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Friday, 30 September 2011

Firefox 6 Vs Firefox 7 with Download Link

Mozilla Firefox 7 Final is out now and feature's the much awaited MemShrink memory optimizations to the popular web-browser, the new update to Firefox 6 brings an overall faster browsing experience to users by offering faster speeds when opening new tabs, enhanced performance when lots of tabs are open and during long Web browsing session that last hours or days, more responsive clicking on menu items and buttons on websites, lower memory consumption.

Apart from the memory and speed enhancements - this release also features new tools which are designed to make it easier for developers to build speedy Web experiences for users. A new version of hardware-accelerated Canvas, W3C navigation timing spec API (allowing developers to measure page load time and other related crucial factors) and a brand new Telemetry tool to collect performance data across userbase for improving the browser performance further are also included.

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Saturday, 17 September 2011

How to Test Drive Windows 8 in VirtualBox

Want to take the next generation of Windows for a free test drive? Of course you do; it’s still got that new car smell. Read on to see how you can combine the Windows 8 developer release with VirtualBox for free next-gen OS exploration.

What You’ll Need: -

You only need a few things for this tutorial and all of them—the price of good hardware aside!—are free and readily available. Before we get started you’ll need to do:
On the hardware side of things you’ll need a computer with a processor that supports Virtualization Technology (common on modern processors, you can check the documentation for your processor or use this Microsoft tool to check), a decent amount of memory and some spare hard drive space (I’ll be devoting 2GB of RAM and 20GB of HDD space to the our Windows 8 virtual machine). You could attempt it with lower specs.
We’ll also be using the 32-bit (x86) English Developer Preview. Once you’ve installed VirtualBox (or updated your current install) and you’ve downloaded the .ISO file, it’s time to proceed.

Creating a New VirtualBox Virtual Machine for Windows 8

1) VirtualBox makes virtual machine creation easy; just make sure to follow along so you don’t miss a step. Fire up VirtualBox and navigate to Machine –> New. Click next on the new virtual machine notice window and then, as seen in the screenshot below, name your new virtual machine and select the OS type. We named ours Windows 8 Dev and set the OS type to Microsoft Windows / Windows 7.

2) In the next step you’ll select the system RAM you’ll allocate to the machine. We’d recommend allocating, at minimum, 2GB of RAM. You can squeeze by with only 1GB but unless your system specs absolutely constrain you to that size you should go bigger for better performance. 

3) Once you’ve selected the amount of memory you wish to allocate, you’ll be prompted to load or create a Virtual Hard Disk. The default settings are the ones we want (Boot Hard Disk and Create new hard disk selected).

4) Click Next and the Virtual Disk Wizard will launch. The first step in the wizard is to select your disk storage type. Your options are dynamic or fixed storage. We’re going to go with Fixed-size storage for two reasons—one, this is a development build and we’re not sure if it will play nice with dynamic storage nd two, the fixed size ensures it won’t balloon up if anything goes wrong. 

5) The Microsoft spec sheet for the Windows 8 Development Release indicates you need at least 16 GB of hard drive space. That’s a tad on the small side and we hate running low on space. Since we’re using a 500GB drive in our machine exclusively for virtual machines and software testing, we can easily allocate 30GB to play it safe. We’d recommend you set the size to 20GB at minimum.

6) After you pick the drive size, double check the summary before clicking Finish. Sit back and relax while your new Virtual Hard Drive is generated—now might be a good time for a cup of coffee.

When your new Virtual Hard Drive is complete, click Finish to return to the main VirtualBox interface. Now it’s time to move onto the next step, installing Windows 8 Developer Preview onto our freshly minted Virtual Hard Disk.
Installing Windows 8 Developer Preview

Back in the main VirtualBox window you should see the entry you created, such as Windows 8 Dev—ignore the multitude of other installations in our screenshot, we’re huge Virtualization fans.
Highlight your new Windows 8 machine and click the Settings icon (or press CTRL+S). Let’s work down the sidebar menu.

1) First stop in the System menu. Start with the Motherboard sub-menu and check Enable IO APIC to improve performance for your virtual machine. In the Processor sub-menu check Enable PAE/NX (again, to boost performance). Finally under the Acceleration sub-menu make sure both of the hardware virtualization boxes are checked—VT-x/AMD-V andNested Paging, respectively.
2) Now it’s time to attach our boot disk to the virtual machine so we can install Windows 8. While still in the greater Settings menu navigate to the Storage options via the sidebar. Inside the storage menu, click on the IDE Controller\Empty entry in the Storage Tree. In the pane next to the storage tree labeled Attributes, click on the CD icon next to the CD/DVD Drive entry.

3) A context menu will pop up. The first option on that context menu is Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file. Select that option and, when the file select box opens, navigate to and select the Windows 8 .ISO file you downloaded at the beginning of this tutorial. You should now see, instead of Empty under the IDE Controller, the name of the Windows 8 .ISO file you selected.
4) There are no more tweaks necessary in the Settings menu. Click OK in the lower right corner to return to the main VirtualBox interface.

