Everything Microsoft - Latest Microsoft News, Guides, Reviews & Themes » Windows 7 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 Microsoft Security Bulletin Updatehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/08/15/microsoft-security-bulletin-update/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/08/15/microsoft-security-bulletin-update/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 12:12:24 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=95419 As you should know by now the hacking engagement is in full force with multiple companies taking extra effort to protect their computer systems from invasion. So recently Microsoft released a security bulletin on August 14, 2012 identifying nine security issues to common software platforms. Five are classified as critical and four others are classified as important. Here is the breakdown of the bulletins and the affected software.

Bulletin IDMaximum Severity Rating and Vulnerability ImpactAffected Software
Bulletin 1Critical
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Windows,
Internet Explorer
Bulletin 2Critical
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 3Critical
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 4Critical
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Office,
Microsoft SQL Server,
Microsoft Server Software,
Microsoft Developer Tools
Bulletin 5Critical
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Exchange
Bulletin 6Important
Elevation of Privilege
Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 7Important
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 8Important
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Office
Bulletin 9Important
Remote Code Execution
Microsoft Office

What this means for the user


The ratings are important because they establish the seriousness of the deficiency or weakness in the software.
The critical vulnerability rating identifies the possibility of exploitation that could allow code execution without any user interaction in the mix. For the most part these include malware or instances where code execution occurs without warnings or prompts or is self-duplicating. This could mean that problems could occur anywhere from browsing a web page to opening email.
The important rating on the other hand identifies a vulnerability that could compromise of the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of user data, or the integrity or availability of processing resources.

Impact on Windows
The critical vulnerability for Windows goes as far back as Windows XP service pack 2 and service pack 3. But Server 2003, Vista, and Server 2008 are also in the class of endangered OS. In each case, the problem is that the software is open and exposed to malware that could impact how the OS performs or how programs under its direction perform. The problem is that the inserted virus may be present without the OS being aware of the presence.

Impact on Internet Explorer or Remote desktop connection
The browser can be vulnerable and give the same privilege rights to a hacker that an administrator has or someone else has with fewer rights. Also the vulnerability of remote desktop connection can be exposed when packets are sent across the system and allow the remote code connection to occur. This allows a hacker to access the remote computer. In both of these cases, the malware can appear to be plain and simple, that is until it permits operations never intended by the host administrator.

Impact on Sql Server
Specific software is also mentioned in the security bulletin. In the case of SQL Server, the bulletin mentions the 2000 release version as well as 2005, and 2008 SQL server versions. This is something for administrators to consider seriously, especially since many enterprises are tied to database operations and need to have a solid data scheme that operates without problems. Any underlying malware that could affect the performance of the database technology or the data in the database system must be addressed quickly.

The Office Suites

The Microsoft Office Suites of 2003, 2007, and 2010 are also in the critical warning area. Any malware affecting any of these office products can cause a lot of damage because of the number of applications potentially affected, starting with Word and PowerPoint and going to OneNote and SharePoint; it can be staggering. While the damage may not be as severe as a SQL Server infection, the number of users hit by malware when using the Office application could be large. That alone could make a big impact on a business.

Detection and Protection

Microsoft offers the Security Essentials program to help identify and remove malware. Since the program is free, it is a convenient way to keep ahead of the malware fight. But in the case of the security bulletin that Microsoft is offering with the updates, it is worth looking at just what specific updates that your system may need. It is not necessary to take all the updates, just the ones that impact your computer hardware and software.

What the content of the bulletin exemplifies is that well known Microsoft software can be marked and changed even to the point that it may not even appear to be compromised. The upgrades are an important cure to remove the temptation of outsiders getting into your system and wreaking havoc.

Security Bulletin August 2012

Technet Webcast 08/15/12

Security Bulletin Archive

Microsoft Security Essentials

 

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Microsoft Records Its First Ever Losshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/21/microsoft-records-loss/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/21/microsoft-records-loss/#comments Sat, 21 Jul 2012 15:39:40 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=95172 Earlier on this week the shock news came in that Microsoft had recorded it’s first ever loss in history since it became a public company 26 years ago!

Microsoft recorded a net loss of $492m in the April to June quarter, or 6 cents a share.  Compare this with earnings of $5.9bn, or 69 cents, only a year ago. However this extreme sway in earnings didn’t just happen because of poor sales.

The main reason for this dip in earnings is because Microsoft wrote off the value of an online ad service aQuantive which it purchased in 2007 for $6.3 billion. Microsoft took a $6.2 billion charge to reflect the lack of return that Microsoft has gotten from the advertising service.

This is something that companies frequently do to reflect a decline in the value of their assets.

