Monday, November 28, 2011

Windows 8 hardware touchscreens, sensor support and robotic fingers

Microsoft showed off a broad new range of hardware today at the Windows 8 developer preview, including touchscreen tablets and monitors, which will benefit from greater support for sensors like accelerometers, gyrometers, and compasses. To make sure the Windows 8 touch interface works across multiple devices from different manufacturers, Microsoft said it is using technologies such as robotic fingers to test the responsiveness of touchscreens.

A new API that ties together accelerometers, gyrometers, and compasses will make it easier for developers to use all three types of sensors while building applications.

“We have a sensor fusion API, a single API that combines the output of all of those,” said Michael Angiulo, a corporate VP in the Windows hardware and PC division. “It’s three lines of code.” The API will work across all languages developers use to build apps for Windows 8.

Microsoft showed off the new sensor capabilities with a sample application for Windows 8 tablet PCs that lets you turn a steering wheel by tilting the device. The company also demonstrated how a near field communications (NFC) card with an antenna can be used to transfer information among Windows 8 PCs.

The touchscreens aren’t limited to handheld tablets. Microsoft also showed off traditional-looking PC monitors that accept touch input. Microsoft demonstrated one of the tests it runs in Redmond to ensure performance, using what Angiulo called a “robotic finger” that is connected to a circuit board and synchronized with the clock on a PC. Windows president Steven Sinofsky helped demonstrate the test by moving the robotic finger across a touch-sensitive monitor. Samples are taken 100 times a second, comparing the actual movement of the robotic finger to the way the screen responds.

Data from these types of tests will help Microsoft’s hardware partners make better touch hardware, and make sure applications work consistently across different devices.

In contrast to Apple, which builds separate operating systems for iPads and Macs, Microsoft is attempting to bring all the capabilities of full-fledged PCs to the tablet market with Windows 8. Even touch-sensitive applications using Microsoft’s new Metro-style interface will be granted full use of keyboard and mouse. Windows 8 tablets will provide the ability to remotely access and manipulate your home PC running Windows 8, and a test device given out to developers attending the BUILD conference can hook into a dock with a USB port for mouse and keyboard, Ethernet, and HDMI with the ability to connect to two monitors.

Although the developer preview tablet made by Samsung runs Intel chips, Windows 8 will also be capable of running on the ARM architecture. Microsoft demonstrated Windows 8 running on an ARM reference device built by Qualcomm, while boasting that any applications built for Intel-powered Windows 8 PCs will work on ARM-powered ones as well.

To combat the popularity of the ultra-thin, fast-starting MacBook Air, Microsoft demonstrated new Windows 8 ultrabooks from Acer and Toshiba, promising computers that weigh less than 2.5 pounds and have batteries that are bigger than the motherboard.

For Windows 8, Microsoft has developed a new fast shutdown and boot process that closes user-facing sessions but keeps kernel processes in hibernation mode, allowing the PC to power down and use almost zero power but still start up quickly.

Reducing runtime memory in Windows 8

Fundamentals such as memory usage represent a key engineering tenet of Windows 8. In building Windows 8 we set out to significantly reduce the overall runtime memory requirements of the core system. This is always good for everyone and especially in a world where people want to run more and more apps at the same time or run on systems with only 1 or 2GB of memory. The laptop we talk about in this post is the exact same one we talked about at the Windows 7 PDC in 2008 – an off-the-shelf, first-generation, ATOM-based netbook with 1GB of memory. This post details our efforts around memory footprint and was authored by Bill Karagounis, the group program manager of our Performance team. --Steven

The runtime memory usage of Windows 8 is an important factor in determining the Windows 8 system requirements, as well as the broadened spectrum of devices that will host Windows 8. As you know, we’re delivering the complete WINDOWS 8 experience on SoC-based devices characterized by low power consumption. This makes it even more important to leave lots of memory available for multiple concurrent apps and to sustain the overall responsiveness of devices.

Something that might not be obvious is that minimizing memory usage on low-power platforms can prolong battery life. Huh? In any PC, RAM is constantly consuming power. If an OS uses a lot of memory, it can force device manufacturers to include more physical RAM. The more RAM you have on board, the more power it uses, the less battery life you get. Having additional RAM on a tablet device can, in some instances, shave days off the amount of time the tablet can sit on your coffee table looking off but staying fresh and up to date.

Memory usage goals
Our goal with Windows 8 from the beginning was to ship with the same system requirements as Windows 7. We know if we do even better that there are more resources for apps, even if we keep the published requirements the same. It is fun to think about what the "low end" hardware looked like in 2009 and how you can't even find things like 256MB memory modules anymore. We wanted to ensure that people running on Windows 7-era hardware would have the option to easily upgrade their existing machines to Windows 8 and take advantage of the functionality it has to offer. We also expect that many machines that predate the Windows 7 release will run Windows 8 based on the experiences we’ve had with older machines we intentionally keep in our performance test infrastructure.

