Random Thoughts – Randocity!

Restore a Mac formatted 6th Gen iPod nano in Windows 7

Posted in Apple, botch, Mac OS X by commorancy on September 22, 2012

I recently picked up a sixth generation iPod nano refurbished from Gamestop.  When I got home and plugged it into iTunes for Windows 7, iTunes recognized it as a Macintosh formatted iPod and said that it needed to be restored.  Here’s where the fun begins.. not.  Several things happened after I plugged it in.  First, Windows recognized it as drive O: and opened a requester wanting to format the iPod.  This format panel stays open until cancelled. Second, when I tried to restore the iPod, iTunes kept showing me error 1436, which is a rather non-descript error that takes you to a mostly generic Apple help page that is only moderately helpful.  I take that back, this help page wasn’t helpful at all.

Note, Macintosh formatted iPods cannot be used with Windows.  However, Windows formatted iPods can be used on both Windows and Macs.  So, this is simply a problem that exists because this iPod was originally formatted on a Mac.  Such stupid issues that cause such time wasting problems.

How did the first restore go?

It didn’t.  I realized the above mentioned Windows disk format panel had the iPod open and the 1436 error was due to this.  However, that was just the beginning of the problems. When I cancelled that panel and I tried the restore again, I got a different issue.  Basically, iTunes opens a progress bar that keeps moving without any progress.  I wasn’t sure if this progress panel was normal or abnormal.  Although, I suspected abnormal after 3 minutes without any changes.  So, I began searching for how long an iPod restore should take.  I found that restore should complete in only a few minutes (less actually).  So, I knew something was wrong when it wasn’t making any progress.

Disk Mode

It was clear that iTunes wasn’t going to restore this iPod through its normal means.  I began searching on the net for how to recover this iPod and ran into a site that led me to Apple’s How to put an iPod in Disk Mode help page.  This page is actually very useful and where the 1436 error page should have led me but didn’t.

What is Disk Mode? Disk Mode puts the iPod into a state that allows it to be formatted as a disk.  Well, you don’t really want to format it.  Instead, in Disk Mode, it gets rid of all that pesky Macintosh formatting garbage and actually lets you restore it properly.  For the sixth gen iPod nano, to put it in Disk Mode, press and hold the power and volume down buttons until the screen turns black and the Apple logo appears.  When you see the Apple logo, press and hold both volume up and down buttons until the iPod shows a white screen.  This is the Disk Mode screen.

Recovering

At this point, I plugged the iPod back in with iTunes running and iTunes saw that the iPod was ‘corrupted’ and asked to restore it.  Well, the restoration this time went like a champ.  No issues at all.  However, after I restored it, I did have to close out of iTunes and restart iTunes.  Until I did that, iTunes kept telling me that the iPod was in ‘Recovery Mode’ even though I knew that it wasn’t based on the screen of the iPod.  After restarting iTunes, that stopped and it finally recognized the iPod as new and let me put music on it.  Yay!

So, there you have it.  Although, it should have been as simple as plug-in and restore.  But, Apple had to make this a chore because of the PC vs Mac formatting thing.  Seriously, is that even necessary?

Design

Let me take a moment to commend Apple on this design of this iPod nano.  When the first long skinny nano was first released, I thought it was kind of cool, but not worth it.  Then the smaller squatty nano arrived and I liked that design so much that I bought one.  I got my use out of that and eventually bought an iPod touch.  However, the iPod touch isn’t useful in all circumstances and I wanted something smaller and lighter.  When this nano was released, I always thought it was a great idea and well executed save for the fact that it has no application support.  So, here’s where Apple dropped the ball on this one.

The size and weight is awesome.  The look is great, especially if you get a watch band.  It just needed a refresh to add a few more features like Bluetooth, video (although, not really necessary in my book) and apps support.  I loved the square display because this is the exact image ratio of CD covers.  So, it was the perfect marriage between a music player and a user interface.  Some people complained that the touch display was overkill.  Perhaps, but I always liked it, but I have never needed one of these.  I still don’t really need one.  The reason I bought one is because Apple has discontinued this model in lieu of it’s bigger screen cousin.

