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Insider Secrets: Dual boot Windows 7 beta

Inspired by CNET's Quick Tips and First Looks on Windows 7 beta, but not sure how to install it correctly? Never fear!

This video guide will help you create a dual-boot configuration, so you can run the preview of Microsoft's latest OS without destroying your older operating system.

Why I can't get enough of Windows 7

Anyone who reads The Digital Home knows that I have issues with Windows Vista. I think it's a sub-par operating system with too many quirks and far too many flaws to make it worth using. I only use Vista when I have to.

So I entered into the world of Windows 7 with some trepidation. Would it be the bloated mess that Vista is? Or would it bring me back to the golden days of Windows and whisk me away from the clutches of Apple? I didn't know.

But after using the beta (a term I use lightly, since this so-called beta is better than anything Microsoft ever shipped as Vista "Gold"), I can say with the utmost certainty that Windows 7 isn't only the best operating system I've used in the past decade, it might be my favorite of all time. And as a person with four Macs staring me in the face as I write this, that's something I never thought I'd say.

But I should note that so far, all we've seen from Microsoft is this beta. The company has a proven track record of promising, and even offering, features in betas that never seem to make their way to the finished product. Yes, I'm looking at you, Vista.

Regardless, the Windows 7 beta provided me with an unparalleled experience. From install to surfing the Web, it's fantastic.… Read more

First Look video: Windows 7 beta

The beta of Windows 7 shows off Microsoft's most innovative operating system in years. Everything from the look to the guts has been overhauled. A completely revamped taskbar changes the way you'll interact with your programs for the better, and nobody will be complaining about the faster boot time, the faster program launch time, and the improved resource management.

In this First Look video, I'll give you a quick overview of what Windows 7 beta can do and how to use it. The only problem? Having to wait until summer for the official release.

Securing the Windows 7 beta

Despite the fact that security programs are often some of the toughest code to make work with a new operating system, Windows 7 already has several companies ready with products aimed at keeping it safe from attackers.

By comparison, only one antivirus firm--McAfee--had its security software commercially ready by the time Microsoft launched Vista for businesses in November 2006.

That said, it stands to reason, given that Microsoft was making far more dramatic changes to the operating system's underlying architecture in Vista than it is in Windows 7.

This time around, it is AVG, Kaspersky, and Symantec that … Read more

Windows 7 beta gets a mascot

Look closely at the desktop when you boot up Windows 7 for the first time. That's not just any fish you see on the desktop.

It's a specific type of Siamese fighting fish, also known as a betta fish. Get it?

Although pronounced like the Greek letter beta, the fish gets its name "from ikan bettah, taken from a local dialect of Thailand," according to Wikipedia.

For the record, I'm no fish expert, but as I was re-installing Windows 7 last night, my partner, AJ, turned to me and said, "Hey, it's a … Read more

Microsoft: Do give Vista a try

Following the beta release of Windows 7, Microsoft is sending the message to companies not to give Vista a miss, saying investments toward adopting the OS can be reused when Windows 7 is ready.

Speaking at a press demo session of Windows 7 beta, Richard Francis, general manager, Windows client BG lead, business and marketing organization, Asia-Pacific region at Microsoft, said companies are "encouraged" to upgrade to Windows Vista after predecessor XP, instead of waiting for Windows 7 to be released.

"Certainly, there will be some companies that will decide to skip Vista and wait for Windows … Read more

A tale of two Windows installs

This weekend, I loaded fresh copies of Windows onto two PCs.

Like many people, I downloaded the Windows 7 Beta and installed it. But that wasn't the only PC task I had over the weekend.

I had an old PC I used for my early Vista testing that my partner was complaining had begun to gather dust. So, I offered the machine to a friend of mine that had only a very old PC. I gave her the option of XP or Vista and she quickly proclaimed, "Oh, XP, definitely."

And, of course, therein lies Microsoft's … Read more

Works, but nothing special here

It falls squarely in the middle of the pack as far as password keepers go, but easy to learn pull-down menus, and simple program operation make the application one for less experienced users. Nothing truly special here, but no out and out flaws either.

Right off the bat, Scarabay proves to go only half way. The app allows users to drag and drop Web site, login, and password data onto your favorite browser. Unfortunately, users must perform the work with three steps. A front runner would open the page and fill in the data with one double-click. The application also … Read more

Microsoft lifts download limit for Windows 7 beta

Acknowledging that its release of Windows 7 public beta (download) "was not ideal," Microsoft said it will suspend the software's 2.5 million download limit for a couple of weeks.

Windows communications manager Brandon LeBlanc announced the move in a company blog Saturday:

Due to an enormous surge in demand, the download experience was not ideal so we listened and took the necessary steps to ensure a good experience. We have clearly heard that many of you want to check out the Windows 7 Beta and, as a result, we have decided remove the initial 2.5 … Read more