Windows XP and Vista News and Tips

Some stuff I didn’t get a chance to comment on this week.

Mark Minasi is one of those guys tech people look up too, published many books on technology and always seems to be on top of and in the middle of everything Windows related. He has a monthly newsletter and this one has some great Windows Vista info in it. This month he talks about Windows Vista Complete PC backup system, using it to backup to an unsupported network drive, Windows Vista does not recognize Windows XP’s roaming profiles, and Software License Manager.

CompletePC Trap: Never Lower Your Drive Size
I love Vista’s new CompletePC backup system. In case you’ve not looked into it, CompletePC Backup has a few neat features:

It backs up entire drive letters to a VHD (virtual hard disk) format. The process takes quite a while the first time you do it, but the incremental backups are quite quick, in my experience.
The beauty of the VHD format is that it allows you to create multiple snapshots of a disk, all stored in one file. Even better, the file format is smart enough to just hang onto the incremental information, so that even if you’ve done a complete save of, say, your C: drive ten times over the past few days, the VHD file won’t be ten times the size of your data. Instead, the backup will probably be only a few percent larger than the current size of the data on your hard disk.

Here’s the really neat part: restoring a CompletePC backup. When storing your system information to the VHD file, CompletePC removes the hardware-specific parts of the backup. Result: you can restore your CompletePC backup to another system as a bare-metal restore, regardless of the make and model of the system that you’re doing the restore on. So, for example, suppose you have an Acme laptop running Vista on a given motherboard chipset, ATI video chipset, and an IDE (“PATA”) hard disk. You make a CompletePC backup of that system. Then the Acme laptop dies and you buy a Zephyr laptop that features a different motherboard chipset, an Nvidia video chip, and a SATA hard disk. You boot the Zephyr laptop with the Vista Install DVD and use CompletePC Restore to restore your Acme laptop’s data and operating system to the much-different Zephyr… and it works. (This assumes that Vista has or can find drivers for the stuff in the Zephyr, of course.) Source: Mark Minasi’s Windows Networking Tech Page Issue #63 July 2007

Six months on, Vista users still griping Some working around flaws or sticking with Windows XP. Jessica Mintz talks to Chris Pirillo about Windows Vista and him upgrading back to Windows XP.

Microsoft re-assures partners on Vista compatibility Microsoft has used its annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) to stress that it’s working to solve stubborn compatibility problems between Windows Vista and partner products.

Vista’s advanced speech recognition technology The fake Steve Jobs talks about Vista’s speech recognition, includes video of someone using it to write a perl script.