The new nano, however is neither nano in size nor is it really that small.  This nano was the perfect size and perfect shape.  It truly deserved the name nano.  However, the new nano is really not deserving of that name.  The screen is too big and it’s really just a dumbed down iPod touch.  Yes, the new nano has video capabilities, but so what?  I don’t plan on ever loading video on it.  Without WiFi or streaming mechanisms, there’s no point.  I realize Apple wants to enrich their ecosystem (read, sell more videos to people), but this isn’t the device to do it.  In fact. this latest nano design to ship late 2012 is really not that great looking.  I feel that it’s stepping too far into the same territory as the iPod touch.  So, why do this?  It’s also bigger, bulkier and likely heavier.   The battery life is probably shorter even.  It’s no longer a small portable player.

The 6th generation iPod nano (this one I just bought) is truly small and light.  It can go just about anywhere and has a built-in clip even! It lacks some features, yes, but for a music player I certainly don’t miss them.  If you’re thinking of buying a 6th generation iPod nano, you should do it now while the Apple outlet still has them in stock.  Yes, they are refurbished, but they’re still quite spectacular little music players.  However, don’t go into the purchase expecting the feature-set of an iPhone or an iPod touch.  It’s not here.  If you go into the purchase thinking it’s an iPod shuffle with a display, then you won’t be disappointed with the purchase.

Apple’s ever changing product line

What I don’t get about Apple is removing a product from its product lineup that clearly has no competition in the marketplace at all, let alone having no competition even within its own product lineup.  Yet, here we are.  Apple is dropping the 6th generation design in lieu of the 7th generation design that’s bigger and bulkier (and likely heavier).  In fact, it looks a lot like a smaller dumbed-down iPod touch.

In reality, the 7th gen nano is so close to becoming a tiny iPod touch clone that it clearly competes with the Touch.  This is bad.  The 6th generation nano (pictured above) in no way competes with the iPod touch, other than it has a tiny touch screen. The 6th generation nano design clearly still has a place in Apple’s lineup.  I just don’t get why they dump products from their lineup and replace them with designs that aren’t likely to sell better (0ther than to those people who complained you couldn’t play video on the 6th gen nano). The 6th gen nano is great for the gym or while running.  However, after this newest nano is introduced, if you want a square sized small music player, you have to get a shuffle with no display.  The bigger bulkier 7th gen design just won’t work for most activity use cases.  Apple, your design team needs to better understand how these devices are actually being used before you put pen to paper on new designs, let alone release them for public consumption.  Why is it always just one device?  Why can’t you have both in the product lineup?

Of course, if they had retained an updated 6th gen model along with adding the 7th gen model, then that would make a lot more sense.  Removing the older model in lieu of this one, this is not a replacement design.  You can’t wear this one like a watch.  So, that whole functionality is gone.  What I would like to have seen is two models.  A 6th gen revamped to add more features like bluetooth and perhaps a camera and, at the same time, introducing this new video capable model.  The updated 6th gen doesn’t need to playback movies, the screen is too tiny for that.  In fact, the screen on this new 7th gen model is too tiny for that.  Even the iPod touch is too tiny for watching movies, in practicality.  It’s not until you get to the iPad does watching a movie even become practical.  In a pinch, yes you could watch a video or movie, but you’d be seriously straining your eyes.  I’d rather do that (or rather, not strain my eyes) with a much bigger screen.  No, an updated square-format touch screen iPod is still very much necessary in the lineup.  I understand Apple’s need for change here, but not for the use case that’s now lost with this 7th generation iPod. Sometimes, Apple just doesn’t seem to get it.  This is just one of a new series of cracks in the armor that is the new Jobs-less era Apple.  Welcome to the new Apple folks.

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Installing the Apple Magic Mouse on Windows 7

Posted in Apple, windows by commorancy on October 25, 2011

Ok, so here’s a topic that you would think would be easy to do. Yet, thanks to Apple, it isn’t and, in fact, took me about 20 minutes to do something that should have taken me 2. Here’s one part of Apple that I hope changes with the new regime stepping in.  As much as I admired Steve Jobs, his ideas about an Apple-centric universe were a bit over-the-top. It really makes no sense to create peripherals and tie them to only a tiny fraction of the overall computer market, especially when they’ve already written drivers for the other half of the market! Here’s hoping for some change.