An important task for Windows 8 was to make room for new functionality while looking for opportunities to reduce the memory consumed by existing functionality and consumed across the board. Windows 8 is tracking well towards meeting the goal we set ourselves.

Task Manager memory use comparison
The easiest way to make a ballpark comparison of Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 memory use is to install both operating systems on a 1GB RAM machine (minimum OS RAM requirement) and compare them when they’ve been rebooted multiple times, and then idled for a while.

The Windows Task Manager contains the main view of system memory through its “In Use” statistic (described in detail in this doc). The below graphics compare memory consumption on Steven’s 3+ year old netbook that he was using at the //build/ keynote recently, running Windows 7 at idle, and then with the same machine running Windows 8.

Figure 1 – Memory usage in Windows 7 SP1

Figure 2 – Memory usage in Windows 8

The specific hardware making up a machine, memory use of drivers, and even uptime can cause variability, so memory results will be different on different machines (or even the same machine at different times). As you can see though, Windows 8 is doing well relative to Windows 7.

For a bit of extra fun on a test machine, go to device manager and disable your display adapter (unload the graphics driver). You’d never run your machine this way but this does give you an even closer approximation of the memory use of Windows itself. With a disabled graphics driver, the machine above gets under 200MB after idling for a while.

NOTE: For Windows 8, a clean install also contains the extended Windows Defender technology, which, for the first time incorporates complete antimalware functionality – also optimized for memory and resource use per Jason’s blog about protecting you from malware. (This functionality does not exist on a clean install of Windows 7 where we would recommend that you add security software).

Making room in Windows 8
We made hundreds of specific changes to minimize OS memory use in Windows 8. I’m going to call out a few specific areas that resulted in substantial memory savings.

Memory combining
When assessing the contents of RAM in a typical running PC, many parts of memory have the same content. The redundant copies of data across system RAM present an opportunity to reduce the memory footprint even for services and OS components.

How can this happen? Applications will sometimes allocate memory for future use and will initialize it all to the same value. The application may never actually use the memory as it may be there in anticipation of functionality that is the user never invokes. If multiple running applications are doing this at the same time, redundant copies of memory are in the system.

Memory combining is a technique in which Windows efficiently assesses the content of system RAM during normal activity and locates duplicate content across all system memory. Windows will then free up duplicates and keep a single copy. If the application tries to write to the memory in future, Windows will give it a private copy. All of this happens under the covers in the memory manager, with no impact on applications. This approach can liberate 10s to 100s of MBs of memory (depending on how many applications are running concurrently).

Service changes and reductions
OS services configured to run all the time are a significant source of ambient memory use. When assessing the set of OS services during Windows 8 planning, we decided to remove a number of them (13), move a different set of services to “manual” start, and also made some of the “always running” services move to a “start on demand” model. This is where a “trigger” in the OS (like device arrival or the availability of a network address) causes the following to occur:

The service starts.
The service does its thing (whatever that happens to be).
It hangs around for a while to make sure there isn’t anything else to do, and
The service goes away.
You’ll notice that Plug and Play, Windows Update, and the the user mode driver framework service are all trigger-started in Windows 8, in contrast to Windows 7, where these services were always running.

Of course we have added a ton of new functionality (and new code) to Windows 8. Some of this new functionality is packaged in the form of new services. Of these new services, two are auto-started; all others are manual or trigger-started.

Doing the same job with less memory
As Windows executes applications and performs its own system housekeeping, program files and data are loaded off the disk into main memory. During Windows 7 and Windows 8 development to date, we’ve analyzed the pieces (pages) of memory during normal execution and how often they were referenced. The idea here is that if you’re going to pay the price for allocating a piece of memory, you’d better be using it (referencing it) often. If you’re not referencing that memory often but need it, consolidate it with something else.

Shortly after we shipped Windows 7, we applied a similar technique to several of the low level components of Windows dating back to the early days of NT (early 1990s). The work included re-architecture of code and changing data structures to completely separate “hot” parts of memory (frequently referenced) from “cold” parts. By densely consolidating the hot items, we brought down the overall runtime memory cost.

Given the nature of the changes (low-level OS), we wanted to get the work done as early as possible in the schedule to get ample runtime on the changes. To date, these changes have been in place on Windows 8 for almost 2 years with thousands of Microsoft employees using the product to get their daily jobs done. And we’ve seen consistent results showing memory usage reduced by tens of MB on an average machine.

Lazy initialization of the “desktop”
Back in June, you saw Steven and Julie introduce the Metro style UI for the first time. We expect many people using tablets to spend a lot of time in that environment, typically using Metro style apps. As part of that demonstration, we also showed that for Windows 8, you can also bring forward your existing applications and use them in the very familiar desktop environment.

From a memory perspective, we’ve taken advantage of the fact that there will be some set of devices on which users will stay in the immersive, Metro style UI almost all the time. In this instance, Windows 8 will only initialize OS components unique to the desktop environment when necessary. This is another source of memory savings, approximately 23MB right now. (Note that Task Manager runs in the desktop, so the memory numbers shown above include its cost).

