Recover your lost Windows Key

Keyfinder allows you to retrieve license keys from Microsoft Windows and Office

If you’ve lost your Window License Key, and it’s not on the side of your machine, you can retrieve your key by using a little application called Keyfinder, by Magical Jelly Bean. You probably want to grab the 2.0 beta, as 1.5 is a little old and doesn’t support the latest operating systems.

In addition to retrieving keys for Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Server 2003, and Vista; Keyfinder also finds keys for Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2007.

For Small Business IT guys, as an added bonus, you can easily change your Windows key from the Tools menu. Handy if you’ve accidentally installed two PCs with the same license and need to change one (without having to re-install).

Download Keyfinder from Magical Jelly Bean

Site Downtime Yesterday

You may, or may not, have noticed that the site was in various flavours of unavailable yesterday. Things included MySQL not responding, Site not responding, and Server 500 errors. It wasn’t anything I did so I assume it was my host upgrading stuff. Attempting to check the error logs yesterday was fruitless as Site5’s admin interface wouldn’t show me anything, so I’m still not totally sure of the cause.

Hopefully, by now, everything’s sorted, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more issues.

Identify your Motherboard without opening the case

Intel Motherboard
[Photo by Josh Bancroft, via Flickr]

It’s a problem we all encounter at some point: You’ve just re-installed Windows, and now you need to download your Mainboard drivers. But which motherboard do you have again?

Instead of opening your PC case to find the Motherboard model number, check out CPU-Z 🙂

CPU-Z is a free, stand-alone application (no installer) that very quickly lets you know your system’s vital statistics (CPU, Mobo, and RAM), so that you can head off and find the drivers you need, without having to open up the PC.

cpu-z.png

This is something I come across frequently when I’m performing OS refreshes at DisplayLink. I imagine it’s a common problem in most start-ups (are we still are start-up? haha), where PCs are bought to spec on an ad-hoc basis. Often, the only way of finding out the motherboard number is by opening the case, lifting cables, and poking around the motherboard, in an attempt to find the tiny bit of writing on the PCB that tells you its model number. Hardly ideal!

Mozilla Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 – First Impressions

Mozilla released Beta 1 of Firefox 3.0 a few days ago, so I thought it was about time I tried out the latest and greatest from the guys at Mozilla. Grab it here if you haven’t yet, but be warned, it’s only meant for testing, and shouldn’t be used if you require a stable browser.

I’ve been running it at work since yesterday afternoon, and upgraded my laptop at home last night. First impressions are good…

Resource Usage Improvements

The memory footprint has reduced immensely. Before upgrading, I had over 200 tabs open in Firefox 2.0 using around 1100MB of RAM. After upgrading to 3.0 Beta 1, the memory footprint has shrunk by half to just over 600MB. It’s important to note that these figures are after a day’s worth of usage, opening/closing tabs throughout the day, on both 2.0 and 3.0 Beta 1. My experience appears to match with Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’ over at ZDNet.

Firefox’s giant memory footprint was one of my biggest bugbears, and it seems as though 3.0 is making a step in the right direction. This is excellent progress.

CPU usage is down, too. In Firefox 2.0, running 200 tabs used around 45% CPU on a Dual Core. After upgrading to 3.0 Beta 1 CPU usage is running at roughly 15%.

General Impressions

Overall, the browser seems snappier – particularly when moving between tabs. I also like the flashy “whizzy” thing it does when moving between distant tabs. Very “Compiz“.

The new, unobtrusive, Remember Password widget is also a welcome addition. It lets you get on, without interrupting your work flow, allowing you to set your preference in your own time.

firefox-3-remember-password.png

The Address/Location Bar now searches through your history and bookmarks; not just on URL, but also on page titles. So for example, you can type in “USB” into the location bar, and it’ll show you a list of results. I have mixed feelings about this, as I quite liked just typing in the start of an address, and choosing from a descending list of most frequently viewed sites that match the start of what I’m typing. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

firefox-3-address-bar-search.png

3.0 also adds a Quick Bookmark button next to the Address Bar. This differs to Ctrl + D as it allows you to edit the Bookmark name and add tags. Again, I’m not entirely sold on it’s usefulness, but perhaps in time I’ll find myself using it 🙂

firefox-3-quick-bookmark.png

Conclusion

Overall, I’m impressed. The extra little features are nice to have, but the most important improvements, for me, are in 3.0’s reduced memory and CPU footprint. I certainly don’t think I’ll be re-installing Firefox 2.0 anytime soon 🙂

Over to you

Have you tried Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 yet? What are your impressions of it?

90% of IT Professionals Don’t Want Vista

ComputerWorldUK has an article discussing the findings of a recent survey by King Research, where it was discovered that 90% of IT Professionals Don’t Want Vista.

Going from my own experience with Vista – poor stability and woeful performance – I’m not surprised about this at all. Maybe – as with XP – SP1 will fix these issues, but until then, I remain unimpressed and unconvinced.

Found via Slashdot