Posts tagged Vista

20 things you didn’t know about Windows XP

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You’ve read the reviews and digested the key feature enhancements and operational changes. Now it’s time to delve a bit deeper and uncover some of Windows XP’s secrets.

1. It boasts how long it can stay up. Whereas previous versions of Windows were coy about how long they went between boots, XP is positively proud of its stamina. Go to the Command Prompt in the Accessories menu from the All Programs start button option, and then type ‘systeminfo’. The computer will produce a lot of useful info, including the uptime. If you want to keep these, type ‘systeminfo > info.txt’. This creates a file called info.txt you can look at later with Notepad. (Professional Edition only).

2. You can delete files immediately, without having them move to the Recycle Bin first. Go to the Start menu, select Run… and type ‘gpedit.msc’; then select User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer and find the Do not move deleted files to the Recycle Bin setting. Set it. Poking around in gpedit will reveal a great many interface and system options, but take care — some may stop your computer behaving as you wish. (Professional Edition only).

3. You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse. Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, and enter ‘rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation’ in the location field. Give the shortcut a name you like. That’s it — just double click on it and your computer will be locked. And if that’s not easy enough, Windows key + L will do the same.

4. XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as Windows Messenger, but you can tickle it and make it disgorge everything. Using Notepad or Edit, edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word ‘hide’ and remove it. You can then go to the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will be your prey, exposed and vulnerable.

5. For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number of interesting new commands. These include ‘eventcreate’ and ‘eventtriggers’ for creating and watching system events, ‘typeperf’ for monitoring performance of various subsystems, and ‘schtasks’ for handling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by /? will give a list of options — they’re all far too baroque to go into here.

6. XP has IP version 6 support — the next generation of IP. Unfortunately this is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this on your LAN. Type ‘ipv6 install’ into Run… (it’s OK, it won’t ruin your existing network setup) and then ‘ipv6 /?’ at the command line to find out more. If you don’t know what IPv6 is, don’t worry and don’t bother.

7. You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line by using ‘taskkill /pid’ and the task number, or just ‘tskill’ and the process number. Find that out by typing ‘tasklist’, which will also tell you a lot about what’s going on in your system.

8. XP will treat Zip files like folders, which is nice if you’ve got a fast machine. On slower machines, you can make XP leave zip files well alone by typing ‘regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll’ at the command line. If you change your mind later, you can put things back as they were by typing ‘regsvr32 zipfldr.dll’.

9. XP has ClearType — Microsoft’s anti-aliasing font display technology — but doesn’t have it enabled by default. It’s well worth trying, especially if you were there for DOS and all those years of staring at a screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enable ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance, Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the selection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to use ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.

10. You can use Remote Assistance to help a friend who’s using network address translation (NAT) on a home network, but not automatically. Get your pal to email you a Remote Assistance invitation and edit the file. Under the RCTICKET attribute will be a NAT IP address, like 192.168.1.10. Replace this with your chum’s real IP address — they can find this out by going to www.whatismyip.com — and get them to make sure that they’ve got port 3389 open on their firewall and forwarded to the errant computer.

11. You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back in again. Right click the icon, select Run As… and enter the user name and password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The trick is particularly useful if you need to have administrative permissions to install a program, which many require. Note that you can have some fun by running programs multiple times on the same system as different users, but this can have unforeseen effects.

12. Windows XP can be very insistent about you checking for auto updates, registering a Passport, using Windows Messenger and so on. After a while, the nagging goes away, but if you feel you might slip the bonds of sanity before that point, run Regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/Advanced and create a DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with a value of 0.

13. You can start up without needing to enter a user name or password. Select Run… from the start menu and type ‘control userpasswords2’, which will open the user accounts application. On the Users tab, clear the box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer, and click on OK. An Automatically Log On dialog box will appear; enter the user name and password for the account you want to use.

14. Internet Explorer 6 will automatically delete temporary files, but only if you tell it to. Start the browser, select Tools / Internet Options… and Advanced, go down to the Security area and check the box to Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed.

15. XP comes with a free Network Activity Light, just in case you can’t see the LEDs twinkle on your network card. Right click on My Network Places on the desktop, then select Properties. Right click on the description for your LAN or dial-up connection, select Properties, then check the Show icon in notification area when connected box. You’ll now see a tiny network icon on the right of your task bar that glimmers nicely during network traffic.

16. The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing the registry entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default 400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.

17. You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrange icons in alphabetised groups by View, Arrange Icon By… Show In Groups.

18. Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays the tracks — if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied the tracks from the CD. If it didn’t, or if you have lots of pre-WMP music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same directory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media Player will pick it up and display it.

19. Windows key + Break brings up the System Properties dialogue box; Windows key + D brings up the desktop; Windows key + Tab moves through the taskbar buttons.

20. The next release of Windows XP, Windows Vista, came out around a year ago and didnt provide much features to knock off Windows XP from User’s PC’s.

Gateway P-7808u FX Notebook Announced

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Gateway has presented its latest addition to the P-Series FX Edition. This notebook comprises of the new Intel Core 2 Quad processor Q9000 (2.0GHz, 6MB L2 cache, 1066MHz FSB), a feature never before seen in this series. This will take entertainment, gaming and digital media to a whole new level.

Gateway P-7808u FX Notebook

Senior product marketing manager for Acer America, Ray Sawall said, “The Gateway P-Series FX Edition has developed a huge fan base, as enthusiasts have experienced the value of these PCs and recommended them to others for their incredible combination of performance and features.”

He further said, “The Gateway P-7808u FX can handle just about everything consumers want to do with their PCs today – intense gaming, uploading and editing video, creating multimedia projects for school and managing home finances. It is the ultimate notebook for enthusiasts and any consumer who wants unparalleled performance at an incredible value.”

