Notes on a Microsoft (ugh!)

Windows-XP   (ugh!)
Windows-7   (ugh!)

--- via a computer replacement
--- after a motherboard fried
(Nov 2011)

--- including notes on data migration

Home > RefInfo menu >

ComputerInfo menu (Microsoft section) >

This Windows XP-to-7 Upgrade page

! Note !
The notes on this operating system change
are not as complete as I would like them to be.

In the month of 2001 December, I intended to add
some notes as I finish up the installation.
(Examples: firewall and backups software)
That info was not added here.

Sections of this page, below:









In November 2011, my wife's MS Windows XP desktop computer went dead. She used it to check email one night after returning from a Thanksgiving reunion. The next morning the computer would not boot up.

    The computer was over 5 years old --- an Emachines desktop that I bought for her at Best Buy, circa 2006, for about $450. It was about time to upgrade the computer and the operating system, so maybe this was a good thing --- forcing me to do the upgrade.

When I tried powering on the computer, there were no boot messages or any other kind of messages appearing on the monitor --- and a fan or disk drive just kept humming loudly. My wife thought that the monitor might have died. But I connected the VGA output from one of my Acer netbook computers to the monitor and it worked fine.

I suspected that the disk drive might have gone dead. But I hoped that was not the case, because we had not been backing up her data.

I took the Emachines computer to the service counter at a local Best Buy. The 'geek' at the counter connected the computer to a power socket and monitor near a cash register at the counter and comfirmed that the computer was dead.

He said he suspected it might be the motherboard rather than the disk drive. Sure enough, when he opened the case it appeared that several capacitors on the motherboard had 'blown their tops'. I had seen blown capacitors on a video card of my home-built desktop PC, so I knew what a capacitor with a 'blown top' looked like.

He said it probably would not be worth replacing the mother board --- in fact it would probably be hard to get a replacement. He suggested getting a new computer. I asked him if they had enclosures for the disk drive, with USB connector. He pointed out some that were right behind me.

I got a BestBuy weekly advertising brochure from the front of the store and looked for desktops on sale. They had a Dell 'Inspiron 570' (model i570-9445NBK) for $329.99 (without monitor) that fit the bill. The AMD dual processor CPU was sufficient and a 500 Gig hard drive was more than enough disk space.

So I went home with the Dell computer (with Windows 7 Home Premium installed) and a Dynex 3.5" PATA (IDE) USB hard drive enclosure (model DX-PHD35).

Before starting the configuration of the new Dell computer, I put the Emachines hard drive into the Dynex enclosure and connected the drive, via USB connector, to my home-built desktop Linux PC running Ubuntu 9.10.

I backed up the 'Documents and Settings' folder (4.9 Gig) of the XP operating system to a '/BACKUPS' directory on the root hard drive of my Linux PC. (I have the Linux /home directory on a separate hard drive.)

I simply dragged-and-dropped the 'Documents and Settings' folder to the '/BACKUPS' folder using the Nautilus file manager.

Then I started the upgrade --- configuring the Dell Windows 7 operating system and copying my wife's files (email, bookmarks, documents, picture files) to appropriate places in the Windows 7 file structure.

The upgrade is documented as follows --- mainly for my own use, if I ever have to do a Windows upgrade again --- or a Windows problem resolution that may require this info. I post the info here so I can access it from any computer, anywhere --- and the info is backed up, 'in the cloud'.


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The following steps were performed for the initial configuration.

  • I connected cables to the Dell PC --- monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone, printer, power (done last) --- but not the ethernet cable (later --- when an internet connection is definitely needed to download some additional software, like Thunderbird for email --- and Seamonkey and Firefox for web browsing).

  • I connected the power cord to the computer, after the other devices were connected --- so that the power supply was not on while those connections were being made. Turned on monitor. Turned on computer.

  • Messages started appearing on the monitor :

    F2 for boot menu and F12 for recovery --- appeared for only about one second.

    'Starting Windows'

    'Setup is preparing your computer for first use.'

    'Setup is checking video performance.'

