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Windows 7: Trying to get along with Win 7

31 Mar 2018   #1
Old Owl

Windows 7 Professional x64
Trying to get along with Win 7

Hey everybody,

not sure if I can jump in with such a vague matter (and a bad thread title), but I'm trying to get a footing in my new Windows 7. I've just upgraded from Windows XP/SP3 - which probably reveals that I'm a bit on the slow side. I hate change...

Right now, my Win7 x64 is an unactivated test installation, as I'm not quite sure if I should really go with it or rather take the 32-bit version instead (my Win7 MAR set that I've bought allows the choice).

32-bit would have the advantage that all my old programs would run, even the 16-bit antiques. 64-bit has the advantage that it can have more RAM, which will come in handy when running Virtualbox. So my plan is to try the x64 first and use the grace period of 29 days to see if I can get along with it. If all fails, I can kick it out and go with the 32-bit version instead.

(The popup already told me that it will have to be activated per telephone - as was the case with XP after a reinstall in 2013. That's awful, since I cannot do that myself and have to ask a friend to do it for me, since I don't have a cell phone and my telephone has a rotary dial. Yikes, never needed that kind of nonsense with my good old favorite 98SE... And I just hope Microsoft won't give me trouble trying to activate an 'outdated' OS.)

One question I do have - does Win7 x64 has any known problems with the free version of Macrium Reflect? I did a test install under Shadow Defender yesterday and Win7 froze at the startup screen. Restarting it, moping through an unsuccessful 'windows repair' and then doing a safe mode start first and a normal restart afterwards solved the problem. But I'm hesitant to try and install Macrium Reflect again.

I have the habit to install everything under Time Freeze - and now Shadow Defender - first, look if everything is fine and if yes, I reboot and install it again without the virtualization on. It's a tad circumstantial, but a good method that can avoid unpleasant surprises.

As for now, I'm treating Win7 like I handled XP/SP3. It was installed using NLite (NTLite) with pre-downloaded updates and will likely never see a Windows update again. It will only go online with the c: drive under virtualization (I used Time Freeze with XP and now Shadow Defender with Win7). Additionally to that, the browsers sit under Sandboxie. Which means, that once all the programs are installed, the c: drive will never change again. Also, the c: drive only contains system and programs, all my personal data are on other partitions. Thunderbird is installed, but has its profile on a portable version on the d: drive; and a small preview pop3 thingie checks the mail on the server before it downloads.

I'm also a portable freak - whatever can be portable, will be portable. Even the browsers are portable. This leaves only a handful of programs that need to be installed.

Oh, and the services are altered due to the suggestions on the Black Viper website. This worked wonders for XP, I hope the same goes for Win7.

My most pressing problems right now are 1. whether to reinstall Macrium Reflect or not. From reading around online, it seems Win7 does have a startup freeze every now and then - so maybe it didn't have anything to do with Macrium and it was just a coincidence? I reckon the best place to ask that is a dedicated Win7 forum...

The next problem is - what would be a good firewall? For years and years I've used Sygate, but it doesn't run under Win7. I now have the windows firewall running, but I don't really trust it. I can't see what it's doing, can't tell if every process running is phoning home 24/7 or not; and I don't have the skills to go and alter it.

Sygate used to give me a list of my programs and all processes running and I could set them to allow/block/ask, whichever way I wanted. It also was very light on resources. I want something like that for Win 7, too.

Maybe someone here has a suggestion...

Windows XP/SP3 ran fine and well for 8 years (changed from 98/SE in 2010); and I hope Win7 will do the same for me.

Sorry for the long and convoluted first post - I'm just glad I've found this forum!

All my best,

Old Owl

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2018   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate, SP1, x86

I'd never tell you what to do. All I can say is what I do.
Yes, the jump from XP-SP3 to Windows 7 was not a good day. Lots of tweaking to do and things not working the way I was used to. But that was several years ago and now I'm well adapted to Win-7 and loving it. And YES, I use the 32 bit version just for the reason you will run all my old programs (some are 16 bit) just like XP did.

