Entries Tagged as 'Windows'

Windows 7 – Multiple Displays

I have multiple displays on both my “high end” workstations.  The one I’ve been testing Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on happens to have two nVidia 9800 PCIe display adapters and three 22″ LCD display panels (I plan on hooking up a 37″ LCD TV to the forth output when I upgrade my 42″ Plasma TV).

The three panels worked great with Vista Ultimate x64, and I didn’t have any problem doing a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on the machine.  The monitors didn’t default to the same arrangement they did on Vista — but it was easy to reorder them.

One problem I’ve noted (and yes we can partially blame this on the PC BIOS) is that if I boot the machine without any of the monitors powered up, I get a different primary monitor and non of the other monitors are active (I can force them active).

This problem is all to reminiscent of the SATA drive problem I found installing on multiple drives — but there’s really no apparent way to force Windows 7 to always pick the same default monitor (whether they are on or off).

So yet another feature that worked fine in Vista that’s broken (or at least changed) in Windows 7.

Make sure you have all your monitors on; or at least your primary monitor; when you boot up Windows 7!!!

 

NOTE:  This problem appears to be related to multiple identical display adapters, and appears to not be an issue if you just have two displays on a single card.

Originally posted 2009-11-19 01:00:03.

DVD Backup

Before using software the backs up encrypted media please check the laws in your country and insure that you are in full compliance.  In some countries there may be conflicting laws, make sure you understand the issues before proceding.

DVDDecrypter was one of the absolute best utilities for decrypting DVDs for legitimate backup purposes; you can still find copies of it on the internet, and you can read all about it and the end of it’s development.

Now DVDFab is probably the best product for Windows.  Three’s a free version, as well as two different commercial versions of it for sale by the developers.

Originally posted 2008-11-30 12:00:51.

NetBeans for C/C++ on Windows

 

I’ve been a fan of the NetBeans environment for developing for a long time.  Yes, there’s a great deal of resistance to it because it’s not OpenSource (it’s an Oracle sponsored project), but it’s free for Windows, OS-X, and Linux.

Many think NetBeans is only an IDE for Java development.  That’s definitely not the case.  NetBeans will do Java, HTML5, C/C++, Fortan, Groovy, PHP, and many more (with plug-ins)… and works with both Tomcat and GlassFish (GlassFish is actually bundled with several NetBeans packages — but you do not have to install it if you’re not going to use it).

NetBeans is written in Java, and you need not only a JRE (runtime), but also a JDK (development kit)… on Java.com (also an Oracle project — they purchased Sun) you can download bundles for many operating systems including JRE, JDK, and NetBeans (you can also install them individually).

Getting NetBeans and C/C++ to work on Linux is a snap, you just need your development tools setup before you install / run NetBeans.  I’d considered install on Windows pretty straight forward as well, but since I’ve helped two different people get it working in the last week, and several a few months ago I’m going to write a quick list of the steps involved.


 

While not all of these steps need to be done in the order I’m listing them in, unless you really know what you’re doing (and why would you be reading this if you already know how to make this work), just follow the steps.  If you have any problems getting this to work, use my contact page — I definitely want to improve my instructions (no — I’m not going to put screen shots and make it a guide for people who’ve never seen a computer before… it’s a development environment, so I’m working on the premise you either know C/C++ or you’re taking a class in it).

At the end of the article are some links that might help (please search the internet if the links are broken).

  1. Download and install the latest JRE (or the one you’ve been told to if taking a class).
  2. Download and install the latest JDK (or the one you’ve been told to / matches the JRE).
  3. Download and install the latest NetBeans full package (it’s the right most column, if you’re worried about disk space, don’t install GlassFish).
  4. Download and install MinGW in C:\MinGW
  5. Run the mingw-get-setup.exe file and select the C++ compiler, development environment, MSYS
    base (we’ll install the rest in the next step).
  6. Download and install MSYS into C:\MinGW\msys\1.0 (watch the navigation pane to insure you don’t get an extra 1.0 in the path).  Let the install “normalize” (that’ll remove duplicate copies of tools.
  7. Add the following to the Windows path (you will need admin rights — if you don’t have admin rights then you’ll have to launch NetBeans through a batch file that adds them to the windows path before executing NetBeans).
    • c:\MinGW\bin
    • c:\MinGW\MSys\1.0\bin
  • Launch NetBeans and do the following:
    • tools->plugins
      insure C++ is installed/enabled
    • tools->preferences->C++
      if necessary add the MinGW toolchain and accept defauls (NetBeans should locate all the required components).
  • Now just create a “Hello World” project and insure that it works.