The Gateway P-7808u FX Notebook has a 17 inch widescreen and a 1440×900 resolution for crystal-clear viewing. The notebook is a treat for gamers as it includes NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTS graphics solution with 1GB of GDDR3 video memory which brings color and life into gaming. Multi-Format Dual Layer DVDRW with DVD-RAM includes LabelFlash Technology, which allows you to label your CDs with pictures and texts, is also included. With 4GB memory and 500GB hard drive, loads of music, pictures and videos can be stored. There is also a 5-in-1 digital media card reader and a built-in 1.3 megapixel webcam.

For easy access to your multimedia features, there are illuminated buttons located on the keyboard and volume can be adjusted with the touch control slide. One can even share their pictures, videos and music by attaching the Gateway P-7808u FX Notebook to other devices like TV or stereo through a single connection. It also has three USB ports and an IEEE 1394b port. For connection to external storage devices, the eSATA port can be utilized. WiFi is accessible as it includes Intel WiFi Link 5100 802.11 a/g/Draft-N wireless. This notebook uses Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition and also Adobe Reader, Microsoft Works 9.0 SE and a 60-day trail of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007.

Gateway guarantees a one year warranty on its P-7808u FX Notebook with a retail price of $1,799.99 and is available through online retailers.

Kernal Flaw In Vista

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vista-patch-bandaid-sp1 Kernal Flaw In Vista

A flaw was found in Windows Vista which can allow rootkits to be planted. As well as to allow DoS attacks to be used against it. This flaw was found in October by Thomas Unterleitner of Austrian security company Phion. Microsoft was informed about this flaw and they will be releasing a fix for it in the next Vista service pack.

According to Thomasa’s releaseThe issue lies in the network input/output subsystem of Vista. Certain requests sent to the iphlpapi.dll API can cause a buffer overflow that corrupts the Vista kernel memory, resulting in a blue-screen-of-death crash. This buffer overflow could [also] be exploited to inject code, hence compromising client security…exploit can be used to turn off the computer using a [denial-of-service] attack. Because the exploit occurs in the Netio.sys component of Vista, it may make it possible to hide rootkits.”

He also suggests that other versions of Microsoft’s operating system could very well be affected also. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are vulnerable. Windows XP is not affected he assured.

Unterleitner mentioned that you need administrative rights to execute a program calling the function that would cause the buffer overflow. However, he also said it was possible that someone could use a malformed DCHP packet to take control without admin access.

Windows 7 Preview

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Like Elvis in ’68, Microsoft is itching for a “comeback,” and Windows 7 is the perfect excuse. In fact, this week in LA at the Professional Developers Conference, Windows 7 officially shoved Vista aside. Having suffered through the often deserved criticisms of that ill-fated OS installment, Microsoft’s people are thrilled to tears to be able to talk about something (anything!) else. On Sunday, they took journalists through a lively 7-hour orientation on Win 7, then handed off a Dell XPS M1330 loaded with pre-beta Build 6801. Thankfully for the overworked, underappreciated developers at Redmond, it’s surprisingly stable, and its look and feel already puts Vista to shame.

Windows 7 Preview

Here’s a walkthrough of the system I’m looking at, some videos showing its basic performance, and then shots of more interface and system details demoed at PDC that will show up in the first beta build.

It’s really hard to piece together everything I experienced at the seminar, so I’m going to start with the real, actual improvements I see in the system I’ve been fiddling with, and then expand into the more rhetorical stuff.

Windows 7 Preview : Math Writing
Windows 7 Preview : Device Sync

View the full preview and videos here.

SP1 gets Vista performance praised

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A Microsoft Springboard Virtual Roundtable on Tuesday examined Windows Vista performance, fielding technical views from some panelists that had actually carried out system upgrades.

 

The general opinion among the group was that Service Pack 1 for Vista had transformed the much-maligned operating system into an ideal solution for enterprise IT managers.

Mark Russinovich, technical fellow in the Core Operating Systems Division at Microsoft, hosted a seven-member panel of industry experts. It was the third session in a Microsoft series that features live, online discussions about Windows Vista.

Ironically, the seven-member panel spent much of the time (over an hour) discussing shortfalls — hardware limitations, driver support, and setup and misconfiguration issues — that have plagued Vista installs.

Despite those frustrations, the real problem is user expectations, which form the core of misconceptions about Vista, according to panel member Michael Boyd, a platform systems engineer for a financial services organization.

“A lot of user experience with Vista has to do with what you expect from it,” noted Boyd in his opening remarks. “If you’re expecting to deploy it on four-year-old hardware and have it operate to your expectations, it’s not going to operate well.”

Hardware platforms and drivers have hindered Vista implementations in the past. However, the key to success for IT administrators is to introduce Vista with new hardware, according to panel member David Straede. He added that IT admins need to make sure that the builds are optimized for the desired platforms. Straede’s experience with Vista included a large deployment for a law enforcement organization.

Straede cautioned against upgrading machines containing older drivers.

“One of the key things we discovered in the boxes we tried to upgrade was that they actually picked up those old drivers and the machine would be practically unusable,” said Straede, who serves as a network administrator. “Taking that exact same piece of hardware and making a clean install often made it run flawlessly. Never upgrade; just refresh completely.”

Drivers are key. Stephen Rose recommended checking OEM Web sites to make sure all of the drivers are up to date. He said sometimes a product will sit on the shelf six months before being deployed, and, in that time, the manufacturer will have come out with a new driver. An outdated driver increases boot times, battery drainage and response times.

“We found that creating a great install with the latest patches, the latest features and the latest drivers can make a world of difference to the desktop user,” said Rose, who also recommended creating a patching system outside the Microsoft patching system to make sure all components within the ecosystem are current.

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