Monday, May 11, 2009

Windows 7: Settling Down

After a bit of bugging in order to get some ideas, suggestions, and whatever else in between, an individual over at Hauppauge's UK forums suggested an idea for me to try out. While I have yet to determine whether or not this fully works, I'll be giving it a try in every possible way. Hopefully I'll be able to finally get the software to not hang there after it's done scanning for channels.

As mentioned earlier, I stated that I needed to get Impulse and Steam installed. They are now installed, just as I said I will do. And Steam operated normally as it should. For a quick test, I have it download and install Portal. Once it was done, I fired it up and got it to set a variety of settings. But unfortunately, when the game first fired up, the audio blared through my headphones, nearly piercing through my eardrums. I do not know why this is the case on so many applications but this is really starting to annoy me. I can tell you, though, that had I let the system volume stay at 100% or at 75%, my personal volume would have been at 1% the entire time. I do not know what would make the volume so high no matter what but even Flash applets would blare out through the speakers and headphones. Even though I am able to control the volume of each individual application that generates audio output, it's annoying to have to set a lot of these applications down to a volume that is a fraction of a full 100%.

Using Impulse was easy. You simply install it and let it run. After setting a couple of tweaks, I find that the changelog history to WindowBlinds makes no mention of Windows 7 support at all. And while the software can run in x64, I do not want to end up having to install WindowBlinds and finding out that it doesn't run or work at all on Windows 7. For the time being, I am stuck without a way to enhance the visual look of how Windows 7 appears. This is not much of a big deal for now. I am quite content with how the windows appear at the moment and I can change the base color of the window borders to my liking. I also know that eventually Stardock will release a beta of WindowBlinds that will introduce support for Windows 7. So for me, there is little worry over this small issue.

Now, sometimes I kick myself for jumping the gun so early. Getting extra RAM for my computer turns out to be one of those instance where I jumped the gun early. With memory prices hitting lows like noone has ever seen, it's easy to expand and get extra RAM for the computer, especially if your system is capable of handling DDR2 memory. One of the benefits of having extra RAM is to be able to run more applications at the same time without it ever going to virtual memory (which uses a chunk of your hard drive to act as memory). Another benefit is the feature that was introduced in Windows Vista: SuperFetch. SuperFetch act like a caching system where the programs you run is partially stored so that the next time it's started, it starts faster. But SuperFetch is a system that loads some of these program information into memory. For some people, SuperFetch is disabled so that they can have the most RAM available to use. Others have it on so that their application can start up faster. An example of this is starting up Firefox for the first time. Without SuperFetch, startup would take about 5 to 10 seconds, depending on hardware. With SuperFetch on, startup would take about 2 to 3 seconds at most. This is roughly the same amount of time it takes for Google Chrome to start up without SuperFetch. So one can see some certain benefit to using SuperFetch.

Well, with 8GB of RAM, SuperFetch has done nothing more than help make my programs start faster, amazingly faster than I could ever hoped for. Well, it is 8GB. What else am I going to use it for? Might as well make the most of it for now! Although... I should seriously consider creating a virtual machine to play around with.

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