When I get a new product, I like trying out new features long enough to be able to evaluate whether they might be useful. Windows 7 introduced the “Pin to Taskbar” feature to replace the Quick Launch toolbar of prior versions of Windows. I found that the “Pin” feature provides no advantages over the Quick Launch toolbar and some disadvantages. If you have not used this feature before—in some XP installations, Quick Launch was not activated by default—you might try this out to see if it improves your efficiency in using Windows. Windows 7 and 8 have made this more difficult, so you’ll need to follow the instructions, following the break, to bring it back. Continue reading Bring the Quick Launch Back (no need for “pinned” TaskBar Items)
Okay, I know you have never used the Windows backup tool in Windows versions prior to Windows 7, so this article is not of any use to you. Windows 7 uses an entirely new scheme for storing backups and, out of the box, is not able to read the older backup files. (This might apply to Windows Vista, as well).
Just like VHS tapes and floppy diskettes, backup files that were created with prior versions of Windows are going by the wayside and are not usable, by default, under Windows 7. Fortunately, Microsoft has made a utility available for Windows 7 that can retrieve files from those old backup-files. First, you will need to get Microsoft’s program from Windows NT Backup Restore Utility for Windows 7. Continue reading Retrieving from Old Backups (.bkf) with Windows 7
To retain all the playlist, podcast status, apps, and media organization in your iTunes setup do the following:
- Install iTunes.
- Make sure iTunes is not running.
- Copy all the media files from your old machine to the new. If all the media is in the standard iTunes location, copy to the entire iTunes directory.
C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes
In Finder, navigate to Home Directory, Music, iTunes.
- Copy any media outside the iTunes area to their same paths on the new machine.
- Start iTunes and let it rebuild its database.
If you are using iTunes to sync your contacts and other personal information with your iPod’s or iPhone’s, then be sure that the application that holds the personal data is installed and up to date before syncing the device.
One cool, little mentioned feature of Windows 7 is that it can be updated to a grander version, as quickly and easily as installing an security update. You can simply enter the license key for the version of Windows 7 that you want to update to and let the system upgrade itself—an Anytime Update license, which can be purchased for an incremental price (compared to paying the full price), can be used as well.
- Right-click on Computer to bring up its context menu and select Properties or open the System settings from the Control Panel.
- Unless you already have Windows 7 Ultimate installed, the section at the top, “Windows edition” should have a link that says “Get more features with a new edition of Windows 7.” Click on that link.
- After entering the license key for the new Windows version, After inputing a valid key the upgrade files will be downloaded and installed on the machine. The machine may reboot a couple of times.
After installing Skype on a new machine, make sure it is not running. Then, the chat history from an old installation can be moved to the new installation. The Skype user directories in the new installation need to be replaced with the ones from the prior installation, adding them, if necessary.
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Skype\skypeuser
Username is the windows login name under which the given Skype installation will run. Skypeuser is one or more Skype user ids that will log into Skype under the given windows login. If you are using Windows’ Explorer, make sure that “protected operating system files” are shown. (I replaced the entire Skype directory and that also worked).
See Move Skype History From Windows XP To Windows 7, but realize that it says that only the “chatsync” directories need to be copied over… that will not work, however, the entire parent directory (skypeuser) must be copied.
The change from Windows XP to Vista is Microsoft’s most extreme operating system user interface change since Windows 95. Many, perhaps most, will bypass Vista and move to Windows 7 from XP, directly. Shockingly, Microsoft has not provided a migration path from XP to Vista nor Windows 7. So, if you are moving from XP to Windows 7, you’ll have to recreate all the applications and settings manually. This series of posts tracks my experience and observations in migrating from my 5-year old XP Professional installation to Windows 7.
My XP machine had been running for 5-years, it had become an “old shoe.” I leave my desktop running all the time, but one day, when I decided to reboot—as it had been apt to need occasionally, in recent months—it failed to reboot. After some troubleshooting, I determined it to be the motherboard. My machine is so old that it is not worth repairing, and, anyway, HP does not have any replacement parts for it. Fortunately, my hard disk drive was undisturbed (though its reboot was to have installed the latest OS updates).
I quickly ordered a new machine which came with Windows Home Premium (the minimum Windows OS version that you should get). I had to install all the applications from scratch. Frustratingly, I want to restore the settings and historical data for those applications. In many cases, this can be done manually, but Vista and Windows 7 have reorganized most of the directories that had become familiar on prior versions of Windows. Making things more difficult, I am now using the 64-bit version of Windows which adds even more complexity to its directory structures.
Forthwith, the trials and tribulations of getting up to speed on a Windows 7.