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.

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.

Tools to Defrag Your Hard Drive

The hard drive is one of the slowest pieces of hardware on a computer. It is ideal to keep the hard drive running as efficiently as possible One easy and great way to keep the hard drive running well is to defragment your hard drive regularly. In this article, we will be looking at tools you can use to defragment your computer’s hard drive.

Windows Defrag Tool

The Windows Defragmentation tool comes with Windows, does a good job, and is easy to use. To Defragment your hard drive, open up “My Computer”, Right Click on C:, Click properties, Click the “Tools” Tab, Click “Defragment Now”, Click Defragment, click OK. That is it. The great thing about the Windows tool is that it is built-in and super easy to find and use.

Defraggler

Defraggler is a great tool by piriform. This tool is free and easy to use. In my opinion, it also does a better job than the Windows Defragmentation tool. It has many cool features such as a way to defrag free space and a cool tool visualizing space usage on your hard drive and in memory. You can find defraggler at http://www.piriform.com/defraggler.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The last tool we will talk about is Disk Defrag from Auslogics. This is another great tool. It is easy to use and also is free for home use. We also thought this utility did a bit better than the Windows defrag tool. It was quicker and had more features that the Windows built-in tool. You can find it at http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/.

No matter what tool you use, it is crucial to defrag your hard drive often. I would recommend doing this at least monthly. If you have not defragged in awhile, it may be worth defragging multiple times in a row, especially if you are using the Windows tool. This will help keep your computer from running slow.

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