Posts Tagged windows

Upgrade the Windows 7 RC to any retail version

For anyone else who’s been running the Windows 7 RC and now have your hands on the real deal, here’s a great guide for upgrading to retail without requiring a clean install.

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Reduce game network latency in Windows 7 or Vista

After installing Windows 7 I noticed a slight increase in network latency in several online games. It wasn’t a big deal – I’m talking 200-300ms, but this is on a connection that was reliably < 100ms in the past. Beyond the obvious settings in Windows or on your router, here’s a list of tweaks that may help quite a bit. It involves disabling Nagle’s algorithm, also commonly known as TCP no delay, which is basically an optimization of network traffic that tries to reduce overall packet volume but can cause extra latency in the connection. This should work on Windows 7 or Vista, though the same principle can probably applied to other operating systems as well.

  1. From a command prompt (usually in All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt) run “regedit”
  2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces
  3. Browse the items under interfaces until you find one that has an IPAddress entry matching the network interface you want to affect (typically LAN IP addresses start with 192.168 or 10.0); note that if your IP address is automatically assigned by a DHCP server you may need to look for a matching DhcpIPAddress instead of IPAddress
  4. Right-click on the interface and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value, name it “TcpAckFrequency”
  5. Right-click the new TcpAckFrequency value and select Modify, enter “1″ (Hexadecimal radio button should be selected)
  6. Right-click on the interface and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value, name it “TCPNoDelay” (note that TCP is all uppercase this time – that’s intentional)
  7. Right-click the new TCPNoDelay value and select Modify, enter “1″ (Hexadecimal radio button should be selected)
  8. Verify that both TcpAckFrequency and TCPNoDelay now show up in the adapter’s property list with types REG_DWORD and values 0×00000001
  9. Exit regedit and reboot (reboot is necessary for the changes to take effect!)
  10. Play a game and enjoy your new low ping

This decreased my ping in most games from 200-300ms to 50-60ms, which matches the latency I would see via a tracert to the game’s server.

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Windows 7 RC is (surprisingly) really great

I just upgraded my main home PC to Windows 7 RC and I have to say – against all odds – that less than an hour into the experience I’m already pretty much blown away. For one thing, I’m writing this entry the same night I got the idea to upgrade, and less than an hour after beginning the whole process. In fact, I think it took longer to download the iso than to do the upgrade. But what’s really amazing is how painless it was, and for once, everything just works – seriously, it’s like I’m on a Mac or something. By this I mean that I simply burned a copy of the iso, ran setup.exe, let it do its thing (no custom/advanced options required), it rebooted my PC twice, and when finished Windows 7 was humming along with drivers working for all of my hardware.

Keep in mind, I have a home-built PC with hardware RAID, relatively new sound and graphics cards, a very new wireless N USB adapter, and these were all detected seamlessly without me so much as selecting a driver, much less downloading or installing one. On first boot I was instantly prompted for which wireless N network I’d like to connect to, my desktop appeared in the expected 1920×1200 native resolution, and even the really little things that just never happened automatically – like detecting my actual LCD display brand and model instead of labeling it “Generic PnP Display” – are there. It even found my Brother multi-function printer/copier/scanner over the wireless network and installed a driver for it. I think the only things I was even prompted for where a user name, password, and my time zone.

Anyone who’s installed any other version of Windows on a non-trivial PC, from 3.1 up to and including Vista, knows the pain of loading RAID drivers from a floppy during install, figuring out how to get a wireless driver onto that PC without internet connectivity (always a blast), etc. – it’s become so ingrained in my thinking that I just considered it part of the custom-PC-Windows-install process. To be fair, Microsoft has always had to deal with an insane amount of hardware while Apple has exclusive control, and in that respect it’s been no surprise that a Mac install or upgrade is much less painful than Windows one. But it’s for that reason that I am really, really impressed that Windows 7 has come so far – and in an RC, no less. Who can remember the last time a Windows OS didn’t have major issues until SP 1 or 2?

The insanely enjoyable install aside, Windows 7 seems a lot slicker and streamlined than Vista did, borrowing much of the look and feel while losing much of the bloat. The little Windows quirks that Vista tried to make better – but often just overcomplicated – are much better, from the “simplified” control panel (which now has quick power-user links to many things like Device Manager built right into the main view) to the wireless icon in the system tray which allows quick one-click connecting to an available network, to the slightly new take on the taskbar and window preview/switching. Even IE 8 isn’t half bad – though not technically part of Windows 7, I figured I’d use it at least once to write this entry before downloading Chrome again. :) For a more complete list check out this summary.

It looks like all the pressure from Apple is making a difference, and for once I’m looking forward to installing the full version of the next Windows. Now I just hope they give us a reasonable upgrade price!

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