How to Backup Your Computer Using Windows 7

  • Comments: 17
  • Written on: September 26th, 2010

Windows 7 comes complete with all of the software you need to backup your computer’s hard drive completely and safely.

One of the most expensive procedures in computer repair is recovering data from a failed hard drive. You can save yourself the heartache and money of a costly repair by following these simple directions below.

What Do I Need?

* A computer running any version of Windows 7
* A blank CD-R disc
* A removable hard drive

Preparing to Backup

1. Connect your removable hard drive to a USB port, preferably on the back of your computer. These backups are automated, so you want to leave the hard drive hooked up all the time. Try not to use it for storing anything other than your backup files and images.
2. Label your blank CD-R disc Windows 7 Hard Drive Recovery Disc with a permanent marker (not a ball-point or other hard writing instrument) and place it in your CD burner.

Creating Your Backup Routine

1. Click on Start in the lower left hand corner of your screen
2. Click on All Programs, then click Maintenance
3. Click on Backup and Restore
4. On the left, click on “create a system repair disc”
5. Click on Create Disc to start burning to the CD in your drive
6. After the burn is complete return to the Backup and Restore screen and click “Set up Backup on the right”
7. Select your backup hard drive from the Backup Destination list & click Next
8. Click the “Let Me Choose” option
9. Check all boxes and check the “Include a system image” box toward the bottom & click Next
10. Click the “Save settings and run backup” button

Your backup will now run every Sunday evening at 7 PM. Remember that your computer must be turned on for the backup to work.

With this backup in hand you will be able to restore a complete image of all of your files and programs should you ever have a hard drive crash.

Should you ever need to perform a recovery simply boot from your recovery CD and restore the backup image that is created every Sunday night.

Windows 7 Black Screen of Death
an Echo Chamber Hoax

  • Comments: 16
  • Written on: December 7th, 2009

black_screen_of_deathBeginning over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend and continuing until recently, a report by security company named Prevx published a blog post stating tat a coming Windows Update will render millions of Windows 7 PCs inoperable suffering from a “Black Screen of Death.”

Today, ZDNet has published an article explaining the details and the time line of events that lead to industry giants like PC World Magazine picking up the story as fact.

After further investigation and a near heart attack at Microsoft, Prevx recanted the story and claimed they were not responsible for the damage that was caused to Microsoft by its initial report. Their statement reads:

Regrettably, it is clear that our original blog post has been taken out of context and may have caused an inconvenience for Microsoft.

According to ZDNet, it looks like Prevx’s initial report was titled with the headline, “Black Screen woes could affect millions on Windows 7, Vista and XP.”

Major Tech Publications Punked

Computer World and PC World Magazine noticed the headline and without waiting for any corroboration or comment from Microsoft, ran with the headline “Latest Microsoft patches cause black screen of death.”

The fact of the matter is that after investigation, there is no problem and this is a prime example of how the Internet echo chamber can lead to an inflated story – especially when there is competition to break the story first online where seconds matter to search engines.

No Takebacks, No Way

The most shameful thing of all is that PC World and PC Magazine both refuse to change the old headlines that they now know to be wrong. That means they will be present in search engines for years to come, continuing to mislead and misinform the poor Windows 7 user with a VGA cable that fell out.

Wake up and Win a 2009 Holiday Special PC with Channel 10/11 News

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: November 6th, 2009

This month you could win a $1,500 Schrock Innovations 2009 Holiday Special PC with Solid State Hard Drive Technology just for watching the morning News!

Here is the spot that is running on Channel 10/11 to promote the contest:

Windows 7 Loses Outlook Express, Windows Mail

  • Comments: 7
  • Written on: September 26th, 2009

windows7With excitement building for the upcoming release of Microsoft’s latest operating System, Windows 7, a couple of familiar guests might be missing from the launch parties.

Microsoft has removed Outlook Express (Windows Mail in Vista) and Windows Movie Maker from Windows 7 deciding instead to promote their Windows Live products.

Windows Live Mail

The basic concept behind Windows Live Mail is that you can run it from your mobile device, your computer in offline mode, or live on the internet.

Rather than clicking on the “Send/Receive” button you instead click a “Sync” button. The idea here is that you can use your phone or computer in offline mode, and as soon as they go online they will “sync” with the online system to keep everything in one place that is shared with all of your devices.

Here’s a video that shows you how the process works from start to finish:

Windows Live Moviemaker

Windows Movie Maker has been included free of charge with Windows since Windows XP was released.

On the Windows Live blog, the lead designer on the Movie Maker project explained that the company’s research showed that most PC users employed Movie Maker to create small videos, video slide shows, or combinations of both with some titles and transitions.

