mcsa exams:

IBM: The PC is the new mainframe

PC dead in terms of innovation, but not profit
“The PC is dead!” We’ve heard that message a lot since the birth of Apple’s iPad, but when one of the creators of IBM’s first PC added his voice to the chorus, people took notice.

On last week’s 30th anniversary of the IBM PC running Microsoft’s MS-DOS, IBM CTO and PC co-designer Mark Dean said PCs are “going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.”

 

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While that seems a bit far-fetched, or at least premature, Network World was able to get a second opinion from another IBM luminary during this week’s LinuxCon event in Vancouver, British Columbia. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a 41-year veteran of IBM and one of Linux’s biggest champions at Big Blue, said he agrees that the PC is dead — but only in the same sense that the mainframe is dead.

The mainframe still makes tons of cash for IBM, but it’s no longer the center of innovation. IBM sold off its PC business in 2005, but the PC does and will continue to make tons of cash for other companies, even though it will no longer be the center of innovation, Wladawsky-Berger said during an interview.

“I’ve thought a lot about it, and it depends what you mean by dead,” he said. “This is very important. If you ask me, ‘Are mainframes dead?’ I would say, well we just announced the new z10 last year, and look at IBM’s earnings. For a dead product it’s making a lot of money. However, if you ask me, ‘Are the mainframes the center of innovation for the IT industry?’ I would say that would be lovely but we lost that years ago, at least in the late ’80s when client-servers came in.”

IBM ditched its own PC business — a move HP is making as well — in part because it saw that the PC was becoming a legacy platform, Wladawsky-Berger said.

“We saw this coming, that PCs would become more of a legacy platform where you can still make tons of money but the bulk of the innovation will now happen in the mobile platforms, smartphones and tablets and things like that,” he said. Luckily, the advances in mobile platforms could apply to PCs and improve them.

“As happened with mainframes, you can integrate those innovations back into the legacy platforms,” he said. “Mainframes run Java, mainframes run Linux, mainframes became IP-enabled.”

HP said “the tablet effect is real” in explaining its willingness to leave the PC business.

Still, Wladawsky-Berger said there’s no reason to feel sorry for Microsoft. “[Microsoft] will continue to be a gigantic cash generation machine for many years to come. It’s just not dominant,” he said.

Facebook investor Roger McNamee recently claimed that Microsoft’s share of Internet-connected devices has gone from 95% to less than 50% in the last three years, as reported by Business Insider and others.

LinuxCon speaker Allison Randal, the technical architect of Ubuntu, brought up this claim in her talk and noted that it’s not really clear if McNamee’s math would survive serious scrutiny. But the proliferation of smartphones and tablets that don’t run Windows certainly has lowered Microsoft’s share of devices capable of surfing the Web.


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Taking the 70-620 TS: Windows Vista, Configuring Exam

If you go for the MCSE or MCITP Enterprise, you will have to take an exam covering a client operating system. One exam, you can take the 70-620: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista.
The objectives are broken down to the following main groups:

 

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*  Installing and Upgrading Windows Vista
* Configuring and Troubleshooting Post-Installation System Settings
* Configuring Windows Security Features
* Configuring Network Connectivity
* Configuring Applications Included with Windows Vista
* Maintaining and Optimizing Systems That Run Windows Vista
* Configuring and Troubleshooting Mobile Computing

As with an operating system, you should first start with how to install Windows Vista. Besides running the normal installation DVD, you also need to be familiar with how to install Windows Vista with answer files, Windows images, ImageX, and Sysprep. You will then need to know how to upgrade from older versions of Windows to Windows Vista and from one version of Windows Vista to another version of Windows Vista. You will also need to know how to migrate data files and settings from one computer running Windows to a new computer running Windows Vista using Windows Easy Transfer (WET) and User State Migration Tool V3.0.

One of the new enhancements to the Windows Interface is Windows Aero. Therefore, you need to know the requirements for Aero to work including the color depth, the refresh rate, theme, color scheme and frame transparency.

With Windows Vista, Microsoft has enhanced some tools while introducing entirely new set of tools. For the exam, you will need to know accessibility tools and parental control. Of course, since the wide adoption of IPv6 is right around the corner, you will need to know how to configure IPv4 and IPv6. In addition, since wireless technology has become commonplace, you will need to know how to setup wireless connections.

Over the last few years, there has been a big push for security with Microsoft operating system and applications. As with any modern Windows operating system, you will need to know how to configure file system security. This will be done with NTFS permissions, Share permissions, EFS and BitLocker. BitLocker is a new technology that can encrypt an entire drive, which will protect if a computer such as a laptop is stolen. Be sure to know when it is best to use EFS for encryption and when it is best to use BitLocker. Also know the system requirements for BitLocker.

If you have used Windows Vista, you have seen and experienced User Account Control (UAC). So you will need to know how User Account Control protects your computer and you will need to know how to react to User Account Control prompts and if necessary, you will need to know how to disable UAC. Other tools that help protect your computer are Windows Defender and Windows Firewall. Therefore, you will need to know how to configure those tools.

Besides the new updated interface, Windows Vista also included Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0. Therefore, you will need to know how to configure IE. In addition, you will need to know how to configure Windows Media Player and Media Player Center including understanding regions and Codecs.

As a user, you will need to use standard applications include Wordpad, Notepad, Mail, Calendar, Fax and Scan and Meeting Space. You also need to now how to configure Windows Sidebar and its gadgets.

Lastly, you need to know the tools that are made for mobile computers. That would be including configuring Power management (power plans and hibernate, hybrid and sleep mode), Sync center, offline folders and Windows SideShow. Lastly, you need to be familiar with how to configure Tablet PCs and how to configure Flicks.

