TWT Newsletter, Issue #029 – It’s the bumper Windows 7 is coming issue!
Hello once again! Is it really October already? Spooky how time flies. The 10th of the month means it’s time for your TWT newsletter. With Windows 7 looming, just as we did for Vista, we’ll investigate if an upgrade to the new operating system is right for you. As always, you can find our regular tips and free software recommendations too, so let’s get started.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Celebrate Halloween in style with the spooky “Rest in Peace” desktop!
3) Do you need to upgrade to Windows 7?
4) Tip of the Month – Deleted your recycle bin?
5) Free Utility of the Month – Winmerge
6) Windows 7 ‘party’ video, spoof or genuine?!
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
Another month of great content for our readers! We started off with a look at how to customize sounds on your Windows PC. Vista and Windows 7 users should see this tutorial while Windows XP users should view this tutorial.
What is Microsoft BOB? Perhaps Windows 7 would look a lot different if Microsoft BOB had been more of a success. View our tour of this long forgotten desktop enhancement by visiting this link.
Did you know that you can filter adult and other unsuitable websites for free, using OpenDNS? We updated our OpenDNS tutorials last month, you can view them here.
When you want to transport several files at once across the internet, Zip files are very convenient. Zip files let you compress several files into one easily managed archive which can be shared with friends or colleagues more easily than a bunch of individual files. Putting files into a Zip file is easy, see this tutorial to learn how.
There was no shortage of new Windows 7 content last month either. We started with a tutorial on Customizing Windows 7 Wallpaper. Then we looked at the new Windows 7 Firewall. Next, our Devices and Printers tutorial showed you all how easy it is to work with hardware in Windows 7.
On the subject of customizations, if you are a Windows Vista Ultimate user, have you ever wanted fully animated wallpaper? If so, check out our tutorials on Windows DreamScene.
If you’re not running Windows Vista Ultimate, don’t worry, Stardock DeskScapes brings fully animated wallpapers to Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Phew! What a bumper month of great new content. As always, we’ll be bringing you plenty more in October too, so keep checking our site. You can now follow us via Twitter or by RSS in your favourite reader.
Celebrate Halloween in style with the spooky “Rest in Peace” desktop!
October means Halloween and what better way to celebrate than by decorating your desktop with the stunning MyColors Rest in Peace Desktop theme. This professionally made theme uses Stardock Softwares advanced skinning engine to completely transform Windows XP or Windows Vista. The theme also includes wallpaper and several themed gadgets, including an analogue clock, weather widget and calendar. Your friends and family won’t believe how cool your desktop looks! Go here for a Windows XP preview or go here for a Windows Vista preview. To get your candy covered fingers on the delicious Rest in Peace desktop, visit this link.
Windows 7 launches this month, but does upgrading to Microsoft’s new operating system make sense for you?
Back in our very first newsletter in June 2007, we asked the question “do you need to upgrade to Windows Vista?”. With Windows 7 due out this month, it seemed like a good idea to ask “do you need to upgrade to Windows 7?” Just as we did back then, we’ll examine several different case studies. You can choose the one that most closely resembles you and your PC and see if a Windows 7 upgrade makes sense for you. Before you go out and upgrade your PC, be sure to check it meets the minimum requirements by running the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
Busy Family:- The family computer is used by everyone, from Mum and Dad to their two children. Abbie loves to chat to her friends and download music, while Lewis loves playing games on the web. Mum and dad use the computer for shopping and letter writing.
What can Windows 7 do for the busy family? Windows 7 builds on the User Account Control (UAC) security mechanism that was introduced in Windows Vista. UAC makes it easier to set up limited accounts for your children without limiting their use of software packages such as games. The parental controls that were found in Vista have been removed, but parental control software is still available via Windows Live Essentials.
The Windows Backup utility is vastly improved and is much easier to use and the new features of the desktop are intuitive and fun. Libraries make it easier for the family to organise their work and multimedia files. Device Stage and the new Devices and Printers Control Panel section make working with many portable media players and digital cameras a breeze.
Should you upgrade? Upgrading from XP to Windows 7 will bring big improvements to security and usability on your computer, but upgrading from Vista is a little harder to justify if you are already satisfied with your computers performance. Watch our Windows 7 tutorial videos and decide for yourself if the new features are worth the cost of the upgrade. To surmise, you should certainly make sure that your next PC comes with Windows 7 installed and if you are still running Windows XP, then an upgrade is highly recommended if your computer meets the minimum requirements.
Games Player:- Your rig is kitted out with the latest hardware and you love nothing better than playing the latest 3D games with their dazzling top of the line visuals and sound effects.
What can Windows 7 do for the games player? Windows Vista added the Games Explorer, which showcases the various games installed on the computer and Windows 7 features this too. When a compatible game is installed, the system adds the game’s short cut to the Games Explorer and also downloads the games box art and content rating information. Many titles are compatible, even older games.
Windows 7 also introduces DirectX 11, another improvement to Microsoft’s games and multimedia oriented software, though this update will be available on Vista too.
Should you upgrade? Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 will bring several advantages to gamers. Most importantly, there should be little or no difference in performance between games running on Windows 7 and games running on Windows XP, there might even be some small benefits compared to running on Windows Vista. Furthermore, we’re expecting the manufacturers of high-end graphics, sound and multimedia hardware to begin phasing out support for Windows XP in the near future.
