What Is VMware Infrastructure 3?

VMware, Inc., is a company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with over 7,500 employees and about 120,000 customers, including 100% of the Fortune 100. In 2007, it had revenues of over $1.33 billion. VMware is a rapidly growing company that began in 1998 and now has over 20,000 partnerships with companies ranging from somewhat small to extremely large.

VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) is easily the most widely used virtualization platform today. It is well tested and has been used in applications ranging from very small, localized installations with just a handful of servers to exceptionally large server farms in major corporations. It is robust, scalable, easy to administer, and flexible. It is also small and fast, which means the virtual installations running on top of it have more processor power and other resources available to them than they would if they were using some of the more resource-heavy virtualization software available.

Unlike some of the other hosted virtualization products you may be familiar with, including the company’s well-known VMware Server, VMware Infrastructure 3 does not require any other operating system. Most virtualization platforms begin with a Linux/Unix, Mac OS X, or Windows platform; install their product on top of it; and then begin segmenting the resources from there. This is how a developer may run a copy of Windows on top of her laptop’s base installation of Linux, perhaps using a product like VMware Server, Xen, or VirtualBox. VI3 is designed to be installed on bare metal, as the base operating system. This design choice eliminates a layer of software between the virtual installations and the hardware and results in faster, smoother performance.

The platform is composed of several major products, including ESX, ESXi, vCenter Server, and vCenter Converter. VMware recently changed the names of its VirtualCenter Server (now vCenter Server) and VMware Infrastructure client (now vCenter client); however, the products themselves haven’t been changed to reflect the new names. We will use the new terminology within the book and reference the versions when appropriate. The remainder of this chapter will introduce these key pieces of technology within the virtualization environment.

Source of Information : Oreilly - VMware Cookbook

VMware Infrastructure Installation

Virtualization provides a way for multiple operating systems to be installed on the same physical hardware. By using virtual technology, we can consolidate hardware and instantly build quality assurance and test environments. This is a tremendous breakthrough, as it allows underutilized equipment to do more than sit around idle, as well as allowing developers and administrators to test and use multiple software configurations and packages that require different operating systems on the same piece of equipment, without having to purchase, set up, and maintain multiple computers. This savings makes the accounting department and managers happy and gives the technology lovers an opportunity to do all the things they want or need to do at the same time.

A typical IT scenario goes something like this: you have lots of servers in your rack or collection of racks. Most of them only run at about 10–15% of their capacity the majority of the time, but you let that happen because you want to keep their various functions and operating systems isolated from one another. This provides some security, both because if one server is compromised it does not necessarily mean that access has been granted to others, and because a problem with one piece of software will not cause other parts of your IT infrastructure to go down as you deal with it.

Virtualization helps you make better use of those physical resources, without compromising the original intent of keeping services isolated. Instead of installing your operating system directly on your hardware, you instead begin with a virtualization layer: a stripped-down OS designed to schedule access to network, disk, memory, and CPU resources for guest OSs, the same way that those guest OSs control that scheduling for their applications. Most virtualization platforms limit themselves to specific hardware and present a specific set of virtual components to the operating systems installed on top of them. This provides a very stable and consistent presentation to the operating systems you install and allows them to be moved much more easily.

Once you’ve installed and configured the virtualization layer, you can partition the physical hardware and assign it to discrete operating system instances that you install on top of the virtualization layer. These virtual installations operate exactly as they would normally. They are not aware of the presence of other virtual installations that exist on the same hardware. Each acts as if it is installed on a predefined piece of equipment by itself, with the virtualization layer controlling what the virtual installation sees and how it interacts with other equipment outside its control. Basically, the virtual installation looks, feels, acts, and is administered exactly the same as a standard installation from the inside, but may be manipulated and configured easily and alongside others from the outside.

Here is the coolest part: virtualization, as provided by sophisticated systems like VMware, also allows you to pool the resources of several physical machines and then divide them up however you want or need. If you have 10 physical servers, each with four processors, 4GB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive, you can segment those resources to provide a small and low-powered server for your in-house email, a powerful and high-memory processor for the number crunchers in accounting, multiple load-balanced servers for your web server, a separate server for your database, and soon, each with a configuration of memory, disk space, processor power, and so on specific for its needs. Then, if you discover that one virtual server has more resources than it really needs and another doesn’t have enough, you can change the configuration quickly, easily, and without taking your servers offline! You can take a physical server offline for maintenance without losing access to any of your virtual servers and their functions. You can move resources in and out and around your pool as needed, and even automatically. These are the sorts of things we will discuss in this book.

There are many companies that provide powerful and stable virtualization platforms, but we have found VMware’s offerings to be wonderfully stable, flexible, easy to set up and maintain, and well supported. We like VMware. If you are reading this book, you probably do, too, but chances are you want to make better use of its potential than you are doing now—either that, or you have been asked to set it up or maintain it and you are wondering how to get started. Whatever your reason, if you use VMware at all, we hope you will find this book useful and practical.

Source of Information : Oreilly - VMware Cookbook

Windows 7 New Ways to Engage

As new technologies emerge, Microsoft is working to translate them into exciting new experiences. Windows 7 builds on the work we’ve done in next-generation user interfaces, moving beyond the mouse and keyboard so that you can interact with your PC with multitouch gestures, handwriting, or voice. In addition, Microsoft continues to add support for Tablet PCs and to extend and improve accessibility options.

Windows Touch
Humans are tactile beings, with brains that are wired for touch. PCs and devices can come to life in entirely new ways when you use your fingers to control what happens on the screen, making PC use simple and intuitive. Instead of pointing and clicking, you just touch and tap. Pan the screen to scroll through Web pages and lists and tap to launch programs and open documents. Sort and resize photos more naturally. With Windows 7 and a touch-enabled monitor, virtually any program that works with Windows now responds to your touch. Windows 7 is touch-friendly throughout. For instance, the Start menu, Windows Taskbar, and Windows Explorer all have bigger icons that are easier to select with your finger. You can use your finger to arrange the pictures in a photo album or scroll through and select recorded TV in Windows Media Center. You can also control what happens on the screen by using more than one finger. Zoom in on an image by moving two fingers apart, or zoom out by moving two fingers closer together, like you’re pinching something. Rotate an image on the screen by rotating one finger around another, or right-click by holding one finger on your target and tapping the screen with a second finger. The multitouch features built into Windows 7 also provide a rich platform for software developers, giving them full access to multitouch data and manipulation APIs for stretching, rotating, or moving objects.

Note: Some product features of Windows 7, such as the ability to watch and record live TV or navigation through the use of touch, may require advanced or additional hardware.

Tablet PC Enhancements
Windows 7 improves the Tablet PC with greater accuracy and speed for handwriting recognition, support for handwritten math expressions, personalized custom dictionaries for handwriting recognition, and more.

Improved Handwriting Recognition
The Tablet PC writing surface has been completely re-designed so that handwriting is converted to text automatically as you write. When combined with the new editing gestures and smart correction (correcting one character will automatically update the rest of the word to match it) you’ll experience new flexibility and efficiency during handwriting input. In fact, you’ll notice much better handwriting recognition accuracy and speed for all supported languages including Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, and Korean.

Handwritten Math Expressions
If you work with math expressions, you’ll be especially pleased with how you can use handwriting recognition to enter those expressions in Windows 7. The Math Input Panel is a new accessory that recognizes handwritten math expressions, provides a rich correction experience, and inserts math expressions into target programs.

Text Prediction for Touch Keyboard
When using the Touch keyboard in Windows 7, text prediction helps you enter text more efficiently. Just type a few letters and you’ll be offered a list of words that match. Based on the words you use frequently and the corrections that you make, Windows 7 will become even better at predicting what you type over time. The redesigned keyboard also offers better support for using your fingers with features like the glow feedback (that shows you the key you tapped), automatic larger size when used with touch vs. a pen, and Web keys to make entering Web addresses even easier.

Custom Dictionaries
If you need specialized vocabularies, you’ll find it easier to create and install custom dictionaries that will improve handwriting recognition. For instance, if you’re a doctor, you can add medical terminology.

Support for Additional Languages
In addition to the 12 languages supported by Windows Vista, Windows 7 adds handwriting support for Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Portuguese (Portugal), Polish, Russian, Romanian, Catalan, Serbian Latin, Croatian, Serbian-Cyrillic, and Czech. Text Prediction with pen input has been expanded from Windows Vista too.

Note: Windows Vista supports handwriting recognition for Tablet PCs in 12 languages: English (U.S.), English (U.K.), German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazil), Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, and Korean.

Windows 7 enhances the accessibility options that are so important to people with special needs. From more personalized speech recognition to a new on-screen layout, Windows 7 is more accessible to everyone.

