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July 8, 2013
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Options for high speed access in Nevada County

I can’t get DSL or cable. What are my other options? Dial-up is just too slow.

It’s true — in Nevada County, many areas are too remote for either cable or DSL Internet connections. Ken remembers asking a Comcast representative once if the company was ever going to head in his direction, and they just laughed. At his home, the only option seemed to be dial-up when he moved in seven years ago.

Now, however, there are several viable options. One option is satellite Internet access. There are two options available nationally: HughesNet (http://www.hughesnet.com) and WildBlue (http://www.wildblue.com). Ken tried WildBlue in 2006 (at that time, HughesNet’s service was simply terrible, and he vetoed that option). At the time, WildBlue was slow, difficult and hard to work with. It may be better now. Both HughesNet and WildBlue have recently upgraded their services, and they might be worth checking out if you have no other options.

A better option for many might be terrestrial fixed wireless, provided by either Central Valley Broadband (the company Ken uses, http://www.calwisp.com) or Smarter Broadband (http://www.smarterbroadband.com/). Both companies have placed wireless transmitters dotting the landscape in Nevada County, and if your home provides direct line of sight to one of their towers, you could be eligible for excellent service, high speeds and smooth Internet “sailing.” Both companies offer high-speed connections at reasonable prices, and we’ve only spoken with happy customers of both services. Check them both out to determine if either or both is available in your area.

Downgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7

I need a new computer, and all the new ones come with Windows 8 pre-installed. The particular software I need to run for my work won’t run on Windows 8. How can I buy a new computer but get Windows 7 on it?

We’re very surprised that your application that runs on Windows 7 won’t also run on Windows 8. Microsoft tried exceedingly hard to ensure that every Windows 7 application runs the same on Windows 8.

If you really must downgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7 (or you simply don’t want to use Windows 8), many vendors will allow you to downgrade your Windows 8 license and then install a Windows 7 license when you buy your new computer.

It’s worth asking the vendor from whom you are buying the new computer. It may cost extra money (yes, it may cost extra money to get the old operating system), but if you need it, that cost may be worth it.

You can always purchase your own copy of Windows 7 and simply install it on your computer, replacing the installation of Windows 8. The problem is that most copies of Windows 7 that Microsoft sold were upgrade copies and were meant to replace an existing operating system.

If you do go this route, you’ll need to ensure that you purchase a “new installation” version of Windows 7.

You might try the copy for sale here: http://goo.gl/3RFA2. If you’re going to attempt this, make sure you replace the hard drive on your computer or use a separate partition on your existing hard drive to ensure that you don’t overwrite your installation of Windows 8, in case you de cide to return to Windows 8 later.

The real problem with installing Windows 7 on a new computer is that it’s possible (and likely) that Windows 7 didn’t provide drivers for all the hardware in the new computer. This has happened to both Doug and Ken in their attempts to help friends downgrade (note that both of us are happily using Windows 8 and actually kind of like it).

Downgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 7 isn’t a task for the computer novice.

If this is something you need to tackle, you might benefit from getting help or advice from a professional. No matter what you do, make sure you back up your current system first!

Doug Behl and Ken Getzspent years answering technical questions in private and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken’s tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at http://blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to questions@techtipguys.com.


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The Union Updated Jul 8, 2013 01:05AM Published Jul 8, 2013 12:58AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.