That’s not to say there’s no downside however, some older games will still run better in Windows XP, particularly those games which feature EAX sound effects. Remember, Windows 7 much discussed Windows XP mode (which we covered in TWT newsletter 24 is not suitable for running games. Thanks to the Creative Labs Alchemy project however, many EAX games will now run with Windows Vista and Windows 7. In an ideal scenario, avid gamers might want to consider a dual boot system that can run both Windows XP and Windows 7.
Upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 is a little harder to justify. You may find some small performance improvements thanks to the more tightly optimised Windows 7 internals. However, support for the newest hardware, games and gaming services (such as Games for Windows Live) is likely to continue on Vista for many years to come. If you are happy with the performance of your PC and the other new (non gaming) features of Windows 7 don’t appeal to you, you may want to hold onto your cash.
Business Professional :- You use your PC for accounting, report writing and presentations. Your data is valuable and confidential.
What can Windows 7 do for the business professional? There are a number of improvements that Windows 7 brings to business professionals. Vastly improved backup options make it even easier to safeguard your important data. Bitlocker drive encryption, introduced with Vista, protects your data from thieves. Shadow copy (again introduced with Vista) makes it easy to revert to an earlier version of a document, very handy if you make a mistake. The new Windows XP mode (which we covered in TWT newsletter 24 goes beyond the basic compatibility options and can run many stubborn legacy applications that didn’t work correctly under Windows Vista. Finally, Aero snap and Aero peek make it much easier to work with multiple document windows, improving your productivity.
Should you upgrade? While we cannot deny that we are still in a recession, Windows 7 does bring a whole host of great new features for business and productivity users. An upgrade from Windows XP is especially appealing but even for Vista users the upgrade makes a lot of sense. If your budget will stretch and your hardware is up to the job, we’d recommend taking the plunge and upgrading.
Power User :- You use your computer for everything from games to word processing, watching DVD’s and surfing the internet. You’re not afraid to try out the latest software and you love cutting edge applications.
What can Windows 7 do for the power user? Pretty much everything it does for everyone else, plus power users will appreciate the improvements to Windows Aero such as Aero Peek and Aero Snap, the improved speed of the operating system and features such as Libraries and Jump Lists.
Should you upgrade? Absolutely, Windows 7 brings some fantastic new features to the table that power users will love. Depending on their specific requirements, power users may want to consider a dual-boot system with Windows XP to maintain full compatibility with older software.
Tip of the Month – Deleted your recycle bin?
Windows users know that deleted files and folders go to the recycle bin, but what if you manage to delete the recycle bin from your desktop? Don’t panic! In Windows Vista, you can restore the recycle bin again by right clicking on the desktop and choosing “Personalize”. In the Personalization window that appears, choose “Change Desktop Icons” from the menu on the left. A Desktop Icon Settings window will then appear, simply tick or check the box labelled “Recycle Bin” and the Recycle bin will reappear on your desktop.
Windows XP users can’t accidentally delete their recycle bin, and Windows 7 users can restore it using the Windows Vista method described above.
Free Utility of the Month – Winmerge
Winmerge is a fantastic, powerful utility that can compare two different text files side by side. You can then easily see any differences between the files and use the mouse and cursor keys to merge changes. Plugins are available to help the software work with Openoffice.org and Microsoft Office files too.
Winmerge is absolutely invaluable to anyone who works in programming or web design. If you’ve ever had two or more copies of the same document and not been able to decide which is the most up-to-date version, then Winmerge can come to your rescue. You can download Winmerge here. Need a Winmerge plugin for OpenOffice.org files? You can download that here.
Windows 7 ‘party’ video, spoof or genuine?!
The saying goes that “no publicity is bad publicity” but we’re still not sure what Microsoft were thinking when they put together this video. Somebody at Microsoft had the idea of organising launch parties for Windows 7. Not big scale, expensive corporate launch parties, but regular house parties with “Windows 7 as an honoured guest”. Microsoft invited regular members of the public to hold their own house parties in honour of Windows 7. Most people, including ourselves, were scratching their heads over this decision. How exactly do you make a party out of an operating system? Sure, you could use your PC to play music and videos, but would your guests really want to sit down and learn about the new features of the Windows 7 desktop? While we try to make learning about Windows as easy and fun as possible, we’re not sure you’d want to throw a party over it.
So, needless to say lots of us were cynical about the idea and that’s before this cringe worthy video was released. Now, we’re not sure if the video is supposed to be taken seriously or not, but we did find it pretty funny. CNET TV are convinced that the video is meant to be taken seriously, and they explain why in this video.
Personally, we’re not convinced. The fact that everyone is talking about and sharing the video means that it’s a success, even if we still can’t watch it without cringing.
Still, if you do throw a Windows 7 launch party with Microsoft’s blessing, you will get a free copy of Windows 7 out of the deal. Perhaps that’s worth a few awkward moments trying to keep your party guests interested in Libraries and Backup Utilities!
That concludes our Newsletter for October. Thank you to all our subscribers for reading, we hope that you found it informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. 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. Oh and don’t party too hard if you are attending or throwing a Windows 7 launch party, we know how exciting those new Aero desktop effects can be!