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Windows 7, beta wake up your idea

Last post 02-11-2009, 20:14 by icelava. 2 replies.
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  •  02-08-2009, 11:32 5332

    Windows 7, beta wake up your idea

    If only I could strike a lottery each time I encounter such hurdles to simplistic computing activities, I would be richer than Bill Gates.

    So Windows 7 is looming near. I hear nothing but praises for it, so I thought I ought to give the beta a drive around the neighbourhood to see how it handles the road. The only real guinea pig candidate is my Dell XPS M1530; it is still a "production" machine but presents a good test scenario to see how it transforms Windows Vista Ultimate and adapts the other installed software. I took the route of OS upgrade; the road less travelled. Folks typically format the disk and install the OS clean, be it beta or not, because common experience has shown that upgrade installations leave plenty of debris lying aorund. How far has Microsoft matured with their upgrade procedure?

    This is not the first time I go through such an operation. I was "forced" to upgrade my company laptop from Win XP to Vista just as it was released nearing the end of 2006. The entire upgrade procedure was awfully long. Hours long. Like, go-to-bed-and-pray-everything-went-through-smoothly-the-next-morning long. The Win Vista-to-7 experience is just about the same; I decided to put my own body on hibernate for the evening after waiting four hours.

    I was disappointed with Windows Vista's boot splash screen, and was not expecting much with Windows 7. Therefore I have say this version's is pretty classy the moment I saw it. Sleek. However, first impressions do not fool me. I am interested in how the windowing experience is like. And then, here is exactly why I question myself why I bother with beta software...

    My first activity? To open up Outlook 2007, because I simply "had" to synchronise my mail folders with Exchange server. What do I see?

    Disconnected.

    No matter what I do, Outlook simply cannot get a connection to the Exchange server. I see various errors reported in the Windows Application event log, and thought this was a fine time to use that "convenient Send feedback tool" provided on the Windows 7 desktop specifically for testers to report problems or feedback to Microsoft. And what happens? I cannot even logon to the Live ID servers to authenticate and make reports.

    And that sums up my first experience with using Windows 7. Isolated from my company email server, unable to communicate. I cannot even report the problem since I am also "disconnected" from the first-level means for communication with Microsoft.

    For the record, I am able to hook up to the web-based OWA interface to access the mailbox (same address as the Outlook proxy configuration).

    Was there some complicated or obscure activity that I was trying to perform? How is it that I am always stumbling over the most basic of tasks in beta, or even RTM, software? I do not understand how other folks proceed to work and analyse the software to advanced levels of activity, when I am repeatedly chained down by the failure of everyday computing activity. I really do not understand.

    As always, glad I have a complete harddisk image backup prior to such drastic overhauls.

  •  02-11-2009, 3:53 5342 in reply to 5332

    the CULPRIT!

    I have found evidence to clear Windows 7's name. The butler did it!

    Sorry, I've always wanted to shout that out once. In actuality, the culprit hindering network connections for Outlook and Windows Live clients was McAfee Internet Security suite. When Windows started up for the first time, it immediately informed of potential incompatibility issues this version presents. Fine, so I disabled all the services and startup programs McAfee would launch on Windows boot.

    Apparently, that was not enough to prevent McAfee components from meddling with Windows' TCP/IP stack and reducing it into a browser-only computer.

    After a complete uninstall of the suite, Outlook could finally connect to Exchange. And while the beta Feedback tool could also connection and authenticate with Live servers, my account somehow had no permission to use the tool to submit feedback reports. One obstacle after another. I am sure Godzilla stands in my way somewhere between myself and the final boss.

    But at least I get to receive and send emails. And then, that is just about it; the end of the road. I cannot logon remotely to the corporate network since policy mandates an active virus scanner be present on my computer before a VPN connection can be establish. So am I to fly more bombing missions on my B-25 or what?

    (I know, I know. Just buy a compatible scanner, right?)

  •  02-11-2009, 20:14 5347 in reply to 5332

    Wake up indeed, for spring is coming

    Ah, spring is approaching. Thereby comes the responsibility of the beasts of the earth who cannot start their engines in cold weather to snap out of their hibernation and carry on with their jobs in the new year. And so must my laptop.

    Hibernation is a wonderful technological feature that has been with us for nearly a decade. I quantify this timeline because it did not become a properly stable and useful feature until Windows XP and the hardware of that era. It is great to conserve energy by shutting down the entire machine, while maintain the state of the OS and its running programs. Even to me, it's almost black magic. I have used to on a daily basis, preferring it over the Sleep mode on Windows Vista. When I want it completely off, I want it completely off.

    Since the Windows Vista that was upgraded over was defaulted to hibernation, it was no different for this Windows 7 beta. Only that, this morning, I witnessed the stubborness of some animals unwilling to break their winter sleep and grudgingly moved around half-awake in slow motion, not concerned with hunting to fill their empty stomachs. Today's Windows 7 took several seconds to over a minute in order for a program window to refresh its display contents, or just a pop-up context menu to appear. Even Task Manager could be observed frame by frame as it updates each text label element its UI presented.

    I was late for work; I did not have time to spend four hours trying to slowly troubleshoot and see if I could isolate the cause and snap it awake right there; the trusty have-you-tried-rebooting technique is in order. This is Windows 7. This is the first time, and definitely not the last, I . And it takes half an hour to get to the shutdown splash screen with idle hard disk activity. I lost my patience and just shut down the machine cold.

    Let me reiterate - Hibernation is wonderful. I love it. It is a truly complex operation of cooperation between software and hardware to carbon-freeze Han Solo for transportation to Jabba the Hutt's disco joint, without Han Solo even realising it until he asks, "what time is it?"

    But we are still far from perfecting the technique.

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