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Mailbag: November 23, 2010

This week in the mailbag:

  • Linked Windows Live IDs and Windows Phone
  • Is Windows 8 Going to be 64-Bit Only?
  • Transfering Files Between Print Queues
  • Changing the Live ID Associated with Your Xbox LIVE Account
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops: Is It Really This Easy??
  • Can You Install Windows 7 x86 and x64 on Different PCs?

Have a question? I can't guarantee an answer, but I'll try. Drop me a note! (And let me know if you'd prefer not to have your name published.)


Matt G. asks:

I have two Windows Live IDs, one that's associated with my Gmail and has Xbox Live, Zune, TechNet, and my \[other services\] all linked to it, the other one was started so I could use Hotmail and Outlook 2010 and the Office Web Apps. If I link them together, what exactly happens? Will I still be able to sign-in in with my Live ID attached to Gmail and access all services, or does it merge them in any way? I would like to have just one account but seems like in order to have my Gmail-based Live ID and the ability to use Hotmail this is the only way. Also how exactly does this affect Windows Phone 7 if I have a linked ID? Will I still be able to access everything associated to the two accounts seamlessly in WP7 or would it be best to ditch the Hotmail account since everything else important is on the other account?

So there's a lot going on here. And I see that my original email reply was somewhat lacking, so please allow me to expand on that here.

Linked Windows Live IDs provides you with a way to more easily access two or more Windows Live accounts without having to manually logoff and logon repeatedly. But there's no real "integration" beyond that admittedly useful nicety, and to my knowledge, that is the only real advantage to doing so.

With regards to Windows Phone, Windows Phone doesn't recognized IDs as being linked, so it will treat them as two separate accounts. There's no reason you can't configure both accounts on the phone, just understand that only the one you configure as the primary account can be used for Xbox LIVE, Zune, and photos integration.

Further confusing matters is that Microsoft recently added EASI ID support to Hotmail. This allows you to optionally use Hotmail for any non-Windows Live-based email address, including Why you'd want to do this with Gmail is unclear to me--I should say, I don't actually recommend that--but it's possible.

Anyway, there's no reason not to link the accounts and just keep using them as separate accounts, both on and off the phone. There's no reason to mess around with anything here, as far as I can tell.


Charles asks:

I have heard that Windows 8 is 64-bit only. What does that mean for us that have netbooks that are only 32-bit?

Nothing yet. Microsoft hasn't announced any details about Windows 8.

Should Windows 8 be 64-bit only, obviously you would not be able to run it on a 32-bit-only netbook. (There has been silly speculation that Microsoft was moving to a 128-bit system with Windows 8. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.) But again, there is precious little solid information about Microsoft's next Windows version. What has been leaked, I wrote about in my article, Windows 8: A First Peek.


David H. asks:

Is there a way to transfer files in one print queue to another? My wife has 8 files stuck in a print queue on the laser printer and I would like to move them over to the ink jet so we don’t lose them.

I don't know of a way to do that, sorry. Anyone? Bueller?


Rommel asks:

I remember you talking in the Windows Weekly podcast about how you were going to change the Windows Live email that is linked to your Xbox live account. Do you change it using your Xbox or via the web site? I cannot seem to find any information on how to do it in your web site.

I changed it on the console. To do so, logon on the Xbox 360 and bring up the Xbox Guide (by pressing the big silver Xbox button on the controller). Then, navigate to Settings, Account Management, Your Information, Windows Live ID, Change Windows Live ID.

Microsoft also has instructions about this in its Knowledge Base.


Because I've talked up Call of Duty: Black Ops a lot, a number of readers have forwarded me a You Tube video in which navigates through the introductory level in the game, on the second-hardest skill level, and basically doesn't fire a shot. The creator of the video roundly criticizes TreyArch for making a game that is so easy, setting off the expected web stupidity around the death of interactive gaming. The emails are all something like this:

Is the game really this easy?

No, it's not.

A few points here.

First, Black Ops isn't the first COD game to feature such a level. Last year's Modern Warfare 2 also featured a similar experience, where you walk through an airport while terrorists kill innocent bystanders. In that level, which was incredibly controversial at the time, you don't have to fire a shot. You just have to follow the killers around. In fact, it's even lamer than the Black Ops video cited here.

Second, that level is the introductory level. If you were to, say, play the very next level on the easiest skill level, you'd find that you can in fact die quite easily. There's a reason this is the only video like this. It's the level that sets up the plot, and it's designed to ease you into using the controls. Complaining that you can't get killed in a training mission is rather silly.

Third, people seem to forget there's a story going on here. Black Ops is interactive entertainment, and let's give TreyArch some credit: Not only is the storyline good, but in an era where single player games are being deemphasized for multiplayer, the single player campaign in this game is easily twice as long as that of its direct predecessor.

In short, Black Ops is easily the best shooter to ship this year. And I'll be playing it for months to come. If you enjoy shooters at all, so will you.


Christopher M. asks:

If I buy the Windows 7 Ultimate Full version, which includes both 32- and 64-bit DVDs, can the product key that comes with that SKU be used for both simultaneously, or is it just for one install?

You can only use one or the other; the product key is for a single install. You have a choice of 32-bit or 64-bit.

More next week...

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