Monthly Archives: April 2009

Windows 7 Final System Requirements

According Mary Jo Foley’s All About Microsoft blog, Microsoft made the final system requirements for Windows 7 available today. Here it is:

  • 1 GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)
  • 1 GB of RAM (32-bit); 2 GB of RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB of available disk space (32-bit); 20 GB of available disk space (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

You can learn more here

The requirements look reasonable and realistic this time around compared to Vista which recommended 512 MBs of RAM as the minimum. If you plan on storing a lot of data on your PC, I suggest you choose more than 16 or 20 GBs to install it on.



Filed under 7 Journal

Windows Easy Transfer: Starting the Move to Windows 7 Release Candidate

So far I have looked at two ways of installing Windows 7 RC on your PC – Clean/Custom Install or In-Place Upgrading. Many persons will be buying Windows 7 on a new PC when its released and would like to get their personal data from an old PC to the new PC running Windows 7. Windows 7 offers an easy, convenient way to make the move with the built in Windows Easy Transfer utility. As you can see in the screenshot below, I have a lot of files on my Windows 7 beta PC, and I would like to get those files over safely over to my other computer running the Windows 7 Release Candidate. First lets find out what it is Windows Easy Transfer:

Windows 7 beta build 7000 Desktop (old computer).

Windows Easy Transfer guides you through the process of transferring files and settings from one Windows computer to another. Using Windows Easy Transfer, you can choose what to transfer to your new computer and how to transfer it. You can transfer most files and program settings. Specifically:

    • Files and folders. Everything within the Documents, Pictures, and Shared Documents folders. Using advanced options, you can select additional files and folders to transfer.

    • E‑mail settings, contacts, and messages.

    • Program settings. Settings that keep your programs configured as you had them on your old computer. Windows Easy Transfer does not transfer the programs themselves. Some programs might not work on this version of Windows, including security programs, antivirus programs, firewall programs (your new computer should already have a firewall running to help ensure safety during the transfer), and programs with software drivers.

    • User accounts and settings. Desktop backgrounds, network connections, screen savers, fonts, Start menu options, taskbar options, folders, specific files, network printers and drives, and accessibility options.

    • Internet settings and favorites. Internet connection settings, favorites, and cookies.

    • Music. Electronic music files, playlists, and album art.

    • Pictures and video. Pictures—which includes any visual file type (for example, .jpg, .bmp, .gif)—and personal videos.

Windows Easy Transfer sounds like just the solution I am looking for to move my personal data from Windows 7 Beta to RC.

Launch Windows Easy Transfer

Launching Windows Easy Transfer utility

1. You can find the Windows Easy Transfer utility by clicking Start > type Transfer. Or click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Windows Easy Transfer.

2. When you start the Windows Easy Transfer, a wizard gives you an overview of what you can transfer and what will happen after the process is completed. Click Next to begin.

3. You have three methods of transferring your data from your old computer using Windows Easy Transfer:

  • An Easy Transfer cable is specifically designed to work with Easy Transfer to move your personal data from an old PC to a new computer.
  • Network – which is the method I will be using for this tutorial, requires that both PC’s have a network port installed and using a CAT5 cable to connect both computers.
  • If you have an external hard disk with sufficient space, you can let Easy Transfer backup your data in a single file.

4. After clicking the Network option, you are asked to identify the computer you are using now. In this case, I am on the Windows 7 Release Candidate, which is the new computer.

5. Next you will be asked to install Windows Easy Transfer on the old computer, my old computer is already running Windows 7, so I will click that option.

Our next step now as the instruction says is to get an authorization key from the old computer before continuing.

On the old PC, follow the same procedures by selecting the same method you will be using to transfer your files, with the exception of identifying the Old computer when asked.

6. Once the authorization code has been generated, go back to your new Windows 7 PC, click Next and enter it and click Next.

Entering authorization key on new computer.


Easy Transfer analyzing the old Computer

7. A connection will now be established between both computers and Windows Easy Transfer will do a set of scans on the old PC to determine what can be transferred. You will be able to select accounts and shared files that you might want to transfer.


