Tag: "windows 7"

BitLocker To Go - encryption for USB flash drives

With Windows 7 Microsoft is expanding BitLocker so users can easily encrypt USB flash drives.  What does this look like?  Well it looks a bit like this:

It then has a look at the drive for a few seconds and asks you how you want to unlock the drive, using either a password (8 characters minimum) or using a smart card and a PIN.

It then forces you to either save the keys used for encryption or print them off, good for sticking in a safe somewhere - good idea because if you forget your password and don't know the keys your data is gone.

After clicking next it'll go ahead and encrypt the drive.  This can take a while, especially on larger drives.

Once that's completed you'll be prompted to enter your password when inserting the drive.  You also get the option of automatically unlocking the drive for your user account.

If you want to read the drive on Windows Vista or Windows XP you can, as it comes with a small application that can decrypt the device to allow reading, but not writing.

Updated Audigy and X-Fi drivers for Windows 7

Daniel_K has released an updated driver package for the Audigy and X-Fi Soundblasters. The one key fix I've come across is CMSS now works on the Audigy 2 ZS.

Update for RC: These are what I'm using at the moment with my Audigy 2 ZS with the 7100 release candidate build:

Forum post.
Rapidshare download.
Filefront download.

MD5 hash: 16BEC9D7C047EF46DDA4F40AF1D47B1C.

Older drivers:

Audigy forum post.
RapidShare download.
MegaUpload download.

If you're downloading from elsewhere here's the MD5 hash: 66DA82FC18E49F3B32172A61BEDD0164.

X-Fi post.
RapidShare download.
MegaUpload download.

And here's the MD5 hash: 76CBA45C9DF761FFBC8BD61D17B3D127.

From my testing over the last few days the Auidgy works as well on Windows 7 as it does on Windows Vista.

Audigy 2 ZS drivers for Windows 7

I've been getting truck loads of e-mail on which drivers I'm using with my Audigy 2 ZS on Windows 7. To try and stem the tide here's the quick findings:

1) The Audigy 2 ZS drivers that Windows installs from Windows Update for both 32-bit and 64-bit occationally produce garbled audio. These are dated 2006 and are probably identical to the original Windows Vista release.

2) Newer drivers resolve this, or at least it hasn't happened in the last week I've been using these drivers. I've been using the modified 'Danial_K' drivers on both Vista and 7. They fix the garbled audio issue on Windows 7. Creative’s own newer Vista release may fix it, but I haven't tested them.

3) They do have some problems however, CMSS doesn't work, and some of the Creative apps don't work on 64-bit.

4) Updated: Download the updated drivers from here.

For X-Fi people, I know the drivers from Creative's website will install if you run them in compatibility mode as they do a version check off the bat which would fail.

Due to the volume of e-mail I'm getting on this issue I won't be able to respond to all of them, don't take it personally.

Thank you Creative - Sound Blaster Audigy drivers on Windows (7) Update

Update: For the Audigy 2 ZS people with garbled sound I was having the same issue, I noticed the Creative driver is pretty old dated 2006. Since installing the 'Daniel_K' drivers he did for Vista I've not had anymore issues.

Update 2: Quick run through on what drivers I'm using and where I got them.

Update 3: New release, fix issues with CMSS that older drivers had.

Update 4: Resolving lower than normal volume compared to Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Audio and game fans will no doubt have many similar stories to tell over the last decade regarding Creative's Soundblaster drivers. Let's just say, not many of those stories will be positive.

It got to the point where I stopped recommending average computer users dedicated sound cards and just advised them to use any onboard sound instead. Why? Because if you get a Soundblaster you had to go to their website, try and navigate around it then try and find the right drivers, put up with the drivers in many cases wanting to install a bunch of other stuff with them. Back in the old Windows XP days Creative's early drivers wanted to even put a Creative splash screen on your machine - which would start with every boot.

Or you could just put up with slightly worse sound, yet a sound card that would just work. Every onboard sound card I've come across has drivers on Windows Update. Creative never wanted their drivers up on there (at least not since Windows XP pre-SP1 days). They'd rather you run through a load of hoops to get them instead and bundle a few additional surprises along with them.

