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1. Can I change from one Vista Edition, say Home Premium, to another of Windows 7, say Professional?

Yes, but you'll have to pay. Windows Anytime Upgrade lets you do this. This may be of most interest to netbook buyers whose machines have come with the bare-bones Starter edition of Windows 7. As I've written before, Ultimate doesn't offer you much beyond the Home Premium edition, now that Ultimate Extras are gone. See "Microsoft Unveils Win7 Family Pack, Upgrade Pricing" for the actual prices.

2. Can I install Windows 7 to a netbook with no DVD drive?

Yes. You can download the operating system (be sure to let the download run overnight unless you have superfast Internet access), and then install it on yournetbook using a USB key. The key must have 4GB or more free storage space, and you'll need to wipe everything off it. If you're comfortable with command lines, you can use the Diskpart utility, but most people will prefer to simply use theWindows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. As its name suggests, the tool will also create a bootable DVD from which you can install the OS just as though you'd bought the installer discs in the store; but that's no help if you don't want to go out and buy an external disc drive for your netbook.

3. Clicking on a Quick Launch icon in Windows Vista would always launch a new instance of that app, even if one instance was already running. But in Windows 7, clicking on an icon you've pinned to the taskbar doesn't do this. Can I replicate the Vista functionality?

Not exactly, but you can get close. Instead of using your left mouse button, click your middle button (i.e., the scroll wheel). If you're using an older mouse or touch pad that doesn't have a scroll wheel, you can right-click on the icon and click on the program's name in the Jump List that appears. (This is one of the things I complained about in my 7 Things I'll Miss About Vista article.) By the way, for those who aren't accustomed to middle-clicking, it's a simple way to open a link in a new tab in most browsers, too.

4. Create A System Image In Windows 7?

After you install and activate Windows 7 you can create a system image as a back up in case you ever need to reinstall it on your current computer. That will save you the trouble of having to reinstall everything that's currently installed, and it takes much less time to do.
       
       1.  Click the Start Menu and type "Back Up" then click on Back up your Files.  
       2.  In the Control Panel window that appears, Click the blue Create a system image link.
       3.  The Create a system image window should pop-up.  Select which hard disk, DVD, or network location you are going to save your system image to.  Click Next to continue.
       4.  On the next page check both your System and System Reserved drives.  Once you have selected the drives Click Next to continue.
           Note: You can select as many drives as you want (if available), but the more you choose to include means the larger the image size will be.
       5.  The next window is just a review, make sure everything is correct then Click Start backup to start the process.  This can take 10 minutes or more so patience is required.
       6.  After the backup completes, you’ll be prompted with the option to create a system repair disc.  This is a good idea just in case your system has any problems in the future.  Click Yes.
     7.  Choose which Disc Recording drive you’ll be using to burn the disc.  Insert a blank CD or DVD to the physical drive and then Click Create disc.

5. How can I qualify for the Student price of Windows 7? What about the OEM pricing?

You really just need an e-mail account from an institution of higher learning. When I tested a recent alumna coworker's address from the University of Colorado, it was accepted immediately. To get this bargain-basement price of $30, head to http://www.win741.com. OEM pricing is intended for system builders, and usually buying a major system component like a motherboard or hard drive qualifies you for a price considerably lower than what you'd pay for the retail box. But some part sellers will offer the lower price to all takers. Note that the OEM version won't come with both 64-bit and 32-bit discs, nor will it include support from Microsoft.

6. How many Computers Can You Install One Windows 7 License On?

If you purchase one (1) Windows 7 edition, you may install and activate it on just one (1) computer.  If you are so inclined, consider Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack (3-User) for installation on up to three (3) computers in your household.

7. If I run a 64-bit version of Windows, does that require a 64-bit driver for my devices?

Of course, the hardware devices require 64-bit drivers to work on a 64-bit version of Windows. To check information on about drivers go to the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor web page.

8. Isn’t the new Windows 7 user interface just a coat of paint slapped over the Vista UI?

no. The build I have to work with is very Vista-like, missing the new Start menu, desktop, and taskbar enhancements. The demos I’ve seen here at PDC use more recent builds where those features are available. Those features will reach users in the form of a beta “early next year.”

