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Speed Tests: Windows 8 vs. Windows 7

With the last pre-release version of Windows 8 in hand, PCMag decided it was time to compare Microsoft’s next OS with its last.

Here is their summary of test results.

Article by Michael Muchmore

We’ve heard it before: The next version of Windows is going to start up way faster and run faster than the last. With Windows 7, we were told that we could expect 15 second boot times, but that sure hasn’t been my experience. With Windows 8, it looks like the claims are for real: In using the Windows 8 Developer, Consumer, and Release Previews, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in startup times. No longer do you have to wait for nearly a minute just to log into a typical PC.

And the company has stated that it’s working on reducing another big source of waiting time: Updates. If you don’t use a Windows 7 PC for a week or so, chances are that you’ll have to wait a few minutes for it to download and install updates, and you’ll probably have to go through a second reboot. This is less of a problem for PCs that are left on all the time (to the detriment of energy conservation), which is the case for most business PCs.

In addition to startup and shutdown times, I wanted to compare performance of Windows 8 with that of Windows 7 on some other measures. I used PCMark, Geekbench, and three browser benchmarks. I also timed how long it took to copy large files and encode a video project.
 
I first installed a fresh clean copy of Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) on a Toshiba Portege R835-P88 laptop (a PCMag Editors’ Choice) with a 2.5GHz Core i5-2450M chip, 6GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and an Intel HD Graphics 3000 integrated graphics processor. I ran all the tests, and then installed a clean copy of Windows 8 (64 bit) on the same hardware. For each OS, I made sure all updates had been installed.
 
Startup and Shutdown Times

Few performance issues are more important than how long it takes your computer to start up and be ready to use. Windows 8 makes bigger advances in this yardstick than any operating system in memory. Of course, our tests involved clean OS installations, and startup time can be affected by apps you install that load code during startup, such as antivirus. But this, too, is more of a problem for Windows 7, since Windows 8 saves the system state and memory contents to a file on disk, and simply reloads it on reboot, rather than initiating everything all over again.

Another factor for the new OS is behavioral—it’s designed to encourage the user to “sleep” the machine rather than completely shutting it down when use finishes. And, maybe most importantly, with newer hardware that uses a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) hardware boot process and SSD hard drives, you’ll see even more drastic startup speed boosts. But even without all this, my startup results showed that the upgrade reduced startup time to less than half that of Windows 7. Shutdown time was improved, but not by such a wide margin.

Large file set move
One of the few improvements to the traditional Desktop interface that lurks beneath Windows 8’s newfangled Metro user interface is file moving and copying in Windows Explorer. It’s not just the cosmetics of the added ribbon atop the Explorer that’s been changed: Now, when you copy or move multiple files simultaneously, you’ll also see an information box showing each operation’s progress, with an optional throughput graph. To test file-move performance I used a USB 2.0 thumb drive loaded with 500MB of 81 large files of mixed types. I also tried a single large file of just under 1GB.

The newer OS also did a better job predicting how long the move operation would take. Though these tests didn’t show a speed improvement (presumably because it’s a hardware-constrained test), when I tried copying the same files to another folder, it was nearly instant, whereas in Windows 7 I had to wait the same time for the file to move again.

Geekbench 
Geekbench 2.3, from Primate Labs, runs a series of geeky tests like prime number, Mandelbrot, blowfish encryption, text compression, image sharpen and blur, and memory stream test. The subtests comprise both single- and multithreaded applications. The results are normalized so that a score of 1,000 is the score a Power Mac G5 1.6GHz, so a higher number is better.

I ran both the 32-bit and 64-bit tests in Geekbench three times and took the average for each OS. Mostly designed to test hardware, Geekbench didn’t show much change between OS versions. But it’s encouraging that this test version of Windows 8 was a tad faster, rather than slowing down the benchmark’s operations.

