Basic troubleshooting usually starts the same as with any other type of hardware devices. Try the following:

· Make sure that the devices are supported by your operating system and then

· Go to the manufacturer’s web site and download the latest version of software or drivers for those devices. While you’re there you might browse the site to see if there are known issues or other information for your device.

· Make sure the Bluetooth device is listed in the Bluetooth Devices Browser in the Control Panel (keep in mind that some Bluetooth devices may install a custom dialog window for their device in the control panel).

· Make sure that you’re system is up to date on any service packs and other updates for your operating system

For additional troubleshooting, browse to the page listed below for other scenarios that you may run into. More »

Have you ever run out of battery power on your mobile PC during a meeting or a class? Have you worried about running out of power while waiting to meet with a client? Have you asked yourself how much longer your battery will last? Sufficient battery life is a persistent challenge for mobile PC users. But Windows offers several ways to help maximize the battery life of your mobile computer.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to take advantage of Windows settings to manage power more efficiently. I’ll also introduce some non-software related tips that you can use to extend battery life.

Optimize your power settings

Windows 7

Windows 7 has two default power plans:

  • Balanced: Automatically balances performance with energy consumption on capable hardware.
  • Power saver: Saves energy by reducing your computer’s performance where possible.

Change your power plan

1. Click the battery meter icon, located in the notification area on the Windows taskbar.

The display and hard disk on your mobile PC are the two biggest consumers of battery power. By choosing a power plan (called a power scheme in Windows XP) you can extend your battery life. A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that control how your mobile PC manages power.

2. Select either the Balanced or Power saver power plan.

Windows Vista

Windows Vista has three default power plans:

  • Balanced. Offers full performance when you need it, but conserves power when the computer is idle.
  • Power saver. The best choice for extending battery life. The cost? Slower performance.
  • High performance. Maximizes system performance at the expense of battery life.

Change your power plan

1. Click the battery meter icon, located in the notification area on the Windows taskbar.
2. Select the Balanced, Power saver, or High performance power plan.

Windows XP users

Windows XP includes two power schemes that were created specifically for mobile PCs.

  • The Portable/Laptop power scheme minimizes the use of power to conserve your battery, but adjusts to your processing needs so that the system speed is not sacrificed.
  • The Max Battery power scheme minimizes power use but does not adjust as your processing demands change. You should use Max Battery only in situations that require minimal processing, such as reading documents and taking notes in a meeting.

Use a power scheme designed to maximize battery life:

1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

2. In Control Panel, verify that you’re in Category view, and then click Performance and Maintenance.

3. In the Performance and Maintenance window, click Power Options.

4. On the Power Schemes tab of the Power Options Properties dialog box, click the arrow under Power schemes, and then click Max Battery.

5. Click OK.

You can also create a custom power scheme to suit your specific needs. You can create as many custom power schemes as you want.

Take advantage of low-power states

The different versions of Windows provide the following battery-saving states:

  • Windows 7: sleep and hibernation (which is like deep sleep)
  • Windows Vista sleep and hybrid sleep (which is a combination of sleep and hibernation)
  • Windows XP standby (which is like snoozing) and hibernation (which is like deep sleep)

Sleep (Standby)

In a sleep state (standby), your display and hard disk turn off, and all open programs and files are saved in random access memory (RAM) your computer’s temporary memory rather than to the hard disk. Information stored in RAM is cleared when the computer turns off, so it’s a good idea to save your work before placing your system in standby mode. Otherwise, you may lose data if you lose power, you swap batteries, or your system crashes.

Sleep (standby) is particularly useful when you’re using your mobile PC intermittently during the day. For example, when driving between clients’ offices during the day, put your computer to sleep or on standby to maximize the life of your battery and maintain quick access to open programs, files, and documents. When you want to use your computer again, it wakes up quickly, and your desktop is restored exactly as you left it.

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Windows 7 brings to the table a new feature designed to enhance user experiences for the integration of third-party devices with the operating system. Device Stage is set up to make it as easy as possible for Windows 7 customers to deal with printers, cameras, phones, music players and other devices and gadgets right from the platform, as a central hub for all the hardware connected to a machine. A new resource developed by the Redmond company and offered as a free download makes it as easy as possible for Microsoft partners to build advanced Device Stage experiences for their products.

“We’re excited to announce that the Device Stage Visual Editor Tool is now available for our partners. This new new tool and accompanying user’s guide make it extremely easy for our partners (device manufacturers) to develop and build custom Device Stage metadata packages for their products that include realistic device icons, eye-catching branding, and tasks tailored to the needs of their customers,” noted Brandon LeBlanc, Windows Communications Manager on the Windows Client Communications Team. More »

Or at least it will be in the next few days at the highly entertaining Black Hat Conference. This annual get together of security experts – on both sides of the fence – has become the place to reveal newly discovered computer and network loopholes and flaws. It’s usually to be followed by lots of nervous press releases from manufacturers and software companies, either promising fixes, or claiming the security issues are non-existent or irrelevant.

This one, reported by Engadget and uncovered by security researcher Craig Heffner, highlights a long-standing problem with wireless routers known as DNS Rebinding. Heffner developed a tool that managed to crack open more than half of the thirty routers it was tested on, including popular models from the likes of Belkin and Linksys. Internet and network traffic passing through hacked routers can be intercepted or redirected, potentially allowing remote access to files on a user’s computer. Although the full extent of this vulnerability has yet to be revealed Heffner says there’s a lot users can do to protect their routers. This includes changing the setup menu’s default password and IP address, which will help until the manufacturers come up with a more permanent solution.

The componentized and embedded flavor of Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing, just a little over six months since the fully fledged Windows client’s GA, and nine months after it hit RTM. As announced previously, Windows Embedded Standard 7 was launched at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Silicon Valley, on April 27th, 2010. With the latest iteration of the Windows Embedded platform, Microsoft is introducing Windows 7-specific technologies to device manufacturers.

Unlike the Windows 7 client, the successor of Windows Embedded 2009 is available only to original equipment manufacturers, and not to the public. OEMs are free to take advantage of the customizable and componentized form in order to build a variety of embedded devices including thin clients, digital signage and industrial controls, but also even set-top boxes (STBs), connected media devices (CMDs), and TVs. Windows Embedded Standard 7 brings to the table Windows Media Center, Windows Touch and power management APIs. More »