Windows 7 Ultimate on the Acer Aspire One Netbook

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.

How to make text on your netbook or other small screen more visible and easier to read

If you are using Windows XP and are on a netbook or using a laptop with a small screen, text might seem difficult to read. The fix for this is to download ClearType Tuner from Microsoft’s XP PowerToys website. This is Microsoft’s own tool for using ClearType text on Windows XP. ClearType is a technology that makes text easier to read by using special antialiasing methods on text (just how video games use it to fix jagged edges.

Below are two screenshots of how ClearType works on the Acer Aspire One netbook.

Before:

After:

The difference this makes on an 11.6″ 1366×768 display is huge. And I also recommend to set the slider to the darkest option, otherwise the text looks a bit blue:

Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets are Nothing New

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.

Phoenix Instant Boot Starts Windows 7 in a Few Seconds

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.

Windows 8 Will Be 128-Bit

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.

How to protect your computer from the Conficker C virus

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.

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

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”.