Want to try Google Chrome OS?

If you want to try out Google Chrome OS, I’ve compiled a build, code is current as of Friday the 20th. To test out Chrome OS, you’ll need either one of the VMware products (Player, Workstation, Server) or Sun VirtualBox. I recommend Sun VirtualBox, as I have not had much luck with getting networking to work with VMware Workstation on my PC or Fusion on my Mac.

You can download the build by clicking here. (766.8MB VMDK file, Right-Click and use Save Target / Link as to download)

A couple tips:

  • This is very early pre-release code not meant for production use. You may experience some bugs. Feel free to go to http://code.google.com/p/chromium-os/issues/list and report anything that you find.
  • If you are unable to get networking to work, or you feel uncomfortable using your personal information (I promise that I did not and do not include any malicious code in this build. It’s not my way of doing things), I have enabled a local user account. To use it, type “chromeuser” for the username and then leave the password field blank.
  • If for any reason you need / want to play with the Terminal (available by pressing Control-Alt-T) and you need to use sudo, the password is pass@word1

Below are directions on how to configure Sun VirtualBox (Downloadable from http://www.virtualbox.org)

1. Open Sun VirtualBox, and click New


2. Click Next


3. Give a name to the Virtual Machine, and Select Linux for the Operating System, and Ubuntu for the Version, then click Next


4. Drag the slider to 512 MB, and click Next


5. Select Use and Existing Virtual Disk, and click the folder symbol to the right of the drop-down menu


6. Click Add, and then browse to the location that you saved the Chrome OS VMDK file.


7. After reviewing the details, and making sure everything is correct, then click Finish.


Once you’ve created the virtual machine, you can then click the start button and begin to play with Chrome OS.

The New Kid on the Block: Google Chrome OS – Photo Gallery

On Thursday, November 19th, Google opened up Chrome OS to the world. Currently there are no official downloads, however, Tom On Tech has downloaded and compiled the source and produced a Virtual Disk file for use with either VMWare or VirtualBox (personal preference for Chrome OS).

If you’d like to try out Chromium OS*, click here to download. (766.8MB download – use right-click Save Link As to save the file)

A review will posted soon, but for now, here are some early screenshots from Chrome OS for your enjoyment.

*Official builds are called Chrome OS, unofficial or dev builds are called Chromium OS.

Beta Release: Microsoft Office 2010

Yesterday at the 2009 Professional Developers Conference (PDC), Microsoft announced the release of the beta of Microsoft Office 2010.

Office 2010 Beta Logo
Office 2010 Beta Logo
Yesterday at the 2009 Professional Developers Conference (PDC), Microsoft announced the release of the beta of Microsoft Office 2010.
Released are beta versions of the following products:
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010
  • Microsoft Office Visio 2010
  • Microsoft Office Project 2010

All are available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010

Office 2010 brings a refreshed and consistent look and feel across all applications. Also new are refreshed icons for the Office 2010 suite.

Icon_Word_web Icon_PowerPoint_web icon_Outlook_web Icon_excel_web Icon_access_web Icon_OneNote_web Icon_publisher_web

I’ve been playing with the beta for a few days now, and I’ll be providing my thoughts as well as reviewing each component of the Office 2010 suite right here on Tom on Tech.

I encourage everybody to download and try out the new Office 2010 beta, and if you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to email me (tom@removethis.tomontech.com), send me comments on Twitter (@tomontech), or leave comments here.

First Impressions: Lenovo IdeaCentre D400 Home Server

Lenovo IdeaCentre D400
Lenovo IdeaCentre D400

Thanks to our fine friends at Lenovo, Tom on Tech has been able to get an IdeaCentre D400 for review. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be providing my thoughts as I use the server in my everyday computing. To provide some background on the IdeaCentre D400, here are some specs and other details about the server.

Lenovo ships two versions of the D400. Here’s how it breaks out.

Model Number Processor Processor Speed Memory Hard Drive
3013-1AU Intel Atom 230 1.6 GHz 1GB 1TB (single drive)
3013-1BU Intel Atom 230 1.6 GHz 1GB 2TB (2 1TB drives)

 As you can see, both models are the same, with the only exception being the total storage space.

From the information that has been provided to me, the server does support 2GB of RAM maximum, however, I’ve read in the manual that opening the unit will void the warranty. I’ve asked Lenovo about this, and I will let everybody know what I am told.

With the IdeaCentre D400, setup was very straight forward. In the box was a quick setup poster, which not only included hardware setup, but initial server software setup (with screenshots!). While the screenshots on the poster are a bit small, I do like that they are included on the poster.

After installing the Windows Home Server Connector, Lenovo provides a utility that they call EasyAccess. After installing the utility, items are placed on the right-click menu that will allow you to right click on a file, and move that file to a shared folder on your Windows Home Server.

To see what, if any, extra software was preloaded on the IdeaCentre D400, I launched the Console, and was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. The only things that are preloaded are Lights-Out (from MVP Martin Rothschink), Lenovo’s custom tab, and FireFly Media Server (designed to stream music from the server to iTunes).

So far I’m impressed with Lenovo’s offering. I’ll be testing this server for awhile, so look for more hands-on information over the course of the next few weeks.

Are you a student?

If you answered yes, then have I got a deal for you.

Microsoft is offering students either Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional for $29.99.

This offer ends January 3rd, 2010.

To be eligible for this offer, you must either have a .EDU email address, or be a student at a qualifying institution.