Then the 'Windows 7 Home Premium' window appeared, prompting for ...

    Country or region : United States
    Time and currency : English (U.S.)
    Keyboard layout: US

These were the defaults. I simply clicked the 'Next' button.

The next prompts and my entries were ...

    User name: username
    Computername: username-dell-1

where 'username' represents a name that I used for my wife's login identifier.
Clicked 'Next'.

The next prompts were ...

    Password hint:

I supplied these and clicked 'Next'.

The Microsoft 'Security' prompting window appeared next.
I chose 'Ask me later' and clicked 'Next.'

A Time and date settings prompting window appeared.
I changed Central to 'Eastern Time (US & Canada)' and clicked 'Next.'

The next window prompted, via checkboxes, for ...

    Application Updates (I changed yes to no)
    'Dell Usage Data Collection' (I left it set at no ---
    but I was to find that prompts for permission to do Dell data collection
    would appear repeatedly in various subsequent windows).

The next window was the ANNOYING McAfee Security Center which offered

  • Click here to get started
  • and a Next button.

These were THE ONLY OPTIONS (obnoxious!) --- other than closing the window.

AT LEAST they did not de-activate the window manager Close option. I closed the window.

Here's were DELL started getting ANNOYING. A 'Dell Stage' EULA (End User License Agreement) window appeared that included the following message.

    'Dell Stage' seems to be a set of music, photos, and video 'syncing' utilities --- with no explanation of where files are stored. For more info (including user reviews --- which were generally low --- less than 3 out of 5 stars), you can do a WEB SEARCH on keywords such as 'dell stage'.

A quote from the EULA :

"Dell Software Applications can automatically check for and download software updates and alerts from servers that may be outside your country to provide the most optimized software usage experience ... These update may include ... alerts, as well as information about products and offers from Dell and its partners."

I certainly did not want us to be nagged with offers for software that I was going to remove anyway. ('Dell Stage' proved to be very annoying and intrusive.)

'Accept' and 'Decline' buttons were offered. I chose 'Decline'.

At this point I was through the initial configuration prompts. I was at the Dell desktop.

The following sections describe how I proceeded to configure the desktop and setup separate user and administrator login accounts --- and remove and install programs --- and migrate data.

Check Devices configuration :

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I clicked on the 'Start' menu icon on the lower left of the screen and went to 'Devices and Printers'.

It turned out that the setup had determined that there was a 'Dell 1905FP' monitor was attached and had set the resolution at 1280x1024. That was fine. No more to do there.

I had forgotten to turn on the printer --- an HP PSC (PrintScanCopy) 1610.

I turned on the printer and it was automatically setup as an 'HP PSC1600 series'. That looked OK --- and later I printed out a page that indicated that the printer configuration was working.

    Unfortunately, the HP print interface still, like on our old Emachines installtion of HP printer drivers, defaults to color printing.

    It appears that the user (my wife) still has to go to a 'Color' settings panel, each time print is done, and specify 'gray-scale' printing --- and 'black-white-only'.

    Why we can't make black-printing the default is beyond me. HP is trying to sell more color cartridges than black-only???

Dekstop ICONS :

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I right-clicked on some icons and chose 'Delete' to remove them --- actually this moved them to the 'Recycling' folder.

I removed an eBay and two games icons --- and an ANNOYING Dell icon or two. This left just the recycling icon on the desktop.

    It is puzzling to me why Microsoft (or Dell) would remove the 'Computer' icon from the desktop and yet have the other junky icons on the desktop. The 'Computer' icon is actually quite useful.

    There seems to be a disturbing movement by many operating systems (Microsoft and Linux and other), in the 2009 to 2011 time frame, to OVER-simplify the desktop --- to the point of making it take more time to get to things that are used many times per login session.

    Bah! Who is making these decisions? Teen-aged programmers who think they are God's gift to programming? Clueless software development managers?

