Tag Archives: Microsoft Windows

How to Unlock Hidden Themes in Windows 7

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In Windows 7, there are several hidden & locked themes provided for regional countries such as Australia, Canada, Great Britain, United States and South Africa. You can unlock these themes easily so you have more options with which to customize your Windows 7 desktop. Do checkout our collection of 70+ Themes. To unlock hidden themes do the following:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Click Organize, and select Folder and Search Options.
  3. Go to View tab.
  4. Select Show hidden files, folders and drivers and uncheck Hide protected operating system files (Recommended). If prompted with confirmation, click Yes.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Browse to the following folder \Windows\Globalization\MCT\
  7. There are five folders in the name with format MCT-XX (where XX is AU, CA, GB, US, or ZA) which represents globalization settings for each region. Go into the folder that you want to activate its theme. Note: AU, CA and ZA regions have the same themes.
  8. Open the Theme folder inside the selected region folder.
  9. Double click on the XX.theme file to apply the theme to the Windows 7 desktop system. Once a theme is ran and activated, the theme will be remembered and saved into Personalization options, so that user can change or select the theme again directly from Personalization settings screen.
  10. Now to go to Folder Options to reverse the first 5 steps to hide the hidden and protected system files and folders again.
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Google Now Detecting Viruses, For At Least One Form Of Malware

Google has just announced something pretty interesting, that it is using its own data to detect viruses and will as of today be using Google Search results pages to warn users if their computers are infected with a specific form of malware. Users infected with the virus, which is apparently rerouting traffic to Google and other sites through a proxy, will see the below warning.

From the Google blog post mysteriously titled “Using data to protect people from malware”:

“Recently, we found some unusual search traffic while performing routine maintenance on one of our data centers. After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behavior were infected with a particular strain of malicious software, or “malware.” As a result of this discovery, today some people will see a prominent notification at the top of their Google web search results.”

Google’s Matt Cutts offers more details about the virus on his Twitter account, apparently it only affects Windows computers and hijacks Google results. “That’s how we learned about it,” Cutts says about the “results hacking” thing, without offering many more details. Google is recommending you follow the advice in its Help Center if you do receive the notification.

This is the first time major search engine turns its results pages into what is ostensibly a malware alarm. Of course this is in the company’s best interests; if proxies are intercepting communications they could also potentially access Google accounts, thus creating more headaches for Google.

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Ballmer: ‘Windows 8 is coming!’ Microsoft: ‘Eek!’

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this week let slip what was already a poorly kept secret: Windows 8 will go on sale next year.

But that’s not a message Microsoft wants to let out so soon, apparently: The company issued a retraction shortly after Ballmer’s speech.

Windows 7 had been the fastest-selling version of Windows ever, but sales started to slump last quarter. Knowledge that a new product is on its way may soften demand even further, analysts say.

At a developers conference in Tokyo earlier this week, Ballmer spoke about Microsoft’s current product successes as a launching point to talk about what he believes will be an even brighter future. When he came to Windows 7, he noted that the next version of Windows will be even better.

“We’re obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows,” said Ballmer said, according to a transcript. “As we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there’s a whole lot more coming. As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.”

Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) declined to comment to CNNMoney about Ballmer’s remarks, but many news organizations received an amusing backtracking statement from the company’s PR team earlier in the week.

“It appears there was a misstatement,” Microsoft’s representatives told CNET, PC Magazine and others. “We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows.”

Until this week, Microsoft’s top brass have been unusually secretive about Windows 8. The company is typically is unafraid to discuss or even release beta versions to the public, but this time it’s working quietly.

Ballmer’s speech was even the first time a Microsoft executive publicly called the product “Windows 8.” Microsoft hadn’t officially confirmed the name of its next Windows iteration — internally, Microsoft refers to it as “Windows.Next,” though many Microsoft employees on LinkedIn refer to the new OS as Windows 8.

It’s understandable if Microsoft is hesitant to give consumers and businesses any reason to put off their purchases of Windows. But it’s more than a little unusual that the company is going to such lengths as to call the CEO’s long, articulate comment about Windows 8 a “misstatement.” To top of page

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Mike Cleron, a Google software engineer for the Android operating system, made an ambitious pronouncement onstage at the company’s annual conference last week.

