Tag: "windows vista"

Unsung Windows Vista feature #14567

An often overlooked feature of Windows Vista is the ability to extend - or even shrink a partition. My regular readers will know I recently picked up a Motion LE1700, it had a 3GB recovery partition built in, as I recently installed World of WarCraft on the machine I decided I needed to generate some free space.

I don't need the recovery partition as the machine is backed up to Windows Home Server, all I have to do is plug in my Xbox 360 HD DVD drive (the only optical USB drive I have) and boot from the restore CD, or the Windows Vista DVD if I want to cleanly install.

All it took to add the 3GB to the main partition was a quick trip to Disk Management.

Best of all this didn't even require a reboot, the main partition just has an extra 3GB of space instantly.

To do this on Windows XP you'd need to buy a 3rd party piece of software and reboot the machine.

nVidia you're a joke

I will not be buying, nor recommending that anybody buys any more products from this company.

No doubt many of my readers are aware of my long running battles with the GeForce 5 series on Windows Vista, which eventually made me so fed up I blew £1600 on a new Tablet PC (without any nVidia junk in I might add). nVidia right up to the launch of Windows Vista said they would support the GeForce 5 series on Windows Vista. Then around launch time they quietly retract and say it is no longer supported.

Now these guys have hit me again, with the nForce3 chipset. Unsurprisingly they pulled the exact same stunt, saying all through development and right up to launch that they will support Windows Vista, and then a month after launch, they pull all statements of support from their website. What a joke.

So anyway as I saw Socket 939 dual core chips were going pretty cheap so I replaced the Athlon 64 3200+ in one of my machines with a Athlon 64 X2 4200+, not only would it be a bit faster, with a Manchester core dual channel memory would work too, bargain. Everything worked fine until I arrived on the desktop, noticing the video card was in 2D basic mode. Windows was kind enough to inform me that where was a problem with the hardware and it couldn't start the drivers for my Radeon X850XT.

So I try a few things with no luck and then hit Google. It seems that the nForce3 doesn't work with ATI graphics cards in the AGP slot when using a dual core CPU. Great. So I disable one of the cores and everything works fine. Now this issue goes back to the launch on Windows Vista, the Socket 939 chipsets of the time all used a hack to get dual core CPUs to work, they'd remap the memory address of the AGP card into PCI, this is how they function on Windows XP. SiS and VIA both addressed the problem on their same-generation chipsets within a couple of weeks of the launch of Windows Vista by releasing an updated AGP driver.

Not nVidia though, they recommend you buy an nVidia graphics card or upgrade your motherboard! What a rip, worse still is their lack of support isn't advertised anywhere, boards with nForce3 chipsets are sold claiming compatibility for Windows Vista.

nVidia, get your act together release a damn AGP driver which works properly. No other company kills support for their products so quickly.

Doubled user accounts on Vista welcome screen

With Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RC coming out next week for the general public, there are a few issues that they may come up against.

The one that I've run up against is on my Motion LE1700 Tablet PC, when using the OmniPass password login software, this issue doesn't just effect SP1, but also some other updates that have been rolled out over the last year. Typically this can be solved by reinstalling the OmniPass software, however that is a lot of work and below is a quicker solution.

Essentially after some updates are installed you end up with two copies of your user icon on the welcome screen, this doesn't effect functionality, but its annoying and something I spent most of yesterday trying to get around with numerous reinstalls and uninstalls and system restores. Anyway I've cracked what was causing it, and I hear this will be fixed in a future version of OmniPass.

Warning: Altering this section of the registry is dangerous, you can quite literally remove all user icons from the Welcome screen preventing login. You should ensure System Restore has a recent restore point.

You'll need to crack open regedit and make your way to the location below:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\Credential Providers\

Registry Editor, OmniPass key in Credential Providers

You should have a key containing OmniPassCredProv, this is the one we want to keep.

There should also be a key containing PasswordProvider, this starts with 6f45dc1e (not shown on the image above), this is the default key OmniPass removes when it is installed, and this is responsible for their being an extra user icon, some updates seem to rebuild this entry. I'd recommend exporting this key (just in case you need to import it back if something went wrong), then deleting it and rebooting. That should restore things to how they used to be.

CNet fishing for traffic with nonsense Vista claims

I'm not going to link to the article in question but CNet have sunk to an all new low. They were doing a 'top ten terrible tech products', it had a few good mentions, Sony's rootkit on music CDs and a bunch of other things, but thrown in just to get some traffic was Windows Vista (in my opinion the best OS to date).

