Archive for December, 2009

See that … the GREEN filling up some of my ‘Windows Explorer’ Task Bar icon.

You can also notice I have three instances of ‘Windows Explorer’ active. I was burning a DVD using drag-and-drop, from one ‘Windows Explorer’ window to another. So that accounts for two instances. One for the ‘C’ drive and other for the DVD RW ‘E’ drive. I was copying across all of my Web site images. That was just over a gig and was going to take some time to burn. Hence the file transfer progress bar.

Well, since multitasking is my thing, I activated FireFox to start updating this blog. You will also notice I had two FireFox instances. One of each monitor. Actually, I should have mentioned that ‘Windows Explorer’ instances were also spread across the two monitors.

When I activated both FireFox instances the ‘Windows Explorer’ instances were obscured. I happened to glance down at the task bar and noticed the GREEN encroaching on the icon. Clicked on the icon for a preview. The GREEN matched the exact length of the progress bar.

WAY COOL. Way to go Microsoft. I am impressed.

I used PRT SCR with Snipper to capture the above image per the technique I talked about two days ago. It was a snip.


Anura Guruge


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As I had pointed out way back on November 9, with Windows 7 you don’t need any CD/DVD creation software, à la say Nero, to burn a disk. The disk and folder menu for Windows 7 has a BURN option that allows you to do that. But, as I said at the start, the user interface for using that BURN option isn’t straightforward.

Today, I tried to use it. Got me no where.

Then I, using the COMPUTER icon, just displayed my drives … including my DVD RW drive. It showed as an open folder. Dragged a folder to it. Took it straightway. No hassle.

So I tried it again.

So here is the bottom line. To burn a CD/DVD just put a write-ready disk into your RW drive. Using the COMPUTER icon select that drive and click on it. Open up the drive as a folder. THEN just drag-and-drop the folders or files you want burned into that open disk folder. You can drop multiple files/folders at once. When you are finished just right click and say EJECT. Might take a few minutes for it to ‘finalize’ the disk. It will then eject it.

I was even able to effortlessly add folders to a DVD R disk that I had previously burned. Didn’t ask me anything. Just continued to add.

It really is easy and painless. Try it. You will like it.


Anura Guruge

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I am not sure whether anybody, including Microsoft, knows the exact figures, but I assume that today, Christmas day, tens of thousands of brand new PCs, with Windows 7 preloaded, were fired up around the Globe. Many won’t bother to activate Windows 7 today. Plus, there is the totally out-of-control pirating of Windows 7. Hence, if I TRY to factor in India, China and Vietnam, probably 40% of the copies of Windows 7 that were fired up today, for the first time, were probably pirated. The number maybe higher. I doubt whether it is lower. Despite Microsoft’s inexplicable, inexcusable and irresponsible claim that it would provide updates and support for pirated copies of Windows 7, unstinted, I am sure that quite a few users of pirated Windows 7 will refrain from hitting the Microsoft site. Hence my belief that we will never know how many folks got Windows 7 for Christmas. But I am sure it was a LOT.

So today Windows 7 comes of age. At any other time I would have said that it would be the day of reckoning.

But I have to admit, however grudgingly, that Microsoft DID GOOD with Windows 7. Yes, Microsoft, take a bow. And that coming from me is akin to Newt Gringrich parising Obama’s health care bill! Until Windows 7 I have never, for valid reasons, been a great fan of Microsoft. But, I have always been willing to give credit when credit was due.

Yes, as I myself have found there are BUGS in Windows 7. Just check the ‘Windows 7 Problems’ category here. Yes, these bugs indicate that Windows 7 was not adequately tested. But, by and large, Windows 7 is amazingly resilient and responsive. Consequently, I do not think that there will be too many people today, Christmas day, unhappy with their Windows 7 experience. That is good.

All that said, I still expect that we will see a TON of ‘open box’ Windows 7 machines for sale at places like Best Buy, TigerDirect etc. within the next few days. But that would not be because Windows 7 was a pig. I think today’s economy will be a factor. There will be some buyer’s remorse. “Do I really need a new laptop in the current climate?” So check out the deals. I plan to snap up at least one decent Windows 7 rig to serve as a backup.

Talking of backups … the refurbished Dell … with Windows XP Professional I got from TigerDirect arrived Christmas eve. I fired it up the night of Christmas eve when nothing in the house was stirring. WOW. TigerDirect did me proud. Great machine. Fast and clean. As promised. I installed all that I wanted on it. Best $169 I have spent in a long time … maybe my entire life. THANK YOU TigerDirect.

Happy Christmas.

Anura Guruge

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The Windows 7 SNIPPER TOOL that allows you to take a snap shot of a portion of your screen is a wonderful tool. One of my favorites in Windows 7. Thank you, Microsoft. Nearly all of the screen shot images I have used in this blog were captured using it.

The Snipper, however, has limitations. For one it can’t capture all of my 37″ horizontal screen space. It also, inexplicably, does not have an UNDO … you having to use the eraser for that purpose. There is also no PRINT option in the FILE menu. And if you want to be real picky … you can’t change the highlighter color! Yellow, as far as I can make out, is the only choice, though you can change color on the pen.

Though it may not be obvious you can have a HotKey, say F7, to invoke Snipper.

Go to the Windows 7 START button. Then All Programs > Accessories > Snipper Tool. RIGHT CLICK. Get properties. You will see a SHORTCUT tab. Off you go. Bob is your uncle.

I can also tell you that Snipper automatically (like Prt Scr) saves its content in the ClipBoard. So you can IMMEDIATELY paste it into another document (say PowerPoint). That is useful.

But assigning the Snipper to a key isn’t going to make it into Prt Scr (Print Screen).

