James O'Neill's blog

Windows Platform, Virtualization and PowerShell with a little Photography for good measure.

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  • Blog Post: Easy transfer is not a sign of weakness

    Someone from the office (no names, no pack drill) told me they had read my post from yesterday where I mentioned Windows Easy Transfer.  They felt that it might not be quite the done thing for a technical person to use it but since I was using it , then it was probably OK.  I’ve now switched...
  • Blog Post: Virtualization road show

    Earlier in the week we took the virtualization tour over the Irish Sea. Tuesday was Belfast – and with the snow, getting there was quite a challenge. I felt ill all day and didn’t think I’d delivered the content as well as I should have, but the feedback forms were really positive, better than I thought...
  • Blog Post: Progress or Luddism … why Windows 7 isn’t an F1 car

    Jason Perlow at ZD Net thinks I called him a luddite. Actually I said one of his colleagues barely stopped short of using the L word.   Jason complained that “The “ Run ” option is no longer directly accessible from the Start Menu as a default behavior, you have to get to it via a Search. Once you...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 SKUs

    We’ve announced what the “SKUs” will be for Windows 7 – I hate this term “Stock Keeping Unit” means anything with with a part number… But first a first a history lesson: XP had 5 SKUs Home Professional Tablet Media Center 64 bit Bad luck if you want a 64 bit Tablet or a laptop which is Domain joined...
  • Blog Post: A day out with Divers

    I spent yesterday at the DIVERSE – the South Eastern area conference for BSAC (the British Sub Aqua Club) : officially I was there to speak about why Windows Vista (and 7) are so good at handling pictures. Unofficially as a diver (though not a BSAC member) any valid excuse to hang out with diving folk...
  • Blog Post: Fun and games with VHD files in the new OSes

    One of the new features for both Windows Server 2008 R2 and the Windows 7 client is support for Virtual Hard Disk files built into the OS. You can create fixed or dynamic disks and “attach” the tools for Hyper-V call this “mounting” a VHD and early stuff on 7 seems to  have called it surfacing a...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 for everyone !

    I don’t normally cut and paste things from mail straight to my blog but this arrived in ready to read format so here it is The Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) is now available to download for everyone , and is available until June 2009 to download. Download the RC So what’s new in the RC?   Check...
  • Blog Post: How to use Advanced Queries in Windows search.

    If there was one single feature about Windows Vista which made me say “I’m never ever going back to Windows XP” it was search and the way search was integrated everywhere. True you can download Microsoft Search for Windows XP (and , as they say other kinds of desktop search are available) but it doesn...
  • Blog Post: My first couple of hours with Windows 7

    I don’t talk much here about occasions when Microsoft’s internal workings get silly, but the last couple of days have been funny. We were fore-warned that Steve B would be announcing Windows 7 beta availability in his CES speech, but to prevent leaks the software was kept on very limited distribution...
  • Blog Post: A Windows 7 tip for (untidy) presenters

    Do you have lots of icons on your windows desktop ? I do. And sometimes when I’m giving a presentation I think not only do they look untidy, there might be something given away by the icon and file name. The fix for that is to create a folder named “my stuff” or “everything else” and drag everything...
  • Blog Post: Sophos error: facts not found

    Having begun my previous post with an explanation of “ I have a professional disregard for …” it bubbles up again… Quite near were I live is the headquarters of Sophos, as a local company I should be well disposed to them but I’ve had occasion before now to roll my eyes at what their spokespeople have...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 : Photos, Gallery and AutoCollage.

    When I first started using Windows Vista it was the better experience for photographers which really hooked me in. Most common image formats use the EXIF standard for embedding data about the picture (everything from the camera model and settings, to the title, keywords and so on. XP lets you look at...
  • Blog Post: Desktop virtualization update.

