As 7 enters mainstream use, we are getting less biased information on its quality. For example, three sites confirm that 7 is harder on notebook batteries than XP; other tests prove 7 is slower than XP SP3. Another story shows Microsoft employees still live in la-la land, thinking their work is original (all of Windows is derivative). Walt Mossberg reports that 7 isn't faster at booting, typically taking over two minutes.
I needed a new backup drive, and decided to get a network drive, because of Microsoft's reluctance to let me access my own files and folders across my networked computers. Networked hard drives have an ethernet port, and plug directly into the router (the box that connects all networked computers).
- The benefit is that every networked computer can access the data stored on the drive without needing to set permissions, enter login names, and memorize passwords.
- The drawback is that these drives cost more, because they contain a tiny computer (running Linux) as well as the hard drive.
The other drawback is that Windows does not detect such drives, not even 7. Instead, you have to force 7 to acknowledge the drive's existence through several manual setps. Even then, you cannot perform simple tasks, like using Properties to report the free disk space; 7 reports zero.
(Installing the drive is straight-forard: plug in the power supply, and then plug a network cable beween the drive and the router.)
Here's what you need to do to get 7 (and other dialects of Windows) to access the drive:
1. Determine the drive's network address. You can do this your router's software (probably in the "DHCP Active IP Table" section), or with software that might be included with the drive. In my case, the drive's address is 192.168.1.8.
2. Click Start button, and then choose Run.
3. In the Run dialog box, enter the drive's address using network notation: \\192.168.1.8
4. This causes 7 to open a Windows Explorer window, which you can use to create a shortcut on your desktop.
5. Repeat for every Windows-disabled computer on your network.
In contrast, Linux recognizes the network drive immediately and automatically.