Everything Microsoft - Latest Microsoft News, Guides, Reviews & Themes » Browsers http://www.everything-microsoft.com Latest Microsoft Windows 8, Windows 7, Office, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 7 & Xbox 360 News, W8 Beta, Rumors, Downloads, Themes, Wallpapers, Help & more Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:00:31 +0000 en-EN hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Windows 8: Unpatched Flash vulnerability leaves users at riskhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/09/06/windows-8-unpatched-flash-vulnerability-leaves-users-risk/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/09/06/windows-8-unpatched-flash-vulnerability-leaves-users-risk/#comments Thu, 06 Sep 2012 22:03:13 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=95526 Microsoft introduces several changes to Internet Explorer 10 in its Windows 8 operating system. You may for instance know that Windows 8 ships with two different Internet Explorer versions: first the regular Internet Explorer 10 that you can run on the desktop interface, and then the Metro Internet Explorer 10 that only runs on the startpage interface. That’s however not the only change, as Microsoft has integrated the Adobe Flash technology natively in the browser. This is similar to what Google has done i its Chrome browser. The benefit of this is that Flash is not integrated as a plugin so that it can run on the modern ui interface as well. It also means that Microsoft can distribute the Flash update at once to all of its users so that users are protected right away from threats.

One of the problems however is that Microsoft is now responsible for keeping the versions of Flash Player up to date in Internet Explorer to protect users from attacks targeting vulnerabilities in older version of the technology.

Adobe recently released an update to its Flash Player that resolved several security issues found in the player. Google distributed the update with Chrome, and other users may have received automatic updates or updated Flash Player manually. The only browser that has not received an update yet is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8. Microsoft, for whatever reason, has not released an update yet that closes the security vulnerabilities in its integrated Flash Player. This in turn means that Windows 8 users who use IE10 to access flash contents in the browser are vulnerable to attacks targeting those resolved security vulnerabilities.

Ed Bott contacted Microsoft for a statement and received the following response:

Security is of course important to us, and we are working directly with Adobe to ensure that Windows 8 customers stay secure. We will update Flash in Windows 8 via Windows Update as needed. The current version of Flash in the Windows 8 RTM build does not have the latest fix, but we will have a security update coming through Windows Update in the GA timeframe.

This means that Microsoft will release an update around the October 26 release date of Windows 8 leaving users of the system vulnerable to attacks for more than two months.

It is recommended to avoid using Internet Explorer 10 to view Flash contents until the issue is fixed. The easiest way to make sure that this does not happen is to make a different browser the default browser on the system.

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What no iGoogle?http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/18/igoogle/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/18/igoogle/#comments Thu, 19 Jul 2012 03:51:08 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=95040 On November 1, 2013 Google is killing iGoogle! Why? Is it too successful? What is it being replaced by?

None of the answers to these questions supplied by Google is satisfactory.

I am really p….d off by this arbitrary decision and I’m not the only one. There are hundreds of  thousands, dare I say millions of satisfied users of IGoogle who will be deprived of an excellent web browser.

The Bad News!

I’ve been using IGoogle for years and years. I love its flexibility and the way you can craft it to suit your own needs. Looking at the alternative web browsers – Firefox, Safari, Opera and Google Chrome, none of them really grab me as I’ve tried them all.

Now I’m forced to look for a customizable alternative. On checking the web I came across ten less well-known ones – Stainless, Lunascape, Maxthon, Konqueror, Sleepnir, Sea Monkey, Swiftfox, Omniweb, Camino and Flock.

Never heard of any of them before BUT now I’ve got to sort out where I’ll go when the deadline for the demise of iGoogle arrives. Of course I can continue to use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer with ninemsn.com.au or au.news.yahoo.com  but these websites though working successfully with Internet Explorer do not grab me. There have little flexibility  and are full of stuff I abhor – information overload as well as the incessant advertising. This leaves me little choice!

Having got my beef out of my system I’m wondering what other disappointed iGoogle users are going to do? Where do we go from here!

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EU Chases Microsoft Again Over Bundling IE In Windows 8http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/17/eu-chases-microsoft-bundling-windows-8/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/17/eu-chases-microsoft-bundling-windows-8/#comments Tue, 17 Jul 2012 20:53:49 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=95061 I’m sure plenty of you remember the whole antitrust case that Microsoft was involved with in the months leading up to the release of Windows 7. The European Commission ruled that Microsoft were stifling competition by bundling Internet Explorer as the default browser in not only Windows 7, but also all it’s operating systems.

As a result Microsoft left it up to OEM’s to choose which browser would be installed and also displayed a browser ballot screen to Windows XP, Vista and 7 users who still had IE as their default browser.

Now, three years later as Microsoft is getting ready to launch Windows 8, the EU has raised the same case again with Microsoft. This time the EU is examining if Microsoft is unfairly favouring their own IE by discouraging other PC makers from making rival browsers the default in Windows 8.

In addition to this, they are also examining whether or not Microsoft is being unfair by only allowing IE to be installed on  ARM devices running Windows RT. With Windows RT, the user is not able to install any third party applications, due to hardware limitations.

First off I think that this is quite unfair when you consider that Apple have been bundling Safari as the default browser with OS X for years, and Apple does not allow any other third party browsers to be installed on iOS. The browsers available on it are simply skins of Safari and not full third party browsers.

Considering that Apple hold a large majority of the tablet and smartphone market, I feel the EU is being slightly unfair here by filing this against Microsoft.