“We want one OS that runs everywhere,” Cleron said, referring to the popular system for smartphones and tablets.

The next day at the conference, Sundar Pichai took the very same stage to stake a very similar claim. Except Pichai was referring to a completely different Google operating system.

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“Chrome OS can be applied to a variety of form factors,” said Pichai, who is a senior vice-president for the division that makes Google’s brand-new operating system, which will be deployed in a line of laptop computers (sometimes referred to as notebooks). “We have chosen initially to focus on notebooks because that’s where most of the Web usage is today.”

Can Google support both operating systems?

“Chrome OS is a thought experiment rather than a viable product on any form factor,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a consumer-electronics analyst for Forrester Research, in an e-mail to CNN. “Google should invest its resources to improve an imperfect Android before supporting a second fledgling OS.”

The first laptops running the Chrome software, called Chromebooks, are scheduled to hit stores June 15. An Android laptop already exists. Motorola Mobility‘s Atrix 4G smartphone can transform into a laptop using a peripheral and built-in software. There are also tablet-laptop hybrids that rely on Android.

On Android, the Web browser is just one application. Chrome OS is, put simply, a browser.

These are two competing methodologies for Google, a company that made 96% of its revenues from advertising last year. Only a sliver of that comes from ads shown on phones (or to let Google tell it: “Mobile advertising is still in relative infancy”). Google doesn’t derive any income directly from Android.

As Google often says, the company benefits from people using the Internet more. And that’s what Chrome OS facilitates.

“We wanted to rethink the entire (computing) experience and distill it down to nothing but the Web, and that’s what Chrome OS is,” Pichai said. “The software experience is very unique,” unlike Windows computers, which he said are “really, really complicated.”

Since throwing a coming out party for Chrome OS at Google I/O last year, the company has sent out thousands of prototype laptops to testers around the world. So far, the effort hasn’t been a resounding success.

But Pichai said his team has fixed various bugs with the hardware and software, and so Google will test next month whether a Chromebook is something people will be willing to pay for. If it strikes a chord, Pichai is apparently poised to wedge Chrome into “a variety of form factors,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Android team is boasting about the flexibility of its operating system. Cleron said: “We have phones in every size and shape, phones with keyboards that slide, phones with keyboards that flip, phones with built-in game controllers, tablets in every size from 7 inches to 10 inches, even tablets that transform into laptops, and who knows what else is coming.”

Google is welcoming one more electronics category to the greater Android family this summer. The Google TV software will be based on the same version of Android that’s used on tablets and will include the Market for downloading apps.

“If I had to pick one word to explain Android’s phenomenal growth over the past year, that word would be ‘choice,'” Cleron said. “Consumers really like choices.”

Pichai said the two Google divisions don’t currently compete but instead appeal to different audiences. Separately, they’ve found success. The Chrome browser has 160 million active users, and Android has activated 100 million devices.

“We share common code, common infrastructure, but the final expressions are two different visions. And we provide choices to users,” Pichai said. “The potential of competition or collision that you’re talking about in the future — we don’t think about it that way internally at all.”

Microsoft makes a distinction between Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7. So, too, does Apple between Mac and iOS.

For Google, the line between Chrome OS and Android may be only temporary.

Google says it is in the early stages of building a version of Chrome OS for tablets but has no formal product to announce. In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Pichai downplayed that project, saying, “Chrome OS on a tablet, that’s not what we’re working on.”

“All of these systems are designed to scale and run across a set of devices over time,” Pichai said. “You want to design a computing experience, an operating computing experience, to run everywhere.”

For the launch of Chrome OS, Google has signed on two manufacturers: Acer and Samsung Electronics. Three dozen electronics makers already use Android.

But asking these partners to support an unproven system with their development and financial resources will be a tough sell, said Rotman Epps, the Forrester analyst.

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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Mac vs PC, desktops vs laptops

The humble desktop or laptop computer hasn’t yet sunk to the status of commodity product, but it’s getting close. On one hand, processing power, memory and storage keep getting cheaper and more plentiful; on the other, competing manufacturers have been settling on the same set of features.

They do, however, remain resolutely divided on one issue: Mac or PC? So are many of you.

