Archive for Vista

Hey IT Nerd! My Windows 7 System Won’t Boot. What Can I Do?

Posted in Tips with tags , on May 8, 2011 by itnerd

First of all, lets assume you have a current backup (You do backup your data? If Not, read this). If you do, you have one option to try. Assuming that the actual hardware (like the hard disk for example) is fine. Then what might be wrong is the MBR (Master Boot Record) is somehow screwed up. If that’s the case, you’ll need to dig out your Windows 7 DVD and try these steps to see if you can fix the damage:

  • Boot from your Windows DVD
  • Choose Repair Your Computer
  • Choose Command Prompt
  • When the command prompt appears, type bootrec.exe /fixmbr and hit enter.

Assuming that the MBR is the problem, this will fix it. But you’re not done yet.

  • Type x:bootbootsect.exe /nt60 all /force and hit enter. (replace x: with the drive letter that corresponds with your DVD drive).

This will apply boot code that is compatible with boot manager on all partitions. Of course, boot code will not be updated in partitions which don’t have any Windows installations (in other words partitions which are not bootable). But there’s one more step.

  • Type bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

This will scan all partitions for Windows installations. When detected, it will give you the option of selecting the installations you want to add to the bootloader.

Assuming you’ve done all of that correctly, you can reboot and see if your Windows 7 computer works. Now, what if it doesn’t? The problem might be the fact that your Windows system files might be bad. If that’s the case, try this:

  • Boot from your Windows DVD
  • Choose Repair Your Computer
  • Choose Command Prompt
  • When the command prompt appears, type sfc /scannow

This will scan your Windows files and try to make any repairs that that are required. You might want to grab a coffee as this typically takes some time.

Now I will admit that Startup Repair tool is available when you boot from the Windows 7 DVD automates the above functions. But I prefer to do this sort of thing from the command prompt so that I can see what’s going on. I guess I’m a member of the old school when it comes to these sorts of things. Oh year, I should also note that these commands work with Vista as well. So if you have a Windows 7 (or Vista) system that doesn’t boot, you can give these tips a try to get yourself up and running again.

Vista Isn’t Bad, It’s “Less Good”… Seriously, Microsoft Did Say That

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 18, 2009 by itnerd

From the “I can’t believe that they said that” department comes Charles Songhurst, Microsoft’s general manager of corporate strategy. At a recent investors conference he said this:

“And sometimes your products are good, sometimes the products are bad. And I think Vista was a less good product for Microsoft.”

At least they admit that something is “less good” with Vista. Admitting your problems is the first step to recovery. Still, one has to wonder if there’s a flying chair in his future when Ballmer finds out he said that.

Windows 7 And Vista Have A Security Flaw That’s A Blast From The Past [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on September 8, 2009 by itnerd

From the “everything old is new again” department comes the news that Windows 7 has a serious security flaw. In short, you send a teardrop attack to any Windows user and it would bluescreen their computer. If that sounds vaguely familiar, it should. In the 1990s a similar issue existed with Wnidows 3.1, 95, and NT.

Oh yeah, I should point out that this is an issue with Vista as well.

The only saving grace about this issue is that half the world is behind a firewall of some sort, and the other half has Windows firewall enabled. In the 1990s people just hooked their computers directly to the Internet leaving them wide open to this sort of thing. So assuming that when a patch appears (as there is currently no fix) and people apply it quickly, it won’t affect many people as it potentially could.

Still, given their focus on security, there’s really no excuse for Microsoft not picking this one up before release.

UPDATE: Microsoft has put out a security advisory that denies that this affects Windows 7. Hmmmm…. One wonders what the truth actually is…

Windows Vista SP2 Is Available For Download… IF YOU DARE! [UPDATED x2]

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 26, 2009 by itnerd

For those of you who have testicles of steel a recent backup of their Vista comptuer, Windows Vista SP2 has hit Microsoft’s download servers. So if you’ve got Vista SP1 installed (as it’s required for SP2 to install), here’s the links:

32-bit Version
64-bit Version

Since I have a current backup of my Vista VM, I’ll download this now and I’ll have some thoughts later (hopefully).

