Windows 7 is Officially Released!

23 10 2009

Windows 7 Ultimate Box ArtWindows 7 was officially released yesterday on the 22nd of October 2009. For Malaysians, hold on as events and roadshows will be coming to major towns near you in November (I have listed down a list of Malaysian Windows 7 events below).  Below are some screens from the launch event at New York City yesterday (Images courtesy of CNet News):
Brooks Demonstrating Play To
Steve Balmer on Windows 7
Windows 7 for Everything

Not to forget, reviews and articles from the latest Windows 7 OS:

Looks like Windows 7 is garnering good reviews, with most reviewers mentioning that it is the best OS from Microsoft yet. Look forward to Malaysia’s Windows 7 events at the following locations:

  • Windows 7 Consumer Launch, Lowyat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur (7th November 2009)
  • Lowyat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur (2nd – 8th November 2009)
  • Ikano Power Center, Petaling Jaya (4th – 8th November 2009)
  • Gurney Plaza, Penang (6th – 8th November 2009)
  • City Square Plaza, Johor Bahru (13th – 15th November 2009)
  • For developers and IT professionals: The New Efficiency Launch, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (24th November)

Hope to get comments from those who are on Windows 7 now!

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Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7

19 10 2009

With the launch of Windows 7 being only 3 days away, I have compiled a list of reasons why you should upgrade your OS, especially if you are still running on Windows XP. This list should help Windows XP fence sitters to make their choice soon.

Reason No. 5: You can Enjoy your Media through Windows Media Center

If you get Windows 7 Home Premium and above, your OS will come with a Windows Media Center for you to watch movies, play audio files, view photos and get access to Internet TV. Connecting your PC/Laptop to your HDTV will allow you to turn your PC into an all in one media center without a hitch. Best of all, you can purchase a media center remote for about less than RM100 to turn your PC into a full fledged media center.

The latest installment of Windows Media Center on Windows 7

The latest installment of Windows Media Center on Windows 7

Reason No. 4: You can run Windows XP Programs using Windows XP Mode

When Vista was first launched 3 years ago, many Windows XP users was unsatisfied with the support for programs and drivers that it had. Now with Windows 7, you can download an optional vistualization software called “Windows XP Mode“, which is downloadable here for free.

With Windows XP Mode, you’ll be able to install and run all your XP based programs without any problems on the same machine. However, you will need to ensure that your processor has processor based virtualization support. With this, there are no more excuse for running older applications on Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode running Word 2003 under XP and Word 2007 under Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode running Word 2003 under XP and Word 2007 under Windows 7.

Reason No. 3: You can run your Games on DirectX 10 and 11 with good Frame Rates

Windows Vista promised better looking games with the introduction of DX10, but it came with a big problem: framerate drop and performance issues in complex 3D games. As a result, gamers prefers to stick with Windows XP for gaming as the added DX10 enhancements does not oversell gaming performance.

Now with Windows 7, Microsoft has introduced DX11, but is your gaming performance affected? Based on a few benchmarks being conducted so far on Windows 7 Beta (PCGamesHardware.com, Firing Squad), Windows 7’s gaming performance matches Windows XP and beats Windows Vista in several gaming benchmarks. Take note that these benchmarks were only conducted in the Build 7000 beta version of Windows 7.

I have also ran a benchmark of Street Fighter IV under Windows 7 and I must say I am pretty impressed that it managed to run on 50+ FPS average throughout the entire game in High Quality on my C2D 7250, 8600GT laptop.

Far Cry 2 Benchmark on Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP

Far Cry 2 Benchmark on Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP

Reason No. 2: Windows 7 runs as Quickly and Responsively as Windows XP

Using Vista was a real drag, but after testing out Windows 7 for a month now, I can safely tell you that the performance in Windows 7 matches/is even faster than Windows XP. This is not only based on my experience, but also from other people (fellow colleagues and bloggers) who are already on the Windows 7 train.

With this in mind, it is safe for you to run multiple applications and expect minimal slowdowns unless you have taken up the entire RAM of your PC. With all the additional features available on Windows 7 and minimum hardware upgrade, it is a really good time to upgrade your OS.

Reason No. 1: Improved Productivity with the new Taskbar and Aero Features

And the main reason why you should upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7…. The new Taskbar and Aero functionalities!