In Windows 7, we’ve improved the accuracy of Windows Speech Recognition so that you can dictate to your PC in many common programs and tell it what to do. For instance, you can easily dictate an e-mail by speaking the recipient’s name and the content of the message.

Use Magnifier whenever you need to magnify the entire screen or parts of it. It’s particularly helpful for people who are visually impaired or have difficulty seeing the screen, but it can be used anytime you want to see an object better—even when using a small notebook PC. You can use full-screen mode to magnify the entire desktop or lens-mode to magnify only a portion of the screen. In Windows 7, Magnifier works with DirectX content and supports the use of a pen, touch, and keyboard shortcuts in full-screen magnification.

On-Screen Keyboard
The on-screen keyboard in Windows 7 has a new look, and now includes personalized word and next word prediction based on the same technology used for the Tablet PC. If you’re unable to use a standard keyboard, this feature can dramatically improve how fast you enter words.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Windows 7 Work Anywhere

We live in a mobile world, taking our laptops and devices with us as we move between home, work, and other places. With Windows 7, you can easily get online and stay online as you move from place to place. Whether you’re switching from one network to another, attempting to access the Internet from a device, or taking advantage of mobile broadband, Windows 7 helps keep you connected.

Location Aware Printing
Do you use one printer at home and another at work? With Windows 7, you no longer need to select the printer each time you’re in a different place. Instead, you can select a default printer for each network location you’ve configured, and Windows 7 will automatically use that printer when you’re connected to that network. So when you print at work, Windows 7 will automatically print to your work printer. When you print at home, Windows 7 will automatically select and use your home printer.

View Available Networks
Windows 7 improves how you view and connect to all of your networks, making
the process simple and consistent. You’ll always have one-click access to available
networks, regardless of whether those networks are based on Wi-Fi, mobile broadband,
dial-up, or your corporate VPN.

Mobile Broadband
With Windows 7, it’s much simpler to connect your PC to the Internet using a wireless data card, regardless of which mobile provider you use. It’s just like connecting to any other wireless network, which can be accomplished by using the View Available Networks feature, mentioned above. You don’t need to install any additional software—just insert your wireless data card, your drivers will be installed on first use and your PC will connect to the Internet automatically. And if your PC has a built-in data card, you’ll be connected to the Internet wherever there’s mobile service.

With Windows 7, working from locations other than your office becomes even simpler. With DirectAccess, you can more securely connect to your corporate network over any Internet connection—without having to use VPN technology. It’s easy to connect to corporate resources whenever you have an Internet connection and, in most cases, it will seem as if you are connecting from your desktop computer at work. You can also still access public Web sites without going through your work network. When you use DirectAccess, your IT department can administer your PC whenever it’s connected to the Internet, so you can easily stay up-to-date with company policies.

VPN Reconnect
You may still need to use a VPN if your company can’t start using DirectAccess right away. In Windows 7, VPNs are easier to use than before. In the past, when using a VPN connection, you had to redial whenever you lost your Internet connection. VPN Reconnect in Windows 7 keeps you connected by automatically reestablishing a VPN connection any time you temporarily lose your Internet connection.

Offline Access to Network Sources
When you’re out of the office and don’t have an Internet connection, Offline Files provides a great way to continue to work with documents and files that are stored on your corporate network. For example, while traveling on a long flight, you can work on a copy of a file that’s cached on your PC, and any changes you make will automatically be synchronized with the server the next time you connect to the corporate network.
Offline files are quickly synched with your work server when you reconnect to your corporate network.

Before Windows 7, when IT professionals implemented Offline Files, you had to wait for files to be moved to the server when you logged on for the first time. Windows 7 eliminates this delay by first copying data files to the local Offline Files cache and then synchronizing the cache with the server in the background.

XPS Documents
XML Paper Specification (XPS) documents are fixed-format documents that you can share and archive in a high-quality, efficient format. XPS documents can be opened without having the original program in which the document was created, so you can easily share your work. You can preview XPS documents within the Windows Explorer or Microsoft Office Outlook® messaging and collaboration client preview panes. With Windows 7, it’s easy to create XPS documents using the Microsoft XPS Document Writer. Available from any program that you can print from, just select the XPS Document Writer rather than a physical printer from the print dialogue and follow the prompts to create your document. Office 2007 users can also use the Save as XPS function from the Save As menu to create XPS documents from Office 2007 applications.
Windows 7 also provides a richer viewing experience with the XPS Viewer. The improved experience features a more streamlined user interface, easier ways to navigate through the document, and relevancy ranked XPS searches. You can even display pages as thumbnails to get an interactive view of several pages at once, which is great for visually searching through long documents. Finally, you can use the XPS Viewer to digitally sign XPS documents and, if your company uses Windows Rights Management Services, control who can open an XPS document and what they can do with it.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Windows 7 Work Anywhere

We live in a mobile world, taking our laptops and devices with us as we move between home, work, and other places. With Windows 7, you can easily get online and stay online as you move from place to place. Whether you’re switching from one network to another, attempting to access the Internet from a device, or taking advantage of mobile broadband, Windows 7 helps keep you connected.

Location Aware Printing
Do you use one printer at home and another at work? With Windows 7, you no longer need to select the printer each time you’re in a different place. Instead, you can select a default printer for each network location you’ve configured, and Windows 7 will automatically use that printer when
you’re connected to that network. So when you print at
work, Windows 7 will automatically print to your work printer.
When you print at home, Windows 7 will automatically select
and use your home printer.

View Available Networks
Windows 7 improves how you view and connect to all of your networks, making
the process simple and consistent. You’ll always have one-click access to available
networks, regardless of whether those networks are based on Wi-Fi, mobile broadband,
dial-up, or your corporate VPN.

Mobile Broadband
With Windows 7, it’s much simpler to connect your PC to the Internet using a wireless data card, regardless of which mobile provider you use. It’s just like connecting to any other wireless network, which can be accomplished by using the View Available Networks feature, mentioned above. You don’t need to install any additional software—just insert your wireless data card, your drivers will be installed on first use and your PC will connect to the Internet automatically. And if your PC has a built-in data card, you’ll be connected to the Internet wherever there’s mobile service.

With Windows 7, working from locations other than your offi ce becomes even simpler. With DirectAccess, you can more securely connect to your corporate network over any Internet connection—without having to use VPN technology. It’s easy to connect to corporate resources whenever you have an Internet connection and, in most cases, it will seem as if you are connecting from your desktop computer at work. You can also still access public Web sites without going through your work network. When you use DirectAccess, your IT department can administer your PC whenever it’s connected to the Internet, so you can easily stay up-to-date with company policies.

VPN Reconnect
You may still need to use a VPN if your company can’t start using DirectAccess right away. In Windows 7, VPNs are easier to use than before. In the past, when using a VPN connection, you had to redial whenever you lost your Internet connection. VPN Reconnect in Windows 7 keeps you connected by automatically reestablishing a VPN connection any time you temporarily lose your Internet connection.

Offl ine Access to Network Sources
When you’re out of the office and don’t have an Internet connection, Offline Files provides a great way to continue to work with documents and fi les that are stored on your corporate network. For example, while traveling on a long flight, you can work on a copy of a file that’s cached on your PC, and any changes you make will automatically be synchronized with the server the next time you connect to the corporate network.
Offline files are quickly synched with your work server when you reconnect to your corporate network.

Before Windows 7, when IT professionals implemented Offline Files, you had to wait for files to be moved to the server when you logged on for the first time. Windows 7 eliminates this delay by first copying data files to the local Offline Files cache and then synchronizing the cache with the server in the background.

Windows 7 Media Streaming

As you acquire more PCs and devices, you’ll have more physical places to store your music, photos, and video. But what if all your music is on a laptop, yet you want to play it on your main PC with the great speakers? Now, with Media Streaming, you can. When you join a homegroup or set up media streaming from within Windows Media Player, the music, pictures, and videos you want to access will be immediately available on other PCs and devices that are part of your homegroup, and, if you choose, can even be shared with PCs that are not part of your homegroup. The new media sharing experience in Windows 7 is easier than ever to set up—and you can add new PCs, media servers, and playback devices at any time. Windows 7 also makes it simpler to find the settings you want to change and to understand your choices. And of course, you can always restrict access to media you don’t wish to share.

Play To
Do you have media on your PC that you want to play on your home entertainment system? More and more consumer electronics devices have the capability to connect to networks or to the Internet. However, the user interfaces on those devices can be inconsistent or difficult to use, especially if you have a large collection of digital media. Windows 7 helps you use your home audio-video system and other networked media devices to play music, watch videos, and display photos from your PC. Using your PC as a controller, you can stream digital media directly to a supported device on your home network such as a Compatible with Windows 7 Digital Media Receiver, another PC running Windows 7, or an Extender for Windows Media Center, such as an Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system console.

