Windows 7 RC Exclusive FAQ with Guys from MS Corp

28 05 2009

windows-7-logoYesterday, I had the priviledge of attending a Windows 7 Live Meeting session with the OS team members from Redmond. I would like to thank Chris Leong from Microsoft Malaysia for providing me with this opportunity to chat with them. The 3 speakers during the event includes Stephen Rose (Senior Community Manager), Jason Leznek (Windows Client Group Product Manager) and Erik Lustig (Senior Product Manager) who are part of the Windows 7 team. From the chat, I have managed to dig out quite a number of points regarding Windows 7. Here, I would like to highlight some of the interesting snippets from the entire session:

  • Windows 7 Beta Expiration. Bi-Hourly shutdowns will begin July 1st 2009, so upgrade to RC now to avoid this from happening. RC will only expire around June 2010.
  • If you have been facing slowdowns in IE8 in Windows 7 RC compared to Windows 7 Beta, please ensure that your OS and browser have been updated with Windows Update. This issue may also happen if you are not using the genuine Windows 7 RC install, thus disallowing you to perform the necessary updates. It has also been mentioned that you should perform a clean install of the OS instead of doing a direct update from Beta to RC.
  • Approximately 50% memory is now being saved for each open window in RC compared to Beta. This allows users to multitask even more.
  • Windows XP mode which is a virtual machine software running on Windows 7 will only be available to Windows 7 Professional and above SKUs. Always use XP mode for programs having compatibility issues since Windows Vista.
  • Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate edition have the same features. The only difference between both versions are just the features which are being turned on. e.g. Enterprise will have more business features such as IIS, Bitlocker turned on by default while for Ultimate, the entertainment features such as Windows Media Center will be turned on by default.
  • Unlike previous Windows OS which takes a 3 year development lifecycle, Windows 7 only took a 2 year development lifecycle. The reason why it has been sped up is because of the availability of the telemetric system to obtain reports and historical data on crashes and problems on Windows Vista. Since Windows 7 is built based on the Vista code, it was easier for the team to identify the relevant problems and fix them soon.
  • Up till today, about 80,000 people are running Windows 7 RC for their daily use without facing much issues.

I have also actually asked the team whether they can expose any changes which are currently being made from RC to RTM. However, they are reluctant to provide any details on that. They just said that the new features would most probably be cosmetic additions only and would not affect the way you work with Windows 7 like how you are using it in RC.


Setting up a Home Theater PC

20 04 2009

Home Theater PCs, also known as HTPC is something which is not new in the States, but more so in Malaysia. With a HTPC, you can play high definition videos, games and music all in the comfort of your living hall. As I have some old components to spare, I have decided to come up with my own HTPC at home. It serves as a temporary distraction from me getting a PS3 or a XBox 360 that I have been craving for quite some time already!

My Home Theater PC Running Windows 7

My Home Theater PC Running Windows 7

So some of you might be wondering, what do I need in order to create a HTPC? Here are some of the general requirements:

  • A PC with at least a Dual-Core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 256MB Graphic Card preferably from NVidia or ATI which supports at least component output or HDMI. (These specs are important to play high-definition videos on the PC).
  • A Media Center OS. I would recommend Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Windows Vista or Windows 7. This is because these OSes contains dedicated software for playing media files.
  • Wireless HTPC remote or a Wireless Keyboard/Mouse set (I chose the latter)
  • A television, preferably a LCD or plasma TV with minimum specs of 720p, 1080i or 1080p. You may still use a usual CRT based television as long as your graphic card supports it.
  • And last but not least, you will need a HTPC casing which would look presentable to be placed in the living hall. I was fortunate enough to get one from a local computer store for just RM120 without power supply.

Once you are done, just hook up the cables for to both your TV and amplifier and play around with the settings of your graphic card driver. The best resolutions to select would be either 1280×720 or 1920×1080. These resolutions will of course depend on whether your TV supports them or not. To ensure that the TV can support these resolutions, ensure that your HDTV has the specifications of at least 720p, 1080i or 1080p.

Once you are done, thats all to it for an all in once media center in your living room. I have even connected a wireless XBox 360 controller to the PC to further enhance my gaming experience. So what are you waiting for? Start building your HTPC today!