Dodge Retort: Is Windows 7 more reliable than its predecessors?

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By John Dodge

Is Windows 7 really that much better from previous versions…or that much more reliable?

I am beginning to think not all that much given huge expectations for Win7. After using it for 18 months, my question is a fair one. Microsoft can probably show myriad stats to prove that it is, but there’s no substitute for personal experience over the long term.

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TechBite: Two Monitors? Heck, Make it Three!

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By Steve Bass

Listen to this concession: “Okay, yes, once you’ve used a two-monitor setup, going back to a single monitor sucks.”

That from my wife who last year resisted using a second monitor. It’s so darn quaint when she admits she’s wrong.

Judy found that out when I brought home a friend’s PC for repair, needed a monitor, and borrowed hers. (First rule of computing: Use someone else’s equipment whenever possible.)

The repair was taking longer than I expected — funny how computers do that to you — and, my pobrecita was feeling deprived.

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Technologizer: Dell’s Streak–Is It a Huge Smartphone or a Tiny Computer?

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By Harry McCracken

The time I’ve spent with Verizon Wireless’s Droid X has made one thing clear to me: I like great big smartphone screens. As impressively elegant as the iPhone 4′s 3.5″ retina display is, the X’s 4.3″ superscreen makes for larger type and easier tapping. It’s like the difference between a highly refined sportscar and a roomy SUV. I hope phones in both sizes flourish.

And then there’s Dell’s Streak…which makes the Droid X look like a pipsqueak. At five inches, its screen is so expansive that it’s not clear upon first glance whether this device is a phone. It is. Or at least it can be one: The Dell executive I spoke with at a demo yesterday described the Streak as being “capable of making phone calls.” In other words, Dell sees it as a data device that does voice rather than a phone that does data.

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Extreme PC MakeOver #5

By Steve Hogan

Not bad! From bottom 46% to top 35% with a single click. Even a good system can get better with PC Matic.

Thanks Ray, it was good getting to know you and I hope you experience no Internet interruptions in the coming months. I can tell you’re going to enjoy the program and be sure to let your friends and family enjoy that PC Matic Home 5 installation license.

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The Highs and Lows of Upgrading to Windows 7

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2009 was a great year at PC Pitstop. We have a lot to be proud of in the past year. We now have three products that can be considered best in breed, PC Matic, Optimize 3.0, and Driver Alert 2.0. More importantly, we have assembled an incredible team of dedicated and talented individuals. From development, to marketing, to customer service to technical support, we are striving to be the best we can be.

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Black Screen of Death or Boatload of Advertising?

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“Black Screen woes could affect millions on Windows 7, Vista and XP”, is the title used for a post to Prevx’s website describing what they feel is a very troublesome problem. Prevx offered a download to fix the bug, and within a day fear was blogged far and wide blaming the problem on Microsoft, of course, and their darned security patches. Prevx has since backed off a little from their initial claim but you can get a taste here.

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Technologizer: Worst PC in America Slideshow

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By Harry McCracken

Some PCs are born crummy. Some achieve crumminess. And some have crumminess thrust upon them. Those are my conclusions after judging our Worst PC in America contest, in which we asked you to tell us about really rotten personal computers–with the lure of a snazzy HP Envy 13 laptop to be awarded to the most outstandingly awful entry. Herewith, some highlights lowlights, including both once-decent machines that have fallen upon hard times and some systems that were kind of terrible and/or just plain odd from the get go.

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Windows 7 – The Good, Bad & Ugly

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By Bill Pytlovany

Have you heard about Windows 7?

This week Microsoft is distributing the “Release Candidate” of Windows version 7. I’m sure you’ll be reading about it all over the place. Blogs like Ed Bott Windows Expertise and Paul Thurotts Supersite provide information on all the new features complete with screen shots and setup advice. Naturally, I like to focus on the unusual and this week I picked out some of my favorite and not-so favorite features.

