Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Your PC Windows 7 Ready?

The newest version of Windows has arrived with enhanced features and streamlined performance. As with previous steps in the evolution of Windows, however, Windows 7 makes more demands on the PC than previous versions. If you looking to upgrade from an earlier Windows version, especially XP, you may find that your computer cannot handle Windows 7.

The websites, newsletters, and even the outside of the software’s box tell you what your PC needs to be like in order to run Windows 7, giving both minimum and recommended configurations. That’s fine if you speak computerese, and if you also know exactly what your PC’s configuration actually is. If you are into doing things the easy way, however, there is a quick and simple test to find out if your PC is Windows 7-ready.

Phoenix Technologies is offering an online Windows 7 compatibility test for your PC that will check out your system for you. It can determine your PC’s memory, storage, processing, and other capabilities and then compare them to what Windows 7 needs. It can also recommend improvements to your PC, such as adding memory, which can enhance its performance with the new software.

The test is easy to take with no studying required. Just go to http://www.windowsupgrade.net/ and click on the test button. A simple program will load onto your computer and run through the test sequence. You don’t need to find your old manual or dig into the Windows System Manager to find out if your PC has what it takes. The test program will tell you if all is well and if not, what to do about it.

Taking the Phoenix Windows 7 compatibility test is well worth the effort. It avoids the time, expense, and frustration of finding out during installation that your PC can’t handle Windows 7. And if your PC passes, you can move your system over to Windows 7 with confidence in a successful upgrade.

How to Get an Optimized Match between Windows 7 and Your PC's Core Systems Software

Embracing Windows 7 will bring new levels of functionality as well as ease-of-use features to your current computer. But is your PC really ready to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest operating system?

At the heart of every PC is core systems software (also known as BIOS - the basic input-output system), which is the base that all other software - including Windows® - must build upon. Your PC’s core system software might have some compatibility issues with Windows 7 that could hinder achieving top performance or even cause loss of function.

The BIOS is the first in a series of programs that the PC must execute - a process called "booting" - in order to become ready for use. Booting is not the BIOS’ only role, however. In order to get things started, the BIOS must have a detailed understanding of the PC’s specific hardware and configuration, and be able to interact directly with that hardware.

Windows, on the other hand, needs to be able to run on any suitable computer regardless of such details, so it does not work directly with the hardware. The BIOS serves as Windows’ local guide, interpreter, and foreman for interacting with PC hardware, so the two must work together efficiently.

The older BIOS on your current PC, however, may not fully mesh with Win7. Some users, for instance, have reported that the brightness function keys for their laptop displays stopped working after Windows 7 was installed – the result of a BIOS-Win7 mismatch. A properly matched BIOS, on the other hand, will allow Windows 7 to efficiently interact with the PC’s hardware, boosting performance across nearly all applications.

Since the BIOS is slightly different on every computer, there is no way for the Windows 7 installation software to know if your BIOS also needs an update. You’ll have to check that yourself, a potentially laborious process that requires finding out who made your PC’s BIOS and checking with their technical support to identify and install the upgrade.

Phoenix Technologies®, the world leader in BIOS technology since 1985, offers a tool that vastly simplifies the process for almost any PC: BIOSAgentPlus™. This low cost and simple-to-use tool will scan your PC’s BIOS to determine if upgrading is needed, then automatically locate and install the new programming that ensures your PC is up-to-date and ready for Windows 7.

It’s a quick and easy first step that all should take before attempting to install the new operating system. The result will be an optimized match between Windows 7 and your PC’s foundation, giving you a solid boost to reaching top performance with your Windows 7 upgrade.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting Ready to Upgrade?

With the release of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system this week, you may now be planning to upgrade your computer. However, before you do, you probably should see if your PC is all ready for the new OS. One good way to find out if your computer is prepared for upgrading is to run a scan using DriverAgent's Driver Migration Wizard:

The Driver Migration Wizard is the ideal tool for anyone preparing to upgrade (or downgrade) their operating system. You can simply select the operating system you want to move up or back down to and then click on the "Scan" button.

Then DriverAgent will scan your current hardware and create a single archive file containing the drivers you will need on your next operating system. It really couldn't be easier.

Here is what the results might look like:

The chart will reveal to you what device drivers need to be updated in order for all your "peripherals" to work properly with the new Windows 7 operating system. In addition to a long list of items indicating which drivers are good and which need to be updated, there is a pie chart to show how much updating in general needs to be done.

If a good percentage of your drivers are out-of-date on devices that you use frequently, you may seriously want to consider getting selecting the "Download Now" at the bottom of the results page.

This selection will lead you to a web page where you can purchase DriverAgent software and download all the updates of drivers that you need to complete the preparation for Windows 7.

Friday, October 16, 2009

After Upgrading to Windows 7, Use DriverAgent™ to Keep Your PC in Top Shape

If you have decided to upgrade your computer to the new Windows® Version 7, now is a good time to whip your PC into top shape and keep it there. Every attachment and built-in accessory on your PC, such as the disc drive and WiFi link, needs a special piece of software called a driver. Windows uses these drivers to know exactly how to talk to and control your system hardware for maximum performance.

