Category Archives: Computers and Internet

Windows 9: Release date, news and other updates

In Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a new UI which was a significant deviation from the traditional desktop UI of earlier versions of Windows. Windows Vista and Windows 7 added a lot of jazz but the underlying UI elements were essentially the same as before. Windows 8, on the other hand, was very much different. Because it was designed for hybrid computing platforms such as tablets which have become mainstream now, it was significantly different. This has been a major issue with users who are used to the older UI. Windows 9 will hopefully address these issues and provide a more uniform and streamlined user experience.

Windows 9 release date: April 2015?

As of now, no information is available about the release date for Windows 9 is available. However, there are reports and rumors, some of them from Chinese enthusiast websites, which claim claim to have leaked builds of Windows 9. Sometime back, there was an update from Microsoft named ‘Windows Blue’ which many believed was a potential new version of the OS. However, it turned out to be Windows 8.1 rather than a completely new version of Windows.

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The next version of Windows is now being labeled ‘Windows 9′ but the name may change. A new code name has appeared–’Threshold’. It is not known if Windows 9 will be available as an upgrade for users of Windows 7. However, it can be speculated with some certainty that Microsoft will allow Windows 7 users to upgrade as Windows 7 holds a large market share. The company will try to encourage these users to make the move to Windows 9.

It is also not known currently if Windows 9 will be 64-bit only. Microsoft had remarked that future versions of Windows will support only 64-bit chips even before it shipped Windows 7. Windows 9 is also expected to be smaller in size and ship with number of pre-installed apps.

Paul Thurrott, one of the most famous Microsoft bloggers, has stated that Microsoft will release Windows 9 in April 2015. Windows 9 is expected to feature an improved Metro-based UI. More information about Windows 9 is expected to be announced at the Build 2014 Developer Conference that will be held in April this year.


Tips for Maintaining Your Privacy Online

It is very important to take measures to maintain your privacy online. The information that you post online will stay forever and can be used by organizations or companies to create a profile about you. The recent revelations about the United States government’s active role in monitoring and collecting personal information make it even more important to take measures to maintain your online privacy.

Social networks

Social networks have become very popular in recent years. They help you in meeting new people and staying in touch with friends. However, they are also a source of private information. Many companies and organizations gather information from social networks and monitor people. You should be careful with what you post to social network websites.

Many social network websites are aware of these issues and so provide privacy settings which allow you to prevent unknown persons from viewing your information.

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You’ll find more information about these privacy settings on the support section of the websites. You can also create a random profile and view your actual profile to see how much of your information is accessible publicly.

Search engines can be another source of information about you. It is a good idea to search for your name every now and then and see how much information is accessible publicly. If you find any personal information, you can contact the search engines to have those pages removed.

Most importantly, you should use your common sense while posting information or pictures online. It is better to limit this information in the first place. You don’t have to share everything that happens in your life online. If you do not need to use social networking websites, you can delete your profiles once for all.

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E-mail and chat

E-mails and chat programs can be another source of gathering information about you. Anybody with access to the server that hosts your e-mail or chat service can read your messages unless they are encrypted. To prevent this, you can use PGP to encrpyt your communications. This is an extreme measure but is advisable for sensitive information.

Other means of communication such as video conferences can also be intercepted. You can encrypt videoconferences by using a tool called Jitsi.

Surfing the net securely

Your online activities can be monitored by search engines. Certain toolbars and other software applications can also monitor your online activities. If you are using an outdated browser, you should update immediately to the latest version as they can make your computer vulnerable to spyware and other malware. You can also consider using anonymous browsing software such as TOR.

Search engines such as Google track the search strings you enter along with your IP address. If you are concerned about this, you can use alternative search engines that are more privacy oriented such as Startpage, Ixquick or DuckDuckGo.

Online security and privacy are very serious issues. These are not something that should take lightly. Always use your common sense. Staying safe and secure should always be a main criteria when you’re online.


How to Deal with Software Compatibility Issues in Windows 7

Windows 7 comes with excellent compatibility support. This means the majority of the software that are designed to run on Windows XP will run on Windows 7 without many issues. However, if you are experiencing compatibility issues, here are some pointers.

Compatibility Mode

If you’re not able to get a software application to run properly on Windows 7, try to run it in compatibility mode. This allows you to trick the software application into thinking that it is running on an older version of Windows. You can do this in two ways — automatically using the wizard or manually using the Explorer shell. You can also use the Program Compatibility Assistant. This appears automatically when Windows finds that you’re having a problem in installing or using a particular application.

Program Compatibility Wizard

The Program Compatibility Wizard is a simple application that detects software incompatibility and automatically fixes the issues. If the wizard doesn’t automatically detect the issue, you can also point it at the software application that is having compatibility issues.

The Program Compatibility Wizard is not directly available from the Windows 7 user interface. To open it, go to the Start Menu and type “Program Compatibility Wizard” in the search box. You’ll see one result: “Run programs made for previous versions of Windows”. Click on that to start the wizard.

How to enable Compatibility Mode manually

You can also run applications in compatibility mode without having to use the Program Compatibility Wizard. To do this, right-click on the executable and choose Properties. Navigate to the Compatibility tab. Click on the tick box which says “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and choose the older version of Windows on which the application was designed to run.

You can run any application in compatibility mode. However, you should not run antivirus software and other securities applications in compatibility mode. These applications should be run only on the operating systems for which they were designed in the first place.

Program Compatibility Assistant

When you install an application that has known compatibility problems or if an installation has not concluded successfully, Windows 7 will automatically launch the Program Compatibility Assistant. You can decline it if you believe that the application installed successfully. However, the Program Compatibility Assistant cannot be triggered manually. In other words, there is no shortcut to open the Program Compatibility Assistant.

Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode

If everything else has failed, you can try these options.

Windows Virtual PC is a software application from Microsoft which provides a virtual machine environment. You can run guest operating systems separately and independently from the host environment. However, you should note that Virtual PC is not suitable for running all kinds of applications. For example, you’ll not be able to run high and game satisfactorily in a virtual machine. An alternative to Windows Virtual PC is VirtualBox.

XP Mode allows you to run a virtual version of Windows XP so that you can run XP-based applications side-by-side with native Windows 7 applications.

Both of these features do not ship with Windows 7 by default. You will have to download and install on your computer manually. Google is your friend to locate these applications.