Windows 7 CONTROL PANEL sections :
(for reference below)

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When you use the path 'Start > Control Panel' to open the Windows 7 Control Panel option, you are greeted with the following sections :

  • System and Security
  • Network and Internet
  • Hardware and Sound
  • Programs (uninstall)
  • User Accounts and Family Safety
  • Appearance and Personalization
  • Clock, Language, and Region
  • Ease of Access


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I used 'Start > Control Center' to go to the 'Add/Remove Software' function in Windows 7 --- and removed eBay and McAfee software.

We do not use eBay much --- and if we did, we would simply go to the eBay site via a web browser. Using this eBay icon is asking for unwanted intrusions and unwanted ads and unwanted data gathering.

On anti-virus software :

I have described on web pages on recovering from Microsoft viruses how useless most anti-virus software is --- compared to setting up userids properly and using a good firewall. Hence I removed the McAfee software.

See the 'Userids' and 'Firewall' sections on this page for more info on how to avoid most 'infections'.

I left the Skype and 'MS Office 2010' software items in place.

Skype had been recently acquired by Microsoft from eBay --- so, it appears that, Microsoft is now supplying Skype with their OS.

The 'MS Office 2010' software is probably only a temporary 30-day license. We will probably only use the Microsoft Starter Word and Excel packages that came on the machine. I may remove the 'MS Office 2010' bundle later.


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The userid that I used in the initial configuration panels was defaulted to Administrator privileges. This leaves oneself quite exposed to viruses, as I have pointed out on other web pages.

So I used 'Start > Control Panel' to get to a 'User Accounts' section. I added a new 'Admin' account with Administrator authority and changed the original userid account from 'Administrator' to 'Standard user'.

The 'Guest' account was left in 'off' mode.

DELL CRUD :   (more removal of programs)

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At around this point in the configuration sequence, a 'Dell Digital Delivery' window popped up --- WITH NO CLOSE OPTION IN THE UPPER RIGHT OF THE WINDOW. (PISSES ME OFF.)

Again --- like with previous 'Dell Stage' intrusive, and thus annoying, prompts --- this window wanted permission to collect software usage data and system configuration info on an on-going basis, "for use and storage on Dell servers that may be outside the country". (Yeah! Like I want my personal information on computers in India or Asia.)

I left the 'Yes' checkbox unchecked and clicked a 'Continue' button.

I used 'Start > Control Panel' to go to the 'Programs' section to uninstall Dell software and Dell-provided software, namely

  • 'Dell Digital Delivery'
  • 'Dell Marketplace Webslice IEB',   attributed to NextJump Inc.
  • 'Dell Stage',   attributed to Fingertapps
  • 'WildTangent Games'   (We don't play computer games much --- and we certainly do not want a package of games that shows all indications of being very intrusive on our computer, on a continuing basis.)

FOLDERS configuration :

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I used 'Start > Control Panel > Appearance > Folder Options' to check 'Show hidden files and folders'.

I looked for a way to set all folders to 'List Detail' rather than 'Icons' mode. This is much more useful --- to quickly see file dates (time stamps) and sizes --- and offers less delay (less processing) in opening folders with hundreds of files --- especially image files.

It appears Microsoft does not allow you to set your default folder view via 'Appearance > Folder Options'. This is ridiculous. This certainly is not the case on Linux, with the Gnome desktop system. One more reason I MUCH prefer Linux to MS Windows.

It appears that the only way to set (almost) all folders to a default view other than 'Icons' is to pick a folder and set its view --- then chose to make all 'similar' folders have the same view.

Microsoft makes exceptions for the 'My Pictures' and some other folders and forces them to remain in 'Icons' mode. THIS IS JUST DISGUSTING. I do not want to clog up my disk drive with thousands of 'thumbnail' files for the thousands of image files that I have on my computer.

If I want to deal with the image files as images rather than filenames, I like to use an image files viewer that advances forward and backward through the image files in a folder. One more reason I like Linux over MS Windows. I do not have to deal with lots of 'exceptions' to configuration options.


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At this point in the configuration process, I was ready to configure mail and Internet connection options. I shut down, connected the ethernet cable, started the computer, and logged in as 'Admin'.

