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TWT Newsletter, Issue #047 – New web browsers and a peek at Windows 8
April 10, 2011
Welcome to another edition of the TWT Newsletter. No April fools from us, just another information packed newsletter, bringing you the best of the Windows news from around the web.
Important! A number of our subscribers have had difficulty receiving our newsletter. At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we never send out unsolicited e-mails. To make sure your TWT newsletter reaches your inbox, please add TWT_Newsletter@top-windows-tutorials.com to your contacts, buddy list or white list.
In this months issue:-
1) What's new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
In March we discovered a new, easy to use utility for improving your PC's startup times. Described as "Anti-frustration software", the Soluto Beta analyses your start-up applications, allowing you to disable or delay programs that prevent you getting to the desktop sooner. Find out more about Soluto by viewing our tutorials here.
Networking problems can be frustrating, when our computers won't connect, its a reminder just how much we rely on the internet! If you have a Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC that stubbornly won't connect to the internet, try performing a Winsock reset. We show you how in this tutorial.
Work is progressing nicely on our new Windows 7 Superguide 2. Picking up where the first Superguide left off, this guide will show home users how to install, maintain and manage Windows 7 on all their home PCs. You will save on repair bills and minimise downtime with our extensive in-depth look into Windows 7. Protect your privacy with our guide to the Encrypting File System, run legacy software with Windows XP mode and troubleshoot common networking problems without a phone-call to your ISP.
We will have some exciting special offers for newsletter readers once the new Superguide is launched, so stay subscribed!
The two heavyweights of the web browsing world have released their new browsers. Both Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9 feature hardware accelerated web browsing, making the most of modern day graphics hardware (just like Windows Vista and Windows 7 do with the Aero desktop interface). Both browsers feel significantly faster in use, let's take a look at what else has changed and what might trip you up, starting with Internet Explorer 9 first:-
IE9 - What's new? The most striking difference is the new user interface. Yes, another new interface to learn, fortunately it is not a huge leap from IE8. Sites can now be pinned to the Taskbar in Windows 7. Tabs are now shown next to the address bar (though this behaviour can be changed). One of our favourite new features is a much improved download manager, that includes support for resuming downloads. Despite the fact that our downloads are hosted by Amazon.com's super fast servers, we still periodically get e-mails from users struggling to download our Superguides. Almost always, these problems are solved by using an improved download manager, so it's good to know that Microsoft addressed this problem in IE9.
Under the hood, there are improvements to the Cascading Style Sheets support, preliminary support for the new HTML5 standard (specifically HTML5 audio and video). There's also improved privacy protection and malware protection.
What to watch out for:- On 64 bit versions of Windows, the IE9 installer will create short-cuts to the 64 bit version of the program. This version is faster than its 32 bit counterpart, but is not compatible with all add-ons. To launch the 32 bit version, you may need to use Windows Explorer to manually browse to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer".
Internet Explorer 9 does not support Windows XP.
Firefox 4 - What's new? Again, the new user interface might be a shock for the hardcore Firefox 3 fan. Stop and reload has been merged into one button, and by default tabs open across the top of the browser, though this can be changed. Our favourite new feature is the "Tab Groups" button. If you don't see this button on your copy of Firefox 4, right click on an empty space on the toolbar and choose "customize". You can then drag the "Tab Groups" button onto the Firefox toolbar.
Firefox 4 also includes support for HTML5 audio and video as well as WebGL, a platform that allows 3D content to be delivered via your web browser. There are also improvements to security and privacy, with new mechanisms for preventing sites snooping on your browsing history.
What to watch out for:- The new look and feel of Firefox is playing havoc with some windows skinning utilities. If you use Windowblinds or Impulse, you should right click on the Firefox toolbar and choose "Menu Bar". This will fix most problems. Other problems can be solved by disabling older Firefox themes (known as Personas). Furthermore, Some toolbars and add-ons are not yet fully compatible.
Apart from a shaky start for Firefox 4 (due to incompatibilities with Stardock Windowblinds) we've been very pleased with the performance of both IE9 and Firefox 4. Both browsers seem noticeably faster than their previous versions when used on modern hardware. We love the new download manager in IE9 and the new tab groups feature in Firefox. Whichever browser you prefer, the new versions have plenty to offer. You can download Firefox 4 by visiting this link or Internet Explorer 9 by visiting this link. Internet Explorer 9 will also be available through Windows Update in the near future.
