Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

How to do a little spring cleaning on your Windows PC

April 24th, 2012 No comments

Spring cleaning Windows

Performance on Windows PCs degrade over time, but you can perform some spring cleaning on them to reclaim lost performance. Take a look at these tips to revive your Windows PC:


Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000

December 5th, 2010 No comments

The Microsoft Mobile Mouse 6000 is my third mobile mouse in two years and I’ve had a mostly positive experience thus far. I used to have the Logitech VX Nano and more recently, the Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000. I loved having a Bluetooth mouse to save a USB slot and not worry about transceivers but I found that when awaking from sleep, there was usually a few second lag to reconnect. I decided to try the MMM 6000 in hopes it would it would be just as good as the MNB 5000, but without the reconnection lag.


  • BlueTrack tracking as advertised
  • Ambidextrous design
  • 5 total buttons
  • Great battery life RATING
  • Attractive appearance
  • Strong wireless connectivity
  • Tiny nano transceiver
  • Windows XP/Vista/7 & MacOS X 10.2 compatible
  • Great Microsoft hardware support


  • No auto-off feature
  • Real-life battery life significantly less than rating
  • Glossy plastic hard to keep clean and hard to grip
  • No carry case

The blister pack was actually easy to open and did not require any tools. I inserted the included AA battery, turned the mouse on, then plugged the transceiver into a free USB port on my laptop. Within 15 seconds or so, Windows 7 recognized it and installed the appropriate working driver for the MMM 6000 and I was off and running.

The first thing I noticed about the MMM 6000 was that it was a tad bigger than my MNM5000, which I quite appreciate. I actually do not travel with my laptop that often so I could probably get away with using a normal-sized mouse. As it is, the MMM 6000 is large enough for daily use and small enough for travel as well. I use my laptop probably 3-4 hours/day on a small desk so the size is perfect for me. It’s not contoured for righties specifically so lefties can use it just as comfortably. The thumb button is located almost near the very front of the mouse so it feels unnatural clicking it. I have to actually use the tip of my thumb rather than the base, near the joint. The scroll wheel is free rolling without ratcheting and feels rather good to use. It does not spin the same way as the advanced Logitech scroll wheel does however.

The 2.4GHz wireless performance is perfect without interfering with my other devices. My Droid mobile phone occasionally would cause my Bluetooth mouse to hang for a couple of seconds whenever I received a new e-mail, text, or IM. I notice zero lag and it connects to Windows 7 instantly, even when waking up from sleep mode! The transceiver is so small that it only sticks out a quarter of an inch from the USB port. This is ideal so that I never have to remove it even when placing my laptop into my case.

I have to admit that the tracking technology was the least of my worries. On the other hand, when I took my VX Nano on my travels, it would not track on the glass tabletop in the hotel room and I had to use a USA Today newspaper as a mousepad. I’m happy that I won’t have to do that on my next trip 🙂 It does track significantly better on my textured desk than laser mice so I can attest to BlueTrack’s effectiveness.

The included Alkaline battery only lasted me just over a month. I use the mouse about 4 hours a day. That is significantly less than the 10 month rating, but I probably use it a lot more than expected. An auto-off feature would’ve probably added at least a couple more weeks of use. At least I get to use my rechargeable AA batteries, which are more plentiful than AAA’s. There is also low battery indicator just below the scroll wheel than blinks red when your battery is low.

I’m surprised that Microsoft did not include a carry case, like they did with the MNB 5000. The VX Nano also came with a nice case. The package came with Microsoft Intellipoint 6.3 but I did not install it.

The 6000 is a good overall mobile mouse. The BlueTrack technology and nano transceiver make this an admirable mobile mouse for non-travelers and travelers alike.

* Review sample provided by Microsoft

Categories: Reviews Tags: , ,

Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System

December 5th, 2010 No comments

4 Stars- techdad
Microsoft Windows 7

Here comes Windows 7, nearly three years after Windows Vista and eight years after Windows XP. By most accounts, Windows 7 is what Vista should have been. Do we finally have a worthy successor to XP?


  • Fast startup and performance
  • Stable
  • Nice aesthetic and functional changes to the desktop
  • Improved networking, power management & security
  • 32-bit & 64-bit versions included
  • Windows Media Center
  • Windows XP Mode (Professional & Ultimate only)


  • User Account Control still annoying
  • Upgrade can be challenging

I had been running the Windows 7 release candidate for 3 months and the full version 2 weeks before official release date. The experience convinced me to finally upgrade my Windows XP systems to 7. This review briefly touches upon some of the key features and enhancements of Microsoft’s latest OS.

One of the welcome enhancements Microsoft made was start-up time. The shutdown time has been improved as well. Also, in my non-benchmarked experience, Windows 7 has been at least as fast as XP if not faster. The kernel changes and ability to run the 64-bit version probably has a lot to do with that. Most benchmarks from around the Internet seem to support my observations.

I am elated to finally upgrade to a 64-bit operating system in order to take advantage of more memory support and modern processors. I have Intel Core 2 Duo processors in both my systems with 4GB of physical RAM but XP only allowed 3.25GB for system use.