    I wanted the ethernet cable DIS-connected during the initial configuration options because I did not want various Microsoft, Dell, HP, eBay, and games companies' software to be trying to connect to the Internet without giving me a 'heads-up' on what they are doing.

    To quote Chuck Berry: That's too much monkey business for me to be involved in.

With the ethernet cable connected, the MS Windows 7 Network Wizard started up. I chose 'home' network --- rather than 'work' or 'public'.

The wizard gave me a password to use to connect other computers running Windows 7 to the 'homegroup'.

The Microsoft how-to-use-the-password message :

    "Use this password to connect other computers running Window 7 to the homegroup. On each computer :

    • Click 'Start', and then click 'Control Panel'.
    • Under 'Network and Internet', click Choose homegroup and sharing options.
    • Click 'Join now', and then follow the HomeGroup wizard to enter the password.

    Note: Computers that are turned off or sleeping will not appear in the homegroup."

I have a couple of Linux computers that can boot up in Windows XP (which I almost never use --- maybe once per year), but the implication of the how-to-use-the-password message is that the password is of no use for connecting to a Windows XP computer.

We have no other computers running Windows 7. My wife may be amenable to an Apple Mac computer for her next computer, so it is not clear how useful this 'homegroup' password will be to us.


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I will probably install a 3rd-party, free firewall other than the Microsoft firewall built into Windows 7.

    (I simply cannot trust Microsoft to provide a decent firewall --- especially since the firewall in Windows XP did not even offer notification of outbound connections that were being established by third-party software.

    Microsoft just indulges in too much monkey business for me to be able to trust them as a firewall provider --- and they never seem to devote much effort to developing a really good firewall, which is a complex process requiring lots of attention to detail.

    Their software-development managers in the firewall area seem to devote too much attention to the wrong details.)

Some of the firewall software that I am considering, after some web searches for user reviews (hard to find) --- NOT magazine reviews (easy to find, and invariably superficial and lacking) :

On my wife's defunct Emachines computer, I had installed a firewall from 'Sunbelt Software', but that firewall software was recently discontinued --- around 2011.

Initially, I will use the Microsoft firewall, but I used 'Control Panel > Security > Firewall > Advanced Settings' to do the following.

  • In 'outbound rules', I set 'Action' to 'Block' on most Windows Media Player outbound rule lines. (There are more than 20 of these lines --- tedious to reset them, but there seems to be no fast way other than line-by-line re-setting.)

  • In 'inbound rules', I set 'Action' to 'Block' on 'Dell Stage (Music, Video)' in inbound rule lines --- even though I 'ostensibly' uninstalled the 'Dell Stage' programs via 'Control Panel > Programs'.

Also I unchecked the 'Dell' programs in an 'Allowed Programs' list.

I left the Windows Firewall on --- for now --- until I install a replacement. (If Windows ever makes it impossible to de-activate their firewall, I will definitely switch my wife over to an Apple Mac or to Linux.)

UPDATES :   (to Microsoft software)

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I do not like allowing Microsoft updates any old time --- they sometimes intrude on an urgent task on the computer. And sometimes, the updates have caused a period of being unable to use the computer or some Microsoft software component, until a later update fixed the problem.

So I used 'Control Panel > Security > Windows Update' to change the auto-updating default to 'Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them'.

I also unchecked a box labelled 'Allow all users to install updates on this computer.'

    This latter default is just another example of how Microsoft demonstrates that they are not serious about making user's computers less open to viruses.

    The main example of Microsoft's carelessness is the fact that Microsoft defaults the initial user setup to 'Administrator' mode --- rather than having two initial userid login accounts: 'Standard user' and 'Administrator' userids --- like user and 'root' on Linux and Unix machines, which are much less prone to viruses.

    I understand that Microsoft wants to make things as easy as possible for 'non-geek' users to install software --- but that includes making it easy to install viruses.

    Microsoft could at least make the two-userid mode an option in the intial configuration prompts --- with a link to an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of the two different basic ways of setting up the userid(s) and user permissions. Microsoft provides such info-links for other prompts in the initial setup procedure, so what's stopping them? for over 10 years!

