Sunday, 23 January 2011
When you first get your computer it only has one web browser,Internet Explorer. So you install a different web browser,Firefox or Google Chrome or another. Then when you go onto a video site in for example, Firefox or Chromium,you find you cannot play videos.
Last week I wrote about how I uninstalled Windows Media player on my laptop and replaced it with VLC media player. But if you are planing to get rid of Windows Media player,you don't have to replace it with VLC player,as there are many other video players for Windows you can use. There is another very good media player that is a lot like VLC and works just as good on Windows. It is Gom Media player,so if you do not fancy having VLC player, you could use Gom player as a replacement for Windows Media player.
I have two laptops and on both of them I have uninstalled Windows Media player. On the first laptop I installed VLC media player only as the replacement for Windows Media player. And on the second laptop I installed Gom Media player only as the replacement for Windows Media player.
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
I have broken many Windows rules in terms of computing and will probably continue to do so. One rule is that you are not supposed to remove Internet Explorer web browser because it is bundled with Windows. So if you remove it you could damage Windows or Windows could stop working.
But a few months ago I did uninstall Internet Explorer and I have also deleted the IE registry files. And both my two laptops are still working. Now I have uninstalled Windows Media player and have replaced it with VLC player instead.I have not had any problems with Windows Media player and it is an excellent video and audio player. But because I already have VLC player and Miro video player,I never use Windows Media player. So I did not see the point in keeping it if I am not using it. So I have uninstalled it.
This post explains how I uninstalled Windows Media Player and replaced it with VLC player. But I must warn you,this will permanently remove Windows Media player from your computer. And you will not be able to install it again as Windows won't let you do it.And as long as you have another media player on your computer,such as VLC player or other. Removing Windows Media player should not effect anything and you will still be able to play videos and record them with your web cam and save files. So if you are sure you want to uninstall it,here is how.
Windows Media player is bundled with Windows. For Windows XP and Windows Vista it is Windows Media player 11 and for Windows 7 it's Windows Media player 12. Windows Media player cannot be uninstalled through programs or updates menu like other programs can be. It can only be removed by deleting the file in programs on C drive or on your computer hard drive. This removes the program as if you delete the file you delete the program. But there is one problem-the Windows Media file like Internet Explorer is owned by Trusted Installer. Which means you cannot delete it,as it will not let you do it.
So first of all you have to take ownership of the file,that is transfer the ownership of the file from Trusted Installer to your administer or user name on your computer. To do this you have to edit the file or like I did the easiest way is to use Unlocker,which I downloaded from the Internet.
Unlocker will delete any kind of file on your computer without the need to edit it. And so I was able to delete the Windows Media program file using Unlocker,which deleted the whole of the file. After this you can go one step further like I did and delete the registry keys for the program. To do this type regedit in the stat menu and this then opens the registry. Then delete the the keys for Windows Media player. But you don't have to do this as just deleting the file on your hard drive is enough. And you should not alter or delete anything in the registry if you don't know what you are doing as this could cause problems on your computer. So deleting the registry keys is only for the very experienced computer user.
I deleted the registry keys of both Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Media player because, I did not want Windows update to try to reinstall both IE8 or Windows Media back onto my computer.Which is what Windows tries to do when you install updates.Even if you have turned Windows update off and only install updates manually as I do. And it's true that Windows Media player does not have any components in it that is used in Windows. So it is safe to delete the keys. Now restart your computer.
Windows Media player is now completely uninstalled from your computer.And your other media player will be replaced as the default program for playing all video and audio files. The best program to replace Windows Media player with is VLC player. I chose VLC player because it is most compatible with Windows.
VLC player is very much like Windows Media player in many ways but the difference is that VLC player plays videos in wide screen and high quality and it is a better player. It also has additional features that Windows Media does not have. You can save a video from a web page and play it directly in VLC player and you can also save that same video on your computer. And although you cannot upload a video saved from a web page or video site onto your website. As VLC will save the video in a file but does not convert videos into the correct format. So you can watch the video but cannot upload it as video sites only except video files in wmv,flv or mp3 format. VLC player will also play music and audio files including voice mails from chat programs like Google Talk and others. VLC player is also open source and is free to install and use. It will also play videos recorded with your webcam and save them in wmv (Windows Media view) just like Windows Media player did. There are other players you could use to replace Windows Media player but VLC player is the best one for this purpose as Windows will automatically recognise this as the default program.