To check eligibility go to: http://windows7.digitalriver.com/store/mswpus/en_US/DisplayHomePage

For more offers for students visit http://www.win741.com or http://www.microsoft.com/student

Engineering Windows 8…coming soon to a blog near you?

Interesting find that a friend of mine let me know about. Apparently, somebody at Microsoft has reserved the blog “e8” on MSDN blogs.

When browsing to http://blogs.msdn.com/e8 , there is no content, and the title is <TBD>. I’ve included a picture below.

MSDN Blogs - e8

Does this mean that Microsoft is already going to start the discussion about Windows 8, or are they just holding on to this for a later date and time? Only time will tell.

Microsoft’s Signature Experience

Through the Microsoft Store, all PCs are sold with the Microsoft Signature experience. This service is provided at no-cost to the consumer and consists of software and PC setup assistance (physical stores only).

Software provided on all PCs sold by the Microsoft Store:

  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Internet TV Update for Windows Media Center
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Silverlight
  • Flash Player
  • Adobe Reader
  • Bing 3D Maps
  • Zune 4.0
  • Live ID Sign-In Assistant
  • Windows Live Essentials
  • Windows Live Sync
  • Office Live Add-In

In-stores the Microsoft Signature experience also includes initial setup of your new computer, as well as the ability to get any questions that you have about your new computer answered by a store employee.

Overall, I think this service provides great value to the consumer by providing them with everything that they need to begin their experience with their new PC right out of the box.

It will be interesting to see how the Microsoft Signature service evolves over time.

Microsoft’s New Retail Experience

This past Thursday, October 22nd, Microsoft opened its first retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona. Fortunately for me, I live in Scottsdale, so I decided to make a trip over to the new Microsoft Store to see what it was all about.

I must say that I am impressed. When I walked into the store I was greeted by several store employees, and was given a special souvenir, a Bing t-shirt.

The store was laid out into multiple zones, and each featuring a different category of PC, from low-cost netbooks, all the way to the super expensive desktop replacement notebooks. Along one wall there were multiple XBox 360s and the screens for these consoles were projected through the walls on the sides of the store in stunning high-definition. Also featured were 4 Microsoft Surface tables, focusing on different aspects of the Microsoft experience.

Directly in the back of the store is the Microsoft Theatre, where there are presentations on Windows 7, Zune, Windows Phone, Office, and Windows Live. I sat in on a presentation about Windows 7, and I was impressed by the breadth and depth of the presenter. He gave an excellent presentation and all participants walked away to purchase either a new PC with Windows 7, or copies of Windows 7 itself.

Microsoft also offers the Microsoft Answers service, where customers can book 30 minute appointments to get technical support or just some questions that they have answered.

For all PCs sold in the store, they come with Microsoft’s new Signature service. According to Microsoft’s own literature, Signature is described as a “uniquely enjoyable experience.” As part of Microsoft Signature, each new PC comes with Windows Live Essentials, Zune music software, Microsoft Security Essentials, and a store employee helps each customer when they buy a new PC by setting up their PC and walking them through some of the features of Windows 7.

Microsoft also offers other services, which I will detail in another post.

Being as this is Microsoft’s first foray into the retail space on its own, I am going to have to give them a 9 out of 10 for their efforts. (1 point loss due to no literature and no demo setup next to either of the HP MediaSmart Servers on display.)

And now, I will leave you with some pictures of my trip to the new Microsoft Store.

Windows 7 Upgrade Paths

Are you trying to decide which version of Windows 7 you should buy? Considering upgrading from Windows Vista? Confused as to which version you’ll be upgrade to? Be confused no more. Below is a list of all of the Windows Vista versions and which versions can be upgraded to the new versions of Windows 7.

Source:Windows 7 Upgrade Paths whitepaper published by Microsoft.
From Windows Vista
Upgrade to Windows 7
Business Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate
Enterprise Enterprise
Home Basic Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate
Home Premium Home Premium, Ultimate
Ultimate Ultimate

How-To: Build Your own Windows 7 DVD

Update: Added step to change “Sectors to Load” field in Bootable Disc tab

For those of you who have downloaded Windows 7 through the Microsoft Store and used the download option that only provides you with the contents of the DVD and not the actual ISO, here are some steps you can follow to build your own DVD, as well as save time and bandwidth.

NOTE: These steps were only tested on the 32-bit editions, as I do not have the 64-bit editions in the format that the Microsoft Store provides.

Tools Required:

Windows 7 installation files (obtained through Microsoft Store download)

– ImgBurn (available at http://www.imgburn.com)

– Windows 7 DVD boot image (available here)

DVD Creation Steps:

1. Open ImgBurn and click “Create Image from Files / Folders”


2. Click on the Add Folder button on the Source Column and select the folder where you’ve extracted the Windows 7 installation files

3 4

3. Click the Labels tab, and you can use your own label, or if you want your DVD to be just like the Retail DVDs, use the following labels. For 32 bit – GRMCFRE_EN_DVD | For 64 bit – GRMCxFRE_EN_DVD


4. Click the Advanced Tab, and then click the Restrictions Tab, then check the options as shown in the below screenshot


6. Click the Bootable Disc tab, and then check the box labeled “Make Image Bootable”


7. Click the Browse button next to “Boot Image” and then browse to where you downloaded the BootImage.ima file, and select it

8. In the “Sectors to Load” field change the 4 to an 8

9. Select a Destination to save your Windows 7 ISO

10. Click the big Build button

11. You will see the following error message. Click NO. If you do not click NO, your DVD will not work correctly.


12. After your ISO is created you can use ImgBurn to burn your newly created ISO.

Good luck and happy installing!