Entries Tagged as 'Windows'

Windows Component Clean Utility

When you install Windows V6 SP2 you will also get the Component Clean Utility (compcln.exe).

This utility will remove previous component versions from your computer, saving disk space and reducing the size of the installation catalog.

The caveat is that once you remove previous components you will not be able to go back to them.

Before running this utility it’s prudent to insure that you computer is stable after the last update and to create a backup (using something like Acronis or with the included tool that comes with Vista).

Performing simple maintenance tasks and reducing the amount of “fluff” on your disk (remember, the disk clean tool is a good thing to run occassionally as well — and even the included disk defragmenter will help after a great deal of use [though not as much as something like O&O Defrag]) will help keep your computer running well and running fast[er].

Originally posted 2009-06-09 11:00:12.

Foxit PDF Editor

I’ve used PaperPort since it was a Xerox product; and I’ve depended on a fairly old version of it for manipulating PDF files for a very long time.  I’d looked at Foxit’s PDF Editor when it first came out, mainly because I’ve used their free PDF Reader.

Like most people I started with Adobe’s free reader, and I used their Acrobat suite for awhile (until I got tired of paying for upgrades).  Then I tried out PrimoPDF (a reader and a printer for free, the professional version worked OK, and it’s probably time to take a look at it again)… but I moved on to Foxit’s reader for both my Windows desktop and my Windows Mobile phone. I’ve used BullZip for printing to PDF for a long time.

But I digress…

So I decided to take a look at Foxit PDF Editor 2.2 — and my “need” is fairly simple:

  • Stack PDF documents together
  • Remove pages from a PDF document stack
  • Reorder pages in a PDF document stack
  • Fill in forms (including just adding text objects to a PDF)
  • Save the new PDF

Certainly nothing major; and mostly I can do it with OpenOffice or on my Mac without worrying about spending money on a piece of software I’ll only use occasionally.

FoxIt PDF Editor seemed to work fairly great — it was a little clunky adding text to a PDF (I was filling in a rebate form), and it wouldn’t let me to a multiple line text object (one line at a time — which is a little tedious for putting a note on the page).  I really thought I was going to like the program until I scanned in a receipt (and I scanned it as a whole page PDF rather than letting the scan software crop it) and tried to crop the region of the receipt.  FoxIt PDF Editor certainly will crop an image in a PDF; but it’s modal (I hate modality in software that’s targeted for productivity, that always means that the software vendor is dictating a flow to my work — and that might not be the way I want to do it).  I guess I could have lived with the fact that it put me into an edit mode to do the crop, but the region I needed to crop was larger than my screen, and FoxIt PDF Editor wouldn’t allow me to zoom out in edit mode nor would it allow me to auto-pan while I was using the crop tool to select… so while it would crop, it wouldn’t crop what I needed to.

Then I did the exact same thing in my ancient copy of PaperPort.  No problem, it worked like a champ and the resulting PDF file was 31KB from PaperPort verses the 536KB from FoxIt PDF Editor!

I was over it — FoxIt PDF Editor wasn’t worth $9.99 to me, much less $99.99…

If you sell software that has a “professional” price tag, you really need to provide professional quality software, not some POS that doesn’t work as well as shareware a hacker wrote in his basement and gives away for free!

Here’s a run down of alternatives for manipulating PDF files on Windows.  PaperPort is my current favorite; but you really need the Professional version to do everything you’d likely want with a PDF — and I certainly don’t feel it’s work the price.

I’ll take a look at Nitro and see what it has to offer; but for the time being I’ll just stick with my old PaperPort I run in a virtual machine along with OpenOffice to do what I need.