 


 

Originally posted 2015-02-07 15:00:29.

Virtual Server 2005 R2 with Internet Explorer 8

You’ve probably read my rant on IE8 and how broken it is.

If you have IE8, and you need to use Virtual Server 2005 R2 (and perhaps previous versions as well), and you’re tired of having to select compatibility mode manually all the time…

You can add a customer header to your web site to force IE8 into IE7 (compatibility) mode.

However, on a workstation (XP, Vista, etc) that means all of your web sites will force IE8 into IE7 mode; on a server (Server 2003, Server 2008, etc) you can set the header on only the virtual server web site.

Why Microsoft doesn’t issue a hot fix for this is totally beyond me… seem like it would be trivial for them to make the web service app send the META tag; or they could actually address the compatibility issues.

On Vista you’ll find the menu you need via:

  • Computer->Manage->Services and Applications->Internet Information Server->HTTP Response Headers->Add

And the Custom HTTP Response Header you’ll set and value is:

  • Name:  X-UA-Compatible
  • Value: IE=EmulateIE7

On other versions of Windows you just need to get to the IIS management console figure out how to set the custom HTTP header on a site (remember, workstation versions of Windows only have one web site so depending on the version of  Windows you’ll see either ‘default’ or nothing listed).

Originally posted 2009-08-27 01:00:02.

PDF Creation

PDF (Portable Document Format) was developed by Adobe Systems in 1994 but as of July 1, 2008 it’s an open standard (ISO 32000-1:2008) and there are a host of tools, many free, that allow you to create, view, and work with PDFs.

If you need to create PDFs on your Windows machine from various applications consider Bullzip.  It installs a printer (uses GhostScript lite — it will install it for you if you don’t already have GhostScript) that allows you to “print” to PDF.  It’s totally free, and totally worth it.

For more advanced PDF manipulation, you can learn how to use GhostScript or try out the PDF Took Kit (Pdftk) form AccessPDF.

You’re probably better off to do an internet search on GhostScript, but here’s where you can find links to information and downloads.

Originally posted 2008-11-25 12:00:47.

Hyper-V Transition

I’ve started to make the conversion of my servers and virtualization hosts to Windows Server 2008, and with Windows Server 2008 comes Hyper-V.

While I believe there has to be a rather substantial update to Hyper-V, most of  the initial feedback is promising, and the performance is good.

Since I already have an investment in virtualization using Virtual Server 2005 R2 (x64) Hyper-V is the logical choice (though you could consider others — Virtual Box would be a free alternative).

Microsoft makes it possible for you to import Virtual PC or Virtual Server machines only if you purchase the Virtual Machine Manager; for those of us who don’t run a virtual data center that might be a bit much (I think it was available through my MSDN subscription, but I really didn’t want to install it).  For those who don’t mind a few manual steps you can use Matthijs ten Seldam’s Virtual Server to Hyper-V import tool – VMC2HV (I’ve included links at the bottom of the post to his BLOG as well as direct to his SkyDrive for download).

With VMC2HV you will have to manually remove Virtual Machine Additions from your old virtual machines, and manually start the process of HAL upgrade and Virtual Intergration Services Install on your Hyper-V machine, but it’s very straight forward and Hyper-V will actually give you info-tips to guide you along.

The tool is fairly straight forward to use, the only thing you need to remember is to have it swap SCSI0 with IDE0 (if you used SCSI drives on Virtual Server, remember that Hyper-V can only boot from IDE drive; hopefully that will change soon).

Originally posted 2009-01-30 01:00:22.

Defragmenting

There are many people out there that say that *nix and Mac file systems don’t fragment — only Windows does.

They’re dead wrong.

[I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again]

All three file systems (and in Windows we’re talking about NTFS, not FAT) derive from the same basic file system organization, and all three have pretty much the same characteristics (there are differences, but those really have nothing to do with the likelihood of fragmentation).

Fragmentation is just a by-product of the way a file system works.  The file system must make decisions about how to lay files down on the disk, and since it doesn’t have a crystal ball it cannot see the future.  Thus is a file is pinned between two other files and it must grow, the file would either need to be moved (creating an empty spot of a maximum size) or extended in another area (thus being fragmented).

