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Windows 7


Ant
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I'm about to buy a new lapop.

Does anyone know much about windows7 and astro software?

I'm guessing that windows7 has a compatability mode (like XP does)?

What about drivers for things like ASCOM, SX and Imaging Source?

What may I have forgotten?

Cheers

Ant

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My brother just bought an ACER which is quite good. So I was thinking about one of those.

But this windows7 issue is an issue, I really need more computing power than I have, I need a bigger screen.

TBH if Windows7 isn't viable (at the moment) , I really don't want Vista. I might even consider buying second hand and sticking with XP.

Ant

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A very good techie at PCW***D told me that Windows 7 does have an XP compatibility mode but only the more expensive Professional version, NOT the premium.

Your right, just checked it's the professional or ultimate edition - my apologies ;)

Steve

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Re. the compatibility mode. I think there's a distinction between running apps in compatibility mode al la Vista vs. the XP emulation mode that is in the top end versions of Windows 7. The latter, as I understand it is akin to running Virtual PC whereas, I believe, you can select the compatibility mode, per application/file in all versions.

You right click on files in the Explorer/file browser thingy to access Properties and then select the Compatibility tab. On some .exe's this should give various ways of running the file, others such as MSI packages only allow "run in previous version of Windows".

I had to do this with one of my application installations and it worked fine.

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The PCW***D guy told me that there is infact, "a distinction between running apps in compatibility mode al la Vista vs. the XP emulation mode that is in the top end versions of Windows 7".

He seemed to agree that, "The latter, as I understand it is akin to running Virtual PC whereas, I believe, you can select the compatibility mode, per application/file in all versions".

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OK I have been running the full release of Windows 7 for a couple of months with no problems BUT....... I dont have any astro hardware connected to the laptop.

The facts (As I see them)

Windows 7 X64 will ONLY use a windows 7 64bit signed driver

Windows 7 32bit will make use of any Vista driver so in theory if it worked on Vista it will be fine on Windows 7

Windows7 XP Compatability mode is Windows Virtual PC and as such it WONT SUPPORT USB Devices

I have quite a few astro apps running on my machine - Photoshop, Maxim, Registax and they run OK but as I say above hardware support is more limited - It needs to have at least a Vista driver but thats only valid if you use the 32bit version.

BTW I find Windows 7 much better than Vista - my laptop has 4GB of RAM and just running Vista it would be sitting at 78% in use, with Win 7 it's around half of that. Startup/shutdown is far better - the hard drive no longer grinds away for ages after starting up.

The user interface improvements are just that - improvements, I find now that I am used to them that they are very usefull. Internet Explorer gives you previews of the tabs you have open when you click it on the task bar is the best feature in my experience!

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OK I have been running the full release of Windows 7 for a couple of months with no problems BUT....... I dont have any astro hardware connected to the laptop.

The facts (As I see them)

Windows 7 X64 will ONLY use a windows 7 64bit signed driver

Or a Windows Vista x64 Driver, not any difference really in Windows 7 & Vista driver architecture.

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i was thinking off getting a reconditioned xp laptop but they still sell for around £200-£250, and will have less ram than newer laptops, the only issue i`ve found while searching online is with the nexstar pc control software , it won`t work with a 64 bit laptop for some reason.

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I tried Windows 7 (the free release candidate edition), with my astro software, and yes it worked. However, wxAstrocapture would never quit, it would only crash, and at times the drivers were dodgy and either not functioning, or working fine.

As an OS it works, and is much more pleasurable to use than prior releases, again however i reverted back to XP a week ago, why, well i had the same 'blue screen of death' on two machines within days of each other, neither would boot properly after that. As far as i was concerned with Windows 7 i would use it up to the point i see the BSOD.

If i were you hold off a little while, perhaps 6 months or so, last thing you want is to upgrade and have issues, as these are bound to happen on clear nights when we should be imaging and not reinstalling drivers.

A lot of people waited until the 2nd Service Pack before updating to XP, it may be wise to hold off.

However the dual boot suggestion is a good idea, that way you can actively test it and see if everything works as it should, and if not pop back into XP until its all ok and at least you will only loose minutes at the scope/camera.

I'll stress again in case anyone thinks this is a negative post, Windows 7 is good, it is a decent update finally to the windows OS, yes it has it idiosyncrasies but this time it actually felt like someone was thinking at Microsoft.

FYI this comes from a mac user, a die hard one at that, i would advise to go for a mac, but the software just doesn't exist (well it does but its even harder to figure out than the windows software) either way i think be safe and stick with XP, and test windows 7, but don't jump in with both feet.

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Matt, I agree entirely with your description and experience of 7, and the advice to hold back for a while 'til the inevitable issues are fixed. It's "The Vista that never was", as we like to say in our shop. ;)

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I have got to say Ivor that this is just like a new service pck for vista. I honestly have no issues with Windows 7, we have also been using it in the office for a number of months and again have no issues with it. To me it is the best version of the O/S yet! The improvments are small but do make it better and it just seems a lot more responsive than vista ever was.

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Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic OS, which is what I think Matt was saying also. I just think that if someone's already using XP (general users, that is), there's little benefit to making the change yet. The many improvements listed here : Major benefits of Windows 7? (scroll down to ScottEQ's post) aren't likely to be appreciated or exploited by the general public, but they're certainly enough to (IMO) entice someone who's thinking of reinstalling or buying a new system to jump on-board.

As you've experienced, we've also been running the RC for many months on a system in our shop, and it's been fantastic. Only problem we've had, besides one or two program incompatibilities (most of which have since been fixed with updates or patches), has been integration with our existing XP network. Occasionally it spits-out the dummy and refuses access to even the more open shares.

One major plus-point is it's performance stats; TBH, it took me a few minutes to realise at first when I installed it, but the PC it was going onto was a relatively impotent Sempron 2600 (1.8GHz) with a paltry 256Kb L2 cache, 512MBs RAM, and a clunky old 40GB Maxtor hard disk... (basically, 5 year-old tech) and it ran like a dream! It also occupies less than half the disk space that Vista does. We've since added another 512MBs RAM, and it's sailing along in a way that Vista can't even dream of. ;)

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