However it’s not all bad news for Microsoft, in fact there’s not much bad news at all. Despite this decline in earnings, Microsoft’s actual revenue increased by 4%, beating analysts expectations, to $18.06 billion. Once we take out the write down that Microsoft charged itself for aQuantive, earnings came to 73 cents per share, which easily beat the analysts expectations of 62 cents per share.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Most of the company’s sales in the last quarter can from its Office suite of productivity software, Windows 7 and especially from computer servers. The upbeat server and business software sales helped to offset the slow down in consumer products which have slowed down coming up to the release of Windows 8.

There’s nothing too much for investors to worry about at the moment, this loss is rather insignificant in Microsoft’s balance sheet and will be easily recovered in the next quarter unless something totally unexpected happens. Investors are quite interested in Windows 8, and as a result shares for Microsoft’s stock actually climbed after the announcement.

It will be interested to see how Microsoft performs once Windows 8 is released. Could it be a raging success? Or will it prove to be a disastrous move?

 

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Office 2013 but Oh, So Bland!http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/19/office-2013-bland/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/19/office-2013-bland/#comments Fri, 20 Jul 2012 03:35:39 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=95114 George Garza  has written a good insight into the new Office 2013 (See: “A Quick View of Office 2013“). It  is easy to download and it installs effortlessly, provided of course you have a Microsoft Hotmail account or a Live Mail account.

I am using Word 2013 from the Microsoft’s Office 2013 package to write this blog. It is a very acceptable application much like its predecessor Word 2010.

One aspect of it that does not grab me is its “blandness“. The toolbars and icons are pretty well colourless and with a white background (can this be changed?), it looks so undistinguished. I’ve checked out the other apps in Office 2013 and find they have the same bland look.

Downloading and installing Office 2013 requires you to use a registered Hotmail or Live Mail account. If you have neither you need to create and register and account before completing the installation process.

Accessing Office 2013?

After installation Windows 8 users you will find all the program icons as individual apps in Metro. These can be added to the Taskbar for easy access when working on the Desktop.

 

For those users who are still persisting with Windows 7, once installed Office 2013 appears under Programs in the Start menu.

 

Providing Feed-back to Microsoft

In the top right-hand corner is a smiley icon. Clicking it gives you the choice to “Send a Smile” or “Send a Frown“. Selecting either opens a report dialog box where you are able to give your opinion on the application. Some may find this a bit gimmicky but when Windows 8 was first released Microsoft listened to many suggestions, not all of course, as the Start men is still a “no-no”. So take the opportunity to give the Office 2013′s developers some feedback.

 

 

The two illustrations displayed below indicate how you can use this feedback method. This device is designed to help Microsoft developers gauge the public reactions. One aspect of this which some might find interesting is that you are obliged to include your e-mail address.

It should be remembered that Office 2013 is still only in beta mode but I’m sure your comments may bear fruit in the final wash-up.

Saving Your Work

Saving your work in Word 2013 has a new twist to it. You can save it directly to your SkyDrive account, to the computer (this defaults to the Documents folder) or to Add a place. With the latter you have the option of choosing another location say a portable hard drive or a folder elsewhere. Pretty flexible, eh!

As we all know there is a push by Microsoft and others contenders, DropBox and Google, to save data on the Cloud. Saving and storing files on SkyDrive is in line with Microsoft’s push to make this the common storage location for the future.

Huge numbers of users downloaded Windows 8 in all its versions taking advantage of Microsoft’s offer. Now its time to do the same with Office 2013. You will be pleasantly surprised by it. So do this but don’t forget to register your views about its usability.

 

 

 

 

 

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Microsoft Reveals Office 2013 and Offers Public Previewhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/17/microsoft-reveals-office-2013-offers-public-preview/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/17/microsoft-reveals-office-2013-offers-public-preview/#comments Tue, 17 Jul 2012 16:50:24 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=95056

Yesterday, Microsoft introduced the latest version of their popular Office suite of productivity applications. Office 2013 ushers in a new era of productivity computing for both Microsoft and the world. The new version of Office brings a subscription model, cloud integration, touch improvements and a new Metro-styled look.

 

New Look and Feel

Trying to figure out which change is the most drastic is a challenge. On one hand Microsoft completely revamped the UI. Improving touch input and flattening out the user interface, Microsoft created apps which now closely resemble the full screen Metro apps found in Windows 8, which is the point. The new Office apps take their cue from the Zune PC software, which Windows Phone users currently use to update, manage, download and upload their media to Windows Phone devices. The infamous ribbon UI is still present in the new version of Office, but can be hidden and is hidden by default.

Microsoft has also updated the icons for Office 2013. The new icons are flatter and more consistent with the metro style and theme in their new products.

 

Cloud Integration is Seamless

One could also argue that the new SkyDrive integration is the biggest change to Office. Office 2013 uses your SkyDrive or SharePoint accounts to store your documents. This way you’re always using the most up-to-date document and can access it from anywhere as long as you possess an internet connection. SkyDrive storage works just as a local drive does. When you first install and setup Office 2013, you will login with your Microsoft Account credentials and SkyDrive will be enabled by default. Of course, the user can change these defaults if they wish.

