Windows 7 First Impressions

Just managed to pull up Windows 7 RC1 from microsoft website. I immediately managed to installed it to my laptop ( I had to kill my Fedora 10 install in favour of Windows 7 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ , But I do have a copy of turnkey linux installed in my Vista under virtual box ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I have kept my vista Intact. Coming from Vista, here are my initial impressions (Approx 4 hours of usage). BTW, I have a Vaio CR35G/R  ( Core2 Duo T8100 2.10 Ghz, 2GB DDR2 RAM, Intel 965 Mother Board, ATI Radeon X2300 Card with 128MB on board).Windows 7 desktop

  • Installation was pretty fast. I have my copy running in about 35 minutes (Including 2 restarts and my retarded slow DVD drive).
  • The new windows 7 taskbarโ€ฆerrโ€ฆ superbar is pretty good, but it will take some time for me to get used to. Plus I donโ€™t like the amount real estate it takes up on the screen (it can be reduced though).
  • Windows 7 art work is very very good. Kudos to Microsoft for coming up with fresh art work. Not quite in the apple league, but getting there, fast.
  • Unlike Vista, Windows 7 does not thrash Hard disk ( Vista has the nasty habit of keeping your hard disk busy for no apparent reason).
  • Bootup, Hibernate โ€“ resume, Standby โ€“ resume times are a lot faster than Vista.
  • Laptop feels a lot more snappier with Windows 7 than with Vista.
  • The new Windows media player (Windows Media Player 12)  is a lot more polished and a lot better than Vistaโ€™s. However, I was not able to get ffdshow running with it though.
  • Changing wallpaper desktop themes are pretty cool. Windows 7 supports wallpaper cycling.
  • Reduced foot print. Windows 7 at bootup takes up about 30% of RAM as compared ~50% on Vista.
  • Builtin monitor colour calibration tool ( I donโ€™t thing Vista had one).
  • I dont know why, but since yesterday night till today morning, I have received at least some 4 updates to my Windows 7. Cant you guys club em and do ONE BIG update? (Pretty annoying, but I guess since this is a RC, they will be fixing up a lot small stuff. I hope they have a better policy for updation cycle in the final release).

All in all Microsoft seems to have go it right this time around. I will seriously consider purchasing this once it comes out. ( And no, Microsoft is not paying me to say this :p, though if they sponsor me a desktop with Nvidia GTX 250 or ATI HD 4750, I can say how well Windows 7 will do on gaming front. ;)  ).

If you have anything to add (Good/bad/ugly things about windows 7), feel free to post em in the comments section.

Vista Native vs Windows 7 in Virtualbox

Just out of curiosity I ran Windows assessment of Windows 7 running in virtualbox (with VT-x enabled) and Vista. Here is a screen shot of the comparison.

Vista Native vs 7 on Virtualboxย 

What was amazing is the Hard disk Score, Virtualbox HDD is faster than the native disk !! Processor score is not too shabby, but I expected more with VT-x turned on. So how much does VT-x have influence on the Virtualbox performance? I tried to do the same score with VT-x turned “OFF”.

To my surprise, I got the same score! Perhaps, the windows assessment tool does not run any ring-0 code ( as far as I know, VT-x helps better management of ring-0 code).

Anyhow I’m posting the screen shot of the windows 7 on virtualbox with VT-x turned off.

Seven_virtualbox_without vt-x

If Anybody has a better idea as to why VT-x failed to change the scores in windows 7 assessment, please feel free to comment ๐Ÿ™‚

Microsoft Surface Spoof

I was browsing through wordpress blogs and I came across a post that posted this youtube video. I liked the comment on the part where he is routing to go somewhere on surface.

Due credit goes to : http://burnsar.wordpress.com/2007/06/23/microsoft-surface-video-spoof/ ( I saw this video there first ๐Ÿ™‚ย  )

15 Minutes guide to VirtualBox+Turnkey Appliance Linux (aka Linux on Windows)

Having posted 15 Minutes guide to Mediawiki a while back, I was looking for something simpler. I wanted to run an entire Apache MySQL PHP (AMP) in a sandbox. Something that is isolated from Vista on my laptop. So I thought I will setup Virtualbox.  

Now, I’m sure almost everyone has heard of Virtualization. In case you have been living under a rock for past couple of years, Virtualization, in a nut shell is nothing but ability to run another Operating System within your existing OS.

So I decided upon Sun’s Virtualbox as the virtualization platform of choice. Now I need to find an OS to host the AMP (Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack.  Linux was the OS of choice as it can run on a wide variety of hardware configuration. So I started hunting for a Linux Distribution with very low footprint, something that can run on, say 128 MB or 256MB of RAM and require very small hard disk. I just needed the essentials.

After, hours of googling, I came across this great “Appliance Linux” distribution known as turnKey. So what is turnkey? In a nutshell it is a pre-configured environment to perform a particular task. For example TurnKey LAMP will contain Apache , MySQL and Php along with a barebones Linux kernel built from the Ubuntu distro. The advantage of such a setup is that the whole thing needs just 128 MB of RAM.

So how do we go about it?

 Virtualbox

  • Hit New, and give the options mentioned in the screenshot.

New

  • Hit Next, and set the Memory to 256MB. This is the amount of RAM your Virtual Machine will have.

memory

  • Hit Next, and Click on ‘New Disk’

VHDD

  • Set the allocation to “Dynamic”. This means that the virtual Hard disk of the client will expand when necessary.