There is plenty of good new stuff in Windows 7. New desktop backgrounds, screen savers and animation effects really make Windows 7 a graphical experience. I tend to look for the not to obvious new features. Here’s one that really makes sense.

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ASK THE PROS 2009 Booting and Burning

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Another busy week for ASK THE PROS. Some interesting questions that cover a lot of ground so let’s get to it.

Q. K. Woods asks: How do I make a bootable disk with an ISO file?

A. Thanks K. Woods, You are correct, an ISO image or file is used to make a bootable disk. It’s a CD image file that instructs your system to give a prompt to boot to CD when installing operating systems or anything that needs a bootable disk. They are also commonly used for Games.

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Netbooks: Size Matters

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With sales approaching only 400,000 units in 2007, netbook sales exploded in 2008 reaching 11. 4 million units. Small, light, and super-portable are the catchwords describing a netbook. Definitions vary but the determining factors are price and size. Generally they have a screen size of 10″ or below, a reduced power/performance processor with 1.0 and 1.6 gig. the most popular of sizes. Price is dictating the use of limited amounts of memory but drive size has been creeping up.

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Dream A PC … They Might Build It

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In October 2008 wepc.com was introduced as a joint venture of ASUS and Intel to promote input for the worlds
first community designed PC. It appears this very novel concept is entering into a new phase and details are now being discussed regarding the much requested multiple screen and touch interface features.

However, you still have time to submit your ideas !

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Complete Laptop Care Guide

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Today laptops are fast replacing desktops as the computer of choice. Because of their size and light build they can require a little more care than their robust, sedentary brothers. Smaller cords and displays on hinges are just two of the diffrences that need spceial attention. Follow these points to keep your laptop younger longer and avoid some of the most common laptop pitfalls.

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Wide Screen Display Trends

Wide screen displays are becoming more popular. Portable PCs are rapidly leading the trend. Whether your need is to view wide spread sheets, watch a wide screen DVD movie or multitask using multiple screen windows, wide screen displays, which are replacing the traditional personal computing 4:3 and 5:4 aspect ratio displays, may be the answer.

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Are Your Children Safe from Spyware?

If you have kids, then the computer they use — which may also be the computer you use — is vulnerable to infestation by spyware. Spyware preys on the behavior of children, and teens in particular, by parking itself in the programs they download and on the sites they visit. Peer-to-peer music-swapping software, free online games, screen savers, song-lyrics sites are prime destinations for kids and many of them can carry an unwanted payload that can melt down a machine. But by teaching your kids appropriate behaviors and habits, and using some protective software, you can go a long way toward preventing spyware from gaining a foothold on your system.

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Our Gator Experiences

What is it like to be a Gator user? We get plenty of reports in our forums, but we decided to get first-hand information by installing GAIN software on our own systems. We also wanted to find out if there are any good things about GAIN ads–do they have the potential to help users find great deals on products and services? The results weren’t pretty. Rob’s system became very unstable almost immediately. Dave didn’t have system instability, but received many GAIN ads that were anything but targeted.

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How Did I Get Gator?

Our survey found that an astounding 74 percent of Gator users did not know that a Gator or GAIN application had been installed on their system, and an additional 15 percent had not read Gator’s license agreement. Compare those results to Gator’s assertion that users are “inviting” Gator onto their PC’s. We decided to take a look at several ways in which Gator gets “invited” onto a PC, and whether the process may be confusing users into making an uninformed choice.

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Anti Spyware Blues

If you’ve seen our previous coverage of spyware, you already know how untrustworthy the purveyors of this nefarious software can be — and how much of a danger malicious programs can pose to your PC. But waking up to the threats and resolving to protect yourself against them isn’t enough. You still have to keep your guard up, because even when it comes to anti-spyware software, there are companies that will try to take advantage of you. All over the Web you can find phony and ineffective anti-spyware products, suspect anti-spyware review sites, and misleading advertisements — including ads for suspect products that show up on sites you might otherwise trust.

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