Chris Pietschmann

husband, father, hacker, entrepreneur, futurist, innovator, autodidact


Vista Experience Update: DVD Backup Programs

Vista doesn't have any DVD backup programs builtin, but I'm just testing a couple of the popular DVD backup programs and they work perfectly. The programs I've tested: DVD Shrink 3.2 DVD Decrypter DVDFab Decrypter - Free Edition I'm actually seeing that the performance of DVD Shrink is a little higher on Vista 64-bit versus the same machine running WinXP 32-bit. Updated 9/24/2007: I added links above to pages where you can download the above mentioned software.

64-bit Vista no longer available on MSDN?

Apparently I downloaded the 64-bit version of Vista at a good time. They have since removed it from the list in MSDN subscriber downloads. I wonder why they removed it? Update 12/11/2006: I don't know exactly when they put it back up, but Vista x64 is back up on MSDN Downloads.

Vista Experience Update: Vista automatically defragments your hard drives for you

I guess this is one of the changes they made to always keep Windows running smoothly. When Windows Vista is installed it automatically sets up a schedule to defragment your hard drives once a week. You no longer need to remember to defrag your hard drives once in awhile in order to keep your system running efficiently. Now, this is a feature that I was a little surprised they didn't add in XP, but I'm glad it's here in Vista. One thing I always thought was a little interesting is if you check ... [More]

I have Windows Vista Ultimate x64 installed in a dual boot with WinXP Pro

The installation went really smooth. I just booted up the box with the Vista intallation DVD in the drive, and installed Vista on a newly created partition (not the partition WinXP is on). And, it setup dual boot automatically. It couldn't have been easier. Oh, yeah, and it only took 15-20 minutes for the install; that really beats the approximate 1 hour WinXP takes. Vista runs extremely smooth and the overall experience feels smother than WinXP Pro on the same pc. The specs of m... [More]

I now have my key for Vista Ultimate

I just recieved my Vista Ultimate product key from MSDN after many failed attempts earlier today. I don't know if it'll work for everyone now, but at least I wont be one of the many hammering the system. Also, my download of both the x86 and x64 ISO's have finished. I have to say my over all experience of getting Vista (ISO image and product key) from MSDN was pretty good, especially since their server are being hammered so much by everyone with an MSDN Subscription wanting to downloa... [More]

Windows Vista is currently available on MSDN

And, thanks to the MSDN Subscription I won at the Deeper in .NET event, I am lucky enough to get Windows Vista for Free. Yippee!! As you probably know there is only one installation DVD to install all editions of Vista. Finally, only one disc to keep track of. But there are however seperate discs for both x86 and x64 editions. Both of which are up on MSDN right now. Also on MSDN are the product keys for Visa Business, Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate. When I requested th... [More]

Vista Beta 2: Not my Primary OS anymore

It lasted only a week. I had Vista Beta 2 and Office 2007 Beta installed on my laptop (my primary machine.) Everything was fine (besides my machine running a bit slower) for a couple days, until .NET 2.0 decided not to let me debug code anymore. It was strange, all of a sudden, all breakpoints I set in code had stopped working. I was going to try reinstalling the .NET Framework 2.0, but it's not an option with Vista since it's "baked" in the OS. So I tried reinstalling Visual Studio 2005 in... [More]

Windows Vista Beta 2: installed on my primary machine

I installed Windows Vista Beta 2 on my laptop yesterday (my primary machine). I didn't have the correct video driver upon install, so everything was 800x600 with only 8bit colors. But the cool thing was; Windows Update had the latest video driver for my hardware listed; so I installed that and everything worked fine. The install for Vista only had 2 steps: 1) enter key, 2) hard drive partitions. It did everything else automagically. Very easy to install!You are probably thinking I have a pretty ... [More]

A couple cool WinXP TaskBar enhancement tools

I've come across two cool WinXP TaskBar enhancement tools. Visual Task Tips - This tool provides a thumbnail screenshot of each app when you mouse over the it in the taskbar. You may have seen this feature in some of the screenshots of the Windows Vista Beta, but this tool brings that functionality to Windows XP. I noticed the thumbnail is a somewhat live preview; just open up a video in Media Player and watch a somewhat choppy version of what's playing be shown in the thumbnail. Taskbar ... [More]

IE7: Another version of Internet Explorer will be released for Windows XP!

“Microsoft today is committing to deliver a new version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP customers.  This version, called IE 7, will add new levels of security to Windows XP SP2 while maintaining the level of extensibility and compatibility customers have come to expect from IE.“ Source:

WindowsXP Alt-Tab Taskswitch Powertoy...

Now this is a feature that should have been added to Windows XP. It matches and reflects the Windows XP visual style. Its really neat because instead of just showing the title and icon of an application, it also shows a screenshot of the applications window. For instance, this is expecially usefull when switching between instances of Internet Explorer, since you can easily have 5 or more instances running at a time. Well, at least I do pretty frequently. This isn't something I just discovered, I... [More]

Can you have Windows 2003 Server display the Windows XP Visual Styles?

Yes, you can!! If must turn on the “Theme” service in Windows 2003 Server to enable the Windows XP Visual Styles. Then go to the Display Properties in the Control Panel and set the “Windows and Buttons“ dropdown on the Appearance tab to “Windows XP Style”. And like magic you can have Windows 2003 Server look just like Windows XP!! Sweet!!

Prevent Windows Kernel From Using The Page File (PagingExecutive Function)

DescriptionPlacing the Windows (2000/XP) Kernel into RAM is quicker than allowing it to be paged.DirectionsIf you system has more than 256MB of RAM, then you should try this tweak. In theory, the kernel (and thus Windows) should run faster if it kept in RAM instead of the slower page memory.This involves editing the registry so make a registry backup before trying this. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\DisablePagingExecutive Setti... [More]

Windows System Properties - Add Custom Manufacturer Properties

Here is a pretty neat edit you can do to add your own manufacturer information and logo to the System Properties dialog. Show Computer Manufacturer and Support Information (All Windows) This tip lets you include company and support information on the System Properties page in Control Panel. This is especially useful if you run a computer store and want your customers to be reminded where they bought their PC and where to get technical support. To add the manufacturer and support i... [More]

Windows XP SP2 RTM expected in 2 weeks

After a message on the Windows Update V5 newsgroups regarding a possible interim build being released, Microsoft have back tracked and denied that there will be another interim release. Mike Brannigan (MSFT) called the posting "Untrue and inaccurate" and stated that the next public release is the RTM. According to reliable sources at Microsoft the scroll build (RTM) is due to be finished as early as next week or within the next 2 weeks. Current builds stand at 2161. After the RTM date OEMs have ... [More]

Download.Jet Internet Explorer Vulnerability

Download.JectMicrosoft teams have confirmed a report of a security issue known as Download.Ject affecting customers using Microsoft Internet Explorer, a component of Microsoft Windows. (Download.Ject is also known as: JS.Scob.Trojan, Scob, and JS.Toofeer.) Important  Customers who have deployed Windows XP Service Pack 2 RC2 are not at risk. Shaweet, I'm not affected!! I have WinXP SP2 RC2 installed. There may seem to be th... [More]