Tuesday 27 October – Main Meeting – Report

Clare Wagemans

At the Main Meeting a laid-back Nick Hodge from Microsoft (their “Professional Geek”) settled in for a lengthy information session on the newly released Windows 7. His presentation included the features available in the premium version, Windows 7 Ultimate. The first demonstration was of the ease with which Windows 7 will bring up the Presentation screen (Windows + P), allowing the user to interface with the overhead projector. Then Nick showed us the invaluable tool for Seniors – the screen magnifier!! He showed us how open windows reveal their contents when the mouse hovers over them. He showed how wiggling the mouse minimises all but the current open screen, and then how simple it was to arrange two open windows by selecting the screen, moving it to one side of the screen whereup it resizes to fill half the screen. The second screen is moved to the other side and there are two perfectly tiled screens in perfect view. Grabbing one screen and moving it to the top of the screen maximises it again. Feature after feature was demonstrated, the calculator, pinning programmes to the task bar, Windows XP virtual mode (to allow you to keep using older applications) & using Windows Media Center to record from a TV card.

Nick spoke about installation of Windows 7, how one can upgrade from Vista but it needs a clean install from XP. However with a clean install if the Laplink software is used existing applications can be preserved, even if you no longer have the installation disks. He stated that there were a lot of the ‘usual’ applications that did not ship with Windows 7 – no equivalent to Outlook Express, no antivirus, no Windows Messenger. However all is not lost as Windows Essentials is a free download which has all this plus movie making, photo gallery, family safety (highly recommended by Nick as it is packed with great features).

After whetting our appetites for this sumptuous offering from Microsoft, Nick did urge us, before buying, to check that our current hardware will run Windows 7. The minimum specifications are 1 GHz, 1 G Ram, and 16 GB hard drive. In order to take advantage of its graphics you will also need a graphics card with a minimum 128 mB. He directed us to the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor which will allow potential users to check compatibility with both their software and hardware.

Even if you do not wish to upgrade to Windows 7 at this stage, you might like to follow up on Nick’s tip to check out Windows Security Essentials. Many internet security programmes use a lot of CPU resources, but, like AVG, not this programme. It is a free download, and is compatible with Windows XP.

Nick’s most physically onerous task for the evening was drawing the raffle tickets. There were two copies of Windows 7 Ultimate, 3 bags containing Windows 7 T-shirts, Cap and sticker bling and two Windows 7 T-shirts.

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