For example, say you’re sitting on your couch, using your laptop to read e-mail or surf the Web, and you’d like to listen to some music, but your laptop speakers don’t sound good enough. With Windows 7, you can open Windows Media Player, right-click the song, album, or playlist you’d like to hear, select Play To, and you’ll see a list of supported devices and PCs on which you can play your music. In most cases, if your media receiver cannot play the file format for your media, Windows 7 will automatically detect that and translate the file into a format that your media receiver can play.

Windows 7 supports the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) v.1.5 standard, so you’ll have access to many different devices and functionality. You can use your PC running Windows 7 to stream media to network media devices that feature the Compatible with Windows 7 logo, which incorporates the DNLA v1.5 specification.

Remote Media Streaming
If you’re like most people, your home PC is the central place where you store and enjoy your photo, music, and video collections. But you probably also often take your laptop to other locations such as hotels, airports, or coffee shops. Windows 7 offers Remote Media Streaming, which allows you to access your home-based digital media Libraries over the Internet from another PC running Windows 7 outside the home. Just associate two or more PCs running Windows 7 with your online ID provider credentials (such as your Windows Live e-mail address and password) and allow Internet access to your media. Windows Media Player displays and plays the media Libraries from remote PCs the same way it does for those on a home network. You can even stream content from any other PC in your homegroup that has enabled Remote Media Streaming.

Note: Corporate networks often block home media streaming, so accessing media libraries from other PCs over the Internet may not be possible.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Windows 7 Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player in Windows 7 plays more media and delivers a richer media experience than earlier versions. Whether you want to listen to your favorite songs while you’re working or watch a DVD in full-screen mode, playback starts quickly and remains consistent. Windows 7 can also play more types of media than ever before, so you can play more of your content without having to switch players or download additional software.

Listen to and View More Media
Are you tired of having to use different media players to listen to, view, transfer, and manage different media formats? Windows 7 supports more media formats, making it easier for you to manage and play your media from one place—and to synchronize your media with a broad range of devices. In most cases, if your device doesn’t support the file type you’re synchronizing or streaming, Windows will convert that content into a format that the device you selected will play. For example, let’s say you want to sync a movie you captured with your Flip Video camera from your PC running Windows 7 to a portable media player that does not natively support Flip Video movies. If the portable media device features a Compatible with Windows 7 logo, the file will automatically be converted during the sync to a format your portable device can play.

Windows 7 features built-in playback support for many common media formats, including WMV, WMA, MPEG-4, most iTunes non-digital rights managed content (including audio and video podcasts), FlipVideo fi les, most DivX and XviD fi les, and most AVI fi les. Windows 7 also supports playback of most MOV fi les that are produced by digital cameras and camcorders. Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions will also play video from popular high-definition digital camcorders (AVCHD).

Now Playing Mode
Enjoying your favorite media on your PC has never been simpler. Windows Media Player includes a new lightweight playback mode. The compact size changes depending on whether you’re playing a song or video, and the UI is streamlined for playback, with pause, skip, and volume controls presented in an uncluttered interface that fits comfortably into a window on your desktop. Now Playing Mode is particularly useful when you have many windows open because it makes it easy to control your playback experience without overtaking your screen.

Improved Content Filtering
In Windows 7, content that cannot be played, such as Apple’s Lossless .M4A or H.263 MPEG-4 content, will no longer appear in the music or video library view so you don’t get distracted by fi les that won’t work. But if you need to get them for some reason, these files will still be listed in the Other Media library in Windows Media Player.

Better Access to your Media
With Windows 7, you always have quick access to media and how it’s played. For instance, Libraries (described earlier) make it easy to browse and access photos, music, and videos on other PCs and devices on your home network. The content of Jump Lists in Windows Media Player on the Start menu and Windows Taskbar changes based on what you play, helping you quickly get to the media you use the most. Then, as you’re playing music, you can rest the mouse pointer on the Windows Media Player taskbar thumbnail to access playback controls or to just see the title of the song that’s playing.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Windows 7 Windows Media Center

With a streamlined user interface and support for new content types and digital TV, Windows Media Center in Windows 7 makes viewing TV, movies, and other media content on your PC easier than ever. The new Electronic Program Guide (EPG) in Windows Media Center brings together both broadcast and Internet TV so you can find all your favorite programs in one place.

Internet TV
Windows 7 pulls the growing amount of media content on the Internet into the Windows Media Center experience. You can choose from a variety of online TV shows and movies, all organized and viewable with a consistent look and feel. With a broadband connection, Windows Media Center is populated automatically with Internet TV channels and content, which are conveniently organized in the familiar program guide for easy discovery.

Note: Internet access is required. Free Internet TV content varies by geography. Some content may require additional fees.

Digital TV
Turn your PC into a digital video recorder by adding a broadcast TV tuner, which you can find at many popular retail electronics stores. Windows 7 Media Center includes support for a wide range of TV standards to meet the needs of television viewers around the world. Digital TV in Windows 7 works in more than 20 global markets, with certified support for the United States ATSC and QAM cable standards, Japan’s ISDB standards (ISDB-T and ISDB-S), European DVB TV standards (DVB-T, DVB-S), and Pay TV standards.

Sharing TV around the Home
If you have multiple PCs running Windows Media Center in your homegroup, you can access recorded TV Libraries—in addition to your music, photos, and videos—on those different PCs. You can also copy a TV show to your laptop to enjoy on the go. Windows Media Center in Windows 7 makes sure that all unprotected Windows TV recordings can be discovered, played, and copied by any PC running Windows 7 in your homegroup.

Enhanced UI
Through its enhanced user interface (UI), Windows 7 Media Center makes TV as personal as your PC. It’s easy to set up, and fast to fi nd the media you want. For example, with the new Turbo Scroll feature, you can quickly move through a large Library or TV guide by pressing and holding the right arrow button. When viewing a recorded TV show, you can quickly jump to a specific spot in a show by clicking the Seek bar. Watching a live show and want to see what else is playing? A mini guide can be viewed on top of your show. And because Windows Media Center is touch-enabled, with a touch-enabled monitor you can use your finger to navigate the start menu, program guide, and photo galleries—or even slide your finger across the program guide screen to turboscroll through listings.

Note: Some product features of Windows 7, such as the ability to watch and record live TV, may require advanced or additional hardware.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

We created Windows 7 to help give you a trouble-free computing experience. But if problems do arise, Windows 7 notifies you in more intelligent ways and makes resolution easier and faster. When something in Windows 7 needs your attention, you’ll have one place to go, with troubleshooters that help solve many common problems.

Action Center
In previous versions, Windows notifies you that something needs attention on your PC by using pop-ups or other messages. These messages are helpful if the problem requires immediate attention, but they can be very distracting if the problem isn’t urgent. Windows 7 not only helps you solve more problems, but it also helps you solve them on your own schedule. The Action Center, a new, integrated Control Panel experience, is the central place for all tasks and notifications associated with keeping your PC running safely and smoothly. It makes it easier for you to fix problems yourself by providing a new streamlined way to address notifications and manage PC issues, including configuring the User Account Control. You’ll see fewer notifications on your desktop because the Action Center consolidates alerts from 10 existing Windows features, including Security Center, Problem Reports and Solutions, Windows Defender, Windows Update, Diagnostics, Network Access Protection, Backup and Restore, Recovery, and User Account Control. When Windows 7 needs your attention, you’ll see a new icon in the notification area. To find out more, click the icon to launch a menu that gives you options to fix the issue immediately or go to the Action Center for more details. If you don’t have time to address the issue immediately, the information you need will be waiting for you the next time you visit the Action Center.

Windows Troubleshooting
Wouldn’t it be nice if your PC could recognize and solve many common problems, so that you could stay productive rather than calling for help? Windows Troubleshooting—new in Windows 7—diagnoses and resolves common operating system and hardware issues by using built-in troubleshooters for several different types of problems. For example, the printing troubleshooter helps you resolve problems with local printers, such as removing a job that’s stuck in the print queue, as well as problems related to networked printers at the office. Similarly, the power efficiency troubleshooter runs a simple test to determine the percentage degradation in storage capacity for your portable PC’s battery, so that you can be proactive in replacing a battery that’s near the end of its useful life. To launch the troubleshooting platform, just go to the Start menu and type fix or troubleshoot. A wizard will launch automatically. Other troubleshooters in Windows 7 run in the background on a scheduled basis. If these troubleshooters discover a problem, they’ll let you know in the Action Center. With Windows 7, it’s easier than ever to perform tasks like cleaning up temporary files, detecting hard disk errors, removing broken shortcuts, and ensuring that the system time is correct. Windows 7 has built-in troubleshooters for many categories, as shown in the following table. New and updated troubleshooters provided by Microsoft and your PC vendor will be posted online for you to download. In addition, businesses can create their own troubleshooters.

