How I made Vista work better.

I hear it all the time – Dang Vista won’t work. They still get frustrated over printer failures, slow programs loading and just basic aggravation to it’s performance. But what’s more interesting is how I fix the problem – and make the program run 200% better.

It’s all about a piece of software that has been a thorn in my side for the last 10 years. Ever since Windows 98, this much needed software has taken a step too far in it’s installation, and when other software gets installed, this software fights with Windows. Worst part is this software expires, which causes more problems than you can imagine.

Symantec.

The latest machine was a HP AMD laptop. The printer spooler was failing. I was getting popups from the Information window because Symantec took over the Firewall. Then it rounded off with a renew subscription error.

Ultimately, all these errors would make the startup time a good 5 minutes. Yeah, you can start after the initial boot-up and sign-in, but as you are working, you are getting all these stupid windows saying there are problems, when in all reality it’s a program you rely on.

Someone gets a new machine and Hey! there’s an anti-virus software you can install. But it’s more than anti-virus. It’s a webscanner. It’s a email scanner. It’s an anti-phishing device . It’s a swiss army knife you can use in any way – until the 1 year trial expires. And then you will get upgrade notices – months in advance – to buy another year.

That is the worst part: this software expires and most procrastinate. Most people I know just pass off on the box and continue. Two to three months after expiration when I look at their machine, I am surprised they haven’t been infected with anything else.

This laptop had one other problem. Within the year that they purchased the machine, they also installed AVG anti-virus.

So for anyone to check email, get on the internet or whatever, they have to run through an expired Anti virus, then one that is working. That’s like sitting in the doctors office and when your name is called, you move to a second waiting room, in where you wait for your name to be called again.

I have been taking Symantec off computers for 10 years. And, yes. For 10 years I have also been removing McAffee. This bloatware is only causing problems, then the user doesn’t want to pay for an upgrade, therefore making the situation worse.

I agree – If you are not in a corporate environment, you should be able to get a basic Anti virus that will not charge you to download the latest definitions. That is why I install a lot of programs like AVG and Avast on machines. I still have to follow up with the customer because of the expiration of the registration keys.

Symantec software (or McAffee)  SHOULD NOT be on new machines. If anything, it should not be pre-loaded, but put on a CD that you physically have to insert and install. If you have to physically install the software, you understand it a little better than something you just have to “Activate”.

In my work, I have pretty much called Symantec more harmful than helpful. No matter what you throw at me in argument, I can bring back with “Yeah, but your software expires and causes more problems in computers”. No wonder people get annoyed with their machines. If I didn’t know about this, I would be swearing at my computer every time it loads.

If you have the software and it’s saying “Pay for another year”, then take some action. At least the un-install process isn’t as annoying as it used to be. I think with McAfee you still have to put in the password you created when you activated it. Hopefully you remember that.

I always say “Ignorance is no excuse”, but on the same token I can’t know everything. Otherwise I would be on Jeopardy answering Alex Trebek’s questions. Or is that asking questions to Alex Trebek’s answers…

From Vista to Windows 7

Now that the initial hue and cry over the release of Windows 7 has died down a little, I thought that I might report on how I got on upgrading a Vista machine to Windows 7.  Basically, it’s a doddle, but is it worth it?

Being a (somewhat mature) Masters student, I was able to purchase the upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium for about half the current promotional rate.  Here in the UK, that equates to about 40 GBP, including the media.  Fortunately, I was able to download the upgrade rather than wait for the post to arrive but at around 2 GB, I left it downloading overnight.

My laptop is a year-old HP 9800 model with 3 GB RAM and an AMD Turion processor.  It had come with Vista and to be honest, I had no real problems.  My main Microsoft issue is with the ribbon bars in Office 2007!

Consequently, I decided to upgrade Vista rather than start afresh.  When I started the upgrade, the first part of the process was to check compatibility.  No hardware driver issues were reported but I had to uninstall my anti-virus (Kaspersky) and it warned about iTunes registration.  So after sorting those out and rebooting, the upgrade was good to go.

I’m not sure how long it actually took but it was less than six hours – I left it running overnight and was presented with the licence key screen when I got up the next morning.  Few more mouse clicks later and it was all done.