PaperPort 12 $99.99
PaperPort Professional 12 $199.99
Nitro PDF Professional 6 $99.99
FoxIt PDF Editor 2.2 $99.99
FoxIt Phantom PDF Suite 2.0 $129.99
FoxIt Reader 4.0 FREE
FoxIt Reader for Windows Mobile FREE
PrimoPDF 5.0.0.19 FREE
OpenOffice FREE
BullZip PDF FREE

NOTE: With “FREE” products pay close attention when performing an install, many will default to installing third party software (browser toolbars, etc) or resetting your browser’s home page.  Just make sure you select the options you prefer, and none of the require the addition of any third party software to function.

Originally posted 2010-07-21 02:00:04.

Windows 7 – 32-bit or 64-bit?

So you’ve got your new copy of Microsoft® Windows 7 and you’re ready to install it on your computer… but you have to decide whether to use the 32-bit install DVD or the 64-bit install DVD.

There’s obviously special cases that might force you to use one version or the other, but if that’s the case you should have the question eating at you.

First thing is does you processor and motherboard support 64-bits?  If it doesn’t, then the choice is easy because you don’t have one — you’ll be using 32-bits.

Second, is your computer limited to 2GB or 4GB of memory?  If it is, then the answer is simple — you’ll want to use 32-bit.

Third, does you computer have 4GB or less or memory?  If it does, then you have to ask yourself if you’re going to upgrade your computer soon.  Take a look at memory prices, it may be more feasible to actually buy a new computer with a fast processor, better video, etc.  But that’s a decision you’ll have to make.  If you’re not likely to put more than 4GB of memory in your computer you’ll want to use 32-bit.

If your computer will have more than 4GB of memory you will likely want to use 64-bit.

These guidelines are only that, and your specific needs may have many more complex requirements — but don’t deceive yourself into thinking you need to put a 64-bit version of Windows 7 on a computer that will never be able to really take advantage of it; you will in all likelihood decrease your performance.

Originally posted 2009-10-26 01:00:59.

Windows Live Writer

Part of the Microsoft Live Essential software suite available either from Live.com (see link below) or through the Microsoft Update is Live Writer; a simple tool to make posting to a BLOG easier (certainly for novice BLOG posters).

Live Writer will post to Live BLOGs or to a number of other BLOG engines / sites (including WordPress).

This post was create with Live Write (though a few settings were edited after posting to keep everything consistent with the way I publish to my BLOG).

With Live Writer, you can post formatted text, hyperlinks, pictures, photo albums, tables, maps, videos, etc… you can use a clean easy UI on your computer rather than logging into your BLOGs and using a different interface on each of the sites you have an account on.

The only thing that doesn’t seem to work are:

  • WordPress categories and the tagging is different.  If you have an existing BLOG there’s now way I’ve found using just Live Writer to use categories and post tags in a WordPress fashion.
  • The ability to schedule a posting for a later date and time.  I haven’t found any way with just Live Writer to schedule a post for a later date and time.

For both of these you can log into your BLOG site after posting and make the minor setting changes.

The ability to create a BLOG post in a WYSIWYG fashion is certainly helpful for many.  You see the post much as it will look when published (with the background and text styles), you get spelling check as you type, and manipulating rich content is substantially easier than the default WordPress editor.

Windows Live Essentials

Originally posted 2009-11-23 01:00:21.

Windows 7 – Which edition is right for you?

So you want to upgrade to Microsoft® Windows 7, but you’re not sure which version is the right choice…

Essentially there are only three choices for consumers in the US this time: Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate… and certainly you can go through the matrix and figure out what’s best, but here’s my advice.

If your computer won’t be used in a business setting where it’s necessary that you join a domain (Active Directory Service) then you may not need anything more than Home Premium.  If you have ADS on your home network, consider therapy.

If your computer is not capable of hardware virtualization (you can use the detection tool below) then you won’t be able to use the Virtual XP mode of Professional or Ultimate.

If your motherboard doesn’t have the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) you won’t be able to use the enhanced security of Professional or Ultimate.

The only other useful feature in Professional/Ultimate that’s not in Home Premium is the ability to be an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) server that would allow remote access from another machine.  All versions support remote assistance requests.

