Windows XP end of life: key information
Monday, March 24th, 2014
Windows Updates for Windows XP has ended. Windows XP support will end on 8 April 2014. After that date, Microsoft won't provide any more updates. Yet many millions of people are still using the veteran OS: recent figures suggest that it's still running on around 30% of Acer, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, NEC, Samsung, Sony PCs worldwide, many of them in businesses.
Understandably, there's a lot of doubt and concern over what's going to happen next. If you're still running XP, here are the straightforward answers to the key questions.
Tags: Microsoft, Security, upgrade, Windows XP
Posted in: Software, Windows 7, Windows 8
When a Windows 7 boot disk goes wrong
Friday, February 4th, 2011
Group pic of boxes PC Pro can be as guilty as anyone else when it comes to putting the boot into companies when they do something wrong, so just for a change let's celebrate a company doing something good. That company: Microsoft. The something good: sorting out a tricky problem with a Windows 7 system. Well, almost.
Let's go back to the beginning.
Tags: Microsoft, support
Posted in: Windows 7
Bring back the Windows 7 Family Pack
Friday, August 27th, 2010
Family Pack Remember this? It was the rather fabulous Windows 7 Family Pack, offering three licences in one friendly bundle. And how very sensible: if you wanted to upgrade a household's worth of machines to take advantage of features such as Homegroup, then you could.
Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7
Posted in: Windows 7
From Bitmap Painting to Real Art
Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Ever since the launch of MacPaint back in 1984, brush-based bitmap programs have shown that computers aren't just useful for boosting productivity but can also be truly creative. MacPaint launched a host of imitators such as PC Paintbrush and Paint Shop Pro, but nowadays the paint side of things has almost been forgotten as bitmap editors have found their true calling: photo editing.
However onscreen painting remains one of the most creatively rewarding and enjoyable things that you can do with your computer – but only if you have the right software.
Tags: art, artrage, bitmap, digital design, Paint, painter
Posted in: Real World Computing, Software, Windows 7
Ubuntu 10.04: a real money saver for small businesses
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
ubuntuI like Windows 7 – it's stable, responsive and full of little details that make reverting to a Vista PC frustrating. However, it has one major flaw: its price. The OEM version of Windows 7 Home Premium costs around £80, and whilst it's reasonable to expect that Dell and other system builders pay less than that, the fact is that part of the cost of your next new computer will be the Windows licence.
In the current climate, small businesses need to examine every cost. If you buy ten PCs to outfit an office, is there any way to reduce the cost by choosing an alternative to Windows?
Posted in: Online business, Real World Computing, Software, Windows 7
Has Microsoft cracked TV-on-demand with MSN Video in Windows?
Friday, June 4th, 2010
The premise of on-demand TV is gloriously simple. The TV you want, when you want it, a mere touch of a button away.
Tags: iPlayer, Microsoft, MSN Video, SeeSaw, Windows Media Center
Posted in: Software, Windows 7
HP's appalling "Windows 7 driver"
Monday, May 3rd, 2010
HP Wireless Printing Upgrade KitThis weekend was my dad's 60th birthday, and so I decided to cheer the coffin dodger up by releasing him from the bane of his life: no, not my mother, Windows Vista. Given that my dad has a tendency to install anything with a Windows logo on it, the thought of performing a clean install and trying to hunt down the serial codes for everything from Microsoft Office to Keith Chegwin's Interactive Guide to Tiling Your Bathroom filled me with dread, so I decided to perform an in-place upgrade to Windows 7.
Very smoothly it went too. All the installed software was transferred flawlessly, all the files were migrated to the relevant destination, and the whole process took a little under two hours. Yes, the performance of the Windows 7 PC is probably a little slower than it would be with a clean install, but he's 60 for Pete's sake: it takes him 20 minutes to get up the stairs now, another 10 seconds on the boot time isn't going to kill him.
We hit only one snag: the wireless dongle attached to his HP printer wasn't being recognised by Windows 7. No problem, I thought. We'll simply head off to HP's website and download the relevant drivers.
Tags: drivers, hp wireless printing upgrade kit, Windows 7
Posted in: Hardware, Windows 7
Extreme handwriting recognition on the Dell Latitude XT2
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
Dell Latitude XT 4by3 This is my first and possibly only handwritten blog entry…
that's because 'an in a cramped airplane._ seat and the ride is d little bumpy. that, and everyone who can see what lam dough watching me avidly' The XT2 uses windows7 pen extensions and as a long ten fan of the concept of pen computing I touchscreens and the business of handwriting instead of keyboarding.
Tags: Dell, handwriting recognition, touchscreen
Posted in: Hardware, Random, Windows 7
Is Windows 7 killing your hard disks?
Monday, December 14th, 2009
The Windows 7 error message telling me my hard disk is dying I might simply be unlucky, or it could be that Windows 7 is a hard-disk killer. In the past two months, three different laptops running Windows 7 have totally died on me, while one had a minor collapse and refused to boot for an hour.
First of all, I should make it clear that these machines don't have an easy life. My laptop travels with me wherever I go, and they have a fair bit of punishment on a daily basis: slung into a laptop bag and down a hill on a bike; on the train; and then a 25-minute walk bumping up and down before I get into the office. And then all the way back at the end of the working day.
Nevertheless, for the past six years two ThinkPads have survived without incident for three years apiece. Until I installed Windows 7 RC on the latest one, and the hard disk died. It's currently sitting in my desk-side drawer whilst I consider what to do with it.
The IT department sprang to the rescue, offering me a spare workaday laptop from their collection. The first one lasted for less than a month before its hard disk whimpered its way into obsolescence.
Once more, our trusty IT team gazed into their cupboard and fished out a replacement – the exact same model. This one kept going for less than a week.
I initially blamed the two successive failures on the ageing 1.8in hard disks they used, but my confidence has been shaken again today. On Friday, I set up a new system: a desktop PC at work, a netbook to take on my travels. Both of them running Windows 7 and synchronising vital data via the cloud.
The desktop is still working fine, but the netbook wouldn't boot for my journey into work, with Windows 7's startup repair system eventually declaring it irreparable. Then, bizarrely, when I plugged it in at work the netbook started to work again (and it still is).
So, the question: am I alone in this? Or is my growing paranoia about Windows 7 and hard disks entirely unfair, and more due to my maltreatment of laptops than my choice of OS? Perhaps, as Steve Cassidy keeps on telling me, it's time to drop the mechanical hard disk entirely and move to SSDs.
Tags: hard disk, Windows 7
Posted in: Hardware, Windows 7
Mac vs Windows 8: the final verdict
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
In the final part of our attempt to convert a Mac user to Windows 8?
I'm now at the end of my Windows 8 experiment and I have to return the PC users' suit and tie to the PC Pro cupboard and put on my blue jeans, black turtle neck jumper and New Balance trainers.
It's been a steep learning curve for me, but not in the ways I thought it would be. I had Windows up and running with all the applications I needed to do my job much more quickly than I thought. I'd arranged my desktop, partitioned the hard drive and worked out the basics in less than a day, and that includes installing the software.