• WSgreytech



    Viewing 15 replies - 16 through 30 (of 30 total)
    • in reply to: Safe removal of CADDY hard drive #1389103

      Maybe this:


      Thanks F.U.N. downtown. It work well and even allows me to mark drives as “not hot swappable” now I can switch the Write cache back on that drive.

    • in reply to: Backing up Windows 8 #1388857

      How do you back up Windows 8 OS without it taking all night? I’ve tried a 16 GB USB, that’s what it said to do, and it cancelled that. Tried using DVD’s and backing it up that way, and it was going to take all night.

      What else could I do?


      You have two distinct requirements for backup:

      1. Recovery from a crashed or unstable system
      2. Recover lost or damaged data

      For both you will need an external or network hard disk drive. Consider at least Seagate Expansion 1TB Black Portable Hard Drive STBX1000101 or perhaps think of the future and go to Seagate Expansion 2TB Black Desktop Hard Drive STBV2000100

      For the first you need to backup at minimum the Windows 8 operating system preferably with all its installed applications. For this you need a recovery disk to be able to boot up and an image of the boot disk. For the bootable recovery device a 16GB USB flash drive is ideal. Then an image of the boot partition or the whole disk, this will go onto your external hard disk drive. I use Macrium Reflect Free edition this includes GPT support if you need it. You could use just this and create one image of your whole drive while it is new to keep forever and perhaps one image a week that you keep only the most recent three or four depending on how paranoid you are. Use Macrium to create your recovery disk/usb flash drive. If you are only going to use image backups then I think a better strategy is to do one daily and keep one that is a month old, one that is a week old and the most recent two dailies. Daily backups on your 750GB drive when it is about half full is likely to take about an hour (I do mine when I am about to stop for dinner)

      For the second you can use the Windows 8 File History that you can set up from Control Panel to backup changed and new files hourly or daily or weekly or even monthly. My recommendation for most home users is daily. Serious home workers or business users I would say hourly. This backup will also go to your external hard disk drive.

      My personal strategy is to do a weekly image and a daily File History. They both go to a network drive. Monthly I do another image to an external drive that then goes into a safe place.

    • in reply to: Is Win8 better than Win7 behind the curtain? #1388846

      User-interface issues aside, I’m wondering if the underlying architecture of Win8 Pro makes it preferable to use over Win7 Pro? I’m about to install a new OS and have both available. I have no interest in the Win8 gee-whiz interface; I don’t have a touchscreen; no UEFI capability, and I would use it from the desktop after installing Start8. I just want something more stable, and perhaps improved.

      To Answer Auggie’s original question, W8 is better under the hood. Even without UEFI it has better memory management and is harder for malware to get a toehold. It is faster but I find that a marginal difference and some of its tools are better, like task manager. I have used W8 since the first review release and moved to it being my primary OS since the RTM in August 2012. I use Android on my tablet and Linux on my server but for my day to day work I prefer W8 without Start8 or Shellstart. The Start screen is more configurable and easier to organize than the W7 Start Menu and is one key stroke away just as the Start Menu was, (tap the windows key). The desktop will start if you put a desktop app into startup or with one keystroke if you put the desktop or a desktop app in the top left of the start screen (tap enter key). I think that the “Metro” style apps are currently very poorly implemented and although I have tried many of them I don’t use any. Hopefully this will get better but I’m not holding my breath, look at the increasing volume of junk on Android and iPad.

      I still use W7 on my TV “Windows Media Center” but may change when I have tested the W8 version of WMC.

      Most things about an operating system are subjective but the underlying architecture is fundamental to its stability. There is enough information from the professionals out there, much of which has been linked to from this blog, to demonstrate that the underlying OS is better than anything previously released by any OS provider that the answer to your question is Yes. Whether you want to use it is clearly subjective as are most of the answers.

      I like W8 better than any previous OS from CP/M onwards.


    • in reply to: Macrium Reflect: will it do a proper drive clone? #1388818

      I have used the free Macrium Reflect 3 times in the last 3 weeks on different systems. Two laptops and one desktop. Each time the requirement was to clone the existing OS to a new larger drive.

      The first was my brother’s laptop, standard 80gb hdd to 128GB SSD on Acer Aspire 5315 with Windows 7 ultimate, the drive was more than 90% full. Cloned perfectly in about 20 minutes, using a Digiflex drive caddy . Checked that the new drive booted properly. Then used MiniTool’s Partition Wizard Home to resize the partitions on the drive.

