Saturday, January 10, 2009

Software Part Deux

I never meant to leave everyone with glassed over eyes and headaches with my last post. I forget that people may not know as much about PCs as I do, not that I’m a genius by stretch of the word. I’ll try to clear up some of the things with this post without too many technical terms.

First the term OS means Operating System which is what Windows and Mac (Apple) OSX is. I talked about Windows 7 in the last post being the next OS from Microsoft. Well today MS went live with free Beta (beta=pre-release software) downloads. So if you want to get a look at it and give it a try go to this Windows 7 page. Just make sure first you have the hardware that can run it. For the most part if you use Vista you have the horse power to run it. Disclaimer: I don’t know how long that link will work. Read the pages closely making sure to write down the Serial or Key that they provide you.

I do want to warn you about a few things. This is beta so it might be a little buggy. In fact there is a bug in the way it handles MP3 files but there is a patch for it already from Microsoft. (links to patch for X32 and X64) Having said that I have had zero problems with it. Also go to your computers manufactures web site and download any and all Vista drivers for your system. As I said Windows 7 had drivers for all of my hardware on this PC. BTW a Driver is a piece of software that tells the OS what the hardware is and how to use it, more or less. Warning #2, this beta software is set to expire and will not run after August 1st 2009. There are hacks out there that will fix this, not that I would know anything about that…wink wink. Rumor has it that Windows 7 will be ready to go by then so this may or may not be a problem. This is also why you may want to run it in a virtual PC environment. Warning #3 this download is a ISO file (Wiki link) so you will need software that can burn it to a DVD like the Infrarecorder which I linked in the update to the last post. 4th and final warning, I think, this download is HUGH at over 2.34gig for the X32 version and 3.15gigs for the X64 edition.

There I go again, X32, X64, what in the world is that? The simple term is it is the bit-rate (Wiki link) of the OS. Most everyone reading this will have X32 PC, sometimes referred to x86 system. Newer hardware that has Dual and Quad Core processors (CPU) will for the most part (but not all) be X64 system generally speaking. X64 will run both X64 and X32 software, where as X32 will only run X32 software.

To find out what you have right click on My Computer and choose Properties. This will tell your current OS, amount of RAM and what type of CPU you have if you are using XP or Vista. For the most part (or timid) you will want to use the X32 version of Windows 7. X64 is great because it is very fast if you have the hardware to support it. Unfortunately not everything works or likes it. Some of the web and other things are broken but that is quickly becoming a none issue. I will be installing the X64 version of Windows 7 later today since I got that version today from Microsoft. It’ll be interesting to see how much of the web is fixed from the last time I tried to use XP64 a year or so ago.

Still with me here, no glassed over eyes yet? Good.

Virtual PC I’m sure had people wondering what that is too. In simple terms it is a PC inside your PC. If your PC supports Virtual Hardware you can run virtual software like the free Microsoft stuff I linked to in the last post. It really is pretty simple to use even for rookies. I had never used it before I tried it about six months ago. Any good software has very good Help files. If ever you want to know something about the software you are using click on Help and it will most likely tell you how to do it. Believe it or not that is how I’ve learned almost everything I know about PCs.

Wondering if your PC supports virtual hardware? Well look in your BIOS (Wiki link) to find out. Oh there is another geeky term. More warnings, you CAN screw up your PC playing around in your BIOS. But don’t be afraid to look though. You can always look at it and not change anything, plus there is always a Load Default Settings header in the BIOS that will get your PC running again. Use your arrow and enter keys to navigate your BIOS. If you see a heading for Virtual Hardware turn it on. Reading the screen it will tell you what keys do what plus give you a general idea of what the settings do.

How do I get into my BIOS you might be asking? All PCs are different but as your PC goes through (warning another geek term) the POST screen it will tell you what key to hit to enter your BIOS. The POST (Wiki link) screen is the very first screen you see when you turn your PC on, most will say the brand of your PC like Dell or HP ect. To enter the BIOS on most PCs hit either Esc or Delete. Again, the POST screen will tell you which key to hit. Then just go look.  

I’ll let this sink in for a little while before I go any further. Next time I will go into in using Virtual PC and how to make it work with screen shots and the whole bit. This is a great way to test this new OS to see if, 1: you like it, 2: see if it will work for you. Better to find out for free instead of paying to find out the hard way.

Also PLESE do not to do any of this stuff if you are not comfortable doing so. I would hate to know you screwed up your PC trying this stuff. I would feel so bad I would have to call you and provide tech support to help you get it back up. Suppose I should add this last Disclaimer: It’s not MY fault! :)

Questions, comments or want to tell me to shut the hell up, you know what to do. That’s it for now. School’s out.



Willy D said...

Glad you cleared that up. I was all confused. This is what I thought you were talking about:

OS: The Wizard Of OS movie.

Beta: That’s the thing I watch movies with.

X32: Hard-core porn rating.

X64: Super hard-core porn rating.

ISO: Some secret spy agency.

Infra Recorder: Hi-Tec thermometer.

Bit-rate: How piece workers are paid.

BI-OS: The new politically correct version of The Wizard Of OS.

POST: The thing I was just reading.

Now that I have complete understanding, and working knowledge of a computer, I’m going to do what any “wrench” would do. I’m taking this laptop out to the garage. Putting it in a 1963 WEBB 25 ton air over hydraulic press, and giving it more “RAM” ;)

fasthair said...

Dr. Wrench: Be careful not to install too much RAM. Not all hardware can handle WEBB 25Ton RAM. Other then that it sounds like you got a complete grasp of everything.

irondad said...

I just wanted you to know I stopped by. Just don't have anything intelligent to say on the post. Better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt!

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

I'm a MAC Convert...but these Old School Terms are still familiar!

Road Captain said...

What's a Part Deux?

TRT said...

Don't really have anything constructive or helpful to add, just wanted to let you know I was still reading.