In our Windows Troubleshooting section we've discussed how the System Restore utility can roll back your PC to an earlier point, thus undoing harmful changes that might have accidentally happened. If you've not seen our System Restore tutorial, click this link to view it.
What you might not realise is that the System Restore utility can be started from the Windows Vista or Windows installation DVD too. To do this, first start your computer from the Vista/Windows 7 DVD (see this tutorial if you have problems with this). Choose your language options when the DVD starts, then on the next window, click the option "Repair your computer". You will now be able to access System Restore and roll back to an earlier restore point, even if you cannot start your PC normally!.
Since this months issue was all about new web browsers, we thought it was only fair to feature some web browser tools and plugins. At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we've always trumpeted Diigo. Diigo is the best way to organise and manage your bookmarks online. If you use the web for research, don't lose important web pages or forget where a quotation came from, get organised with Diigo and save and tag all your bookmarks online and access them from anywhere. Learn more about Diigo with our tutorial here.
Now, three of the most popular Diigo add-ons are available for Firefox 4 too. These extensions add functionality to the core Diigo account, the extensions are:-
Quick note - Allows users to quickly write a note in a Firefox tab and have it saved to their Diigo account. Need to write a reminder to yourself while you are at work or college? No problem, fire up the Quick Note extension and your notes are saved securely.
Awesome Screenshot - This plugin allows you to take and edit a screenshot of any web-page. Add annotations, comments and drawings and then save it securely to your Diigo account. A fantastic tool for academics or web developers.
Read Later Fast - This is a great extension to try if you regularly get bombarded by interesting web-links from your friends or contacts. With this extension you can clip the web page into a reading list, which can be synchronised with other devices such as smartphones so that the content can be read later, even when an internet connection is not available.
Find out more about these three extensions by visiting this link.
Windows 8? Already? We're just getting used to Windows 7 and now it turns out Microsoft is well into the production of the next version of Windows. While Windows 8 isn't likely to land on shop shelves any time soon, it's always fun to get a sneak peek at what's happening in the next version of the desktop operating system. Microsoft have officially released an early preview build of the new operating system to select partners, under strict non-disclosure agreements. However, with media being the way it is these days, it was only a matter of time before some details leaked out. So, what can we expect?
A dynamic, fully 3D desktop (note, we are certain this does not mean you will need a new monitor and 3D glasses for Windows 8) a new fast hibernation system, an alternative user interface for tablet/touchscreen devices and a new "Aero Lite" theme for lower end systems.
Other tantalising glimpses showed a new backup program called "history vault" that is believed to work in a similar fashion to Time Machine on the Apple Mac, or Oops Backup and Genie Timeline on the PC. A new feature called system reset appears to give the user the ability to reinstall Windows with one click of a control panel button. Several other screenshots showed Windows Explorer windows adorned with the ribbon interface seen in Microsoft Office and also in the new Windows 7 Wordpad and Paint applications. Windows 8 could also offer built-in integration with some of Microsoft's Windows Live features. Looking at the screen-shots of the new Windows Explorer, there are two options that eagle eyed viewers spotted, "Sync" and "Web sharing" suggest that online integration might be built into the new operating system, helping it compete with cloud-centric operating systems from Google.
Speculation was rife that Microsoft would include elements of it's Xbox live user interface in Windows 8, improving the support for games, adding support for the motion sensing Kinect peripheral and hopefully improving on the disappointing Games for Windows Live service, although none of the screen-shots we discovered showed any evidence of this just yet.
Windows 8 is not expected to enter beta testing until late this year, so any features shown in early screen-shots could be reworked or removed entirely. We will of course keep our readers up to date with all things Windows 8, once a public beta version is available we will of course have it in our lab here for a full test. For now, those of you whose curiosity is not sated by this article can read more over at Cnet here.
That rounds off our newsletter for April. We'd like to take this opportunity once again to send a huge thank you to all our readers for your support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th May 2011 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7! We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page or by leaving us feedback in our forum. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy. Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!
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