If you want to prepare for this exam, I would highly recommend the Exam Cram book 70-620 TS: Windows Vista, Configuring by Patrick Regan (Que Publishing), which will cover each of these topics and give you plenty of practice questions.


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MCITP Windows Vista All-in-One Exam Guide

The Microsoft MCITP Enterprise Messaging Administrator Training Courses from Certkingdom include expert instructor-led training modules with customized presentations, practice exam simulators and learning supplements for an all-inclusive training program that provides all the benefits of classroom training at your own pace.

 

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Earning the MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator certification validates the knowledge and skills associated with performing as the lead engineer for messaging solutions within an enterprise organization, as well as the ability to design and deploy messaging solutions with Microsoft Exchange  70-620.

Certkingdom MCITP Enterprise Messaging Administrator training courses teach students the knowledge and skills needed to install manage and troubleshoot Exchange Server 2007, design and plan messaging services and security procedures and plan Exchange Server upgrades and migrations, including maintenance, implementation and deployment.

Microsoft’s Professional Series credentials validate a comprehensive set of skills required to be successful on the job. These skills include project management, operations management, and planning, and they are contextual to the job role. By validating a comprehensive set of skills, these credentials give candidates and their hiring managers a reliable indicator of on-the-job performance.

As a Microsoft Certified Partner, you can be certain that Certkingdom comprehensive MCITP training courses will provide you with all the tools necessary to successfully prepare for your MCITP certification.


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Quality and Value for the 70-620 Exam

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70-620 Passed, Quick Tips Here !!

Passed the MCITP-Vista Configuration !!! 957/1000

There is much study material geared towards certification study. Remember you need to learn what a admin or specialist needs to know, not necessarily how to use it (as a user). Also you should have a copy of Vista to get familiar with it.

 

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I would recommend these books (buy or find someone to share with you):

Microsoft Windows Vista Client Configuration Study Guide -Sybex Publishing ***

Microsoft Windows Vista Unveiled- by Sams Publishing

MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (70-620 exam ):Configuring Windows Vista Client-MS Press

Vista Inside/Out – Microsoft ***

Windows Vista The Missing Manual- O’reilly

Microsoft Vista Resource Kit – Microsoft ***

Here I also recommend one website to you which is very helpful for me ,I pass the exam just at my first attemp :www.70-620.com

For those who don’t currently have Vista, you can get familiar with the screens with these two books:

Microsoft Windows Vista Visual Quickstart Guide- Peachpit Press

Windows Vista Plain and Simple- MS Press


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Harvard class project compares iPhone, Windows 7, Android, Blackberry usability; triggers a wave of invective

College class’ online video rates iPhone 4 and a Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7 as superior to the Android-based HTC Thunderbolt and a RIM BlackBerry Storm

A “minor” college class project intended to demonstrate how first-time users fared in doing basic tasks on different smartphones has triggered an Internet wave of mockery, condemnation and invective. In a 10-minute video, the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7 are rated superior to the Android-based HTC Thunderbolt and a RIM BlackBerry Storm.

 

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That experience won the Samsung device 3 out of 5 possible stars. The iPhone 4, the BlackBerry Storm and the HTC Thunderbolt were all much faster, with just one or two touches needed to bring up the dial pad.

Adding a contact was better for the Samsung device, which earned 4 stars; the iPhone earned 3. The users of the Storm and Thunderbolt struggled for much longer to decipher the interface and the BlackBerry user actually failed to add a contact.

The iPhone and Windows Phone Samsung handset tied with 4 stars in sending an SMS message, the Storm got a 3-star rating, and the Thunderbolt came in last.

What’s striking about the video is the contrast in user actions: Often they’re actively scrolling, apparently searching for something that signals clearly to them what the next step in each process should be; at other times, they’re often almost completely inactive with their hands, apparently studying the screen to decipher or interpret, and sometimes trying out the various icons or soft buttons presented to them.

The unscientific conclusion for the project: Novice users found iPhone 4 and Windows Phone 7 on the Samsung Focus somewhat more intuitive to use in the three tasks tested.

But for a legion of bloggers and commenters the project is an example of what’s wrong with higher education in America. The denunciations fell on both the video comparison — lame, stupid, fake, horrible, poorly executed, a conspiracy — and the phone testers — moronic and stupid.

“I find it quite concerning that such a supposed high brow university would throw together such a poor and unbalanced experiment …”wrote Jay Oakesey, at Time’s Techland blog, which offered Harry McCracken’s Technologizer.com account of the video.

At WMPoweruser, one commenter, Tablewriter, wrote, “the research is so flawed that the guy deserves to lose his job over it. It’s what I’d expect from a fourth grader. There is NOTHING of value here.”

“Clearly this was RIGGED,” wrote jwd0808 at YouTube. “The HTC Thunderbolt’s home screen was not the default — they removed both the people and the text messaging icons. They guy using the Windows phone was just an idiot …”

Plenty of others joined in attacking the testers. “I think some of those testers are freaking stupid :|,” posted cPTcAPSLOCK, at WMPoweruser.com. “I never knew people could be so dumb,” posted Bloodoathjg on YouTube. “[A]nyone with half a f***ing brain can navigate these phones,” wrote a user with the handle dicksoper.

More than few assumed Galletta was the narrator: He was excoriated for calling the iPhone the “iPhone 4G,” though some posters said he probably meant “fourth generation,” and the Samsung device a “Windows 7 phone” instead of “Windows Phone 7.”

There were more considered responses. “Of course, the experiences of a handful of clueless newbies aren’t a definitive verdict on these operating systems,” wrote Harry McCracken, in his Technologizer blog.

