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Archiv für November 2012

Windows 8 :The Drive Extender technology

Freitag, 30. November 2012

Windows 8 is an opportunity for unexpected revival. The Drive Extender technology designed for Windows Home Server first name, and buried with Windows Home Server 2011 for reasons that we still do not understand.

Anyway Spaces Storage Spaces Storage or French, is the spiritual successor because Drive Extender allows you to create storage pools. The idea is to aggregate multiple physical disks internal or external, whatever their size, to make one accessible from Windows. The Dell Inspiron 1564 operating system will load seamlessly dispatcher data between physical disks regardless of their size, format, and interface. For the user, the immediate benefit of his experience greatly simplify storage without increasing the drive letters in particular. Better technology can recycle old USB drives eg for larger storage space.

Among the features of this implementation in 2012 of Drive Extender, there are additional security options at the data replication to ensure that they are not lost. The default mode is thus proposed to copy the same data on two drives to prevent failures. It is possible to overcome this security, or to choose a reinforced using a third disk, your data is then copied onto three discs and protected, even if two hard drives showed failed. In a configuration where two disks are a pool, if you disconnect one drive the entire pool becomes inaccessible. What’s more, by connecting one of these disks to another Windows machine, its contents remain invisible.

Windows To Go

With Windows 8, Microsoft offers a much-requested feature: the ability to create a USB key where we find and live a full version of its operating system. The idea is to lug around its OS with its settings, its apps and documents to start to find their working environment on any computer.

Pitch your fancy? Probably. Unless you prevent that as a result, Windows To Go is available in Enterprise edition of Windows 8. Unfortunately we do not find this feature on consumer versions of the OS whether Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro.

To create the key Windows To Go, go to the wizard of the same name found in the Control Panel of Windows 8 traditional (Enterprise edition so). Hardware side, you need an external USB device with 32GB of free space. Attention, following keys are not removable conventional supported. Microsoft strongly recommends the use of Dell Studio 1558hardware USB 3.0, but USB 2.0 devices are in fact supported.

Specifically, once a carrier compatible destination is found, the wizard prompts you to specify the location of the source image to deploy Windows 8 (you can find it on your USB flash drive Windows 8 installation) and offers of activate or not the BitLocker encryption. For further operations there has to wait.

Media creation finished, it can be used to boot any PC (you will of course choose the drive you just created as bootable media). Windows 8 support obviously generic drivers for each system, a step which takes a few minutes at first start and the rest requires a reboot. At the end of this, we personalize the system as after the initial installation of Windows 8 theme choosing, Wi-Fi, computer name and Microsoft. Parameters which are preserved in the future regardless of the machine used. Once your Windows To Go started a revolution in the file manager will show you that drives the host are disabled: go to the management computer to go online system disks.

And of course, we must keep the support Windows To Go connected to the system so that it remains usable: by unplugging the system freezes and when you reconnect the Windows To Go, the system becomes operational with a message prompting you not to repeat this kind of manipulation.

Management of multi-screen

We waited for Windows 7, Windows 8 is finally Microsoft decided to improve the experience of multi-screen operating system. Found a way to clone or extended display. Customization options of wallpaper already mentioned above, there are two interesting possibilities.

Firstly we can consider placing on the first screen and the Modern UI interface on the second screen Windows desktop or at least part of the office. An attractive scenario that could help overcome some disadvantages including the permanent switch between Modern UI and office. Modern UI aficionados will remember them for that Metro can not be displayed on two screens simultaneously. This means that the Metro Apps … no more. For use as the start screen Modern UI is displayed on the screen number 1, the launch of a Modern UI does not disappear in favor of a bigger office, suddenly even with two screens that are kept phenomenon of alternation between the office and Metro because Metro is not displayed at all times. Note the possibility of sending a Metro app screen 1 to screen 2 by typing and send it to the other screen.

Another new flagship management of multi-screen lies in the fact that each screen now has its own Taskbar. In fact the applications open and épinglent the right to monitor work organization much more flexible on this type of environment. Furthermore Microsoft provides configuration options here fairly complete with the ability to choose which taskbar buttons appear.