At first login, you’ll notice the changes to the taskbar. The taskbar is no longer just a place to store quick launch icons and view open windows. It now provides functionality in the form of Jump Lists, which allow you to select your most frequently opened files or links from the apps you have “pinned” on the taskbar. The clock and calendar are improved and the Show Desktop icon is now integrated in the far right corner. Other desktop enhancements include Aero Peek, Aero Shake, Snap, new themes and wallpapers. You also get gadget support. All of these features combine to create a much improved and enjoyable desktop experience.

Windows 7 introduces a new feature called libraries. Previously, your system had shortcuts to My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, etc. which had files residing in only those specific folders. Files can now reside anywhere on your system and be organized inside libraries. It’s similar to how many music and photo applications organize files.

Even as good as XP was, networking was cumbersome. Windows 7 makes connecting two or more Windows 7 systems together easy, using HomeGroup. This enables easy sharing of files and devices. One downside is that HomeGroup is only supported between Windows 7 systems. File transfer performance between computers has been vastly improved and connecting to a wireless network has never been easier on a Windows machine.

Security in Windows 7 is good and comes with Windows Firewall and Defender. Still, you’ll probably want to invest in a more comprehensive Internet security suite, like Norton Internet Security or Kaspersky Internet Security. User Account Control (UAC) has been tweaked in order to give user accounts more flexibility in controlling their own security as well as providing more detailed information so the user can make better decisions about whether to allow certain actions. Coming from XP however, it is still annoying and I choose to turn it off. Also, in Windows 7 Ultimate, you can encrypt entire hard drives as well as external portable storage devices, like USB thumb drives. Though this is a welcome integrated feature, much of the functionality can be found in a popular open-source program called TrueCrypt. If you want encryption but not multi-language support, you could just get Windows 7 Home Premium and use TrueCrypt.

Power management has been improved overall and you should be able to squeeze more battery life out of your laptop, even when using your DVD drive. Sleep and resume has also been improved. XP wasn’t always consistent when entering or resuming from sleep mode, but Windows 7 has been perfect.

I’ve only briefly played around with WMC but it looks promising. It has some fun options for media, especially when you’re connected to the Internet. Netflix for example, is integrated so I can use WMC to stream Netflix movies rather than using a browser. It may even be an adequate replacement for component DVR’s should you choose to use it as the centerpiece to your entertainment center. The biggest advantage for me is that Windows 7 now includes a DVD decoder. This means that I can now watch DVD’s natively. WMC is available in all Windows 7 editions except Starter.

WINDOWS XP MODE (Professional & Ultimate Editions ONLY)
For applications that ran in XP, but won’t on 7, there is now XP Mode. It isn’t perfect and your system has to have virtualization support and turned on. Go to your system BIOS to check. If supported, then install Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode. Check your hardware if you intend to use XP Mode.

It seems that a lot of upgraders have had problems during the upgrade process, especially from XP. Most of us expected to be able to format our hard disks and be prompted for either the XP disc or product key. Alas, this is not the case. The upgrade is much more complicated than it should be and some workarounds have been discovered.

Method A (simplest)
If you already have an older version of Windows on the hard drive, finish the Custom Install, without entering the product key. After installation, go to your System Properties and click the link to activate Windows. Enter your product key and it should activate. This has worked for me twice.

Method B (hardest)
If Method A doesn’t work, try the registry hack.

  1. Finish the custom install without entering the product key then click Start and type regedit.exe into the “Search programs and files” box.
  2. In the registry, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE/. In the pane on the right, you’ll see an entry for MediaBootInstall. Double-click on it and change the value from “1” to “0” and click OK.
  3. Close regedit and go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories then right-click on Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator.” You’ll get a UAC alert, click Yes.
  4. At the command prompt, type: slmgr /rearm and hit Enter. Reboot.
  5. Now try to activate. If it fails, make sure there are no pending Windows Updates to install. If there is, install them, reboot and start over from Step 4.

Method C (most time consuming)
Perform the Custom Install and skip the product key. Once completed, run the upgrade again from within Windows 7 but this time, enter the Windows 7 upgrade key and then activate Windows.

If you’re an XP holdout, like I was, I recommend upgrading. Vista SP2 users may have less reason to upgrade but might want to just for the changes to the taskbar and the UAC improvements. For users who don’t need to use their computers in a corporate environment, then Windows 7 Home Premium edition is a good choice. I’m guessing most power users will choose Professional, which adds XP Mode and Domain Join. Ultimate also adds drive encryption and multi-language support. I suggest a clean install for best results. If you’re a Mac OS X user, there is probably nothing in Windows 7 compelling enough for you to consider switching.

Windows 7 is the premium Microsoft OS that Windows users have been waiting for. It’s fast, secure, stable, visually appealing and fun to use. Windows 7 will make your old system feel fresh and new again. New system owners with Windows 7 pre-loaded can feel confident that they’re getting the best Windows OS ever produced.

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