The Digital Photo Guy

Monday Morning Tip – 10/26/09

by on Oct.26, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photoshop Elements, Workshops

Go-o-o-d Monday Morning from Boron, CA

Yeah, you read that correctly. I’m in Boron, CA (pop 2000), just outside Edwards AFB in the California High Desert. We drove up here last night without any plans for where to stay and lucked out. George, the manager at the Boron Food Mart let us boondock in his parking lot so we had a very quiet night in the middle of Boron. Today, we’re meeting up with some friends and touring the wind farm in the area. There’s also a huge solar facility nearby. I hope to have some great photos to post next week.

Monday Morning Tip

Today’s MMT is open to all viewers since it’s something that many of us may need to do over the next few weeks or months, upgrading your Windows XP or Vista PC to Windows 7. I received Windows 7 last week along with a new 160GB Western Digital hard drive. I wanted to get out of Vista bad enough that I paid Microsoft’s usurious price for the new OS.

For most people, here’s a great set of instructions from Smart Computing magazine. In a nutshell, if you’re upgrading from Vista, is should be a snap. The operative word is should. Upgrading from XP requires a clean install meaning you need to backup your data, reformat your hard drive, install Win7 and then reinstall all your applications INCLUDING your settings. In other words, a complete and total PITA. Many experts are advising people with XP to consider just buying a new PC with Win7 preloaded.

Since my main Fujitsu laptop running Vista is just a year old and I like it, I decided to go the upgrade route. However, having designed disk drives and computers in a past life, I knew better than to trust the old, “when in doubt, swap it out” theory. I wanted to remove my old 320GB C: drive and set it aside in case things went “bump” in the process. That way, I could always fall back to the old Vista system if necessary.

I was only using about 60GB of the 320GB so I decided to order a new 160GB C: drive. When everything was back to “normal”, I would use the 320GB drive as a portable backup device. The theory sounded good but things started going sideways almost from the get-go. Most of it was my fault for using new software that I hadn’t yet tested. Without getting into all the gory details, here’s what I would recommend for people who want to save their old C: drive in toto.

First, a quick tip, buy the System Builder version of Windows 7 and save US$10 because the Retail version only gives you access to Microsoft’s vaunted (NOT!) tech support. You can tell how much they think of their tech support when they only charge an extra 10 bucks. This is where your kid, neighbor’s kid, kids’ friends, niece, nephew, etc can come in handy. Put them to work if you run into trouble. If things really go sideways, apply the $10 you saved toward a Geek Squad visit.

Quick tip #2. Follow the KISS principle. Use the Windows Easy Transfer utility (Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Windows Easy Transfer) to move your data and settings from the old C: to the new C:. The Smart Computing article (above) tells how to do this in great detail. Smart Computing used to offer free tech support to anyone but I think they’ve stopped that. These days, you have to be a subscriber. The Easy Transfer utility will need a medium sized removeable media (DVD burner, 16GB USB drive, External HD, Network drive, etc) to store all the data and settings that will be moved to the new HD.

Quick tip #3. Readers of this forum need to be especially mindful of this step. Deactivate Adobe Photoshop CSx. This is an option under Help in PS CS4, it may be located elsewhere in other versions. If you don’t deactivate PS CSx, it will think you’re trying to install a 2nd or 3rd version and will lock you out. Don’t ask how I discovered this. When I get home, I’m going to have to contact Adobe and prove to them that I have a legitimate copy of CS4, a royal PITA. There may be other programs that require deactivation so think about what programs you have on your PC before pulling the old C: drive.

All-in-all, my upgrade went fairly smoothly. There were a few things that surprised me such as the biometric scanner. The Fujitsu laptop originally came from Fujitsu with an integrated biometric scanner and password software. When I tried to upgrade the software, the developer wanted another $50 for a whole new program. Given this, I may look for a new password program. Many printers including the high-speed laser, the color laser and the Dymo label printer needed new drivers, which was no surprise. So far, the only thing I haven’t figured out is a Microsoft 2.4GHz transceiver. I don’t have a clue what that may be since everything else seems to be working.

Recommended Books

While in Bishop, CA for the Eastern Sierras workshop, I stopped by the Mountain Light Gallery which was established by Galen and Barbara Rowell in 2001, just before their untimely death. One of the books I purchased there was Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape. This is an outstanding book for all photographers, not just landscape photographers. It’s only US$30 and should be on every serious photographer’s bookshelf.

I’ll write a full review in a week or so after I’ve had a chance to distill what I’ve learned and continue to learn from the book.

IMPORTANT NOTICE for Photoshop Elements Webinar Students

A number of people registered for the webinar seem to be incommunicado. I suspect their e-mail program is relegating my messages to their spam folder. If you’re registered for the webinar and haven’t received the 3 e-mails over the past month, please check your spam filter. You need this information to participate in the webinar on November 14.

We have students registered from Hawaii to Connecticut to Florida to Washington. If you are a serious digital photographer or want to be one, you owe it to your artistic side to take this webinar. In 4 hours (9AM to 1PM Pacific Time), you’ll learn more about getting the most out of Photoshop Elements. And, you won’t find a better deal than this webinar.

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