More granular prioritization of memory
Windows 8 has a better scheme for the prioritization of memory allocations made by applications and system components. This means that Windows can make better decisions about what memory to keep around and what memory to remove sooner.

For example, antivirus programs (AV) do various checks on files when they are being opened by other programs. The memory that the AV program allocates to check virus signatures is usually a one-time allocation (it is unlikely that specific memory will be needed again). On Windows 7, the memory is treated as if it had the same priority in the system as other memory (say, memory allocated by a running instance of Microsoft Excel). If memory became scarce, Windows 7 could end up removing the memory that helps another running application (like Excel) stay responsive for the user, which wouldn’t be the best choice for system responsiveness in this case.

In Windows 8, any program has the ability to allocate memory as “low priority.” This is an important signal to Windows that if there is memory pressure, Windows can remove this low priority memory to make space, and it doesn’t affect other memory required to sustain the responsiveness of the system.

To wrap up, I’ve called out our philosophy and approach to reducing memory usage in Windows 8. You’ve seen some sample results and I’ve just scratched the surface on some of the engineering work done to date in this area. One thing I haven’t discussed at all is the Windows 8 application model, and process lifecycle changes made to make new Windows 8 apps more “memory friendly.” Look out for this in the //build/ content and in future blog posts, as it’s also a really important part of the story of reimagining Windows.

We’ve already come a long way but we’re not done.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Windows 8 Upgrades

Microsoft wants to make upgrading to Windows 8 from older Windows versions easier and faster through online delivery, no product key entry for at least one installation method and a process that involves 82 percent fewer screen clicks.

"Our aim in improving setup is to reduce the time from start to finish," Microsoft's Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky, said in a recent post on the Building Windows 8 blog.

Windows installations have always been a pain, and even when they're easy the process can still take as long as four hours as my colleague Jeff Bertolucci mentioned during the Windows 7 launch. Microsoft hopes to improve its upgrade process to convince the more than 450 million Windows 7 PCs capable of running Windows 8 to upgrade. Not to mention the large number of users with modern PCs running Vista and XP that may be finally willing to try a new Microsoft OS.

Digital delivery
To make it easier to get started, Microsoft will favor selling downloads of Windows 8 instead of having users purchase a physical disc at a local retailer. This is similar to what Apple did with the release of OS X Lion. If online downloads aren't your thing, you can still purchase a Windows 8 DVD, but Microsoft is hoping more people will opt for the download option. Microsoft did not mention whether there would be a pricing difference between online downloads and physical DVD purchases of Windows 8.

If you opt for online delivery, you will still be able to create a bootable thumb drive or DVD to install your new version of Windows. This might be your preference if you plan on backing up your files on another hard drive and then wiping your system to do a clean install of Windows 8.

No annoying product keys

If you want to take the easier way out, you can start the upgrade wizard online and then complete the move to Windows 8 on your desktop. Microsoft claims this process will be "one continuous integrated experience from beginning to end." Even better, the easy install option doesn't involve entering an annoying 25-digit product key to activate your copy of Windows. Microsoft says it will embed the product key into the disk image you download during the setup process.

Before you get to that point, however, the first thing Microsoft does if you start your installation online is to scan your PC to determine its compatibility with Windows 8. You can then read a simplified or detailed report on whether there are any upgrade problems with the apps and peripheral devices on your system. The compatibility scan also allows Microsoft to automatically determine which language to deliver the new OS in and whether you can support a 32- or 64-bit version.

After that, Windows 8 starts downloading to your PC to complete the installation process. Once it's ready to go, you can choose to retain your complete Windows profile including your account settings, personal files and apps, or you can choose to keep just your personal files. You could also choose to keep nothing at all and start with an empty version of Windows 8.

In general, Windows 7 users will be able to retain their apps, Windows settings, user accounts and files when upgrading to Windows 8 using the simplest upgrade wizard. Vista users will be able to keep their settings, user accounts and files, while XP users will only be able to retain their user accounts and files.

Windows 7 upgrades required four different installation wizards including the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor and Windows Easy Transfer and up to 60 screen clicks to complete. Microsoft says it has dramatically reduced the number of maximum screen clicks during a Windows 8 upgrade to 11. But whether cutting back on screen clicks will actually result in a faster and streamlined upgrade process remains to be seen.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Windows 8 Office 2012 Getting Metro UI

Microsoft’s “Aero Lite” interface for Windows 8will supposedly feature elements from its Metro UI used in Media Center, WP7.

ZoomBack in December, a rumor surfaced in regards to Windows 8 and the existence of two separate interfaces. These will reportedly coexist in the same way Basic and Aero currently reside inWindows 7.