Dynamic

  • In the next window, set the Storage HDD file location and Max Size (Recommended max size 2 – 4 GB).

Virtual Disk Location and Size

  • Now just Hit Finish in the last window and you should drop back to the main wizard.
  • Hit finish on that too.
  • Congratulations, You have created your first Virtual Machine (VM). Don’t pat yourself on your back yet. There are a few more steps ( Simple ones sweetheart, don’t fret ๐Ÿ˜‰  ).
  • Now we need to mount the Turnkey Linux’s ISO image file on the Virtual Machine. So next step will be to click on CD/DVD-ROM.
  • Follow the instructions in the image below to Mount the ISO to the VM.

mount_iso

  • Ok, now you are all set! Time to power on this baby… Err.. Wait, One more step. We need to setup Network for the VM, otherwise how will you be able to talk to your host machine? Follow the pictorial to set up network. Note: I assume that your system is a part of network and you have a DHCP server on your LAN.

Network

  • If you are not on a network, then you need to select “Internal Network” from the “Attached to” Dropdown.
  • Click OK, and now are all set to go, Just hit the “Start (->)” button. You should see your brand new Virtual Machine boot up. It should boot from the CD-ROM.
  • At this juncture, you are presented with 2 interesting choices. a). Boot from CD and b). Install to Hard Disk.
  • Select “Install to Hard Disk” and then proceed with the installation. Make sure you select the entire HDD for installation. (Its the virtual Harddisk, so no, you wont lose anything from your REAL hard disk ๐Ÿ˜‰  ).
  • Once the installation is done, Turkey will reboot the VM and you should get straight to the configuration page.

FirstBoot_cropped 

If you need a static IP for your Turnkey, go to Advanced Menu -> Netowork -> Static IP.

  • Once everything is done, You should be good to go. Try logging into the Turnkey by pointing to http://<ip of turnkey>:12321
  • Login with password you had set earlier and you are good to go!

 

Have Fun ๐Ÿ™‚ Should you need any help, feel free to comment, And I will try to help you out. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Mojave Experiment

As I was skimming thru my daily dose of updates, I found this interesting article by daily tech.
So , what is Mojave Experiment about ?
Well, we all know how much of dirt is being thrown at vista by people. There are a lot of people who hate vista and a lot of negativity around it.
While I’am not claiming that it is not unfounded. A lot of it stems from ignorance. So guys at microsoft came up with this lil experiment to show you just that.
http://www.mojaveexperiment.com/

In fact, I have been Mojave’ed at one point. I too was under the opinion that vista sucked ( because the experts on the net thought so.. ). But when I saw vista first hand on my buddie’s laptop, I actually found it to be good.
So when I got my Vaio, with vista, I did not downgrade to XP.
So let me dispell some myths.

* UAC is NOT a useless feature, sure it annoys power users (like me). But I can see someone like my dad or sis benefit from it. Look, one of the stupidest ways a system can get infected it by u deliberately clicking on an executable. When u see a UAC confirmation for something like a joke program, YOU KNOW that something is not right…. Besides how do you call yourself a “Power User” if u cant figure out something trivial as turning UAC off ? ๐Ÿ˜›

* While VISTA does need more RAM, I found its usage to be much more efficient than XP. I really liked superfetch feature. Thanks to that, Firefox starts up in under 5 seconds, and Windows media player and winamp in under 3 seconds. So Vista is actually faster from the end user perspective.
Yeah, I/O is a lil slower than XP. But end user experience is miles ahead!

* One feature, that nobody really talked (dont know why!) is the fact that Vista has I/O prioritization! So? you might ask…. Well, you know what happens when Virus scanner starts when you were doing something heavy on XP, right? Well, that doesnt happen in Vista. Stuff like virus scan and indexing happens at lower I/O priority. So your applications dont have to fight for the Disk I/O’s (Means, overall responsiveness of the application increases).

* One more really neat feature, Thread Priority boosting. Simply put, if you are running windows media player and some “heavy” application, in order for you to have an uninterrupted media playback, Media player will boost its thread priority. Does it work ? Yes, as far as I know because, I never got any stuttering issues if Im doing some installation or virus scan in while watching movies.

And for all the people cribbing about higher RAM requirements, why dont you take a look at RAM cost these days? As we progress, the hardware requirements of the OS will go up, remember 98 used to be happy with 64 or 128 MB, try running XP on that… ๐Ÿ˜‰

No Active Desktop in Vista!

Ok, how many of you remember this lil feature that was introduced in Windows 98 ? It was a nice idea, Just set any HTML page you fancy as your wallpaper. It was called active desktop.

The trouble was, with paltry amount of RAM and limited CPU horse power, Active desktop used to murder the system resources. It was carried over to XP. But still hardware had not kept pace with Software. Now with Vista and its God like requirements, I assumed that the feature was still around. To my disappointment they have removed this feature… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I have a nice laptop with 2.1 Ghz Penrynn processor and good 2 Gigs of RAM (additional 512MB as readyboost cache), When I have enough processing grunt and room in memory to accommodate this feature, they have removed it….

I was planning on putting http://www.twittervision.com as my wallpaper. Too bad, now I cant… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The reason why they did this? Ppl on the net seems to think that its coz of the security threat and memory leak issues. Hmmmm…. Too bad, when we FINALLY have the computing power to have this on the desk, they had to kill it off…