    This is why I have a web page entitled 'Microsoft Security is an oxymoron'.


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My wife's mail on her old Windows XP computer was in Outlook Express '.dbx' files. But Outlook Express is no longer available on Microsoft Windows 7.

The new Microsoft 'solution' is Microsoft 'Windows Live Mail' which seems very poorly designed (very user un-friendly), and web searches show that I am not the only one who thinks so.

Furthermore, 'Windows Live Mail' seems to want to do monkey-business on the Internet without letting the user know what is being done --- i.e. without giving the user options.

On an old Windows ME computer, back around 2008, I migrated from Outlook Express to using Thunderbird for email, just before migrating to Linux.

Web searches reveal that many other Microsoft Outlook Express users have migrated to Thunderbird on Windows 7, rather than using Microsoft's Live Mail.

So I went to the site and downloaded Thunderbird and installed it on this new Windows 7 computer.

Then, to get mail-sending and mail-receipt working, I just needed to specify the POP mail server and Outgoing mail server of my wife's ISP.

If I remember correctly, at some point, some Microsoft wizard prompted me for email configuration information and offered a list of ISP's (Internet Service Providers). I selected our ISP, and the wizard set 'U.S.-wide' names for the POP (incoming) mail server and the outgoing (SMTP) mail server of our ISP.

    (Where are the settings? In the Microsoft registry? How do I get to them again via Microsoft options? 'Control Panel > Network and Internet'? Does Thunderbird use these as defaults? To be investigated --- maybe --- later.)

I use U.S. SUB-region names for the servers --- in Thunderbird on my Linux machines. I was able to reset the server names to 'sub-region' names via Thunderbird menu options --- 'Edit > Account Settings > Server Settings' and 'Edit > Account Settings > Outgoing Server (SMTP)'.


    POP mail server: (the Microsoft wizard defaulted to port 995)
    Outgoing server: (the Microsoft wizard defaulted to port 587)

On a Linux installation, my default ports are 110 (POP) and 25 (SMTP).

In any case, after setting the 'sub-region' server names, I was able to receive mail for this account. And, later, my wife was able to send mail.

Mail folders migration :

I imported the Outlook Express '.dbx' files (which were on the old Emachines disk drive, now in a USB disk drive enclosure) via Thunderbird menu options ... 'Tools > Import > Mail'.

On Windows XP, the '.dbx' files were under

Documents and Settings\userid\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{...about-32-scrambled-characters...}\Microsoft\Outlook Express\

on the USB-attached disk drive. The import went smoothly and the mail seems to be intact ... in the Thunderbird mail folders view.

Windows Address Book migration :

Web searches show that many people have found problems migrating their Microsoft Outlook Express '.wab' files (Windows Address Book files) to a non-Microsoft mail program --- 'thanks' to Microsoft's closed proprietary format for that file.

You can import addresses into Thunderbird via 'Tools > Import > Addresses' --- but if you choose to import from 'Outlook Express', the import option does not allow you to specify the location of the '.wab' file. It seems to look in some unspecified path.

It seems that most people find that they have to import their '.wab' file addresses into Thunderbird via the 'Text File' import option --- which imports from LDIF, '.tab', '.csv', or '.txt' files.

    LDIF = LDAP Data Interchange Format ;

    LDAP = Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

After much web searching, it appears that using a third-party 'wabread' command line program may be my best bet. It will create an LDIF file from a '.wab' file.

A source of the 'wabread' program (by Sean Loaring, last release 2006sep01) is a 'libwab' page at There are instructions on that page telling how to run the 'wabread' program on Microsoft Windows.

Since I have found that page to be unavailable at times (and because it may go away completely in the 2011-plus timeframe), here is a a local copy of the libwab page.

On Windows XP, the '.wab' file of user 'userid' is under

    Documents and Settings\userid\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book\

--- in this case, on the USB-attached disk drive.

Here is the process (including DOS commands) that I used to import the '.wab' file data into Thunderbird.

  • I made a '00_WAB_restore' folder under my wife's 'My Documents' folder, using the 'Computer' or 'Windows Explorer' file manager of Windows 7.