For Windows 8, one interface code named “Wind” will be fully 3D, requiring around 170 MB of dedicated video memory. It will also be “fully dynamic” by adapting to the user’s habits. This includes the ability to speed up daily tasks by changing shortcuts and icons to fit within different usage scenarios. “Wind” will reside in all copies of Windows 8, but remain inactive within the 32-bit environment.
The last two days have now brought information and images regarding the second (Mosh?) interface which will ultimately replace the current Windows 7 Basic. Dubbed as “Aero Lite,” the new UI will supposedly borrow various flat transportation-like arrows and fonts offered in Microsoft’s Metro UI, the same style set used in Microsoft’s Media Center, Windows Phone 7 and the newly revised Microsoft Store. And like Windows 7 Basic, this simplified UI will be geared for low-end machines that can’t run Windows 8′s rumored 3D “Wind” interface.
As seen in the provided image, the Aero Lite interface will feature large, clear buttons and symbols. Included in the set are defined forwards and backwards buttons, and revamped symbols for window corners including maximize, minimize, resize and help buttons. The fonts are thin and tall but stylish, moving away from the current dull and drab typeface that seems to have graced every incarnation of the Windows platform.

Microsoft Office 15 will also supposedly receive the Metro UI treatment. In milestone 2 build 15.0.2703.1000, Outlook uses Metro UI at the foot of the application to simplify switching between various functions. Outlook also sports a cleaner, “flattened” user interface for easier access to email. So far, the other Office products including Access, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word have not implemented the new typeface.
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has previously stated that the company was taking a huge risk in developing Windows 8. This will supposedly be the biggest overhaul since Windows XP, and on a visual level, it’s certainly time for a change. We already know it will be modular, with a version slated to appear on Microsoft-sanctioned tablets in 2012. We may have also caught a glimpse of the 3D user interface as seen here, appearing in the form of bubbles that are modified based on changes in schedule, social updates and so on.
Expect to hear more about Windows 8 in June when Steve Ballmer is slated to demo the OS running on a tablet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Windows 8 Going to be Delayed

According to a trusted company watcher, Windows 8 may become available to the general public in early 2013 instead of late 2012 as it is expected now.

This gives other companies, such as Apple and Amazon, more time to work on improving their tablets while Microsoft hasn’t even come out with its operating system yet.

Windows 8's release time may be delayed.

This would be the first delay for the new operating system, and it’s not good.

This delay may not hurt Microsoft as much right now, but usually one delay leads to another, and another, and another, eventually leaving Microsoft behind in the dust as tablets running Google’s mobile operating system Android and Apple’s iPad take the entire market.

The iPad right now does have the entire market, and that might stay the same way if Windows 8 doesn’t come in soon.

When asked about when Windows 8 code would be completed, Michael Cherry at independent research firm Directions on Microsoft said, ”I think it’s about a year away, [but] then you have to factor in the delay between releasing the code to PC manufacturers to install on new machines – known as RTM – and general availability.

I believe there will be a RTM somewhere in the last quarter of 2012. Traditionally there’s been a 90-day gap between RTM and general availability, To me, that means machine availability in 2013.”

Microsoft actually does like to have a time period between the releasing of code to manufacturers and allowing the device to go one sale. This is because once every manufacturer has time to install the operating system on the device, every new computer will have Windows 8 on the same day, thus creating marketing buzz.

When asked about how good Windows 8 is right now, Cherry responded, “I think the work they are doing is really good, but really good stuff takes time.”

Right now we have the Windows 8 developer preview, which is the only version of Windows 8 that the general public can have right now. The developer preview is buggy, has a few glitches, and doesn’t ship with all the features of the final release. It doesn’t even ship with basic ones like Metro customization.

This is all expected. It’s a free developer preview, it’s not even in beta yet, and beta can be very buggy as well. The beta is expected to start shipping early next year, possibly at CES (Consumer Electronics Convention) where many other electronic devices and software will be shown.

Now what about those reports of Samsung and Nokia planning to ship Windows 8 tablets in fall of 2012 or even as early as June?

Cherry addressed that question as well, ”How I choose to interpret that is: they’ll have a set of hardware requirements from Microsoft at that time, they will build the machines based on the Windows 8 requirements, but they will initially sell them with Windows 7 on them, They may or may not include a coupon that says you get a free Windows 8 if and when it ships.”

But he made a good point regarding to OEMs and shipping dates, “It doesn’t matter what the head of any OEM ( Original Equipment Manufacturer) says the ship date is. The only person that can give me a ship date is [Steven] Sinofsky. And as of this time, he chooses not to do so.”


Windows 8 Specific Malware Arrives

Windows 8 isn’t even out yet and malware is already showing up specifically to target Microsoft’s newest operating system.

Austrian-based Security Analyst Peter Kleissner had designed an exploit that is able to load from a hard drive’s master boot record and reside in the memory all the way through the startup of the operating system, providing root access to the PC.

The exploit- which allegedly was designed only for research and educational purposes- can even defeat new security features in Windows 8’s boot loader.

Although negative attention has been given towards Microsoft’s push towards UEFI, it seems that Microsoft might be on the right foot with pushing this technology forward since Kleisnner’s malware hack only works against legacy BIOS technology and not UEFI.

Kleissner had previously developed the Stoned bootkit as a proof-of-concept exploit that could target Windows XP, Vista, 7, and even Server 2003. Stoned is fully available as source code from Kleisnner’s site and can install itself in the Windows kernel giving access to an entire system, even systems with encrypted devices.