In the past 48 hours, I've had a chance to get a closer look at those new UI features. One thing becomes obvious after only a few minutes of playing with the new interface: The Windows 7 design team has paid an enormous amount of attention to small details and have focused on workflows and end-to-end experiences, not just on dialog boxes and feature sets. The result feels comfortingly familiar to any Windows user, although the overall experience is often significantly different when you break down its small details.

One example that illustrates the point is the difference between Backup programs in Windows Vista and Windows 7. The Windows 7 version, shown below, includes a key feature missing from its Vista predecessor – the ability to include or exclude a folder from a backup set. But that’s not all: the entire workflow of the backup process has been streamlined dramatically. It takes 10-15 clicks to perform an image backup in Windows Vista; on a Windows 7 notebook I tested, the operating system offered to perform a backup when I plugged in an external hard drive. The entire process took three clicks and less than 10 minutes. The customization screen shown here added only two clicks to the entire process.

9. What are Microsoft security patches?

Microsoft security patches are intended to solve certain security loopholes and problems, while at the same time upgrading any existing security features. This would provide better protection by reducing vulnerabilities in security.

10. What are some new features and hotkeys of Windows 7?

There are a lot of new shortcuts to save you time in Windows 7.  A few of our favorites are:

► Win + Up - Maximize Current Window

► Win + Down - Restore, or Minimize Current Window

► Win + Left or Right - Snap active window to the left or right side of the screen

► Win + Space - Aero Peek at the desktop

► Win + Shift + Up - Stretch a window to the top/bottom of the screen

► Win + Shift + Left or Right - Move a window to the left or right monitor (Multi-Monitor setups only)

► “Shake” a window by its menu bar to hide all other open windows.  Shake again to restore.

► Win + Tab - Windows Flip3D (a very fancy alt-tab)

On the taskbar:

► Drag a program shortcut to the taskbar - Pins the program

► Win + T - Selects the taskbar, so you can navigate with the arrow keys

► Shift + L-Click or Middle-Click on a pinned program - Launch a 2nd instance of the program

► Ctrl + Shift + L-Click on a pinned program - Launch program with admin rights

► Ctrl + L-Click on a pinned program, cycle through the active windows one by one (similar to alt-tab)

11. What are the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 7?

Microsoft says Windows 7 is designed to run well on PCs that meet the recommended system requirements for Windows Vista.

Before you upgrade to Windows 7, be sure to compare your PC's specifications with the Windows 7 system requirements as follows:

► 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

► 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)

► 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20GB (64-bit)

► DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

12. What can I do with a system with the minimum hardware recommendations?

The recommended hardware setup for Windows 7 is meant for average computing tasks, such as web browsing and word processing. If you plan to play graphically-intensive games or run other hardware-intensive programs, you will need more robust hardware. It will probably be possible to run Windows 7 on a less powerful system than the minimums recommend, but results cannot be guaranteed.

13. What do I do if I insert a CD or DVD and Windows 7 doesn’t recognize it?

First, try uninstalling and reinstalling drivers using the Device Manager by following these steps:

Step 1: Click the Start button, and then click Control Panel.

Step 2: Click Hardware and Sound, and go to the Devices and Printers, select  Device Manager.

Step 3: In Device Manager, expand DVD/CD-ROM drives, right-click the CD and DVD devices, and then click Uninstall.

Step 4: When you are prompted to confirm that you want to remove the device and click OK.

Step 5: Restart your computer.

14. What does "Custom (Clean)" Mean?

A custom (clean) installation erases the contents of your PC's hard drive. Your files, settings, and programs will not be transferred to Windows 7. That means that to install Windows 7, you'll need to:

                                    •              

Backup all the files and settings you want to keep

           
                  •              

Install Windows 7

           
                  •              

Reinstall all your files

           
                  •              

Reinstall all the programs you want to use.

           
                         

These four steps take time, some technical skill and Windows Easy Transfer can help. However, If you're not comfortable with this process, please consider having the installation done by a local service provider.

15. What features are available with each Windows 7 edition?

Each edition of Windows 7 will come with a distinct feature set. As in the past, each successive edition will include the features of the other, typically less expensive, editions.

► Windows 7 Home Premium

►► Broad application and device compatibility with unlimited concurrent applications.

►► Safe, reliable, and supported.

►► Home Group makes it easy to share media, documents, and printers across multiple PCs in offices without a domain.

►► Improved Taskbar and Jump Lists.

►► Live thumbnail previews and an enhanced visual experience.

►► Advanced networking support (ad hoc wireless networks and Internet connection sharing).