  • I copied the 'userid.wab' file (from the USB-attached disk drive) and the '' file (that I downloaded from the 'libwab' page at into the '00_WAB_restore' folder.

  • I extracted the 'wabread.exe' and 'libiconv-2.dll' files from the zip file, into the '00_WAB_restore' folder, with the '.wab' file.

  • I opened the Microsoft Windows 7 Start menu and entered 'cmd' in the 'Search programs and files' entry field.

  • A 'C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe' window opened --- positioned at directory 'C:\Users\userid' .

  • I used the 'dir' command, then 'cd Documents'.

  • I used the 'dir' command, then 'cd 00_WAB_restore'.

  • Then, according to the instructions on the 'libwab' page, I issued the command

    wabread userid.wab > userid.ldif

    The wabread command completed in a fraction of a second. I checked the '.ldif' file and it seemed to have the addresses in it, so I proceeded to import the file into a Thunderbird address book, as follows.

  • I opened Thunderbird and clicked on the 'Address Book' tab. I went to 'Tools > Import'.

  • I un-checked the 'Import Everything' checkbox in the 'Import' window, and checked the 'Address Books' checkbox, in its stead. Then I clicked on the 'Next' button.

  • The next window listed the following options:

    • Eudora
    • Outlook
    • Outlook Express
    • Text file (LDIF, .tab, .csv, .txt)
    • vCard file (.vcf)

    I selected the 'Text file' option and clicked on the 'Next' button.

  • A file-folders browser window appeared. I navigated to the 'My Documents\00_WAB_restore' folder, selected the '.ldif' file, and clicked on the 'Open' button.

    The addresses were immediately imported into Thunderbird, in a fraction of a second.

That concludes the description of how I converted the '.wab' file to an '.ldif' file and imported the latter into Thunderbird.

For backup (in case I have to do this again --- say, for some other poor Microsoft-using soul), I provide here links to the 'libwab' zip file --- since the 'libwab' page at may not be long for this world.

Local Links to backed-up 'libwab' files :

The two files in this '.zip' file are not much larger than large JPEG image files, so, as an alternative, here are links those 2 files :

And the source for creating the two files is in this 'tar.gz' file --- in case anyone wants to make a version, say to run on Linux instead of MS Windows.


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I had installed the Mozilla Seamonkey and Firefox web browsers on my wife's old Windows XP computer (the one with the fried motherboard). I installed them for relatively-more-secure web browsing than with Microsoft's Internet Explorer --- that is, less likely to acquire viruses and be the victim of trojan horses.

Seamonkey and Firefox store their bookmarks in a 'bookmarks.html' file. On Windows XP, that file was found under

    Documents and Settings\userid\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\default\[8-scrambled-chars].slt

I was able to easily import the bookmarks file into Firefox using the toolbar menu path

    Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks > Import and Backup

after turning on the menu bar, via right clicking the Home icon on the top right of the Firefox window.

    Even Firefox/Mozilla, is starting to hide things, by default, from users --- forcing them to search how to turn them on. In my opinion, they should default the menu bar to 'on', and allow the user to hide it if they want. That's how it used to be --- and there was good reason for that. It made sense. It seems 'sense' doesn't count for anything anymore.

Similarly, I was able to easily import the bookmarks file into Seamonkey, via toolbar menu path

    Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager > Tools > Import > File

TRANSPARENCY configuration :

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Around this point, the transparency of the top panel of the Windows 7 windows was driving me bonkers.

Who the heck decided that it would be good to see a bunch of extremely fuzzy icons and such through the window borders? What good is that? It just clutters up the user interface of the application that one is trying to use.

    Most people who want their windows to be transparent want the middle area of the windows to be fully, or almost fully, transparent --- temporarily. That is, one needs to be able to turn the transparency off (and on) quickly --- via a mouse-sensitive area on the window border, say.