Video Rendering
For a real-world, task-based test, I timed video encoding in Windows Live Movie Maker on both operating systems. I used the same 2-minute movie content (made of three different format clips I created, complete with titles and transitions), and had the program convert it to 720p at a 12.26Mbps bandwidth. Windows 8 posted a slight but encouraging improvement on this test, reducing the time it took from 1 minute and 22 seconds to 1:11.

PCMark Vantage
The PCMark 7 benchmark runs 7 system tests, each designed to represent a certain type of PC usage, including hard disk access, 3D and graphics physics rendering, Web page rendering, file decryption, and multithreading with video, and image manipulation. The benchmark spits out a result in PCMarks, with a higher number equating to better performance. My Windows 8 system showed a significant performance improvement over Windows 7, upping the score by 388 points.

Browser Benchmarks
I tested browser performance in Windows’ native browser Internet Explorer. On Windows 8, that would be version 10, and on Windows 7 I used the latest version available for that OS, IE9. I ran two popular JavaScript benchmarks, SunSpider and Google’s V8 (v.7) as well as a Microsoft test of hardware acceleration, Psychedelic Browsing. I ran the tests in the Desktop version of Windows 8’s Internet Explorer 10 browser.

The improvement on Sunspider and V8 was remarkable: Microsoft has clearly done further optimization on IE10’s JavaScript engine, Chakra. And the Psychedelic Browsing test showed a marked improvement as well, meaning Microsoft has done further work on hardware acceleration in the browser.

Without further ado, my results are presented in the table that follows:

 Windows 7 Utimate
(64-bit)
Windows 8
(64-bit)
Startup
(seconds, lower is better)
3817
Shutdown
(seconds, lower is better)
12.29.9
500MB File Group Move
(seconds, lower is better)
25.229.2
Large Single File Move
(seconds, lower is better)
46.446.8
Video Rendering
(minutes:seconds, smaller is better)
1:221:11
Geekbench 2.3 64-bit tests
(higher is better)
80908187
Geekbench 2.3 32-bit tests
(higher is better)
59626122
PCMark 7
(higher is better)
23132701
Sunspider
(ms, lower is better)
180144
Google V8 (v.7)
(higher is better)
30796180
Psychedelic Browsing
(higher is better)
39975292

 

The key thing here is startup. Windows 7 still takes just too long to get usable, and Windows 8 finally remedies this drawback. Browser performance is also notably better, and it’s encouraging that Geekbench showed a little improvement and PCMark 7 a significant one. Yes, this is not even the RTM, or final release of Windows 8, but the early test results are encouraging. New hardware will, of course, make the new OS scream, particularly if you opt for SSD storage.

Article Source: PCMag.com

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Learn Windows 8 in 8 minutes

Fake_Windows_8_Start[1]A beginners guide to Microsoft’s soon to be released Operating System Windows 8.

In this video you will learn about the new interface and special features of Windows 8.

Windows 8 is designed specifically for use with Touch Screen and portable devices, so it will be interesting to see how this impacts on those using a conventional PC and monitor.

[iframe src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/bVY6ArpZ0GA” width=”100%”]

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Apple removes “more secure than Windows” claims

Screen-Shot-2012-08-24-at-3.13.59-PM[1]by Kevin McLaughlin

Apple recently changed the wording in the “Why You’ll Love A Mac” section of its website, removing longstanding claims about Macs being more secure than Windows PCs.

For years, Apple’s marketing has centered on the notion that Mac users are immune to the malware that routinely causes headaches for PC users.

Here is how Apple used to phrase this: “A Mac isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers. That’s thanks to built-in defenses in Mac OS X that keep you safe, without any work on your part.”

But sometime in the past few days, Apple changed this message to read: “Built-in defenses in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac.”

Apple also changed its description of OS X from “It doesn’t get PC viruses” to “It’s built to be safe”.

The original Apple web page, dated June 9 on Google cache, can be seen here.