Startup Repair
Startup problems can be difficult to troubleshoot, because if you can’t start the operating system you can’t use the built-in troubleshooting tools. In the past, you or your support professionals may have found it easier to reinstall your operating system than troubleshoot, even though the solution may be as simple as replacing a single file. And although Windows Vista provides an automated Startup Repair tool to diagnose and recover unbootable systems, the tool requires extra steps if the operating system is on a different partition. Windows 7 automatically installs the Startup Repair tool onto the operating system partition, so you’ll always have access to it. After an unsuccessful boot, Windows 7 automatically loads Startup Repair, which scans your PC for issues (such as corrupt registry and system fi les or an invalid Boot Configuration Database), automatically repairs files when possible, and then reboots as normal.

Built-in Troubleshooters in Windows 7
Troubleshoot problems that prevent you from experiencing Aero animations and effects.

Browse the Web
Troubleshoot problems that prevent you from browsing the Web with Internet Explorer.

Connection to a Shared Folder
Access shared files and folders on other PCs.

Connection to a Workplace Using Direct Access
Troubleshoot problems that prevent you from connecting to your workplace network over the Internet using DirectAccess.

Hardware and Devices
Troubleshoot problems with hardware and devices.

HomeGroup Networking
Troubleshoot problems that prevent you from viewing PC or shared files in a homegroup.

Incoming Connections to This Computer
Allow other PCs to connect to this computer.

Internet Connections
Connect to the Internet or to a particular Web site.

Clean up unused files and shortcuts, and perform other maintenance tasks.

Network Adapter
Troubleshoot Ethernet, wireless, or other network adapters.

Adjust settings in Windows that can help improve overall speed and performance.

Play a DVD in Windows Media Player
Troubleshoot problems that prevent a DVD from playing in Windows Media Player.

Play Sound
Troubleshoot problems that prevent your PC from playing sound.

Adjust power settings to improve battery life and reduce power consumption.

Troubleshoot problems that prevent you from using a printer.

Program Compatibility Troubleshooter
Troubleshoot a program that doesn’t work in this version of Windows.

Record Sound
Troubleshoot problems that prevent your PC from recording sound.

Web Browsing Safety
Adjust settings for browser safety in Internet Explorer.

Windows Media Player Library
Troubleshoot problems that prevent music and movies from being shown in the Windows Media Player Library.

Windows Media Player Settings
Reset Windows Media Player back to default settings.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

TFS Branching Guidance - RELEASE Branches

“There will be hotfixes!” – anonymous

Your release branch plan should be built around your software release vehicles. A release vehicle is how your software is delivered to your customer. The most common release vehicles are the major release, Hotfix and service pack. In a software plus services scenario the names may be different however and the release may be more frequent.

The Advanced branch plan assumes that your software will require concurrent Hotfix, service pack and next version (MAIN). Almost all software servicing have a need for these classes of release so we setup the release branch plan to support these from the very beginning. Note, that all 3 branches are created at the same time to ensure the correct parent child relationship.

A successful release branch strategy enables the following 3 scenarios.

1. Developers only need to check in once based on which release vehicle the change is for (i.e. Hotfixes go into the product Hotfix branch).

2. No need for baseless merges. Create a natural merge path back to main by creating a hierarchal branch structure based on your release vehicles.

3. Reduce risk of regressions. By creating a parent/child branch relationship between main->SP-> and Hotfix branches changes are naturally merged into future release (i.e. Hotfixes merge into the SP branch on their way to main) reducing risk of bug regressions in future releases.

After the release branches are created changes from main should not FI into the release branches. Changes should merge – one way – from release to main. Also, changes should always merge through intermediate branches (i.e. release->HF->Service Pack->main) to ensure that bug fixes remain consistent in subsequent releases.

Note, once you make your final change to your major release (i.e. the release branch in the diagram above) this branch should be set to read only. This branch is retained for compliance purposes only. Since there is no change history in TFS for labels the only sure way to know the state of your sources is to branch and ship your product from that branch.

TFS Branching Guidance - DEVELOPMENT Branches

“Your branch distance from main is equal to your level of insanity” - anonymous

Branching enables parallel development by providing each development activity for the current release its own self-contained snapshot of needed sources, tools, external dependencies and process automation. Such a self-contained snapshot effectively enables each development activity to proceed at its own pace, without taking any dependency on another. It follows that these snapshots are allowed to diverge their respective sources along the particular development activity they are involved with – fixing a bug, implementing a feature or stabilizing a breaking change.

Before creating a DEVELOPMENT branch, make sure you can do the following:

- Select a parent branch – if your changes are focused on your next product release then the parent branch should be MAIN.

- Branch from a recent known good state of the parent – start your branch from the latest successful build of the parent branch. There should be a label associated with the parent build that you can use as a starting point for your child branch. On day one of your DEVELOPMENT branch it should be in the same state as its parent (i.e. build and pass BVT’s successfully).

- FI frequently – your goal should be to be no more than 1-2 days out of sync with main. Ideally you should FI every time the parent branch builds and passes BVTs.

- RI from child to parent based on quality. Minimum RI requirements are
• Be in sync with parent branch
• Build successfully
• Pass BVT’s

TFS Branching Guidance - MAIN Branch

The MAIN branch is junction between development and RELEASE branches. Changes in the MAIN branch will FI into every DEVELOPMENT branch, so it is critical that builds from MAIN remain high quality. At minimum this means MAIN must remain buildable and pass all build verification tests

Attributes of MAIN
- Main should build daily to give the team a daily cadence to work toward.
- Every branch should have a natural merge (RI) path back to MAIN (i.e. no baseless merges).
- Breaks in MAIN need to be fixed immediately.
- No direct check-ins to MAIN branch; only build and BVT fixes.
- Successful MAIN build indicates child DEVELOPMENT branches should FI from MAIN.
- QA teams should be able to pick up any MAIN build for testing.

Code flow, the movement of changes between child and parent branches, is a concept all team members must consider. As the number of DEVELOPMENT branches increases the need to FI each successful MAIN build increases. Any DEVELOPMENT branch that is more than a couple days out of sync with MAIN is effectively working in the past.

About versioning…
One strategy to keep track, at a glance, of how far out of sync a DEVELOPMENT branch is from MAIN is to increment the build number in MAIN only. When DEVELOPMENT branches FI from MAIN they get the latest version resource from MAIN. If MAIN builds daily then the build number would increment each day.

MAIN build

Dev_team1 build

The Dev_team1 branch has not FI’d MAIN in 2 days if MAIN builds daily.

Teams that adopt this strategy will frequently append a date time stamp to the build number to prevent overwriting builds on the release share and provide clearer reporting since the dev builds may keep the same build number for a few days.

All I need is MAIN…
Some teams are small enough that only one branch, MAIN, is needed. This is great but almost always short-lived. Eventually individuals or teams will need some sort of isolation to work on next version work, complicated bug fixes or breaking changes.

If you do not create a specific place for development work, developers will create their own. The danger here is that the ad-hoc branch created by the developer may not have a natural branch path back to MAIN.

Since these situations are inevitable it is best to have the development branch plan ready when needed.

If ever you need advice on when to branch, think of this:
Create a new branch when the check-in policy is so restrictive you can’t do work.

This means when the check in policy of your main branch is to take version 1.0 changes only and you have a version 1.1 changes then that would be a good signal to create a child branch of main for your 1.1 work.

TFS Branching Guidance - Branch Plan

Branch Plan – quick start
“Save your creativity for your product… not the branch plan.” – anonymous Below are three branch plans that represent Basic, Standard and Advanced software development projects. The elements of these plans are additive so starting with the Basic plan will allow you to transition to the Standard plan if your product becomes more complex. The most common reason for adding complexity to a branch plan are additional release vehicles (i.e. Service Packs and Hotfixes). Additional release vehicles will require a branch plan that supports concurrent development for each of these. Minimizing the number of release vehicles is the key to keeping your branch plan simple. The goal of the Basic, Standard and Advanced branch plans presented below is to cover most customer branching scenarios. Please post your scenarios not covered below to the community section associated with this document at http://codeplex.com/TFSBranchingGuideII. Our hope is to leverage the Codeplex community to cover alternative (but still valid) branch cases.

Basic Branch Plan
Below is a basic plan that enables concurrent development for your next release, a stable main branch for testing and a release branch for any ship blocking bug fixes. Multiple development areas are supported by creating additional development branches from main. These are peers to each other and children of main. Additional releases are supported by creating additional release branches for each product release. Each release branch is a child of main and a peer to each other (e.g. release2.0 branch is peer to release3.0 and both are children of main).

Once the release branch is created main and the development branches can start taking changes approved for the next product release.

The Basic branch plan will work well for your organization if you meet some of the following criteria:
1. You have a single major release that is shipped (i.e. a single release vehicle) to customers.
2. Your servicing model is to have customers upgrade to the next major release.
3. Any fixes shipped from the release branch will include all previous fixes from that branch.