Why? Because the Snipper, by design and per its charter, is a 2-step (some would even say 3-step) operation. Invoke, select screen area to be snipped … then save or paste.

The 2nd step, i.e., selecting screen area, can get in the way of what you are trying to capture.

Prt Scr, which captures all of your displayed screen area, is, however, a 1-click operation.

That 1-click operation is handy when you want to capture stuff without in any way interfering with what is on the screen.

So here is what I have gainfully done a few times of late.

I first use PRT SCR. I then use CTRL+V to paste the image into a PowerPoint slide. (Yes, when it comes to PRT SCR it is easier to use PPT than Word).

Then I use SNIPPER on the pasted image!

SNIPPER is all set up to save in JPEG. Yes, I can save PPT in JPEG as well … but it requires more work.

So using SNIPPER makes the JPEG creation easier.

Just a tip. I have used it. Works well. So wanted to share it with you.

Have a GREAT Christmas. Cheers.

Anura Guruge

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Today was my second day of having System Mechanic 9.5.3 on my Windows 7 rig.

Today I had a chance to really put it through its paces and keep an eye on it.

Made it do two deep system analysis scans. Reported the usual suspects. 7 registry errors, 74MB of clutter, 64% registry defragmentation and 10% c-disk fragmentation.

As ever System Mechanic cleaned up the registry errors without incident.

Told it to defrag the c-drive. It did. came back and said I still had 10% fragmentation. That means it didn’t recover anything.

Told it to do it again. Same result.

Scheduled a registry defrag. SYSTEM MECHANIC 9.5.3. HUNG!

But was able to restart Windows 7.

The registry defrag did occur. [But Windows 7 did not register the System Mechanic hang.]

Ran Windows 7 defrag … twice. Each case it came back and said 0% fragmentation.

Did a reanalysis using System Mechanic. Still claims I have 10% fragmentation.

So I continue to have the tale of two reports; Windows 7 0%, System Mechanic 9.5.3 10%.

As I have noted, Microsoft, as of Vista, changed its definition of fragmentation. The Microsoft criteria actually makes sense to me. So I am in a quandary as to who to believe. As an ex-IBMer who still remembers what Microsoft did to us with OS/2 I, reflexively, used to believe anybody but Microsoft. But, as with Windows 7 Microsoft is slowly winning me OVER. That is pretty amazing. That is kind of akin to the GOP winning over Bill Clinton!

The System Mechanic 9.5.3 hang really bugs me. I put up with all the System Mechanic bugs when 9.0.5 was not Windows 7 ready. Hhhhmmm.

A nice feature of WordPress, that I use for this blog, is that it shows me the search words that resulted in people clicking on this blog. To my distress I am seeing people coming here after searching on how to get key code generators for System Mechanic.

Come ON. You don’t need to pirate System Mechanic. You can get 30 days (or is it 60 days) for FREE … per e-mail. Don’t screw iolo.

They have done you no harm. By all means be creative. Use a couple of different emails and get trial versions for a few months.

But IF you like System Mechanic PLEASE pay for it.

Small companies like iolo and Avast can’t function on good will alone. They need revenue. If we scam them, we will get inferior products BECAUSE they don’t have the bucks to spend on R&D.

That is it for today. All the best. Cheers.

Anura Guruge

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I got 9.5.2 on Dec. 11 and made the prediction that we will most likely be at 9.5.4 before January 1.

Last night, i.e., Dec. 21, just before mid-night, I got System Mechanic 9.5.3.

iolo, indubitably, is scrambling to get System Mechanic up to par for Windows 7.

Prior to System Mechanic 9.5.0 on November 27, 2009, System Mechanic was NOT Windows 7 ready.

So this has been the release schedule since then:

System Mechanic 9.5.0 November 27, 2009

System Mechanic 9.5.1 December 3, 2009 (6 days between releases)

System Mechanic 9.5.2 December 10, 2009 (7 days between releases)

System Mechanic 9.5.3 December 21, 2009 (11 days between releases)

4 releases in 24 days! That is good and bad … but also CRAZY.

In my youth I was a Product Manager for a bunch of complex, networking software products. Doing releases like this is not a good reflection on the product or the company.

But, I also appreciate that iolo has had NO CHOICE.

I was going to do a post that 9.5.2 was ‘not right.’

From what I could see 9.5.2 was in ‘lock down’ mode. It was very reticent about reporting any problems. It appeared to be working on the principle that it was better to keep quiet than get it wrong.

I ran 9.5.3. It did not report any disk errors. As I had stated, the previous releases incorrectly reported that I had disk errors. It also said that my disk fragmentation was but 10%. That is 4% down from what the previous release said … and I had NOT done a defrag between the two readings! Remember, I have said that with Windows 7 what is considered to be ‘fragmented‘ has been redefined.

Well as is my wont I will keep an eye on System Mechanic 9.5.3 for all of you.

Happy holidays. All the best. Cheers.

Anura Guruge

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Per my prior post, TigerDirect tempts me daily. Until today I held firm. But I guess the holiday spirit finally got to me.

For the last month I have had this offer from TigerDirect, a 3-license copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 for $79.99. That is one heck of a deal. I paid $79.99 for a single license copy, from Best Buy, last year.

Today, I bought it … exploiting TigerDirect’s generous 90-day interest free terms. THANK YOU, TigerDirect.

I have Office 2007 on my Windows 7 machine. I am getting used to it. It is definitely more resilient than Office 2002.

I don’t really need 3 copies right now. But I will hang on to it. Maybe I will give it to those that feel compelled to use pirated copies of it. A Christmas present.


Anura Guruge

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