The EU is also focusing on how Microsoft have “fallen short” when it comes to the browser ballot screen. They claim that Microsoft failed to give 28 million users the choice to choose a different default browser. Microsoft apologised and claimed that this was in part due to a “technical error”.

If Microsoft are proven guilty on these charges, they could face hefty fines. The EU has the ability to impose fines of up to 10% of their turnover, which would be no small figure given the size of Microsoft.

But I feel if the EU is going after Microsoft for something like this, then surely they should be taking it up with Apple as well? Apple essentially do the exact same thing, just their market share isn’t as large.

 

 

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Microsoft’s Security Updateshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/06/18/microsofts-security-updates/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/06/18/microsofts-security-updates/#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2012 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=94637 Microsoft announced a patch of security updates to deal with Windows and IE flaws. Microsoft released 7 bulletins with fixes for at least 26 documented vulnerabilities affecting the Windows software ecosystem.

MS12-037 and MS12-036

Users need to pay special attention to MS12-037 and MS12-036, which provide cover for “remote code execution” vulnerabilities that could be used in worm attacks and drive-by downloads without any user interaction. This means that you may not even know that you’ve been hit until it is too late.

IE Vulnerability

MS12-037 affects all supported versions of the IE browser, fixes 13 vulnerabilities that expose users to computer hijack attacks if a user simply surfed to a rigged web site. Like most web surfers, you assume that the visit will be innocuous, but this could be a mistake. Microsoft, in fact, expects to see exploit code targeting at least one of the 13 vulnerabilities within the next 30 days.

The company warned that information on one of the browser flaws is now publicly available meaning that hackers have already gotten a head start on preparing attacks.

Remote Desktop Control Vulnerability

The second important bulletin is MS12-036. This covers a dangerous flaw in the way Microsoft implements the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in Windows.

Again, the problem comes when accessing a specially crafted webpage using a web browser that can run XAML Browser Applications (XBAPs). The vulnerability could allow remote code execution on a client system if a user views the webpage, which for the users, looks like any other webpage. So, once you hit the page, then the exploit virus enters your system, meaning that the hacker can take over your system via RDP.

The unusual thing is that this is the second RDP flaw discovered by Microsoft in the last few months. This makes you wonder if someone at Microsoft may be leaking the code contents to make the exploit possible. Zdnet published an article about this very topic recently, “Exploit code published for RDP worm hole; Does Microsoft have a leak?” If that is the case, they have bigger problems.

 

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What’s new in Internet Explorer 10 Preview 6?http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/05/31/internet-explorer-10-preview-6/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/05/31/internet-explorer-10-preview-6/#comments Fri, 01 Jun 2012 06:01:46 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=94452 With yesterday’s release of the Windows 8 Release Preview came an updated version of Microsoft’s flagship browser Internet Explorer 10. The sixth platform preview brings several interesting new features and technologies to Internet Explorer that we would like to bring to your attention in this article.

Please keep in mind that the Internet Explorer 10 Preview is only available for the evaluation versions of Windows 8 at this point in time, and not for Windows 7. When you start the latest version of Internet Explorer 10 for the first time on Windows 8 you will likely not see many changes on first glance.

internet explorer 10

The browser pretty much looks the same way as before by all means. When you browser around a bit, you may notice that it is rendering pages faster than previously, and that the overall interaction with the browser feels snappier than before.

All major changes to Internet Explorer 10 Preview 6 are under the hood changes though. Lets take a look at what Microsoft has implemented into this version of the browser:

  • Native Flash integration for the desktop and metro version of IE10. Probably the biggest change in terms of functionality, especially when it comes to the metro version is the native integration of Adobe’s Flash plugin in Windows.  The version installed is 11,3,370,178. Why is this a big thing? Because Microsoft mentioned previously that the Metro version of IE would not support plugins which would have included Flash obviously. The company more or less circumvented this by integrating Flash natively into the browser.
  • Do not track feature is enabled by default.  Do not track sends information to all websites you connect to, to let them know that you do not want to be tracked. This feature is enabled by default in Internet Explorer 10. You find the setting under Internet Options > Advanced > Always send Do not Track header near the bottom of the listing.
  • Internet Explorer 10 now supports non-vendor prefixed versions of standards:  CSS transitions, transforms, animations, gradients, and CSS Fonts’ font-feature-settings property, as well as platform APIs
  • Performance has been improved across the board. IE 10′s rendering engine has received a speed and performance bump, and touch interaction with the browser has been improved.

Microsoft is on a good way with Internet Explorer 10, the company made huge leaps in terms of standards compatibility and performance. You find a detailed article on what’s new in Internet Explorer 10 preview 6 on the official Internet Explorer blog site.

 

 

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Microsoft RoadMap For Office, Internet Explorer Leakshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/12/microsoft-roadmap-office-internet-explorer-leaks/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/12/microsoft-roadmap-office-internet-explorer-leaks/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2012 19:38:09 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93629 Mary-Jo Foley has posted two leaked Microsoft product roadmap shots that was distributed by Microsoft to some partners in December 2011. The roadmap, which apparently was available at Microsoft’s Partner Network without authentication protection looks at product cycles of several core Microsoft products. The products listed in the first shot are all Office and business related, starting with Office 365 and the Office 15, and going all the way done to Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Visio and Project.