There’s absolutely no reason to buy a higher end version than you can use; it will not run any faster or better.  The version you install will be locked to the hardware you install it on, and it’s hard to move it to another computer (it might be impossible).

Don’t waste your money by stroking your ego — buy the version that fits your hardware and your needs best; and for most people that’s going to be Home Premium.

Microsoft® Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool

Originally posted 2009-10-25 01:00:38.

Cloud Storage

 There are tons of free (and paid) cloud storage services… and you can use more than one of them (I actually use all of the following myself).

 

Amazon

Amazon changes their cloud storage option fairly often, currently it’s 5GB free with 250 songs — the subscription for storage and music storage are separate now.

 

Box

50GB of storage.  Works with Windows, Max, Android, and iOS – plus there are several other apps that allow easy migration of files to Box.

 

DropBox 

2GB of storage plus an extra 500MB for using the above link to sign up (there are other bonuses you can get as well).    Works with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.

 

GoogleDrive

If you have a Google GMail account (or Google App account) you already have this, just sign in to activate it.  Works with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS — probably others as well.  The storage amount you get seems to vary based on when you sign up.  NOTE:  Google Music is stored separately.

 

SkyDrive

If you have an MSN, HotMail, Live or any other Microsoft hosted/provided account you already have access to it.  Works with Windows, Android, iOS — probably others as well.  The storage amount you get seems to vary based on when you sign up.

 

Ubuntu One

5GB of storage, plus an extra 500MB for using the above link to sign up.  Works with Windows, Mac, Ubuntu (Linux), Android, and iOS – plus can be used automatically to store large Thunderbird attachments (great if you’re sending the same attachment to several people).

Originally posted 2013-08-27 11:10:21.

HTML5

Both Apple (in an essay by Steve Jobs) and Microsoft (from the general manager of IE) have put a stake in the ground — the future of the web is in HTML5 and Adobe Flash is nothing more than a transitional technology that had no place in the future… of course with that, Microsoft has also indicated the IE9 won’t be supported by Windows XP, so it too obviously will have no place (in their minds) in the future.

I would agree that Flash has no place in the future; of course, I felt it had no place in the past either… but the glut of mediocre web designers and the masses need for eye candy seemed to give Flash a leg up in the past, and my bet is will continue to keep it alive long into the future.

Additionally, my guess is Windows XP will do just fine — after all, you can run Operate, FireFox, Chrome, and Safari today on that platform, and all of those will likely continue to develop for and support Windows XP in the future.  All of those are far better browsers than IE is today, and I suspect that’s a pretty safe bet for tomorrow.

In fact, Chrome, Opera, and Safari all support HTML5 today (and score 100/100 in the ACID3 tests)…

Apple on HTML5

Microsoft on HTML5

Originally posted 2010-05-05 02:00:07.

Netbook

I purchased a MSI Wind U100 a couple weeks ago for an “on-the-go” computer.

At $299 plus $99 for a 2.5″ SATA2 500GB Seagate hard drive and $15 for an additional 1GB of DDR2 it’s a fairly economical solution to use to browse the web on the go, send/receive email, mapping, GPS, music and videos, contacts, date book, etc.

I looked at all the options, but I choose this one because I wanted 2GB of memory (most of them come with only 512MB built in so you can only have 1.5GB total and a couple only allow 1GB total).

The Atom N270 processor is by no means a top performer, but it does a fairly good job and mine is running Vista Home Premium with no issues at all (it ships with Windows XP Home).

The only thing I dislike about it is the fact that the keyboard is so small; but if you want a small notebook you’re going to have to live with a small keyboard!

No one computer is right for everyone, so you’ll have to decide what’s right for your particular needs, what your intended use is, and your budget.  There are actually models of netbooks you can purchase with an AT&T wireless modem installed for $99 (of course you have a two year contract your saddled with).

Bigger than a PDA, but far more flexible!

Originally posted 2008-12-27 12:00:21.