 

New Cloud-Based Delivery Method

Keeping with the cloud theme, I would submit that the greatest change in Office 2013 is the new delivery system for Office apps. The new system effectively streams a copy of Office to your computer, keeping all of your documents and settings intact. This ability would, for example, allow a user to log into their Office apps on a friend’s computer and continue working on a document that they started at home on their personal computer. The new system installs in minutes and is pretty impressive if I say so myself.

There are a ton of new and interesting features coming in the next version of Microsoft Office and this post is just the tip of the iceberg, so tune into the official Office Next blog for tons of news and information on the coming software.

Don’t take my word for it though. Microsoft is offering a public preview of their new suite of productivity apps for users to try for themselves. You can try Office 2013 for free here.

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Windows 7 Claims The Market As Windows 8 Loomshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/12/windows-7-claims-market-windows-8-looms/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/12/windows-7-claims-market-windows-8-looms/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2012 21:12:52 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=94985 It may have taken nearly 3 years and a lot of marketing, but Windows 7 now finally seems to have claimed the spot outright as the number one OS in the world. According to StatCounter – Windows 7 broke through the 50% operating system market share barrier at the end of last month.

However other market share companies such as NetMarketShare claim that Windows 7 has only 42% of the market at this point in time, whilst claiming that Windows XP is still the market leader with 44%.

Personally I think I’d be inclined to sway more towards StatCounters market share results. Windows XP has been around for more than 10 years and I think it’s time has well and truly passed. Windows 7 has been argued by many as the best Windows operating system to date, and the market share results prove this. By comparison, Windows Vista was never a users first preference, nor their second! It only managed a meagre 23.5% of the total market in the 3-4 years it was on the market. Growth rates compared to Windows 7 were unimpressive to say the least.

The chart below graphs the life of the various operating systems since 2008 until last month.

Windows XP is still holding on, but continuing to lose market share which is understandable but it still holds an admirable 29.91% of the market which isn’t bad at all when you consider Windows Vista never even gained this much of the market in its whole life cycle.

An interesting trend to note here is the subtle decline of Mac OSX over the last couple of months. In April it held 7.66% of the market, but that has dropped each month and now lies at a shade over 7% (7.05%). What’s odd about this is that Apple are recording record sales for Mac’s nearly every quarter, yet these figures don’t seem to be making an impact on market share.

Of course the figures I’m supplying come from StatCounter, as I mentioned earlier, NetMarketShares data paints a slightly different picture and still places Windows XP as the number one OS.

Nobody can say for certain if Windows 7 is the definitive OS, but one things for sure, we are going to see it’s growth suddenly stop in the next 3 months or so once Windows 8 finally hits the market.

It will be interesting to see how Windows 8 performs in relation to Windows 7. Windows 7 broke nearly all the sales records for Microsoft in the time that it’s been on the market, so Windows 8 certainly has some big boots to fill.

What do you think? Will Windows 8 take off like Windows 7 did?

Let us know in the comments below

Source:

StatCounter

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Microsoft Says Ditch Desktop Gadgets Or Risk Viruseshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/11/microsoft-ditch-desktop-gadgets-risk-viruses/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/11/microsoft-ditch-desktop-gadgets-risk-viruses/#comments Wed, 11 Jul 2012 20:01:32 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=94970 Windows 7 and Windows Vista users will be pretty familiar with the desktop gadgets that come bundled in the OS. I personally find them quite helpful, they just sit there on my desktop, adding a bit of life to it and providing me with snippets of helpful information. However, it looks like that Microsoft overlooked a big security vulnerability with the desktop gadgets.

Microsoft have issued a Fix It solution which informs us that there’s a security vulnerability with the desktop gadgets which could allow remote code execution.

Mickey Shkatov and Toby Kohlenberg have found that the desktop widgets’ web-based code have flaws that would allow malicious Gadgets, or even hijacked legitimate Gadgets, to compromise a PC without having to go through the usual avenues of attack. Computerworld reports that the researchers are going to disclose information about these vulnerabilities at the annual “Black Hat” Conference on July 26th.

Microsoft’s quick fix for this security solution is to just remove the desktop gadgets all together. We can only assume that Microsoft are going to work on a actual security patch in the very near future, as advising us to remove the feature all together isn’t really a very adequate solution.

This problem is only prevalent in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Interestingly, Microsoft haven’t mentioned anything about this being a risk the consumer and developer previews of Windows 8. Desktop gadgets will be a feature that won’t make it to the final RTM edition of Windows 8 so we’ve heard so it won’t be a problem there.