They go on to say:

Its incompatibility with hardware, its obsessive requirement of human interaction to clear security dialogue box warnings and its abusive use of hated DRM

For incompatibility with hardware they point to an article about the minimum requirements. So yes, like every other operating system in the history of computing it won't run on everything, you cannot run it on a toaster, you cannot run it on a Spectrum you cannot run it on a 10 year old PC.

Yes for security reasons a human needs to elevate to get administrative rights. Like every other modern operating system, how do you propose doing this without allowing everything unlimited access to the system, including malware stealing your data or destroying your data.

The DRM is utter nonsense and has been repeatedly debunked. It is disappointing to still see this mentioned.

If you're going to do this at least engage your brain and try and come up with something that a) isn't made up or b) doesn't apply to every other operating system.

Macintosh fanboy nonsense

Well these guys couldn't of picked a better time to unleash their Mac mouth-foam session.

Their article opens up with:

Apple has given Microsoft a lesson in software development with the launch of its new Leopard operating system which is faster, slicker and packed with a lot more practical features compared with the slow, underperforming Windows Vista operating system that is prone to crashing or locking-up systems.

Well that's a lot of claims chucked into a small space. Gish gallop?

Leopard huh? Oh yeah that came out today didn't it, funny I haven't seen much about it on the news. On all the news sites I've read it's all been about Microsoft selling 88 million copies of Windows Vista, Microsoft's biggest quarter growth since 1999, and how they blew away Wall Street's expectations by over a billion dollars.

Faster and slicker? Hmmm not according to Wired's Cult of the Mac blog who installed Windows Vista on their Macintosh and reported the following:

Vista really flies on this beast, and feels like it's faster than OS X - it boots faster, folders burst open and apps launch instantly...I'm especially delighted with Vista's "glass" Aero interface, which works in all its glory on this machine...The OS is dark and handsome. It's really quite exciting...Vista's icons are big and colorful, and frankly, a lot more logical and easy to read than some of OS X's, like the intelligible iWeb icon.

The guy then pulls out the whole crashing and locking up systems line, yawn that is so Windows 95, get something new and fresh please. Windows doesn't crash anymore.

With Vista the "Gadgets" have to be stacked in a frame on the desktop. In the Leopard environment they can be placed anywhere.

In Windows Vista they can be placed anywhere. Maybe if you actually bothered to use the thing you'd know that.

Unfortunately that's the trouble with these sort of people, like David Richards, they rubbish this and that without bothering to actually use them, they don't have a clue and their opinions are therefore worthless.

The bottom line is this, Mac OS X - whichever version is a 6 year old operating system, upgraded as often as Apple can with $130 upgrades, the sort of thing Microsoft do for free with Service Packs and applications on their website. Leopard introduces amazing new features that they copied from Windows 95, like the ability to backup your files, although on the Macintosh it is much more limiting requiring you to have a separate hard drive, you can also preview documents in the shell - like Windows XP. Oh dear, Leopard is a damp squid of a release, it’s a flop and a really late flop, Steve Jobs said this thing would ship before Windows Vista, well they're only a year behind at best, in many areas like Media Center and Tablet PC they haven't even started yet.

Mac OS X is a solid operating system and has been for the last couple of revisions, but I don't believe it is in the same league as Windows Vista. What these fanboys don't understand is that their foaming at the mouths and spending 80% of their time attacking Microsoft isn't winning anybody to their cause. Nor is preaching the lies that Steve Jobs come out with, just the other day he said that Windows Vista came 7 years after Windows XP. It is 5 years Steve, as you well know. I however believe that is a good thing. I'm sure the consumer would rather a big jump every 5 years at £120 a pop, than tiny little jumps every 18 months at £120.

How do I know if my system is 32-bit or 64-bit?

This question pops up quite a lot in online forums nowadays. Before I could quite honestly tell somebody if you need to ask, you have 32-bit. That's not true anymore, you can buy machines with 4GB of RAM in them, and increasingly they are being loaded with 64-bit Windows Vista, so the system can make use of all the memory.

The following works for Windows Vista and Windows 7:

You can find out by going to Control Panel -> System and Maintenance (System and Security for Windows 7 users) -> System.

Alternatively you can search for System on Start Search, the search will return a few results, but one should just be the word System, with a computer icon next to it with a white tick on a blue monitor. That's the one you're after.

Clicking on that will launch the following.

How do I know if my system is 32-bit or 64-bit?

System type displays if the system is 32-bit (often referred to as x86) or 64-bit (also known as x64 or x86-64).

For Windows XP:

If you're running Home Edition, you're using 32-bit. Professional shipped as 32-bit and 64-bit, but almost nobody uses x64. To check go to Start -> Right-click on My Computer -> Select Properties from the Menu, from there the 64-bit versions will be listed as Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. Otherwise you're running 32-bit.

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