There are various schemes for handling file allocations, but most of them rely on an application that is creating the file giving the operating system (and thus file system) sufficient information on the files maximum size and hints as to whether it is temporary, may grow, etc.

Given that file systems will fragment, the need for defragmentation is real.  Windows recognizes this (mainly because Windows used to use a FAT file system where fragmentation caused severe performance issues).

If you have a *nix or Mac based system, I’m sure you can locate a reasonably good defragmenter (not every one is in denial about the need for periodically defragmenting the system).  If you have  Windows based system you already have a reasonably good defragmenter that came with the systems (a “lite” version of Executive Systems Diskeeper, which now just goes by the name of Diskeeper Corporation).  You can, of course, purchase a number of commercial products, like the full blown Diskeeper, O&O Defrag (my personal favorite), or download a host of free or inexpensive products.

The key to defragmenting your system is knowing when you should invest the time (and wear on your disks).  The most accurate answer would be when system fragmentation reaches a point where it adversely effects performance.  That seems a little vague, but most of the defragmentation tools actually will do an analysis and advise you if they should be run.  Some of them have active defragmentation (but like the file system, they don’t have a crystal ball, and will often cost performance, not enhance it — so I would just say no to active defragmentation).

A good rule of thumb is that right after you install you system, or any time you install major updates or service packs you should defragment your system.  It’s a good idea to clean off temporary files (like your browser cache, etc) before you defragment.  And you might even want to clean off old restore points (if you have them enabled).

There’s certainly no reason to defragment your system daily or weekly; but an occasional night of running your defragmenter of choice will likely decrease boot time and increase overall system performance.

One other little tid-bit — remove your paging file before defragmenting; then after you’re finished, create a new paging file of a fixed size (ie set the minimum and maximum to the same thing).  That way you have a nicely defragmented paging file that will not cause fragmentation or fragment itself (leading to better system performance).  Of course, if your system has enough memory to run without a paging file, you don’t need one at all.

Originally posted 2010-02-21 01:00:20.

Microsoft Security Essentials

A few years ago Microsoft® provided a free Beta of it’s Anti-Virus solution; and Beta users were provided with one free license to continue to use the “One Care” branded Anti-Virus.

Now (as of 29 September 2009 – yesterday) Microsoft is once again providing a free Anti-Virus for “genuine” Windows.

Personally I use Avast’s free version; I’d consider using the Microsoft AV on servers, but the free version only support desktop versions of Windows (like Avast).

http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Originally posted 2009-09-30 01:00:29.

Image and drawing programs

Most people don’t need a very sophisticated image editing or drawing program to meet their needs.

It’s simply insane that many people shell out the money for crappy products like Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, or Microsoft Visio for the work they need to do.

Simple image (digital photograph) editing can be done with a number of free software packages.  For many Google Picasa or Microsoft Live Photo Gallery will do everything that’s needed and allow for easy posting of images to a web site for others to view.

For people who want a little more power, and not to be so tightly wed what Google or Microsoft think you should do with your digital assets there are other good choices.

Paint dot Net for Windows is a good basic image editing program.  It will satisfy most of your digital image editing needs.  It does only run on Windows, so if you’re looking for something for your Mac (because you don’t like iPhoto) or something for Linux…

GIMP is a highly portable image editing program.  It isn’t basic, it’s sophisticated and can require a moderate learning curve (think Adobe PhotoShop).  There are versions of it available for most any Linux distribution, Windows, and OS-X.  It’s totally free, and the choice of many casual and professional users.

If your needs are more along the lines of diagramming, you could simply use the Draw component in OpenOffice.  Draw is plenty capable to do meet most of your diagramming needs.  However, if you want something with more capabilities…

Dia is intended to create structured drawings.  It has many of the capabilities of Visio and simple CAD type programs.  It’s absolutely free, and available for most Linux distributions, Windows, and OS-X.

Obviously there are cases where you will need to pay a licensing fee for software; but if you’re a home user I’m sure you have much better places to put your hard earned cash.

Also, if you do feel you must buy PhotoShop, make sure you allocate the time and money to take a course at your local community college — it’s not likely you’re going to become very proficient using it on your own.

Originally posted 2010-01-16 02:00:46.

System Update Readiness Tool for Windows

If you have any issue installing Windows V6 SP2 or an update for Vista or Server 2008 you might want to download and run the System Update Readiness Tool from Microsoft.

You can read about it and download it via the link below.

 

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947821

Originally posted 2009-06-08 11:00:04.