I was really surprised at just how many of my favorite XP tweaks work the same on Win-7. Just a few require some slight modification. It seems like the Registry for Win-7 is almost identical to the Registry in XP. Even the Services are very similar...just more of them on Win-7.

I do have Win-7, 64 bit installed on a spare HD, just for reference purposes. It's nice, sometime, to be able to compare how the two different versions of Win-7 run certain programs.

That program you're having trouble with....make sure it's 64 bit compatible. Go to the author's web site and see if they have separate versions for 32 bit and 64 bit. Many companies DO.

Good Luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2018   #3

Windows 7 HomePremium 64bit

Hello Old Owl
Among all Windows I've used, there was 32bit XP too and I was very happy with it. After skipping Vista, I decided for 64bit Win7 which I still use (only SP1 installed, nothing else).
Ok, if you really need/use some crucial 16bit software... but then, I can't imagine similar (and better) 32bit software doesn't exist by now. What I'm trying to say is, you should consider 64bit OS (I assume your hardware is kinda up to date). Why I'm suggesting that? Because you say you don't like changes and now you're about to make one -let it be worthy!
About firewall... I can really recommend "Sphinx Windows 10 firewall control". It's not standalone firewall -it's an add-on for existing Windows firewall. Using Sphinx, you can control (allow/disallow) every piece of software for accessing internet in very easy (dummy-proof) way. I use free version, which is more than enough for my needs.
64bit Win7 doesn't support rotary dial modems, though... joke! -couldn't resist

My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Apr 2018   #4
Old Owl

Windows 7 Professional x64

Thank you both for your replies!

Unfortunately, I'm on the verge of desperation right now - and seriously considering throwing Win7 out and do a reinstall. The event viewer is full of mistakes. Some I could solve, they were mainly due to leftovers from botched installs - particularly TimeFreeze and Corel WordPerfect. Both were installed without a virtualisation - TimeFreeze because it was supposed to be the virtualisation and WordPerfect because the Corel stuff demands a restart. I'm still reeling over WordPerfect - I want this program to run (and it's 32bit, it should run). Only, it was quite faulty and didn't run too well.

And even after they were removed, they caused trouble, because there still were leftovers in the registry. I hate messing around in the registry, but did use RegSeeker to get rid of the remains. Oh, RegSeeker found some 131 instances more which it thinks might cause trouble, but since I cannot define them, I don't dare touch them.

Another frequent error was caused by VirtualCloneDrive - too bad, as it's a nice little thing. As there didn't seem to be a solution for this, I deleted it and got a portable version of WinCDEmu - I hope it works as nicely as VirtualCloneDrive did.

Then, there are four devices with yellow warning triangles in Device Manager, all under 'other devices':
  • PCI Serial Port
  • PCI Simple Communications Controller
  • SM Bus Controller
  • Universal Serial Bus (USB) Controller.
Windows cannot find any drivers, I couldn't find any drivers. I checked on HP and on Intel. I'm at my wits end now.

Oh, and the sound on YouTube and other websites is gone. My audio files and videos on the hard drive have sound, I didn't shut anything off, I have no idea why the websites cannot have sound. I have a sneaky suspicion the nVidia audio driver is too blame - it was installed along with the graphic drivers and now there are two audio drivers. But according to Windows, they both work 'properly'.

To top it off, the Windows firewall kept shutting itself off. I hope I have that fixed, but I'm not sure.

And now I'm at the end of my rope and don't know what to do. I might become the spammer of the century and post a new thread for each problem... as I cannot decide which is worst.

Odd enough, I just was seeing new hope as I read about xp mode and Microsoft's virtual pc, which would allow running the old darlings - and in a much more convenient way than in Virtualbox.. But - if VirtualCloneDrive causes problems, wouldn't xp mode cause problems, too?

The mood is absolutely bleak now. If anyone knows how to get the sound on websites back, I'd be happier.

Or how to get those elusive drivers.

Or... or... or...