    The way Microsoft has implemented 'transparency' is via a near-opaque translucency of only the window border. It seems they are just doing this to try to show off in some juvenile way. So the tops of the windows are translucent in such a fuzzy manner as to be useless. So what! What good can come of that? Whoop de do.

I was able to turn off transparency via the path 'Control Panel > Appearance > Personalize > Change window glass colors'. I unset the transparency check button. (It took me a while to find that option. Annoying! Microsoft keeps coming up with more 'features' that make me glad that I use Linux now.)

Hopefully that is the end of the transparency nonsense on this computer. But Microsoft may try to apply that 'decoration' in other ways, in other places. So I may have to revisit this section to describe further re-configuration.

SOUND configuration :

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I have a microphone and speakers plugged into a sockets on the back of the computer --- microphone into socket 7 and speaker into socket 8 (in the diagram on page 20 of the Dell 'Inspiron Setup Guide' - PDF file here). They are the two sockets on the lower left of the two rows of three audio sockets in the image below.

I used the 'Realtek' GUI (that came on the Dell) to test the sound from the speakers. They were working.

The 'Realtek' GUI looks like the image below --- but the one on our computer was in English. The 'play-a-test' button is indicated by the red circle in the image.

For good measure, I went to the 'My Music' folder and selected a sample music file to play (with Windows Media Player). It played successfully.

So there were no major problems in getting the speakers to work.

BACKUPS configuration :

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The Microsoft Windows 7 built-in Backup software reportedly stores the backups in a single file. This is reminiscent of the closed-format storage of addresses in the Microsoft Address Book --- leading to one heck of a problem in accessing the backed-up files via anything other than a specific Microsoft software package.

I plan to do backups to an attached USB disk drive (at least 500 Gig in size --- to handle the potential amount of files on the 500 Gig drive on this computer).

Some of the backup software that I am considering :

More on backups later (much later?) --- after I have implemented a backup solution.

A few days later :

I bought a 1 Terabyte Western Digital External (USB 2.0 desktop) Disk Drive (model WDBAAH0010HCH-NECS) at Costco in early Dec 2011 for about $80 --- a good price for a 1 Terabyte drive at the time, considering flooding in Thailand had wiped out about 80% of the world-wide disk drive manufacturing capability and prices of disk drives were on the upswing.

I would have preferred a USB 3.0 drive --- for use in the future as computers manufactured in 2012 and beyond will probably come with at least one USB 3.0 port. But USB 2.0 is fast enough for now.

This disk drive cames with 'WD SmartWare' software for backing up, retrieving, and securing files. It claims to support 'automatic, continuous' backup. (This could adversely affect operations that one is doing on the computer --- especially batch operations involving a hundred files or more. Not something I want.)

I may use this software --- if I can use it to simply do periodic backups --- and if it does not store the files in some proprietary format. I prefer a backup solution like 'rsync' on Linux, which simply makes a copy of files in the same file structure as the originals --- so that the files are readily accessible via your typical GUI file manager or via commands like 'cd'.

If I cannot use the 'WD SmartWare' software in 'non-continuous' mode --- and if I cannot access the individual backed-up files on the external USB disk drive by simply using a Windows GUI file manager --- then I will probably investigate one of the backup software options listed above.

More on this later. (maybe)

Windows 7 BUGS :   ( and design grossness )

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As I was doing this configuration of Windows 7 and data migration, I encountered what appears to be some bugs in Windows 7. Here are some of the bugs that I encountered.

  • I plugged in an HP USB stick. In Windows Explorer, it showed up as 'K:RECOVERY' instead of 'K:HP-whatever' (the volumeID on the HP stick). There was a RECOVERY drive partition, but it seems that plugging in the USB stick commandeered that drive identifier. Accessing the USB-stick drive a different way (via Computer), the volume-ID showed properly.

  • When I went to 'My Documents' via a Microsoft file manager, the folder showed as 'Documents' in the top location bar. It should show as 'Documents > My Documents'.

    Microsoft seems to have decided to replace the old 'My Documents' folder with 2 levels of folders --- 'My Documents' and 'Public Documents' under a 'Documents' folder. But Microsoft developers seem to be making things more confusing for themselves as well as for the user (with the multitude of ways they provide the user to get to various folders, without revealing the underlying folder hierarchy, thus making their navigation options one big confusing mess).

