Windows 10 Upgrade – Was It Worth It?

So, yes, I couldn’t help myself. Curiosity got the best of me. Fortunately, I upgraded my oldest, most beat up Win 7 laptop. The one I use on the beach in faraway places with strange sounding names. The one that has survived horrors no machine should ever know. I will not be upgrading my other PCs right away. Why? Well here is my experience:

The basic functionality of Win 10 is about the same as Win 7 , which is a great operating system. However, there are a few problems that popped up right off the bat.

  1. Networking! All of my computers are networked via a Windows Homegroup. These include an older Win XP powerhouse that is reserved for special usage, and a couple Linux OS computers that took some doing to hook up to the network. Windows 10 will not network with my other machines. It sees the homegroup, sees the other computers, attempts to join the homegroup, and fails. Win 8 and even Win 7 had similar problems when they were first released, so I think this will probably be fixed soon, but for now it is a no go.
  2. UPDATE: The networking / homegroup problem has been resolved! I did nothing except try to rejoin the homegroup a few times. Then, a couple days ago, my Win 10 machine was able to access my homegroup shared printer, but nothing else, no files or folders. Then later the same day, I was able to access my music files on my homegroup computers via Windows Media Player. At first I thought this was a network security problem, and the jury is still out on that one. And then, a day later, and a couple Win 10 boot ups, and I was able to finally , officially, join the homegroup, and all my folders were accessible on all machines. My investigative probes into this mystery have so far revealed no solid evidence of why things were delayed and the partial networking that occurred prior to full network capability. I will keep probing and post any findings here.
  3. Drivers: some of the 3rd party drivers on my machine do not have the complete functionality they did before the upgrade. This is 9 months after the release of Win10, so I don’t hold out too much hope for themĀ  to be updated. My WiFi disconnects randomly and frequently, and my touch pad requires resetting after every reboot. Minor stuff, but a pain in the asterisk.
  4. Boot up time is actually slower then a comparable Win 7 computer – same processor and same amount of RAM. Not much slower, but slower. Running task manager revealed that there is an unusually huge RAM usage for the first several minutes after start up. This is probably a temporary situation, and turning off Cortana and One Drive seems to help.
  5. Cortana , the voice activated search assistant, and general personal secretary does not work well. She is probably flustered from the big roll out, and I would imagine she will find her pace here within a few weeks, but for now, she is toast. Trying to configure her froze up my system on one attempt. Get your act together Cortana, I am sure you will be a valuable resource for those too lazy to type.
  6. Microsoft is grabbing more information from my computer than ever before, even though I turned off all the relevant settings for “sharing”. This is stated right in their User Agreement. Also they assign your computer a “personal advertising ID”. Great. I have always wanted one of those. It makes me feel so…so …wanted.
  7. UPDATE: Privacy is turning into a huge issue with this OS upgrade. There are several settings that need to be turned off to stop any information sharing. One Drive needs to be deactivated. Cortana needs to be turned off completely. The new browser, Edge, should probably be avoided if you want your browsing history to remain private. Further details will be forthcoming in my next post.

On the plus side , all my productivity programs work on Windows 10. They all migrated well and have the same functionality they did before the upgrade. They even remember what their last tasks were before the upgrade, and where the files are stored. Microsoft pulled that one off well.

Another feature that will be a selling point is the new Direct X 12 video upgrade. This will probably only be of use to PC gamers. The game developers have not caught up yet, but they will, and anybody running Win 10 will have a distinct advantage over the competition. Get ready to unleash the Kraken!

The new web browser, Edge, which replaces Internet Explorer, works well for basic web surfing. There are no add ons available yet, but I am sure those should appear soon. I used it for a bit to test it, and then went back to Firefox. One positive observation there, Firefox is so far consuming about one third the RAM it uses on my Win 7 machines. I wonder how long that will last, but for now it looks positive. All my Firefox settings and bookmarks survived the upgrade fine.

And finally, the best thing about Windows 10 is the return of desktop functionality. It will be totally intuitive to anyone migrating from Windows 7, Vista, or XP. It works again, unlike the disaster of the last Windows OS release. Anyone running Windows 8 or 8.1, I recommend upgrading if you don’t like the “Metro” desktop setup . Anybody running Windows 7, I would wait a while, at least until the first major updates which are due to come in early August, 2015. Except for researching the new features and experimenting, I will be doing all my work on my Win 7 machines for a while.