Installing the Magic Mouse

This part is easy.  Just turn on the mouse and add a new bluetooth device. Then, select the device and follow the wizard to complete the pairing. It’s not hard at all. The trouble is, it loads a 2006 generic Microsoft mouse driver. This driver doesn’t support any of the touch gestures.  Anyway, once you’ve gotten it paired and working, you’ll quickly notice something is missing.  Namely, vertical scrolling. Hmm, it makes this mouse less than ideal.  So, how do you get scrolling working? Note, if you need specific instructions on setting up a bluetooth device, leave a comment below and I’ll post step-by-step instructions.

Boot Camp

To get the full (or at least as full as you’re going to get with Windows) gestures working (like vertical scrolling) with the Magic Mouse, you need to install Apple’s drivers from Boot Camp. Oh, don’t bother running over to Apple.com and looking for them, you’ll only find a bunch of updates that don’t contain the driver. Instead, you need to locate a copy of the Snow Leopard (or perhaps even a Lion) DVD. Once inserted into Windows, the Boot Camp partition should pop up. This is exactly what you need.

From here (assuming your DVD mounts on M:), go to M:\Boot Camp\Drivers\Apple\x64 or M:\Boot Camp\Drivers\Apple (for 32 bit). In this folder you will find a file called AppleWirelessMouse64.exe / AppleWirelessMouse.exe. Run this file. It will install drivers. When complete, the gestures will be enabled. However, you may have to go to Control Panel->Mouse and readjust the speed and acceleration as it gets reset after the installation.

Simple, easy, fast.. assuming you have a Snow Leopard install disk. Note, I’ve heard the drivers may not persist past a reboot. If you find this is the case, let me know and I will see if I can find a way to make that happen. :)

Update: If you’re using High Sierra and looking for Bootcamp drivers (2018 latest MacOS, visit this article to learn more about Bootcamp drivers).

Mouse won’t connect?

This is a problem I’ve found with the Magic Mouse even on a Mac. However, this has a simple fix (even if not obvious). Click the mouse several times to wake the mouse up to ask it to reconnect to Windows (or Mac) after turning the mouse on.

Drivers

Note, I’ve found the drivers on the net located here. If you find that this link no longer works, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll see if I can find another location.

Good Luck

Clickity Click – The Microsoft Dilemma

Posted in computers, microsoft, windows by commorancy on April 30, 2010

Once upon a time, the mouse didn’t exist. So, the keyboard drove the interface. Later, Xerox came along and changed all of that (with the help of Steve Jobs and Apple). Of course, as it always does, Microsoft absconded with the mouse functionality and built that into Windows… not that there was really much choice with this decision.

We flash a decade forward or so and we’re at Windows XP. A reasonably streamlined Windows operating system from Microsoft. In fact, this is probably and arguably the most streamlined that Microsoft’s Windows has ever been (and will likely ever be). Granted, security was a bit weak, but the user interface experience was about as good as it can get. With only a few clicks you could get to just about anything you needed.

Flash forward nearly another decade to see the release of the dog that was Windows Vista. Actually, Windows Vista’s look was not too bad. But, that’s pretty much where it ends. Microsoft must not have done much usability testing with Vista because what used to take one or two clicks of the mouse now adds 1-3 extra clicks. The reason, Microsoft has decided to open useless windows as launchpads to get to underlying components. Added layers that are pointless and unnecessary. For example, you used to be able to right click ‘My Network Places’, release on properties and get right to the lan adapters to set them up. No more. Now this same properties panel opens a launchpad interface that requires clicking ‘Change Adapter Settings’ just to get the adapters. Pointless. Why was this added layer necessary? And this is the best of the worst.

More than this, though, is that sometimes the labeling of the links to get to the underlying components is obscure or misleading. So, you’re not really sure what link to click to get to the thing you need. That means you end up clicking several things just to find the thing you need. Yes, you can use the help to find things, but that then means opening even more windows and clicking through even more time wasting events just to locate something that should have been one-click anyway.