    The mess seems to have confused the developers so much that now they don't know whether they should be labelling a folder 'Documents' or 'My Documents'.

  • The sidebar in the Windows Explorer is confusing --- with it not being clear where 'Favorites' and 'Desktop' and 'Documents' are in the 'Users' folder hierarchy --- and how the various folders relate to each other in the heirarchy.

    This is an on-going 'design bug' that I think will make Apple Mac and Linux OSes more appealing as time goes on --- during which Microsoft will make more 'improvements' that just make the whole file folder navigation process more and more confusing to non-geek (and even geek) computer users.

    Microsoft seems to think that they are helping the non-geek users by 'simplifying' file folder navigation, but Microsoft just seems to make it one mysterious mess that just becomes a bigger mess with each new release of the operating system.

I will add more bug reports (and poor-design reports) here as I encounter them. But since I use Linux on my PC's and since my wife will probably not, in most cases, know when some confusing thing is a bug (or could have been designed and implemented much better), I will probably not be adding much to this section.

SUMMARY of this configuration-migration journey :

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The main thing I got out of this configuration of Windows 7 and data file migration is that I am SOOOO glad that I use Linux almost exclusively on my computers --- desktops and netbooks.

It is just ridiculous how Microsoft keeps hiding more things with each release --- and moving the path to basic functions --- apparently to make it look like the operating system is more different from the previous release than it really is.

Microsoft doesn't seem to really care about people's productivity. Not when preserving their productivity conflicts with Microsoft's desire to sell new releases of software --- and make it look like the software is significantly different from the previous release --- so they can charge 100's of dollars per package.

For example, their implementations of little transparency 'tricks' here and there in their windows environment serves no real, functional purpose. There are good uses for transparency in windows, but Microsoft has not implemented transparency in a way that can improve productivity in some situations. Microsoft is in dire need of a 'Steve Jobs' to show them the way. If this is their idea of innovation, they must use a different definition of innovation from the one in the dictionary.

I think I can convince my wife that she should get an Apple Mac for her next computer.

    By the way, I may install a Linux distro on this Dell computer, as a dual boot with Windows 7. Then I will be able to support her better --- with various ways to deal with file backup/recovery issues. Furthermore, with that dual boot, I may be able to introduce her to Linux --- for example, using Libre Office to access some of her Office documents --- when a $200 Windows package is just not worth it.

Web searches, data formats, software :

The various web searches that I have had to do for this data file migration --- especially for migrating the WAB (Windows Address Book) '.wab' file --- and searches for better file-backup software (which is available, well-tested, on Linux, via 'rsync') --- and searches for better firewall software (which is available, well-tested, on Linux, via 'iptables' and 'ufw' = Uncomplicated FireWall) --- just confirms that Microsoft has tried to keep people on Microsoft operating systems by trapping them into proprietary formats.

Microsoft has not done a good job of making files --- like their address book files --- easily migratable from one of their mail applications to another --- as users go from Windows XP to Vista to 7.

If they are going to have proprietary formats, they should make utilities that migrate those formats to new formats. For example, Microsoft should have made a wab-to-ldif utility, and provided it as part of the operating system. It should not have been the case that a guy had to dig into the format of '.wab' files and develop that utility.

Futhermore, Microsoft should make those utilities such that they allow for skipping at least one release. Example: Skip Vista and go from XP to 7.

Next time :

I have a friend who used to be bothered all the time by his wife as she had problem after problem with her Microsoft Windows computer.

He says he got her a Mac and now his life is so much more peaceful.

I think I will have to do the same.

Bottom of this
Notes on a MS Windows XP to 7 Upgrade web page.

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Page was created 2011 Dec 05.

Page was changed 2011 Dec 20.

Page was changed 2019 Jan 08.
(Added css and javascript to try to handle text-size for smartphones, esp. in portrait orientation.)

Friends don't let friends use Microsoft Windows.