Note that in this multi-screen configuration, each monitor preserves its hotspots: task switcher and toolbar are obtained in the same way. In use it is confusing, because it was soon done by calling the toolbar of the screen 1 to overflow its mouse pointer on the screen 2 …

Windows features

Windows 8 introduces a new management modules and additional components via the dialog “Windows Features”. By default, a number of more or less advanced features are not installed with the system. We must therefore make a detour to activate this module, with sometimes a reboot.

The irony is that the. NET framework from Microsoft is one of the optional modules! This is the same dialog that can also uninstall or disable certain system components.

Add functionality to Windows 8

If the dialog “Windows Features” mentioned above for the components installed with the Latitude E5500 OS or not, should not be confused with the module “Add Features” found in the Control Panel and allows classic example acquire the pack Windows Media Center.

Windows Defender is an anti-virus

Windows 8 still has its module anti-malware called Windows Defender. Integrated for the first time in the heart of the OS with Windows Vista, it evolves logically with Windows 8. If the interface undergoes some modifications the big news is the inclusion of antivirus functionality that was previously lacking in the software. Windows Defender indeed benefit from the technology developed by Microsoft’s Security Essentials.

Troubleshooting options reviewed and expanded

With Windows 8 traditional advanced startup options of the OS that obtained previously by pressing F8 at boot, have disappeared. Microsoft argues in effect that the startup time of Windows 8 is so short on some devices it does not leave time to press F8. So, Redmond teams have developed a new mechanism while offering an elegant solution to the problem of paliant decay with time of a Windows installation. This is the “Starting advanced” Windows 8.

Accessible from the Control Panel of Windows 8 Metro (but also from a boot disk Windows 8), under General, how “advanced start” requires a reboot via the button “Restart Now”. We then discover buttons with icon on a blue screen, exit lines of text on a black background of the old safe mode!

It is then possible to update the PC or reset. In the first case, the update, applications and personal files are copied to a secure area of ​​the drive and reinstalled Windows before these are fed back. In the second case, ie reset, Windows will simply erase your hard drive and all its contents before installing a new version of Windows 8 (it will support the passage connect valid installation of Windows 8 for instructions.)

What’s more, Microsoft offers some options in “Advanced Start” to address situations in which access to the command line or boot with the basic drivers.

Windows Update: some changes

The Windows Update service continues to evolve with Windows 8. Microsoft made some changes and there, Metro requires two ways to access Windows updates, installation promises to be less disruptive to the user. The reality is that the layer of servicing the OS has not really changed since Windows Vista and in practice it always restart to apply some updates from the use by some system files to be upgraded. Microsoft thus simply consolidate restarts grouping in a single pass installing updates requiring a reboot and not imposing directly said restarting the user prefers to give him a few days.

In use, we note that the updates offered by Windows Update in the Metro environment is limited to critical updates. Must return to the office to find details of the optional updates and updates to any hardware drivers.

A task manager reviewed

Another development in the heart of Windows 8, the Task Manager. Again, Microsoft offers us two viewing modes: a simplified and one advanced. In his view the most basic task manager simply lists the applications running (and not services, processes, etc..) And allows to terminate a click. It is very similar experience here with Mac OS X keyboard shortcut CMD + ALT + ESC. Note that the display task manager applications simplified mixture Metro and desktop software.

In verbose mode, the task manager is more accurate. We find a listing of applications and processes with each, and this is new, occupation CPU, memory usage, and the use of disk bandwidth and network. As for the simplified view, the Metro applications are mixed with desktop applications and of course the button “End Task” can terminate an application. The Performance tab is still there, but the representation is different: more cutting default logical processor (except right click), and as an indication of the memory usage remains there for the arrival of indicators HDD, Ethernet network connection and Wi-Fi It was previously going through the Resource Monitor to get a similar level of information.

Among the new arrival emphasize the tab “Startup” which allows you to view the software is running with Windows and disable them as needed. Summarizes the historical consumption of system resources since each application by a given date. Found a tab dedicated to services for consulting services running and stop them if necessary (or to restart it again).

Windows 8 for use

For those who have already read the passage on “Modern UI in practice with the mouse and keyboard”, this passage will be some repetition. The purpose is wider than back yet again on Metro since it is primarily to discuss our daily experience of Windows 8.