With the introduction of the new Windows 7 taskbar now known as the SuperBar, your programs are now grouped together in icons, instead of separate boxes. You can also have a preview of your running programs while hovering your mouse over these icons. Want to close a program without running it at the top of your desktop? Just click on the mini “x” button on the window preview. Want to get the latest list of links or files that you have ran on an application? Just right click on the icon and get the list of latest tasks you have done.

The Jump List with list of media frequently played using Windows Media Player

The Jump List with list of media frequently played using Windows Media Player

And not to forget, there are also new Windows Aero features too. Aero shake, aero peek and aero snap are some of the new functions built into Windows 7. Don’t like cluttered windows, just shake the window that you want to work on and all the other windows in the background will minimize. Want to see the current status of your desktop without minimizing your programs? Just mouse over the right side of your SuperBar to view your desktop and click to minimize all. Want to compare products or 2 separate programs? Drag your application to the left or right hand side of the desktop to snap them up.

Comparing products on eBay is now easier with Aero Snap

Comparing products on eBay is now easier with Aero Snap

With all the new features in Windows 7 with minimal sacrifices in terms of hardware, there is definitely no better reason why you shouldn’t upgrade your PC from Windows XP to Windows 7. Check back this blog for Windows 7 events that will be coming to Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya to experience Windows 7 and win great prizes!





My Experience With Windows 7 so Far

18 09 2009

After fully utilizing Windows 7 in my laptop for about a week already, I can say that I am deeply impressed with Windows 7’s performance and compactness. Below is a summary of what I feel so far about Windows 7 if compared to Windows XP:

  1. Performance have been simply amazing: For me, this is one of the major points as to why Windows 7 will be successful. Minimizing and maximizing is responsive, I can run more programs and surprisingly, it feels quicker than Windows XP. Currently, I am running 2 browsers (Firefox and Internet Explorer), iTunes, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Word, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger and Microsoft Virtual PC and yet I don’t feel any major performance hit. Oh, and did I forget that at the background, SQL Server, IIS and Apache are running?
  2. Everything is simple, compact and precise: Even though I am running loads of programs, my taskbar remains clean and neat with all the programs arranged nicely within their respective icons. I can even close programs directly from the taskbar instead of shifting my cursor to the top right of the screen all the time. The taskbar is indeed a serious UI revolution!
  3. Most programs in XP works in W7: Okay, I said most because I am still having problems installing Kaspersky anti-virus into my PC. Besides that, everything else worked well without a hitch!
  4. Driver a no issue: No drivers in my Dell Inspiron 1520 had any issues on Windows 7. If you can’t find a driver for w7, just download the Windows Vista one and it should work fine.
  5. Interface Easily Customizable: Customizing your desktop is now even more easier with the introduction of themes in Windows 7. Below are screenshots of multiple themes that I can apply on W7 by just using the desktop customization function:

As I continue my journey with Windows 7, I will be sharing more regarding it’s usability and features. Stay tuned!

This post is part of the Windows 7 Rock Star Initiative

Windows 7 Rock Star

Windows 7 Rock Star





Can my PC Run Windows 7?

15 09 2009
Can YOUR PC Run Windows 7?

Can YOUR PC Run Windows 7?

These days when considering an OS upgrade, the main question that will be asked would be: “Can my PC hardware run on this OS properly and efficiently?”. I too, think the same as I do not want to see performance degradation on my PC thus affecting my work. If it does, why don’t I just stick back to the previous OS which worked really well for me all these years? This was why I stuck through with XP even though Vista was around. ūüėÄ

Unlike previous installments of Windows, I can safely say that Windows 7 is the only OS which does not require any major hardware upgrade in order for it to run. These days, everyone is talking about installing Linux OSes into their older PC to keep them running. Of course, please don’t expect a 256 MB PC running on Pentium 3 to run Windows 7 because the functions on Win7 takes up a lot more RAM and processing power. 512MB is the minimum target you should set. However, if you wish to try installing Windows 7 on a 256MB RAM PC, here is a guide: Install Windows 7 with 256MB of RAM (Any attempts will be welcomed!)