(McCracken also updated his original post to note that this was a class project by students, not a research initiative by Galletta. “Personally, I’m less interested in how well neophytes fare with a phone than how efficient and intuitive it is for a more experienced user over the long haul.”)


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Exam Question Types For the MCITP Certification

The best way to prepare for any exam is not only to know the information, but to know what you are going to be faced with on that dreaded exam paper. This will not only relieve a little stress, but will help you to get through the paper much easier. Like any other exam, the MCITP exam has a variety of different questions to test your knowledge and different skills.

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On the MCITP exam, different formats and question types appear in order to challenge your knowledge and skills. There are currently three formats, including case study format which will challenge your analytical skills, simulations and virtual labs to test out your skills and knowledge within a real setting.

Question types include multiple-choice, hot area, active screen, drag and drop and build or reorder list questions. All of these question types have already pre-created answers, which may seem easy in theory, but in practice means you’re often easily more confused when faced with two very similar answers.

Moreover, it is likely that there are going to be more questions in a multiple choice exam on a larger range of topics within your area of expertise, meaning you will probably have to learn most of the information on the syllabus.

It’s important you study very hard for this exam as the pass rate is quite high. So take your time to study for this exam and complete practice tests, so that you can get a feel for the exam format and what sort of questions come up on the exam paper.

The main aim of this interactive exam is to test your ability to analyze and synthesize data in theory and in real life scenarios. Thus, it will demonstrate to any employer, you not only have the knowledge but the know how in how to put it into practice.


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Microsoft Raises Exam Prices

Effective July 1, the price of many of the Microsoft certification exams is increasing. This is the first increase Microsoft has made to the program in nine years and the amount of change depends on what category candidate you happen to be. For example, a non-student U.S. resident will see prices change from $125 to $150 (a 20 percent increase), while student rates go from $60 to $83 (a 38 percent increase). The difference in percentage increases are all over the board — in the United Kingdom, there is only a 12.5 percent increase, while exam candidates in Mexico face a 25 percent increase. The price change does not affect MTA, MCM, MCA or MOS exams.

 

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All exam vouchers issued prior to July 1 will continue to remain valid until their expiration date, so it is possible to purchase vouchers up to June 30 at the current rates. All Microsoft exams are given through Prometric testing centers worldwide. A FAQ about the price change can be found here http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-pricing-FAQ.aspx


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Get more bang for your Bing

Search, shop, and schedule travel with ease

Getting information on the web is easy. Getting the information you need from a search provider is something else altogether. But it’s easy with what’s been called Microsoft’s “decision engine”—Bing. Here’s our overview of the features that we like the best, and find the most useful.

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One-stop shopping

Bing has a variety of interesting capabilities, so that you might find yourself using it in several ways, all at once. For example, Bing is helping me plan my upcoming trip to attend my cousin’s wedding in Los Angeles. I can confidently book the flight and hotel through Bing travel, with its price predictor “farecast technology” to tell me whether the flight price is likely to go up or down in the next few weeks based on historical data. I’m using the new visual search feature on Bing to help me find and purchase a new digital camera to take the wedding photos. And I plan to use Bing to check traffic conditions, find restaurants, and purchase concert tickets while I’m in town.
Examples of travel planning assistance on Bing search results

The best part is that, whatever you’re looking for, Bing organizes the results in a common-sense way, and allows you to preview each search result with its preview feature that pops up when your mouse hovers over the right edge of a search result.
Search results showing the Bing preview feature

Let your mouse hover over the right edge of each search result, and you’ll see a helpful preview of the page referenced in the link.

Pretty pictures

I have to admit it: the search capabilities aren’t what inspired me to make Bing my homepage. No, I made Bing my homepage because I love their daily pictures. (It was easy to make it my homepage, by the way—I clicked their “make Bing your homepage” link at the top of the page so that the Bing site opens whenever I use Internet Explorer). Sure, it’s “just” a small detail—but I’ve found that small corners of beauty like this provide me with a moment of breathing space, and make my day a little nicer.
Pretty picture on Bing home page

Pretty pictures: the daily pictures on Bing can provide a moment of visual respite in the midst of a busy day.

When I need a moment to de-stress, I take a look at the picture, and when I need a quick break, I hunt for the three or four hidden facts embedded in each picture. I’ve learned fun, party-worthy trivia facts from those hidden hotspots, like the length of the Great Wall of China, the location of a gorgeous waterfall in Iceland, what the koala’s forest habitat really looks like, and what a Korean temple in the Taebaek mountains looks like in winter.

On Monday mornings, I tend to scroll back, using the arrows at the bottom right, to see the pictures I missed over the weekend, just for fun.

I was excited to find out that requests for images have inspired the team to add a Bing image theme to Windows 7. Right click on your desktop, choose “personalize,” and then click on “get more themes online” to find the entire Windows 7 personalization gallery, including the best of Bing’s imagery. Within your computer’s “personalize” menu, you can choose which images you want to rotate as your wallpaper, and how quickly they change.
Find the Bing’s Best theme online in the Windows 7 personalization gallery

Find the Bing’s Best theme online in the Windows 7 personalization gallery.
Jumpstart your searches

On the left side of that amazing photo-of-the-day on the Bing homepage, there’s an option that lets you jump-start your search. Click a category, such as Images, Videos, or Shopping, and you’ll be swiftly on your way to finding your information.
Search categories listed along the left side of the Bing homepage

To jump-start your search, try clicking on a search category, found listed along the left side of the Bing homepage.

Alternatively, you can also just type your query in the search box. For example, start typing “how many ounces are” and Bing gives you the option to immediately click on a wide variety of completed queries (see snapshot below), such as:

in a gallon,

in a cup,

in a teaspoon,

in 1 liter,

in a shot,

in a bottle of wine,

etc.

