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Archive for the ‘windows’ Category

A fix for Java applets not loading in Firefox

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Although I’ve been running Windows 7 betas on and off periodically since the release of build 7000, it wasn’t until I used the x64 RC more extensively as my primary OS that I realized Java wouldn’t load in Firefox. Intriguingly, however, it appeared to be working just fine in both IE and Safari. I can’t say for sure how widespread the issue is, coming straight XP, however, my girlfriend’s laptop running Vista Ultimate x64 also faced the issue.

test-1

There were no manifestations of an actual error, in fact, Java applets were as blank as could be, and trying to interact with the Java console in Firefox caused the text to gray out with absolutely no result. All the while, Java’s plugin was listed in the browser’s add-ons, just as one would expect it to be.
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Written by Matthew DeCarlo

May 20th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

List of antivirus suites that presently work with Windows 7 Beta

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If you’ve decided to give Windows 7 a whirl and have recently installed the open now closed beta, you’ll have noticed that upon installation you are notified of the fact that you’re lacking proper antivirus software.

This is nothing new and actually has been a “feature” of Windows ever since XP’s SP2 got released and the Security Center came to exist. It’s nothing new either to have a majority of antivirus suites to become incompatible with brand new operating systems – and Windows 7 is no exception, especially more so in its current beta form.

windows-1

Upon a bit of investigation you probably made your way to the Windows 7 security provider page at Microsoft’s site and perhaps were let down by the fact that the three “officially” supported AVs are all paid software or that your preferred suite isn’t listed (AVG is listed but not the free version). So, we’ve decided to install and test a variety of the more popular options out there so you don’t have to.
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Written by Matthew DeCarlo

February 12th, 2009 at 5:05 am

No Windows 7 drivers yet? Try using Vista’s

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If you’re holding back from testing your copy of Windows 7 because you’re not sure what to do as far as device drivers are concerned, there is something you ought to know (if for some reason you didn’t until this point). Under the hood, Windows 7 is essentially the same as Windows Vista and as such Vista drivers will work just fine a majority of the time.

So, head to your hardware manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers available for Windows Vista – we also keep a healthy catalog of the latest drivers for graphics cards and other devices in our own drivers section.

After downloading the drivers, run the installation setup and follow the prompts as if you would any other time. If you are presented with any errors due to compatibility, cancel the installation, right click the on the install package’s .exe and choose “Troubleshoot Compatibility”.

troubleshoot-1

This will present you with a “Program Compatibility” wizard of sorts, which is a bit more friendly than on previous version of Windows.

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Written by Matthew DeCarlo

February 4th, 2009 at 4:49 am

How long’s it been since you last rebooted Windows?

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If you’ve ever wondered just how long your PC has been continuously running without a reboot and you are using Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista or 7, there are a couple of simple ways to obtain this information using tools built right into the OS.

Method 1: Windows NT/2000 and XP

Open up the command prompt (Start > Run > cmd > Enter/Ok). When the command prompt has loaded type “net stats srv” (or “net statistics server”). NT4 users (are there any, really?) need to download a special utility instead.

uptime-2

uptime-3

Method 2: Windows XP and beyond

Alternatively, you can use the command prompt to obtain system information, type “system info” which will also provide you with your PC’s uptime.

uptime-4

uptime-5

Method 3: Windows Vista and beyond

For those on Vista or Windows 7, things are a little easier (although the above will work just fine). Right click the taskbar and choose “Task Manager” or “Start Task Manager”. Head over to the “Performance” tab and on the bottom right of the window you ought to see your system uptime.

uptime-6

Also, should you so prefer, there are many other lightweight applications that will provide you with your system uptime. There’s a desktop gadget dedicated to that and here’s yet another alternative.

Feel free to share your current uptime in the comments below. Mine right now is at 47 hours, 51 minutes on Vista x64.

An updated version of this post and discussion can be found here.