So just a heads up to everyone that they may want to apply this “Fix It” if you’re concerned about your security. However I imagine that Microsoft will release a general patch for this soon as they can’t expect much of the general public to know about this vulnerability and actually go through the process of removing the desktop gadgets.

Source:

Computer World

Microsoft – Fix It

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Windows 8 vs Windows 7 – Who’s The Quickest?http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/08/windows-8-windows-7-quickest/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/07/08/windows-8-windows-7-quickest/#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2012 13:32:29 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=94952 It’s expected at this stage that each new edition of Windows will be “quicker, lighter and more powerful” than the previous version. But how often do we hear all these claims only to find that a lot of the time they are just a lot of hot air?

One such claim is that Microsoft promised 15 second boot times with Windows 7, and while it is dramatically quicker than its predecessors’, it’s practically impossible to achieve these start up times without specially optimised hardware. However, with Windows 8 Microsoft have promised the same thing, only this time it seems to be true.

PCMag decided to pitch Microsoft’s latest operating system – Windows 8 – against it’s predecessor – Windows 7. All these speed test were carried out on the same Toshiba Portege R835-P88 laptop with a 2.5GHz Core i5 chip, 6GB of RAM , 500GB harddrive and Intel HD 3000 graphics. They set the machine up with a clean install of Windows 7 64bit and then Windows 8 64bit.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

So who won?

Windows 7 Utimate
(64-bit)
Windows 8
(64-bit)
Startup
(seconds, lower is better)
3817
Shutdown
(seconds, lower is better)
12.29.9
500MB File Group Move
(seconds, lower is better)
25.229.2
Large Single File Move
(seconds, lower is better)
46.446.8
Video Rendering
(minutes:seconds, smaller is better)
1:221:11
Geekbench 2.3 64-bit tests
(higher is better)
80908187
Geekbench 2.3 32-bit tests
(higher is better)
59626122
PCMark 7
(higher is better)
23132701
Sunspider
(ms, lower is better)
180144
Google V8 (v.7)
(higher is better)
30796180
Psychedelic Browsing
(higher is better)
39975292

As you can see from these results above, in PCMag’s testing, Windows 8 practically won all around. What’s particularly impressive is the start up times. Windows 8 has cut the start up time in half down to a speedy 17 seconds. The reason being that Windows 8 saves a copy of the system state and memory contents to the harddrive and then simply reloads this once you restart. This is why it’s so much quicker at starting up as it doesn’t have to go and load everything from scratch.

We can also expect to see this start up time reduced even further when new laptops, tablets, PCs etc.. are released with SSD hard drives and UEFI that will dramatically improve these start up times even further.

It’s also quite apparent that Microsoft have worked hard on improving the browser performance in Windows 8. Internet Explorer 10 was miles ahead of IE 9. The javascript engine has been dramatically been improved and optimised. Sunspider and Google’s V8 tests show a big improvement in load times and processing times which is great news for us all.

The PCMark 7 benchmark test which runs 7 different systems tests that are designed to test out everything also shows a big performance increase in Windows 8. In PCMags test, Windows 8 was up by 388 points.

Head over to PCMag if you want to check out the full post in a bit more detail.

It’s good to see that there is some real significant improvement with Windows 8 over Windows 7, and bear in mind that this is still not the final release of Windows 8. We can only expect that Microsoft are busy tweaking the final few lines of code to get every last bit of performance out of Windows 8.

Source:

PcMag

 

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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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The 600 Million Windows 7 Markhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/06/06/600-million-windows-7-mark/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/06/06/600-million-windows-7-mark/#comments Wed, 06 Jun 2012 14:32:05 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=94515 Even with the Windows 8 release right around the corner, say October 2012, Windows 7 continues to be very popular. Microsoft announced the 600 million license mark  for Windows 7.

According to The Verge, since the introduction of Windows 7 in 2009, the growth of the premier operating system has grown significantly. It reached 240 million license sales in its first year, and six months ago, in January, it reached 525 million. The 600 million mark represents 39% of the OS market.

Windows 7 Momentum

Yet that still doesn’t beat Windows XP. Right now, it has about 46% of the OS market. But with continued growth of Windows 7, it may be a while before the two Operating systems converge; it may be another year.

 

From the figure below, you can see that even Windows Vista, the black dog in the Microsoft’s room, holds 7% of the market; Mac OS, in two forms has about 5%; and there is another 2% for the remaining OS, which is probably Linux.

Windows 8 on the Horizon

What this portends for Windows 8 is interesting. First users, and companies will have to decide if they want to make the upgrade sacrifice. Because to get the full benefit of Windows 8, they will have to change monitors to support touch technology; not to mention the hardware technology, which will make Windows 8 a version to use. If you don’t want to or can’t afford to upgrade the hardware, why bother? Keep Windows 7.

