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Tag: Windows 7

Vizio is doing it right

Vizio Ultrabook

Some years ago I moved from Apple products to PC products from mayor vendors like HP, Lenovo or Dell. I really love Windows and the way it works, don’t get me wrong OS X is a good operating system and some years ago (between Windows XP and Windows Vista/7) it had some advantages, but as I think in the last years the company who did the most and major innovation was Microsoft. Now what I always missed was really cool hardware. I know there are some machines out there which are okay but it does just not feel as good as Apple hardware.

vizio-thin-and-light

Some months ago I saw some articles on the web about a small American company which was know for his TVs is starting to build PCs… Crazy? Sure I would think you have to be a little crazy to enter the PC market at all but when you see the products they make, you realize this could work. They make really clean and beautiful Apple like designs and they focus and building good hardware and not just selling some plastic.

Today I found a great article (Vizio reboots the PC: a quiet American success story takes on sleeping giants) about this company called Vizio on theverge.com.

I really love their products and would love to get them here in Switzerland together with Windows 8. Checkout http://www.vizio.com/



Winning

Microsoft Avengers



Microsoft’s Mouse Without Borders

Microsoft Mouse Without Borders

Microsoft released a free software called “Mouse Without Borders” which allows you running multiple computers with one keyboard and mouse like Synergy. But the “Mouse Without Borders” brings a lot of cool features and an easy setup.

  • Use your mouse seamlessly
  • Drag files across computers
  • Copy & paste across computers
  • Share one keyboard across computers
  • Lock or log into all of your PCs at one time and share screen captures from one PC to another

 



Remove a VPN connection in Windows 7

In Windows 7 you an create VPN connections for PPTP, L2TP or SSTP. To delete a connection you can not just right click and press delete. But it’s still very simple, but a lot of people can’t find where you can remove VPN connections, because it is a kind of hidden ;-).

  1. First open Network and Sharing Center
  2. Click Change Adpater Settings on the left side
    networkandsharingcenter
  3. Now you can see all connections and you can remove the VPN connection


OCZ Vertex 2 Bluescreen after resume from Hibernate / Standby

OCZ Vertex2

Some weeks ago my HP Elitebook 8460w arrived. The first thing I did was installing a new OCZ Vertex 2 SSD and Windows 7 with Servicepack 1, I installed all the drivers from the HP Support Website and everything worked fine.

Now last week I tried to update the firmware on my OCZ Vertex 2 drive. Now with an Intel Rapid Storage driver installed, the OCZ Toolbox could not find the SSD drive and I could not update the SSD firmware. So I uninstalled the Intel Rapid Storage driver and updated the SSD. After I did this every thing still worked fine. But some days later I got the first Bluescreen after I came out of Hibernate. After searching for a solution I could see I am not the only one with this problem.

Now after some research I think I have the solution. This could be the Microsoft MSAHCI driver in Service Pack 1. After I installed the latest Intel Rapid Storage driver everything worked again.



HP Elitebook 8460w review

HP EliteBook 8460w

last week my HP Elitebook 8460w arrived and I thought I should write a little review.

System Configuration

Sadly the HP Elitebook 8460w is not available in Switzerland, so I had to order it in the US and this is the configuration I ordered.

  • HP EliteBook 8460w Mobile Workstation
  • Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM Processor (2.0 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache)
  • Mobile Intel QM67 chipset
  • 14.0-inch diagonal LED-backlit HD+ anti-glare (1600 x  900) with 720p HD Webcam
  • AMD FirePro™ M3900 w/1 GB gDDR3
  • 8GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (2D)
  • 500 GB 7200 rpm 2.5-inch hard drive
  • DVD+/-RW SuperMulti DL Drive
  • DualPoint (TouchPad and PointStick)
  • Intel Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300 (3×3)
  • Bluetooth® Wireless Technology 2.1
  • TPM & Fingerprint
  • HP 9-Cell 100 Wh Li-Ion Battery
  • 56K v.92 high speed modem
  • 2x USB 3 ports
  • 1x USB 2 always on port
  • 1x USB/eSATA combo port
  • HP Elite Support with limited 3 year standard parts and labor warranty 3/3/3

I also replace the 500GB Harddisk with an OCZ Vertex 2 (240GB).

HP Elitebook 8460w

Design and Durability

HP Elitebook 8460w

Of course design is a subjective thing. But in my opinion is a really nice upgrade from the previous model. Very clean and industrial design, and the “gunmetal black” is a good choice. I also like the back with a radial-brushed, gunmetal finish and backlit jewel HP logo.