Suggestions will appear as you type to help you phrase and narrow-down your query. So if you can’t quite remember how a word is spelled, you can let Bing come up with the spelling for you. As soon as you’ve finished typing, Bing starts processing your query.

And the results are…

In response to your query, you’ll see the results page, with a list of relevant links. You may think that it’s just a random list—but it isn’t. Bing has already conducted a preliminary analysis for you and organized the results in an order that makes sense for the type of search you seem to be conducting.
Type your query in the search box and Bing immediately gives you a wide variety of completed queries

Are you making a purchase, planning a trip, researching a health condition, or finding a local business? Different kinds of searches will give you different kinds of results. For example, if I simply type “Los Angeles” in the search box, I see links to the official city site, Wikipedia, newspapers and tourist guides, followed by links grouped by categories such tourism, weather, and jobs. If I search for a medical condition, such as “fear of flying,” I first see links to sites that define the condition. Under that, there are links to sites grouped by categories such as symptoms, medication, and support groups. On the left navigation explore pane, there are related searches listed that may narrow down your search even better.

And whenever it makes sense, Bing gives you the answer outright, not only the links. Query “Los Angeles zip codes” and you’ll get the list of codes as well as links to the zip code sites. “Weather Los Angeles” and “Movies Los Angeles” will give you instant weather forecasts and movie listings right on the results page—no extra clicking required.

Have you ever wondered how you might be able to speed up your search? Check out the helpful hints in the FAQ on the left side of the Bing help page.
A search of ‘Movies Los Angeles’ gives you instant movie listings right on the results page

See before you click with Preview

Here’s another reason you may never have to leave the results page: hover. Point, but don’t click. For text links, just point to the right edge of the link and you’ll see a pop-up window showing you the first few paragraphs of text from the site. Without leaving the results list, you’ll get a glimpse of the content to give you a better idea of whether or not it’ll be helpful.

This is especially helpful if you’re searching for photos or images or videos. Hover over the image thumbnail and you’ll see the details for the photo. And when you hover on a video thumbnail in the results page, the video begins to play back sample segments, seven seconds at a time, right there on the results page.

Explore some more with the explore pane

Sometimes Bing seems to be giving my queries more forethought than I have. This is most evident in what you see in the column on the left side of the results page, called the explore pane. Let’s say you type “LA Lakers” in the search box. At the top of the explore pane, you’ll see a list of categories, such as News, Rumors, and Tickets. Under that, there are related searches, such as LA Lakers Players and LA Lakers Blog.

At the bottom of the pane, you can see your search history, visible at all times to remind you of how you got where you are.

Tell me more

Besides this article, there are a lot of sources you can access to find out more about Bing. There’s been a lot in the popular press about Bing, for example in the New York Times, CNN, PC World, and elsewhere. You can also check out the Tour Bing feature to see it in action. Help, in the lower right corner, also provides some fantastic step-by-step examples for those who want more detail than we provide in this overview.


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Dual monitor setup: Two monitors are better than one

You can never have enough screen space. Instead of buying a larger computer monitor, you can buy an inexpensive second monitor or make use of a spare one and connect it to your computer (if you’re using Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP)—instantly doubling your desktop space.

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Dual monitor setup checklist

There’s a good chance you already have everything you need to set up your second monitor.
Click here to view the checklist.
Know your equipment

The following table provides more information about the components for setting up an extra monitor.
Click here to view the equipment table.
How to set up your second monitor
Connect the monitor cables

When you’re ready to connect the monitor cable to the connector on your computer, make sure the monitor is plugged in and turned on. Your computer should automatically detect the second monitor, although you may have to restart your computer first. If you’re using Windows XP, you’ll need to enable Dualview.
Dual monitor setup map

When your computer detects the monitor, it should also automatically detect and apply the display settings appropriate for the monitor.
Configure your displays

You may want to adjust display settings yourself, as described in the following articles.

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP

The settings shown here are for Windows 7, but they are basically the same as those available for Windows Vista and Windows XP. If necessary, you can drag the monitor icons so that they are arranged in the same way as the monitors on your desk. Click Identify to verify which monitor is 1 and which monitor is 2. You’ll see the numbers appear on your monitors.
Control Panel Screen Resolution window

Under Multiple displays, you can also adjust what you see on the second monitor. You have the following choices:

Extend your displays. This spreads your desktop over both monitors and lets you drag items between the two screens. This is how most people use two monitors, and it’s the default setting for desktop computers. After your monitor is set up, you can use your mouse to grab the title bar (the top portion) of a window and drag it to your new display. If a window does not move when you drag it, double-click the title bar first, and then drag it.
Extended displays on dual monitors in Windows 7

Duplicate your displays. This displays the same desktop on both monitors. For a laptop, this is the default setting. This is useful if you’re giving a presentation with your laptop connected to a projector or large monitor.
Duplicated displays on dual monitors in Windows 7

Show your desktop on only one monitor. This is most commonly used with a laptop if you want to keep your laptop screen blank after you connect to a large desktop monitor.
Dual monitor setup in Windows 7 with laptop screen blank

When you disconnect the additional monitor, the original display settings are restored to your primary display. In addition, all open files and program windows are moved to the primary display. The next time that you connect the same monitor, the Windows operating system automatically applies the display settings that you used the last time that you connected this monitor.

Troubleshooting: Normally, the process of setting up and using a second monitor is seamless and automatic. However, because it involves hardware and software from multiple sources, you may need to troubleshoot problems and make adjustments. For example, if your computer fails to detect the second monitor, first make sure it’s plugged in and turned on, and then, in the display settings, click Detect. Or your computer might not support multiple displays. Visit Microsoft Update, click Custom, and install any available hardware updates. You may also need to visit your computer manufacturer’s website to install an updated display driver. Or you may need to install an additional display adapter. Read this troubleshooting article for Windows Vista which also includes tips that pertain to other versions of Windows.

