The Windows 7 driver store includes a small collection of drivers for legacy devices, mostly older printers, modems, scanners, infrared ports, PCMCIA controllers, and other oddball devices that don’t use Plug and Play connections. As you might suspect, Windows will not automatically set up such devices, and you’re rolling the dice if you find one of these old but still worthwhile devices and try to install an old driver.

But what if the device in question is valuable to you and can’t be easily replaced by a newer, supported one? Then by all means give it a try. Download the most recent hardware drivers you can find (ideally, for Windows XP or Windows Server 2003), and then use the Add Hardware wizard to complete the hardware setup process. Follow these steps:

1. If you’ve found a downloadable driver package or a CD that came with the device, look for a Setup program and run it. This option places the driver files on your hard disk and simplifies later installation steps.

2. Connect the new hardware to your computer. In the case of an internal device such as an add-in card, turn off the computer, add the device, and then restart. More »

Application incompatibility is one of the aspects that have managed to deliver extensive damage to the adoption rate of Windows Vista. However, as Vista matured throughout 2007 and with Service Pack 1 in 2008, so did the ecosystem of software solutions orbiting around the operating system. Despite this, the actual perception of application incompatibility managed to survive, especially in corporate environments. If one end user can deal with a program that is incompatible with Vista rather easy, the same cannot be said about an enterprise dependent on a specific business application with tens of thousands of machines.

“Part of this is perception based on fact – Windows Vista is built on a new architecture that promises tightened security and reliability. Consequently, the applications that ride on top of Windows Vista need to communicate with the kernel in different ways. So what has helped fuel current perception around application compatibility? Why did many applications ‘break’ in the migration from Windows XP to Windows Vista?” Microsoft asked rhetorically. More »

The issue with either Windows XP or 32-bit Vista really isn’t the OS itself, but the legacy of the old IBM PC. The BIOS reserves a certain amount of memory for memory-mapped I/O. Still, even Win XP could “see” well over 3GB of RAM. It and 32-bit Vista do support something known as PAE (physical address extension), which allows applications written for PAE to use more than 2GB of memory.

However, Vista itself likes having more than 2GB of RAM. The reason is SuperFetch, the smart caching technology built into Vista. More »