►► Mobility Center.

►► Windows Aero transparent glass design and advanced Windows navigation.

►► Easy networking and sharing across all your PCs and devices.

►► Improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To.

►► Multitouch and improved handwriting recognition.

16. What File system is supported by Windows XP?

Windows XP supports four major file systems: FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS. This means that Windows XP can be installed on these file systems. The use of NTFS is preferred especially when using a bigger hard drive space.

17. What is IIS?

IIS, or Internet Information Server is a technology that integrates with Microsoft servers in managing internet related functions, such as web site administration and creation of web-based applications.

18. What is plug and play?

Plug and Play is a technology wherein hardware components that are installed on PCs using Microsoft operating system are immediately recognized and made usable. This means that the drivers necessary to make it work are already available on the operating system package.

19. What is the advantage of NTFS over FAT and FAT32?

NTFS was build for better performance, especially when it comes to managing the way files are stored and retrieved. It supports encryption, compression and improved metadata support. As a result, NTFS is more robust, secure and has better utilization of hard drive space.

20. What is the difference between a Windows server operating system and a workstation version?

The server version of a Windows operating system is designed to provide more optimized networking services over a network. It can manage domains better and it includes more security feature and data backup support. Workstation versions act merely as clients and therefore do not need to have as much resources when compared to the server versions.

21. What is the important aspect of a real-time system or Mission Critical Systems?

A real time operating system has well defined fixed 
						time constraints. Process must be done within the 
						defined constraints or the system will fail. An example 
						is the operating system for a flight control computer or 
						an advanced jet airplane. Often used as a control device 
						in a dedicated application such as controlling 
						scientific experiments, medical imaging systems, 
						industrial control systems, and some display systems. 
						Real-Time systems may be either hard or soft real-time. 
						Hard real-time: Secondary storage limited or absent, 
						data stored in short term memory, or read-only memory 
						(ROM), Conflicts with time-sharing systems, not 
						supported by general-purpose operating systems. Soft 
						real-time: Limited utility in industrial control of 
						robotics, Useful in applications (multimedia, virtual 
						reality) requiring advanced operating-system features.

22. What is WCF ?

• Stands for Windows Communication Foundation.
              • Its code name is “Indigo”.
              • It is a framework for building, configuring and deploying interoperable distributed services.
              • It enables you to write more secure flexible services without any code change (using configuration).
              • It also provide built-in support for logging. You can enable/disable logging using configuration.
                 

WCF = Web Service + Remoting + MSMQ + COM+

     

or

     

WCF = ASMX + .Net Remoting + WSE + Messaging + Enterprise Services

23. What is Windows XP Mode?

Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 makes it easy to install and run many Windows XP productivity applications directly from your Windows 7-based PC. It utilizes virtualization technology, such as Windows Virtual PC, to provide a virtual Windows XP environment for Windows 7. Windows XP Mode is available for download on computers running Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate.

24. What Upgrade Options are Available for Windows 7?

The upgrade options that are available to you depend on version of Windows or other operating system that is currently running on your PC.  
         
       If you are running Windows XP you can buy an upgrade version of Windows 7 but you will need to perform a custom installation, which does not preserve your files, settings, or programs. For more information, see Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 . ( http://windows.microsoft.com/upgrade-windows-xp )

     

If you are running Windows Vista , in some cases you can upgrade directly to Windows 7 and in other cases you will need to perform a custom installation. The following table shows which editions of Windows Vista can be upgraded to Windows 7.

                                

Windows Vista Home Basic

           

Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Ultimate

                             

Windows Vista Home Premium

           

Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Ultimate

                             

Windows Vista Business

           

Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate

                             

Windows Vista Ultimate

           

Windows 7 Ultimate

                          For more information, see Upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 . (http://windows.microsoft.com/upgrade-windows-vista ) 
     You can't upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit, a clean install is required. If you have questions about upgrading 32-bit to 64-bit or vice versa please see this FAQ: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/32-bit-and-64-bit-Windows-frequently-asked-questions 
     If you have general questions about reinstalling Windows please see this site:
     http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/Windows7/Installing-and-reinstalling-Windows

25. What’s in it for corporate customers?

If you’re an IT pro who’s chosen to stick with XP and eschew Vista, many of the enterprise-focused benefits of Windows 7 are features you could have gotten with a Vista deployment, most notably improvements in group policy and image-based deployment. But there's plenty of good stuff in Windows 7 as well, as my ZDNet colleague Mary Jo Foley outlined earlier today.

