More Windows 7 oddities

Windows 7, overall I love it. It works on my laptop like a champ. No real issues, nor any odd things occurring. My desktop on the other hand, seems to have some really odd issues with it.

I’ve written about the problems I’ve had with homegroup working properly, and those issues are still there. Yet I am beginning to believe they are just a symptom of some other problem with my desktop and Windows 7.

Let me start by saying that my desktop is an Athalon 4200+ with 4 GB of Ram and a 320 GB SATA drive. Yes, its around 4 years old now, so its not the best machine out on the market. Still it works and at a high level for the most part.

The machine needed to be wiped and reloaded last year. Too much crap, too many things tested and removed, it was running like a dog. I wanted a clean registry, a system that didn’t have a bunch of crap on it, and of course to use Windows 7.

Now, 5 months later, I’m seeing weird activity. Out of nowhere I won’t be able to save things to either my local or external hard drive. Everything will be fine and then I go to save something and get a permission error. So I reboot the machine to get it to work again. Then there is the homegroup issue, which I am convinced is due to the Desktop. My laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate (which is what the desktop is running), has 4 GB of Ram and a Centrino 2 Processor, and has no issues with writing to drives at all.

So we come to the troubleshooting, which right now consists of a lot of research, and looking at logs. Is it a problem with the AMD processor not integrating with Windows 7 nicely, or is it a problem with Windows 7 itself. That is the question I will try to answer, and take all of you along with me for the ride.

Windows 7 is a crossgrade?

A person I know recently wrote a nice little blog piece about how Windows 7 is a Crossgrade. They made some really nice points, but missed the mark on a bunch of others.

First off, the statement that you do not “own” your copy of Windows is correct, this statement is also true of OSX. From the EULA for OSX, “The software (including Boot ROM code), documentation and any fonts accompanying this License whether on disk, in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (collectively the “Apple Software”) are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Computer, Inc.” This is why its called Licensing, and while even the GNU Public License allows one to modify the source code, there are still restrictions as to what you need to do for distribution otherwise you have broken the agreement. This is not inductive of owning the software itself.

The next thing is about viruses. I do not deny that Windows has more Malware made for it than any other Operating System, but in this case its about security through obscurity. The people who are writing the majority of viruses now seem to be doing it for money, a way to get personal information and sell it. The best and easiest way to do this efficiently is to target the weakest link, which would wind up being the end user. The majority of end user machines run Windows software. Now to be a bit more fair, Apple has finally started recommending that its users get some sort of anti-malware protection. As a matter of fact there was an OSX Botnet that was found to be active last year. Heck even Linux has a botnet which winds up distributing Windows Malware. So much for that argument.

Apple did a great thing with the $30 upgrade to Snow Leopard, and yes it has Windows beat on the price point there. Microsoft did have some good short term deals when Windows 7 came out such as special student pricing and family packs, but it does cost a bit more to go to Windows 7, and in the long run for an everyday user, it would be more efficient to get a new machine. Of course last year there were a number of companies that would send you Windows 7 for free if you bought a computer from them, a free upgrade from Vista.

Finally, is Windows 7 perfect. No it is not perfect, but it is better than prior versions, and is a step in the right direction. Nobody gets it 100% correct (Snow Leopard shiped with an old version of Flash with a major flaw), but they try. Honestly Microsoft’s OS is closer to Linux than Apple’s in my opinion, considering how much more guarded Apple is about allowing people develop for it. Speaking of Linux, I do use Ubuntu, and I love it. I would love to see more people use it, but I know that comes with some risks and more chance for it to become scrutinized more. I look at Firefox and see what could happen to Linux if it became more mainstream. Linux, I feel,  first needs to become more homogeneous so people don’t have to worry about what flavor of Linux they get.

There are pluses and minuses to every OS out there, and not everyone is going to agree on everything, but at least look at things logically and thoroughly first.

Windows 7 Drivers…

So my replacement video card shows up last night and I go to install it. I download the latest NVidia driver for Win7 x64 and start the process of switching out the card.

Upon reboot, Win7 starts to try and download a driver to install. Of course I do the old fashioned thing of stopping the installation. These new drivers are WHQL certified according to NVidia. Well, it seems stopping the automated install really messes with things. The new er driver comes back as having an invalid signature from Microsoft.  Just an uninstall of the card and driver brings things back to the newer driver. An hour later after totally removing the newer driver and letting Windows install the older driver, the card works.

Now of course I”ll try to upgrade the driver tonight, but I do find it a little painful that you risk problems if you stop Win7 from the automatic install.