Second, are users and companies really ready for the Metro style interface? And while it may be possible to go back and forth between the traditional GUI and the new Metro UI, it has to be smooth and easy and intuitive to be a success. Some users will balk and other may accept it. But the latter must be the predominant ones.

In all then, the prognosis for Microsoft OS still looks very good, but whether a new soldier in their platoon of software will add to their market strength will depend on whether Windows 8 gets a share of the market.

 

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The Flame Malware Program uses Microsoft’s Security Certificateshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/06/05/flame-malware-program-microsofts-security-certificates/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/06/05/flame-malware-program-microsofts-security-certificates/#comments Tue, 05 Jun 2012 12:05:39 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=94506 Microsoft discovered that the Flame Malware has sections in it that have a Microsoft-issued certificate. That is a new way of using malware. Pretending to be a legitimate source of software yet having underneath it a program that will cause havoc on a computer system.

FLAME

According to Wikipedia:

Flame, also known as Flamer, sKyWIper, and Skywiper, is modular computer malware discovered in 2012that attacks computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. The program is being used for targeted cyber espionage in Middle Eastern countries…. The last of these stated in its report that “sKyWIper is certainly the most sophisticated malware we encountered during our practice; arguably, it is the most complex malware ever found.””

The malware creators used the Microsoft Terminal Server Licensing Service certificate, which uses the MD5 hashing algorithm. They produced a counterfeit certificate to sign some components of the malware to make them appear to have originated from Microsoft.

The Microsoft Impact

Microsoft discovered some techniques used by this malware that can operate by less sophisticated attackers to launch attacks that are more widespread. But they also contend that most Windows users will not be affected, because the targets of this attack were very specific, the Middle East.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has released a Windows Update patch in which users should install. At their site, Microsoft has 15 versions of the update covering multiple versions of Windows from XP to x64-based versions of Windows Embedded Standard 7.

In the meantime, Microsoft has removed the certificates that could be used in spoofing, at least cleaning that up at their level. They found is that certificates issued by the Terminal Services licensing certification authority, which is intended to only be used for license server verification, could also be used to sign code as Microsoft.

So Microsoft will discontinue issuing certificates that could be used to sign code via the Terminal Services activation process.

 

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Windows 7 Upgrade Details, Windows 8 Workshop Rumorshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/05/28/windows-7-upgrade-details-windows-8-workshop-rumors/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/05/28/windows-7-upgrade-details-windows-8-workshop-rumors/#comments Mon, 28 May 2012 19:27:31 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=94382 Two weeks ago details leaked about Microsoft’s plan to offer Windows 7 to Windows 8 upgrades for $14.99 for customers who purchase a PC running Windows 7 Home Basic or higher starting June 2. Even better, regardless of the version of Windows 7 running on the purchased PC, customers always get the higher priced Windows 8 Professional version when they opt-in to the upgrade.

And while there is still no official confirmation on the plan yet, The Verge reports that an Microsoft insider has confirmed the upgrade program. According to their information, the program will run from June 2 all the way until January 31, 2013 covering the important holiday period.

windows 8 metro

And if you thought this would be a great deal – which it is – wait until you hear that Microsoft is also planning to offer exclusive workshops for customers who participate in the upgrade offer. While there is no mentioning of costs, it appears as if the workshops could be free of charge to those customers. The Verge also notes that Microsoft on top of all this will supply customers with a $20 Microsoft Store gift card for attending a workshop.

If you are planning to purchase a PC right now, we suggest you wait a few more days until Microsoft confirms the upgrade program officially. Even if you do not plan on taking Microsoft up on the offer, the option to do just that at a later point in time is still available then.

As always, we ask you to take the rumor with a grain of salt until it is officially confirmed by Microsoft. We expect the company to release a statement before June 2 on the matter.

 

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HomeOS A Microsoft Operating System for the Homehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/30/homeos-microsoft-operating-system-home/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/30/homeos-microsoft-operating-system-home/#comments Mon, 30 Apr 2012 23:49:03 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93903 Imagine…You open your home PC…but instead of running your office suite, or your internet connection, you look at your home appliances…start your coffee, run the microwave oven, start your TV. And your devices are running on a Home Operating System. Unreal? Not possible?
Well, Microsoft is now testing a home-automation OS.

From Microsoft’s Research paper on the topic:
“Network devices for the home such as remotely controllable locks, lights, thermostats, cameras, and motion sensors are now readily available and inexpensive. In theory, this enables scenarios like remotely monitoring cameras from a smartphone or customizing climate control based on occupancy patterns. However, in practice today, such smart home scenarios are limited to expert hobbyists and the rich because of the high overhead of managing and extending current technology.”

So Microsoft is putting in play their own brand of home OS to address the issues that would be difficult or expensive or too unique to be worth applying to the home.