On the quest…

Shortly after I received my Windows 7 licenses I realized that I was growing tired of paying for software upgrades and simple fixes; further I was growing tired of needing to re-learn how to do simple tasks when the software vendor decided to improve my experience.

I started thinking about ways to reduce and perhaps totally eliminate my dependency on particular software vendors (and that wouldn’t be just Microsoft — Apple plays the exact same game — and don’t get me started on Google).

Certainly there must be quality software out there that was built on the paradigm that computers are tools and that they should improve an individuals quality of life, not create a life centric on a computer and a religion based on software.

I’ve already published many articles about my quest to find an operating system that would is focused on usability; but my quest (with the help of many of my friends and associates) will cover every piece of software you might need or want on your computer to achieve make your day to day life simpler…

This is a big undertaking; and it will take me quite a bit of time to fully explore and write up my findings.  There will be many articles dealing with the same topics as I travel the path.

My feeling is that there are good solutions out there, and that with a little work and guidenace an average computer user can have a computer system that does what he wants without breaking the bank.

Now don’t get me wrong; my feeling is that most open source software is crap (but then again, most commercial software is crap)… but since it always seems to be a compromise, you might as well save a little cash since you’ll never really get what you want.

Originally posted 2010-01-12 01:00:12.

Microsoft Live Essentials

With Windows 7 Microsoft has removed email, instant messaging, address book, calendaring,  and movie maker from the Windows install.  If you run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor it will direct you to Live.com (a Microsoft) site for tools that will add back these features to Windows.

Live.com has offered most all of these tools in one form or another for over a year; and for quite some time now the entire suite of tools.

I’ll just quickly list the features:

  • Live Messanger
  • Live Call
  • Live Mail
  • Live Writer
  • Live Photo Gallery
  • Live Movie Maker
  • Live Toolbar
  • Live Family Saftey

Live Messanger is the replacement for Windows Messanger, MSN Messanger it’s substantially the same as what ever Microsoft messanger you might use — with an updated look and feel and of course, new features.

Live Call is Microsoft’s entry into the voice communications market.  I’ve never used it, so I can’t really comment on it.

Live Mail is the replacement for Outlook Express and Windows Mail (for you Vista users).  It somewhat resembles both of it’s predecessors, but carries forward many of the refinements from Windows Mail; and introduces a number of “bugs” that had been stomped out long ago in the code line (I reported several during the BETA — they still haven’t been fixed, and I expect until they annoy someone on the Live Mail team they won’t be).  On feature that has been added that many will find useful is the ability to interface with Hot Mail/MSN Mail/Live Mail web mail directly (at no cost).

Live Writer is a WYSIWYG editor for BLOGing.  It interfaces to Live BLOGs as well as a number of blogging engines and web sites.

Live Photo Gallery is Microsoft’s attempt to get some of the media sharing market.  I don’t use it, but I’m sure they’ve figured out some way to make money from it (like all the others).

Live Movie Maker is the replacement for Windows Movie Maker.  I haven’t used it.  The previous software might be fine for novices; but I prefer to use Final Cut Studio on my Mac; so I don’t think my opinion of this software is relevant to the target audience.

Live Toolbar is like most toolbars, a waste.  Whether it’s invasive like most of them or not I can’t say — I have no need for toolbars; and you probably don’t either.

Live Family Saftey is designed to limit access to questionable internet sites and content.  I’ve never used it; but I would guess like most it errors on the side of caution.

There is also a Microsoft Office Outlook Connector, and Office Live Add-In which provide access to Live features directly from Microsoft Office (why?) that you can read about on your own.

Overall, many of the “free” tools in Microsoft Live Essentials are probably well worth the small amount of time and energy to download and install.  One note, make sure you uncheck the items you don’t want (you can add them later if you change your mind) and pay close attention to the attemp to change (and lock) your browser’s home page and search tool.

Microsoft Live Essentials

Originally posted 2009-11-22 01:00:50.