Daily on a desktop PC Dell Vostro 1320 with a keyboard and mouse, Windows 8 surprises. A good surprise to start: quick start is quite impressive, especially on configurations based SSD. Of course, the second surprise comes from the Modern UI interface that appears in place of the office without the user can select the boot environment. This is regrettable and the first reaction is often click on the tile “Office” to find himself in a familiar environment.

Provided the presentation of the Start screen Metro is nice, because then we denote relatively uncluttered still some omissions. The most annoying everyday is the lack of time display. It does not look anything like that, but return to the desktop or show the toolbar to have the time … it is still impractical.

Level hardware compatibility, we did not encounter any major concern. Windows 7 x64 driver for our card Adaptec Serial ATA seems problematic since one of its sub drivers is not compatible. Fortunately this does not prevent access to data related to our various discs AHA1430. Drivers for our TV tuner are conspicuously absent while our HP to settle for limited functionality (note: since the initial publication of this test, HP has posted drivers for our full Windows 8 C310a Photosmart Premium). As for our sound card Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD, it has functional Windows 8 drivers, but the Dolby Digital or DTS … Software side, our tests did not reveal obvious incompatibility. However, we upset about the lack of. NET Framework in OS which requires manual installation separately.

Once our software deployed, the Metro Start screen unsurprisingly became a maze populated moult shortcuts and it will take its troubles patiently to reorganize everything. From the desktop, all goes well … almost like Windows 7. Except of course the lack of menu. Must be with and make new habits, especially to launch its software. Between pressing the Windows key and keyboard input the program name or use the shortcut “Windows + R” and then typing the name of the executable or the shortcut “Windows + Q” to activate the Research charm … all roads lead to Rome, or rather its application. For users accustomed to the workflow start menu is clearly interrupted by the passage Modern UI when he must take the crease and choose their preferred shortcut … or put shortcuts on the desktop. In all cases we lose the start menu functionalities, such as the list of recent documents to Word (or any other compatible application), and it will pin its application and then access these documents from the recent Jump Lists, opened with Windows 7 (right-click the icon on the taskbar).

We appreciate the way the improvements in file management operations and in particular for copy / paste. Some details, however irritate. A click on the icon network or Wi-Fi reveals a sidebar Metro open on the desktop dell xps m1330 battery , while for a legacy Windows application running in full screen pressing the Windows key that was used to show the taskbar to quickly see the programs running and eventually switch to one of them returns us to … Metro Start screen. While we still ALT-TAB! Right click on the desktop to the Trash shows the command “Pin to home screen” (which will for the trash?) The same height level as the entry “Empty Trash” on previous Windows: often suddenly to pin the basket home screen by mistake rather than empty. As for MSN aka Windows Live Messenger, its use on the desktop raises some concerns parallel to the Message application integrated because if you use the same account with both apps, you get twice the posts and on the desktop when the window MSN flashing warning Metro comes with a slight delay.

It’s not all negative, however, and sometimes we take pleasure. This is true for our traditional desktop dock application as the Metro Monde.fr or weather app. In this case we say that still spend so much pixels to display the temperature is a great waste of space compared to Windows 7 where the corresponding widget only occupied a very small area compared to the display.

Side stability, Windows 8 seems to be relatively successful in its final version. Fast, the system has failed our little different machines. The rest we have not yet seen the final version with the new replacing the traditional blue screen BSOD screen and what is on our test laptops, tablets and other desktop PC.

Modern UI applications delivered as standard

Since Modern UI is now the reference environment, Microsoft Windows 8 book with a number of applications Metro. These are pre-installed and meet needs fairly basic. We find for example a calendar, contact manager or an instant messaging client to read his mail in addition to Internet Explorer.

Each of these applications running in full screen mode and Microsoft will continue to evolve steadily, along with the rest of the operating system. For now, we must admit, despite several updates, the level of functionality offered by these apps is low. In other words, it looks forward to the next developments.

Calendar

Side of the Calendar application, is entitled to a full screen and synchronize with your Exchange accounts, Hotmail and Google (!). Options for the app to enable or disable the schedules of your choice while it has, of course, reminders and notifications for appointments obviously with the ability to create its own events. Note that if the Facebook calendar is well managed, it is deactivated via the setting “Birthday Calendar”. Why the hell did not you call this calendar just Facebook?

