Windows RT and Surface – separate the two

You probably know now that Windows 8 RT has been released to the public amid much comments alongside the launch of Microsoft’s own Surface tablet. Obviously there’s the usual comments and arguments, and counter-comments and counter-arguments from the press, Apple fanboys, Microsoft fanboys etc. etc..

What has surprised me is how people seem to be doing a direct comparison between the Surface and iPad insofar as reviewing the Surface alongside Windows RT – when in reality there are a number of devices out there that run Windows RT – Surface is just one hardware device that runs the OS – there are a number of others advertised on Microsoft’s own website, including Dell, Samung, Asus and Lenovo. This is more akin to the Android tablet platform than the iPad, which has a single hardware platform and that’s it.

This isn’t a review of Surface or Win RT – far from it – rather, just a comment about how a number of reviews and articles etc. all seem to have missed this out.

Moving your OS to another drive

I got myself a new 120GB SSD drive this week – the 64GB drive I have works fine, but given that I have VS2010, SQL, PES2011 and Starcraft 2 all installed – well, I was down to about 5GB left. I think that a 120GB drive should give me ample space for my OS and Programs.

Anyway – moving from one drive to another turned out to be relatively painless in Windows 7:

  1. Do a full system backup onto another hard disk
  2. Remove the OS disk and replace with the new OS disk
  3. Unplug any other hard disks aside from the new OS disk and your backup drive
  4. Boot off your Windows 7 DVD and choose Repair. It will find the backup that you just made.
  5. Hit Next through the wizard – it should (at least, for me it did) select the new OS disk as the destination for the restore, although you get no visual feedback that this is the case
  6. Wait around 20 minutes
  7. Shut down, plug back in your other hard disks and turn on

Off you go!

The only other thing to do is resize the partition to the full size of the disk – in Computer Management, select the OS disk and choose “Extend Partition”, then hit OK.

The whole process took under an hour to do – excellent.

Zune and Windows 7

What’s this then? I’ve just downloaded the latest version of the Zune software to see what it’s like as a media player / centre. Supposedly it works well with Windows 7 libraries. However, this is what I get when I start up: –


Notice how the “Music” bit points to three folders, none of which are in my Music Library! Hitting manage just shows me my Music Library locations – but seems to have no effect on when Zune is actually looking for my music, so I can’t play anything or watch videos.

What’s going on?

Windows 7 Virtual PC & configuring TFS 2010 in a test environment

I recently installed TFS 2010 on my local machine for testing, but after playing around with it, decided that I wanted to try the new Labs feature of TFS plus some of the other stuff. Plus I didn’t want to keep running TFS all the time (and SQL) just in case I decided to do some development.

So I downloaded Windows Virtual PC (WVPC) for Windows 7 and installed a version of Windows 7 on it. I then installed TFS 2010 along with SQL Express 2008 and hey presto, working TFS in its own environment.

WVPC is pretty good; the only criticism I have with it is that it only emulates a 32 bit CPU (even though I have a 64 bit one). This is a little annoying as I can’t run Windows 2008 R2 through a virtual pc (as it is 64 bit only). However, aside from that, the whole process did not take that long:-

  • Downloading the ISO for Windows 7 off MSDN: 15-20 minutes.
  • Installing on the VPC: about the same.
  • Installing and configuring TFS: 10 minutes

The only thing that did take a while was installing SQL Express 2008 Management Studio and then exposing the SQL service to my host machine via Windows Firewall.

But it’s all up and running now. I want to try TFS Labs but we’ll see how that goes…

Windows 7 install

I’ve been using – pretty much full time – the release candidate of Windows 7. I finally decided today to install Windows 7 RTM on my PC. As I wanted to install onto the same disk, I decided to use, for the first time ever, the file transfer wizard thing built into Windows 7.

I have to say, I’m impressed! It took a fair while to run – I had around 1.5GB to backup/restore – but it was well worth it. You can choose individual folders and areas of the PC to include in the transfer wizard process, at which point it creates an image (compressed – mine got around 50% of the original size) of all the files to transfer. This process took around 15 minutes for me. Then, after installing the Windows 7 cleanly, I installed a couple of apps – Firefox, Windows Live Essentials etc., and then re-ran the transfer wizard.

I’m amazed just how well it worked!

  • All my emails and settings for Windows Live Mail.
  • All my blogs in Windows Live Writer
  • All my settings, passwords and extensions from Firefox
  • Profile – including backgrounds, task bar pins etc.
  • Libraries

It also includes a nifty little report to tell you which programs were installed so that you can re-install them from the list. All in all, this has saved me lots of time and effort – I’m really glad I used it.

Thumbs up to Microsoft on this one!

Fixed Windows 7 Sound Issues

Fixed the main sound driver issue – I downloaded the drivers from VIA which refused to work at first because they do a check on the OS and don’t know what Win 7 is – so I ran the installing in Vista SP2 compatibility mode – hey presto!

But now I find another problem, which is latency from any line in sources. So in my case I pipe to output on my Line 6 POD X3 into the Line In of my PC – but there’s a noticeable delay between my striking the strings of the guitar and the sound coming out the speakers – very annoying. Don’t have this in Vista.

ASP .NET Development Server under Vista

If you try running ASP .NET development under Vista, you may find that getting to localhost does not work, although if you replace localhost with it works fine.

I read a couple of posts talking about IPv6 and how if you disable it completely in the registry it fixes the problem. I didn’t fancy doing that! I then saw a post to just disable it in the network adapter that you’re using, but that didn’t work – I assume because localhost goes via the loopback adapter.

The easiest solution I found was to open the .hosts file in e.g. C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc

and then add another : to the start of the last line of the file so that it looks like this:

:::1             localhost

This fixes the problem – I have no idea what it does though!