Links-Unlocker tool for deleting files like Internet Explorer,Windows Media player and other files that cannot be deleted in the normal way. Download link-click here.
VLC Media player-download link-click here.
Photo-VLC Media player in action.
There are a few programs on the web that can download and convert videos into wmv,flv and mp3 format. Such as browser plug ins like Downloadhelper and Download It All. And also Real Player,which is a media player with a built in web browser that downloads and converts videos from the web,and saves them in files on your computer. I have used Real Player to download and save my own videos from the web. But Real Player is not without it's problems and Windows users will know that Real Player often crashes and it is slow and some times does not work.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
It is possible to install and run Windows software on Linux by installing a software called Wine. This allows you to install Windows web browsers on Linux. The Mozilla based web browsers such as Safefox and Comet Bird install and run fine on Linux. But Wine does not work for Internet Explorer engine based browsers like Green browser. Which installs but will not run on Linux.
Although I am not ready to give up my Windows operating system for Linux and to be honest I think that Windows is better. But other Windows users may be looking for an alternative and while Linux is very different from Windows.Some brands are quite difficult to use and master. But Linux Mint is made for windows users in mind and so the start menu and desktop is set out similar to Windows. But the operating system is quite different. Linux Mint is also more user friendly than Ubuntu. Here is one of my videos explaining more.
A lot of people want an alternative operating system to Windows and many are turning to Linux. Which unlike Mac it is open source and free. But is it really better than Windows? And more important,should you give up Windows and replace it with Linux? While it is possible to replace Windows completely with Linux there is another option.
And that is to keep Windows and install Linux alongside of it. I have tried several Linux operating systems on my laptop, a Netbook. And installing Linux alongside Windows is the best and safer option as then it is installed either with a Windows installer or mounted on a removable CD drive or CD Rom.
Then if you do not like it you can then uninstall it the same way you would in the programs menu on Windows. Linux can also be installed alongside Windows booted from a live CD inserted into the CD drive.But if like me you only have a Netbook this is not an option,unless you plug a CD drive into one of the usb sockets,where you plug your mouse in. I have tried out several Linux operating systems on my Netbook and these were installed using a program called Virtual Clone Drive. Which I downloaded from the Internet and it installs a removable CD drive on you computer. There are other programs like this but Virtual Clone Drive is the best one to use. I then downloaded the ISO file from the website of the Linux operating system I wanted to use.For example from Ubuntu or Linux Mint website,and then mounted the ISO file on the clone drive.
The operating systems I tried were Ubuntu,Kubuntu,Xubuntu,Linux Mint,and Jolicloud. Ubuntu,kubuntu and Xubuntu comes with Wubi installer,which is a Windows installer. But for some reason it would not install it this way on my computer. So I mounted the ISO files on the clone drive to install instead but the only system that did install without mounting on a clone drive was Jolicloud,which has it's own Windows installer. Here is a review of all of the Linux operating systems I tried, installed alongside Windows 7.
UBUNTU- Installation method-ISO file downloaded from the Internet and mounted on virtual clone drive.
First of all I could not connect wirelessly to the Internet as it could not find my Wifi drivers and would not install them. So I had to stay on wired broadband which was not in the least convenient. And it was not user friendly at all as the start menu was not clearly visible,you had to click in the corner. So I uninstalled this right away.
KUBUNTU-installed by mounting on ISO file on clone drive.
This was not any better and I could not even find the star menu or connect to wireless broadband. So another uninstall for this one.
XUBUNTU-installed by mounting ISO file on clone drive.
This was not any better than Kubuntu either and I had all of the same problems as with Ubuntu.
JOLICLOUD-installed downloaded as a Windows program is, with a Windows installer.
This was the only operating system that found my wireless network and connected me right away. But the rest was not so encouraging as I found this system very slow and did not like the black desktop theme. Which was ugly and I could not change. Also what is different about Linux from Windows is that on Linux you have to have a password to log on every time you start your computer.