Testing

While in theory there may be users that are attentive to the innovation, Microsoft has made the move to see how far the theory can actually go. So Microsoft has put the HomeOS in 12 real homes over the past four to eight months. Moreover, 42 students have built new applications and added additional devices to support it, as well. The basis is the HomeOS program.

HomeOS
HomeOS is a centralized home-automation operating system that can handle many different kinds of devices from TVs, to smartphones, to lights. The prototype operating system is built on the .Net Framework and all of the proposed drivers and apps are also .Net-based.

The Results

Just when the results of the program will be made public is not known, if ever. Because the results would have to show that such an OS would make the home environment better than it is now. But that is a subjective notion.

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Microsoft Releases Bing Desktop App for Windows 7http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/25/microsoft-releases-bing-desktop-app-windows-7/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/25/microsoft-releases-bing-desktop-app-windows-7/#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2012 04:05:22 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93823 Microsoft’s Bing team has released a Windows 7 desktop app for their search engine Bing. The app features the daily, and usually spectacular, Bing wallpapers, which can be automatically used as your desktop wallpaper each day as well as the Bing search bar, which can be situated in the middle of the desktop or docked at the top of the screen.

The Bing search bar will disappear up into the top of the screen when the user clicks on something else or when the user has a window or program open.

For Google search users this may be a hard sell, but if you use Bing as your default search engine of choice then it may be worth your while. If nothing else, you can always use the app as a Bing desktop wallpaper rotator.

You can download the Bing desktop app here.

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Microsoft Drops Marketplace from Zune PC Softwarehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/25/microsoft-drops-marketplace-zune-pc-software/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/25/microsoft-drops-marketplace-zune-pc-software/#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2012 03:17:37 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93818 In an effort “to help pave the way for new store features and new apps in the months ahead”, Microsoft is making some changes to the Marketplace for Windows Phone.

In a post on the Windows Phone blog, Mazhar Mohammed explains the changes which have already begun as well as some which are coming in the weeks ahead:

The Zune PC Software & the Marketplace

The most significant change is Microsoft’s decision to remove Marketplace accessibility from the Zune PC software. Currently, there are a few different ways to search for and download apps for Windows Phone: the Zune PC software, the web Marketplace and the Marketplace on the device itself. As of last night, the Marketplace will no longer be an option for Windows Phone users. Microsoft’s reasoning for this change is that users, or the majority, simply do not use the local software for this practice, so they are focusing their resources on the two options that most users tend to use.

Note: The Zune HD app Marketplace will still be accessed through the Zune PC software.

Note II: If you must have the Marketplace functionality in the Zune PC software, check this out.

Windows Phone 7.5 & the Marketplace

Most users have been running Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone update, Mango (aka7.5), for quite some time, but there are those who have yet to update for one reason or another. For these people, Microsoft will be forcing their update by making it impossible to download new apps from the Marketplace unless their device is running at least v7.5. Microsoft explains their reasoning:

Marketplace is growing fast. It now has over 80,000 apps overall and is available in 54 (soon to be 63) countries around the world. Requiring Windows Phone 7.5 is part of a larger effort aimed at improving Marketplace performance and security, and paving the way for even faster growth and more new features.

While these changes may be a little shocking to some who don’t want Windows Phone 7.5 or currently use the PC software to browse the Marketplace, these changes make sense for most Windows Phone users and will help Microsoft to continue streamlining Windows Phone while the marketshare continues to increase.

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Windows 7 Sales Still Going Stronghttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/21/windows-7-sales-strong/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/21/windows-7-sales-strong/#comments Sat, 21 Apr 2012 21:12:00 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93749 I think Microsoft’s recent earnings announcement even surprised them a little bit. While there’s been plenty of hype around the completely revamped Windows 8 OS, it looks like Windows 7 sales are still going strong for them.

Microsoft reported a stronger than expected set of earnings for the first quarter of this year, raking in an impressive $17.41B USD  in revenue and a net profit of $5.11B USD ($0.60 USD per share).  Revenue was up 6 percent from last year and easily beat analyst expectations. Profit is actually down 1 percent from last year but that’s mainly due to Microsoft’s increased spending.

Windows 7 sales were partly responsible for the increase in revenue. Even though Windows 7 is starting to near the end of its life cycle, sales for it rose to $4.62B USD,  which is an increase of  4 percent from last year. Windows 7 is the fastest selling operating system of all time and is currently on around 40 percent of PCs.

An excited Steve Ballmer

Sales for this quarter are only down $112 million than the fourth quarter of 2011, which is normally the strongest quarter due to an increase in sales for the holiday season.

So what drove this boost in Windows 7 sales? Well there was an 8 percent increase in Business Sales when compared to the same time last year while consumer sales remained flat.

It’s quite a feat that Windows 7 is still so successful nearly 3 years after it was released, it just goes to show how popular and operating system it is. It will be interesting to see how it holds up against Windows 8.

What do you think?

