Archive for the ‘Operating Systems’ Category

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Windows 7 lag when using dual monitors with different refresh rates

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

I have recently installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with Service Pack 1, coming from Vista (in which I had no problems). After the installation, the first thing I did was install the graphics card driver for my AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB card. I then noticed that when I drag windows around the desktop, scroll through windows, and especially drag windows from the secondary monitor to the primary, there was very noticeable lag. However, there was no lag in games – just the Windows desktop and its windows. This was a completely fresh install. I have dual monitors – the primary is a 19″ widescreen Acer X191W, and the secondary is a 15″ Sony LCD. I am using them in extended desktop mode.

What happened at first was Windows locked the primary monitor to 75Hz, and would not let me change it to 60Hz.  For some reason the first time I installed the video drivers, I think there was a conflict with the default Windows display drivers, causing my main monitor to be stuck at 75Hz. I had to uninstall and wipe the display driver to reinstall it, after which the option to set it to 60Hz appeared. I used ATIMAN Uninstaller to wipe the driver. After setting the display to 60Hz, the lag disappeared completely.

So it seemed there was a conflict somewhere with my specific hardware configuration that caused lag when two monitors were set to different refresh rates. However, then I tried to recreate the problem on a different system. This system has a Radeon HD 4870 and different dual displays. It had the same problem when one of the monitors was set to refresh at 60Hz and the other at 75Hz. And again, putting them both to 60Hz resolved the lag issue.

I could not find any information about this issue online. It can’t be the monitors as between the two systems there were four different monitors that had the same problem. It can’t be the hardware, because my computer has a 6870 and the other has a 4870. It can’t be interfering software, as this was a clean install of Windows. It has to be either the AMD driver, or an issue with Windows.

The point of this post is to let people know how to fix this issue, as well as ask if anyone else has experienced this, especially with a different graphics card. It took me two weeks to find the cause of this. I haven’t found anyone online with this issue. Both the video cards I tested should handle different refresh rates without a problem. Although I have fixed the issue, I still want to know what caused it.

Posted in Operating Systems, Performance, Software | 3 Comments »

How to make text on a laptop screen easier to read

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

If you have a small laptop screen or are using a netbook, the text on your screen is probably difficult to read. There is an easy way to make the text more visible, and it’s called ClearType. I have covered how to use ClearType text on Windows XP, so here is the updated version for Windows 7.

ClearType is very easy to use in Windows 7 because it comes built into the operating system. Just follow these steps to turn it on:

1. Open Control Panel by clicking Start > Control Panel

2. Click on Appearance and Personalization

3. Click on Adjust ClearType text

4. Check the box for Turn on ClearType, and then click Next as you follow the instructions to pick the best looking text for your screen

And that’s all there is to it. I recommend picking the darkest setting during the last step, especially if you are on a netbook.

Posted in Operating Systems, Tutorials | No Comments »

Windows 7 Ultimate on the Acer Aspire One Netbook

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Windows 7, the operating system from Microsoft that people actually seem to like. Although Vista was actually a great operating system, many people trashed it for no apparent reason, other than just wanting to jump on the Vista-Hate bandwagon.

And even though Vista was and still is a great operating system, Windows 7 is a lot better. I would never even think about installing Vista on my Acer Aspire One netbook, with its tiny 1.3GHz Atom processor and 1GB of memory. But I did think about installing Windows 7. Sorry, XP lovers, but XP sucks. It is a very buggy operating system. It wasn’t designed to handle today’s hardware. The amount of small errors XP has annoys the crap out of me. It happened on my old Pentium 4 system, and is happening on my netbook.

I like tinkering with computers anyways, so I decided to install Windows 7 on my Acer. I had no data on the laptop, just a few things installed. I decided to do a dual boot for now. I downloaded Easeus Partition Master and formatted a second primary (NOT logical) partition. Then I plugged in my USB DVD drive, popped in the Windows 7 disc, and restarted the computer.

After booting from the disc, I chose customized setup and selected the new partition I made for Windows 7. After about 30 minutes, the installation was finished. I then downloaded the Windows 7 specific drivers from the Acer website, and the install was ready.

This was the simplest, easiest operating system install I ever did. Everything on the laptop works perfectly after installing the drivers. I can run full Aero with transparency if I wanted to, but doing that makes the computer lag, very noticeably. So I switched it back to the Windows 7 Basic theme (which was the default – I only switched to Aero to see how it would run). I then installed Office 2007, Firefox, Pidgin, and some other programs, and tweaked some settings to my liking.

Surprisingly, when I ran msconfig and checked out the startup items through CCleaner, there was nothing extra running that I didn’t need. The only thing I disabled was drive indexing; I turned the service off completely through Control Panel. I never use Windows Search, so I don’t need it running all the time and wasting resources. The only program running in the background is AVG Antivirus.