Written by Matthew DeCarlo

January 22nd, 2009 at 7:05 am

Windows 7 improved window management using the keyboard (hotkeys)

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You have probably heard already how Windows 7 simplifies and aids window management by letting you move and dock windows using the mouse, for example, dragging a window to the top edge will maximize it, or clicking on the right bottom corner will show the desktop. Now, you can do all this and many others using some equally useful keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys).

Brandon Paddock, who is one of Windows 7 Explorer developers, recently posted a complete list of Windows 7 hotkeys which I have copied below. I have also highlighted those which I believe are most useful and probably golden time-savers if you get to incorporate them into your day to day usage (though you will first need to use W7 as your primary OS for that).

Windows 7 Show desktop shortcut

Windows 7 Show desktop shortcut

General

Win+Up Maximize
Win+Down Restore / Minimize
Win+Left Snap to left
Win+Right Snap to right
Win+Shift+Left Jump to left monitor
Win+Shift+Right Jump to right monitor
Win+Home Minimize / Restore all other
windows
Win+T Focus the first taskbar entry
Pressing again will cycle through them, you can can arrow around.
Win+Shift+T cycles backwards.
Win+Space Peek at the desktop
Win+G Bring gadgets to the top of the Z-order
Win+P External display options (mirror, extend desktop, etc)
Win+X Mobility Center (same as Vista, but still handy!)
Win+#
(# = a number key)
Launches a new instance of the application in the Nth
slot on the taskbar.
Example: Win+1 launches first pinned app, Win+2 launches second, etc.
Win + +
Win + –
(plus or minus key)
Zoom in or out.

 

Explorer

Alt+P Show/hide Preview Pane

 

Taskbar modifiers
 

Shift + Click on
icon
Open a new instance
Middle click on icon Open a new instance
Ctrl + Shift + Click on icon Open a new instance with Admin privileges
Shift + Right-click on icon Show window menu (Restore / Minimize / Move
/ etc)
Note: Normally you can just right-click on the window thumbnail to get
this menu
Shift + Right-click on grouped icon Menu with Restore All / Minimize All /
Close All, etc.
Ctrl + Click on grouped icon Cycle between the windows (or tabs) in the
group

Written by Julio Franco

January 16th, 2009 at 6:32 am

How to remove Windows 7 Beta ‘Send Feedback’ link and wallpaper watermark

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The new Windows 7 beta release just like Vista preview releases before it incorporate some additional UI elements meant for testers to submit feedback back to Microsoft.

Now considering you may be running this Beta 1 release as your main OS for some reason (I admit it, I have given in to the temptation many times before), one of those elements in particular can become annoying and obtrusive to your otherwise neat configured desktop.

Windows 7 Beta Send Feedback link

Windows 7 Beta Send Feedback link

Here’s how to remove the Send Feedback link:

(1) Run the Registry Editor (type regedit on the start run menu)
(2) Browse to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
(3) If it’s not already there, add a new DWORD (32-bit) value “FeedbackToolEnabled” and set its data field to 0.
(4) The change should take effect on your next restart.

An alternative way to do this is to run this registry key file I have compiled for you. Just download, run and then restart.

Windows 7 Build 7000 watermark

Windows 7 Build 7000 watermark

There’s also a way to remove the wallpaper watermark from the beta, though I don’t find this quite as bothersome.

The process for doing this is a bit more complicated, having to patch the original user32.dll.mui file found on your Windows folder. So what I recommend you do is download this utility (found via My Digital Life) that will take care of everything for you – notice however this is only meant to work with Windows 7 Build 7000 (Beta 1).

Update: We still encourage all users to submit their feedback to Microsoft. It’s obvious that’s the reason Microsoft is giving away the OS code at this stage (besides building momentum after a lackluster Vista reception from most media), so if you come across some obvious bugs please submit them so developers can get them fixed in future revisions.

Our intention with this tip is to give you a fix for aesthetics if you will be using the beta for a prolonged time and the send feedback link bothers you visually. Ultimately what we all want is a flawless-as-you-can-get Windows 7 final release later this year.