Oh yeah, I’ll say it again. Don’t install this unless you have a current backup of your system. If things go bonkers, you’ll thank me.

UPDATE: Not showing in Windows Update for me, and this article explains that that’s by design. I’ll download the service pack using the links above. Oh, release notes are available here.

UPDATE #2: It took just over an hour and a couple of reboots, but it’s installed. I’ll start poking around and see what I notice about this update.

Microsoft Confirms Windows 7 Downgrades For All

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on April 7, 2009 by itnerd

I guess that you can mark my story from yesterday as confirmed. ZD’s Mary Jo Foley has word straight from Redmond that downgrades from Windows 7 will be possible. Not only that you could downgrade back to XP, Windows 2000 or even to Windows 95 too:

MJF: Does Microsoft have downgrade rights for Windows XP planned as part of Windows 7?

Microsoft spokesperson: Yes. This is not the first time that Microsoft has offered downgrade rights to a version other than its immediate predecessor and our Software Assurance volume-license customers can always downgrade to any previous version of Windows. (Note: Microsoft changed the statement from “Software Assurance” to “volume license” Monday afternoon.)

(The spokesperson clarified later that downgrade rights allow users to install previous versions of Windows, not just the most recent predecessor. In other words, a Software-Assurance-covered volume-license user who wanted to downgrade from Vista could, technically, go back to Windows 2000 or even Windows 95, not just XP. Who knew?)

The story also notes that this will be the case for all OEMs and not just for HP. One can expect that downgrade rights will be attached to the Ultimate and Professional versions of Windows 7. Which means that home users who want XP will either have to pay more, or they’ll head to the Apple Store instead for a Mac.

It will be interesting to see the full details of this program when they emerge. Stay tuned.

XP Gets A Stay Of Execution? Again?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on April 6, 2009 by itnerd

The folks at AppleInsider are reporting that Microsoft has given HP permission to sell Windows XP on new Vista machines until April 30th, 2010:

The announcement hasn’t been made publicly, but AppleInsider can exclusively report that according to a source within Hewlett Packard, Microsoft has granted the PC giant an extension to its existing rights to continue selling the nearly eight year old Windows XP on the company’s business desktops, workstations, and notebooks in place of Windows 7 for another year.

Microsoft isn’t excited about the XP extension, as the internal communique provided by the source stated, “It’s important to remind customers that Microsoft are still planning to retire XP Pro Mainstream support on April 14th 2009 and will only provide OS security updates beyond that date unless the customer has an Extended Hotfix Support contract. MS Extended Support for XP Pro ends on April 8th 2014.”

According to the article, Microsoft is still ending mainstream support on April 14, and it’s gonna cost you to downgrade. But assuming that this is true, mainstream support could be extended. Then there’s the fact that one has to wonder why a Apple rumors website would be reporting on this. Perhaps they’re taking some joy in the failings of Vista? Who knows. Another thought….. Are Dell, Lenovo and others getting the same deal? Or is HP the only one? Assuming that any of this is true of course.

Until there’s confirmation, you may want to file this under “plausible rumor.”

Oh, there’s also one other tidbit that is worth mentioning from this article:

Microsoft has billed Windows 7 as a completely new operating system, but company executives also admit publicly that the release is really a relatively minor update to Windows Vista.

“Windows 7,” CEO Steve Ballmer stated, “is Windows Vista with cleanup in user interface [and] improvements in performance.”

That means that many of the reasons customers have for not migrating to Vista will also be reasons for not wanting to shift to Windows 7, making the availability of an “XP downgrade” an important factor to vendors selling Windows PCs.

Interesting. The only comment that I can make on that from my experience with the Windows 7 beta, it gives the user the impression that it’s Vista…. Only that it works this time around. I hope for Microsoft’s sake that the general public doesn’t find out about this. True or not, it may send the running to the Apple Store…. Again.