The newest update, which includes Windows 8 bootkit hacking, has yet to officially be offered on his site or elsewhere. According to Kleissner its infector file is only 14kb in size and he is considering adding an option that that allows Windows to accept any password as valid for an account.

Windows 8’s boot loader added a number of new security features designed to prevent malware and security breaches, including requiring valid digital signatures. Microsoft claimed this would stop most malware in its track because it would block unsigned software from loading into memory before startup.

Every time a company comes up with a new anti-hacker or anti-malware solution all that happens is that the hackers and malware creators step up their game and find a way to work around it, as proven by Kleissner.

According to Peter he plans to show off and release the malware code at the International Malware Conference in Mumbai, India, scheduled for Nov. 25 and 26. For those who aren’t familiar with MalCon it is a special conference designed to show off advances in malware technology for education, research, and future prevention.

Although Peter claims that he will be attending the conference, MalCon has confirmed that his attendance is actually still tentative due to the fact that he has yet to be granted a visa.

If he can’t make it in person perhaps he can still present the code via video and release the code onto the net, but it’s unclear if he will actually be able to make the journey to Mumbai.

The problem with receiving a Visa is that Kleissner has a court date on December 15th on charges related to the Stoned Bootkit. After presenting Stoned at the Black Hat Conference in 2008, a prosecutor moved forward on a case against the programmer with claims that it violated Austria’s anti-hacking laws.

It makes it hard to rest at ease knowing that on the 25 and 26th of November there will be tons of free malware codes passed around to eager hackers, both good and evil.

I understand the purpose of the conference and even the spirit behind it, but handing out code online and in easy to access places just seems to be inviting trouble.

Windows 8 has many security improvements from 7, that much we do know. What we don’t know is that if any of these improvements will really make any difference in the long run.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Download Windows 8

This is Windows popularity or people are looking for totally new OS which can changes the way we use computer today. Windows 7 is still in RC and final release is little far from now but people are searching for Windows 8 download it can look like a joke but why people so curious about Windows 8.

There are lots of rumors started for Windows 8 like some are saying it will be whole new OS it can be cloud-based.

There are rumors with the codename of Windows 8 which will be called “Midori”.

There is news that Microsoft has started planning for Windows 8 and started to hire some new developers for Windows 8. The release of Windows 8 can be in 2011 or 2012.

Sorry there is no download for Windows 8 for now as it is not yet build. Mean while you can have a look of Windows 8 Concept Video.

Update: Windows 8 Developer Preview Released

Recently Microsoft has released Windows 8 developer preview. If you want to test drive Windows 8then you can download this from link below:
       Download Windows 8 Developer Preview with developer tools (x64)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