There you have it, from your roving geek reporter. Further updates on this on going saga as they arrive. Stand by for News!

– Jimbobjoejack, Roving Reporter At Large

 

Updating a Windows 7 machine to Windows 10 : A blow by blow description of my experience!

Microsoft rolled out its new operating system, Windows 10, on July 29, 2015. For those of you who want to upgrade to this “newest and greatest” release, it is a free upgrade from Win7 , Win8, and Win8.1. I installed it on one of my Win7 PC’s , and I thought I would share my experience with the curious, nervous, and those still wondering if they should upgrade.

First of all, MAKE SURE TO BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER before you begin! The forums report a few people who had disaster strike during the upgrade and lost all their files and programs. I recommend at least backing up all your important files, folders, pictures, videos, etc. etc. to an external hard drive. Personally I use EZ Backup , which not only makes a back up of any files I tell it to, but also is capable of making a “disc image”. A disc image will restore your operating system, all your programs, and all files and folders in the event of a disaster, even if your operating system crashes beyond recovery. Cheap insurance and a relatively easy restore of your entire system. Here is a link to their download page: NTI EZbackup .

Now for the upgrade! My PC did not accept the little Windows upgrade icon, so I went straight to the website and downloaded the installer. If you have the update icon in your notifications area, you can just click on it, agree to upgrade, and the process will start. If you don’t , you can go to the Windows 10 upgrade website, pick your operating system (32 bit or 64 bit), click on the download button and the installer will download. If you aren’t sure if your computer is running 32 -bit or 64 bit, you can check it on a Windows 7 or Vista machine by clicking on your start menu button, right clicking on “Computer” and selecting “properties”. You will see your system bit rating halfway down the window.

To check your system on Win 8.1:

  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
  • Tap or click PC and devices, and then tap or click PC info.

  • Look under Windows for the version and edition of Windows that your PC is running.

  • Look under PC for System type to see if you’re running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows.

To check on a Win 8 machine:

 

  • On the Start screen, type Computer, press and hold or right-click Computer, and then tap or click Properties.

  • Look under Windows edition for the version and edition of Windows that your PC is running.

  • Look under System for System type to see if you’re running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows.

 

So now you know which system variant you have and you are ready to download. Let her rip! Once it downloads, double click on it and it will ask you if you want to create installation media or install Windows 10 on your machine. You can chose to create the installation media. You will need a blank DVD or a USB drive of at least 4 gigabytes if you want to do that. I just went with the “install Windows 10 on this computer” button. Here is the link to the official Windows 10 download website: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Depending on your internet speed, the download can take some time. Be prepared to keep an eye on your computer for a few hours. You can put your computer on standby during the process, but I recommend letting it run all the way to the end, which will take at least a couple hours. First comes the “Download” screen. After that comes the “Verifying Download” screen. Next comes the “Creating Windows 10 Media” screen. Time for a cup of coffee. Next comes the “Preparing Windows 10 Media” screen. Then comes the first (yes there are more to come) “Checking for Updates” screen. Then comes the “License Agreement” screen. Woo hoo! now it looks like we are getting somewhere! Agree to the terms (read them all of course , but better get another cup of coffee if you do), and then comes…another…”Checking for Updates” screen.

OK, we are getting close now. Next comes the “Checking your PC for compatibility” and “Checking Your PC for Space” screens. Now we really are getting somewhere. I promise. Time for another cup of coffee. Next comes the screen asking you if you want to keep all your personal files and apps. Of course you want to keep them. If for some reason you want to delete all of your former computer life, then uncheck that box and click “NEXT”. And then…TA DA DA DAHHHHHH…. the installation begins. You can walk away from this one, as it should start and restart automatically as required by itself. It would not hurt to check it out every now and again and make sure things are going well, but it will take some time, so relax and prepare for the wonderful world of Windows 10! They do have a “Cancel” button on the screen, but from many past experiences with installing and reinstalling Windows Operating Systems, I would highly recommend not hitting that one. Once the ball is rolling you do not want to get in its way. Depending on how many 3rd party programs you have, this process can drag on and on. I have several and it took over an hour.

But we are not done yet! There is more! You computer will automatically restart. After it does a full screen “Upgrading Windows” screen will appear, with the biggest progress wheel I have ever seen. It says right on this screen ” Your PC will restart several times. Sit back and relax”. Thank you Microsoft! I deserve a break today, and it means a lot to me to have it Windows approved.