Texas Proposes Ban On Windows Vista Inside The State Government….. Ballmer Throws Another Chair In Anger

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on April 3, 2009 by itnerd

The Texas state Senate yesterday gave preliminary approval to a state budget that includes a provision forbidding government agencies from upgrading to Windows Vista without written consent of the legislature. Why do this? I’ll let Sen. Juan Hinojosa, vice chairman of the Finance Committee explain:

“We are not in any way, shape or form trying to pick on Microsoft, but the problems with this particular [operating] system are known nationwide,”


“And the XP operating system is working very well.”

Not to mention:

“The reason we are so vendor-specific is because Microsoft has a monopoly on government PCs.”

Needless to say Microsoft isn’t very happy about this. According to a Microsoft sock puppet spokesperson:

“We’re surprised that the Texas Senate Finance Committee adopted a rider which, in effect, singles out a specific corporation and product for unequal treatment. We hope as the budget continues to go through the process, this language will be removed.”

This still has to get past the Texas of Representatives and then be reconciled into a single bill, so this rider could disappear somewhere along the line. But this has got to be embarrassing to Microsoft.

In the meantime, Microsoft employees should be on the lookout for flying chairs.

Couple Sues Acer….. Says 1GB For Vista Isn’t Enough

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on March 30, 2009 by itnerd

A couple in Ohio has sued Acer America claiming that it deceived buyers by offering laptops with 1GB of RAM with Windows Vista on it:

“Acer’s defective notebooks are inherently defective in that they do not contain enough RAM to properly run Vista Premium despite being promoted and sold as a bundled product of both a notebook computer and a premium operating system,” the Wolphs’ lawsuit alleged. “As a result, the defective notebooks experience serious problems, including, but not limited to, freezing during use, crashing, requiring frequent restarts and experiencing slow load times.”

The Wolphs said they had to upgrade the Aspire to 2GB of RAM at an out-of-pocket cost of $157 to make the notebook usable.

Though this might sound weird, they do have a point…. Sort of. Vista only really starts to run decently if you throw 1.5GB of RAM or more at it from my experience. I will give them that. But even I wouldn’t call the machine defective because it only came with a gig of RAM. I think that to be a bit over the top considering that most computer companies that play at the $1000 or less end of the price spectrum put a barely passable amount of RAM in the computer to keep the price low. Besides, even when I purchased my MacBook Pro two years ago (which is hardly a low end computer), I bumped the RAM up to 4GB from the 2GB it came with in rather short order. In my experience, the stock amount of RAM is never enough.

I would expect this lawsuit to be dismissed rather quickly…. Although these days you never know.

Windows Vista SP2 Release Candidate Available…..Get It IF YOU DARE!

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on March 4, 2009 by itnerd

If you’ve got testicles of steel a recent backup of your Vista box, Microsoft has released the Vista SP2 Release Candidate to the world. One word of warning, you’ll have to uninstall this release candidate when the official version comes out. Also you need SP1 installed on your system prior to install this.

Pick your poison via one of the links below. Please post your feedback in the comments section once you’ve thrashed it for a bit:

Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Beta (32-bit)
ISO image

Angry Vista Users File To Make Vista Capable Lawsuit A Class Action Again

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on March 2, 2009 by itnerd

Just when you thought Microsoft was going to catch a break, comes the news that the Plaintiffs in the Vista Capable lawsuit have filed to have it reinstated as a class action:

Initially, the class included anyone who bought Windows Vista Capable PCs. Now plaintiffs are asking the judge to certify the class based on two subgroups: Those who participated in a Vista upgrade program and those who purchased Vista Capable PCs that could not support a specific driver, which plaintiffs say is essential to run Vista.

This is an interesting legal tactic. Narrow the focus so that the court has little choice but to accept class action status. The question is, will it succeed?