I need a Windows box, so I figured I’d experiment with Windows 8.1. I know it’s terrible, but I want to see just how much less terrible I can make it.
The first thing I wanted to do was figure out how to slipstream updates into it. I recommend slipstreaming because you get a faster performing system, you get the system up and running a lot sooner, and you save a lot of unnecessary writes to your SSD. It’s very similar to slipstreaming Windows 7, but not quite identical.
A lot of organizations equate security with regulatory compliance–they figure out what the law requires them to do, then do precisely that.
Forward-thinking organizations don’t. They see security as a way to get and maintain a competitive advantage, and rather than measure themselves against regulations that are often nearly out of date by the time they’re approved, they measure themselves against a maturity model, which compares their practices with similar companies in similar lines of work so they can see how they measure up. Read more
Thanks to a new tool that Microsoft pushed out in 2013, it’s very easy to clean up after Windows Update and free up a bunch of disk space.
In 2013, Microsoft released a new Disk Cleanup tool. Click your start button and type “Disk Cleanup” to launch it. If you see a new option called “Clean Up System files,” you got the update. If you don’t see it, visit this page (Internet Explorer-only, unfortunately) to grab it. Read more
Microsoft finally released IE10 for Windows 7 after a long development cycle. Conspiracy theorists think it had something to do with Windows 8 sales. Whatever the reason was, it’s out.
Allegedly, you can slipstream it using these official instructions. I’ll give it a whirl the next time I have to install Windows 7. If you want to slipstream all the other updates, here’s how. You can skip the IE9 part if you slipstream IE10.
I set up an Acer Aspire One 722 netbook this week. This is my Acer Aspire One 722 review. I imagine the return rates on these things is horrendous, because the out-of-box experience is pathetic.
This one won’t be going back though. Tune it up, and it’s an adequate performer. It’s still a netbook–all that talk of the AMD C-50 and C-60 chips delivering Celeron-like performance was just rumor–but it can match an Atom’s CPU performance and delivers better graphics performance than Intel. Read more
Adobe released a new Flash player this week. As almost an afterthought, they mentioned there’s a 64-bit version included.
That means Windows users can finally have mainstream 64-bit web browsers without using any beta software. I can put one on my main machine, and Gmail and Youtube and anything else that relies on Flash works the way it’s supposed to work.
Microsoft has five updates and Adobe has two for us on this fine Patch Tuesday, in addition to a patch Mozilla pushed out for Firefox last week.
Don’t get too complacent if you run something other than Windows. If you run Microsoft Office on a Mac, or Adobe Reader or Acrobat on a Mac, or Adobe Reader on Unix or Linux, you’re vulnerable. The vulnerabilities in those affected products are more serious than the vulnerabilities for Windows. So keep that in mind. Don’t be smug about security. It’ll bite you.
Normally, after you install any version of Windows, you have a ton of patching to do. And that patching takes as long, or longer, than the installation takes, while leaving the system vulnerable to exploits in the meantime. Slipstreaming your hotfixes into your installation media sidesteps those issues, and reduces fragmentation. You get a faster performing system, you get the system up and running a lot sooner, and you save a lot of unnecessary writes to your SSD.
I’ve been messing around with slipstreaming and with ramdisks, but since I’m not completely certain the slipstream process works consistently, I’m not publishing it today. I’m very excited about the possibilities that ramdisks have, but I got the ramdisk to fail on me twice last night. In light of that, I’m not going to come out and say what a great thing this particular ramdisk product is when I have doubts about its ability to stand up to heavy use.
In my Amiga days, I did most of my everyday computing using a ramdisk as my main storage medium. The operating system used it heavily, and all my downloads went there. I did all my creation and extraction of Zip files there. I even had the machine configured to reboot off one. The initial cold boot had to come off a hard drive, but the machine was capable of warm booting from its ramdisk. I took advantage of that, and when I had to reboot, the machine was back in literally seconds. Booting Windows 7 from a ramdisk is a non-starter on several levels, but if a ramdisk can’t do everything else an SSD can do and do it faster, I don’t think it’s worth having.
So I have high standards and high expectations.
When I find something that works well, I’ll share it.