You’ll find that having two monitors can forever change the way you work with your computer. Be creative and experiment with the sizing of application windows and what information you can keep in constant view while doing multiple tasks. If you’re looking for more ideas on what to do with all of the extra viewing space you will have, read the article, Work and play better with multiple monitors.


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Microsoft Windows 8: 10 Reasons It Will Shatter Windows 7

Microsoft’s Windows 8 likely won’t be available until next year, but based on what’s known so far, the operating system could very well be better than Windows 7.

Microsoft Windows 8: 10 Reasons It Will Shatter Windows 7 – Reasons Windows 8 Will Best Windows 7

 

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5. Instant-on is what’s needed.

One of the biggest issues some users have with Windows is that it can take a long time to boot up the operating system. According to recent rumors, the software giant is working on a solution for that that could deliver near-instant-on functionality. It might not seem major, but considering how annoying it can be to wait for Windows to boot up, having much faster startup times sounds awfully nice.

6. It might be more suitable for tablets.

Microsoft has been saying for years now that its operating system is ready for tablets. But as vendors have shown, they’re more likely to invest in an Android-based tablet than try their luck with Windows 7. Thanks to support for ARM-based devices, and the likelihood that Microsoft is working hard on making Windows 8 more tablet-friendly, consumers should expect many more mobile devices running the software giant’s next OS.

7. Better power consumption

One of the issues with Windows 7 is that it doesn’t deliver the kind of efficient functionality that consumers and especially enterprise customers are after. However, leaks surrounding Windows 8 development suggest that Microsoft is working on a vastly improved power-saving feature in its operating system that should drastically improve battery life on mobile devices running the software. If that’s true, there will be many happy customers out there.

8. What’s with History Vault?

Windows 8 might have a new feature, called “History Vault.” According to Winrumors, the feature is similar to Apple’s Time Machine, which provides a simple backup interface to users of Mac OS X. Microsoft’s option will let users restore individual file, edit old documents and much more. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed the feature, but if a robust backup utility like that comes to Windows, it would be quite nice.

9. A better interface

Windows 7 comes with a solid user interface that doesn’t take much time to get used to after coming off Windows XP. And although Microsoft hasn’t said much about its upcoming operating system, it’s becoming clearer that Windows 8 will feature a similar interface. However, this time around, those who follow Microsoft believe the interface will be a bit more streamlined and slightly easier to use. If Microsoft can follow through on that, it might just have a winner on its hands.

10. Microsoft’s lesson learned

Aside from the operating system itself, Windows 8 will likely be better than Windows 7 for one main reason: Microsoft doesn’t want to repeat the embarrassment of Windows Vista. Microsoft’s last operating system before Windows 7 was a nightmare for the company. The software giant became complacent and thought it could coast, but instead failed miserably. The result was a loss of trust from vendors, customers, and investors. It was a bad time for Microsoft, and the company doesn’t want to relive it. So expect the company to do something special with Windows 8. At this point, it has no other choice but to deliver an even better operating system.


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Build the ultimate digital music jukebox

Included with every copy of Windows Vista and free to any Genuine Windows XP user, Windows Media Player 11 isn’t just the newest version of the world’s most advanced multimedia storage and viewing program.

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jukebox

It’s also the ultimate solution for music lovers looking to assemble, catalog, and enjoy a collection of digital audio tracks that’ll have even the world’s most acclaimed DJs and recording artists turning green with envy.

Ready to rock and roll? Here’s how to get the most from the greatest hits from yesterday and today.
Why Windows Media Player 11?

Windows Media Player 11′s sharp visual display proves beauty isn’t just skin deep.

Not only does its gorgeous front-end give you a simple way to organize and navigate your music, pictures, and videos. Playback controls are also larger and easier to locate, and enhanced search functions make finding digital audio faster than ever.

Several improvements are highlighted in the image below.
Windows Media Player 11 interface

Do more with Windows Media Player 11′s intuitive interface.

Playlists: Instantly build personalized song playlists by clicking the Create Playlist link. Enter a name for your new set, then drag and drop the tracks or albums that you want to include.

Navigation pane: Customize your view of your music library by selecting one type of media at a time. Music is the preferred default, with photos, videos, recorded TV, and additional content also available.

Rip, burn, and sync: Activity tabs give you one-click access to commonly used functions. Each also features a drop-down menu with additional options.

Online stores: MTV’s URGE is Windows Media Player’s featured provider, but you can additionally choose from 15 other popular services including Napster, XM Satellite Radio, and more.

Searching: Windows Media Player 11 simplifies library management with its Instant Search feature. As you type, the player shows results that match your query.

Details pane: View your music library here. The stacking feature in Windows Media Player groups items according to relevant characteristics (genre, rating, etc.) with a file’s thumbnail icon for easy identification.

6 ways to add music to your collection

Adding songs or broadcasts to Windows Media Player 11 is easy. To do so, simply employ one of the following options:

Rip or copy tracks from existing CDs, with several popular file formats such as WMA, WAV, and MP3 supported.

Import existing music from your PC.

Stream radio broadcasts online to enjoy Top 40, Jazz, Country, New Age, Alternative, and other themed programs any time.

Purchase individual hits or entire albums and download them on-demand using MTV’s URGE. The service features more than two million chart-topping tunes from all your favorite artists.
Wal-Mart, URGE, and PureTracks online music services

Online services like MTV’s URGE, PureTracks.com, and Wal-Mart Music Downloads let you rock around the clock by downloading songs on demand.