With Windows XP support slated to end in less than 1,000 days and Windows 8 release rumors swirling, companies are left with several questions. What operating system (OS) should I deploy? Is it worth upgrading now? And perhaps most important, how can I make that upgrade as seamless as possible?
Most organizations disregard FUD about Windows end of life and are comfortable plugging along according to their own timetable. But companies that six to eight months ago were planning an upgrade to Windows 7 now have to be wondering about holding off for Windows 8.
There are many factors to consider before migrating to a new OS, but first let’s look at why so many companies have chosen to stick with XP, which is more than 10 years old. According to a recent Forrester report, as of March 2011, Windows 7 is in use on only 20% of enterprise desktops while Windows XP is on 60%. So what’s the hold up?
ApplicationsApplication compatibility has been a problem since Windows Vista started to be discussed, much less released. Windows 7 uses the same core OS foundation and therefore has the same challenges as Vista from an application compatibility perspective. The challenge is that many people skipped Windows Vista, and in so doing, also skipped the IT due diligence to see what needs to be done to get the full suite of a given organization’s applications in an operable state on the new platform. Don’t think for a second that Windows 8 will have some kind of magical XP application compatibility solution.
Internet Explorer compatibility. Developers probably thought that by making a Web application, they would avoid OS-related platform dependencies. However, many Web applications were developed for IE6 and are now facing all kinds of compatibility issues with IE8. When it comes to getting these applications to run, you’re still left with two options:
a. Wait for an upgrade, whether you write it yourself or have a vendor on the hook.
b. Perform some intense IT acrobatics to get an instance of IE6 accessible to your Windows 7 users.
Most organizations opt for the former and just stay on Windows XP. The latter usually involves some form of application virtualization or desktop virtualization. Both are expensive, add management overhead and require more hardware resources.
* Hardware. If you have XP workstations that are 5 years old, it is probably a bit optimistic to think they’re going to run Windows 7. Fortunately, most organizations are prepared to trade up. Hardware is less of something to worry much about, but it is something to approach intelligently. You want to think both in terms of immediate needs (consider how you are deploying and managing the systems) and future needs (does your future include any aggressive new technology like desktop virtualization?).
Hardware is relatively cheap, and it is simultaneously getting cheaper and more powerful all the time. There are important developments, like consumerization, to consider when thinking about hardware long term. And your hardware strategy also plays into the number of OSs you think you will run on it, both concurrently through virtualization and support for upgrades over time.
Historically, getting Windows to an endpoint both quickly and easily has been a near impossibility. Assuming you have addressed questions about applications and hardware, you still need to consider migration of user data and system imaging. However, there are lots of free and third-party tools that work great, using varying degrees of automation and technical sophistication.
So, if you ARE ready to upgrade, here are a few things to consider; specifically why Windows 7 is in fact a better move for an organization right now:
* Very little detail is known about Windows 8. We assume it will behave like Windows OSs of the past, and that management, security and applications will be consistent with the past, but that is a broad assumption, and we know about the trouble you can get into when you assume. There is some inherent risk in a new OS with so many fundamental changes. Many customers will wait until the first Service Pack emerges before they make their move, so that sets migration back an additional six to nine months from the release date. Can you wait that long?
* Any sound migration plan has lots of testing involved. Until you can get your hands on Windows 8 for testing you are in the realm of the unknown. If you’ve already done testing for Windows 7 and you have no barriers to overcome, you can roll it out and get good mileage out of it now. Also, for large organizations with software assurance licensing, there is no additional cost for Windows licenses if you decide to move to Windows 8. However, you do need to consider the cost associated with the time and effort to do another large-scale OS migration. Your deployment toolset and management infrastructure will play a large role here in how efficiently you can get it done.
* The other component to testing is the actual process of planning and executing the actual deployment process. Depending on your management infrastructure, the distribution of the deployment package might be addressed relatively simply, but there is image architecture and imaging strategy to consider, too. Your hardware strategy plays into this, as well. So you need to plan ahead at least a month or two, and in larger organizations possibly several months, to get the deployment plan defined, refined, and locked down.
With time running out on Windows XP support, it is possible that 2011 could be a turning point for many enterprises to begin making strides toward a major OS migration, but not necessarily complete full adoption.
Whether it’s Windows 7 or 8, there are many things to consider before beginning deployment, such as the high costs associated with deployment, how to manage diverse computing environments and the manpower needed for this undertaking.
In the end, businesses are going to make the move that will pose the least risk and keep the business running. And even for businesses still on Windows XP, we’re years from the point when the risk of staying on Windows XP is greater than the risk of moving. And Windows 8 moves that tipping point further out if you take Windows 7 out of the picture.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Install Windows 8 from Bootable USB Flash Drive

the Windows 8 Operating System is available for download by the Microsoft Developer Team following which you can easily install the dev version on your computer for free. To get started you need to download the right version from based on the system type from 32-bit to 64-bit.

Next you need to get a ISB Flash Drive with a minimum capacity of 4Gb because the installation data is in the range of 2-3 Gb based on the version you select. Following are the step by step procedures for the whole OS Installation process.

You need to run the Command Prompt on your computer. For this Click on Start > Search for ‘cmd’ and then right click on this and select ‘Run as Administrator’ option.

  • Next you need to enter List Disk in the Command Prompt to find out all the connected drives like the Internal HDD & the external USB Drive. Following this you need to select the USB Flash Drive which in this case is the ‘Disk 1′.
    DiskPart Windows 8 USB Drive
  • Next you need to Clean this drive for which you need to enter the command ‘CLEAN’ following which you need to create a partition for which you need to enter ‘CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY’ which would succeed in creating the specific partition. Following this you need to select by entering ‘SELECT PARTITION 1′ followed by entering ‘ACTIVE’ to make the new partition in active mode.
Clean Partition Windows 8 USB Drive

    The next step would be to Format the external drive to NTFS partition which would take a few seconds to minutes based on the drives speed. Once this is done you need to Assign and then enter the folder where you have the Windows 8 Installation Files stored on your computer. In our case we have extracted all the ISO files at C:/win folder location on the computer. Next you need to come out of the default partition and then enter the win folder by entering ‘CD WIN’, followed by entering ‘CD BOOT’.
Boot Format Windows 8 USB Drive
    Thats it, you have successfully created a bootable USB Windows 8 Pen Drive which you can use to install the OS on any laptop or netbook using the booting option at start-up. Once you have installed everything you would get the following Home Start Screen.
    Windows 8 Home Start Screen 

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    Create a partition in Windows 8

    In this tutorial we are going to explain how to create a partition in Windows 8.

    1. Click on the Start button, then on Search to open up the Metro search. Click on Settings in the right sidebar and enter “create partition” into the search bar:

    2. Analyze your current partitions. I assume all your partitions are full and there is no free disk space. If that is correct, you will have to shrink a partition. Right-click on the partition your want to shrink e.g. C: and click on Shrink Volume:

    IMPORTANT: If you have unallocated disk space, you DO NOT have to shrink another partition. Simply skip step 2-3 and start creating your partition

    3. You should now enter the number of MB you want to shrink. Let’s say you want a partition for your movie collection and it should be quite large, then you’d enter something like 500000 (500k). Simply do some calculations. This is not too difficult 1000 MB = 1GB. One movie is about 1GB or a large game is about 2GB

    This obviously depends on how large your partition is. I enter a low value – only 5000 MB (5GB)

     4. Next you should see a new box with black stripes that says “Unallocated”. As you can see 5000MB are not exactly 5GB, but I hope you already knew that.