Server Operating Systems

This issue is not limited to the desktop OS world. In the server world, such as Windows 2008 R2, these launch pads are now excessive and in-your-face. For example, when you first install Windows 2008 R2, two of these panels open as the first thing after you log in. So now, I’m already starting out having to click closed two windows that I didn’t even need to see at that point just so I can get to the desktop. Likely, if you’re installing a server operating system, you’re planning on hooking it into a domain controller. So, setting up anything on the local administrative user is pointless. That means I have to close out of these useless panels in order to get to the panel where I can import this machine into the domain. It would have been far more helpful to have the first thing open be the join-the-domain panel. I don’t need to set up anything else on that newly installed machine until it’s in the domain.

Desktop Systems

Most people are much more familiar with the desktop operating systems than the server versions. But, these added clicks are all throughout not only Vista, but now Windows 7. Because Windows 7 is effectively a refresh of Vista with added compatibility features, these extra clicks are still there and still annoying. Why Microsoft had to take a streamlined interface and make it less efficient for users, I’ll never know. But, these added clicks to get to standard operating system tools is a waste of time and productivity. It also requires a higher learning curve to teach people the new method.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

This motto needs to be ingrained into the engineering team at Microsoft because they clearly do not understand this. Added extra layers of windows does not make the OS more efficient. It makes it bloated, cumbersome and extremely inefficient. That extra click might only take an extra second, but those seconds add up when you’re doing a repetitive task that involves dealing with those windows as part of your job.

As another example, opening the default setup for control panel in XP shows the control panels themselves. In Vista / Windows 7, it now brings up a launch pad of abstract tasks. Tasks like ‘System and Security’ and ‘User accounts and family safety’. Clicking these leads to more sub concept tasks. So, instead of just showing the actual control panels, you have to click through a series of abstract task pages that ultimately lead you to a tool. No no no. Pointless and inefficient. Let’s go back to opening up the actual control panel view. I want to see the actual control panels. The abstract task idea is great for beginners. For advanced users, we want to turn this crap off. It’s pointless, slow and unnecessary. Power users do not need this.

Windows for beginners

Microsoft Bob is dead. Let’s not go there again. So, why is it that Microsoft insists on trying to spoon feed us an interface this dumbed down and with excessively clicky features? This interface would have been a great first step in 1990. But, not today. Taking this step today is a step backward in OS design. Anyone who has used Windows for more than 6 months doesn’t need these added inconveniences and inefficiencies. In fact, most average computer users don’t need this level of basics. Only the very beginner beginners need this level of spoon feeding.

Microsoft needs a to create new version (or, alternatively, a preference to turn ‘Newbie mode’ off). Simply put, they need Windows for the Power User. A stripped down design that gets back to basics. A design that eliminates these cumbersome beginner features and brings back the single click features that let us navigate the operating system fast and using the mouse efficiently (read, as few clicks as possible). Obviously, if you’re running ANY server edition, this automatically implies the power user interface. Let’s get rid of these helper panels on startup, mkay?

Microsoft, can we make this a priority for Windows 8?

Windows 7: Should I upgrade / install?

Posted in botch, corruption, microsoft, redmond, Uncategorized, windows by commorancy on December 6, 2009

After having used Windows 7 for at least a month now regularly, I’ve come to realize one thing… Windows 7 is not stable!  Things that had been fixed in Vista are now clearly broken again.  For example, I could run Vista for probably a month or longer without the need to reboot.  If I’m lucky, I can get away with running Windows 7 for about a week or two before its innards get flakey.  For example, there are now processes that hang and cannot be killed by Task Manager.  This forces the need to reboot.  Once the apps hang, it’s impossible to reboot cleanly.  So, I have yet to be able to reboot Windows 7 without having to force power off the system.  Just today, I once again tried to use the ‘Restart’ function which did absolutely nothing.  Windows 7 appeared to start the shutdown process and then clearly hung and did not finish.