Shop additional online stores such as Napster and eMusic by choosing Browse all Online Stores, accessible by right-clicking on the Online Stores tab.

Synchronize with a portable device. Most MP3 players, for example, are recognized the second you plug them in.

Organize your collection

Start by clicking on the Library tab.

You’ll immediately notice albums are represented as large thumbnail photos of album art, rather than textual descriptions. These images make finding the songs you want, when you want them, easier than ever.
Windows Media Player Library

Songs and CDs are now represented by stunning album art.

Note Album art and information is automatically downloaded when songs are added to your library—no technical know-how needed. However, should you wish to change anything, you can always go back and add/update art or grab and edit song and album information at your leisure.

To sort tracks, click on the appropriate icon underneath the Library sub-heading on the left-hand side of the screen. You can sort tracks by:

Recently Added

Artist

Album

Song

Genre

Year

User-Assigned Rating

Right clicking on the same Library subheading and selecting Show More Views lets you access even more options including:

Contributing Artist

Composer

Parental Rating

Online Stores

Folder

From within each of these catalogued views, it’s possible to further arrange tracks by length, rating, title, album, release date, and other common classifications. Just click on the appropriate category located at the top of the screen.

Then simply arrange music by Playlists to allow multiple users and devices (each can have its own playlist) to share in the fun, or customize your individual listening experience.
Viewing albums in Windows Media Player 11

Searching is simple: Type, and results immediately pop up.

Finding tunes to add is easier with the new Browse and Search functions.

Tip: For the quickest results, start typing the first few letters of the artist name, album, or song title that you’re seeking into the Search Bar. With a few keystrokes, it instantaneously appears.
Play your music

If you can dream it, you can do it with Windows Media Player 11. A huge range of choices are available for your listening pleasure.

Examples include:

Playing CDs on your computer complete with colorful visualizations that are great for entertaining guests at any house party or watching while getting ready to go paint the town.
Graphic visualizations in Windows Media Player 11

Music comes alive through a huge range of customizable graphic visualizers.

Using the Burn tab to create your own audio or data CDs, ready to be taken on road trips (sing-along, anyone?) or passed on to friends as fun pick-me-ups and birthday presents.
Burning CDs in Windows Media Player 11

Burn your own personalized CD samplers.

Sharing tunes across a home network, so you can jam along in the shower or out on the deck during barbeques.

Streaming tracks to your Xbox 360 or a digital media receiver, letting you bump beats from your living room TV—always handy during dinner parties.

Copying specific songs, playlists, or shuffled selections to portable devices for on-the-go enjoyment, letting you get down at the gym, during your morning commute, or while flying to some exotic destination.

Windows Media Player 11 can be incredibly user-friendly and is capable of putting audiophiles more in control than ever. If music’s your passion, rest assured Windows Media Player 11 proves the perfect encore.


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Top 8 ways feds (and corporate users) can take advantage of green IT

GAO report outlines key federal green IT initiatives
How does the federal government go about implementing green IT? According to a report out today from the Government Accountability Office, the feds have adopted a number of practices that are useful not just for government IT but all manner of private and public company IT groups as well. These include everything from dedicated funding for green products, to improved employee training and reducing use of paper.

 

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4. Procure IT equipment that meets the most stringent Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standard available, if economically practical. EPEAT is a tool to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT-registered products must meet 23 required environmental performance criteria. The products are then rated gold, silver or bronze based on whether the products met 75% or greater, 50% to 74%, or less than 50%, respectively, of 28 optional criteria. The three EPEAT level ratings differ to a small, but measurable, extent in their environmental benefits. As the GAO reported in 2009, if federal agencies replaced 500,000 non-EPEAT rated laptop computers and computer monitors with either EPEAT bronze-rated, silver-rated or gold-rated units, the federal government would achieve energy savings equivalent to 182,796 U.S. households, 183,151 households or 183,570 households, respectively. In the non-federal government sector, in March 2009 the city of San Francisco upgraded its environmental requirement for IT purchases to the EPEAT gold level as its procurement baseline whenever possible.

5. Provide appropriate personnel with sufficient green IT training. As part of a 2010 private-sector survey of federal chief information officers, industry officials also offered some observations, including that agencies should work with the Office of Personnel Management to improve the IT workforce. The survey noted that, in doing so, government organizations should use existing best practices, such as those found at the Department of Defense, to train employees and develop new leaders.

6. Evaluate and prioritize green IT options. With various green IT options available, lifecycle return on investment can be a useful tool for determining which options provide the greatest return on investment in an environment of reduced agency budgets. According to a 2009 survey of IT professionals by a national IT services and solutions provider, IT departments may be foregoing large, long-term savings by ranking factors such as cost over energy efficiency in their purchasing decisions. One recommendation from the survey is that organizations need to prioritize their actions based on costs and benefits.

7. Align green IT with the organization’s budget. According to a 2007 industry report on creating a green IT action plan, green IT must fit within an organization’s anticipated budget. In recognition of the importance of adequate funding to program success, the 2009 executive order states that, starting in fiscal year 2011, strategic sustainability efforts, which include electronics stewardship, should be integrated into the agency’s strategic planning and budgeting process, including the agency’s strategic plan.

8. Obtain senior management commitment. Senior management commitment can remove potential obstacles when implementing green IT initiatives and establishing goals. For example, according to a 2009 study of the key drivers of green IT, research showed that identifying an executive sponsor who will champion the green IT initiative will help to remove the road blocks to implementation.


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9 tips to manage your files better

You work with documents, presentations, graphics, and other files all day—and chances are, you have a lot of them. That means it takes some time to find the documents you need. Even if it’s just a couple of minutes here and a couple of minutes there, it all adds up.


