Monday, November 30th, 2009
One of the bigger claims to fame with Windows 7 are the massive performance improvements. Naturally I was sceptical about the claims as most performance improvements are statistically measured rather than having a real effect on the ability of the user to get things done faster. As you’ll know from my previous Windows 7 blog post, I upgraded my laptop in place. Therefore I’ve got a pretty good idea on how long it takes to do any given tasks. I’ve not measured how long it takes to do any given task, but I know from how it feels what is fast and what is slow.
I’ve got to say that after just a few hours with Windows 7, I NOTICED the performance improvements from Windows 7. Firstly Windows 7 takes a lot less time to come out of suspend mode than before – it takes about 3 seconds from opening my screen to having a logon screen and then another 2 seconds after that to give me the desktop – that’s 5 seconds in total! It used to take anywhere up to say 30 seconds to do the same thing under Vista.
The other things I’ve noticed are marked improvements in the normal file open and save operations. Word responds far more snappily now when I go to open files. Outlook moves from window to window as if it was skating on ice.
There are many more improvements that I’ve “felt” over time that I can’t quantify, however I do feel that Windows 7 has given me an extra 45minutes to an hour a day back in not the way it performs so much better than Vista did.. or even Windows XP for that matter.
Saturday, November 28th, 2009
Sorry for the abbreviation, but Are You OK day is tomorrow – 29th November. This post might seem out of the ordinary here on my blog, but the awareness of hidden illnesses such as depression is something that affects all of us whether we know it or not. At it’s worst, depression can lead people to take very drastic action such as suicide.
So tomorrow – if you suspect a close friend to be suffering from depression ask them – “are you ok” and don’t take a brush off lightly. People need help and it’s up to us to support each other whenever we need it.
You can find out more here www.ruokday.com.au
Friday, November 27th, 2009
Microsoft Australia have announced this week that they have selected a full time resource for the role of SMB Partner Technology Advisor. They have appointed Mark O’Shea to the role which is a massive boost for the SMB partners here in Australia. Those that don’t yet know him will come to appreciate his straight shooting, no holding back style. Mark is a long term MS stalwart whose focus on the technical side rather than marketing has always been appreciated by many of us.
Mark was actually THE GUY that is responsible for me being involved so closely with Microsoft Australia. Back in the SBS 4.5 days, Mark was a member of the SBS2K list (before it was yahoo) and put the call out for any Aussies to catch up with. Following on from that I got involved in discussions with Mark about how hard many out there saw it to move from SBS 4.5 to SBS 2000 (bear in mind there were no wizards at that time). I’d been doing my own version of a same domain migration for some time moving people from SBS 4.5 over to SBS 2000 without all the pain. Many people now know as Swing Migration which Jeff Middleton has taken further. Anyway – long story short – it was through Mark that I became involved, and I know that with Mark “back in the fold in SMB” that it will go a long way to help us all be better informed about the technology side of SMB stuff here in AU.
Give Mark a break though… he’s spent years trying to get SBS out of his blood and has denied it’s existence for some time so that he could focus on his other roles inside Microsoft. He will need a little time to come up to speed with SBS/EBS etc … ok times up Mark
I’d give you his email address, but he’d kill me for doing that. Make sure that you say Hi to Mark when you see him around the traps.
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Long time SBSer and CRM guru extraordinaire Anne Stanton has authored a new book for SAMS called “Teach Yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4 in 23 hours”. Anne is well known for her knowledge of CRM particularly in the SMB space, so this book is sure to be a hit with many SMB IT Professionals as they come to understand, implement and support CRM 4.
If you are doing any work in the CRM space then I’d highly suggest you get hold of this book and spend the time to learn CRM before your competitors do.
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Over a month ago, I blogged here and in CRN Australia about the insane price delta between the US price for Windows 7 and the Australian price for it. The initial response I got from various quarters was that nobody has really made a concern of this to Microsoft and they felt that it didn’t really affect sales. Microsoft commented that the fault was with the retailers themselves causing the high price of Windows 7. Today it was revealed however that Australia’s biggest nationwide reseller of computers, Harvey Norman has been loosing sales due to the price delta vs. online stores such as Amazon. Also in the article, Microsoft effectively ADMIT that they CHOOSE to charge Aussies more… basically because we earn more money… that to me is not only totally unfair, but so close to a rip-off I can’t see daylight.
Really, Microsoft… what will it take for you to listen to us? Should we all start buying our product from China for everything? How will that affect the local MS office in the long run?
Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
I sent email today to someone we all know and love… and got the following Out of Office response…
Monday 23rd – Monday 30th November,
Camping gear: – $500
Food & supplies: – $200
Beer for 7 days: – $1,000
Not being able to respond to your email as I’m currently camping somewhere on the mid-north coast with no mobile phone coverage or even a power point to plug into? Priceless.
Don’t you just love technology! I do think though he has underestimated the beer budget. Prize goes to the person who can guess who this OOF belongs too.
Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
My HP MiniNote 2140 which I got from TechEd Australia is actually a pretty impressive little machine. My only concern is that given I am using it so much, I wanted to replace the 160G SATA Hard Drive with an SSD drive. I figured this would be better for me as it reduces the chances of a head crash given I carry it everywhere whilst it’s still running.
I used the Windows 7 Backup program to do a complete backup of the hard drive to an external USB drive. I replaced the 160GB SATA drive with a 120GB SSD drive and booted from a USB DVD drive with the Windows 7 DVD in it. I selected the Repair Computer option and then started to restore from the USB hard drive until I got this error below
"No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found. Try the following: [...] (0×80042412)"
Basically it says that it can not find a disk to recover to. Investigation showed that the issue was not quite what it seemed. Windows Image backup from Vista, or Windows 7 will not allow you to restore to a smaller hard drive. In my case I was going from a 160GB SATA drive to a 120GB SSD drive. Other people had used third party imaging tools to do the job. I decided to try something different.
I reasoned that if the issue was that the image was too large (being a 160GB image) that if I used Windows 7 to Shrink the partition, it might work. I used the disk management console to Shrink the partition of Windows 7 from 160GB down to 85GB. I then performed another image backup with the Windows 7 backup tool to USB hard drive.
This time when I attempted to restore it, it went through just fine. After the restore, I used the Windows 7 Disk Management tool to expand the size of the partition back up to the maximum on this disk of 120GB. Hopefully this will help others that might face the same issues in future.
Monday, November 23rd, 2009
Based on the success of his previous free SharePoint Seminar, local SBSer and SharePoint Guru, Robert Crane is running another one later this week. Details below for you.
- How to upload and management documents.
- How to create and manage wikis
- How to work with lists.
- How to create sub sites
Presenter: Robert Crane
Date: Thursday 26th of November 2009
Time : 10.00am (Sydney, Australia time)
Duration: 30 minutes
Level: 1 (Basic)
This webinar will show you the basics of using a SharePoint. It will help you understand the benefits of using SharePoint to store documents and other information. You’ll also learn the basics of extending a SharePoint to include features such as wikis and sub sites.
Registration: To register send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, November 23rd, 2009
Following on from an earlier blog post where I had tested the restore of my SBS 2008 to alternate hardware, on Saturday I restored my SBS 2008 server to an ML 110 G5. Here’s the process I’ve used to transfer SBS 2008 from an ML110 G4 to an ML110 G5.
Hardware Specs of my new server
HP Proliant ML 110 G5
Pentium E2160 Dual Core CPU @ 1.8Ghz
8GB RAM – yes 8GB is enough for my requirements. I’ve in fact run it on 4GB on the old server without an issue as well.
2 x 500G Drives in Hardware RAID 1 Array – this is where SBS 2008, Exchange and all key user data is stored – this is what I restored using the process above.
2 x 1.5TB Drives in Software RAID 0 Array (the HP ML110 G5 can’t handle more than 2TB as a logical volume). This is my data dump of ISO files, drivers etc that are not so critical. I use DFS-R to have this data also stored on another server in the network in case we have a drive failure on this server. After the restore, I used DFS-R to replicate the information back over to this server.
Friday, November 20th, 2009
I got an interesting email today from Paragon Software.
I thought that our latest release can be interesting for you and your community: we’ve created a brand new Paragon Backup & Recovery Free Edition at no cost to users: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/index.html.
Paragon Backup & Recovery is the most powerful disc-imaging and recovery solution on the market today: it is the only one that can do differential backups; create a bootable USB/flash drive and execute automatic data exclusion option. It also supports all existing backup techniques, performs disc imaging to any backup destination and supports Windows 7.
Currently, we are getting the feedback from the market about this tool and your professional feedback is more than appreciated. Please, help us to remove the inertia plaguing of consumers when it comes to backing up and encourage them to act with diligence and confidence!
P.S. The Paragon free software portal is available at: http://www.paragon-software.com/free/
I’ve used their tools in the past for some of our customers and have been impressed. I’ve not had a chance to try this one out just yet, but it certainly looks interesting. The only limitation I can see is that it’s for “non-commercial use” which implies home users. Perfect for our clients home PCs that they refuse to backup
I’d be interested in any feedback you’ve got to offer if you try it out. I plan to do so over the next few weeks and will post a review of it here when I’m done.