5) Back in main VirtualBox interface, click on the Windows 8 virtual machine. Quickly double check that the Windows 8 .ISO is listed under the storage options—as it is in the screenshot above—then click Start in the right-click context menu or double click the entry to launch the machine.
If everything goes right, you’ll see a sequence of boot screens, and then this blue installation screen

6) Select the appropriate language, time, and input settings, and then click next. On the following screen click Install Now. The whole installation, now that the VirtualBox configuration is out of the way, is very straight forward. Accept the developer’s license, select Custom installation (instead of upgrade), the HDD you want to install to (the only one available, the disk you created) and you’re on your way:

7) When it finishes and reboots you’ll have a few last customizations to make (such as picking a computer name, login, and choosing to link your fresh Windows 8 install to a Windows Live account or use an off-line account. When you’re done, it’ll take a moment to finish preparing everything and then you’ll be greeted with the new Windows 8 Metro UI:

Congratulations!!! You’re running Windows 8 Developer Preview in VirtualBox. Have fun playing around and, if you discover something new, interesting, or fun, sound off in the comments so your fellow readers can discover and play with it too.

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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Samsung and Microsoft team up to create hardware for Windows 8 Tablet

Samsung seems to be hedging its bets with Google and Android by joining with Microsoft to design the next generation tablet computer running Windows 8. Samsung has long used Microsoft’s operating system, but this the first time the two companies have worked together on hardware building a device from the ground up. Several sources have reported that a prototype version of Samsung’s new tablet will be shown at the upcoming Microsoft BUILD conference in to be held next week in California. A few sites have even speculated that there will be a giveaway of the tablets at the keynote event to encourage developers to write for Windows 8.

Not much is known about the latest version of Microsoft Windows other than rumors that it may be able to run Windows Phone applications as well as Windows 7 applications. Samsung is a major smart phone, PC and Tablet Maker and would benefit with a closer relationship with Microsoft to lessen dependence on the Android operation system. In light of Google’s recent purchase of Motorola Mobility and subsequent statements that Google may start treating its new handset acquisition as first among equals in deployment of Android updates, it is wise to have other options.

There has been rampant speculation as to the hardware specs of the new tablet, but it is not likely that anything will be revealed until the keynote address and both Microsoft and Samsung are keeping quiet on the matter.
As soon as we have real specs and not speculation, we will be posting the information right here.
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Thursday, 1 September 2011

How to Hack the Windows Experience Index

If you’ve ever checked your Windows Experience Index, you might wonder whether you can increase these numbers without buying a new PC. Today we’re going to show you how to hack the WEI to show whatever numbers you want.

Why Do you Need to Do this???
So you might be wondering why in the world would you want to do this, firstly the Windows Experience Index has an API that programs can use to enable functionality. This means that if your score is too low, some parts of a program may have dumbed down functionality or even be completely disabled. You could use this hack to trick your system into allowing you to use features. Additionally if you are really geeky, like we are, you can use it to cheat in a benchmark test against your friends.

Hacking the XML File: -
The first method, and the most fun, requires some knowledge of XML files, however if you follow this tutorial you will be fine. So lets get started.
You are going to have to navigate to C:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore

Now you are going to need to open a file that ends with Formal.Assessment (Initial).WinSAT) if there is more than one file that ends with that name look at the date and the begining of the file and choose the most current one. Right click on the file and select edit, this will open it in notepad.

Click on the edit menu and then select find. When the find dialog box opens type <WinSPR>, and click find next.

Notepad will then highlight where the code that we need to edit starts. You can edit any values of the WEI, to see what tags edit what values see the blockquote below the image. All the tags that you will be looking for follow the WinSPR tag.

To Change One Of The Values Look For The Following: -
<SystemScore> tags change the overall rating
<MemoryScore> tags change the Memory (RAM) rating
<CpuScore> tags chang the Processor rating 
<GraphicsScore> tags change the Graphics rating
<GamingScore> tags change the Gaming Graphics rating
<DiskScore> tags change the Primary Hard Disk rating

For example if i wanted to change the value of my system score to 7.9 i would change the value between <ystemScore> and </SystemScore> to 7.9 as seen below.

Save the file on your desktop and dont rename it. Now cut the file from your desktop and paste it in C:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore. You will be asked to provide Administrative credentials if you are not a Local Administrator, if you are then you will just need to click continue to provide access.

After you have pasted the file in the DataSore folder, go the the Windows Experience Index to see the changes.

The Alternative Method: -

The first method was a little advanced and required a little knowledge of XML, however if you are an ordinary end user there is still hope.  As it would turn out, there is a small program that was designed to do all of this for you.
To use it you will have to download it  (see the download link at the end of the article) and run the portable application, which will be called experience_index_editor.exe If you are making the download on a Windows 7 machine the download will be located in the Downloads folder.

You will need to either have Local Admin privileges or know the credentials of a Local Admin account to run the program.
Once the program has run, you will be presented with an easy to use interface, from here you can just change the values of your Windows Experience Index. Each text box changes a different score in the index. You can see what score it changes by looking at the field just before the text boxes. To change one of your scores just type a number between 1 and 7.9 in the box. You can change one or all of your index scores but remember that your overall system rating is taken from the lowest score.

Once you have made your changes click the save button. Close the program and go to the Windows Experience Index to see your changes immediately.

How to Reset Your Score To True Values: -

To reset your Windows Experience Index to the true values, all you have to do is re-run the assessment. To do this go to Computer and click System Properties in the toolbar.

When the System Properties open. Click on the Windows Experience Index link.

The Windows Experience Index will now open, from here you can view your current WEI scores however from here you can also re-run the assessment by clicking on the link that says “Re-run the assessment”

You will need to either have Local Admin privileges or know the credentials of a Local Admin account to re-run the assessment.

Conclusion: -

Whether you are are just doing this for fun, or to enable functionality that you previously did not have, please remember that this will not actually increase your systems performance.