Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How to install Adobe Reader 9 on Windows 7 beta

If Adobe Reader 9 doesn't want to install on Windows 7 beta for you - it didn't install on my ASUS R2H UMPC, but then it did on my Shuttle XPC desktop - and you only get the self extract part of the install and then it simply disappears, you can try extracting the package contents yourself by running the following from a command line:

AdbeRdr90_en_US.exe -nos_ne

that will extract the installation files in "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Setup Files". If you want to install both AIR and Reader 9, run the main setup.exe, otherwise for just the Reader run the Reader9\setup.exe. Follow the instructions to finish the installation and you can remove the setup files when you're done (~113 MB).

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Tip: If you are the occasional PDF reader like me you probably don’t see any benefit from having the Adobe Reader Speed Launcher run at logon. I would suggest removing / disabling the start-up entry with AutoRuns. I haven’t noticed any slowness at application start-up without it, even on my tiny R2H UMPC.

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Update 18 March 2009: You should try the Adobe Reader 9.1 out now - just installed it on Windows 7 build 7057 with no need for the workaround, I assume Adobe fixed the issue rather than MS having anything to do with it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Windows Live Messenger 2009 freezes Windows 7 beta

If you find that Live Messenger 2009 freezes completely your Windows 7 beta system - seems quite a few people have this problem, I have it on both my ASUS R2H UMPC (Intel 910/915) and Sony Vaio VNG-A115B (ATI Mobility Radeon 9200) - a fix was suggested in the above link to reduce the display adapter hardware acceleration - not ideal, but it seems to work for now.

Right click the desktop, select "Change Resolution", click on the "Advanced settings" link, go to Troubleshoot tab, click "Change settings" button, move the slider left to the third notch and click OK.

Update 29 Jan 2009 : I should've mentioned I've been using Windows Live Messenger 2009 (14.0.8050.1202) and that it seems to work with Standard VGA Graphics Adapter with full acceleration.

Update 17 Mar 2009 : Tested again with Windows 7 build 7057 and it works fine, no need to change the hardware acceleration, kudos to W7 developers!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Windows 7 beta on ASUS R2H

Now that Windows 7 beta is out I've decided to try it on my ASUS R2H see how it compares to Vista, which I became used to and why not even like it. W7 is supposed to be built on top of Vista and coming with a few usability and performance improvements - some of those visual improvements like Aero Peek won't be able to run on this tiny machine, but other nice things like Aero Shake or snapping windows to left or right sides might just work.

After writing the 2.5 GB ISO image on a DWD-RW, the installation from the USB DVD drive took about 40 minutes (some people installed it from a USB stick, see here), a clean install on a 9.5 GB partition where I used to have the good old XP. A nice surprise is that the installation only took about 8 GB of disk space (and that includes 1.5 page file and 950 MB hibernation - ?! no wonder the hibernate/resume takes longer in Vista/W7, it may need to compress the 1.2 GB RAM contents into 950 MB).


Works fine with default driver (, but you won't be able to change resolutions from ASUS Settings Center (below) until you install the ASUS Vista driver ( You will have to run setup.exe in Windows Vista compatibility mode, otherwise it will complain the OS is not supported.
Update 23/01 : While my suggestion to install the ASUS graphics driver may give the ability to change the resolution from ASUS Settings Centre, it seems that this may be the cause of a system freeze when resuming from Sleep mode or when running Windows Live Messenger 2009.
Touch screen

While it works out of the box, I can't seem to get close into the corners on any side of the screen for about half a cm - the cursor follows the pen until you reach the limit and then it just stays behind. Btw, there is a new cursor just for the pen, different from the mouse arrow. There is also a new tablet screen calibration tool with additional touch points, maybe the outter additional points were meant to be closer to the actual screen corners, I don't know, I'll have to follow this. 

Thumb stick

It works, but with lower sensitivity, no click - you have to install the Vista driver / utility to get all that functionality.


Works fine with default driver.


Doesn't work with the initial driver, you have to run Windows Update using a network cable to get the new driver and that one will work fine. You could also try the ASUS Vista driver, I would expect that to work as well.

If you want to use the Wireless hardware button at the top of the unit to swich on/off wireless and bluetooth and make the leds on the front of the unit light up, you will have to install the ASUS Wireless Console application, same as in Vista.


