Windows 10

Well I have had 2 days with Windows 10 on my laptop. The upgrade process was painless I’m not quite sure how long it took as I set it going and then went about things. All my installed software is working and I haven’t lost any files, no back for me.

I only had one issue the gestures on my trackpad did not work properly after upgrading to Windows 10. In particular using two fingers to scroll screens didn’t work in any application. I didn’t realise how used to this feature that I had become.  A quick check online revealed that this had been an issue with Lenovo laptops. I downloaded the Synaptics driver from Lenovo which seemed to be the same version installed by Windows 10 but it fixed the problem.

Everything appears to be working fine including Pinnacle Studio which in the past has given trouble with upgrades to Windows.

Not sure about the new Internet Explorer replacement seems ok but my preference is Chrome. The start menu is probably a welcome return for Windows 10. I had become used to the Start page in Windows 8.1 so not a deal breaker for me.


Windows 8.1

I have installed the new version of Windows 8.1. The upgrade process was smooth and easy. I have an enterprise edition and updated from an ISO file. The ISO loaded from an  internal  hard drive so no optical drive involved. I preserved all my settings and apps; so far so good.

I did have an issue with one piece of software Pinnacle Studio 16. Being a long time user I have had previous disappointments with OS updates.  However much to my delight the Pinnacle forums had a link to a solution provided by Corel the new owners of the product. That’s the only hiccup so far.

Finally a native Facebook app for Windows and again I’m quite happy with it. I use Facebook across iOS7 Android and now Win 8.1, the iOS version is the most functional and the nicest looking.

The start menu update is welcome, clearly a response to user feedback. I do like the new arrangement whereby you have to put things on the start menu rather than everything cluttering it up.. However I still use the task bar for frequently used applications.  Then there is the return or the start menu. It is underwhelming reminding me of redundant air scoops on faux sports car. It is really not necessary.

Overall it is a good and welcome update. Windows 8 was OK not quite another Vista moment. I suppose the interwebs are already abuzz with Win 8.2 rumours.


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A Drive on Windows 8

Here is a bit of nostalgia Drive A on Windows A. Long time no see! I bought a USB powered floppy disk drive when I upgraded a computer years ago and


 decided to leave the floppy dive in the past. It must only be the second or third time that I have used it since I abandoned floppies. Nice to see that Win 8 still has the icon for this drive.

I have just removed the CD/DVD drive from my laptop……

More Windows 8

More windows 8 testing. I have used the new operating system for a few more hours. The system has not crashed and seems to run well., A cold start seems much slower than a similar start on Windows 7. There is the much publicised lack of the start button! This had me confused as I had set the machine as dual-boot on my laptop, I thought that I had lost the windows 7 install. Anyway a quick Google search and I found a way to create a desktop shortcut and a new tile on the start page.

I still haven’t been marvelled by the new system. I am using IE 10 for this post and that seems ok as well. At the moment I can’t really see a compelling reason to upgrade. However time will tell.

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The system called for an optimization utility to run. Now the system is more responsive.

Win 8 Consumer Preview – first impressions

I couldn’t help myself when it came to the consumer preview of Win 8. I had decided to leave it alone and keep using Win 7 and wait. I am writing this on Win 8 CP (64 Bit) and using IE 10. I partitioned the hard drive on my laptop creating a 100GB drive and installed Win 8 there, all default settings.  The installation was a breeze, the first windows install that I  did was from a pile of floppy disks about 16 as I recall. This time it all done from a USB stick.

Now I have a dual booting system Win7 and 8 both 64bit versions. Win7 is the default system but its was enough to access Win8. There are already several how to guides on the net. I found the on Latopmag’s blog really helpful.

The operating system is harder to assess after only a few hours of use, no crashes. Office 2007 has installed happily, Google Chrome is humming along nicely. Haven’t found where I can set Google as the default search yet in IE10. I didn’t like the absence of a start/shutdown key, but those trusty people in the interwebs already have a work around for that and now I have a shortcut on the desktop and the start page.

This is a nice place to mention the Start page part of the new Metro interface. I am not really sure that I like it or dislike for that matter. It does like many things seem like a good idea but it is different. IT is not unlike the home page in an iPad or the launch pad on OSX Lion, but not exactly the same. I have started deleting tiles that I wouldn’t use. Office 2007 installed a range of tiles including a VBA certificate!

The gestures aren’t really that good as my laptop has a relatively small track pad. I do like pointing to the corners for stuff, top left to switch between apps and top left to access “charms”. The charms allow access to settings, search and start page quickly and easily.

The opinion so far.  Vista was awful, Win7 was great, Win 8 not sure. So far I haven’t been overwhelmed, but not disappointed either, only time will tell.

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Pea Zip a freeware archiving program

I have been using WinRAR some years now and generally find it to be quite a good program. However every now and again I get error messages. Generally speaking whatever I’m  un-archiving seems to go okay despite the error messages. Recently I was an un-archiving something that I had downloaded and struck a problem with the an archive that had

WinZip Icon
Image via Wikipedia

very long filenames. My usual course of action is to Google for an answer. It turns out that this is a known bug of the WinRAR program. It seems it has a bug with filenames that are more than 260 characters long. Arguably filenames of this length are a little extreme however they do exist as I found out.

I searched around on the net and tried a couple of other archiving programs in trial mode. One was the venerable WinZip, which is now up to version 15, and this didn’t seem to solve the problem. Another program I tried was called Win7  or something like it. The latter program had a quirky interface and I just gave up.

I continued searching via Google and eventually came across a program called Pea Zip  which is an open source archiving program. This program has a fairly straightforward interface and after installing it successfully  un-archived what I needed without any errors. It did run noticeably slower than WinRaR rather but ultimately it did what I wanted it to.  I was then able to use what I downloaded without any trouble.

I’m not sure that I will use it to replace WinRAR completely it does however offer another option for un-archiving files. I notice that there is a WinRAR version 4 in beta so maybe this will solve the problem. however Pea Zip  offers a cheap alternative. I’ve installed it on my Windows 7 64-bit system without incident, and there are versions for most current operating systems including Mac and Linux. So go on over and visit their website at give it a whirl.

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First Impressions with Win7

Well I have been running windows 7 32 Bit RC since the day after it was released, Mostly it has been good. I like the the interface and  it  is certainly better than Vista. Although my personal opinion on Vista is that it was  underwhelming in relation to the hype rather than truly bad.

I have been experiencing  a lot of freezes and I think this may be related to the touch pad on my ASUS laptop (PRO31P).  I have downloaded the latest drivers for this from synaptics, not sure if this is  a major step forward.

However my biggest issue to date happened after I installed an network printer over a standard TCP/IP port. I lost the print server spooling function . After repeated attempts to use the various recovery functions within Win7 I had to resort to using windows restore point.  Dont know if this is  bug in Win7 or just a mishap.

I have however been having some problems updating the virus checker , Kaspersky Internet Security  2009. My laptop at home connects  via wifi using a Dlink DIR-635 router. I have a second network set up Using a Dlink DI-824 VUP+ which works fine, and on several otehr networks for that matter. Additionally another machine, running XP, connects to the same DLink DIR-635 and updates without any problems.

Other than that all seems to work well, certainly happier than Vista.