The second chart highlights the Windows platform, including client and server operating systems, Windows phone and Internet Explorer. Microsoft has not added all cycles to the shots. If you look at Windows Client, you will notice that the Developer Preview for Windows 8 is listed, and that the next event is the end of service for Windows XP. The timeline is missing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, RTM and final release among other things.

office roadmap

windows roadmap

What you can take away from the leak are a number of things. You first will notice that Internet Explorer 10 is marked for general availability in the middle of 2010. We have not heard anything about the planned release date yet, but it would make sense to release the final version of the browser alongside the RTM of Windows 8.

As far as Office 15 and the Office product line goes, a beta is scheduled to start later this year which seems to end shortly before Office 15 will be released publicly. According to the shot, that will happen in the beginning of 2013.

Windows Phone will also see a new release or an update after the general availability of Internet Explorer 10. It looks as if Microsoft will launch this near the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth quarter. While it could be an update to Windows Phone 7, it is more likely that we will see a Windows Phone 8 release at that time of the year.

Keep in mind that these dates are subject to change until they are officially confirmed by Microsoft. (via)

What’s your take on the roadmap?

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Internet Explorer Starting To Win Back Market Sharehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/03/internet-explorer-starting-win-market-share/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/03/internet-explorer-starting-win-market-share/#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2012 21:41:34 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93362 Internet Explorer has been suffering badly over the last number of years and has lost an awful lot of market share to competitors such as Chrome and Firefox. However, it looks like the old dog is not going down without a fight and recorded nearly a percentage increase in the last month alone.

It seems that Internet Explorer 9 is beginning to win back IE fans who previously jumped ship for Chrome, Firefox and Safari who all recorded losses last month.

Internet Explorer added on 0.99 points to bring it up to 53.88 percent of the market, marking a six month high. Microsoft had boasted that IE9 was downloaded 2.35 million times or at 27 copies as second during the first 24hrs that it was made available.

All 4 other major browsers lost market share this month. Firefox dropped 0.37 points to 20.55 percent, a record low for the browser since October 2008. Safari dropped 0.17 points to 5.07 and Opera dropped down 0.09 points to a mere 1.62 percent.

But surprisingly Chrome, one of the fastest growing browsers also dropped (albeit a minor drop of 0.3) to 18.57 percent.

These statistics come from netmarketshare.com who have reported quite different results from Statcounter. StatCounter has claimed that Chrome’s market share has eclipsed Internet Explorer’s. However if you look into the finer details you will see why.

StatCounter measures market share based purely on pageviews. Since a recent update in Chrome means that it preloads web pages if it thinks you might view them, it is actually racking up pageviews that don’t exist. Also NetMarketshare weight their results to take into account different geographic regions and preferences which StatCounter doesn’t do.

So in theory Netmarketshare should give us a more accurate view of the current browser wars.

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Hacker Paid $60000 After Finding Chrome Exploit On Windows 7http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/11/hacker-paid-60000-finding-chrome-exploit-windows-7/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/11/hacker-paid-60000-finding-chrome-exploit-windows-7/#comments Sun, 11 Mar 2012 18:30:49 +0000 http://www.windows7news.com/?p=23189 There’s plenty of hackers out there all over the world trying to crack big software companies like Google and Microsoft’s programs. Many of them fail, after all these software companies are amongst the wealthiest in the world and have invested incredible amounts of money into securing their programs. However from time to time, a new exploit rears its head before the companies can discover it. This isn’t great for the companies image, let alone for the consumer who is using their software.

So to try and avoid embarrassing situations like this from ever occurring in the first place, Google have being holding their very own compeition for hackers. The Pwnium contest invites security researchers to try and hack into the Chrome web browser. This week, Sergey Glazunov became the first researcher to be awarded the top prize of $60,000 for demonstrating a “full Chrome exploit” in a Chrome browser running on an up to date Windows 7 system.

The Pwnium contest has a prize pool of $1 million and is a much cheaper alternative for Google to find exploits in its programs instead of paying its employees to spend hours trying to find exploits. It also means that Google will know about the exploits before they go public so they’ll have a chance to fix them and preserve their public image.

Of course since this exploit has been discovered, Google have been hard at work to get a fix out as soon as possible. They’ve already pushed out a patch via their auto-update feature for Chrome. Version 17.0.963.78 for Windows,Mac OS X and Linux fixes this flaw as well as fixing a few issues with Adobe Flash.

So although Glazunov is lucky enough to be receiving the top price of $60,000,  there is still an incredible $940,000 up for grabs in Google’s Pwnium competition.


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Two Critical Browser Vulnerabilities Announcedhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/15/critical-browser-vulnerabilities-announced/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/15/critical-browser-vulnerabilities-announced/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2012 13:53:47 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=22434 Watch out. Microsoft has announced that IE vulnerabilities have been discovered and that users should take precaution by downloading the latest security patch, MS12-0100.

What the Browser Vulnerability Leaves Open

The most severe browser vulnerabilities could

  • Allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted web page using Internet Explorer.
  • An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user.
  • Users whose accounts at the administrative level could be impacted more than users who have fewer user rights on the system.

What the patch does

The security update addresses the vulnerabilities by modifying the way that Internet Explorer handles content during copy and paste processes; how it handles objects in memory; and how it creates and initializes strings.

Other Vulnerability

Microsoft also announced a vulnerability that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted media file that appears on a website or sent as an email attachment. Microsoft says that if a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. That vulnerability is discussed on MS12-013.

The security update addresses the vulnerability by modifying the way that the msvcrt dynamic link library (DLL) calculates the size of data structures in memory. What the calculations reported was not specified, but one would think that the number showed the size of the content, and this number could be extended or modified, thereby exploiting the software, and making room for hackers to enter.