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There is a better way to stop the file clutter—by managing your files more effectively. Digital files are no different than paper files, and when you have a good method of organization, things don’t get lost quite so easily.

Whether you save your files on your computer’s hard drive or at a shared network location, these tips will help you save the time and headache of searching for files. And if you haven’t already familiarized yourself with the search features in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, this is the perfect time to learn more.

Check out the reader tips. We’ve gotten hundreds of great comments on this article from the content feedback tool at the bottom of the page. And many of you left tips you use to organize and find your files. We updated this article to include some of the tips we received.
Tips to manage your files better

Use these tips to help manage your files.

Use Documents. For many reasons, it’s smart to take advantage of the Documents feature (called Documents in and Windows Vista, and My Documents in Windows XP. To open Documents in Windows Vista, click Start, and then click Documents to discover an easy way to store your personal documents.

In Windows 7, the Documents feature is actually a virtual library. By default, the Documents library includes your My Documents or Documents folder and the Public Documents folder. You can customize the Documents library (in addition to the Music, Pictures, and Videos libraries that are also included by default) in Windows 7 to group files and folders from any location on your computer—without actually moving them. Or you can build your own libraries to easily organize your files. Learn more about working with libraries.
Windows 7 libraries, with the Documents library selected

Libraries are a flexible way to organize your files in Windows 7 without moving them into one location.

By using Documents in Windows Vista and Windows XP and by using libraries in Windows 7, you will be better able to:

Find files. Windows provides easy access to the Documents folder (and its subfolders) in many places, including: the Start menu, the task pane in Windows Explorer, and common File Open and File Save dialog boxes, among others.

Back up files. You should back up files regularly. Using Documents and libraries to organize them helps make backup a snap.

Keep files separate from programs. By separating document files and program files you reduce the risk of accidentally deleting your documents when you install or upgrade programs.

Adopt consistent methods for file and folder naming. Develop a naming scheme for the kinds of files you create most often and then stick to it.

Keep names short. Even though Windows lets you use long file names, that does not necessarily mean you should. Long file names are harder to read.

Let your folder structure do some of the naming. For example, rather than creating a file called Great American Novel Chapter One First Effort, you can build a structure like:
Folder structure in Windows 7, beginning with Documents

The folder structure can help you avoid using lengthy file names.

Separate ongoing and completed work. To keep the Documents folder from becoming too unwieldy, use it only for files you’re actively working on. As a result, you can reduce the number of files you need to search through and the amount of data you need to back up. Every month or so, move the files you’re no longer working on to a different folder or location, such as a folder on your desktop, a special Archive folder, a flash drive, an external hard disk drive, or even a CD.

Store like with like. Restricting folders to a single document type (or predominantly one type) makes it easier for you to find files. For example, with all your graphics in a single folder—or in a single library in Windows 7, it’s easy to use the Filmstrip view and slide show feature in Windows Explorer to find the right picture for your newsletter. You can also use libraries in Windows 7 to group files together for easier searching without moving them into the same place, or use the Arrange by command to sort files by criteria such as author, date modified, and type. These criteria can change based on the file type (documents have different Arrange by criteria than photos, for example).

Avoid large folder structures. If you need to put so many subfolders in a folder that you can’t see all of them at a glance, consider creating an alphabetic menu.
Alphabetized folder structure in Windows 7

Alphabetized folders can help you stay organized.

Use shortcuts and shortcut links instead of multiple copies. If you need to get to the same file from multiple locations, don’t create copies of the file. Create shortcuts to it instead. To create a shortcut, right-click the file, and then click Create Shortcut. You can drag the shortcut to other locations. Microsoft Office 2010 includes some built-in shortcuts with the new Backstage view. To see Backstage view, open an Office file, and click the File tab. Click the Recent tab in Backstage view for a list of links to your recent documents. The Recent tab even includes a Recover Unsaved Documents option. In Backstage view, you can create, save, and send documents, inspect documents for hidden metadata or personal information, set options, and more.

Quickly get to the items you use every day. Jump Lists, a fun new feature in Windows 7, are lists of recently opened items, such as files, folders, or websites that are organized by the program that you use to open them. You can use a Jump List to open items, and you can even pin favorites to a Jump List.

Consider storing documents online. You can also keep documents your company’s Microsoft SharePoint 2010 site or through Windows Live SkyDrive so that you can easily access them from outside the office, share them easily, and edit them online by using Office Web Apps.

Learn more about working with folders in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
8 reader tips

Thanks to all the readers who left their own helpful tips and comments on this article.

Use abbreviations. Keep file names short by using common abbreviations, such as “MTG” for meeting or “ACTG” for accounting. This makes the file names more descriptive and you can more easily find files through Search, if necessary.

Use thumbnails or icons. Search through folders in the Thumbnail view in Windows XP, or change the view to display the files as icons in Windows 7 or Windows Vista. To view icons in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, click the Change your view button (Windows 7) or the Views button (Windows Vista) in the toolbar, and then select the icons size you want to use. To view icons as thumbnails or icons in Windows XP, click the Views button in the toolbar, and then click Thumbnail or Icons.
View list in Windows 7

Change your view list in Windows 7.

Use common names. To make it easier to search for documents, name your files and folders with easily found names, such as model numbers, project names, or the project lead in the title.

Don’t save unnecessary files. Be selective about the files you keep. You probably don’t need to keep them all. With email, for example, you don’t need to keep everything you receive.

Use Recent Items. To find a file you just worked on, use Recent Items (called My Recent Documents in Windows XP) in the Start menu.