However I just installed Windows 7 build 6801 on my machine again today and was getting ready to hit Creative’s website to get the drivers. As I was doing that Windows was installing all the drivers from Windows Update in the background, things like the display driver, and the TV Tuner drivers, and low and behold it also said it was installing Audigy drivers too.

Hopefully this won't just be for the pre-release versions and shows a new direction Creative is taking with their software and drivers. Thanks Creative you've just saved me 10 minutes of my time.

Microsoft copied the Windows 7 Taskbar from... Microsoft?

Check this guy out:

He claims the Windows 7 Taskbar is copied from the Mac OS X dock. He even includes an edited image featuring the same Adobe icons he has in his dock to try and make it seem even more similar. Apart from that he also makes numerous mistakes and wrong assumptions about how the new Taskbar works, and does the standard everyone is copying Apple line, which is completely and utterly false yet it something the Apple fanboys repeat ad nauseum.

Here's a little time line for graphical user interface (Hat tip to ToastyTech for the screenshots).

1973:
Xerox PARC create the Alto - the first computer to use a mouse and a graphical user interface (no Taskbar yet).

1979:
Apple employees visit Xerox PARC to check out the Alto, after seeing the Alto they begin work on a graphical user interface for their Lisa computer (no Taskbar yet).

1981:
Xerox introduce the Star, featuring overlapping windows, double-clicking and dialog boxes (still no Taskbar).
Microsoft begin work on Interface Manager, later to be renamed Windows (still no Taskbar).

1983:
Visi Corp releases Visi On, the first GUI for IBM PCs (no Taskbar).
Microsoft introduce Windows (no Taskbar).
Apple release Lisa (still no Taskbar).

1984:
Apple introduce the Macintosh (still no Taskbar)

1985:
Geos released for Commodore 64 (no Taskbar)
Amiga Workbench announced (still no Taskbar)
Microsoft release Windows 1.01. The first operating system to have something resembling the Taskbar, an area of the screen reserved for iconized programs. See below:

Windows 1.01

1987:
Apple release the Macintosh II, featuring colour graphics at last, if I was a fanboy I'd say they copied colour graphics from Windows, but I'm not (no Taskbar though).

1989:
Acorn Computers release Arthur (the forerunner to RISC OS). Featuring something resembling the Taskbar, its been so long since I've used RISC OS I've forgotten the name for it.

1995:
Microsoft release Windows 95, creating the Taskbar we all know today, featuring a Start button to start new applications, and a tray for running applications to sit in.

Windows 95

1998:
Microsoft release Windows 98, which allows shortcuts to programs to be placed in the Taskbar (called Quick Launch).

Windows 98

1999:
Apple release Mac OS 9, which features a slide out "dock" along the bottom of the screen.

Mac OS 9

So no I don't accept that Microsoft copied the Taskbar/dock whatever you want to call it from OS X.

He could of quite easily shown the Taskbar with text labels, and without the Adobe icons which were edited into the picture he used.

Windows 7

Or the new Taskbar configured to look like the existing one:

He also claims because the Taskbar items also have menus that they've also been copied from the dock. Newsflash: The Taskbar items have always had menus which have always been customisable by the applications running, now there is additional APIs to plug more information into the Taskbar.

But of course if this guy told you the truth he wouldn't have an argument would he?

Windows 7 "Superbar" can function like the old Taskbar

A few people are concerned that the new Superbar in Windows 7 forces you to have giant icons and that it can't be configured to work like the classical Taskbar.

It can. Here's how the new Taskbar looks by default in 69xx builds:

Here's the new Taskbar running on 6801 with labels and large icons:

Notice the file copy operating progress is also displayed in the Taskbar.

And here's the new Taskbar running with small icons and labels, and the Quick Launch toolbar:

The little gap between Explorer and Internet Explorer is due to how jump lists work in this build (an arrow pops up when you hover over the gap), as far as I know these gaps and arrows are gone in later builds and you just right click to get a the jump lists.

You can change the settings by right-clicking on an empty area of the Taskbar, go to Properties. There's an options for using small icons, and the button grouping drop down list controls if the icons have text labels or not.

So panic not those who are being freaked out by the changes to the Taskbar. :)

Update: Apparently in later builds the Quick Launch toolbar has actually been removed.

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