Windows 7 Moonlight themes

I like a good theme on my Windows desktop and Microsoft have some new ones based around moonlight below.

New Themes

“Ooh, ooh, ooh, what a little moonlight can do to you! Yes, but how about a LOT of moonlight? This free theme for Windows 7 features brilliant full moons, hazy winter moons, and moons rising dramatically over castles, mountains, cityscapes, and rock formations. Not recommended for werewolves.”

Download from HERE

OCZ Solid State Drives Benchmark

I decided to play around with SSDs (Solid State Drives) and while I have a couple of older Crucial SSDs they don’t have the latest firmware’s and compatibility with TRIM in Windows 7, so I bought two new SSDs and the ones I went for where the OCZ Vertex 2 drives, which have a very good controller as in the Sandforce 1200, which defaultly will give you

Max Read: up to 285MB/s
Max Write: up to 275MB/s
Sustained Write: up to 250MB/s

Now I did a complete re-install of Windows 7 x64 SP1 and setup the drives in Raid0 format, installed the latest Intel Chipset and Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver.

Software/Hardware used

Windows 7 x64 SP1 (6.1.7601)
Intel i7 920
6GB Corsair Dominator
NVIDIA GeForce GTX570
2×80 GB OCZ vertex 2 SSDs (1.27 Firmware)
1x 1TB WD Green HDD
1x 2TB WD Green HDD

HDTune was the test application

I did install these two drives in a Raid0 array and know that at present TRIM is not supported in Raid arrays, but I do hope the Garbage Collection (GC) of the Sandforce controller will help clear the old deleted blocks to free up them in order to keep the speed of the drives stable.

HDtune

Not too bad and boot time is sub 30sec as the CDROM controller holds up the boot a tad, shutdown is near 7secs. I was getting +/- 200mb/s with two 80GB WD Raptors in Raid0.

Enhanced Keyfinder

First off this is not a key generator that allows you to generate an illegal serial key for Windows Operating System or other applications, its job is to allow you to quickly and easily find the serial licence keys for a few applications.

Enhanced Keyfinder 001For obvious reasons my licence keys are blanked out above

Two of the great options that this application has over other keyfinders is the ability to load a Registry Hive from another PC or via a network to allow you or an administrator to locate the licence keys, and the final one is the ability to run from a Linux CD and the steps are HERE from the developer of this app from sag47.

My tip is to use this application to save off your licence key data to a text file and save or print out and keep safe in case you have to re-install Windows or another application and cannot find the original box and licence serial key. To save to a text files is as simple as running the application and then clicking File > Save As, then name your text file and click Save.

Download HERE

Add Windows 7 Taskbar Preview to Firefox

It was only the other day that I noticed that in Windows 7, Firefox (or the beta that I run of Minefield) does not show multiple tab previews that Internet Explorer 8 (or Internet Explorer 9 beta as I’m running on my netbook) does.

Preview 01

So a quick search of the internet and looking down the about:config list in Firefox holds the clue, the taskbar preview option is set to false (disabled), so toggling this option to true (enabled) sets the preview in the taskbar.

I took a few screenshots of the steps as a very quick guide below, do be warned that editing the about:config menus in Firefox can wrongly can cause Firefox to fail.

Open Firefox (or Minefield) and in the address bar type about:config and hit enter

Preview 02

Once the list of options are open, its best to filter the list down and to do this in the filter box type browser.taskbar.preview and the list will narrow down to only three, the one you need to highlight is browser.taskbar.preview.enable and then right click it to give you the option to Toggle the setting from false to true

Preview 04

Once set to true, restart Firefox and now when you have a few tabs open you will get the mini previews of the open windows in the taskbar.

Preview 07

IPv6 ok what is it I hear you say!

164ASP21704517In basic terms IPv6 takes over and/or adds from IPv4 which has 4 billion web addresses and the core of the internet. As the internet has expanded over the years the IP addresses for websites links (as in your www.xxxx.com)  have started to run out so a new protocol was needed, and here comes in IPv6.

“On 8 June, 2011, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks will be amongst some of the major organisations that will offer their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour “test drive”. The goal of the Test Drive Day is to motivate organizations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.”

You can test your IPv6 readiness HERE

If you are not IPv6 ready then some sites when they go live with IPv6, you may not be able to view unless they stack and have dual IPv4 and IPv6 versions of their sites.

Many users of Windows have due to some network connection issues, have disabled IPv6, so come June 8th 2011 it maybe a wise thing to re-enable IPv6 and its found in your Network Connection Properties.

Windows 7 SP1 due soon??

Windows 7While I maybe A Microsoft MVP in Windows Operating Systems I don’t always know the release dates to a new Windows version or the Service Packs, but this weeks (11/01/2011) Windows updates aka Patch Tuesday included an update (KB976902) to allow other updates to install ok.