Mail

The Mail app with three columns presentation has already been much ink. Three columns display folders and mails accounts in the left column, the contents of each file for Central and preview the selected mail in the right display. Columns … fixed width. Compatible with Hotmail, Outlook, Exchange (the configuration is sometimes a bit tricky here), Google, Yahoo and IMAP offers application management POP accounts. Yes, but if this interface offers the POP option when you select a message tells you that POP accounts are not supported! In this case, why offer the option?

With a minimalist design reminiscent of the Windows Phone app mail, the Mail app defaults mails the last 15 days: a setting that can be changed in the options. If there are a display in the form of conversation mails, viewing them in full screen is not possible and there is no unified inbox when you have multiple email accounts. And options consultation or editing can be reduced to a trickle: impossible eg resize an image inserted as an attachment to the email that you compose. It is possible to change the font, color or style formatting characters and must select the text and then right click to bring up the contextual editing bar … Adding an attachment is just as intuitive while we always try to empty the command of a sudden the folder “Deleted Items”. And do not move in drag & drop emails from one folder to another … it’s just not expected! As for the print function it is not exposed in the interface: it must call the icon “Devices” in the toolbar to print a message. In short, there has been much more convincing and you bet on the side of perfectly bewildering “+” button which is … to write a new email.

Contacts

On another note, Microsoft offers a unified contacts app. This includes all your contacts from different accounts: Outlook, Exchange, Hotmail (MSN, etc), but also including Facebook and Twitter as well Skype. All contacts are aggregated and presented with their avatar and it is possible to show only online contacts. If you want to start a text chat, video chat or send an email to contact you first open the form, which is an intermediate step further. The app also allows contacts to track your activity relationships on social networks, but also publish messages directly on Facebook or Twitter for example. Attention during our tests based on our Microsoft accounts we met some difficulties to synchronize with the Contacts app services. This is especially true when our Skype contacts appeared about 24 hours after adding the account. Another strange phenomenon on one of our test machines, during the day all our contacts were listed as offline then of course dozens of them were connected and the app only went back no problem connection to various services.

Posts

In turn the Messages application allows you to exchange instant messages with your HTC Desire X MSN contacts in particular (but also eg Facebook). Know the way to start each Windows 8 with your Microsoft account, you will appear online to your contacts. It must go through the application to change its status and connection to “Invisible”. It’s still the only authorized status. And novelty, it is now possible to start a conversation with a contact from the app itself messages. Still, this means yet another intermediate screen listing your contacts online … With a display that is confusing because the online contacts are adorned with a green line while other contacts are listed with no indication of particular connection. While you might think that it is offline contacts incorrectly listed here, it is actually contacts whose status is set to away. And no way to send any file to any of your contacts via this app or receive!

Weather, Maps, Bing, camera

Microsoft also offers a weather application with detailed forecasts and hourly for the next day with geolocation. Remains as it is, Metro requires an app full screen, hit the tile in the Start screen is much more useful. Alongside the weather maps we find an app that provides access to Bing Maps in vector mode function and air route with a geolocation current location (which was totally wrong about 5km on our test PC Dell Studio 1440 Battery it is true without GPS). The Bing search engine has its own app providing access to research and the ability to save the wallpaper of the day to use it on the lock screen of Windows 8.

Computers and tablets with a webcam offer the Camera application to view the video stream without any significant functionality. It seems possible to record the video stream, but we never found it on the computer. In contrast, the timer mode actually takes still images found in the Photo app and note the ability to switch between webcams if your tablet has a front webcam and a digital camera back.

Sport, News, Travel, Finance

There are also lesapplication Sports News, two Metro Apps with information flows that regularly freshen with highlighting of the highlights on the tile corresponding to the Start screen. The app offers tours for its ideas destination …

The app allows Finance logically view stock prices. These are operational for the French market (with Windows 7, the exchange ticker not working for France). To financial news and market quotation adds Parisian ranking higher values ​​increase or decrease and the ability to create your own list of optional value with pinning on the Start screen. Rather than grouping values ​​to be monitored on a single tile, multiply them, each tile is pinned displaying listing only one value at a time.

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