    On the MDOP blog there is an announcement   of new releases of both APP-V (which runs applications in a Virtualized “bubble” so they don’t clash with each other) and MED-V (which runs a centrally managed virtualized OS) App-V 4.6 can be accessed immediately via MDOP 2010 . Existing MDOP customers...
  • Blog Post: On Scanners, Cameras and their USB modes, and lifting the lid on how they can be scripted.

    Long title, and I’m afraid I’ve been on a bit of a voyage of discovery about some of the things Windows 7 (and Vista) can do with photos and first thing I wanted to cover here was something I’ve been trying to ignore: Cameras have two USB modes. In “Mass Storage Class” (MSC) mode, the computer sees...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 federated search.

    I was a little surprised to find it was nearly 3 years ago that I first wrote about Open Search… So first off… Open search provides a specification for XML to describe search services. It’s easy to build this XML, and there’s a Microsoft Page which builds it for you , so here’s an example for IMDB, which...
  • Blog Post: How to use old drivers with a new OS – more on XP mode

    In a post a while back about Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) I wrote “I’ve got a bad track record choosing scanners” and described the most recent one I’ve bought as a  “piece of junk”. Because my experience has been bad I don’t scan much, and because I don’t scan much I won’t spend the money to...
  • Blog Post: A Windows 7 trick for multiple sound cards

    I’ve mentioned here before background noise drives me nuts (it’s one of boxes that gets ticked doing Asperger’s questionnaires). Some noise in the office is unavoidable, but it’s long been my view that filling other peoples workspace with noise from your computer is plain rude :  I have been known...
  • Blog Post: A new bit of Windows 7 (for me)

    Someone sent me a couple of good links about new bits Tim Sneath's bumper list of Windows 7 Secrets , and Brandon's list of Hotkeys. Both are worth a look. If [Window] [+] and [Window][-] zoom in Server 2008 R2 it’s going to help demos enormously. On the subject of demos, I’m presenting tomorrow, and...
  • Blog Post: Desktop Virtualization Hour

    I had a mail earlier telling me about desktop virtualization hour , planned for 4PM (GMT) on March 18th. (That’s 9AM Seattle time, 5PM CET … you can work out the others I’m sure). More information and a downloadable meeting request are Here . Some effort seems to be going into this one, which makes me...
  • Blog Post: More on VHD files

    I’ve had plenty to say about the uses of VHD files on different occasions. They get used anywhere we need to have a file which contains an image of a disk. So from Vista onwards we have had complete image backup to VHD, we use VHD for holding the virtual disk to be used by a Virtual Machine (be it hyper...
  • Blog Post: My enduring love for OCS .. and a Nice windows 7 feature

    My job as an evangelist focuses on Windows platform (client and Server OS), including management (i.e. PowerShell) and Virtualization. But there are other Microsoft products which from my day to day use of them I feel evangelical about. One is Windows Live Writer which is the best tool for composing...
  • Blog Post: A couple more neat things in Windows 7 – printing and the task bar.

    A while back I wrote about exhibiting Aspergers type behaviours and as well as hating background noise this also manifests itself in a powerful dislike of things bouncing round on the screen. Putting “Flash” into the search box on this blog will show you how I feel about web sites where the designers...
  • Blog Post: End of life planning.

    No. I’m not talking about sorting out the music for one’s funeral* … I think every manager I have had in my 10 years at Microsoft has grumbled that I’m not great with planning – it’s a fair criticism and I try to work on it. When the subject comes up a quote from a book by William Gibson comes into my...
  • Blog Post: Clarifying: the new virtual PC, Windows XP mode for Windows 7, and MED-V

    There is an interview with Scott Woodgate,  published as  press release on press pass   entitled Helping Small Businesses With Windows 7 Professional and Windows XP Mode. After starting to speculate about this a little too soon, I want to clarify what the bits are. Because XP mode allows...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 upgrades: my experience

    I’ve done more than my share of Windows upgrades. I’m fond of telling people that my first proper project in IT as a professional involved updating the software supplied on the company’s computers from Windows 1.03 to Windows 2. I didn’t run NT as my desktop OS until version 4, and never ran Windows...