Seems to be installed correctly, I don't have a device to test it though.


Not working with the default driver, install ASUS Vista driver.

Fingerprint reader

While the ASUS software for Vista seems to install correctly I couldn't get it to register the fingerprint as means of authentication. I found this AuthenTec press release announcing software to support Windows Biometric Framework within Windows 7 - see the contact details at the bottom of the page. Maybe that will get it to work directly with Windows without a need for the ASUS Security application.

Update 22/01 : I've eventually uninstalled ASUS software, although the AuthenTec driver seemed to stay behind. Probably based on that information later on W7 suggested installing this update from AuthenTec. I noticed then the device is available in Control Panel > Biometric Devices. The device is listed and next to it there is a link saying "Use your fingerprint to log on to Windows" that starts an application that allows you to record the fingerprints. The trouble is that I couldn't get more than 2 readings on the same finger, I got frustrated after a while and I dropped it. I noticed high CPU usage during the process...


Works fine, slow to receive the initial data as you alreay know it, but it works. Use the same DEVICE_SWITCH.EXE tool from ASUS to enable/disable the GPS device, also consider using Bogdan's tool to enable it at logon.
ASUS Settings Center

Install ASUS ATK Hotkey Utility and ASUS Settings Center for Vista. You can change brightness and volume, but you won't be able to change the screen resolution until you install the Vista graphics driver (see graphics section). To be able to change the power modes, you have to install ASUS Power4Gear eXtreme for Vista.

Windows 7 tips
  • User Account Control - you can customize UAC now to fit your needs, read some more here.
  • If you don't like the new taskbar and want to revert to the old style taskbar, go to Taskbar and Start Menu Properties (right click on Taskbar > Properties), in Taskbar tab tick Use small icons and change Taskbar buttons to Never combine.
Performance tips
  • Disable Offline files. Obviously if you don't use them, go to Control Panel > Offline Files > Disable offline files.
  • Disable System protection. This used to be called System Restore in XP, I don't know if there is any new functionality added since, I've only used it a couple of times to create restore points before. See before last screen here how to turn it off.
Performance tips - Windows services
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client - stop and set to manual. Read some more here, I've never missed it, I think the special folders like Favorites or My Documents, you can still move them around without the need for this service (I usally move those on a separate partition from the actual OS).
  • DHCP Client - stop and set to manual, obviously if you don't want to use a DHCP server and are used to set fixed IPs on your network interfaces.
  • IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules - stop and and set to manual if you don't use IPSec.
  • IP Helper - stop and set to manual. I haven't seen IPv6 used anywhere yet.
  • SuperFetch - stop and set to manual. Not sure about this one, the behaviour may have changed, there is free memory in Task Manager when started, where the behaviour in Vista was to fill up the memory in the background and that was causing serious HDD activity, at least on my machine, so it's up to you realy. Personally I only use a few apps on this machine, one at a time, I don't think I'll miss the functionality, we'll see.
  • Print Spooler - stop and set to manual, only if you are not printing from this machine.
  • Themes - stop and set to manual, only if you are using the standard theme.
  • UPnP Device Host - stop and set to manual. Sharing media in Windows Media Player might need this service, if it needs it will start it.
  • Windows Search - stop and set to manual. Do not have much content on this machine I need to be indexed, I can still search in Explorer the old un-indexed way.
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Windows 7 looks very promising - Microsoft shaved off a couple hundred MB of memory usage - with file swap disabled (not recommended for most users, you can try it until Windows starts complaining) and Process Explorer the only user application, 700 MB free out of 1.25 GB.

Windows 7 will probably be well received by most people that slagged Vista when it came out and some of them will feel frustrated they didn't get all this goodness in the first place :-) hopefully Microsoft will come up with fair upgrade plans, at least for home users. There's been rumors of a Windows 7 netbook edition which will probably suit better UMPCs, but it's probably too early to talk about that.

I only had a couple of problems with Windows 7 itself, the touchscreen sides issue and that I couldn't get a system rating (the whole system hung when it reached the Windows Media Decoder Performance stage) and one with applications, where I couldn't install Adobe Reader 9 (didn't do anything past the extraction phase). Other than that, Windows 7 looks nice and performs well even on a machine that most people wouldn't think or even want to run it on :-)