Bittersweet Taste of Windows 8 Pre-Beta

Windows 8 is still in development and Microsoft is yet to announce a shipment date but I can’t wait to share what I think about Windows 8 pre-beta. The new OS will run on laptops, desktops, netbooks, servers, media center PCs, and tablet PCs. The pre-beta version for developers is out and I was able to run it on my HP laptop built for Windows 7. So far, I have a bittersweet taste in my mouth about Windows 8. Although installation of Windows was smooth, the Metro user interface is quite confusing. The Metro UI seems like it would be best for Smartphones, not notebooks.

Let’s start with the good news. I was excited to work on a new operating system. It took about 10 seconds to boot. It has secured boot, superb Smart Screen, reset/refresh pc, and client hyper-v. Now, companies, for the first time, will be able to integrate their employees tablet PCs into their networks. I am sure that many network administrators welcome this news.

Next, there is definitely a good reason why enterprise users should not upgrade to Windows 8. That is simply because in Windows 7, the enterprise Desktop mode is Windows 7. This is a problem that Microsoft will have to deal with if they want people to migrate en mass.

On my laptop, now running on Windows 8, I was able to use the classic Start menu, like in Windows 7. I was able to do this the same way I could choose the Metro UI. So, if users upgrade and the don’t like the Metro UI, they can go back to a Windows 7 look and feel.

The bad news is that Windows 8, without the Metro interface, is very similar to Windows 7. Nothing has really changed.  In the past, people get excited when there is a launch of a new Microsoft operating system due to new features, look, and feel. That excitement and rush has effectively faded out. In fact, the technology World is more anxious for the next iPhone to hit the market than they are about Windows 8.

One more thing, Microsoft is also trying to keep older versions of Windows, Linux, and other operating systems off Windows 8 computers. That means users may not be able to dual boot their computers. By dual booting, as it is today, one could have both Windows 7 and Linux operating systems on a computer. This might not be the case in the future.

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7 Ways to Speed Up Windows 7

Windows 7 is the most demanding Windows operating system to date. It requires at least 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of hard drive space, and recommends a multi-core processor. Due to these tough requirements, it could help you out to tweak Windows 7 to run more efficiently.

Disable Visual Effects

The visual effects in Windows 7 are nice and add to the experience. They aren’t that great if your computer is running really slowly though.  To get a speed boost, you can use the steps below to disable the visual effect.

  • Locate and right click on “Computer” and then select “Properties”.
  • Click on “Advanced System Settings”.
  • In the new window that just opened up, select the “Advanced” tab in it.
  • Next, Under “Performance”, click on “Settings”. Choose “Custom:” Options from it.
  • Next, uncheck all of the options and select only the last four options.
  • Click Save and then restart your computer. Keep in mind you can always undo what you just did.

Disable the Aero Theme

The Aero theme is another cosmetic improvement in Windows 7. However, it can really slow the PC down. The Aero user interface really taxes your graphics card and your CPU. If you need the extra speed, then it is not a bad idea to disable it.

  • Right Click on your Desktop and select “Personalize”.
  • Click the Window Color Tab.
  • Uncheck the Box that says “Enable Transparency” and then click on “Open classic appearance properties for more color options”.
  • Next, a window will open up.
  • Apply either the Standard or Basic theme from it. We would recommend the Standard theme.

Defragment Your Hard Drive

If you haven’t defragmented your hard drive in a while, you should take the time to do this. You can get to this by clicking start, in the search box type “defragment”, and then by clicking on the defragmentation tool.

Have a USB drive sitting around? Use Windows ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost is a feature in Windows 7 that allows you to add system memory by connecting a flash drive. If you are on the low-end when it comes to memory, this is a good thing to try. Keep in mind that it is better to just buy more memory then to go out and buy a flash drive for this only.

Clean the Hard Drive

Windows 7 needs a certain amount of free disk space to function properly. Moving or deleting old programs, files, and folders can help your hard drive run more efficiently.

Stop Unneeded Programs from Automatically Starting Up

You can make your Windows 7 machine run faster by only starting up programs as they are needed.  There are probably quite a few unneeded programs that you didn’t even know were opening at startup. To manage windows startup, click start, type “msconfig” in the search box, hit the enter key, and click on the startup tab. From here you can disable programs that you don’t want Windows to automatically start up.

Turn Off Desktop Gadgets

Every Gadget you add requires system resources to run. You can turn some or all of these gadgets off. Turn them off by typing “gadgets” into the start menu search bar, choose “View list of running gadgets” and then select each gadget you want to get rid of and click Remove.

Auslogics BoostSpeed 5

We recently got emailed by one of our readers about Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 when it comes to fixing a slow PC. We thought this was a blog-worthy topic and figured we would take the time to give Auslogics BoostSpeed a test run. Before we get to into the article, we wanted to note that you can find Auslogics BoostSpeed here.

Download and Install Process

We went to the auslogics website and downloaded the software. The download and install process was very easy and quick. The download is about a 8.2 MB file.

Auslogics BoostSpeed Scan

Right after the install process is finished, we are giving a recommendation to scan. The scanner looks like it is looking for 4 specific issues: registry errors, junk files, disk errors, and fragmentation. The scanner finds quite a few issues on the test computer. In fact, in found over 3,000 items that it could fix.  One thing we want to point out is that the scan is free. The program will also fix the first 15 problems for free. We purchased the full version so we could test though, so we are able to fix all 3,000 problems.

Results

After we scanned and fixed the issues, we noticed that our test machine was a bit zippier. We also noticed that the program was able to free up some memory. Overall, we were pretty impressed with the job that Auslogics BoostSpeed did. One thing that we do want to note is that if you are a computer super user, you will probably be able to do a lot of the tasks that Auslogics BoostSpeed does on your own. For example, you can manually try to find and remove junk files. You can also defrag on your own as well. However, doing these tasks individually will take you much more time when compared to a commercial software. There are a few exceptions of things that you can’t do on your own such as cleaning the registry though.

System Advisor

Another cool feature that we liked in Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 was the System Advisor. The system advisor gave many specific suggestions to our test PC’s version of Windows on how to further speed up the computer. One example is that it gave the option to disable the Aero effects in Windows 7. For those who don’t know, the Aero effects are the visual effects that add to the look and feel of Windows 7. However, for older computers, it can really help to disable these effects since they use a lot of system resources. This is just one example of a suggestion that Auslogics BoostSpeed gave. There were many more suggestions as well. Again, we do want to point out that for an advanced user, you can find a way to do many of these tasks on your own. However, this tool can save you time and the headache of possibly messing something up. A lot of the things Auslogics BoostSpeed does requires you to mess with system settings.

Conclusion

Overall, we found Auslogics BoostSpeed to be very good and would definitely recommend it for users experiencing a slow PC. We do want to point out that this software is not free. We also want to reiterate that you can do many of the tasks yourself if you have extra time and if you feel comfortable messing with the settings of your computer.

You can Download the Free Trial of Auslogics BoostSpeed Here

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