The removal of Windows comparisons could signal a change in Apple’s security marketing strategy. Apple’s devilishly effective “Get a Mac” marketing campaign focused on the superior security of Macs over Windows PCs, and while researchers have warned that Macs are not inherently more secure, many Mac users still operate under that assumption.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the website changes. But security experts suspect that the increasing attention the company is getting from malware authors did play a role in its decision to remove references to Windows.

“Apple does not want to lose its image as a secure platform,” Andrew Plato, president of Anitian Enterprise Security, said in an interview. “A lot of people still see their Mac as fundamentally more secure than Windows. Flashback proved that Macs are just as vulnerable.”

Macs get more attention from attackers

As more iOS devices make their way into businesses through the bring-your-own-device phenomenon, Mac adoption in businesses is also rising, creating a more inviting target for attackers, according to Andrew Brust, CEO of Microsoft analyst firm Blue Badge Insights.

“Macs can’t keep that low profile anymore, and the bullies are starting to target it, with increasing frequency,” Brust said.

Apple has kept security under the same cloak of secrecy as the rest of its operations, but there are signs that may be changing. Next month, Apple is slated to take part in the Black Hat security conference for the first time. Dallas De Atley, manager of the platform security team, will give a talk there on key security technologies in iOS.

On Monday at the opening of its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple offered insight into the security improvements in OS X Mountain Lion, which is slated for release in July. The big new feature is Gatekeeper, a security mechanism that allows OS X developers to digitally sign their apps, thereby preventing users from accidentally installing malicious software.

Article Source: This article originally appeared at crn.com

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How To Enable or Disable “AutoRun” for removable media

AutoRun can be enabled or disabled for all Removable media types, such as a Floppy or Zip disk, and USB Flash Drives. This is useful to know because removable media can easily be infected with viruses and spyware that is configured to install when removable media is inserted into the PC. Windows systems are configured to enable CD Notification, other removable media are by default disabled, but if for some reason they aren’t, then it is a good idea to disable them.

The System Properties User Interface only exposes the CD Enable or Disable option. The setting reflected in this dialog makes an entry in the System Registry. It is in this same location that other media types are configured.

Notes:

1. Modifying the Registry is not for the inexperienced user. Anyone will tell you to, be VERY careful.

2. The modifications shown below use Hexadecimal not Decimal numbers. If you are unfamiliar with the Registry or Hexadecimal, looking into these topics prior to making these modifications is advisable.

To Modify the following Registry Settings, Use “Regedit” and navigate to the following Key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER

Software

Microsoft

Windows

CurrentVersion

Policies

Explorer

“NoDriveTypeAutoRun”

The default value for the setting is 95 0 0 0. Change the first byte to 91. Restart the computer to make the new setting take effect. You may have to right-click on the floppy and choose AutoPlay from the menu to see the AutoPlay behavior.

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Is This The Future Of Coffee Tables?

How cool is this?

Microsoft’s new touch screen technology in the form of a coffee table. It will eventually be used for self service kiosks etc.

[iframe src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/bScJM9i1o4I” width=”100%”]

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Support Ending XP SP2

xp_servicepack2This is why you should look at making sure you have Service Pack 3 (SP3) installed, or think about migrating to Windows 7 in the near future.

Microsoft has announced that support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) 32-bit operating system will end on 13th July 2010, and support for Windows Vista Release to Manufacturing (RTM) will end 13th April 2010.

If you are running the 64-bit edition of Windows XP with SP2, you will continue to be eligible to receive Microsoft support and updates until 8th April 2014. There is no SP3 for the 64-bit version of Windows XP. To find out if you are running the 64-bit version of Windows XP, go to the Start menu, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties. If you don’t see “64-bit” listed, then you’re running the 32-bit version and need to install the Windows XP SP3.

Key Dates
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  • 1st March 2010 – Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) will reboot or go to a blue screen every two hours, depending on the PC’s system failure settings.
  • 13th April 2010 – Support for Windows Vista RTM operating system ends.
  • 1st June 2010 – Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) licenses expire.
  • 13th July 2010 – Support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) 32-bit operating system ends.

[/unordered_list]