      Second PC was my Desktop Tower changed a 64GB SSD for a 128GB SSD boot drive. Plugged the drive inside the tower. Cloned perfectly in about 10 minutes then checked it booted before using Windows 8 built in disk manager to increase the partition size.

      The third was my daughter’s laptop, standard 80gb hdd to 320GB hdd, also on an Acer Aspire 5315 with Windows 7 ultimate, the drive was more than 90% full. This time I used my USB-multi drive bridge tool like this one to connect. Cloned perfectly in about 20 minutes. Checked it booted OK then used Partition Magic on a bootable pendrive, to resize the partitions.

      A tip on re-sizing drives; make sure that you increase the partitions in one step. It is easier if you use the sliders. If you make a mistake stop before you apply the changes and begin again. If you move and expand into empty space the re-partition tool knows it does not have to read all the blank space and can do it very quickly. If you expand first then move it has to read all the empty space and write every empty block.


    • in reply to: lost hard drives #1388812

      Try looking in disk management. Right click on Computer select “Manage” select “Disk management” then look down the list in the lower part of the screen and see if there are drives without letters assigned. You can right click on “Disk n” to look at its properties this should give you the information about whether it is your iPad. Then right click on the right hand side to see if you can assign a drive letter. It may be that the iPad is formatted to a standard that windows does not recognize in which case you are out of luck.

    • in reply to: Need recommendations for external backup hard drive #1388699

      Much as I like using batch files, The Doctor’s one I feel has a distinct disadvantage over more conventional backup strategies. It overwrites yesterday’s files. I have always found that the most often needed backup is to recover from a screw up and I want to get at a previous version of a file.

      I would set an environment variable in the batch file to be today’s date in the format YYYYMMDD called dt then use the batch file commands

      md “M:My Documents%username%%dt%”
      xcopy “C:Documents and Settings%username%My Documents*.*” “M:My Documents%username%%dt%” /S /Y /H /R /M

      My experience over the last 30 years concurs with Bob Primark and moon, I have found almost no difference in reliability between drive manufacturers. I find Seagate and WD both very good. I have 3 WD 3TB drives in my server, running 24/7 which are used as backup and main storage for videos and pictures. 2 Samsung 1TB drives in one of my test PCs (came out of server after upgrading) and a floating Samsung 1TB used as my working backup drive in various Startech hot swappable drive bays. And Seagate drives as the main working drive in my main PC as well as a couple of SSD’s as Boot drives.

      My own opinion is worry less about the drive manufacturer and focus more on your backup strategy. When, how frequent, how much history/versions, image backups of OS partitions (so you don’t have to reinstall everything after major screw ups). I use the free Macrium Reflect for this, (also great at cloning drives). Also consider whether the backup should be encrypted. If you are using a backup drive that is encrypted make sure you have the key in duplicate places. If it is on a thumb drive have a copy of it and test it. Test your recovery before you need it in earnest.

      Good value for money 4TB drive is currently the Seagate Barrcuda ST4000DM000 that you can get from newegg for about $190 or in the UK at dabs.com for GBP150 then use either an external enclosure or a hot swap enclosure like the startech.com DRW110SATBK

      Bob Robinson

    • in reply to: CD-Rom drive not recognized after new hard drive installed #1298686

      It may be worth trying first to remove the 300Gb drive then logged in as an Administrator use Device Manager to ‘Uninstall’ the CD/DVD drives with the yellow triangles (right click on device and select ‘Uninstall’). Then click on scan for hardware changes. See if they come back with yellow triangles. If they do right click on them and ‘Update driver software…’

    • in reply to: Bravo! for REVO Uninstaller Portable #1298684

      Thank you Alan. As you have so adequately stated, Win 7 64 Bit is NOT the same as a 64 Bit app. Revo Uninstaller free works on Win 7 64 Bit and will very nicely clean 32 Bit apps. It however will not see 64 Bit apps. See this comparison directly from Revo Uninstaller. In fact you can download the Pro version and try it free for 30 days. There you will see the ddifferences from free to pro.