Knowing that users were not using Movie Maker to create feature length films, Microsoft focused on making an application that can do what its user want quickly and easily.

For example, the “Auto Movie” feature allows you to select a group of pictures and an audio sound track and then let the computer do the hard work of organizing the images so they start and stop with the sound track.

Here’s a video that explains the most hyped features of Movie Maker:

Why Do I Have to Download It?

Windows 7 will not come with Movie Maker of Windows Live Mail (or even Windows Messenger) installed by default. Users have to make the decision to download the components from the Windows Live website or through the Microsoft Update (Windows Update) feature.

This solves a lot of anti-competitive issues not only in the US, but in Europe as well, while still allowing Microsoft to give its own products a slight advantage over their competitors in the marketplace.

Schrock Innovations Holiday Special Prototypes Under Construction

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: September 23rd, 2009

top_secret_holiday_computer_2009We have been hard at work for the past few weeks designing the Schrock Innovations 2009 Holiday System, and the first prototype testing is underway.

This year’s Holiday Special will feature 2 new technologies that have never before been used in a Schrock build. The result is a new Modular PC that is faster (not seconds faster but STUNNINGLY faster) more reliable, and better prep[ared for tomorrow’s technology than ever before.

What is the Holiday Special?

Schrock’s Holiday Specials are always highly anticipated because the systems push the limits of technology at an unbelievable price. We offer a complete system (including monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse, and speakers) for only $1,499.

These systems are configured with amazing specifications. This is not the typical Dell up-sell routine, where you are lured in for $499 and end up spending way more than you planned.

These computers are configured to rock your PC experience with no modification required.

This year’s Holiday Special Modular PC is no exception. We are keeping the exact details close to the vest at the moment, but I can tell you it will be running Windows 7.

Faster than Anyone Expects

ONe of the big reasons we are so excited for the 2009 Holiday Special is because one of the new pieces of technology we are introducing will bring MASSIVE speed increases to the table that will be unavailable anywhere else in Nebraska (even by special order form Dell).

This new technology will unleash AMAZING speed that most computer users have only imagined. In our tests this technology has cut processes that used to take HOURS down to mere minutes.

We get excited whenever a system we produce can dramatically improve a PC users’ experience. To put it bluntly we have not a game-changing PC since we introduced Lincoln to Windows XP and LCD displays ion 2001. This system will be just as revolutionary.

Reliable Beyond Anything You Have Imagined

The 2009 Holiday Special is going to be faster than anything we have ever built before at Schrock, but it is also the most reliable system we have ever built.

This system runs COOLER (temperature wise) than any previous computer we have built, even though it sports a quad core processor. Because it runs cooler, it also uses LESS POWER than other quad core systems we have released in 2009.

Another new pieces of technology cuts the odds of a PC breakdown by an amazing 75%. This PC has more up-time, less lag time, ind its overall cost of ownership is dramatically lower over its expected 8-year lifespan.

Power for Today and Potential for Tomorrow

As always, this Schrock system is Modular. That means your computer has everything it needs to meet your demands today, and it can grow with you as your needs change in the future.

Schrock Innovations is the only company in the country that offers Modular computers, and that is why our Holiday Special systems last more than 8 years while other manufacturers are lucky to get three years out of their builds.

How Can You Learn More About This Computer?

Unfortunately, you will have to wait a little while longer before we let everything out of the bag. But there are some things you can do to make sure you catch the tidbits when we do let them out.

  1. Subscribe to the RSS Feed on this blog. You’ll get an email as soon as we release anything.
  2. Follow me on Twitter – I am prone to moments of weakness. If something slips, it will happen here
  3. Get on Schrock Innovation’s mailing list – Contact Schrock and ask to be added. It’s free and rumor has it there is a coupon involved 🙂
  4. Listen to Compute This every week. Chris Goforth has a way of getting me to talk

Windows 7 Easily Deflects First Security Attack

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: September 9th, 2009

Microsoft is reporting today that the “Tear-drop attack” sample code that was claimed to successfully crash Windows 7 remotely can’t touch Microsoft’s upcoming golden child.

It seems that the person who was testing the code tested it on a release candidate version of Windows 7. The release candidate was impacted by the security problem, however Microsoft responded in their bulletin that the final release of Windows 7 (pressed to DVDs in July) is not impacted by the flaw.

This is the first specific example of a security threat impacting Windows Vista that was preemptively blocked by Windows 7.