Key elements of this plan include
1. DEVELOPMENT (dev) branches for next version work.
a. Focus on wide, flat branches to enable steady code flow to MAIN and then back to peer DEVELOPMENT branches
b. Work in DEVELOPMENT branches can be segregated by feature, organization, or temporary collaboration.
c. Each DEVELOPMENT branch should be a full branch of MAIN.
d. DEVELOPMENT branches should build and run Build Verification Tests (BVT’s) the same way as MAIN.
e. Forward Integrate (FI) with each successful build of MAIN
f. Reverse Integrate (RI) based on some objective team criteria (e.g. internal quality gates, end of sprint, etc.).

2. RELEASE branch where you ship your major release from.
a. RELEASE is a child branch of MAIN.
b. Your major product releases from the RELEASE branch and then RELEASE branch access permissions are set to read only.
c. Changes from the RELEASE branch RI to main. This merge is one way. Once the release branch is created MAIN may be taking changes for next version work not approved for the release branch
d. Duplicate RELEASE branch plan for subsequent major releases.

3. Changes should be checked into one branch only
a. All branches have a merge path back to MAIN.
b. No need for baseless merges.

Standard Branch Plan
As you add additional release vehicles you may need to create additional branches in the production/release area to enable concurrent development. The Standard branch plan below introduces a new release branch to support an additional release vehicle. Most organizations will call this a servicing branch to enable development of Hotfixes and Service packs.

This plan will work well for your organization if you meet some of following criteria:
1. You have multiple ship vehicles (e.g. major release and additional service packs for that release).
2. You want to enable concurrent development of service pack and next version products.
3. You have any compliance requirements that require you to have an accurate snapshot of your sources at release time.

All of the guidance any key points from the Basic plan applies to the Standard plan. The Standard plan has these additional items to consider.

RELEASE branches for release safekeeping and Service Pack work
1. RELEASE tree (i.e. SP and RELEASE) are branched from MAIN at the same time to create MAIN->SP->RELEASE parent/child relationship.

2. Product releases from the RELEASE branch and then that branch is changed to read only.

3. Servicing changes are checked into the Service Pack (SP) branch.

4. Changes SP branches merge one-way to MAIN (SP->MAIN).

5. Ship stopping bug fixes checked into the release branch should merge back to MAIN through the SP branch (RELEASE->SP->MAIN).

6. Duplicate RELEASE tree plan for subsequent major releases.

Advanced Branch Plan
The Advanced plan is for products have must support many release vehicles and servicing scenarios. The plan allows for concurrent development of a major release, service packs, Hotfixes and next version work.

All of the guidance any key points from the Basic and Standard plans applies to the Advanced plan. The Advanced plan has these additional items to consider.

1. RELEASE branches for release safekeeping, HOTFIX and Service Pack work
a. RELEASE tree (i.e. SP, HOTFIX, and RELEASE) are branched from MAIN at the same time to create MAIN->SP->HOTFIX->RELEASE parent/child relationship.
b. Product releases from the RELEASE branch and then that branch is changed to read only.
c. Check-in based on which release the change applies to (e.g. Hotfixes are checked into the HOTFIX branch).
d. Changes in HOTFIX and SP branches merge one-way through intermediate branches to MAIN (HOTFIX->SP->MAIN).
e. Duplicate RELEASE branch plan for subsequent major releases.

The plans above covers the majority of software development activities. Using these plans as a base will enable your teams to spend more time on developing high quality code and assures that each branch has a specific role. The additional content below may help you determine where to deviate from the plan above.

Windows 7 Compatible With You

A cluttered Windows desktop is like a cluttered desk—it can make it harder to focus on the task at hand. When you start using Windows 7, you’ll immediately notice its clean and uncluttered appearance. For example, the Notification Area in the lower-right corner displays only four icons by default. New icons don’t appear automatically when you install programs. Instead, you control what gets placed where, so your desktop stays clean and reflects your personal preferences. Of course, you may want to change the desktop and add or delete gadgets and desktop themes. With Windows 7, you’ll find more options than ever.

Aero Themes and Aero Background
Windows 7 comes with many new themes, so you’ll have more options for making your PC reflect your personal taste. Each theme includes rich backgrounds, glass colors, and a unique sound scheme. You can download new themes, create your own unique themes, and share your themes with friends and family. And within any theme, you’ll have 16 glass color options to choose from instead of the eight options that are included with Windows Vista. Windows 7 also includes some themes that are customized for specific regions of the world.

Windows 7 improves the Gadget feature first found in Windows Vista by making gadgets easy to position anywhere on the desktop and simple to resize. If you like to keep your gadgets at the edges of your screen where they have traditionally resided, they’ll snap right into place as if they were magnets.

Global and Cultural Relevance
Windows 7 offers many desktop themes tailored to different regions and languages, with special wallpapers, sounds, and Aero Glass colors to provide a more locally relevant experience. In addition, Internet Explorer favorites and RSS feeds automatically show you locally relevant content, so you feel right at home. Regional options, such as currency and date format, are set automatically based on the location you choose, and your preferences help shape your experience with the programs on your desktop. Also, multilingual browsing no longer requires font installation or setting updates. Windows 7 supports text display and fonts for more languages too. And fonts are now classified by the languages you’ve enabled for your keyboard. When you want to switch the font in a document, you’ll see only fonts that are relevant to the particular language or languages you use. If you use multiple languages at home or at work, you’ll appreciate the multilingual capabilities in Windows 7. Download the language packs and you can change the display language on your PC to view wizards, dialog boxes, menus, Help topics, and other items in Windows in whichever language you choose. IT professionals can configure a single disk image that supports multiple languages.

Windows XP Mode
Do you want all the benefits of the latest PCs but still need to run older business and productivity programs? Windows 7 will run many Windows XP programs with no problem. But for those programs that require a PC running Windows XP, small and medium-sized business customers can use Windows XP Mode.* Windows XP Mode is a virtual Windows XP environment that works on Windows 7 using a virtualization technology, such as Windows Virtual PC. Once installed, you can set up Windows XP Mode with just a few clicks and install your programs within the virtual Windows XP environment. You’ll be able to open your programs right from your Windows 7 desktop and access printers and other USB devices just like you always do. To use Windows XP Mode, your PC will need to support processor-based virtualization.

Access Your Windows 7-based PC’s Network Connections
You can still access the Internet when you’re working in Windows XP Mode because the network connections of your Windows 7-based PC are always accessible. In addition, you can also connect your virtual machine to your company network.

Share Files and Folders
The Clipboard is shared between physical and virtual machines, so you can copy and paste any information you want between Windows XP and Windows 7 programs. And because your Windows 7 My Documents folder appears on your virtual Windows XP desktop, you’ll always have easy access to any files you need.

Access USB Devices
When you’re in Windows XP Mode, you can still use the external USB devices attached to your PC running Windows 7. You can also easily access the host CD drive, and print on a local or network printer from within your applications for Windows XP. If a USB device does not appear in the My Computer window, it’s easy to make it available. Just navigate to the USB drop-down menu that appears either in the upper-left hand corner of the Windows XP desktop window (Desktop Mode), or at the top of the desktop (Full Screen Desktop Mode). Click the device’s name to use it on the virtual machine. When you’re done, click it once more.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Windows 7 More Secure

Whether your hard disk drive contains irreplaceable family photos or the financial data critical to your business, the information on your PC is valuable. Viruses, spyware and other unwanted software, root kits, and phishing scams pose a constant risk today. In Windows Vista, we created multiple layers of defense to help protect you against online and offline threats. Windows 7 builds on this foundation of security with new and improved features. In addition, we’ve created new ways to protect your data and help safeguard against loss, theft, or accidental erasure due to hardware failures. Windows 7 even provides new ways to securely store data and files on removable USB storage devices making them less risky for transporting and sharing data.

User Account Control
The User Account Control (UAC) feature we introduced in Windows Vista has been successful at reducing the incidence of malware infection, with Windows Vista customers experiencing 60 percent fewer malware infections than users of Windows XP with SP2. However, we’ve heard your call for better control of how often a UAC prompt launches a notification window. In Windows 7, you won’t see as many prompts because fewer operating system programs and tasks require elevation. And if you have administrative privileges, you can adjust what you are prompted for. In order to help ensure your security, the UAC control panel runs in a high integrity process. Any change to the level of the UAC will prompt for confirmation.

Parental Controls
If you’re a parent, Windows 7 Parental Controls can give you greater peace of mind and confidence in your ability to manage what your kids can do on the PC. You can specify which PC games your children can play and which programs they can use. You can even specify the times when your child is allowed to use the PC. Windows Live Family Safety is a free download that works with Windows 7 and gives you tools to manage and monitor what your children do on the Web. For example, Web filtering and contact management help you manage who your children can talk to on Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger and Spaces. When you customize the settings for each of your children, you’ll even get an activity report that informs you how your children have been using the PC and what Web sites they have visited. And with the ability to view reports or modify settings remotely, you can keep tabs on your kids no matter where you are.