Will Windows 8 supersede Windows 7 as the fastest selling operating system of all time?

Let us know in the comments below

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Microsoft Confirms Windows Server 2012 – Launching This Yearhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/17/microsoft-confirms-windows-server-2012-launching-year/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/17/microsoft-confirms-windows-server-2012-launching-year/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 23:24:32 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93709 While Microsoft announced the different editions of Windows 8 that will be available today, they also confirmed that Windows Server 8 will now be called “Windows Server 2012″ and have committed to launching it by the end of this year.

At Microsofts’ Management Summit, Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson spoke to around 5,000 IT professionals about the opportunities provided by Microsoft to deliver fast and reliable services with cloud computing. He announced Microsoft System Center 2012 which is now available for purchase. It allows users to set up their own secure private cloud network.

In conjunction with this, he also announced that Windows Server 2012 is a “fully cloud optimised OS” that will integrate very well with cloud computing. He claimed that “nothing Microsoft has ever done has ever been as ambitious” as the features that have been incorporated into Windows Server 2012.

Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 back in March, around the same time as the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released to the public. Of course, there hasn’t been half as much coverage of Windows Server 2012 because as we all know, the corporate side of things is never as glamours as the consumer side.

Since Microsoft are expected to release Windows 8 this year, and now they’ve gone and promised that Windows Server 2012 will also be released this year, I can only assume that they will be releasing them around the same time. Of course Windows 8 will be launched to a massive marketing campaign, where as Windows Server 2012 will be a small little side note for the corporate scene to pick up on.

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Get Windows 7 For Less Than $50http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/04/windows-7-50/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/04/04/windows-7-50/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2012 17:00:54 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93373 Microsoft are still shifting plenty of copies of Windows 7 despite the fact that it’s starting to come towards the end of its life cycle. As you all know, Microsoft are hard at work finishing of Windows 8 but of course they still want to squeeze more life out of Windows 7. Microsoft are still selling Windows 7 for it’s original retail price, but I’ve spotted a bargain.

If you head over to Harris Technology, they’re selling the Windows 7 Family Pack for just $149. That pack includes 3 licenses for Windows 7 Home Premium. The catch? Well there is none, if you live in Australia that is.

From what I can see, Harris Technology don’t actually ship outside of Australia (Feel free to correct me) but regardless, this is a great deal for anyone in Australia looking to update to Windows 7. If you’re not too pushed about upgrading to Windows 8 just for the Metro UI, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of this offer.

Microsoft’s suggested retail price for this package is $249 so you’re making a saving of $100 there.

You’ll want to be quick though, this offer is only available while stocks last, and there’s currently 185 copies left in stock at the time of writing, and once they’re gone, the deal’s over.

But as I said, it’s a great saving and well worth taking advantage of and it’s also cheaper than buying a single license of Windows 7.

Source:

Harris Technology

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Close All Programs in Windows With One Simple Clickhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/29/close-programs-windows-simple-click/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/29/close-programs-windows-simple-click/#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2012 15:14:11 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93169 These days, because our computers have become more and more powerful, we’ve started to multi task a lot more. We regularly will have several programs open at once. It’s not uncommon to have an Excel Spreadsheet, 2 Word documents, a PDF, Your Music Playing as well as a few browser tabs going all at once.

However when you’ve eventually finished all your work, it can become a bit tedious to manually close each program. Wouldn’t it be so much handier if you could just close everything with a single click?

Well there’s a great little app called Close All which will do just that for you.

The program itself is tiny and doesn’t take up any of your memory as it doesn’t need to run in the background. It simply sends a close command to all the open windows and doesn’t even require any installation.

Simply download the ZIP file from the link below.

[Download not found]

Now extract the ZIP file to a location on your hard drive.

Once you’ve done this, just go ahead and pin this CloseAll.exe file to the task bar by following the steps in the screenshot below.

You’ll know find an icon in your task bar, all you have to do now is click that and it will close all your programs for you. Don’t worry, if you’ve forgotten to save any work, you’ll still be prompted to save it before the program closes.

Now all you have to do is click on the icon and all your open programs will close

Credit:

NTWind

 

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Windows Azure Malware Endpoint Protection Programhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/29/azure-malware-protection-updates/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/29/azure-malware-protection-updates/#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:38:58 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=93136 Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud venture, is being updated with new malware protection programs in its virtual machines. In a recently released report, Microsoft Endpoint Protection (MEP) for Windows Azure Customer Technology, this includes a plugin available that allows users to enable antimalware protection on the Windows Azure VMs by simply importing the MEP antimalware module into the roles’ definition.  

What comes with the MEP?

Once the malware role is installed on the server there are several core functionalities available. These include:

·      Real-time protection: This monitors activity on the system to detect and prevent malware from executing.

·      Scheduled scanning: This performs targeted scanning to detect malware on the system; if the malware program is actively running malicious programs it will scan it as well.

