Archive for the ‘Windows 7 features’ Category

I like the Snipper Tool. I use it often and all the screen shots I have used in this blog were created using it.

That it, inexplicably and inexcusably, does not have a de rigueur UNDO ‘button’ is frustrating, but is not a show stopper (since there is an ERASER function).

But contrary to what some have believed it is in NO WAY a replacement for the standard ‘Prt. Scr.’

I can’t find the exact parameters (and yes, I didn’t look that hard), BUT the Snipper has some strict limitations as to how much of a screen it can capture.

I discovered this when I tried to use it to take a screen shot of my 39″ dual monitor configuration. It can’t stretch that ‘far.’

It can’t even capture my entire 1920×1080 24″ monitor. I tried.

But, Prt. Scr (Print Screen) continues to work immaculately.

So this is not a problem. Snipper is invaluable for grabbing PORTIONS of your screen. But if you want the ENTIRE screen you may have to use Prt. Scr. (unless you have a small monitor).

So this is just a heads-up. Something to keep in the back of your mind.


Anura Guruge


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When talking about Windows Defender on December 1, I had mentioned that MSFT tells you to use SEARCH to locate it … within your system.

Well today, I found that you can get ready access to ALL the Windows 7 tools, including Windows Defender, on one panel — without any 3rd part add-ons or WITHOUT having to customize your Windows START menu.


Just open up your control panel … using whichever scheme you use. Does not matter.

See that ARROW (>) after ‘Control Panel.’ Click on it to make it display a drop-down menu. First item on that is “All Control Panel Items”. There you go.

Things that WE didn’t even know were there. Like real-time performance monitoring.

Well, as we say in Britain, “Bob’s your uncle.” Have fun. Just remember WHO told you about it.


Anura Guruge

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Yet again today I got an update, albeit fairly small, for Windows Defender.

Using the handy “Review Update History” I had a quick look at how often I get these updates. (↑) So today is 11/30. The prior one was on 11/26, the one before that 11/23 … 11/19 & 11/16. So basically I have got 5 in 2 weeks.

Earlier last week, I noticed that my cute ‘ACTION CENTER’ flag, on the right-hand ‘dock’ of my TASK BAR was waving.

It wanted me to run Windows Defender. There was link to press. Since I had never run Windows Defender I tried it.

Said something along the lines of ‘quick scan.’ I was game. Told it to go for it. It did. It was quick. Really quick. Found NADA.

Then I noticed a ‘advanced scan’ (or equivalent) option. Since, I was doing some reading and didn’t really need to use this PC told it to do that too. Took a few minutes. Yes, this system is kind of fast though I am toying with upgrading it with a higher i7 processor. My wife is asking me what I want for Christmas.

It said it scanned some 82,xxx objects. Found nothing.

But, my question is does it really have the ‘smarts’ to find anything?

Yes, I have [paid-up] Avast! Professional 4.8. I get daily updates. I am using the Sept. 2009 build of the Engine. So, I would be bummed if Windows Defender or anything else found anything remotely harmful on this computer.

There is something Windows Defender that is ‘creepy.’ It is somewhat of a phantom, ‘The Phantom of the Vista.’

Well, for a start, you can’t find it using normal methods. Honest.

Go on. Look for it. Try Windows ‘Start.’

< Please refer to reader COMMENT below. It appears that it can be done. >

Nothing, right?

Go to the Action Center (via the Control Panel, if you must) and look under Security. If you are lucky you will see a mention of Windows Defender, but no ‘links’ to activate it.

Don’t YOU think that that is strange.

I snipped that straight from Microsoft’s ‘Using Windows Defender‘ Web page.

MSFT tells you to use SEARCH on your Windows 7 machine to find Windows Defender.

And YOU think, I make this stuff up.

This is weird.

OK, I will be nice. I will give MSFT a break (mainly because fairly soon I intend to break their sanguinity about fiduciary responsibility). Maybe, on my system Windows Defender is superfluous, possibly even impotent, because Avast is doing all the heavy lifting. Maybe.

But … then again.

I haven’t given up on crusading against pirated Windows 7 (and other software). As I have said, I do have a vested interest. Kind of hurts my feelings that people are bypassing a system that I had a hand in creating.

