Tag Archives: vista

Kindness of maintenance.

A bit of kindness of maintenance on your computer really is a good thing.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve done three Windows 7, 32 bit, and one Windows 7, 64 bit, installs. Two of the machines with the 32 bit installs were about 4 or 5 years old – not the newest kids on the block, but all went pleasantly well.

I can’t get round the fact that over the years I have found Windows a decently stable operating system. Windows NT had its roots in IBM’s OS/2, a rock stable system, with each version of Windows since then being that bit more stable than the one before. People complain about Vista (and so do I), but that was (for me) more towards its overall speed and interaction with the user, not stability factors. My Vista-powered lap-top never once crashed or locked up on me. As well as knowing others with Mac lap-tops, I also have one and have found them no better (or worse) than my Windows machines. (Once upon a time I was a very keen advocate of Linux, but that has become such a fractured community it has lost any appeal to me.)

However I do make an effort to look after my machines. A bit of basic maintenance is carried out when I’m in the mood for it. A cull of all those crap programs that get installed happens, and a general emptying of TEMP directories and tidying up of files. Occasional back-ups and running of defrag. Updates are applied, both to the operating system and to programs.
So if I wanted something that is relatively simple to use and is just going to work in the format that you get it and you don’t want to use it for much more than that, then I’d probably be happy with a Mac. But what I’m after is a versatile, flexible system that can be used in a variety of different situations, and work almost any bit of hardware I can throw at it.

As much as I do like Macs, they just don’t do that for me. I’m quite happy to put in a little effort to my systems, they are complex bits of machinery, and like anything of this type, benefit from a bit of routine care. Maybe it’s a case of so many people in our throw-away society aren’t willing to make the effort. I guess it’s partly a matter of attitude.

Not just computers, but we all work better with a bit of love and attention. So why not give a bit of love and attention to someone yourself. A simple message through Skype or MSN, perhaps a comment to a video or picture. Do that bit of occasional ‘social maintenance’. To the receiver it could make all the difference between stumbling along not working very well, or finding their way in life.

A little bit of kindness can go a long way.

Windows 7 & Vista.

Last year I bought a new lap-top. An H-P, 2 gig of RAM, dual-core processor… nothing special, though a reasonably well specified machine. However it did come with Vista as its operating system.
What a disappointment.
Even though I did various tweaks and adjustments to the system, it was just so nasty to use. O.K., it worked, it was stable, it recognised my other USB hardware devices etc, but it was sluggish and unresponsive and generally not very nice. Not helped by the machine being relatively heavy and having a poor battery run-time. It became a rather expensive door-stop! Much preferred using a baby netbook which I had access to.
However after a while I thought I’d try putting XP onto it. The install went without any problems, however getting all the required drivers gave me grief and became a pain I could not be bothered with, so I re-installed Vista from the manufacturer’s disks. Doing this install did actually improve the Vista performance which surprised me, but just raised it to a slightly different level of crapness! It was used mainly because I’d spent the money so *I will use it* rather than for its performance or functionality.
Then recently I noticed on a Microsoft bulletin that Window 7 (Beta) was available for download, so I thought I’d give that a try. Downloaded it, burnt to DVD, then installed straight over the top of the existing Vista.
Wow. What a transformation. No problems on the install, picked up all the lap-top drivers from Vista, ran smoothly, reliably, and so much faster – even faster than a well looked after XP machine I use. The only things that didn’t work properly was a webcam program I sometimes use for its built-in camera, and I lost the functionality of using the keyboard short-cuts for changing the screen brightness. Well, if that’s all I can complain about for a beta release of an operating system, I’m impressed.
However the beta is time-locked to expire in a few months time, so when I heard that Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) was available from Microsoft I quickly got hold of a copy. Thought I’d do a virgin install so went ahead and trashed the hard-drive and installed. No problems, though it gave me limited graphics, wanting the proper lap-top graphics drivers. Downloaded the latest drivers from H-P, but when I tried to install them it failed; they would only install onto Vista. So rather than muck around I just started again by first re-installing the manufacturers Vista (with all the drivers), then RC1 on top. This install failed as RC1 wanted to see Vista + Service Pack 1. Didn’t take long to download and install the service pack, and RC1 then went effortlessly on top.
Again, very impressed. Everything works quickly and smoothly. The two things that did not work before now happily run.
Using Windows 7 on this lap-top has transformed it from being a waste of space (and money!) to being my preferred machine, even to the extent of using in rather than my XP desk-top. (Even the battery life is noticeably longer as I found out when I’d forgotten to plug it in.) I’m sure as time goes by I’ll find bugs and problems, but then that goes for any bit of software.
The Linux community may have been able to sit back and snigger (and yes, I do occasionally play with Linux – though I much prefer FreeBSD), and they may have gained quite a few converts through the Vista embarrassment, but if the final version of Windows 7 turns out to be as good as what I’ve seen so far…. well, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.