14 Mar

What Makes Windows 7 So Great?

How great is Windows 7? Like anything it may depend on who you ask. For example, ask Microsoft and it’s probably the best thing since the discovery of electricity. Seriously though, Windows 7 is best known for being the antidote to Vista (considered by some to be a second edition of Vista). I hardly ever hear anyone say they like Vista which has always been riddled with problems including User Account Control issues, driver signing requirements (64bit), problem service packs, and compatibility issues. Let’s explore Window’s 7 best features and determine what degree of improvement it holds over Windows Vista.

Is Windows 7 generally compatible with hardware and software? Microsoft has actually done quite a bit better making this operating system compatible with most hardware and software used today. In fact, an “upgrade advisor” is available to inform the user if there are any compatibility issues before that person upgrades to Windows 7….“Bravo.” Unfortunately Windows 7 is not compatible with everything, especially older hardware.

Microsoft foresaw some of the problems with compatibility and took extra    steps to minimize those issues. Windows 7 contains a feature called “Xp Mode”. What this is literally, is Windows Xp running on Windows 7. Once installed, there is a window on the desktop that will run programs designed for Xp. It is a “virtual” operating system where you can perform all the tasks that you would ordinarily be able to run on a Windows Xp computer. Windows Xp Mode was designed primarily to help businesses move from Windows Xp to Windows 7.

Another feature which is improved in windows 7, and which was highly criticized in Vista is called the User Account Control (UAC). The UAC was set up for security purposes. Whenever there was a system level change in Vista, the operating system would prompt a dialog box that would require the user’s permission to either stop or continue (how annoying)! Even the default administrator account is subject to the UAC in Vista. The Windows 7 UAC is better for several reasons. There are more settings that allow a user to control the UAC according to his/her comfort level with the notifications. The UAC is now designed to provide the user with the control over what changes can happen to the system.

There are a few things in particular that (from a technician’s perspective) make Windows 7 a whole lot better. It is simply a more stable operating system, programs load and run quickly, and basic drivers are automatically installed after a re-install of the operating system. One of the most notable improvements however is the file management system known as libraries. Previous operating systems haven’t been as efficient about pulling together files with the same characteristics and allowing you to access them from one place. Libraries is very cool because even if you have pictures (for example) spread around your entire hard drive, they can all be found easily in that centralized location. Still, there is no doubt that getting used to the layout of the Windows 7 OS takes some getting used to, especially if you’re an “Xp” person.

Speaking of the Xp operating system, I’ve received the same question many times about whether one should migrate to Windows 7 for their next pc or laptop, or stay with Windows Xp. That’s a good question. So stay tuned for my next article addressing that issue. In conclusion, there is no question that Windows 7 rocks compared to Vista, and although still susceptible to crashing, blue screens and viruses, it does have the greatest potential of any of Microsoft’s operating systems so far.

Share this
09 Mar

The Most Effective Ways to Speed up Your Computer

There are many ways to speed up your computer, and some take very little time at all to facilitate. Just as with your car, your computer needs proper maintenance to run smoothly. The best thing about it though is that it doesn’t take a technician to properly maintain your pc or laptop. All that it requires is that you’re conscientious and willing to learn. The following tips are for windows computers and are designed for computer users with basic computer knowledge and an interest in learning how to save time and money.

The all powerful, yet very simple tool that cleans your temporary internet files, cookies, recycle bin, and your cache is called: Ccleaner. Unlike a lot of registry cleaners which can completely kill your operating system, Ccleaner is risk free. It does it’s job very well which is basically to clean the areas in your computer where viruses and spyware tend to hang out. Ccleaner can be downloaded for free at download.com. Another great thing about Ccleaner is that it only takes about 10 seconds to complete from start to finish. How can you beat that?

Don’t you hate it when your computer takes forever to boot? Then, when you go to launch a program, you realize it still hasn’t fully stopped booting! There are several steps to take in order to have your pc or laptop develop a faster boot speed. First you must realize that everything in your sys tray (bottom right hand corner of the desktop) is operating in the background and taking up your computer’s resources (memory and processing time). For example, you should have an antivirus you can see in the sys tray. However, any unnecessary programs that are known to operate in the background should be removed. To do this, one can simply go to add remove in the control panel, and remove programs that are either “junk” or not need. There are other ways to stop services from running in the background at start up, but an experienced technician should apply those methods in most cases. Please also remember to have only one antivirus run on your computer at a time.

Defrag your computer or laptop! After you’ve used your computer for awhile, the files become arranged in a non contiguous fashion which makes it harder for windows to work efficiently. There is nothing that you did wrong to make this happen. By simply deleting and creating files (using your pc normally) fragmentation is inevitable. The good news is that there are plenty of tools to organize the files appropriately. The software known as “diskeeper” is one of the more popular and effective defrags out there. Yet why spend the money when windows has a defrag built in (or when you can get one for free from download.com). To use the defrag built into windows,  click start, select All Programs, select Accessories, click on System Tools, and then click on Disk Defragmenter. In short, defragging is very important and is very much a part of basic maintenance.

So you thought you had to call a technician to find out if your system can hold more memory? Nonsense! I showed a customer how to do this, and afterward he not only determined the capacity his pc had for ram, but he was inspired to install it on his own. Simply go to your url and type in:  www.crucial.com. Use the Crucial system scanner tool and it will tell you what type of ram you have and how many more sticks of ram you can have to reach maximum capacity. A computer can be sped up significantly when additional ram is added to it.

Both viruses and spyware are notorious for causing computers to slow down   (among other problems they cause). However, they don’t always raise a flag and tell you that they are present. This is where you get to save time and money simply by obtaining an anti virus and anti spyware. Cnet.com reviews the best software, and we believe ESET and Bit Defender are among the best anti viruses. Also, we use and have had success with Spybot as an anti spyware program.

In conclusion, we described above the top 5 ways you can speed up your pc or laptop. The best part about it is that you can do it all yourself and save money in the process. Olympus Computer Services is here for you if you need instruction or would rather have us perform maintenance on your behalf.

Share this

© 2015 Olympus Computer Services. All rights reserved.