three-year period.
  • Thou Lee Lee’s $204,000 judgment will be suspended when he pays $13,000 plus the proceeds from the sale of a BMW.
  • Charles Dunlevy Dunlevy’s $143,000 judgment will be suspended when he pays an estimated $2,000 from frozen assets and the sale of a boat.
  • DLXM, LLC and Michael Volozin The $594,000 judgment will be suspended because of the defendants’ inability to pay.

 

I see it as a warning shot.  The actual wording of the terms against the six goes as follows.  It’s quite onerous and specific, I think, which means that these News7Digest screenshots at the top of this posting put the operators in deep doggy do if they don’t get their act together pronto.  The highlights are mine.

As part of its ongoing crackdown on bogus health claims, the proposed settlements will require that the six operations make clear when their commercial messages are advertisements rather than objective journalism, and will bar the defendants from further deceptive claims about health-related products such as the acai berry weight-loss supplements and colon cleansers that they marketed.

The defendants also are required to disclose any material connections they have with merchants, and will be barred from making deceptive claims about other products, such as the work-at-home schemes or penny auctions that most of them promoted.  The settlements also require that these defendants collectively pay roughly $500,000 to the Commission because their advertisements violated federal law.  This money amounts to most of their assets.

A Sample of My Previous Posts Mentioning Fake News Websites

This all proves that what I and others are saying is wrong – and the FTC is proving it!  Virtually everything that the scammers do the FTC has now taken issue with and imposed heavy penalties.  It’s now, as they say, case law, as well as being the law of the land.  Let’s hope that Willms who chucked his power derived from ill-gotten wealth at me making me pull a page or two for a time, gets his just deserts – sometime this year would be nice.

 

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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 SP1 Install

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Install Experience


Windows 7 Ultimate with SP1

I installed Win7 sp1 on my PC last night after spotting it in the Windows Update list.  It’s been out since 16 Feb 2011 but I’ve only just noticed!  That’s the state of my PC in the screenshot.

Hitches

Everything installed really well, actually.  The downloads and install took about an hour and included updates for the Microsoft Mouse I use.  After the SP1 had installed, a few more “optional” updates appeared, so in they went as well!  The whole thing was much better than some earlier Microsoft service pack installs on Windows XP and 95 that I’ve done!

Impressions

The PC actually feels as if it’s running better.  More stable, nicer window & application opening.

Next…?

My next task is to update the Win7 32-bit install that I run in a virtual environment.  See  .  Watch this space!

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Virtual Box Running 32 bit Win7 inside 64 bit Win7

Introduction

These shots are primarily for the benefit of my friend.

Virtual Box

Sun’s (now Oracle’s) VirtualBox application allows computer users to run a variety of Operating Systems (OS) on virtually any computer operating system.  This is the VirtualBox homepage.

For example:

  • Windows XP on Mac
  • Solaris on Windows XP
  • Windows 7 32-bit on Windows 7 64-bit

This latter example is actually the system that I use to connect to my remote work computing system.  (We use a Citrix client which will not upgrade to 64 bit, hence the necessity of running the Citrix program in a 32-bit environment)

The two shots below show Task Manger’s “performance” tab in the two systems.  I’m showing this to demonstrate that upping the memory to 12Gb has left Windows the opportunity of using as much memory as it feels, and by not using the pagefile (much, if at all) it’s very fluid in operation now.

This screenshot shows Task Manager in the host Win7-64 system with its 12Gb of memory and four processor cores.

Win64 Processes

Win64 Processes

This screenshot shows Task Manager in the virtual Win7-32 system running inside a VirtualBox image with the 4Gb of memory and four virtual processor cores that I allocated to it.

Win32 Processes

Win32 Processes

This screenshot below shows the view across all three screens that I use.

Windows 7 across 3 screens

Windows 7 across 3 screens

In the shot you’ll see that I’ve set the VirtualBox image to run full screen on the right-hand monitor.  I’ve chosen a different background to emphasise this.

A notable feature of VirtualBox is that I have set the mouse cursor to float seamlessly between the two environments.

Previously, I’ve tried installs of several Linux flavours into their own virtual image areas.  These are all removed now, but previously I had several running concurrently – I wish I’d taken a screenshot at that time.  To demonstrate the capabilities of VirtualBox, I once had running concurrently these various operating systems inside my Win7 64-bit host:

  • Windows 7-32 bit
  • Windows XP version one
  • Windows XP version two
  • Ubuntu 10.1
  • Mandriva 10
  • Suse 11
  • Fedora

To enable this all to run in only 4Gb of memory I assigned about 300Mb to each image.  They all worked “out of the box”!

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