Well, it appears that MAYBE MSFT isn’t going to do nothing about pirated Windows 7. There is even a possibility that MSFT is ‘exploiting’ pirated copies of Windows 7 to ‘BLACK BOX‘ track Windows 7 users. Heard of the hidden, surreptitious black boxes that car manufacturers are installing on random cars so that they can monitor how people drive. Well, MSFT wants that same type of data on Windows 7 users. With legit users they will need to jump through hoops to get that. Privacy etc. But, if it is a pirated copy … no contract, no obligations … essentially outside the law. You can’t legitimately complain that MSFT is violating your privacy if you are using a pirated copy of Windows. So it appears that that is the deal … though this could be a conspiracy theory … or if you want to resort to 2nd or 3rd degree logic, claiming that it is conspiracy theory is a good red-herring to allay concern. Well, as the rumors go, MSFT at some point in 2010 will set about disabling the pirated copies once it has garnered a few warehouses full of data. Now the rub. Even the nub. With Windows Defender and the regular updates, MSFT has the perfect software disabling tool. No need to add anything else. A few new definitions and Windows Defender can GLIBLY start shutting down things. Make sense to me. But, this could just be a rumor. Who knows.


Anura Guruge

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Don’t opt for Windows 7 Ultimate just because you like the sound of ‘Ultimate.’

Windows 7 Ultimate is intentionally misnamed by Microsoft to ultimately trap all of those that feel that they must have the BEST. There is nothing wrong with always wanting the BEST. But, in the case of Windows 7 Ultimate is unlikely to be the BEST option for YOU … unless you are bona fide road-warrior.

Check Microsoft’s Windows 7 COMPARISON CHART.

Do not rely on ANY OTHER chart. Whatever you do don’t listen to ‘YOUR PC GUY’ (and why do we have such a shortage of PC Gals?) who tells you that you should go with the ULTIMATE … since it only costs $20 more than ‘Professional.’

Check MSFT’s CHART. Note you only get two, and only two, features in ‘Ultimate’ above what you get with ‘Professional.’

Those two are:

  1. BitLocker. That is on-the-fly data encryption. MSFT sells it as feature against hackers. Don’t buy that. That is disingenuous of MSFT, to say the least. We have Windows Defender that is supposed to protect us from Hackers? So, why do you also need BitLocker. Yes, BitLocker is invaluable if you have a laptop and are a road warrior. If the laptop is stolen or lost, you data will be safe. For that you need BitLocker. In my book, and I have written a few, that is the ONLY reason to have BitLocker. To protect data on ‘traveling’ laptops. Don’t ever think of BitLocker on a desktop. Just use Windows Defender and Avast.
  2. 35 Language Support. That is very nice, but do YOU really need that on YOUR PC. Like how many languages do you use on you PC? Just good and bad English. That is two.

The irony is that I think BitLocker can actually have a performance impact on your PC. Don’t know that for a fact. Just a guess. I do know some about encryption, but I haven’t bothered to look up the details of BitLocker.

My goal is to just to give YOU a HEADS UP that Windows 7 Ultimate is not the Ultimate Windows 7 experience that you may have been hoping for. So don’t spend the extra without checking out what you are not getting to get.

Yes, I know that Windows 7 Ultimate is freely available, in pirated form. If you are going to use pirated software then this really will the ultimate kick for you. Go for it. The worst it can do is slow you PC down, but what the heck. You got THE ULTIMATE for nothing.


Anura Guruge

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I had vaguely remembered about the ‘new’ search indexing feature that was added to Vista.

Obviously it got carried over to Windows 7.

Today I was editing a chapter in my new book. When I am editing, I can stare at a single sentence on the screen for five to ten minutes at a time. I am not touching the keyboard or mouse. I am not listening to music. I stare, intently, at the screen. My new system, despite having seven (yes, 7) fans, one rather BIG on the top, is rather quiet. So today, I started hearing that unmistakable, interminable clickety-click sound coming from my PC. It wasn’t loud. But it was incessant. I immediately realized what it was doing. It was doing indexing.

I don’t really need my files indexed. I don’t use search that often. When I do, I rarely, if ever, search on file contents. I just search on file names. Though I have a LOT of files, I also still, despite my dotage, have a reasonably good memory. Plus, I am, by necessity rather organized, structured and disciplined. So my folders and files have logical and self describing names. So my searches are not that taxing. I don’t need Windows 7 to keep on trolling my disk indexing all my data.