HP Elitebook 8460w

The quality of the HP Elitebook 8460w is just impressive. As a former MacBook Pro user, I am really happy with quality and the durability of the 8460w. HP sends here a clear message to his competitors, about quality of business notebooks. The Elitebook is made out of magnesium and aluminum materials, and meets the military standards (MIL-SD 810G) for drop, vibration, dust, altitude and high temperature.

HP Elitebook 8460w

Everything seems to be at the right place and all buttons and the whole chassis is feeling very “high-class”. The only thing which makes a cheap impression is the optical drive which looks a bit like cheap plastic, but I don’t think this will be a big issue.

HP removed all the little doors on the bottom. The new Elitebook series has a big magnesium cover on the bottom, which lets you easily access harddrive, RAM and other things. And as the rest of the notebook this makes a very solid impression.

HP Elitebook 8460w Bottom

The size and the dimensions are not the best in class. The Elitebook is around 3.2 cm thick, compare to the MacBook Pro which is around 2.5 cm this is quite a bit. But it sounds like more than it is. The weight is in my opinion, with something around 2kg, very good for a mobile workstation.

HP Elitebook 8460w

Keyboard

HP changed the keyboard design of the ProBook and the Elitebook to a MacBook like chicklet style. I think this is a huge improvement to the previous generation of Elitebooks. There is more space between the keys and this makes is very easy to type. The keys feel very smooth and there are no sharp edges, they also have a slightly gritty texture and a subtle curvature which make a comfortable type experience. The only downside is that there is no backlight keyboard option on the 8460w, the 8560w and the 8760w have a backlight keyboard.

HP Elitebook 8460w Keyboard

HP also removed the touch sensitive buttons and added real hardware quick launch buttons. One for turn WiFi on and off, another one for quick web access and the third for mute and unmute.

HP Elitebook 8460w Buttons

HP Elitebook 8460w Buttons

Touchpad and Pointing Stick

HP also redesigned the touchpad from scratch. The touchpad is now a bigger, multi-touch glass touchpad. It’s nearly as good as the Apple glass touchpad. If you move from a MacBook to a Windows notebook, the HP Elitebook trackpad is one of the only trackpads which gives you a similar experience.

HP Elitebook 8460w Touchpad

Business users which like a Pointing Stick instead of a touchpad will get this option. With a simple double click on the upper left corner of the touchpad you can turn it off. There is also enough space between the keys and the pointing stick.

Display and Audio

HP Elitebook 8460w Display

About 14 inch screens is always a big debate. I am not a photographer or have anything to do with colors. But I think it’s the screen it’s okay for a 14 inch. Most of the time I use the screen with a brightness of 50%, so it’s really enough bright if you turn it to 100%. The contrast is average but I think it’s much better than on the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 or the Elitebook 8440p. But if you are a graphic designer you maybe would prefer an Elitebook 8560w or an 8760w with a Dreamcolor display.

HP Elitebook 8460w Display

HP Elitebook 8460w Display

HP uses SRS Premium Sound branding for built-in stereo speakers. The sound quality is quite good for a business laptop. But of course multimedia notebooks have much better speakers.

Ports and Accessories

As usual HP offers a lot of ports and options in his business notebook line.  Besides the ports and slots I mention, HP offers pretty cool accessories like the well know HP docking stations and external monitor solutions. The HP Elitebook supports multiple display output (AMD Eyefinity) up to four external monitors, and lets you use a DisplayPort-to-HDMI converter for the display signal and sound.

hp_EliteBook-8460w-Front-Right-Open-Docked

The Elitebook 8460w comes standard with a 6 cell battery. You can replace the primary 6 cell battery with a 9 cell one, or add on a second 8 or 12 cell battery to greatly extend battery life.