Internet Explorer Security
The Web can be a dangerous place, with sites that attempt to download malicious code, trick you into divulging personal information, or track your actions without your knowledge or consent. Internet Explorer 8 improves your defense against security and privacy threats, and includes the ability to help identify malicious sites and block the download of malicious software.

SmartScreen Filter
Microsoft SmartScreen® fi lter in Internet Explorer 8 boosts the anti-phishing protection found in Internet Explorer 7 by more closely examining the entire Web address and comparing it to a continually updated reputation database. If SmartScreen is active, the browser checks with the centrally hosted reputation service on the Web to help ensure that the site isn’t a known phishing or malware hosting site. It also notifies you if you’ve navigated to a site that is known to distribute malicious software or has attempted to download files that others have reported as unsafe.

Cross-Site Scripting Filter
You could do everything right with respect to security—such as always installing the latest security updates—yet still remain vulnerable to some types of security threats. For example, cross-site scripting attacks are a leading threat against Web sites and can be used to steal cookies or other data, deface pages, steal credentials, or launch more exotic attacks. Cross-scripting is not a browser vulnerability in itself, but Internet Explorer 8 includes a Cross-Site Scripting filter that runs silently in the background to help detect type-1 cross-site scripting attacks. If an attack is detected, the filter sanitizes the script to prevent it from doing harm.

Domain Name Highlighting
Phishing sites frequently use part of a legitimate domain name in a Web address to trick people into thinking they are on a trusted, familiar Web site. Internet Explorer 8 highlights the domain name portion of the Web address in the Address bar in bold text, making it easier for you to tell which site you’re on and helping you identify phishing sites and other deceptive sites.

InPrivate Browsing
There may be times when you’re not comfortable leaving traces of your Web browsing on a PC, such as when you’re researching health information during your lunch break at work or checking e-mail on a friend’s PC. InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer 8 helps protect your data and privacy by preventing your browsing history, temporary Internet fi les, form data, cookies, and usernames/passwords from being stored by the browser.

InPrivate Filtering
You probably know that the Web sites you visit can track your activity, but you may not be fully aware of the degree to which additional Web sites and content providers can track you as well. Most Web sites today are mosaics of content that come from many different sites. As a result, the sites you visit often pull in content from third-party sites, which can track your activity even though you’re not aware of it. There are many security risks inherent in this model—you can be exposed to potentially malicious content from every third-party site that is referenced. InPrivate Filtering in Internet Explorer 8 is designed to protect your privacy by helping prevent information about the Web sites that you visit from automatically being shared with other sites. It works by observing the Web sites you visit and building a table of the unique calls for third-party content or objects that are observed for each unique domain. When InPrivate Filtering is active, it blocks thirdparty content based on the default threshold of 10 unique such observances.

Data Execution Prevention
Some Internet-based threats—such as a virus disguised as a picture—exploit certain types of memory related vulnerabilities. Data Execution Prevention helps prevent code that resides in memory space marked as nonexecutable from running. This security feature works silently in the background, helping to protect against viruses and malware being installed on your PC without your knowledge.

Tab Isolation and Crash Recovery
Have you ever been in the middle of filling out a long form on a Web site when the browser crashed, forcing you to start over? In Internet Explorer 8, if a tab does crash, it is automatically restored and reloaded, and any information you may have already entered on the page (such as writing an e-mail or filling out a form) is restored. Similarly, if the entire browser crashes or closes unexpectedly, Internet Explorer 8 restores the entire session (including all tabs).

Windows Filtering Platform
The Windows Filtering Platform (WFP) architecture in Windows 7 helps software companies create firewalls, antivirus software, and other types of applications and services that work with Windows. For example, third-party developers can use the WFP to create a product that selectively turns parts of the Windows Firewall on or off, which allows you to choose which software firewall you want to use and have it coexist with Windows Firewall. As a result, you’ll have a wide range of choices for security software, yet know that they will work with your PC running Windows 7.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of PCs are retired, lost, or stolen. BitLocker, which was first introduced in Windows Vista, gives you a way to encrypt your hard disk drive to better protect data in case your laptop is stolen or lost. In Windows 7, we’ve improved BitLocker in many ways. For instance, you can now right-click a drive to enable BitLocker protection. In addition, you no longer need to repartition your hard disk drive, because BitLocker automatically creates the necessary hidden boot partition. It’s also easier to recover your data with Data Recovery Agent (DRA) support for all protected volumes.

BitLocker To Go
There are numerous ways you can lose your data without losing your PC, especially if you use USB flash drives and other personal storage devices. For example, you might want to take your household budget to a meeting with your financial advisor or transport some work to a PC in your home using a removable storage device. BitLocker To Go extends support for BitLocker drive encryption to USB removable storage devices, such as flash memory drives and portable hard disk drives, helping protect the data on those devices if they’re lost or stolen. When you use BitLocker to Go, your data will be protected with a password, helping to ensure that only authorized people can access it. In addition, you can view the information on a device using BitLocker To Go with a PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Backup and Restore
Even the most reliable PC can be subject to a hardware failure, and even the most careful person can delete a file by mistake. When these things happen, it’s important to have a recent backup of important data—yet many people forget to back up their PCs regularly. Windows 7 helps streamline the backup process. Now you can configure backup settings in three quick clicks, capturing all your personal files and, if you want, your system files too. You can easily schedule regular backups, so you won’t have to remember to do it manually. Choose to back up everything or just specific files, and then choose from a number of advanced backup options, such as backing up files to a network location and performing system backups to DVD. Windows 7 also improves the restore experience, so you can restore individual files, selected folders, or all of your personal files. You can even re-image or restore your entire PC from a recent backup if your hard disk drive fails or your PC becomes infected with a virus.

System Restore
If your PC isn’t working properly, you may want to return to a previous confi guration—back to a time when it was running well. However, you still want to retain all of the new data and changes to existing files that you’ve made since then. Introduced in Windows XP, System Restore provides a nondestructive way to return your PC to the way it was at a previous point in time, without deleting any of your personal files. With Windows 7, System Restore is more reliable, predictable, and effective. You’ll see a list of programs that will be removed or added, providing you with more information on which restore point to choose. System restore points are also available in your backups, giving you more restore points to choose over a longer period of time.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Windows 7 for You: Works the Way You Want

More than anything else, you’ve told us that you care about the basics. No one has the time to deal with PCs that aren’t snappy and responsive or fall short of expected performance—like taking too long to wake up from sleep. And we’d all like to feel more secure, online and off. In other words, everything should just work—and work the way you want it to. Windows 7 takes the improvements we made in Windows Vista and extends them. And that means you’ll get an operating system that is designed to start quickly, be more secure, and take advantage of powerful new hardware.

Start, Shutdown, and Resume
Windows 7 is ready when you are. It’s designed to start, hibernate, and shut down faster than Windows Vista. We also focused on ways to resume from sleep more quickly and reliably. And because resuming from sleep is much faster than rebooting your PC, you can use sleep when you really need your PC to come to life quickly.

Search and Indexing
When looking for information, you want answers, not delays. Search and indexing are both much faster now, because Windows 7 includes all the performance improvements from Windows Search 4.0, a Windows technology that indexes all the fi les on your PC, as well as several other significant new performance optimizations. Sorting and grouping of search results are significantly faster too.

PCs that are low on memory frequently swap data to disk, which can make performance lag. With Microsoft ReadyBoost™ technology, which we introduced in Windows Vista, you can use a fl ash memory device to cache frequently used data, which in turn makes your PC more responsive. With ReadyBoost in Windows 7, you can use multiple fl ash devices—such as USB keys, Secure Digital cards, and internal flash devices—at the same time.

Improved Memory Utilization
We’ve worked hard to reduce overall memory requirements in Windows 7. For example, hundreds of runtime components now use less memory, while the core memory needs are smaller when the computer is idle. Windows 7 can reduce the memory requirements for each open window by up to 50 percent. In addition, we’ve introduced trigger start services, an innovative feature that launches system services only when they’re needed and reduces the number of programs competing for system memory.

Solid State Drives
Solid-state drives (SSDs), an alternative to traditional hard disk drives, are becoming more popular. This popularity is partially due to the fact that SSDs are typically faster than conventional hard disk drives. We designed Windows 7 to work well with SSDs so you’ll have a chance to experience improved PC performance, more consistent responsiveness, increased battery life, superior ruggedness, quicker startup times, and reductions in noise and vibrations. Features such as disk defragmentation, Microsoft Super- Fetch™ memory management technology, and ReadyBoost (described above) are designed to improve system responsiveness and performance when data is being retrieved from traditional hard disk drives. In Windows 7, these features respond to a computer’s configuration and automatically turn themselves off for the newer, faster SSDs, where they are not necessary, which helps free up system memory.