I am sure there will be other exposed threats that will impact Windows 7, but this victory comes just in time for Vista’s October 22nd release and will add ammunition to Microsoft’s claim that Windows 7 is the most advanced operating system on the planet (a claim that Apple is making in their music on hold right now about Snow Leopard.

Windows 7 Makes Solid State Drives Worth the Money

  • Comments: 2
  • Written on: July 3rd, 2009

I have been playing around with a solid state hard drive for the past few weeks to get a better understanding of how they improve my notebook’s performance under different operating systems.

While I certainly don’t look like Goldilocks, my solid state drive experience was a lot like the classic children’s fairytale.

Windows XP on a solid state drive was fast, but at times too fast. With XP, my notebook booted so fast that I could log in, and open Firefox just to have it fail because the system had not negotiated an IP address yet.

Windows Vista was not much faster than a traditional hard drive. I got a serious case of heartburn thinking I had just spent $450 on a 120 GB solid state drive when a $60 drive would have done the same job.

Then there was Windows 7. It booted in seconds. Response times were amazing. Windows 7 was JUUUUST RIIIIIGHT!

Why is Windows 7 So Fast on a Solid State Drive?

Flash drives became fashionable when Windows XP as around, but only as a backup medium or for temporary storage.

Nine years later, a bundle of super speedy flash drives can be teamed up to create an entire hard drive with no moving parts. Lower failure rates, faster access times and no defragging.

It sounds like a match made in heaven, except that XP and Vista were hard-coded to treat all drives like they spin.

That means that unnecessary operations happen all the time on a solid state drive that tie up valuable resources and sap the power of this expensive performance booster.

That is, all operating systems except Windows 7. Windows 7 is the first Microsoft operating system that was specifically designed to detect if it is operating on a solid state drive or a rotating disk drive.

Windows 7’s secret is a technology Microsoft calls TRIM. TRIM allows Windows 7 to detect

* Enhancing device wear leveling by eliminating merge operation for all deleted data blocks
* Making early garbage collection possible for fast write
* Keeping device’s unused storage area as much as possible; more room for device wear leveling.

Get Windows 7 Now While Supplies Last at Schrock Innovations

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: June 30th, 2009

Microsoft is making Windows 7 available for pre-order now through July 10, 2009!

Order your copy of Windows 7 and installation from Schrock Innovations and save 58% off of the software’s regular purchase price!

Windows 7 Installed for Only $219.99!?!

If you have ever purchased an operating system upgrade, you know that they normally cost hundreds of dollars and can take a degree in computer science to install successfully.

Between drivers, updates, and lost files upgrading your operating system can be a real challenge – Unless you let Schrock’s award-winning technicians do it for you!

Is Your Computer Ready for Windows 7?

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: June 26th, 2009

Microsoft announced a special Windows 7 pre-order program today that offers the company’s newest operating system at a DEEPLY discounted price. But is your computer ready for Windows 7?

There are two basic camps of people who will be upgrading to Windows 7 – Vista users and XP users (Windows 2000 users can also technically upgrade, but in many cases their hardware is so old that ot will be incompatible).

Testing Windows Vista PCs for an Upgrade to Windows 7

Vista users will have a pretty easy time upgrading to Windows 7. Microsoft is promising that everything that works with Vista will work with Windows 7.

When you run the upgrade disk, Windows 7 moves all of your documents, settings, registry, and programs to a holding directory. It then installs a clean copy of Windows 7 and copies all of your information back over. This eliminates many of the layered operating system problems that plagued XP and older upgrades.

In theory, everything should just work after the installation, but if you want that extra measure of comfort, you can run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to check for any issues.

Testing Windows XP PCs for an Upgrade to Windows 7

Windows XP users will have a bit of a tougher time upgrading.

It is HIGHLY recommended that you ru the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. There is a good chance that some of your hardware and/or software will not be compatible with Windows 7.

As a rule of thumb, if your software is not compatible with Vista, it will not be compatible with Windows 7.

With that said, the business and Ultimate versions of Windows 7 have a special feature that allows you to download and run a virtualized copy of Windows XP from within Windows 7.

Think of it like running Windows XP as if it was a program, and then opening up other programs from within it. This will allow business users who rely on older software (and lazier IT staffs) to still run many of their old XP programs in a limited form. There is no additional charge for the virtualized XP download.

Windows 7 Will Offer Virtualized XP!

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: May 11th, 2009

I know some people reading this just said virtu-what? In English, Microsoft has announced that in Windows 7 you will actually be able to run Windows XP as a program – just like you would run Internet Explorer or Microsoft Word.

The Windows XP Virtualization will be available in Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate only – lower versions will not support the feature.

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