This can signify that a major release is due and the only one I know of of late is for Windows 7 and SP1. SP1 has been in beta for a while and I will say I have not had to report any issues at all with the beta on my test PC, so this Service Pack I feel is bomb proof, although it will depend on your PC setup and applications installed as not all PCs update ok.

Microsoft does have a Service Pack blocker HERE for those in business who wish to block this Service Pack until tested on their networks or the home user who wishes to wait a bit to see if there are any issues.

So expect to see Windows 7 SP1 very soon, my guess March-ish time.

Still running Windows 7 RC?

 

Are you still running Windows 7 Release Candidate? well if you are then its time to think about buying and installing the release version of Windows 7 or re-installing your previous Windows version as come Monday you will start experiencing the below effects, from the shutdown every two hours to not being able to get any more Windows Updates.

 

Starting on March 1, 2010 your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Your work will not be saved during the shutdown.

The Windows 7 RC will fully expire on June 1, 2010. Your PC running the Windows 7 RC will continue shutting down every two hours and your files won’t be saved during shutdown. In addition, your wallpaper will change to a solid black background with a persistent message on your desktop. You’ll also get periodic notifications that Windows isn’t genuine. That means your PC may no longer be able to obtain optional updates or downloads requiring genuine Windows validation.

 

Information HERE

Windows Activation Technologies

Windows Activation Technologies, this one is directed at Windows 7 users and more so to those who have been using hooky versions, this update has not been pushed out to users through Windows update yet, but will likely come in next months updates. 

More information about this update

This update for Windows Activation Technologies helps detect validation errors and activation exploits. This update also detects any tampering attempts made to important Windows 7 system files. Be aware that some counterfeit copies of Windows include malware.
When this update is installed, it performs a validation process for the copy of Windows that is running on your computer. However, this validation process does not affect the functionality of Windows. The update process exits silently if it detects no validation errors, activation exploits, or tampered files.

Tampered Files
If the update discovers a tampered file, it tries to restore the file. This restore may require a restart. If this update cannot restore the tampered files, it will direct you more information on the Internet.
Validation Errors or Activation Exploits
Validation errors and activation exploits try to bypass the Windows activation process and are sometimes included with counterfeit copies of Windows. If a validation error or activation exploit is detected, you will be directed to more information on the Internet for resolution of the activation exploit or the validation error. When validation errors or activation exploits are removed, you may be asked to use a valid product key to activate the copy of Windows 7 that is running on your computer. If you decide not to resolve the validation error or the activation exploit at that time, you will be periodically notified that the copy of Windows 7 that is running on your computer is not genuine. Additionally, Windows will provide a link to more information online for resolution.

 

Read the KB article info HERE

Windows 7 Logo Program ~ 32bit need not apply!!

 

Yes you heard right and while gaining a Windows 7 logo certification may rule out many of the Netbooks that are available now, I do personally think it is a great idea and leaves less ambiguity to choosing a PC, why you ask…. well NOW is the right time to go 64bit not just with hardware (many if not all CPUs these days are 64bit compatible) but with software and Microsoft have recognised this, so their logo program is now only allowing a Windows 7 Logo certification to hardware that can run both 32bit and 64bit, so if there are no drivers for a PCs hardware for 64bit then its not going to pass Windows 7 Logo testing.

In the end this gives a better choice and clearer choice to consumers.

Core parts from an article posted on the Windows Team Blog

First, let me introduce myself.  My name is Mark Relph and I am a Senior Director with the Windows Product Strategy Group and I lead a group known as the Windows Ecosystem Team. My team and I focus on a few specific areas – compatibility of applications & hardware, working with our partners and driving developer excitement for Windows 7 (and beyond). As we count down to the launch of Windows 7, I will be posting updates from all of these areas.

For Windows 7, we’ve made a number of changes to the Logo criteria and the process for granting Logo status. Our goal is to make the “Compatible with Windows 7 Logo” about the customer and ensuring them the best experience possible with Windows. A few of the changes we made include:

  • We focused on robust testing requirements to ensure optimal Windows 7 experience. Products that receive the Logo are checked for common issues to minimize the number of crashes, hangs, and reboots experienced by the user.
  • To be granted the Logo, products are tested to work with all versions of Windows 7 including 64-bit. This is an important change since 64 bit systems are becoming more mainstream.
  • We changed the testing process, reducing the amount of paperwork required and making it less expensive for our partners to achieve the logo.
  • We reached out to partners earlier giving them more time to test their products for use with Windows 7

These changes have already been met with positive results from our partner community. For the last several months we have been running a program for partners called Ready.Set.7 designed to help them achieve the logo.”

 

Full article at the Windows Team Blog HERE

For Hardware and Software developers already certified for Windows 7 Logo see HERE