    5. Right-click on the box and select New Simple Volume

    6. This will open up the Partition Creation Wizard. Simply follow the instructions on the screen..

     7. The default settings are ok. Select NTFS as the file system and enter a name for your new partition (you can rename it later on)

     8. Windows 8 should now display this – congratz you have created a new partition in Windows 8

    Samsung Windows 8 Tablets in Mid-2012

    Samsung tablets running Windows 8 were given away to developers at the BUILD2011 conference this September and they seem to have been the prototypes of an actual Windows 8 tablet that the company intends to release next year.

    Samsung Windows 8 Developer Preview Tablets The Precursor To Actual Release

    The Samsung made tablets that were given away at the BUILD2011 conference with the Windows 8 Developer Preview Build installed were based on existing Series 7 Slate PC devices made by Samsung. According to industry reports, the Korean company is planning to release actual Series 7 Slate devices running Windows 8 in the second half next year.

    Samsung Head of Sales and Marketing, Uhm Kyu Ho, confirmed that the company will launch such a device in the second half of 2012. The device will apparently come with a keyboard. For those who want to stay productive and still want to use a tablet, this would be a good option.

    Windows 8 Slate From Samsung Would Be Able To Run Desktop Also

    If Samsung does base their commercial release model on the ones that were given away in September, the final slate devices would be able to run the full Windows 8 experience; including the Desktop part of the OS. This is because the Windows 8 slates that were given away had battery efficient x86 chips from Intel as their CPU’s and not ARM chips. As you might know by now, the Desktop side of Windows 8 can only run on x86. ARM based devices will only be able to run the Metro side of the OS.

    With the Samsung’s Windows 8 tablets already in circulation amongst developers and enthusiasts, the company is already ahead of its competition when it comes to market exposure. So if they can ride this wave and go on to release a well thought out product — their tablet will definitely get noticed in the crowded market that all Windows 8 Tablets are going to be a part of by the end of next year.
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    Windows 8 Metro Control Panel

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Windows 8 Machines Will Be Able To Boot Linux

    Ed Bott of ZDNet recently talked to two of the largest PC makers in the industry about the secure boot issue with Windows 8 and was assured that the final choice would be up to the user.

    Users Will Have The Final Say About Booting Other OS: Windows 8 PC Makers
    Recently there has been a lot of unrest in the Linux community about the secure boot feature in Windows 8. The feature, as we have reported earlier, makes sure that the OS cannot be corrupted by malware at the boot level. This feature uses a kind of digital signature to verify that the OS is still authentic and has not been tampered with.
    Now the problem is that Linux distributions are very open and collaborative in nature. Assigning signatures would be a huge problem because it is an open system, not a closed one. This has scared the Linux user and developer community that Microsoft intends to lock users in to its own OS and effectively ban Linux.
    However, these fears are mostly unfounded because the secure boot option will always be that — an option. The BIOS/UEFI area will always be accessible to the user where this option can be turned off to allow other OS’ like Linux to boot.
    ZDNet’s Ed Bott talked to two of the largest PC makers in the world — Dell and HP. Both of them had similar things to say — there are no plans of locking the user in to using only Windows 8 . It is true that Microsoft wants the feature to be turned on by default but both Dell and HP machines will have the option for turning off secure boot.
    So at the end of the day if a user wants to boot Linux in to his system by installing GRUB, all he has to do is turn off secure boot. Windows 8 will probably not boot in that case but there’s no way the hardware will be locked in to one single OS. Also, third-party coders will definitely come up with a way to dual-boot Windows 8 with other un-signed OS’ once the actual release happens.

    Windows 8 Memory Improvements

    When Windows 7 was released, Microsoft had set out to erase the bad rap Windows had gotten because of Windows Vista, which was notorious for being a memory hog. And now, with Windows 8, Microsoft is aiming to do the same thing – on devices with even lower system specs than Windows 7 required, especially because of the rise of tablet devices and SoC based devices that are distinguished by low power consumption. Using up RAM (random access memory) also saps power from the device. Therefore, if an operating system uses a lot of memory, then more physical RAM will have to be built into a device, and bam! – less battery life.

    Windows 7 Memory Consumption

                               Windows 8 Memory Consumption                                    

    The above graphs perfectly illustrate the new improvements in Windows 8, which include:

    Memory Combination: When a program is called, it may allocate memory for future use – but if the user never invokes the function that requires that memory, then it pretty much goes to waste. If multiple applications are doing this, then there will be redundant copies of memory around the system, which is not good for memory efficiency. So what Windows 8 will do is scout for redundant copies, free them up, and keep a single copy. This process can save tens to hundreds of megabytes of memory.