I have also had a problem with Windows 7 drivers.  For example, the ATI driver I now have installed on Windows 7 is clearly bugged.  When I run Daz Studio 3, I can load a specific 3D model set and crash the system with a BSOD.  Worse, Windows 7 knows that it crashed, but it doesn’t have any clue what crashed it.  It knows it was a driver crash, but not the specific driver.  When I click the troubleshoot panel that appears after the system reboots, the panel goes away and offers no advice.

These are clearly the problems of yet another immature and sad operating system attempt by Microsoft.  Windows 7 should be more stable than Vista (which was, according to a lot of people, very unstable).  Well, I’m here to say that Vista is a ton more stable than Windows 7 is.  Yes, Vista is quirky and odd in places, but the underlying OS is pretty much rock steady.  I rarely had crashes or BSODs.  I could leave the system running for long periods of time without instability.  Windows 7, on the other hand, is just completely unstable.  This thing should never have made it out of Beta, let alone to the store shelves.

Should you install?

To answer this question is… no, do not install this disaster of an OS.  Wait until at least Service Pack 1.  When that arrives, Microsoft might actually be able to make this disaster workable.  Right now, it’s an unmitigated unstable mess.  In fact, this OS is far worse than Vista in a lot of respects at this point.  If you are on XP, stay there.  Since there is no upgrade path from XP, you probably don’t want to try an upgrade anyway.. let alone to something that’s much more unstable than XP.  Not to mention, Windows 7 has a far bigger disk usage footprint than XP.

If you are running Vista, carefully examine if you really need this OS.  Frankly, the bells and whistles that Microsoft added aren’t enough to justify an upgrade or the expense.  If you happen to buy a new computer with Windows 7 loaded, then take it.  If you want to upgrade an existing system, don’t do it.

Side by Side installs no longer available

Since the release of Vista, Microsoft has done away with side by side installs.  You used to be able to install a new operating system on the same disk drive as an existing other Windows version.  As of Vista, Microsoft stopped that.  Instead, you are now required to buy a new disk and install it on that fresh drive.  You cannot install it on the same partition as an existing other Windows install.  Windows 7 will rename the old installation to Windows.old and make it no longer bootable.  You might be able to get away with a side-by-side install on a separate partition, but I’ve never tested this.   So, if you’re thinking of taking Windows 7 for a test spin first, you should buy a new disk and install it on that blank disk.  Then, decide if you want to upgrade your Vista partition based on that test drive.  Alternatively, I’d recommend using something like Ghost to clone your existing partition for a test drive upgrade onto that blank new drive.  If you don’t like it, put your old disk back in and boot your system back into Vista (or whatever).

If you really must have Windows 7 on your machine, go for it.  But, be warned that it is not stable by any stretch.  Perhaps Service Pack 1 will fix these issues, but right now be warned that you will likely experience the same issues I have.  If you are an IT professional thinking of upgrading an employee’s computer, you should wait until Windows 7 is far more stable than it is today.

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Windows 7: Vista Rehashed — Missing the Mark

Posted in computers, microsoft, windows by commorancy on November 27, 2009

While the initial response of Windows 7 seems to have been positive from beta users, I have personally found it really no better than Windows Vista.  In fact, most of the touted improvements really aren’t there.  Here is a basic review of Windows 7 as compared to Vista.

Not much improved

Windows 7 has not really improved enough over Windows Vista.  It’s no wonder why Microsoft was able to shove this one out the door so rapidly.  Effectively, Microsoft gave Vista a slight UI facelift, added a couple of tweaks here and there and then pushed the product to the shelves.  In fact, I’m really wondering why it took as long as it did with so little improvement.  The same issues that exist in Vista still exist in Windows 7.  Namely, these include limited driver support, application compatibility and enhanced security that gets in the way.  I’ll discuss these issues below.