My brain is empty now - and it never was particularly full, to begin with...

Old Owl
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2018   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-BIT

You're using your system from the system specs, correct?

If so, check your drivers in here :)
HP Software and Driver Downloads for HP Printers, Laptops, Desktops and More | HP® Customer Support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2018   #6
Old Owl

Windows 7 Professional x64

Thanks, and yes, I do use that system from the specs.

I've been to the site you've suggested, but couldn't find the missing drivers. I did download some packs but none could be installed - maybe because all other devices are fine.

It's just those four devices that I do not even know what they are for.

Old Owl

p.s. I first thought that maybe some system error prevented the installation, but the nVidia drivers installed just fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2018   #7
Old Owl

Windows 7 Professional x64

An update:

I actually did find those four missing drivers - while I couldn't find them in the HP site for my model, I tried searching the HP forums and one after one, I could locate them. And the yellow triangles are gone!

(Well, at least those in the visible part of the device manager. When I turn on 'show hidden devices', it still has two yellow triangles for ps/2 mouse and ps/2 keyboard, which are obsolete - there is a hid-compliant mouse and a hid keyboard device that work quite well. I can safely uninstall the two ps/2 devices and mouse and keyboard still work. But, as soon as I restart the computer, those two ps/2 devices are back. Drat!)

The sound problem has turned out to be unrelated to Windows 7 - it's a matter of sandboxed Firefoxes that obviously popped up with the new Sandboxie version 5.24. I did install a new Sandboxie since my old one didn't run on Win 7, and I hadn't thought of testing the Firefoxes without Sandboxie. K-Meleon does not have that mistake - but I didn't notice that because I have the habit to call a Firefox for videos, as K-Meleon 75 is getting a bit long in the tooth (Your browser is outdated...). Still struggling with it, but at least it has nothing to do with Windows 7.

Right now, there are only two issues left that keep coming back in the Event Viewer:

First a warning: Event 136, Ntfs

The default transaction resource manager on volume C: encountered an error while starting and its metadata was reset. The data contains the error code.

The second is Error 7024. Service Control Manager

The Windows Firewall service terminated with service-specific error The parameter is incorrect..

I surmise the firewall issue is related to the mess in my network connections. I already cried for help in the 'networking' part of this site and hope that with some help I can sort it out.

Still haven't dared to try and install Macrium Reflect again.

And I'm worried that if I instal XP mode, the errors will come back that were caused by VirtualCloneDrive.

On the other hand, I will need XP mode to try and get WordPerfect to run.

Yikes, why couldn't I just keep XP? Or better even, Windows 98/SE?

I'm too old for this world...

Old Owl
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2018   #8

Windows 7 HP 64

I use an old version of Zone Alarm (V9.2.106.000) It has a stealth setting to avoid to been seen on the network.
Z Alarm is very simple to use. I don't like the new versions (best software is the one you know how to use it)
Download ZoneAlarm Free -

New free version ZoneAlarm Free Firewall - Personal Computer Firewall Software
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2018   #9
Old Owl

Windows 7 Professional x64

Thank you, MegaHertz, I think I will try it once I got my network connection troubles sorted out. It seems it's a blooming mess.

My old Sygate was ancient - but it did its job with no fuss. Too bad it won't run.

And I sure will try out the older one first.

Old Owl
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2018   #10

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)

Old Owl: My guess is that you have a LOT of old stuff. Therefore, you probably ought to stick with the 32-bit version of Windows 7. 64-bit is definitely more capable, and it is where everything has gone. Except for one thing -- backward compatibility.

All of your old stuff should work with Windows 7 32-bit. But some of it may not work with Windows 7 64-bit.

Case in point: Several years ago, a friend wanted to join a Dropbox study group. They told her that she needed to have either XP, or use Windows 7's XP Mode. (She had Windows 7 32-bit.) On a lark, I tried to join the group without installing XP Mode, and it worked! Apparently the requirement was for 32-bit, not for XP.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Trying to get along with Win 7

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