Computer Users’ Group

November 18, 2009


Windows 7: What you see on the screen will be what Windows 7 looks like. And while we won’t spend a lot of time on it, we will point to a few places where you can get some good information before you upgrade your computer. Many people suggest that if you are in the market for a new computer or will be soon, wait and don’t update now but get a fully operational system on a new computer. You can go to Google and search for Windows 7 and find many articles on the subject. You’ll find plenty to read at PCWorld. Check out this site: http://www.pcworld.com/topics/windows.html


The best advice is to take your time, read as much as you can and make sure you back everything up with a full image backup before you start. We’ll discuss this in more detail next month.


Windows 7 will automatically create a file called Windows.old that saves everything that’s on your computer now so you can put back what you want after the upgrade. The folder My Computer (from XP) is now Computer as it was in Vista and and location called Libraries is created that includes Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. While these folders do not actually contain the files that they list, they do have links to them and when you go through the contents of Drive C: you there is a link at the top of the page that reads Include in Library and any folder or file that you select will be included in the library. Thus, every file that you regularly use can be just one or two clicks away.


Pastfinders’ CD: Pastfinders created a CD that has several free programs on it that you can use to install any or all of them on you PC. This discussion will describe the programs and demonstrate how they work.

Doris and Lionel Kroeger donated some rewritable disks to Pastfinders that will be used to keep files updated and add new files deemed to be useful. Thanks to the Kroegers.


Open Office:This free office suite does what Microsoft Office does. Writer is similar to Word, Calc is similar to Excel, Presentation is similar to Power Point, there is a drawing program called Darw and a database program called Base. We covered this suite last month.


EditPad Lite: This is a wordprocessor that shows all open files as tabs along the top. It great for taking research notes. You let it sit in the background while you do research and when you have a note to write or copy and paste, you pop it up and open the appropriate file. If your already have notes on given surnames, you can open those files in EditPad. If you don’t yet have a file on the surname or location you are going to research, open EditePad and click Save As and provide a name and location and save it as a blank file. You can add a preamble or statement before you save it if you want. Keep the file open and go about your research. When something worth saving comes up, copy it and paste it into the appropriate file in EditPad by clicking EditPad in the System Tray and then the tab that you want.


 Irfanview: This is a very detailed graphics program that lets you view and modify images and allows you to create thumbnail views in many different sizes. You can also “see inside” files by opening them as text or HEX files to see the code that created them. If you have images taken with a digital camera, Irfanview can show the EXIF data that the camera saves. It shows when the image was taken , what kind of camera, what settings were used, image size and other pertinent data. You need to go to the Irfanview home page (see Help) to download a plugin to do this. You can download all plugins at one time and they install al at once in seconds.


Send To: When you Right Click on a file name a list of options is presented which includes Send To which has a limited list of destinations where you can copy or move the file. This program adds Any Folder to the list so that you can move or copy the selected file(s) to and folder on your computer. No more being limited to the destination that Bill Gates chose.


PAF: Personal Ancestral File is the free program from the Church of Latter Day Saints that you can use to create you family history records. Files can be moved between it and FamilyTreeMaker or other programs through GEDCOM files. We’ve talked about PAF at our meeting in June, 2005 and March 13, 2007, especially the superb Relationship Calculator that we covered last September. We’ll spend some time looking at the reports that can be created and they can be previewed before being printed.


Ccleaner: This is a free program that lets you determine what types of files that you want to have it find and then delete. And you can select what cookies you want to keep and have the rest deleted. For more information see our presentation of November 14, 2007. Start by limiting the file types selected to those you know about and click on Analyze. If there are files you don’t know about, enter the file name in Google and see what it is.


Picsa 3.5: Picasa is a free program from Google that indexes all of you images and creates thumbnails of them You can select images to edit but the changes aren’t included in the original unless you say so. It also reduces images to the size you select for emailing. This new version also includes an experimental version of a face recognition program that can look through all of your images and tell which are of the same person. Might help identify an ancestor in a photo that has not otherwise been identified.


Mozilla Thunderbird: An email program that is better than Outlook Express. It allows the downloading of mail headers only so that you can delete unwanted mail without opening. Outlook Express is not included in either Windows Vista or Windows 7 so this is a great replacement. Also does not download most email images unless told to. It includes a Junk Filter that will move all Junk Mail to a Junk folder based on how you train it.


Mozilla Firefox: A web browser that does what Internet Explorer does but is considered safer and I like it better. There are many add-ons that make it more useful than IE. I use FireFTP to send the Pastfinders’ Web Page up to Rootsweb and I use Scrapbook to download and save web pages to view offline.


Universal Viewer: If you try to open a file and Windows says it can’t open it, you can select to open it with Universal Viewer. It can open many types of files including image files and files from all popular word processors. It’s most usefull if you have a folder full of different types of programs and want to see what they are. They can all be viewed in this program without having to open a different program for each file type.


Easy Duplicate Finder: This program will search your computer for programs that match in size. Be very careful if the name doesn’t match as well as the size. For files that you’ve created, it lets you see if you have them located in more than one folder. Useful after an update to a new operating system because files may get imported in the upgrade process and end up in different folders. Be careful of system files; Windows purposely saves copies of some files as protection. If you are using Windows 7 you will get a lot of duplicates because what’s in he library are just links to other files but they appear to be duplicate files when you run this program.


Genealogy Links: There are interesting links reported each week in the New England Hiscorical Genealogy Society newsletter ( http://www.newenglandancestors.org/publications/eNews.asp ). Some of the more recent ones are listed here:


Historic Marker Database: There are historic markers scattered all across this country and I’m sure you’ve all seen many of them. There is a list of markers that you can get and it could be useful if you’re planning a trip to see if any are near where you will be travelling. Also, if you know of any that are not listed here you can submit it. http://www.hmdb.org/


New Jersey Archives: The state of New Jersey has recently posted some Civil War records but the entire state archives can be found here: http://www.state.nj.us/state/darm/links/archives.html


Missouri Historic Newspapers: The Historic Newspaper Database for the state of Missouri can be found here: http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm4/search.php


Archives of Wiregrass History and Culture: This database covers Florida, Alabama and Georgia. http://dothan.troy.edu/archives/default.htm Not all of it is available to the public but it may be available in some libraries. The Florida Library Database has 39 references to Wiregrass but not this web site.Those interested in this database will find a multi volume set on Wiregrass Country in the library.


GenQueries: This is a site for asking genealogical questions. It asppears to have only a limited number of entries in the database. Esther Long sent this in. It was posted on Dick Eastman’s Blog. http://www.genqueries.com/