At this point I did not know that I could actually fine tune Windows 7 indexing options. Well, you can. Right click on ‘COMPUTER,’ go select the ‘properties’ option at the bottom. You should get a screen with your System Rating etc. with a HUGE Windows 7 logo on the right. On the LEFT HAND bottom, you should see ‘Performance Information and Tools.’ BINGO. That is what you need. Select that and the second option you will get is ‘Adjust indexing options.’ I actually looked at mine. It was not indexing both my disks! Strange! All that clicking … I thought it was indexing both … non-stop. According to what it claims … indexing was complete and it indexed 25,802.

Well, this afternoon I didn’t know any of this.

I just Googled “Windows 7 Search Indexing.” Many articles talked about disabling it. I went back to the article I told you about yesterday. Yes, I had remembered that it had talked about turning off search indexing. As I did yesterday with cutting back on my boot Time Out, I followed their instructions. They were GOOD AGAIN. I disabled indexing. I just did a search. Search seems to work. Not sure whether on this system, with its capacity to spare, turning off indexing made any difference. That constant clicking noise bothered me.

Well, think about. My goal is to give you food for thought. Thanks.

Anura Guruge

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I did a Google on “Windows 7 Ultimate Performance” and serendipitously came across this article in computing unleashed. I read tip #1 about ‘Speeding Up The Boot Process.

It made sense to me.

I had thought that the Boot Up on this rig was a TAD too slow given its innate processing power. What it said in that tip made sense.

I had never looked at ‘msconfig.’ I decided to give it a try.

The steps listed worked.

I, however, don’t think that you can set the boot time out value to zero (0). I first tried with 10 seconds. Restarted the system. Might have been a TAD quicker. Can’t tell … though 20 seconds is not to be sneezed at … given that you can probably sneeze 8 times in 20 seconds … even if your sneezes are of operatic proportions (as most of mine are, most of the time).

I was just glad that it booted after I made the changes … paranoia of Windows not working being my constant handmaiden.

Then I tried to knock the time out all the way to zero. Wouldn’t let me. Said it had to be 3 seconds. So set it to 3. Also set the cores to 8, given that that is what I had.

Shut it down and started it up again. Maybe it was a TAD quicker. Can’t really tell. Maybe I will time it tomorrow.

But this article is definitely worth perusing.

Hope this helps.

Anura Guruge

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Anura Guruge Dual Monitor Configuration

The Very Different Aspect Ratios Of My Two Monitors

As I said on November 10, 2009, it was a breeze to get dual monitor working on my Windows 7 rig.

The dual monitor configuration as worked well with no noticeable problems … but then again, I never had problems with it in XP either and I used it on XP for nearly eight years.

There are some interesting quirks.

Even though we swapped ports on the video card to see if it was port related, Windows 7 appears to have a spatial awareness of the two monitors — as indicated by this monitor set up image which shows my two monitors to scale.

Though the right hand, 24″ monitor is designated as my MAIN display, when Windows 7 is starting up … it does so on the LEFT HAND SIDE monitor, i.e., the secondary! We had noticed that Windows 7 tended to give preference to the LEFT HAND SIDE monitor.

That is kind of weird. In XP, the XP start-up screen appeared on BOTH monitors — in parallel. Not so in Windows 7. Hhhmmmm.

Well, as you can see the ‘resolution’ of my two monitors are very asymmetrical, the new one is wide-screen while the old one is smaller and ‘square.’

Today for the first time I was using Office 2007 Excel in anger … updating the demographics of the College of Cardinals. As is my wont, I was moving the spreadsheet from my main monitor to the left hand side one depending on whether I was working on the spreadsheet or on my papal BLOG.

Windows 7/Office 2007 weren’t too keen about handling the change in resolution for the spreadsheet! I had never seen this ‘reluctance’ with other Apps. But, I do recall, from ages ago, that Excel’s screen handling is different to those of Word etc.

Anyway, the main quirk is that Windows 7 or Excel tries to maximize the spreadsheet as soon as it moves over the the left hand side monitor. Hhhmmm. Not a show stopper. It amused me more than anything else, BUT I am easily amused.

I will keep you posted on this. Cheers.

Anura Guruge

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