Although I was able to avoid this by enabling automatic log in. But you have to enter your password every time you install software from the package manager or make changes to your computer on Linux. Where as on Windows you do not have to have a password if you do not want one. So on Windows you don't have to enter a password every time your computer starts or when you make changes to your computer. But not on Linux. And there was no way to disable or remove the password feature like there is on Windows and that is one thing that put me off of Linux. Also on Linux if you want to install software you have to do it through the package manager list. Although you can download it from the Internet unless it is included in the packages,you have to extract the files yourself. Which is not the same as extracting a zip file on Windows and some times you have to install using commands in the Terminal. Which the average computer user will find complicated.
So basically if the web browser or software you want is not in the packages,you can not have it. A lot of the web browsers on Jolicloud were broken and did not work and also I could not even find the software I wanted in the package manager. And most of the software apps. was just shortcuts to websites in a web browser. So this was another system I did not want to keep.
LINUX MINT 9 KDE-installed by mounting ISO file on clone drive.
Linux Mint is designed for Windows users who are changing to Linux and so it's start menu and settings are set out the same way that windows is. With a task bar or panel at the bottom of the screen and start menu on the left with listings of settings. In fact Linux Mint looks like Windows at first glance. And although I had to start off on wired broadband it found my wireless drivers and installed them for me. So I was able to connect wirelessly when I re started my computer and a lot of the software was working unlike on Jolicloud. Also I was able to find the items I wanted in the search bar of package manager. I was also able to repair and update broken packages in recovery mode. The blue desktop theme,which could not be changed except for the log on screen was attractive.
The operating system however was not so attractive, as after I logged in again it would not let me install additional software. As I got a message saying "you are starting without administer privileges you cannot make changes." Which was ridicules as I had entered my password and when I checked my account,I was the administer. Also the built in microphone on my web cam did not work on KDE,and there was no way or settings to fix this. So although I could play videos and hear them,I could not record any with sound. Which is no good to me as I need the microphone to do voice chat on Google Talk. And also I found this system slow compared to Linux Mint 9.But I found that I could out items of software onto my desktop as shortcut icons,like on Windows. I would have kept this system if it had not been for these problems.
LINUX MINT 9,GNOME-installed by mounting ISO file on clone drive.
This was the only system that I was able to use with the least problems. To start with I had to plug into wired broadband but like Linux Mint KDE it found my drivers and installed them. So from then on I was able to use Linux Mint wirlessly. Also I was able to find my user account on Linux Mint and change it to administer. On KDE there was no such setting. And I was able to change the desktop theme to one of my choice but not the log on screen. But I was quite happy with the green theme it had. Linux Mint 9 and all it's other editions have the task bar and start menu set out the same way as in Windows. It was easy for me to navigate most of the settings. And like KDE I found I could put items of software from the start menu onto my desktop as shortcut icons. And on this system the built in microphone worked. But compared to Windows there are still limitations. Linux Mint is all right for browsing and writing your blog posts but you cannot customize it the way you can with Windows. And a lot of software is only compatible with Windows not Linux.
CONCLUSION. Out of all the brands of Linux I tried,Linux Mint 9 was the only one I could use.But Linux Mint 9 KDE came close. But having said that I could browse the web and watch videos with it but I could only do basic things. But that is not enough for me, as I like to choose which software and web browsers to install. And a lot that I wanted was not compatible or was not in the packages and could not be installed. And then there is the settings,for a start, I hated having to enter a password every time I did some thing on my own computer, and I could not change this. On Windows you do not have to have a password if you do not want one and also it is easy to install software. You just download it from the Internet and most software is compatible with Windows. And on Windows you control how your computer runs not the operating system. But on Linux that is not the case. And also you cannot just download the software you want like you can on Windows.There are some web browsers on Linux that can be downloaded from the Internet but most can only be installed through the package manager.On Linux you do not control the operating system,it controls your computer. But on Windows you have full control of how it runs. I have never had a password on my Windows account as I am the only one that uses my computer. So I don't have to enter any passwords at all when my computer starts or when I change the settings. And I can install whatever web browsers and software I want to.
But on Linux you cannot customize it to run the way you want it to like on Windows, and it is much slower than Windows in my opinion. Also Linux takes up a lot of space on your hard drive,remember, it is another operating system. It is safe to install it alongside Windows, as if you do not like it,you can uninstall it in programs menu. But if you are thinking of replacing your Windows with Linux as your only operating system. My advice is don't. Stay with Windows. You are better off.
Links-Virtual Clone Drive download link.
Linux Mint download link.