Below are the minimum specifications required to run Windows 7:

Architecture 32-bit
Processor speed 1 GHz 32-bit processor
Memory (RAM) 1 GB of RAM
Graphics card DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver model 1.0
HDD free space 16 GB of available disk space
Optical drive

So, will Windows 7 run smoothly on my aging PC?  The test PC that I will be using would be a 6 year old PC, running on the following spec:

Architecture 32-bit
Processor speed 2.4 GHz 32-bit Intel P4processor
Memory (RAM) 2GB of RAM
Graphics card NVidia 7900GS DirectX 9 graphics processor
HDD free space 200 GB of available disk space
Optical drive DVD drive (only to install from DVD/CD Media)

If you all did follow my previous post on HTPC, you would have known that I did install Windows 7 Beta into it. So are there any improvements in performance as compared to Windows 7 Beta and Windows XP?

So after trying it out, in terms of performance, it is ALMOST as good or even better than XP at times. If comparing to Windows 7 Beta, there also seems to be a slight improvement in terms of overall response time. Take note that i have even turned on Aero effects, and the slowing down was still almost minimal. Even the startup and shutdown times were faster than Windows XP. Timing comparisons will be added soon!

Conclusion: If you are a Windows XP user with a PC that matches the minimum requirements as mentioned above, do consider upgrading to check out what you have been missing out especially with the new start menu bar, taskbar and search functions which all available in Windows 7. If you are running Windows Vista now, I cannot see any better reason as to why not to UPGRADE your PC to Windows 7 once it launches.

Your Old PC + Windows 7 = BIG WIN!

Your Old PC + Windows 7 = BIG WIN!

This post is part of the Windows 7 Rock Star Initiative

Windows 7 Rock Star

Windows 7 Rock Star





Upgraded from Windows 7 Enterprise to Ultimate!

14 09 2009

Yep, I may have just reformatted my PC from Windows XP to Windows 7 Enterprise last week. However, I received a new package of Windows 7 just last Friday as part of the Windows 7 Rock Star program. Here it is:

Windows 7 Ultimate DVD

Windows 7 Ultimate DVD

This DVD of course, is the final release for Windows 7, not the RTM version so I guess I have access to every single functionality for this upcoming OS.

Unfortunately, there was no function to upgrade from Windows 7 Enterprise RTM to Windows 7 Ultimate. As a result, I had to do another clean reformat. If you are asking me why go through the hassle of reformatting, it is worth it because of the addition of premium Windows games! Windows 7 Ultimate also provides users with over 100+ free downloadable games at http://www.microsoft.com/games/playyourgame/

So if you are going to ask me is it worth it or not, I would definitely say yes!

Will be writing so much more on this OS. There is just too much to be reviewed. Stay tuned!

This post is part of the Windows 7 Rock Star Initiative

Windows 7 Rock Star

Windows 7 Rock Star





Hello Windows 7! Goodbye Windows XP…

8 09 2009

Yesterday I have just did a clean reformatting for my Dell Inspiron 1520 notebook to run Microsoft’s upcoming OS, Windows 7. Thanks to MSDN subscriptions, I was able to get a copy for Windows 7 Enterprise on the spot!

After becoming a loyal Windows XP user for 9 years, I have finally decided to change the OS of my choice. I still remember having the same feeling when I wanted to install Vista about 3 years ago. However, that feeling banished once I had problems with slow access, annoying UACs and cluttered interfaces.

So lo and behold, here are screenshots from Windows 7 Enterprise Edition:

Windows 7 Screenshot

Windows 7 Enterprise RTM Screenshot with Aero Peek

The Spanking New Windows 7 Start Menu Bar

The Spanking New Windows 7 Start Menu Bar

My Activated Copy of Windows 7 Enterprise RTM

My Activated Copy of Windows 7 Enterprise RTM

So far, drivers haven’t been an issue. All I did was to download the Windows Vista drivers from Dell’s driver support site and everything seemed to work without a hitch. I have also read that you can even download the dedicated Windows 7 video driver from NVidia’s website to run your notebook’s video card, if your hardware is running on NVidia’s GPU.

In my later posts, I hope to place in some comparisons between my Windows 7 and Windows XP usage. As for developers, do look out for a post where I will try to install all the development tools to check for their compatibility. As for now, I will just enjoy my ‘7th Heaven’ OS.

