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Get Your Windows XP Back

Get Your Windows XP Back

In case you haven’t heard, Windows XP is being phased out. If you love it, like many users do, this is not good news. Windows XP allows users to seamlessly run multiple applications and toggle between them with ease. Also, many software application are dependent upon the use of Windows XP.

While many people feel like Microsoft is doing the right thing by moving away from Windows, there are still many people who like the “feel” and easy-to-use features of Windows XP. There is a “Windows XP mode” in Windows 7, but it is restricted to Professional versions of the hardware. You can, however, get Windows XP with Windows 8, and you do not have to buy any additional products or software keys. You will need to download several free programs (if you do not already have them installed).

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The first step is to download the Windows XP Mode installer file directly from Microsoft. You will then be asked to validate your version of Windows. If you are using a pirated or shareware version of Windows, Microsoft will not let you download this file.  After you have successfully validated your version of Windows, download the file as prompted, but make sure you do not run the installer. At this stage, just download the file. (If you are asked to choose between two files, choose: WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe).

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Next, you will need to extract the files. If you do not currently have extraction software you will need to get one (7-Zip and WinZip are both good programs and are free to download). Once you have extracted the files from the Windows XP Mode installer, you will need to view the files. Locate the file marked “xpm” and drag it to any folder on your computer to extract it. Repeat the same process with the file marked “VirtualXPVHD.”  This file is a virtual hard drive file, so once you extract it (if done correctly) you should now see the .VHD extension. If you do not, right click the file and rename it to “VirtualXPVHD.vhd”. Once you have successfully completed these steps, you can delete the “WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe” and “xpm” files in order to save space on your hard drive.

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Now, you have a .VHD file we can boot in a virtual machine program. If you do not have one already, try VirtualBox because it’s free and runs on all versions of Windows 8. After downloading, click the “new” button to create a new virtual machine and follow the instructions. When asked for the operating system, select “Windows XP (32-bit).” In the next step, you can select as much memory as you like to be allocated to VirtualBox. I would suggest sticking to the recommended 192MB simply because it causes less issues. For the hard drive, select the last option (“use an existing virtual hard drive file”) and select the .VHD file you saved earlier.

You can now boot your Windows XP Mode system by clicking the Start button in VirtualBox. You’ll have to enter a few details to finish setting it up, but you won’t have to go through the entire installation process or enter a product key. From here, the process is about the same as if you had installed Windows XP inside a virtual machine from a Windows XP disc. Install any old software that requires Windows XP inside the virtual machine and you are ready to go! You will now be able to use all of your old programs inside the VirtualBox, while still maintaining the use of Windows 8.

Featured photo credit: Windows XP/Alfred Hermida/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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