Microsoft hasn’t spent a lot of its Windows 7 demo time on corporate features. But the most noteworthy addition I've seen so far is native support for virtual hard drive (VHD) images. Using Windows 7, you’ll be able to mount a VHD as a local drive and, more importantly, boot from that virtual image. The most obvious application is rolling out a standard corporate image to remote workers, such as those in a call center, who don’t require local data storage and are capable of working in a strictly managed, locked-down configuration.

26. What's the difference between the Upgrade and Custom installation options?

Don't confuse the term "upgrade" when it's used to describe the price variant with the term as it's used to describe the installation process. Even if you buy the Upgrade version of Windows 7, you'll have the Upgrade and Custom options when you go through the installation. The Upgrade option only is available if Vista has been installed on the PC. This choice carries your applications, documents, settings and user accounts over to the new OS. If you're not coming from Vista, you must choose Custom, which does a fresh installation. If you're an XP user who wants to migrate instead of wiping everything out and reinstalling, you can useLaplink's PCmover to get the same result as doing an Upgrade installation. Note that even with the Custom installation choice, your old files are preserved in a folder called Windows.old. Also, the Upgrade process takes longer, and may bring along some unwanted programs.

27. What's the difference between upgrade and full retail versions?

I've actually scratched my head a bit about who'd want to pay for the full version. If your PC has been running Windows XP or Vista, you're eligible for the upgrade price. If you're building a new system from parts, you can get the much cheaper OEM version (see below) from your supplier, such as Newegg.com or Fry's. So who needs this "full" version? The only people I can think of are those who want to have Windows 7 on a Mac computer using Boot Camp, or who are running Linux or a prehistoric version of Windows like Me, 98, or even 95. (Those who fall into the latter category may actually be candidates for hardware replacement, in any case.)

     

The upgrade and full discs themselves, however, are actually the same. The difference is in how they react to your system: If the upgrade installer doesn't find an activated previous installation of Windows XP or Vista on the subject machine, you won't be able to complete the installation.

28. Where can I get this special pre-order deal?

The Windows 7 pre-order deal is available only online. In the U.S. it can be purchased from Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Fry's Electronics, Office Depot, Office Max, Sam's Club, Tiger Direct, Wal-Mart, NewEgg. In Canada, Staples, Future Shop, Best Buy, London Drugs, Amazon, and the Source are supplying the updates; in Japan, Yodobashi Camera, Amazon, Yamada Denki, and Bic Camera carry the deal.

Both special prices upgrades are available for Windows XP and Vista users. Windows XP users will have to do a clean install. Moving from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit one will require a clean install as well.

For the UK, France and Germany, pre-orders will start on July 15.									

29. Where can I get this special pre-order deal?

The Windows 7 pre-order deal is available only online. In the U.S. it can be purchased from Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Fry's Electronics, Office Depot, Office Max, Sam's Club, Tiger Direct, Wal-Mart, NewEgg. In Canada, Staples, Future Shop, Best Buy, London Drugs, Amazon, and the Source are supplying the updates; in Japan, Yodobashi Camera, Amazon, Yamada Denki, and Bic Camera carry the deal.

Both special prices upgrades are available for Windows XP and Vista users. Windows XP users will have to do a clean install. Moving from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit one will require a clean install as well.

For the UK, France and Germany, pre-orders will start on July 15.	

30. Which editions of Windows 7 will be released?

Microsoft will release six editions of Windows 7 but concentrate marketing efforts on two of them. The following Windows 7 editions will be made available:

► Windows 7 OEM

► Windows 7 Starter

► Windows 7 Home Premium

► Windows 7 Professional

► Windows 7 Ultimate

► Windows 7 Enterprise							

31. Will my 32-bit applications run if I've switched to the 64-bit variant of Windows 7?

• Applications are a resounding yes. But for system-intrusive software, such as hardware drivers and antivirus software, you'll need 64-bit code. And remember, 32-bit plug-ins won't work in 64-bit applications. The big example here is Flash—it's hard to believe, but Adobe still hasn't produced a 64-bit version of its Internet Explorer plug-in. So, to view Flash-based Web pages, you'll have to run a 32-bit browser, such as the 32-bit version of IE, or a competitor like Firefox , Chrome ,Opera , or Safari .      •