After logging on, everything was as I left it, albeit with a few slight changes to the user interface.  What’s good is that there’s no longer the blue and green slime background, instead a blue one with a bird, somewhat reminiscent of Twitter, but perhaps bearing an olive branch.  I’m sure you’ll have read elsewhere about the various UI changes – I quite like the revised Taskbar with each program taking up one slot.

Windows warned me about the absence of anti-virus software pretty quickly but re-installing the same version of Kaspersky caused no problems.  During the installation, the reduction in user access control prompts was noticeable but the were still some.  I know that there have been some reports to the contrary regarding malware, but there seemed to be a better balance of control now.

But after that, it was pretty much business as usual.  There was some stuff about “Homegroups” and another secret key, but I largely ignored that – I’ll sort it out later once I understand better what it’s about.

Was it any faster?  Hard to say, I’m not a really demanding user but it opened video files, played music, etc. all as I’d expect.  Windows Explorer toolbar still wants me to burn files as a popular activity despite that fact that I’ve never once burnt a CD on the laptop.

Later on, I asked my wife what she thought of Windows 7.  “Windows 7?  I didn’t even realise that you’d done the upgrade.”  Whether that’s a compliment or not, I’m uncertain.  I think it reflects that if you are a Vista user and you are happy enough, it’s not a compelling upgrade.  Perhaps 98 to 98SE would be selling it short and 95 to 98 might be a better comparison.

However, in terms of cost, if I’d paid the full retail post-January 2010 upgrade price, I think I would’ve felt ripped off.  At Microsoft’s current promotional price, it’s ok value and at the student price, good value.  Obviously I’m coming from Vista to 7 and if you were coming from XP, you be getting more value from the upgrade.

Overall, for existing Vista owners it’s painless to upgrade, you’ll feel right at home but you may question the value.

GNC-2009-05-04 #474 You have to Watch to Win!

You have to watch to win! Video link is in the show notes.  One more show here in Honolulu before I take the show on the road. It will be a very busy May and June as farmers say you have to make hay while sun shines. No locked in travel plans yet for listener meet-ups but will advise when I can. Tonight’s show has some incredible stories that will cause your eyebrows to raise.

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Listener Link Submissions:
Vista SP2 Pre-Beta
Broadband Operating Cost
Nielsen Ratings Sued

Show Topic Notes:
Firefox hits projected 270 million users.
Verizon says WiFi for all broadband customers through Boingo.
Should startup founders Starve?
Video Embed Widgets to control your own brand!
Some really great Flickr Search Tools from Mashable.
Amazing Story of a Rouge Botnet controlled by Good Guys.
Parental Control on the iPhone.
Control your own short url service don’t pay for it!
New Amazon Reader on Wednesday supposed to be Big!
YouTube say NO ads in Your own Videos!
Nettica suffers DDOS that shuts down thousands of Websites!
Sprint customers are leaving in droves bleeding red ink everywhere!
LexisNexis waits 5 years to tell customers of Serious Security breach?
MPAA and RIAA site feature TorrentFreak content through XSS hack!
Who have you shared your email password with lately?
16 Drupal Clones which are great if you can find someone to design a template!
The true cost of Bandwidth that the ISP’s don’t want you to know about.
Time to get rid of some space junk with sails!
Limwire tells Congress that Limewire 5 shares nothing without notification.
Hubble repair crew ready to fly!
Can digital paper save the newspaper industry.. In a word NOPE.
Ex RIAA Lawyer at DOJ to work RIAA cases after 1 year?
193 Lasers to Ignite and create Mini Star???????? Why????

GNC-2008-02-12 #347

I have changed locations again and I am now in the greater Washington DC area and look forward to having dinner with folks in the DC area in Wed in Old Town.