Security Update Download Options

Microsoft announces upgrades and they are available for download on a Tuesday. If your computer is set for automatic download, then the patch will be placed on the user’s computer. If not, review the upgrade system to make the download available.

 

 

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Microsoft Release Child-Friendly IE9http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/07/microsoft-release-childfriendly-ie9/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/07/microsoft-release-childfriendly-ie9/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2012 20:32:41 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=22106 There are times in life when people can’t help but cry out “why has this taken so long?” and today could indeed be considered one of those days as Microsoft, in conjunction with UK Child Protection Agency CEOP have released a child-friendly version of their Internet Explorer web browser

The browser is essentially IE9 as standard with some additional web links and Jumplists embedded into it, and the browser’s content protection feature already turned on.  There is a dedicated startup tab for the “ThinkuKnow” website, where children can get online safety advice, and a kid-friendly jumplist with quick links to services such as their online Safety Centre.

With so many more children now online and at much younger ages than ever before this will be welcomed by parents both in the UK and elsewhere, where the parental control features will still work.

While kids can see CEOP links in the Jumplist, parents will see a different jumplist where they will be able to set the age range of their child or children.  From this IE9 will take over and block any inappropriate content.  There are also settings for both teachers and vulnerable adults, making the browser useful in places where computers are accessed by mentally handicapped people you might not wish to view such material, or where you might not want inappropriate web content appearing in a classroom.

Now I should point out that this is no catch-all and occasionally some things will filter through, but as a general idea goes I have to take my hat off to Microsoft but chastise them equally for taking so long to get around to it.  Frankly this feature should have been built into Windows years ago.

You can download the modified browser from the ThinkuKnow website and if you have young children, the browser supports children up to 16 years of age, then it can only be a worthwhile addition to the family PC.

 

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IE9 is growing and Multiple Games can run on the Browserhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/01/ie9-growing-multiple-games-run-browser/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/01/ie9-growing-multiple-games-run-browser/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2012 14:17:59 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=22040 Microsoft’s Internet explorer has been the dominant browser for the last 10 years. A few months ago, Microsoft showed that IE9 had surpassed IE8 in US growth. In January 2012, continued to grow, even out pacing Firefox and Chrome.

Cut the Rope

One of the applications that Microsoft is happy to tout because it works so well in IE9 is Cut the Rope. This game now has an HTML 5 version, with 25 levels now available online for free.  With the power of HTML5, IE9 and Windows, experiences that were once limited to applications are now coming to life across the web.

Cut the Rope

The game is about a green monster who is hungry. As a player, you can use your mouse to manipulate ropes, airbags and bubbles to feed him candy, and collect stars along the way for more points. But here is a fair warning, it is an addictive game which has been downloaded over 60 million times to date.

Other Games

Other games that are working well and popular on IE9 are Pirates Love Daisies, Tron, and WorldsBiggestPackman. These games extend the limits of HTML5, and Microsoft wants users to see that the browser can be more than a viewer of websites. They are pursuing a lot of new experiences not only showcase the beauty of the web, but demonstrate how fast, interactive and rich the web is becoming, enabled by platforms such as IE9 and Windows 7.

Indeed, the old days of file transfer and e-mail, which helped form the ideas behind the Internet, never saw how complex packet transfers could actually become.

Even in recent years, developers in the Internet or WWW, had a limited view of what they could do. But with new browsers running on sophisticated operating systems, like Windows 7, and its anticipated replacement, Windows 8, there may be a lot of new concepts coming.

This is why it may be that IE9 is just the right browser for users to work with who want a different Internet experience.

Download IE9

 

 

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Microsoft’s Tracking Protection Programhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/01/24/microsoft-tracking-protection-program/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/01/24/microsoft-tracking-protection-program/#comments Tue, 24 Jan 2012 14:12:58 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=21876 We’ve heard about the recent attempts by the US Congress to pass legislation regarding downloads. It seems that the legislation is on hold after an outcry that surprised most Congressional leaders. One of the larger issues involved is privacy because, users expect a certain amount of privacy while they surf the net. And going to websites for download purposes would expose that user. In a larger sense, privacy also involves data protection and application protection. In that vein, Microsoft has recently been involved with this issue.

Data Privacy Day

On January 28, Data Privacy Day will be celebrated. This is an international holiday with the purpose to raise awareness and promote privacy education. The National Cyber Security Alliance is coordinating and promoting the event within the United States and Canada. Given some of the recent events, involving Anonymous and potential Congressional legislation it is good to harken back and look at the environment. At the event Microsoft speakers will be addressing Microsoft’s Tracking Protection software.

Tracking Protection

Tracking Protection lets you filter out content in a page that may have an impact on your privacy. As you know, many webpages include content from other (third-party) websites. This program helps you identify different types of content.

How it Works

When content is loaded from a third-party site, standard information, including your IP address and the address of the webpage you’re viewing is sent to each of the third-parties that have content in the page you’re viewing. If the website you’re visiting has a business relationship with the third party, then more information about you may be sent. Then over time, these third parties can build a profile of your browsing history by using “cookies” and other techniques.

But now, you can filter out content from any website by using Tracking Protection Lists. So, you can have “Do Not Call” lists for content. When you add a Tracking Protection List, Internet Explorer will prevent your information from being sent by limiting data requests to websites in the list.