Unfortunately, the Windows 7 installation disc may not include the best available drivers (or indeed any drivers) for your specific system. The manufacturers of the accessories and attachments have to create the drivers, and they may not have sent their newest versions to Microsoft in time for distribution with Windows 7.

Also worth noting is that some manufacturers prefer to distribute drivers on CDs or on their support website and may not work through Microsoft at all. Indeed Microsoft’s Windows Update site has only a subset of the drivers most manufacturers recommend. In those cases, Windows 7 won’t install any drivers for that piece of hardware.

You will want the latest Windows 7-compatible drivers on your PC to get the most out of your system and to avoid problems. However, making certain you have them is a challenge. To be sure, you could to contact the vendors for every accessory in your PC (or search the Internet), determine if the driver you have needs to be updated, and then download and install the new version. That would be a very time consuming task.

Fortunately, there is a much easier way. Phoenix Technologies has created DriverAgent™ to automate this task for you. The program scans your computer to discover what drivers you need, and then checks an online database to determine if any updates are available. If there are, you can instruct DriverAgent to automatically download and install the updates.

By using DriverAgent after you have installed Windows 7, you can be assured that you are starting out with your PC at its best. Then, from time to time, run a DriverAgent scan to make sure all your device drivers stay up-to-date. This will help keep Windows 7 and your PC in top performing shape.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fearlessly Upgrading Your PC to Windows 7

For PC users, system upgrades like the soon-to-be-released Windows 7 are a cause for both excitement and anxiety. The excitement is for the new capabilities and performance improvements that Windows 7 promises. The anxiety comes from bitter experience. Many have tried Windows® upgrades in the past only to decide they liked the older version better. Then they discovered how hard it was to get their PC back to the way it had been prior to the upgrade.

Restoring a PC after an upgrade attempt can be difficult because the upgrade also replaces a host of software drivers with new code supporting the new Windows. Removing the upgraded operating system does not always remove these new drivers, and re-installing the older Windows version will not necessarily re-install the drivers you had been using. As a result, your PC could end up with incompatible or obsolete drivers. Your PC might behave differently than it had before the update attempt, or it may even stop working. Incompatibility in key system drivers can leave the PC non-operational and your prospects for fixing the problem bleak.

To make sure your PC gets fully restored, you need to find out what drivers changed during the upgrade and subsequent regression, and identify which driver versions to re-install, a tedious and error-prone task.

Fortunately, there is a solution available called DriverAgent™. This inexpensive and easy-to-use tool scans your PC to find all the drivers, and then searches an online database to determine if your drivers are all the right versions. It can also automatically download and install any drivers that need updating.

DriverAgent is especially useful for those planning to install a Windows upgrade because it offers a unique new feature – the Migration Wizard. This application makes upgrading or downgrading a much less risky proposition. It scans your hardware and builds a CD of all the drivers you will need for your target operating system.

By all accounts, Windows 7 seems like a winner; however, it never hurts to have a plan B if you need to downgrade. DriverAgent and its Migration Wizard make changing Windows versions so simple that you can do this upgrade fearlessly.

Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Get an Optimized Match Between Windows 7 and Your PC's BIOS

Embracing Windows 7 will bring new levels of functionality as well as ease-of-use features to your current computer. But is your PC really ready to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest operating system?

At the heart of every PC is a foundation program called the basic input-output system, or BIOS, which is the base all that other software - including Windows® – must build. Your PC’s BIOS might have some compatibility issues with Windows 7 that could steal performance or even cause loss of function.

The BIOS is the first in a series of programs that the PC must execute - a process called "booting" - in order to become ready for use. Booting is not the BIOS’s only role, however. In order to get things started, the BIOS must have a detailed understanding of the PC’s specific hardware and configuration and be able to interact directly with that hardware.

Windows, on the other hand, needs to be able to run on any suitable computer regardless of such details, so it does not work directly with the hardware. The BIOS serves as Windows’ local guide, interpreter, and foreman for interacting with PC hardware, so the two must work together efficiently.

The older BIOS on your current PC, however, may not fully mesh with Win7. Some users, for instance, have reported that the brightness function keys for their laptop displays stopped working after Windows 7 was installed – the result of a BIOS-Win7 mismatch. A properly matched BIOS, on the other hand, will allow Win7 to efficiently interact with the PC’s hardware, boosting performance across nearly all applications.

Since the BIOS is slightly different on every computer, so there is no way for the Win7 installation software to know if your BIOS also needs an update. You’ll have to check that yourself, a potentially laborious process that requires finding out who made your PC’s BIOS and checking with their technical support to identify and install the upgrade.

Phoenix Technologies, the world leader in BIOS technology, offers a tool that vastly simplifies the process for almost any PC: BIOSAgentPlus™. This low cost and simple-to-use tool will scan your PC’s BIOS to determine if upgrading is needed, then automatically locate and install the new programming that ensures your PC is up-to-date and ready for Windows 7.

It’s a quick and easy first step that all should take before attempting to install the new operating system. The result will be an optimized match between Win7 and your PC’s foundation, giving you a solid boost to reaching top performance with your Win7 upgrade.