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Listener Links:
Listen to the Show with This :)
Shared Bandwidth
OpenMoko

Show Notes:
User Supported Podcast
Apple OSX Updated
Artificial Energy Island
Starbucks Free WiFi
Future of Firefox
Windows Firewall (Comedy)
Android Review
3g iPhone should AT&T Bother?
YouTube Pirate Bay Video
Vista SP1 and Hackers Win
Are you a Work Maniac?
Our Internal Clocks
Brits Blow it!
Artifical Intelligence Air Traffic Controllers
Danish Pirate Bay Block Increases Traffic
Things you do not say to your Boss
DKIM to Stop Email Phishing
25 Firefox Extensions
Hadron Collider
Internet Advertising Climbs 27%
Microsoft responds to Yahoo
CNN iReport
Yahoo Shareholders
Teen Hacks iPhone Again
Yahoo + AOL
Engineer Charged with Espionage

Washington DC Meet Up on Wednesday the 13th meet between 6 and 6:30pm at King Street Blues, Old Town Address: 112 North Saint Asaph Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (Between King and Cameron Streets) Phone: (703) 836-8800

GNC-2008-02-08 #346

Lot’s of super links from the audience today, the show is seeing explosive growth and I want to thank all of you for spreading the word on the show!!

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Zune Users Listener Critical Link To Read

Listener Links:
3D Desktop
Top 25 Linux Games
TrueCrypt
Nokia S60
www.dialahuman.com
Video Robot Army
Video Robot Army 2
Brijit
RIAA wants Artist to Donate Blood
Artificial Voice
Planet Distance

Show Notes:
Apple Plugs Security Issues
Patch Tuesday on the Way
Danish ISP Fight back
Shuttle off to ISS
Google Challenge IT Administrators
Comcast Changes TOS
Podcast Fresh
Urban Outside
Progress to ISS
Google Traffic
Google Phone Demo
Internet is a Copy Machine
Nokia N82 is King
Wizzard goes on AMEX
Telephone Mania
Cable and Broadcaster Fight FCC
anySIM
iPhone Safari Exploit
Vista SP1 on BitTorrent
NEC Offer Vista to XP Downgrades
Undersea Cable Repairs
Best World Travel Laptop
Save XP yea Right
Danish Keystone Cops
Universal ID’s for BC
Openid Grows
Increase Blog Subscribers
Perian Rules
Do not Call Permanent
AT&T 3G to Expand
AOL Dial-Up on For Sale Block
Mistakes in Starting a Business
Deposit Checks from Home!
eMarketer 18 Million Podcast Listeners
PodcasterTips.com
ThisisJustin

GNC-2008-01-25 #342

Great commentary from all of you and we cover a huge amount of tech news today. Some voicemail taking me to task at the end of the show over the financial issues of dreamhost.

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Listener Links:
DNA Cloning
DNA Cloning 2
Crunchies
OSD Hack
Hotel Drinking Cups
ATV and ESA
AT&T Sims
HandBrake
My FoxNews Interview
How Big is our Solar System

Show Notes:
Firefox Growing
Stupid Employee Tricks
iPhone 1.1.3 Jailbreak
MPAA hates College Kids but Lies
Transplant Break Through
Comcast Bittorrent
Apple Stock Takes a Hit
iPhone Sales Truth
Anonymous DOS
Linux is that Legal
Asteroid Misses us
Sometime Men cannot be Trained
Microsoft Earnings
MacBook Air Slow
MacBook Air USB Port Issues
Netflix Mac Video
Vudu Lowes Prices
Vista fewer flaws than other OS’es
Hulu Interview
Digg Changes
Google Health
Virgin SpaceShip2
OLPC Big Issues
Leave the Social No Way
OLPC Issues 2
Microsoft Updates Vista SP1

GNC-2008-01-22 #341

Please check your Pod Catchers to make sure you are getting all of the shows I am adding content daily to the Podcast RSS feed! Second thing have you called Time Warner yet to protest the Bandwidth Caps?

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Listener Links:
Meteor Hits Earth
3D Mapping Check it Out!
Backpack Power
Gov’t Sponsored Cyber Attacks
Highest Rated Bluetooth Headsets
Buddy Waisname
Nano Solar

Show Notes:
Makezine
AT&T Called out on Sponsored Show!
700mhz Airwave Auction Kicking Off
Volcanic Eruption in Antartica
IE7 Autoupdate
Time Warner Caps Set Very Low
HBO Putting Content Online (Irony)
Yahoo Layoff’s Eminent
WordPress ups Storage to 3gb
Pownce out of Beta
MyBlogLog API
Apple Patches Security Holes
MacMini Sound
Metered Internet Insanity
AT&T Sim Only Plan simply Stupid
Fox has it half Right
NBC and Apple Make Up?
BugLabs Open for Business
zAltenator for Zune
Brickhouse Security
Apple Airport Customers Mad
Parasail Assisted Power for Ships
Power Grid Hacking has Happened!
New MacBook Pro Information
Dark Side of Earth Picture Amazing
MacBook Air Unboxing
Coldest Place in Universe
Cosmic Strings will Blow your Mind
VM Ban Lifted on Windows Vista
Google Ad Campaigns for Blogs
Comcast Blocking Outbound SMTP

GNC-2008-01-15 #339

Back from Vegas back in the Saddle and ready to bring you the latest hot topics plus a full run down of everything that has been going on including some inside information.