This post is part of the Windows 7 Rock Star Initiative

Derek is a Windows 7 Rock Star

Windows 7 Rock Star





Microsoft Silverlight 3 Deep Zoom for Your Images…

12 07 2009

Deep Zoom LogoMicrosoft Deep Zoom is yet another impressive web app based technology piggybacking on the recently released Silverlight 3 which allows users to pan around and zoom in a large, high resolution image or a large collection of images.  Anyone who have checked out sites like the Hard Rock Memorabilia would surely be impressed with the way their collections have been organized. Not convinced? Just have a look at the video demo on the Hard Rock Memorabilia below:

Creating applications like what you saw above ain’t hard and the possibilities of what you can do is great. Some of the applications possible would be virtual newspapers, virtual mind maps and virtual picture galleries which are zoomable to several levels according to your liking. To create, you only require¬†a simple¬†drag n drop tool¬†called the¬†Deep Zoom Composer and some creativity to come up with your Deep Zoom app. By following this guide, you will be able to create your deep zoom applications in no time!

Step 1: Download the Deep Zoom Composer

Click here to get the latest version of the Deep Zoom Composer from Microsoft.

Step 2: Create a New Project and Add your Images

To start composing a Deep Zoom application, click on the ‘New Project‘ button. Right after that, the first step that you will need to perform is to import the pictures that you want into the¬†project first by clicking on the ‘Add Image‘ button. In this sample, I will try to embed multiple playing card pictures into a single card. Try to keep the color tone of the images in the number to be as close as the larger picture so that it looks more natural.

Deep Zoom 01

Click on 'New Project'

Add your Selected Images after Clicking on the 'Add Image' Button

Add your Selected Images after Clicking on the 'Add Image' Button

Step 3: Composing your Deep Zoom App

Once you have added your images (you can always go back and add more if you want to), click on the ‘Compose’ button at the top center of the program to start composing your Deep Zoom application. To do so, just drag the images from the bottom of the composer into the workspace and compose the application in any way that you desire. The best practice is to of course get images of higher resolution to be used as it will provide a more clearer viewing experience. To move around your image, make use of the navigator located on the bottom left of your workspace, highlighted in red below.

Drag your Images into the Workspace and Resize them accordingly

Drag your Images into the Workspace and Resize them accordingly

Step 4: Finalize and Export your Project

The final step should not be an issue too. What you should see once you click on the ‘Export’ button would be a preview of your entire project that you have composed earlier. If you are not happy and would like to apply certain changes, just go back to the previous step by clicking on the ‘Compose’ button at the top center of the composer.

If you are happy with it however, you may choose to either export your application to the Internet through your DeepZoomPix account which you must register first OR by clicking on the Custom tab to export the project to your local computer. In this case, I will be exporting the project to my own PC so that I can view it locally.

For exporting, you may choose to export into a ‘Silverlight Deep Zoom’ application or a ‘Seadragon AJAX’ application. In this case, choose Silverlight Deep Zoom if you would like your Deep Zoom application to be viewed through the Silverlight plug in or¬† Seadragon AJAX if you do not want your application to be viewed by the Silverlight plugin. Do take note that Seadragon AJAX’s performance may not be as good or satisfactory as Silverlight even though it is viewable without the Silverlight plugin.

You can also choose the quality and the type of the images being exported in your project too to scale the loading time of your application. Once you are done, press ‘Export’. All steps are listed down below

Set the settings of your Exported project on the Right hand side of the Composer and click on the Preview in Browser button to check out your application!

Set the settings of your Exported project on the Right hand side of the Composer and click on the Preview in Browser button to check out your application!

After completing the previous step, you should get a dialog box telling you that your export have been completed. In this case, select ‘Preview in Browser’ to view your Silverlight Deep Zoom application in your browser.

Step 5: Mission Accomplished

If your preview works well, you may now publish your Silverlight application into your IIS server. Just copy the exported folder into IIS and everything should work as what you have seen in your preview.

Hint: Do check out the toolbar at the top of your Deep Zoom app as it has many functions, most notibly zooming to highlighted areas/images in your project.

That’s it for today’s tutorial. Come back to my blog for more on Silverlight and ASP.NET application development!