With the software all set up and configured, I did some initial tests. It seems to run at the same speed as XP. Firefox takes a bit less time to open. For now I will say it’s the same in terms of speed, making this a successful upgrade. No loss of speed while gaining more features equals success. Battery life estimates seem less than XP. When XP estimated 10 hours remaining, Windows 7 estimates 8 hours. Maybe it’s just better at estimating, but I haven’t tested it completely yet.

Windows 7 is a million times better to use than Windows XP. Everything is easier to do, looks nicer, and it just feels better. It’s a better overall experience. It makes the laptop feel more modern, with its tiny hardware specs. And the best thing is, it should get even faster in the next week or so, thanks to SuperFetch. That is why I am holding off on doing tests between the two. Once Windows 7 has time to optimize itself, I’m sure it will be quicker than Windows XP. I might do a side-by-side video of the two doing certain tasks when that happens.

If you’re thinking about installing Windows 7 on your Acer Aspire One netbook, you should go right ahead. I have found no negatives in the two days I’ve been using it so far. It is a great operating system, and works great with this netbook. It’s much better than Vista at handling resources. My install of Windows 7 Ultimate x86 (32-bit) is here to stay, and I will get rid of the XP partition after I do the comparisons. You should upgrade too.

Posted in Desktops & Laptops, Operating Systems, Performance | 5 Comments »

Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets are Nothing New

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I don’t get why so many people are talking about Windows 7’s sidebar-free gadgets as a new feature. This feature has existed on Vista all along. You just drag the gadgets off the sidebar, then right click on the sidebar and Close. Yet a lot of people are saying that this is a great new feature. It’s not, it’s been around for a couple of years in Vista.

Windows 7 does have many new features, but this is not one of them. This just proves people are ignorant about Vista and never gave it a real chance.

Posted in Operating Systems | 2 Comments »

Phoenix Instant Boot Starts Windows 7 in a Few Seconds

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Phoenix Instant Boot looks like an impressive new technology that lets computers start up in just a few seconds. But let’s take a closer look at what is really happening.

The video is demonstrating a new BIOS that starts in about one second. The BIOS is supposed to make Windows load instantly as well. But this cannot happen with current hardware and a normal install of Windows. This is the key point – the Windows install. A normal install will have background applications running, more icons on the desktop, a higher resolution, and more things which will make it take longer to start. The video demo shows Windows Aero disabled, a resolution that appears way too low than it’s supposed to be, and it’s obviously a brand new install, maybe with the exception of a program or two installed (but not starting up).

The Windows install shown in the video is customized in a way that a normal user would never have it. That is why it boots so fast. And the thing about it changing how people will use the device – most likely no. It won’t change how people use laptops. It will just let people turn them on quicker. But then, who ever turns off their laptop? Hibernation cuts Windows loading time to half or less, and that’s what laptops do when you close the lid.

Don’t get me wrong – faster is always better when it comes to boot times. But people should also be realistic in terms of how much to expect – you just can’t boot a normal operating system in a few seconds on today’s hardware.

Posted in Desktops & Laptops, Multimedia, News, Operating Systems, Performance | No Comments »

Windows 8 Will Be 128-Bit

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

It has been leaked that Windows 8 will feature a 128-bit architecture.

This is good news in terms of moving forward and adapting new technology, but is the average consumer really ready for 128 bit operating systems? The answer to that is a definite no.

Most people today use a 32 bit version of Windows. If given the option whether to buy a 32 or 64 bit version of Windows, most people would have no idea what 32 or 64 bit even means. How much software right now is written for native 64 bit use? Almost none. 64 bit is barely being taken advantage of right now, so why introduce 128 bit?

Whether this is a good idea or not, 128 bit will come sooner or later, and if not in Windows 8 then most likely in Windows 9. But first the average computer user must transition to using a 64 bit operating system. And the people who know about 64 bit need to stop believing that all their old software won’t work on it. The fact is that most software does work on 64 bit systems; if it’s old, it gets emulated as if it were being run in 32 bit mode.

It’s a good thing that operating system architecture is advancing, but it would be so much better if software companies started to really take advantage of the power of 64 bit right now.

There have also been rumors that Windows 8 will abandon the Windows platform and will be based on Cloud Computing. The chance of this being true is nonexistent. Backwards compatibility needs to remain in Windows, and the base model of the operating system has to remain identical, otherwise businesses, which make up a huge percentage of Windows customers, will simply never upgrade. In fact, a large amount of businesses are still using Windows 2000.

Windows 8 will most likely be released sometime around 2012.

Posted in News, Operating Systems | No Comments »

How to protect your computer from the Conficker C virus

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

image from Wikipedia

There has been quite a bit of talk on the internet about the Conficker virus that was supposed to wreck a whole lot of computers yesterday. People are panicking all over the place as if their computer is about to explode.

This is just another virus. It is hyped up to be something devastating, but apart from its ability to replicate and avoid detection, it is like any other virus. A lot of viruses already steal personal information from your computer. To avoid catching Conficker C, use the same methods you would to prevent any other virus.