Driver Compatibility

When Vista was released, one of the main issues was driver support.  This issue is exactly the same with Windows 7.  For example, I have a Dell Studio XPS system running Vista 64 Home Premium edition.  It’s running 64 bit because I have 12GB of memory and that won’t work on 32 bit Vista (or Win 7).  Dell has had months to ready drivers for this brand new system (purchased July 2009).  Yet, Dell does not offer any drivers on their support site for this hardware.  Yes, they did support an upgrade disc, but that’s about it.  Dell expects you to accept the drivers that come with Windows 7 rather than obtaining the proper and updated drivers.  Worse, Windows 7 driver support is still very bare.  I wouldn’t expect to see full driver support for Win 7 until at least this time 2010 (possibly longer depending on adoption rate).

Note that 64 bit Windows requires 64 bit drivers.  Windows 7 cannot load or use 32 bit drivers under the 64 bit edition.  So, if you need to use 32 bit drivers, you should use the 32 bit version.  Of course, that means you are limited to 4GB of memory.  So, if you have older printer drivers that do not support 64 bit edition, you will have to hope that Windows 7 has a driver or be prepared to throw the printer out and buy something new.  This also follows with devices like Dlink’s Skype phone adapter.

You may be able to get around some of these issues using Sun’s Virtualbox or MS’s Virtual PC and loading 32 bit XP under a virtual environment.  Note, however, that not all devices offer passthrough to the virtual machine, so you may not be able to run those older devices requiring 32 bit drivers.  You may be able to get this working under Win 7 Ultimate’s XP mode.

Overall, driver support is rated 1.5 stars out of 5: poor

Application Compatibility

As with Vista, Windows 7 fails in this area still.  Frankly, because Windows 7 is effective Vista with a face lift, all of the same compatibility problems still exist in Windows 7.  So, don’t expect your old XP apps to run properly under Windows 7 in many cases.  This is especially true of apps that also tie to hardware devices that require drivers.

Worse, I have some 3D apps that work fine on Vista, but do not work at all under Windows 7.  This indicates to me that Microsoft has further broken application compatibility between Vista and Windows 7.  So, be prepared to lose some apps that may have worked under Vista.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars: fair

Enhanced Security – User Access Controls (UAC)

Security of your operating system and data is a big priority and is understood.  Any level of security has to straddle a fine line between securing the system and not getting in the way of using the system.  Frankly, UAC is a complete and utter failure.  This system is so in-your-face about security that it is a turn off.  Combine this with its constant verbose ‘Are you really sure’ messaging, people will soon ignore the messages just to get the work done.  Basically, this system is likened to ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’.  If you make every alert important and nothing ever happens, people stop listening.  Will UAC stop a system from being infected?  Probably not.  People will still run apps they shouldn’t run.

Beyond UAC, Windows 7 changed nothing over Vista.  Windows 7’s UAC appears identical to Vista for all intents and purposes.  Frankly, it’s still so much of a hassle that I still turn it off.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars: in-the-way

Other problems

Other than the above, not much else has changed.  All of the main usability problems that were introduced in Vista are still in Windows 7.  For example, when you open file requesters, they tend to default to large icons.  I prefer ALL of my file lists (whether a file requester or a Windows explorer window) to be in list formatted with the columns Name, Size and Date Modified.  Both Vista and Windows 7 default to Name, Tags, Rating and Date. Sometimes it even adds Date Taken. I have no intention of rating or tagging every file on my filesystem.  For files in a photos folder or a music folder, yes.  Definitely not every file on the filesystem, so these columns are completely inappropriate for 98% of the filesystem.  Yet, the headers are there each time a new file requester opens. Why?

When you’re constantly having to change the columns to show the data you need, that’s very inefficient and wasteful.  Let me set it once and forget it.  No, can’t do that.  I have wasted a ton of time just rearranging these windows each and every time I open a new file requester.  Please Microsoft, figure out a way to let us save our favorite columns and make it actually STICK.

In Windows explorer, this USED to work in XP.  In Vista, and it also now appears Win 7, you could set up your preferred folder view and go into the options and ‘Make all folders like this one’.  That works for a while.  However, inexplicably the folders eventually revert back to their old column headers without any warning.  So, changing this setting and saving it doesn’t work.  Again, it’s another inefficient use of my time.