Written by Julio Franco

January 10th, 2009 at 6:36 am

ZoneAlarm for Windows Vista? Don’t do it

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Update I have mentioned this post again on our front page after TS editor, Erik Orejuela downloaded a free copy of ZoneAlarm Pro earlier this month. The result was catastrophic for his Vista installation, even after a complete removal of the program and a system restore using the built-in Vista tool, the OS was simply bogged down enough that a clean format was the easier path to follow.

Several people have commented here since this post was made over a year ago and admittedly without any scientific or extended tests, we still recommend you to stay away from the ZoneAlarm + Vista combo.

Original post (October 9, 2007):
On a follow-up to my post yesterday about basic security programs you should be running under Windows XP, ever since I upgraded to Vista I revisited those program choices which for the most part remained the same with the exception of the free ZoneAlarm firewall…

In general, Windows Vista’s security is tighter and services such as Defender are more integrated into the OS. During the first couple of months, AVG’s anti-virus did not like Vista and it was common to find certain programs not working correctly until updates were released, even more so security suites that have to deal more directly with the core of the OS. ZoneLabs makers of the ZoneAlarm firewall took its time until the program was ready for Vista and it wasn’t until recently that it was made available on its free form as well (not part of the paid full suite).

Well, in short the experience I had with the latest build of ZoneAlarm for Vista was horrific. I noticed slowdowns and strange behavior from the OS that simply wasn’t there before. In other words, a far cry from the seamless integration and speed seen with the XP version.

If you come from XP and want to install ZoneAlarm in Vista… just don’t do it.

The good news is that Vista’s built-in firewall has proven sufficient for me so far though it does not feature outbound traffic monitoring. It’s time to look for an alternative full-featured free firewall if you are running Vista.

Written by Julio Franco

November 29th, 2008 at 11:04 am

Cool wallpaper from Microsoft’s PDC

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One thing to love about upcoming operating systems and its public beta releases is that eventually feature details and design elements leak and get distributed all over the web. You may remember how there were several prospective default wallpapers for Vista that made it to the web months before the OS release. Something similar has happened with OS X releases which also come with great wallpapers out of the box.

Now Microsoft is expected to unleash the first public preview of Windows 7 at their Professional Developers Conference this week. Some details have leaked already, but nothing to share just yet in terms of UI elements except for this PDC wallpaper that all computers at the conference are using (courtesy of istartedsomething). I have been using it for the past few hours and I had to recommend it. Nice colors, blends well and is a bit flashy (Vista style) without being too distracting.

Written by Julio Franco

October 28th, 2008 at 6:03 am

Use the Windows Embedded Theme on XP and Server 2003 (without patching)

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Windows XP has to be the most tweakable and skinnable piece of software ever created. Of course, how to compete with such a dominant and widely used operating system, but then again it might also be its light blue fisher price-like theme that gets in everybody’s nerves eventually.

For some of us, upgrading to Vista has been somewhat of a relief. The rest of Windows users still using XP have probably either gone back to the silver boxy Windows or relied on official or third party patching for getting the job done. Unfortunately last time I checked (a couple of years ago), even the most elaborate skins for popular applications like WindowBlinds lack the finish and subtlety I require.

But don’t despair. My advice, use some of the Microsoft-made themes that replace the original blue theme and make for a much better impression than the built-in silver or green themes.

Windows Embedded Theme for Windows XP/2003

Previously available themes include:
Royale
Royale Noir (by far my favorite)
Zune theme

Now also available (thanks to Sizzled Core), the Windows Embedded theme that uses a strong blue but still looks quite good IMO.

Notice neither of these require UxTheme.dll patching or other workarounds.

Written by Julio Franco

October 13th, 2008 at 6:40 am

Gates and Seinfeld – Part Two

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If you didn’t get the first one… wait, there wasn’t much to get. If you didn’t like the first one, perhaps things will take better shape now, or eventually:


Written by Julio Franco

September 13th, 2008 at 5:14 am

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