      Thank you Ted, like some others I thought it worked fine on my 64bit W7 but often wondered why it was not showing some of the programs that Windows uninstaller showed. It just shows I should look more carefully at the comparisons and perhaps use the space between my ears more rigorously.
      I have now downloaded the trial Pro version and initial impressions indicate I will probably anti-up before the 30 days runs its course.

    • in reply to: Tame a new system’s hard-drive bloat #1295186

      Thanks for the article Susan. I do like TreeSizeFree. I also like my data on a separate drive to make backup and restore easier. Particularly when I want to restore the OS. One useful thing apart from using the tip from

      Northwood2222 if you mean My Documents/Pictures etc, then

        [*]go to c:/users/<yourusername/ in Windows Explorer,
        [*]right click the folder you want to move,
        [*]select Properties,
        [*]select the Location Tab
        [*]enter the new location and click the Move button,
        [*]repeat for the other folders you want to move.

      There's probably 4 other ways to do that, but its the one I found and it works fine.

      I like to make sure that the rest of the Users folder is backed up particularly the AppData so I create symbolic directory links in the data drive
      I have a folder on D: called bob open a cmd window as Administrator then change to D: then cd bob
      mklink /d AppData c:usersbobAppdata
      Now when I backup Bob's data his AppData gets backed up as well

    • in reply to: Is Outlook as important today as it once was? #1279946

      I have used OL and its predecessor Scheduler Plus since 1994. I often look for a lighter weight alternative but I use too much of OL to find a suitable one.

      I like the 2010 UI better than previous versions.

      The killer bits for me are Calendar, Tasks, Rules and Categories, to show up appointments in different colours depending on their association with different activities. It also allows me to view my 800-900 contacts in categories so for instance Friends & Family, Business, suppliers and many different social groups get their own categories with many overlaps. Non of the overlaps cause duplicate entries but make it easy to find entries by association.

      I also use it for mailmerge and sync calendars with my wife’s via Google sync. I used to use Journals as well before I retired, brilliant for recording the time spent on different customers projects.

      I could replace most of the roles OL plays with others such as Thunderbird and Sunbird but I have found nothing to replace the Categories.

    • in reply to: Blocked files — Windows security excess #1276789

      Another possible alternative to using an old scanner under Windows 7 is to set-up a Virtual PC XPMode with the scanning applications installed and the drivers for the scanner. Perhaps not worth the effort for low cost home scanners but certainly to be considered for large format or high speed auto-feed ones.

    • in reply to: Free online tax prep — benefits and risks #1266966

      I enjoy reading Windows Secrets especially when it covers general products, security or hardware. Even if the products are not currently available outside the USA, because they may well come. However products that are very specific to the USA I would feel much happier if they were restricted to web links only not taking up valuable newsletter space.
      I don’t know what percentage of your readers are in the USA but as a paid content reader I would rather the content be restricted to that which could apply to any country not specific to USA.

    • in reply to: Set-top boxes match up: Apple TV vs. Google TV #1257911

      Very interesting perhaps something similar will be launched outside the USA. The products are not applicable in the UK. I wonder what percentage of WS readers are not in the USA.

    • in reply to: Partitioning SSD and standard hard drives #1257363

      Windows 7 always assigns the Windows system drive as C: by default. You can set any partition of any drive to be whatever letter you want. Right click on Computer and select “Manage” then the disk manager to set the letter for any partitions to be any letter. I recommend that you leave C: as the system drive as it is less confusing.

      I like to set particular USB keys to always be on the same drive letter so I have one on L: one on J: and one on K: when I plug in an SD card it always goes on H: I have my main data drive as D: I have network drives mapped to Z: and Y:, my external USB backup drive mapped to B: and two DVD-RW drives set to E: and F: casual USB keys then usually go onto G:. If you find a drive without a letter on the main drive, it might be OEM partition leave it alone that will probably be the recovery partition to put the PC back to factory defaults. Windows 7 will also by default from a clean install assign a 100MB System partition on the same drive as the system, leave that alone as well it keeps information about restore in it.

    • in reply to: Windows shortcuts can boost your efficiency #1211234

      Thanks Scott,

      I try to reduce the mouse interaction a bit, every tip helps a little.

      One shortcut I recently started using in W7, I assume it works in Vista, Ctrl-Shift click on either a task bar icon or a start menu icon opens a new instance of the app in administrator mode, it brings up the UAC dialog box.

    Viewing 15 replies - 16 through 30 (of 30 total)