Creating an account on the new computer

8. Choose Advanced Options if there is some specific options you like to apply such as Creating a specific account for your personal files on the new computer. My old computer has the account ‘Andre Da Costa’, I would also like that account on the new computer, so what I will do is click in the ‘User account on the new computer:’ list box and click Create User, enter appropriate information and click Save.

New Computer left, Old Computer right, Transfer in progress


  • Do not use the old and new Computer’s during the Transfer process.

Errors during Transfer, you can retry transferring, if you continue experience errors, check all files and click skip and transfer the file or files manually.

When the Transfer process is complete, you can view a report of what was transferred along with what you will need to reinstall.

The time it takes will vary depending on the amount of information you have stored on the old computer in addition to the user accounts that you might be transferring. I must say the transfer was a success except for an error I had with Easy Transfer reporting Windows Live Mail open on the old computer, refusing to transfer my storage folder. But after loading Windows Live Mail on the new computer, everything seemed to be ok, I could access all my messages and newsgroup post just fine.

Windows 7 Release Candidate Desktop, successful transfer..

And there you have it, an easy, convenient, secure and reliable process of transferring personal files and settings from your old computer to your new PC running Windows 7. My default wallpapers, taskbar layout, account picture, even my Firefox Bookmarks, Windows Live Writer settings were all transferred successfully.The only thing I need to do now is reinstall the applications recommended by the Windows Easy Transfer utility.


Upgrading: Starting the Move to Windows 7 Release Candidate
Installation: Starting the Move to Windows 7 Release Candidate
Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade – Unlocking more benefits with less effort
A few more changes from Beta to RC…
Some Changes Since the Beta for the RC


How to successfully burn or write an ISO-image to cd or dvd
Getting your PC ready for Windows 7 Release Candidate
Windows Easy Transfer Resource:


Interacting with the Windows 7 Desktop – Fun Time Savers
In depth look at the Windows 7 Taskbar and Start Menu
Windows Explorer – What’s new in Windows 7?
Networking made easy with HomeGroups in Windows 7
A Look at Windows Backup and Windows Update in 7
Playing with Windows Media Player 12



Filed under 7 Journal

Five Windows 7 chapters free to all

At the Microsoft Learning Windows 7 portal, you’ll find links to numerous training resources related to Windows 7, including links to five free chapters from upcoming Microsoft Press books. You can grab these chapters now:

  • Chapter 21, “Performing Routine Maintenance,” from Windows 7 Inside Out
  • Chapter 23, “Support Users and Remote Assistance,” from Windows 7 Resource Kit
  • Chapter 29, “Deploying IPv6,” from Windows 7 Resource Kit
  • Chapter 1, “Explore Windows 7,” from Windows 7 Step by Step
  • Chapter 2, “Navigate Windows and Folders,” from Windows 7 Step by Step

Learn more here


Filed under Windows 7

More information about Windows XP Mode for Windows 7

The PressPass Q&A we posted today addressed a number of questions around Windows XP Mode. I wanted to clarify in more detail the differences between Windows XP Mode and MED-V and how specifically MED-V v2, a component of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), adds management to Windows XP Mode.

The main facts:

Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help small-business users to run their Windows XP applications on their Windows 7 desktop.

  • Windows XP Mode is available for Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise customers.
  • Windows XP Mode combines Windows Virtual PC and a pre-installed virtual Windows XP environment to allow users run many older applications.
  • Windows Virtual PC will enable users to launch virtual applications seamlessly from the Windows 7 Start menu.
  • Windows Virtual PC includes support for USB devices and is based on a new core that includes multi-threading support.

Learn more at the Windows for your Business blog here

CNET’s Ina Fried provides more details about the soon to be released in beta virtualization compatibility solution for Windows 7.

As far as technical requirements, XP Mode needs a beefier system than that required to just run Windows 7 or XP alone, including at least 2GB of memory and a system that has chip-level virtualization from either Intel or AMD. One of the challenges is that today it is often not that easy to tell whether one’s PC has such support.

At its core, XP mode consists of two things, the Windows Virtual PC engine and a licensed copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3 as a packaged virtual machine. Although neither piece will be included in the Windows 7 box, XP Mode will be a free download for those who have a license to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, or Windows 7 Ultimate.

Learn more here

Things to take into account here is the fact that Windows XP is actually the full operating system, which means, users will have to keep it updated and secure just like a standalone installation of Windows.