Assuming you don’t already have Conficker on your computer, waiting to attack, here are the usual anti-virus tips you should follow.

  • Don’t click on suspicious links on suspicious sites.
  • Don’t download suspicious files, or most of the time, files that are around 900kb or 300kb (unless you know the file you’re looking for is supposed to be that size).
  • Use good a good anti-virus program like AVG and make sure it’s fully updated.
  • Don’t open suspicious emails and their suspicious attachments.
  • Scan files before you open them.
  • Make sure your operating system is updated.
  • Use a firewall. Vista’s firewall is sufficient for most people, so just make sure that it’s enabled.

Use common sense and if you think a site or file might be infected, don’t open it. If you think your computer might already be infected with the Conficker worm, my suggestion would be to just reformat. You will lose all your files that you did not back up, but at least you will be 100% sure that your personal information isn’t being stolen. Just don’t back up your files if you’re already infected, because the virus will transfer along with your backups. Good luck and keep your computer safe. To protect your computers from virus infection, it is always best to read Antivirus Reviews to select the best product in the market.

Posted in Internet, News, Operating Systems, Security, Tips & Tricks | No Comments »

Is your new hard drive not showing up in Windows Vista?

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

If your new hard drive is not showing up in Windows, it simply needs to be formatted. Here is how to format your new (or existing) hard drive from Windows Vista, without using any third party software.

Right click on Computer (which can also be found in your Start Menu if you don’t have it on your desktop). Click Manage.

The Computer Management window should open. When it does, select Disk Management from the left hand drop-down menu.

After selecting Disk Management, you should get a list of your hard disks. Right click on the hard drive that you need to format, and click Format. Note: you can also format and partition existing drives here. You can change any partition except the one which Windows is installed on.

In the Format window, give your new hard drive a name and choose the file system. For most purposes, you would want this to be NTFS. A full format is always recommended, meaning the “perform a quick format” box should be unchecked. Leave everything else as it is, and click OK. If you’re formatting an existing drive, all the data on it will be erased.

After it’s done formatting, your new hard drive should appear in “Computer”.

Posted in Hardware, Operating Systems, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials | 13 Comments »

Next version of OS X will be called Snow Leopard – what is Apple thinking?

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Engadget has been covering today’s WWDC 2008 keynote, and it has been announced that Apple’s next OS X version will be called Snow Leopard. And that is the dumbest name I have ever heard for any piece of software.

First of all, Snow Leopard won’t even have new key features. It will be only a security and performance update for Leopard. In other words, something Microsoft would call a service pack. Snow Leopard is just a service pack, so why does it even need a new name? Oh, probably because Apple is trying to show their OS is perfect, works all the time, and is secure – unlike Windows, which needs a service pack (roll eyes).

Now forget that Snow Leopard is just a service pack. Still, why did Apple pick such a name? You can say “my computer’s running Leopard” or “my computer’s running Windows” or even “my computer’s running Ubuntu” but can you imagine yourself saying “my computer’s running Snow Leopard”? I don’t know about you, but I think that just sounds dumb.

Also people are wondering if Snow Leopard will even be free. It is just a service pack after all, and people all over internet forums are seeing that. Microsoft doesn’t charge for its service packs, but then again Apple doesn’t even want to acknowledge that this is one.

Apple should have really picked a different name for its next “version” of OS X. Or just call it Leopard SP1.

Posted in News, Operating Systems | 3 Comments »

Multi-touch in Windows 7 – a Useless Feature

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

At the All Things Digital conference today, Microsoft demonstrated some Windows 7 features. Supposedly the main feature of Windows 7 will be multi-touch capabilities, as already seen in the Microsoft Surface demos. While multi-touch might be useful for a table interface, I fail to see how it will ever be useful in a Windows operating system.

First, here is the video of the short demonstration:

Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7

Now, first of all, only tablet laptops and touch-screen LCD’s will be able to make use of multi-touch. However, almost no one has a tablet, and only stores have touch screen LCD’s for customer interaction. There will be a very small amount of consumers who will be able to even use multi-touch.

Second, what’s the point? How often do people really want to drag a couple photos around the screen and rotate them? Are you really going to use a multi-touch piano? You might for ten minutes just to play with the technology, but that’s it. Most people aren’t going to use it to draw in paint. And again, how often do you use Google Maps?

Multi-touch might be useful for graphic artists, but most already have external touch pads for the job. For consumers, I just don’t see the application of multi-touch in everyday computing. For companies who use touch screen displays in the workplace, they already have the technology for it.

I see no purpose for multi-touch. It’s cool to use it for some demonstrations, but that’s it. Most people won’t even have the hardware for it, yet alone the use for it. And with Gizmodo saying multi-touch is the biggest feature of Windows 7, I’m starting to doubt whether this version of Windows will live up to the hype.

Posted in Multimedia, Operating Systems, Technology | 6 Comments »

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