Tracking Protection and Do not track

Tracking protection is not the same as do not track. They are complimentary. The most important difference is that the Do Not Track protocol is an honor system. When a consumer attaches a “do not track” imperative, they hope that sites will honor their request to contain tracking. But this is an ongoing issue. Because what sites must do to in order to honor that request is still under discussion. Also, it is not clear who is to monitor and enforces that, and how. There is a sort of honor’s pledge that sites make, but it is not enforceable. Consequently for some people that that’s not enough. That being the case, if an honor system can’t resolve the issue, then perhaps put the focus on the consumer to derail any information from being perpetrated. That said, that is why Microsoft is advancing Tracking Protection. Microsoft’s trusted data tracking protection only works with IE9.

 

The Tracking Protection Working Group Charter

Tracking Protection is now a standard under development at the W3C and the momentum over the last year has been encouraging. Indeed, according to Microsoft, when they released IE9, there were only five tracking protection lists available. However, several months later, there are over twenty lists worldwide from six different groups.

One group, EasyList is an open community effort to help filter unwanted content. It is available as a Tracking Protection List. They have had over 250,000 subscriptions to their list.

Another list comes from TRUSTe who is one of four preferred providers of TPLs used for the new IE9 Tracking Protection feature. Their Data Collection is a new program for ad and data companies that collect consumer data on other company websites or use data collected to show more relevant ads. This program certifies the notice, choice, and privacy practices around data collection and usage.

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IE Market Share falls below 40% for the first timehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/01/03/browser-usage-falls-40-time/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/01/03/browser-usage-falls-40-time/#comments Tue, 03 Jan 2012 08:53:11 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=21668 There was a time when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser had a healthy 95% of the overall browser market.  This didn’t even mean that their main opposition on the PC had the other 5% as you had to factor into this the Apple Mac on which people ran Safari.  Sadly this was the time of IE6 where the browser had little or no competition and, as such, innovation was stifled as Microsoft felt they had nothing to compete against.

The birth and fast growth of Firefox fortunately changed all that and now the horribly buggy and insecure nightmare that is IE6 is firmly on its last legs, supported only in some businesses where the cost or redeveloping bespoke web apps is prohibitive, and in emerging computing markets such as China.

Now the latest figures released by StatCounter show that IE usage worldwide has dropped below 40% for the first time (IE still sits at 52% according to Net Applications), a drop of almost 10% in the last year alone.  The figures also show that Google’s Chrome browser is now firmly in second place with extremely steady growth, overtaking Firefox which has been dwindling ever so slightly.

Behind these figures will be the birth of smartphones and tablets, almost all of which run a non-Microsoft browser and things such as the Browser ballot screen, seen by EU residents, where Microsoft ask Windows users to choose which browser they want to use.

With Windows 8 Microsoft are beginning the fight back as the new Metro version of IE10 is embedded deep into the operating system and there’s no indication yet that Mozilla or Google are developing Metro versions of their own browsers.  In fact it’s really quite cunning the way Microsoft have gone about this with Metro as, because of the way Metro apps are generally styled, it will probably be difficult for anybody to tell different browsers apart from one another.  Microsoft are no doubt counting on this to help grow IE market share once again.

How successful this strategy will be remains to be seen but it’s very clear that Google are doing the right thing with Chrome, in fact their browser is very hard to criticise at all, unlike Firefox which many consider to be heavy and bloated.  Innovation with Internet Explorer tends to come only every couple of years but Google offer far more frequent updates, as Mozilla do, and are therefore able to respond to the needs of their customers far more quickly.  With Windows 8, Microsoft have said that the Metro version of IE also won’t support any plugins (Flash, Acrobat etc.) making this a place where rivals could seize the opportunity.  With its stripped-down approach though, it’s likely that any Metro version of Chrome would go the same way.

With Windows 8 not due out until the very end of this year we can expect these figures to continue their current trend.  This could see Chrome and IE converge in the summer as both sit equally on around 35% market share.  At this point the battle really will begin and Chrome could very likely be the world’s most popular browser by the end of the year, something not achieved by any browser since the early years of Netscape Navigator in the 1990′s.

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How is IE6 contributing to China’s growing Cyber-Crimewave?http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/12/30/ie6-contributing-chinas-growing-cybercrimewave/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/12/30/ie6-contributing-chinas-growing-cybercrimewave/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 13:38:02 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=21640 As the most up and coming Internet and financial super-power in the world, it should hardly come as a surprise that China has become the latest target for cyber-criminals.  In recent attacks some 45 million people have had their personal details stolen and now the BBC is reporting that the ten largest search engines in the country have signed an anti-phishing scheme to help combat this new wave of online crime.

What the BBC isn’t saying though is that, according to Microsoft’s own figures on the IE6Countdown website China is the only country left in the world where the horribly buggy and insecure 6th version of Microsoft’s web browser is still in common use.  As of today the figure for China sits at 27.9% of all browser usage in the country.

By comparison to this the next most exposed countries which include South Korea, Japan and India sit at 8.9%, 6.5% and 6% respectively.  Western countries are faring batter with the USA at just 1%, the UK at 1.8% and Germany at just 1.1%.  The Scandinavian countries are definitely faring best though with 0.5% of browsers in Denmark being IE6, 0.4% in Finland and Sweden and just 0.2% in Norway.

While the worldwide usage of Internet Explorer 6 has dropped massively in the last two years, it is in far eastern countries where its fared poorly.  In China, the government of which doesn’t approve of Microsoft’s globalist tendencies, the latest versions of Windows have failed to make significant inroads and much of the country still uses older, pirated copies of Windows XP.

The software piracy market in China and surrounding countries is huge and opens up all manner of other problems including pirated and cracked operating systems and software coming pre-loaded with malware.  China presents a particular problem with that one country accounting for more than 50% of all IE6 usage worldwide.