Left

HP Elitebook 8460w Left

HP Elitebook 8460w Left

  • 1x power adapter port
  • 1x firewire port (1394a)
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • 1x SD/MMC slot
  • 1x Express Card/54 slot
  • SuperMulti DL; DVD+/-RW

Right

HP Elitebook 8460w Right

HP Elitebook 8460w Right

  • 1x stereo microphone in
  • 1x stereo headphone/line-out
  • 1x eSATA/USB combo
  • 1x USB 2.0 charging
  • 1x DisplayPort
  • 1x Security lock slot

Back

HP Elitebook 8460w back

HP Elitebook 8460w back

  • 1x RJ-11 port
  • 1x VGA port
  • 1x RJ-45 port
  • Battery slot

Bottom

HP Elitebook 8460w bottom

  • 1x docking connector (for HP docking stations)
  • 1x secondary battery connector

Display

HP Elitebook 8460w Display

HP Elitebook 8460w Display

  • HP Night Light (a LED light above the display)
  • HD webcam

Internals

HP Elitebook 8460w Internals

  • Intel Core i5 and i7 2. Generation CPU’s
  • Up to 16GB DDR3 SDRAM (2 slots)
  • Mobile Intel® QM67 Express Chipset
  • AMD FirePro™ M3900 with 1 GB dedicated DDR3 video memory
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Intel Centrino 802.11a/b/g/n (3×3)
  • TPM 1.2 Embedded Security Chip
  • HP Fingerprint Sensor
  • Integrated Smart Card Reader
  • HP 3D DriveGuard

Heat and Fan Noise

The Elitebook stays always very cool, much cooler than my MacBook Pro which was very hot on the spots where the CPU and the GPU was. I think this is mostly because of the thicker design and it’s also a sign of good quality materials.

I can’t really say something about the fan, it’s mostly really silent and I can’t hear any noises.

Wireless

I did not really think about wireless performance before, but with the integrated Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (3×3) is a real benefit. I can see now new wireless access points which I could not see before, because they were out of range.

Battery life and Performance

A 14-inch mobile workstation is in my opinion all about battery life, and the 15-inch and the 17-inch are more like desktop replacements. HP did a very good job in terms of battery life on the 8460w. With my 9-cell battery and normal use (WLAN on, web browsing, display brightness 60%), I get something like 9-11 hours of batterylife without problems. I am also sure I could get more out of it, by activating power saving features. I am more than satisfied with battery life.

For its 14-inch size notebook this thing is a monster. Intel did a very good job with the second generation of Sandy Bridge CPUs even I don’t have the fastest Core i7 option (i7-2630QM Processor 2.0 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache) I still have enough power to even run Microsoft Hyper-V for demos on my notebook.

I would not really criticize the AMD GPU (AMD FirePro M3900), but it’s the weakest part of the system. But I think for a 14-inch workstation with this battery life this is not a problem at all. If you need more graphics power you should move to the 15-inch and the 17-inch mobile workstation which have better graphic options but less battery life.

Replacing the normal HDD with a SSD is always a good choice. It needs less power, it is a lot faster and move my notebook around even its still running and don’t have to worry about destroying the HDD. In my case I did not use the HP SSD option, I bought an OCZ Vertex by myself and replaced the HDD.

Here you can see the results of the Windows Experience Index.

8460w

Conclusion

HP Elitebook 8460w

HP Elitebook 8460w

The new Elitebook 8460w is more than I even expected. It is one of the best Windows based business notebooks in the industry. Sure it’s not made for high graphics designer but its a good mobile workstation with an extremely strong battery life and more than enough CPU power. The build quality HP delivered is outstanding and reaches Apple MacBook Pros.

More information about the HP Elitebook 8460w here.



Boot from VHD

If you need to run multiple instances of Windows on your computer, you have different options. First you could use software like Microsoft Virtual PC or VMware Workstation to run a virtual instance. But if you need more performance, or you have to run for example Microsoft Hyper-V you need a native installed Operating System. Until Microsoft added the feature “boot from VHD”, you had to create different partitions for each installation. Since Microsoft allowed you to use VHD to boot you won a lot of flexibility.

This guide should show you how you can install a new operation system in a VHD, which you can boot from.

  1. First boot from a Windows Setup DVD or USB Stick
  2. On the screen where you could click “Install now” you have also a “Repair your computer” option in the bottom left corner. Click on this option or use the short cut “Shift + F10” to boot in to the command line mode.
  3. Enter diskpart
    Capture1
  4. Create a new VHD file
    create vdisk file=”filepathandfilename” type=”expandable” maximum=maxsiize
    Capture2
  5. Now you have to attach this VHD
    select vidsk file=”filepathandfilename”
    attach vdisk
    Capture3
  6. Now you can switch back to the “Install now” screenby pressing “ALT+TAB” and now do the setup on the new create vdisk.
  7. If you start Windows the next time you will see the new and the old Windows in the boot menu.

If you want to add a already existing VHD to the boot menu you can use bdcedit to edit the boot menu.

You can get more information here.