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Listener Links:
Ford Trademark
www.sciencedebate2008.com
Bill’s Gallery
Portable EVDO Router
Network Solutions shady .com Practices
Solar Charger
No Love for ASUS
Customer Reports on Companies
Radio QRM Podcast
RIAA Liners
Updated Battery Rules

Show Notes:
Solar Masterpiece
Ford Trademark
Apple Ultra Portable?
Google Maps and Weather Channel
Macbook Air?
RIAA opens Mouth Again
Netflix Video on Demand Unlimited Views
OLPC Dissected
USB 2.0 Universal HDD Adapter
Vista SP1 RC Refresh
Droboshare
FeedDemon and NetNewsWire FREE!
FeedDemon Crack ;)
Facebook to buy Plaxo? Why?
iTransmogrify
Journalist using Bloggers
WiMax Enabled ASUS EE PC
Google and iPhone
Bad Review Request DMCA Takedown
Hubble Repair Plans
Shuttle Launch Feb 7th

GNC-2007-11-27 #320

Back in the saddle from the new location and new studio. A great show where I catch you up on the move and all of the exciting things that have been happening here.

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Listener Links
www.iyule.tv
Sony Fined for Price Fixing
iTunes Games
Wifi Causing Autism?
www.connect2elect.com

Show Notes:
Firefox Reach
Mark Cuban way off base!
Kindle DOR
Skype stumbles in UK
OLPC 2 for 1 Extended through Dec 31st
Hydrogen from MSI
Vista spurns Linux Adoption?
Pirate Bay to have revised Music Section
DVD Rentals to have Commercials?
Ten Firefox Extensions to keep surfing safe!
Doc Searls #1
Doc Searls #2
Maglev Wind Turbine
Toyota Simulator Cool!
Guitar Hero it Shreds
Desktop Evolution Windows and Mac
FeedDemon Calculates Attention
Windows XP SP3 10% Faster
Robin Good One True Media
MPAA Spy Toolkit
Credit Card Thieves .01 cents
Zoho Writer Work Off line
ISS Spacewalk and Harmony Wrap Up
RIAA not willing to battle Harvard
Best and Worse Consumer Electronics 2007
Cable Ala Carte could be Expensive
Cell Phone Tracking
Radiation not bad for you, Yea Right!
iMac update equals iBrick
QuickTime bug and XP

Gems I Found
Wells Fargo President Statement
Cool Toy if it was bigger

GNC-2007-11-16 #317

This is the last show produced here on Historic Ford Island in Honolulu next two shows will be done by guest hosts and I will be back on the show on the 27th of Nov from our new recording location overlooking Oahu in Upper Makakilo

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Listener Links:
Fogview Review of Zune
www.brijit.com
Norberts New Show www.totallycooltech.com
iPod Charged with Onion
Printer Reviews
Nova Shifting Magnetic Fields
Taurine

Show Notes:
Leopard Upgrade
DRM Opening Up?
Surfer Dude with Physics Doctorate blows Scientist Away
Why the Moon
Build a Bot Network get 60 Years
Language detection in Gmail
17 Inch RSS Photo Framed
Zune Issues
Duracell Power Cell
Microsoft to Back up your Brain
Energy Efficient Power Strip
miShares
Sony Dream Camera
Apple Patches 44 Security Holes
Death of e-mail?
Harmony Moved on ISS
ISS Crew moves docking Adapter
Rosetta Flies By
Suit Problem may cause delay in EVA
China Spying Through Technology?
Microsoft Vista SP1 to testers
Homes Comet
Hacker of Year arrested
Warner CEO says War on Consumers was Bad!

Caught my Eye:
Lost Plane Found
Shotgun versus Lug Wrench bad Idea