Time Wasters

On top of the above inefficiencies, Microsoft has decided to bury many functions down up to three layers deep to change system settings.  For example, you used to be able to right-click ‘My Network Places’ and get right to the settings for the network adapters.  Now, however, if you do this you get to a new UI interface that requires you to click one or two additional links to get to the configuration panel.  In some cases, they’ve split features out into multiple separate windows to do the same thing that one panel used to do in XP.  Again, this requires not only digging through multiple places, you now have to dig through multiple panels.

Windows 7 should have been redesigned in a major way.  Instead, we get a rehash of Vista.  The learning curve is still there.  Nothing has been done to increase user efficiency in the UI.  Overall, I’d give Windows 7 a 3 stars out of 5. Microsoft has a lot of work to get Windows 7 even close to the efficiency level of XP.  They also need to address the lack of drivers, driver compatibility and application compatibility issues.  Eventually, they won’t be issues once developers redesign their apps to work with Windows 7, but there are still lots of legacy apps that do not work.

Should you buy Windows 7?

That’s really the question of the year.  If you are buying a new machine that comes with Windows 7 loaded, go for it.  If you are running Windows XP, you might want to think twice.  Windows 7 does not solve all of the XP compatibility problems.  So, if you’re looking at upgrading an existing system, I would recommend against that.  In fact, you can’t directly upgrade (see below).  You will find that most of your apps may no longer work.  So, be careful when thinking about an XP upgrade. Note that you can’t directly upgrade XP to Windows 7 anyway.  Windows 7 will move Windows to Windows.old and then install a fresh copy of Windows 7.  This means you will need to find all of your app discs and reinstall (assuming that that he apps are Windows 7 compatible).  So, this is a real pain.

I would recommend that you buy a new hard drive and place it into your XP machine and install onto the new hard drive.  Then set it up to dual boot.  So, then you can boot into Windows 7 or XP depending on what you need. Dual booting is a hassle, but at least it retains your apps.  You can even create a virtual environment out of your XP hard drive and run it under Virtualbox or Virtual PC in Windows 7.  So, you might want to consider a virtual environment for your XP system for compatibility (assuming you aren’t running games).  Note that virtual environments work great for Windows desktop apps.  Games, on the other hand, don’t always work that well… so be careful with games as they may not work in a virtual environment.

In answer to this question,  only upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista.  Do not upgrade XP  to Windows 7 as it’s a waste.  Instead, buy a new hard drive and install Windows 7 fresh. Then, copy over your files from your XP hard drive that are important to you.  Consider the age of XP, you probably need to buy a new hard drive anyway just strictly considering the hard drive’s age.  Hard drives are only rated to last about 5 years reliably and XP is long older than 5 years since it was released.

[Update 2/11/2010] After upgrading several systems, I highly recommend against upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 using the upgrade process.  The reason: while it appears to work, you may find the system somewhat strange during use.  Some things won’t install and work properly. Basically, the system just doesn’t always work 100% after an upgrade. It seems that Windows 7 retains too many Vista files and settings and leaves the system in a slightly unstable state.  A state that no amount of repair can fix.  If you have Vista and want to upgrade, don’t.  Instead, install a fresh copy of Windows 7 and reinstall all of your apps. Windows 7 doesn’t have to format your hard drive, so you won’t lose your data.  However, you will need to find it all again after installing Windows 7 fresh.  So, if you aren’t familiar with reattaching existing data to newly installed apps, you may need to enlist the help of the Geek Squad or someone who knows what they are doing.

Good luck.

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Update: iTunes 9 and Windows 7

Posted in Apple, itunes by commorancy on October 29, 2009

As an update to an earlier Randosity article, I have upgraded my system to Windows 7 and then installed iTunes 9. Since making this change, I am no longer having the registry issue documented in this previous Randosity article. So, it may be worthwhile to upgrade your system to Windows 7 to alleviate this issue. Of course, it could be a fluke, but iTunes installed and started up without any issues on Windows 7. Before you upgrade, though, you’ll want to remove iTunes from your system, then run the upgrade to Windows 7, then reinstall iTunes 9. If you still experience registry issues with Windows 7 and iTunes 9, refer to this previous article for tips on what to do.

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