The Chinese government are working with search engines and banks to do what they can to limit the spread of malware and provide better security online, but this will involve a great deal of public education.  Of course there are many free alternatives to IE6 but people in the country just don’t seem to be using them.

The problem doesn’t just end at the desktop however as company servers, presumably also running older and possibly pirated software are major targets for criminals.  The BBC reported that “On Christmas day, the hugely popular Tianya chat site revealed that the login names and passwords from 40 million of its users had been stolen. All risk being plundered by attackers as the information was held in plain text.”

China currently has around 485 million web users and the number is growing exponentially.  Microsoft previously released cheaper versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 for emerging economies including China but with wages in the country a tiny fraction of what they are in the rest of the world the company isn’t willing to even release sales figures.

The problem continues to be exacerbated as newer versions of web browsers and other software won’t install or run on Windows XP, despite mainly being free products that the people in these countries can use to protect themselves.

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Last Minute Online Christmas Shopping? Try InPrivate Modehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/12/12/minute-online-christmas-shopping-inprivate-mode/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/12/12/minute-online-christmas-shopping-inprivate-mode/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2011 18:42:21 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=21440 It’s always the way when you share a PC with other people at home.  You go online to do some last-minute Christmas shopping and the next person to use the computer will see and the websites you’ve visited in the browser history that, very helpfully, suggests websites you may want to visit again.  Sites like Amazon are even worse offenders, offering up all the items you looked at last, some of which you’ve probably bought for people already!

You can delete your browser history, or at least try to remember to do this.  Alternatively you can do all your Christmas online shopping at a friend’s house or at work.  The best solution then is to make sure that your web browser doesn’t store any information about what you’ve been looking at online and modern browsers do support this.

In Internet Explorer it’s called InPrivate mode, Chrome calls it Incognito mode.  When you use your browser like this it won’t store any information about what you’ve been doping online or what you’ve been looking at, which is perfect.  It also won’t allow websites to store information about your activities either so the likes of Amazon won’t show up your purchases to the rest of the family.

It’s easy to switch on these modes too.  In Internet Explorer click the Cog (Settings) icon in the top right of the window and from the Safety menu select InPrivate Browsing.  In Chrome click the Wrench (Settings) icon and then select New Incognito Window.

Useful for more than just Christmas, these secret browsing modes are also very useful at birthdays and for… I heard that!  Yes, it’s true that some men choose not tell their wives and partners about this particular feature  ;)

So if you’ve got some last-minute Christmas shopping to do, and you’re going online to do it.  Don’t let your web browser spoil the surprise and use a private browsing mode to keep that special present a secret until it’s opened excitedly on Christmas morning.  Merry Christmas all  :)

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Microsoft Gives You Free Stuff To Use IE9http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/11/07/microsoft-free-stuff-ie9/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/11/07/microsoft-free-stuff-ie9/#comments Mon, 07 Nov 2011 17:08:42 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=21102 Microsoft has been aggressively pushing Internet Explorer 9 as the best browser for Windows 7 since it’s been released. Currently Internet Explorer 8 is the most dominant version of IE but Microsoft is working hard to change that. Their latest campaign for Internet Explorer 9 see’s them giving away freebies and prizes to users who install IE9 and then pin certain sites to their taskbar. Once you do this you can win prizes like 3 months free at Slacker radio or $5 off your next live nation ticket from Ticketmaster.

Now not all of these offers are available immediately, but they will come on stream between now and December. I think the main thing Microsoft are trying to do here is to get users to try out the new pinning feature which was introduced in IE 9. It’s actually quite handy and allows you to pin websites to your taskbar just like you can already pin programs. It also adds jump lists to them.

If you want to check out the site for yourself , just click this link

But what happens if you’re not running IE? Well the site will show you the following messages.

If you’re running alternative browsers like Chrome or Firefox you’ll see

 “Where’s the love? … Upgrade to Internet Explorer to pin these sites and get the free stuff.”

And if you’re running Mac OS X, I’m sure you can imagine that Microsoft aren’t too impressed with you.

“Oh Nooooooo… You’re using Mac OS which doesn’t support Internet Explorer 9 and Site Pinning.”

It’s a clever marketing move by Microsoft alright, the only problem is that these offers are only valid in the US so that rules out me and a lot of our readers as well I’m afraid. Microsoft do have a UK version of their site “Beauty of the web” but they don’t appear to have a similar offer running.

Here’s the site again if you want to check it out. Beauty of the web

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MetroIE Lets You Bring Metro Internet Explorer to Windows 7http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/11/01/metroie-lets-bring-metro-internet-explorer-windows-7/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/11/01/metroie-lets-bring-metro-internet-explorer-windows-7/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2011 04:15:32 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=21071 With Windows 8′s developer preview making its rounds on a number of PC’s, we figured it was just a matter of time before someone figured out how to bring the fullscreen/tablet flavoured apps to the Windows 7 desktop.

It appears that the first app to be ported over to Windows 7 is the metro Internet Explorer 10 browser found in the dev preview of Windows 8. You may be familiar with the look of the browser in Windows 8 if yo have used a Windows Phone device. The browser is limited in chrome, bearing only one toolbar which combines all of the buttons and address bar. You can also invoke a tabbed browsing slide down drawer from the top by right-clicking on the screen. The version of MetroIE available right  now supports only single tab support, but multiple tabs are coming soon. It’s a work in progress.