    Service Changes and Reductions: Windows has always had a lot of services running in the background that no one has ever really cared for – and so Microsoft has removed some of those, moved some to “manual start” and another group to “start on demand,” which a triggered by some action in the OS, say, perhaps, device arrival, and they execute these steps.
    1.) Start.
    2.) Do whatever it needs to do.
    3.) Hang around, make sure its existence is completely useless before
    4.) Going away.

    Lazy initiation of the “desktop”: We all know that Microsoft is intending to bake the familiar appearance of the Windows “desktop” into Windows 8 via system application. So the OS components that you’ll find unique to the desktop application will not be initiated at startup because some people will stay completely inside the Metro UI, which saves memory.

    Giving priorities efficiently: Let’s say you’re in Windows 7, opening Excel while you have a bunch of different apps open as well. Let’s also say that you also have antivirus software that checks the files you’re opening for your safety. Well, the specific memory that the antivirus software is allocating to check that one file will probably never be used again. If Windows 7 is low on memory, it may delete memory that helps Excel – even though the antivirus software is finished and doesn’t still need the memory. Windows 8 solves this issue by allowing any program to allocate memory as “low priority,” so you won’t lose important work even if the system is low on memory.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Switch Back to Windows 8 Start Menu from Start Screen

    Do you hate Windows 8 Start Screen? Or is it not the best way to start programs and application when you use the keyboard and mouse? Don’t worry you can simply switch back to usual Start Menu using a simple Windows 8 registry hack.
    This Windows 8 tutorial will be answering the following questions? 
    • How to switch back to Windows 8 Start Menu instead of touch friendly Metro Start Screen?
    • How to get ride of Start Screen?
    • Optimize Windows 8 to use with mouse and keyboard?
    • How to get the traditional Windows look in Window 8?
    • Registry hacks may cause serious damages to the operating system and may cause problems booting up the computer.
    • This tutorial is tested on Windows Developer Preview and may change on the final Windows 8 version.

    Enjoy the the traditional look in two steps
    • Press Windows Key + R (Windows 8 Shortcuts)
    • Type regedit
    • Browse toHKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.
    • Double-click RPEnabled
    • Change its value from 1 to 0
    This simple registry hack will remove Metro and get back to the desktop Windows you are used to.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Windows 8 Minimum System Requirements

    We all know that Windows 8 has some amazing enhancements. But all this amazing stuff comes at the cost of your system resources for eg. CPU power, RAM etc. So let us take a close look at the basic minimum system requirements for Windows 8:

    • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
    • RAM (Random Access Memory) requirements are again very high, but these have become a standard for most modern computing. 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM  for the 32-bit edition of Windows 8 or 2 GB RAM if you are running the 64-bit edition.
    • Windows 8 takes up around 16 GB hard disk space if it's the 32-bit edition and if you are using the 64-bit edition, you need to have 20 GB of free space in order to install Windows 8.
    • A DirectX 9 compatible graphics device preferably with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
    • If you plan to use it on a touch device like a Tablet, then you need to have a supported touch Input, for instance a multi-touch enabled touch screen.

    Windows 8 Features

    This new OS is in pre-beta stage at the moment and we can expect many new features added later but lets see what we know so far.
    • Windows 8 is optimized to run on both Intel and  ARM architecture. Which means it can run smoothly giving top-notch performance even on tablet devices and net-books with 1GB memory.
    • The new system boots really quick in about 7 seconds.
    • Features a home screen filled with colorful tiles taking the user directly into applications such as Facebook, messaging or news feeds.
    • Colorful tile-based Metro style interface similar to Windows Mobile 7
    • It uses less memory to run than Windows 7 allowing more free space for apps. Windows 7 SP1 runs with 400 MB memory & 32 processes while Windows 8 will run on about 280MB memory & 29 processes.
    • The whole new IE 10 browser (Sorry, I don’t use IE at all)
    • Windows Online App Store: For the first time Microsoft has introduced a dedicated App Store for Windows devices similar to what we already have since ages for Linux, iOS, Android & BlackBerry.
    • Though it is primarily designed for touch devices, it will be usable on PCs with Mouse and Keyboards as well.
    • Split keyboard feature for tablet devices similar to what iOS 5 will have for iPads
    • Split screens to use multiple applications at the same time & stretch windows on multiple screens
    • Re-constructed task manager and control panel
    • NFC (Near Field Communications) support
    • Built-in Hyper-V virtualization simialr to VMware’s popular Hypervisor
    • Improved security with built-in Windows Defender
    • Syncing photos, email, calendar and contacts with other devices through the Cloud storage
    • System-wide spell check and auto-completion
    • Integrated full featured Search module to find pictures, videos, files, notifications from storage, emails and social networking profiles , similar to spotlight search on iOS devices.
    • Metro style apps built for Windows 8 will be the focus point which fills the entire screen so there are no distractions.
    • Everything that works on Windows 7 will work on Windows 8 and Hardware that could run Windows 7 can run Windows 8 too. (This was very different when Windows 7 was launched demanding many changes in hardware and software)


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