I think Apple’s Mac OS X is safer and simpler than Microsoft’s Windows 7. It requires less setup work and ongoing maintenance, and most PCs lack the smart, stylish design of Macs. Apple’s stores can be horribly crowded, but their Genius Bars (with an appointment) offer first-person tech support that’s unparalleled among most PC vendors.

But I also know that PCs cost a lot less than Macs. And while Windows 7 retains such traditional annoyances as prolonged program installations, upgrades and uninstallations, its Home Premium edition represents a significant advance over the widely loathed Windows Vista and especially Vista’s cut-rate Home Basic release.

You’d think that in a down economy, customers would opt for the cheaper option, but Apple’s market share keeps going up.

Whatever operating system you pick, you’ll have to choose between a laptop and a desktop. Most people get laptops and with good reason: The traditional cost gap between portable and stationary machines has largely vanished, leaving a desktop’s bigger screen and more comfortable keyboard as its major real-world advantages.

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If you plan on taking a laptop places, however, don’t buy one that weighs more than five pounds or has a battery that isn’t at least advertised as running three hours. (Those qualifications rule out many budget-priced Windows laptops.)

If you’re buying a laptop as a second or third machine, a Windows or Linux netbook that would otherwise offer insufficient storage could make sense. But watch out for awkward keyboard layouts, as evidenced by a too-small right-hand Shift key. And – just this one time – pay attention to processor speeds, as the Intel Atom chips in most netbooks run on the slow side.

What about an option that didn’t exist last year, tablet computers like Apple’s iPad?

To me, they only make sense as a secondary device. The iPad requires a separate Mac or PC for setup and software updates and, without the webcam that’s become standard on home laptops, it can’t do video calling. A newer, Android-based tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, suffers from high pricing compared to the iPad and even many netbooks, as well as some awkward moments in its software. (Look for a full review of that next week.)

Will this piece ever get to the traditional questions of computer shopping – what specifications to look for? Yes.

Ignore the processor entirely (outside of notebooks, as outlined above) unless you’ll be editing video often and intensively. Three or four gigabytes of memory should suffice; two GB, seen on some entry-level Macs and cheaper PCs, can get cramped if you keep multiple applications open at once. (A year ago, buying a PC with less than 4 GB of RAM would have allowed you to get the 32-bit edition of Windows 7, but that more compatible option has essentially been banished from retail by 64-bit versions that don’t offer a meaningful benefit to most home users.)

As for storage, 250 gigabytes of hard disk space should also be plenty unless you have an enormous video collection. You can get away with less on a second computer or if you don’t have a large digital-media archive. Anything but a netbook (or Apple’s high-priced answer to that category, the MacBook Air) will have a CD-burner drive that can probably burn DVDs, too. But you’re unlikely to use an optical drive’s write capability to do more than burn a backup CD or DVD. Spending extra for a Blu-ray drive makes no sense to me.

Expansion is yet another issue where you no longer have much to choose from. All you need are a few USB ports to plug in a mouse, a printer or other peripheral devices and an SD Card slot for your camera or phone’s memory card. Apple’s cheapest models fall short on those requirements but just about every other computer meets them. The FireWire ports on most Macs and the eSATA ports on some PCs can accommodate external hard drives but don’t do much else; I can’t call either essential.

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Every machine has WiFi wireless these days as well, leaving only Bluetooth as an option to consider if you have a wireless mouse or your phone can transfer files with this under-used wireless technology.

With all the above criteria in mind, picking a Mac should be a relatively straightforward process (the basic iMac or the 13-in. MacBook should each do fine as a general-purpose home machine). But how to pick one PC out of so many similar competitors? I’d like to say you should choose the one with the cleanest software bundle, but vendors seem to have sunk to a common level of mediocrity.

Unless you custom-order a stripped-down bundle online, you’re likely to get the same set of third-party software: Microsoft’s Windows Live bundle of Internet and multimedia software, an expiring trial copy of Internet-security software, a trial copy of Microsoft Office, and DVD software that duplicates what comes built into Windows 7.

Maybe one PC vendor will try to set themselves apart in this department in time for next year’s computer-shopping column. We can only hope.

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Posted by on December 7, 2010 in Uncategorized


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