In previous versions of the Windows operating system, Recent Items showed a list of your recently used files on the right side of the Start menu. You could open a file from this list by clicking it. Recent Items no longer appears on the Start menu by default, but you can add it. To add Recent Items to the Start menu:

Right-click the taskbar to open the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box.

Click the Start Menu tab. Under Privacy, select the Store and display recently opened items in the Start menu and the taskbar check box.

Click Customize. In the Customize Start Menu dialog box, scroll through the list of options to find the Recent Items check box, select it, click OK, and then click OK again.

Put Documents on the desktop. Put a shortcut to Documents on the desktop. You can save several clicks of the mouse and get where you want to be sooner.

Organize files by dates. Use a date in the document name. For example, jeb051810 could mean Jeb’s file from May 18, 2010. This puts all the Jeb materials together, sorted by date.

Color-code your folders. I have a third-party program which allows me to “color” certain folders in Documents that I use every day. This allows me quick access to open or save a document.


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5 ways to make your keyboard easier to use

How to use a keyboard might seem academic, but there’s more to typing than just tapping the keys. For most people, the keyboard is the primary computer input and control device—that’s why it’s important to leverage the features and shortcuts that keyboards offer. Read on for tips to maximize ease of use, comfort, and efficiency.


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1. Get to know your keyboard

Whether your keyboard is just out of the box or it has seen years of use, it may have features you don’t know about. Take a moment to review the literature that came with your keyboard, visit the manufacturer’s product website, and familiarize yourself with the layout of the keys. Knowing your keyboard’s capabilities and limitations—and where to find time-saving keys—can make it easier to use and can even increase your productivity.
2. Customize keyboard settings

After you’re familiar with your keyboard, customizing just a few basic settings can further improve your efficiency and accuracy. For instance, you can adjust:

The pause before a character starts repeating.

The speed at which characters repeat, which can help you avoid typing errors.

The rate at which the cursor blinks, which can enhance its visibility.

You can make these changes right now:

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP

3. Take shortcuts

Even if you’re a genius with the mouse, keyboard shortcuts can still save you time. They’re called shortcuts for a reason—they reduce multiple clicks to a single combination of keys, like hitting a chord on a piano. They also economize hand and arm motion.

Using keyboard shortcuts for the things you do all the time, like saving or closing files, can make computing much easier and faster. So whether you want to work more easily and efficiently in Internet Explorer, streamline your Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 experience, or key international characters into your emails, you’ll find scores of shortcuts to speed you on your way. The table below offers only a few common standard-keyboard shortcuts, many of which work across Office applications—from Outlook to Access, from Visio to PowerPoint, from Word to Excel. You can find a more complete list of built-in keyboard shortcuts for a particular application by searching in Help for keyboard shortcuts. You can even peruse keyboard-shortcut lists:

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP

Press this

To do this

F1

Open Help

F7

Check the spelling of titles or words in any Office application with the Spelling & Grammar checker

Windows logo keyWindows logo key

Open the Start menu

Alt+F4

Quit a program

Alt+Tab

Switch between open programs or windows

Ctrl+N

Open a new (blank) document

Ctrl+A

Select all content in a document, window, or text box

Ctrl+S

Save the current file or document (works in most programs)

Ctrl+C

Copy the selection

Ctrl+X

Cut the selection

Ctrl+V

Paste the selection

Ctrl+P

Print a document or webpage

Ctrl+Z

Undo an action

Ctrl+Y

Redo an action

Ctrl+F

Find text in a document

Ctrl+H

Find and replace text in a document

Ctrl+B

Boldface text

Ctrl+I

Italicize text

Ctrl+U

Underline text

Ctrl+G

Go to a page, line, or bookmark in a document

Windows logo key Windows logo key +F1

Display Windows Help and Support

Esc

Cancel the current task

Application key Application key

Open a menu of commands related to a selection in a program (equivalent to right-clicking the selection)
4. Make it easier to press multiple keys

If pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del seems an acrobatic feat, you can set up Sticky Keys. The Sticky Keys feature lets you hit shortcut keys one at a time rather than all at once. You can even set Sticky Keys to make a noise so you know it’s working.
All together now

You can set up Sticky Keys:

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP

(Tip: In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, Sticky Keys has a keyboard shortcut—press Shift five times in a row.)
5. Find a comfortable keyboard

Keyboards come in many shapes and sizes, and the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard your coworker swears by might feel downright awkward compared to the Comfort Curve 2000 you covet. Keyboards come in a variety of colors and key styles, too, not to mention with and without wires. And some keyboards are definitely louder than others. All Microsoft keyboards are carefully designed to balance form and function with comfort. Test drive a keyboard or two to find the right one for you.

Although using the right keyboard can really make a difference, ergonomics also play a key role when it comes to typing comfortably.
Tips for using your keyboard ergonomically

It is essential to use good ergonomic practices to help prevent or reduce soreness or injury to your wrists, hands, and arms. It is particularly important if you’re in front of your computer for long periods.

Here are some ergonomic tips for a safer, more comfortable computer session:

Position your keyboard at elbow level, with your upper arms relaxed at your sides.

Center your keyboard in front of you. If it has a numeric keypad, use the Spacebar as the centering point.

While typing, use a light touch and keep your wrists straight.

When you’re not typing, relax your arms and hands.

Take a short break every 15 to 20 minutes.

Type with your hands and wrists floating above the keyboard, so that you can use your whole arm to reach for distant keys instead of stretching your fingers.

Avoid resting your palms or wrists on any surface while typing. If your keyboard has a palm rest, use it only during breaks from typing.

How you use the keyboard is up to you. But by taking the time to adjust a few settings and to follow the guidelines above, typing on it can become easier, faster, and even safer.


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