The installation finally completed after a little over an hour and two restarts. Then comes the “setup” screens. You can chose an “express settings” option, but I chose to customize my own. A couple things to be aware of: 1. If you chose “express settings”, you will be sharing massive amounts of information with Microsoft and its “partners”, whoever they may be. I chose to share nothing. 2. If you chose the “express settings”, your computer will automatically connect to any wifi hotspots it detects. I chose to uncheck this option in my custom settings. I like to have control over what I connect to and what kind of info my computer sends out to Microsoft and all their fine upstanding “partners”, whoever they may be.

OK! All that is done and lo and behold, my desktop looks pretty much like it was before all this began! On a quick run through, all my programs are installed, and the first ones I tried work! It looks like everything is fine, and that I have a lot of poking around to do. Standby for tomorrow’s post, “Was It All Worth It?”. I hope this all helps. Stand by for News!!!

Your Geek At Large,

Jim

PS. feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I will try to answer them via Windows 10!

 

 

An “Image Flow” Image Gallery

Here is one of the latest image gallery JavaScript effects available as a plug in for WordPress sites. Apple bought the code for this effect and used it in their system image browser recently, but the basic code is still available in open source.
It features an eye catching slider effect, but it does have it’s drawbacks. The image size, especially on tablets and phones, is a bit small to accommodate the reflection and image “carousel” effect. The “light-box” popup , revealed when an image is clicked on does not have a keyboard navigation option. All of these problems could be corrected with some basic java script coding, but as far as WordPress gallery plugins go, this one is not bad right out of the box. I prefer the standard Next Gen gallery plugin myself, as demonstrated on my page “Graphic Design”.
The images are a random collection of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) work I have done in the past with pixel editing, vector editing, and 3D modeling programs. Photoshop, GIMP, Maya, Blender, and Illustrator are some of the programs used.
This gallery auto scrolls, but you can scroll through it with your mouse scroll wheel as well, or by clicking on the next image in line. In addition, you can click on the center “featured” image , and a full sized pop up window will appear with captions. Clicking on either side of the pop up window will scroll through the full sized images.
For more info on this plug in check out this page: WP Flow Plus

More Computer Generated Imagery
from Foley Creek Design

Use your scroll wheel to navigate through the gallery.
Click on the featured image to bring up a “Lightbox” with descriptions.

Navigate the Lightbox by clicking on either side of it.

Loading Images
wpif2_loading
Color Sliced Sphere
Swirls
swirl 003
Swirl Mania
Tantric Rhythms
Twisted Tubes
house022
house026
house030
house031
3D House Modeling
Kitchen
Kitchen Sink and View
Living Room, Bar, and Kitchen
Upstairs and Doorknob
Bathroom Cabinet 002

Content management systems-what exactly do they do?

What is a content management system?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software program that allows publishing, editing and modifying your website content, as well as maintenance, from a user interface.. The interface is often refered to as the “dashboard” and provides basic controls and menus as well as numerous useful plugins. The program is stored on your website’s server host, and is accessed over the internet, so all the processes of building and maintaining your website can be run on any computer with an internet connection via standard user name and password protocol. Below are some screen shots of a few of the WordPress dashboard pages.

WordPress CMS Dashboard Pages

Click on image for a “Lightbox” display.

The basic post/blog entry interface is like any word processing program. Inserting images from your computer files is much like inserting an image in MS Word or any other word processor. However, working with the menus and plugins to get your page to look like you want it is a bit technical. If you are confident of your technical skills we can set up a custom “dashboard” that will allow you to make the level of post changes you feel comfortable with. For major page format changes, Foley Creek Design can serve your needs quickly and efficiently. The changes can be previewed online via a password protected web page for approval by you before posting on the public access website.

One of the common features of any of the major CMS’s, is the availability of a multitude of “themes”. “Themes” are website templates that provide different “looks” and functionality to a website. They can be changed without changing the content or structure of the site. The themes install their own menus in the CMS dashboard, and many modifications and personalizations can be made there right out of the box. In addition, “plugins” can be added to the theme for even greater versatility. Finally, for those revisions to the theme that are not accessible by the dashboard or plugins, modifications to the code of the theme can be made. With all these options available, any website you can imagine can be constructed utilizing a Content Management System.

Contact us for more information and pricing details!

Foley Creek Design goes mobile!

We are updating this website to make it “responsive” and easy to view on mobile devices.
We will be offering new services in designing responsive sites, and converting static websites to fluid responsive design.