To get the MetroIE browser working in Windows 7, you’ll need to have the latest Internet Explorer 10 developer preview installed and also download a small file from the devs Deviant Art page. Keep in mind that this is a small hack that will give you only the metro version of IE, so if you prefer to use regular IE for browsing, you may want to avoid installing the software. I’ve had no issues with the download, but you will be downloading at your own risk.

You can download the MetroIE browser file here.

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Microsoft launch BuildMyPinnedSite.comhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/08/11/microsoft-launch-buildmypinnedsitecom/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/08/11/microsoft-launch-buildmypinnedsitecom/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2011 19:11:19 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=20057 It might be a bit late after the launch of Internet Explorer 9 a few months ago, but Microsoft have today launched a new website called BuildMyPinnedSite.com.  The site provides guides, tools and sample code to help you build Favicon, jumplist, notification and preview controls into your website.

It’s a good idea and will be useful for many people.  Microsoft say of the new site…

Today, we announce that BuildMyPinnedSite.com is available worldwide in 38 languages and 40 geographies, making it easier than ever to enhance your site with pinning. BuildMyPinnedSite.com provides you the ideas and all the code you’ll need to enhance your site with pinning in just a few easy steps and less than 15 minutes of development.

They go on to details what they say are the benefits of using the latest browser technologies on your own websites.

  • Engagement – Sites get an average of 50% more engagement through pinning
  • User Behavior – IE9 users visit a pinned site 30 times per month on average
  • Share Growth – In just 5 months since release, IE9 share on Windows 7 exceeds 25% in the US and 18% worldwide.  More consumers will be pinning their favorite sites to their taskbars.
  • Site Readiness – More than 12,000 top ranked sites, like Facebook, Yahoo, and ESPN already take advantage; WordPress.com made pinning available to their network of over 20 million blogs. When other sites take advantage of pinning, more users learn how to pin.

The main website itself is somewhat of a departure for Microsoft having a very different layout, and taking a different approach to other sites by the company.  It’s actually genuinely well laid out and easy to use.

How useful it will be for people overall though will remain to be seen.  Despite IE9 being one of the fastest and most secure web browsers available today, Internet Explorer is still losing market share to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.  Microsoft have released an excellent product that is at least as good as anything the competition can produce, however it might prove to be too little, too late for the company to regain the trust of consumers bitten too many times by security scares and bugs.

If you’re a web developer interested in developing taskbar functions for Internet Explorer in Windows 7 or Windows 8, you will find this an invaluable resource.

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A Look at IE9 Mobile in Windows Phone Mangohttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/07/18/ie9-mobile-windows-phone-mango/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/07/18/ie9-mobile-windows-phone-mango/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 14:33:50 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=19652 Mango packs about 500 new features into Windows Phone, per Microsoft, so picking one favorite is quite difficult, but if I had to I’d probably have to say Internet Explorer 9 mobile. In the initial release of Windows Phone 7, the browser included was a hybrid of IE7 and IE8 and was still better than many browsers on other platforms out there, but it certainly had its flaws. Microsoft hopes to close some of those gaps with IE9 in the Mango release. I’ve had some time to play with the Mango beta and I’m pretty pleased with the direction of the native browser. Here are my thoughts. (for a full overview of many more features, see Mike Halsey’s post)

The first thing you will notice when opening the browser for the first time is that the address bar is now coupled with the toolbar making leaving more room for the viewable area of the webpage. You’ll also notice that the address bar-toolbar combination is now at the bottom, which to my knowledge, has never been done before, but I could be wrong. When I first saw the bottom-dwelling address bar I was hoping that it had been moved for testing purposes only and was hoping it would be back at the top come final release. Well, the address bar is staying at the bottom and you’ll no doubt love the change. I was skeptical at first, but after using it, it just makes sense. Your thumbs are usually planted toward the bottom of the phone’s screen anyway, so having the address bar right beneath them definitely saves time and the combination toolbar solution really makes for some noticeable real estate for viewing web pages. The address bar also now appears in landscape mode as well, which was an obvious omission from the initial release.

The con with the new layout is that the favorite, add favorite and recent buttons have now been relegated to a sub menu which appears when you press the “…” button. A menu comes up with IE’9s browser options: tabs, recent, favorites, add to favorites, share page, pin to start and settings (Another change I noticed is that when the menu bar is up a small status bar drops from the top of the screen with your time, battery, wi-fi and carrier signal strength). What this means is that you must tap the “…” button, pull up the menu and select “Tabs” to navigate to the tabs page, when before, it was just a tap at the bottom of the screen. Not a huge issue, but a noticeable extra tap. The pivot for favorites/history is now also removed in the beta, so instead of being able to switch back and forth between the two on a single screen, you now have to go back to the toolbar menu and select them individually.

Real world usability for IE9 is close to the previous version in Windows Phone except it does seem a bit faster at loading pages thanks to the now full GPU hardware acceleration baked in. Pinching, scrolling and panning is still smooth like butter and even better in this release. Flash support is still not included and may never be for that matter, but we’ll have to wait and see there. HTML5 is the new technology being touted in this version. Microsoft has recently gone full steam ahead with their support for the HTML5 markup and it’s evident in IE9 mobile. Being a mobile browser, you may not notice most of the HTML5 goodies (HTML5 test site here), especially if you are like me and have the browser set to mobile web-page view by default, but it’s nice to know that the HTML5 capability is there. Rendering is much better on many webpages in this version of IE. The only exception, for me, is the mobile version of Yahoo!, which renders as a text-only mobile webpage. Every other site I’ve tried renders beautifully.

