Netbook: Win7. It works.

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Three or four years back, there was such a thing called netbook. Inexpensive, smaller and lighter, with slower processor that meant to be used by students and light users. Since then iPad and tablets have put nails in its coffin.

However, what to do if you still have one and worse than anything else, it is running on defuncted WinXP (Microsoft no longer supports it).

Finally, I took the courage and upgraded my Gateway LT31 with Win7. Now I feel like having a brand new netbook.

Why did I postpone or wait? Because Microsoft’s Win7 upgrade readiness application told me that if I were to do it, there could have been missing drivers, blah, blah, blah. I remember checking Gateway’s site before, it wasn’t promising that they provided them(I must have overlooked).

The process was surprising straight-forward: put in the upgrade disc, boot from it, and follow the instructions. It will collapse your old Windows files to a folder called Windows.old, where you can get to files that you might have saved in different users’ folders. So your documents are saved after the upgrade, just that you need to know where to look for them: Find Users and Documents.

After all the steps was finished, the system ran exceptionally fast! Then I loaded all the most current drivers from Gateway, including flashing BIOS. Followed that were the software: Malewaresbytes, Microsoft Essential, CCleaner, Avast, and MS Office suite. It slowed things down for sure, but still with respectable respond. I also turned off Aero theme and put it in Classic to save on CPU power.

When the announcement came out that Microsoft no longer supported WinXP in 2013, I did venture back to Ubuntu. Version 12 was an improvement and quite user-friendly, but I ran into display driver problem, and gave up on finding a solution. So I still don’t get Linux as an OS; it will never have popular appeal, sorry. I am talking about trying to like it since Corel Linux in 1998.

Lesson learned: Microsoft just wants you to buy new machine! Resist…your older machine is likely still useable even with newer OS. Win7 is probably the best MS OS out there now.

Cheers.

CPU Hog: Windows XP svchost -k netsvcs

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The last two days, my XP netbook came to almost a halt after five minutes of usage. As usual, I went right to Task Manager to see what was causing the problem. I discovered one of the svchost processes was using 99% of the CPU power. Out of frustration I deleted it, which gave about a 2 minutes relief and I could use Chrome for a short while, and it came back again. I was worry my system was hacked! (Don’t we always?)

After some research, I downloaded Process Explorer, which gives more information about the processes being run. I checked the one svchost (bundled up dll processes) that was causing the problem, and it had at least 10 processes running, which freaked me out as likely hack attack. I ran Malwarebytes and MS Essential, and luckily no viruses or malwares were detected.

After more research, bingo! Apparently, there was a problem for some XP machines with the latest updates. The halt was Windows trying to figure out which updates to apply, which meant looking through your entire system for clues.

Finally, the solution was getting the proper (IE # and OS version) patch and download and install it. Google MS13-097. This will reset all the updates to where they should be, so that you can continue to use Windows Automatic Updates.

Honestly, this is not something for a novice, cause most likely they don’t even know where to start. Although XP is no longer supported starting Jan1, 2014, Microsoft should not ignore its users like this. I read there are still 37% XP users of the entire MS OS ecosystem.

Cheers!

Networking Win-Xp with Win-7

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If you still have Win-Xp machine(s) around in your household and want to network them with your Win-7 machine(s), it is not hopeless. Here are the steps. Oh it only took me an entire afternoon to figure out with googling and trials and errors, so it should be easy for you now.

Before I get to the steps, you need to understand the architect behind the two systems are  totally different. I believe Win-7 is built on the more stable corporate platform Win2000, so its networking methodology is certainly different from Win-Xp, which derived from Win98…

Differences:

1. Win-7 connection with Homegroup of other Win-7 machine is easy as long as you name it correctly in all machines. Miraculously even media sharing is quite easy to set up, i.e., PS3. There is something called media sharing in network sharing to enable that function.

2. Win-Xp has NO Homegroup,  but Workgroup. So before with an all Win-Xp network, you did the same naming all machines with same name like the Win-7 above, and you will be able to shares drives and map them if you wanted to…

Steps:

1. Do the same and consider Homegroup and Workgroup are the same thing, so name them identical so that all machines despite OS version will find each other.

2. If you do it correctly, you should see on either machine its Network Center(7) / My Network Places (Xp) displaying named PC/laptop, at this point, if you click on it, likely, it will say “…talk to your administrator” or “… need permission”

3. Most important: on Win-Xp machine, right click on the folder or drive will give you the option of “sharing”, the thing is “Network sharing and security” is turn-off, so turn it on, if it isn’t so. Then as usual click on “Share this folder on the network”. On Win-7 machine look at the setting of rights of Public Doucments . That’s how I finally figured out to get files from my Win-7 machine, cause it showed up on my Win-Xp automatically, and I had no problems getting to files. On the other hands, other folders gave me “… talk to administrator…”, until  I put “Everyone” in the rights  in “Choose people to share with…”.  To get there:  Right-click on folder you want to share, Select Share with / Advance Settings. The share drive should be //xxxx.xxx  , click Share button will bring to the “Choose people to share with…”

4. Caveat: I haven’t set up password for folders yet, so you may have researched this if you want to make sure no one can hack into your networked folders.

There you have it, as usual Microsoft !!

P.S. I remember in the 80s, a regular phone cable is all you need to network two Mac Classics, and you just had to set rights of what each could see or not see.

Cheers.