Filed under Windows 7

Security Changes to AutoRun in Windows 7

As some of our readers are well aware, Conficker and other malware is taking advantage of the AutoRun functionality as a spreading mechanism. Furthermore, over the last couple of months, there has been a significant increase of this threat, as more malware is abusing this functionality. Further information about this specific threat has been highlighted in the recent Security Intelligence Report (look for Win32/AutoRun) and the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) blog.


Before going into the specifics changes, it is important to understand the difference between AutoRun and AutoPlay:

  • AutoRun is a technology used to start some programs automatically when a CD or another media is inserted into a computer. The main purpose of AutoRun is to provide a software response to hardware actions that a user starts on a computer.
  • AutoPlay is a Windows feature that lets a user select which program starts when a specific type of media, such as music CDs, or DVDs containing photos, is inserted. During AutoPlay, the Autorun.inf file from the media is also parsed. This file (if available) specifies additional commands that will be displayed in the AutoPlay menu. Many companies use this functionality to help initiate their installers.


In order to help prevent malware from spreading (such as Conficker) using the AutoRun mechanism, the Windows 7 engineering team made two important changes to the product:

  1. AutoPlay will no longer support the AutoRun functionality for non-optical removable media. In other words, AutoPlay will still work for CD/DVDs but it will no longer work for USB drives. For example, if an infected USB drive is inserted on a machine then the AutoRun task will not be displayed. This will block the increasing social engineer threat highlighted in the SIR. The dialogs below highlight the difference that users will see after this change. Before the change, the malware is leveraging AutoRun (box in red) to confuse the user. After the change, AutoRun will no longer work, so the AutoPlay options are safe.

Learn more here


Filed under Windows 7

Office 2007 SP2 and Windows Vista SP2 availability

Microsoft today announced the availability of two major updates to Windows Vista and Office 2007 today.

Office 2007 SP2 download:


The 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 2 (SP2) provides customers with the latest updates to the 2007 Office suite (the products that are affected by this update are listed below). This download includes two types of fixes:

  • Previously unreleased fixes that were made specifically for this service pack.
    • In addition to general product fixes, this includes improvements in stability, performance, and security.
    • You can find out more information in Knowledge Base Article 953195, where product-specific changes are described.
  • All of the Public Updates, Security Updates, Cumulative Updates, and Hotfixes released through February 2009.

Before installing this service pack, you are strongly encouraged to read 953195, which describes some big improvements introduced by SP2, and also calls out some important information that you should be aware of before installing.

Top of page

System Requirements
  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 3

Download Office 2007 SP2 here

Windows Vista SP2 availability:

Although Windows Vista SP2 has RTMed, it will not be immediately available until sometime in Q2 ‘09.

Today we are announcing the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. SP2 represents the latest step in Microsoft’s commitment to continuous improvement. It includes all updates that have been delivered since SP1, as well as support for new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards. 

As we have mentioned before, here are some of the key benefits of Windows Vista SP2:

  • Windows Search 4.0 for faster and improved relevancy in searches
  • Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack supporting the most recent specification for Bluetooth Technology
  • Ability to record data on to Blu-Ray media natively in Windows Vista
  • Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) to simplify Wi-Fi Configuration
  • Windows Vista SP2 enables the exFAT file system to support UTC timestamps, which allows correct file synchronization across time zones.

And since it comes with a single installer for both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, SP2 will be easy for IT Pros to manage, deploy, and support. For a complete overview of the changes introduced in SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, check out the notable changes document on TechNet.

You can learn more at the Windows Vista Team Blog here



Filed under Downloads

Talking About Windows

Brandon Leblanc of the Windows Experience Blog introduces a new Windows 7 related site called ‘Talking About Windows’ that showcases members of the Windows Team’s experience building the next version of Windows along with customer testimonials.

“I get the extreme pleasure of exclusively revealing a new Microsoft community website on Windows today specifically designed for IT Professionals: Talking About Windows.

Talking About Windows is a new website that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Windows 7 from the Microsoft engineers who helped build product as well as showcasing real IT Professionals talking candidly about their implementations and experiences in considering a more modern OS. This is done through a series of videos hosted within the Talking About Windows Website.“

Learn more here




Filed under Windows 7