In conclusion, the new and improved Internet Explorer mobile for Windows Phone Mango is definitely an upgrade over the previous version in initial releases of the OS. The speed, compatibility and standards compliance is greatly improved and the new location of the address bar is refreshingly welcome, even if it means a few more taps to get to some options. IE9 mobile is just one of the major changes coming in Windows Phone this Fall and being a WP7 user, I can’t wait to see what the Windows Phone team hasn’t yet revealed.

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Windows7 Reaches 21% Of Corporate Desktophttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/06/17/windows7-reaches-21-corporate-desktop/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2011/06/17/windows7-reaches-21-corporate-desktop/#comments Fri, 17 Jun 2011 19:45:01 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=11998 According to Forester Research Windows 7 has reached 21 % of the corporate desktop market. However, Windows XP is at 60%, down from 69% a year ago. Overall, Windows has close to 90% of the corporate desktop market with Mac OSX reaching 11% and Linux just under 1.5 %.

One thing that is important here is that hardware is aging, and the biggest factor preventing the move to Windows 7, which was a necessary hardware upgrade, may no longer be the holdback. Hardware advances in the last five years can make Windows 7 reside on a natural environment. Now buying new hardware naturally makes Win7 a standard OS for companies to move to.

Another factor making the move to Win7 a more natural move is the decline of Vista, which at one time reached 14% of the desktop market. However, that was in 2009. Even more important is that since the release of service pack 1, Vista’s presence has dropped by half in the corporate world.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the successful move has been the inherent strength of the Win7 OS. Publicly it ranks high. So far, there has been nothing but food words spoken about it. Microsoft, moreover, has made sure that issues about performance or security have a quick response. The days are gone when everyone had something negative to say about Vista. Instead the talk is about how good the features are, and curiously expect Windows 8 to be even better.

The Browser Market

On the other hand, IE is not doing as well. It continues to lose market share to Chrome and Firefox. Figures from last month show the browser market:

  • Internet Explorer – 43.5%
  • Firefox – 27.9%
  • Chrome – 16.8%
  • Safari – 7.3%
  • Opera – 2.2%

The challenge may be that Microsoft has to many balls to juggle at one time, such as the OS, the Windows Phone 7, the Azure cloud, Playbox and so on… It may be losing the browser war because it’s attention is split in too many directions.

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Firefox 4.0 Concept Videos Appearhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2010/02/05/firefox-4-0-concept-videos-appear/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2010/02/05/firefox-4-0-concept-videos-appear/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2010 01:55:51 +0000 http://everything-microsoft.com/?p=7148 In a recent blog post by Stephen Horlander, a new interface for Firefox 4.0 was shown in two concept videos that match the Ribbon style present in Windows 7. The next major overhaul of the popular browser will include a new UI developed to match the interface of the operating system that it runs on, and although Firefox 4.0 is nowhere near complete, these two concept videos provide a peek into what we may be able to expect in terms of the new design for Windows 7.

My goal was to quickly demo how this would actually look and feel because still images and wireframes can only convey so much.

The first video, which demonstrates the creation of a new tab, can be found here. A frame by frame picture is also provided:

Another, longer video is also shown that displays tab rearrangement and the “tear-off” animation.

More mockups can be found on the official wiki.

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IE7 Compatibility Mode for IE8http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2009/06/26/ie7-compatibility-mode-for-ie8/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2009/06/26/ie7-compatibility-mode-for-ie8/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2009 14:57:45 +0000 http://everything-microsoft.com/?p=2834 As technologies get more advanced and old ones are left behind, some models become outdated and lose support. This is what has happened with IE7, as IE8 embraces new standards, which will improve the web but potentially could display sites built for older versions of Internet Explorer incorrectly. In order to achieve the best of both worlds, Microsoft introduced a “Compatibility View” feature in Internet Explorer, similar to the Compatibility Mode used in applications (such as running an application in compatibility mode for Windows 95 within Windows XP). Microsoft describes their Compatibility View as a stand-in replacement for those websites not yet ready for IE8:

Internet Explorer 8 is a new release and some websites may not yet be ready for the new browser. Click the Compatibility View toolbar button to display the website as viewed in Internet Explorer 7, which will correct display problems like misaligned text, images, or text boxes. This option is on a per site basis and all other sites will continue to display with Internet Explorer 8 functionality. When you click on the Compatibility View button for a site, you don’t need to do it again as the next time you visit that site the browser will show it in compatibility mode. If for some reason you’d like to go back to browsing with Internet Explorer 8 functionality on that site, simply click the Compatibility View button again.

However, sites will most likely take a very long time to adapt themselves fully to the new features of IE8, as according to the W3Counter, over half of all browsers on the Internet are IE6 and IE7, with less than 2% going to IE8. IE8′s Compatibility View may be Microsoft’s way of accommodating for the fact that most users simply do not wish to upgrade, and this may be causing serious issues within the Redmond giant. In fact, Microsoft takes the Compatibility View so seriously that Microsoft recently moved around the icon and updated the notifications to make the Compatibility View a more obvious and easier to activate function because many users simply elected to not use it.

Microsoft also mentions a Compatibility View list:

You can maintain a list within Internet Explorer 8 for sites that should be displayed in Compatibility View. From the Command Bar, select Tools, and then select Compatibility View Settings to add and remove sites from this list. There are also options for viewing all websites and intranet sites in Compatibility View.

What do you think? Use IE8 with Compatibility View or download Firefox 3.5?

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