Windows Experience Index
The Windows Experience Index measures the capabilities of your PC’s hardware and software, and expresses this measurement as a number called a base score. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score. In Windows 7, the Windows Experience Index has been updated to reflect advances in processor, graphics, and hard disk technology. Maximum scores should generally be the same or higher for a computer system after upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Battery Life and Notifi cations
We all know what it’s like to run out of power at a critical moment. That’s why we designed Windows 7 to extend the battery life for your mobile PC. Power-saving enhancements include increased idle time for the processor, automatic dimming of the display, and more power-effi cient playback for DVDs. We’ve also made battery life notifications more prominent and accurate, so you know exactly how much power you’ve used and how much battery time you have left.

64-Bit Computing Support
If you’ve gone PC shopping lately, you’ve probably noticed more computers with 64-bit processors and wondered what advantages they offer. Put simply, a 64-bit PC can handle larger amounts of information than traditional 32-bit systems. Because it can use more RAM (4 GB and up) a 64-bit PC can be faster and more responsive depending on the workload. If you tend to have a lot of programs open simultaneously, need to switch frequently between programs, or are an avid gamer, a 64-bit PC is a great choice. Windows 7 fully supports 64-bit PCs.

DirectX 11: DirectCompute
For PCs that have a graphics card that supports the Microsoft DirectX® 11 application programming interface, DirectCompute-enabled applications will perform faster on your Windows 7-based PC. For instance, certain applications that convert a digital media fi le to a different size or format will do that conversion (called transcoding) faster. So you’ll spend less time moving your home movies from a PC with Windows 7 to a portable playback device. DirectCompute boosts PC performance by taking on some or all of the application’s processing load, freeing up the computer’s main processor to perform additional tasks. If your PC has a graphics card that supports DirectCompute, look for applications specifically built for DirectX 11.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Windows 7 Application and Device Compatibility

We recognize that your PC experience involves programs and devices from many different providers, so we’ve made a significant effort to ensure that the applications and devices you use and love are compatible with Windows 7 and work the way you’d expect them to. Windows 7 helps address application compatibility in several ways. Perhaps most importantly, we worked to minimize changes in the way applications and devices interact with Windows. As a result, the work done by third-party software and hardware developers to make their products work on Windows Vista generally carries forward for Windows 7. In most cases, the same software and hardware that works with Windows Vista will also work with Windows 7.

In addition, we created a comprehensive list of the most widely used consumer and business applications, which were tested throughout the development cycle. We also created new and improved tools such as the Windows Upgrade Advisor, Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), Windows Compatibility Center, Quality Cookbook, Application Verifier, and ISV Developer Portal to help customers and software developers assess application compatibility. For untested programs or applications developed in-house, Windows 7 offers a number of in-the-box compatibility aids. For example, if a program fails to install because of a hard-coded version check, the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter can automatically fix the problem (with the user’s consent) and rerun the installer. Windows 7 also includes an expanded application shim infrastructure and a Problem Steps Recorder that people can use to capture application compatibility issues for evaluation by technical experts.

Furthermore, we continually monitor application compatibility issues throughout the Windows ecosystem. We designed Windows 7 to monitor application health and, with the user’s permission, provide feedback to Microsoft so that we can work quickly with application developers to resolve compatibility problems and issue a fix if necessary. Microsoft has also invested in partner outreach efforts so that software developers have the resources required to ensure application compatibility.

As with applications, we are also working to ensure that devices compatible with Windows Vista will work just as well with Windows 7. As a part of this effort, we have greatly expanded the list of devices and peripherals being tracked for compatibility with Windows 7. We have identified thousands of devices through data collected via the Customer Experience Improvement Program and through outreach efforts to device and PC manufacturers, and we have tested those devices for compatibility with Windows 7. When updated device drivers are required, we are working to ensure that you can get them directly from Windows Update or through links to driver downloads on device manufacturer Web sites.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Top Features for IT Professionals

From networking to security and search to user management, Windows 7 offers IT professionals a wide range of new and improved features. These include the following:

Control which applications are allowed to run on user PCs.

Improve application responsiveness and end user productivity at branch offices while reducing the load on your Wide Area Network (WAN).

Enable workers to more securely connect to corporate networks over any Internet connection—without requiring the extra step of initiating a VPN connection.

Federated Search and EnterpriseSearch Scopes
Enable search engines, document repositories, Web applications, and proprietary data stores to be searched from Windows 7, without writing and deploying client code.

Problem Steps Recorder
Help your workers troubleshoot application failures by giving them the ability to reproduce and record their experiences and then send that information to support staff.

VHD Boot
Ease the transition between virtual and physical environments by reusing the same master image within a VDI infrastructure and on physical PCs.

Windows PowerShell 2.0™
Automate repetitive tasks with this graphical scripting editor that helps you write scripts that access underlying technologies.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

What’s New in Windows 7

Top Features for You
We’ve designed Windows 7 to be the easiest, fastest, and most engaging version of Windows yet. We focused on helping your PC perform the way you want it to—quickly, easily, and with less effort. Although many of the new improvements are under the covers, Windows 7 also includes many more visible enhancements that will help you play with, work with, and manage your PC.

The following table highlights some of the features that we think you’ll really like.

Aero Shake
Click a window pane and shake your mouse to minimize all other open windows. Shake the pane again to restore the windows to their original sizes.

Aero Themes and Aero Background
Use new themes or choose a slideshow of your favorite photos to make your PC refl ect your personal taste.

BitLocker and BitLocker To Go
Help protect sensitive data with new, easier ways to protect and recover drives and extend that protection to USB removable storage devices, such as fl ash memory drives and portable hard disk drives.

Home Media Streaming
Use your PC as a hub and make music, videos, photos, and recorded TV available on other PCs or stream it to supported devices using Play To.

Easily share files and printers between PCs running Windows 7 that are connected to your home network.

Improved Windows Taskbar
Open files and get around your PC faster. Pin programs you use often to the taskbar and launch them with a single click.

Internet and Digital TV
Watch Internet TV content and turn your PC into a digital video recorder by using the support in Windows Media Center for many new broadcast TV tuners.*

Internet Explorer 8:
Visual Search See rich, relevant, visual suggestions as you type search terms.

Internet Explorer 8: Web Slices
Get the information you want from the Web updated and available at your fingertips, without leaving the page you’re on.

Jump Lists
Reduce clutter and quickly get to tasks and your favorite, recent, and frequently used files.

Live Thumbnail Previews
Manage lots of open windows easily with live thumbnail previews of active windows

Location Aware Printing
Set different default printers for your home and work networks.

Mobile Broadband
Eliminate the need to install additional software when you use your data card for Internet access.

Remote Media Streaming
Access your home-based digital media libraries over the Internet from another PC running Windows 7 outside the home.

Resize and expand windows more quickly and easily compare the contents of two different windows.

View Available Network (VAN)
See and connect to available networks—including Wi-Fi, broadband, dial-up, and virtual private network (VPN)—in just a few clicks.

VPN Reconnect
Get consistent VPN connectivity by automatically reestablishing a VPN connection whenever the Internet connection is temporarily lost.

Windows Search and Libraries
Search your own PC and the PCs and devices connected to your network to find items regardless of where they’re stored.

Windows Touch
Interact with your PC with a touch-screen monitor by using your fingers and multitouch gestures.

Windows Troubleshooting
Resolve common issues quickly without having to call for help.

Windows XP Mode
Run many older Windows XP productivity applications right on your Windows 7 desktop.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Upgrading a PC to Windows 7

We realize that upgrading to a newer version of Windows can sometimes be a challenge, depending on what operating system you are currently running, your familiarity with PCs in general, and your current system configuration. With that in mind, we have designed Windows 7 for a smooth upgrade from Windows Vista and have improved several tools that can aid you in the upgrade process.

Because Windows 7 is built on the same architectural platform as Windows Vista, the transition to Windows 7 should be fairly smooth whether you’re using a 32-bit or 64-bit system, although you will need to ensure that your PC has the latest service pack first.* If your upgrade gets blocked due to incompatible or missing drivers, you may be able to load a new or updated driver from the Compatibility Center and continue with the upgrade.

*Note: Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) was released in April 2008. Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) was released in May 2009. While you can upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 with SP1, Microsoft recommends that you install both Service Packs before upgrading.

Migrating from Windows XP
Windows 7 is best experienced on a new PC with the latest hardware, but if your computer meets the minimum specifications, you can install Windows 7 on a PC running Windows XP. Windows 7 must be “custom” installed (also known as a “clean” installation) over Windows XP. Before beginning the installation, you’ll need to copy your fi les and settings to an external drive. After Windows 7 has been installed you will need to re-install all of your programs using the original installation media and then copy over the files and settings you backed up to your external drive. Because Windows 7 requires a custom installation, we strongly recommend that you get help with this process from your local computer service provider.

Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
In general, if your PC can run Windows Vista, it can run Windows 7. But if you’re not running Windows Vista, or are just not sure if your system is ready to run Windows 7, there’s an easy way to check. Just use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. You’ll get a report telling you if your PC can run Windows 7 and if there are any known compatibility issues with your programs or hardware, like printers or scanners. If there’s a fix, you’ll get suggestions for next steps. For example, it will let you know if you need an updated driver for your printer and show you where to get it.

Note: To learn more about the Windows Upgrade Advisor, visit http://windows.microsoft.com/upgradeadvisor

Windows Compatibility Center
You may want to know if your devices and software will work with your computer, and that you have all the latest updates so your stuff works the way it’s supposed to. First introduced with Windows Vista, the Windows Compatibility Center is a single location where you can quickly and easily verify that your existing devices and applications will work—and double-check to make sure that your new purchases work too. The Compatibility Center is updated frequently so you can find the most current software and drivers to make things run perfectly. You can even share feedback with Microsoft to help improve the Compatibility Center or get help from the Windows community.

Note: To learn more about the Windows Compatibility Center, visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility.

Windows Easy Transfer
Windows Easy Transfer helps you move files, folders, program settings, and system settings from your old PC to your new one. With the newest version of Windows Easy Transfer, you can leave the transfer unattended. If Windows encounters a file or setting that it can’t transfer, it will complete the rest of the migration and then show you any items that failed to transfer and give you the option to try again.

Windows Easy Transfer also works well if you’re adding a second PC. With the new Windows Easy Transfer file explorer, you can see files on other PCs and choose the ones you want to copy to your new PC. If you’re not sure what you want to transfer, you can use the new Selective Restore feature to save all the files and settings on your old PC to removable media. You can then choose the files and settings you want to transfer. Everything else remains safely stored in your Windows Easy Transfer archive, in case you want to access it later.

You’ll need the same version of Windows Easy Transfer on all PCs to transfer files, folders, program settings, and system settings. For PCs running Windows 7, Windows Easy Transfer automatically copies the latest version of Windows Easy Transfer to other PCs running Windows 7 after you’ve connected them. If you’re running Windows Vista or Windows XP, however, you will need to manually install the Windows 7 version of Windows Easy Transfer on your PC from the installation media in Windows 7 before you can begin transferring data.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Market Trends that Inspired Windows 7

As we planned Windows 7, we took a hard look at how the world of technology is changing and what that means for you. In doing so, we identified some key themes that influenced our engineering design efforts and helped us to focus on where we could deliver the highest value to you.

• Hardware advances. Since Tablet PCs with touch screens were introduced more than five years ago, a whole range of new devices has made touch technology more popular. Similarly, the reduced cost of random access memory (RAM) has led many more people to use 64-bit processors. Other advances include solid-state drives (SSDs), faster wireless networking, enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, multicore central processing units (CPUs), and powerful new graphics accelerators.

• Expanded diversity and sophistication of devices. The type and range of devices continue to expand. Nearly 1,500 new Plug and Play devices are identified each day, with more than 4 million expected by 2010. At the same time, devices like MP3 players and mobile phones store more information and offer more features than ever before.

• Growth of mobile computing. In the United States, portable computers are becoming more prevalent than desktops, and we’re seeing a growing variety of them, like small notebook PCs, ultra-mobile PCs, and Tablet PCs.

• More connection options. People want to get online easily and stay online using whatever Internet connection is available. Furthermore, people want to be able to access work and home information, no matter where they are.

• Connecting multiple PCs in the home. Today, more than half of U.S. households have more than one PC—yet setting up a home network can still be a challenge. For many people, it’s even more difficult to manage, find, and share information across multiple PCs.

• More digital media. People now have access to more types of digital media than ever, including music, video, TV, photos, and an ever-increasing amount of rich content on the Web. This media needs to be easier to find, use, and share—digital media should be accessible through more devices without any added complexity, regardless of whether people are listening to music on wireless headphones or watching movies on a big-screen TV.

• A rapidly evolving Web. Browsing the Web remains the single most popular activity on the PC, with people spending more time—and doing more things—online. They want a Web browsing experience that supports all that the Web has to offer, with everyday tasks and content at their fingertips. They want easier ways to connect with friends and interact with social networks. And they also want protection from hackers, malicious software (malware), and other Internet-based threats.

• Increased focus on costs. Although businesses often adopt new operating systems for better security and quantifiable cost savings, application and device compatibility can prevent them from moving forward. IT professionals need to know that adopting new technologies will make running and managing PCs easier, help increase data security, and extend the investments they have already made in existing applications and devices.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Product Guide

Internet Explorer 8

The evolution of the Internet has introduced new sources of rich information and more ways to access it. This growth has created new opportunities, experiences, online services, and standards to the Web. With this intensity and reliance, Web developers face an evolving set of needs, which Internet Explorer 8 addresses in three key ways. First, Internet Explorer 8 provides real-world interoperability with other browsers and compatibility for existing sites. It includes enhancements to the core platform and architecture, offering improved performance, safety, reliability, and compatibility. With previous versions of Internet Explorer, developers and designers have sometimes noted that Internet Explorer has had its own interpretation of Web standards and the way the browser handles HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), scripting, and so on. In some cases, interpretations were decided upon because Internet Explorer supported certain features before corresponding standards were finalized. If those standards change as they are finalized, Internet Explorer’s implementation can vary from what the standard specifies. With Internet Explorer 8, the decision to support legacy behaviors versus strict standards will be put in the hands of developers by enabling you to select the rendering mode on a page-by-page basis.

Second, Internet Explorer 8 makes Web development faster and easier with built-in developer tools. With advancements in support for Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) applications, as well as improvements that simplify the process of building cross browser applications, Internet Explorer 8 enables developers to be more productive when building the most robust Web applications possible.

Finally, Internet Explorer 8 enables experiences that reach beyond the page through new browser features that effortlessly connect users to innovative Web services. Internet Explorer 8 features a set of integrated developer tools that are a component of the browser. As a result, performance is improved and no memory is used when the tools are not running. The integrated Developer Tools make it faster and easier for developers to develop and troubleshoot rich content sites. Internet Explorer 8’s Standards mode layout engine was also built with the CSS 2.1 spec in hand and full compliance in mind, helping developers to easily support the latest standards while having the option to fall back to Internet Explorer 7- compatible (or earlier) behavior if necessary. To assist developers in taking full advantage of the elements offered by HTML 4, Internet Explorer 8 provides upgraded support for several presentational elements. For example, the Q element represents an inline quoted string, and the object element may now represent any “object,” including images. Through improved support for these and other HTML elements, Web developers can deliver more expressive and accessible HTML markup.

In addition to the improvements made to the underlying platform and developer experience, Internet Explorer 8 introduces new features that deliver new opportunities for Web developers to extend their experience beyond the Web page. These new features are enabled through community standards rather than building custom client code that is not interoperable across browsers.

Source of Information : Guia Windows 7 Developer Guide

How to Communicate on Facebook

You can’t have a social networking site without avenues to communicate, and Facebook has plenty. You’ve already learned how to express yourself on your profile page by writing on your Wall. This particular form of communication is generated by you for the purpose of letting people know what you’re up to. When they pop by your profile page, they see your activities and any status updates you post to the Wall. You’ve also learned how to add a status update directly from the Home page so it appears out in the news feed for others to see on their Home pages, too.

Wall communication goes both ways—friends can write on your Wall, and you can also write on your friends’ Walls to communicate with them. You might write a new posting, or comment on existing postings on a friend’s Wall. Anyone else who views the friend’s page can also see your postings and comments.

If you join a group, you can communicate through postings on the group Wall, “Joining Groups.” Like any other Wall communication, when you share postings in a group, everyone in the group can see them.

Communicating with Wall postings can be a bit limiting at times. If you’re looking to share a longer chunk of text than will fit in a status update, for example, you can use Facebook’s Notes application. Notes are perfect for sharing larger amounts of text, and you can use the feature to communicate by blogging. With the Notes application, you can even include some basic HTML coding to enhance the note text.

If you’re looking for more direct, less public ways to communicate, you can use the Facebook Inbox to send and receive messages. Just like any email client you use, the Inbox has options for reading messages, creating and sending messages, and organizing received messages. If you’re looking for more immediate communication, try Facebook’s live chat feature. You can talk with your friends (via your keyboard) who are logged on at the same time as you.

Finally, you can also communicate through sending Facebook actions and gifts. Sounds, weird, right? Don’t knock it until you try it!

Source of Information : Sams Teach Yourself Facebook in 10 Minutes

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