·      Malware remediation: If the malware is detected, it takes action such as deleting or quarantining malicious files and cleaning up malicious registry entries.

·      Signature updates: Since every piece of malware has its own signature by which malware protection programs can recognize it and remove it, the program installs the latest protection signatures (aka “virus definitions”) to ensure protection is up-to-date.

·      Active protection: Finally, new malware has a habit of bypassing the best protections so reports from the metadata about detected threats and suspicious resources are sent to Microsoft to ensure rapid response to the new threat, as well as enabling real-time signature delivery through the Dynamic Signature Service (DSS).

Azure Microsoft Endpoint Protection

How it works

MEP for Windows Azure includes SDK extensions to the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio. This provides the means to configure the Windows Azure service to include endpoint protection in the specified roles.

An endpoint protection installer startup task is included that runs as part of spinning up the virtual machine for a given instance. This is activated on startup. Then the startup task pulls down the full endpoint protection package platform components from Windows Azure Storage for the geographical region specified in the Service Configuration (.cscfg) file and installs it.

Finally, the endpoint protection client downloads the latest protection engine and malware signatures from the Internet and loads them. Thus at this point the virtual machine is up and running with antimalware protection enabled. Diagnostic information such as logs and antimalware events can be configured for persistence in Windows Azure storage for monitoring.

Azure

Additional configuration details are provided by Microsoft on the link below.

Source: Microsoft

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The Zeus Botnet is under Microsoft Attackhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/26/zeus-botnet-microsoft-attack/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/26/zeus-botnet-microsoft-attack/#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2012 12:48:05 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=92864 Microsoft has been targeting botnets for some time now, and their latest venture is against the Zeus Botnet. If you don’t know what a botnet is, it is a system of computers or servers that deliver malware to the public. The key, however, is that the computers or servers are highjacked and unknowingly distribute spam and malware to other computers via the Internet. In highjacking, the computer continues to operate in its normal mode, but it becomes a distributer of programs or spam. The owner may not even be aware of this occurring.
Operation b71

The Zeus botnet is just another of the botnets that Microsoft has been pursuing, offering assistance to various law enforcement organizations. In operation b71, the focus is on botnets using Zeus, SpyEye and Ice-IX variants of the Zeus family of malware. It is estimated that the Zeus malware is responsible for nearly half a billion dollars in damages. The focus is not to bring down the botnet, instead it is to boomerang the malware back to the cybercrime organization. In effect, the idea is to cause long-term damage to the cybercriminal organization that relies on these botnets for illicit gain.

 

What the Zeus Botnet Does

At the heart of the Zeus malware a program called keylogging, is instituted. This program records a person’s every computer keystroke to monitor online activity and gain access to usernames and passwords in order to steal victims’ identities, withdraw money from their bank accounts and make online purchases. Once a computer is infected with Zeus, the malware automatically starts the keylogging. So when a person types in the name of a financial or e-commerce institution, that information is forwarded back to the cybercriminal and they use it to gain access to people’s online accounts from that point forward.

To make matters worse, according to a legal complaint filed by Microsoft against the Zeus botnet, this action is more dangerous because the information is sold in the criminal underground as a crime ware kit. This allows criminals to set up their own command and control servers and create their own individual Zeus botnets. These crime ware kits sell for anywhere between $700 to $15,000, depending on the version and features of the kit. The investigation is ongoing with more details to follow.

Source: Microsoft

 

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Hunger Games – Microsoft’s New Ad Connection With HTML5http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/22/hunger-games-microsofts-ad-connection-html5/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/22/hunger-games-microsofts-ad-connection-html5/#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2012 12:09:43 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=91906 Hunger Games, the Movie, is slated for release on March 23. In a typical situation advertisers go all out in the first week to make their movie known to the public, where after that, the advertisement is word of mouth. If people like it they say so, and if they don’t they say that also.

But advertisement has been tricky for various reasons; cost for one, and then also the type of advertisement on display is another. On computer systems, most commercial advertisement has come with the use of Adobe Flash. Now Microsoft is making a change with HTML5.  In a collaboration, Microsoft and Lionsgate are hoping to lead the industry down a new path. They’re partnering on a site that uses HTML5 and other web standards, without plugins, to create an environment for Hunger Games .

Hunger Games in the Control Room

The HTML5 based site shows a fluid design, which is functional in a variety of browsers (I looked at it in Firefox) , but Microsoft says IE9 offers a better experience because of the work the company has done in the browser to use a computer’s hardware to make visuals on screen more dynamic.

Hunger Games

The Hunger Games site presents some hidden features for fans of the novel to discover as they wait for the movie. It also uses HTML video in unique ways, skewing the video to fit the circle of screens in the Control Room for example.

IE9 and MarketShare

Microsoft hopes to use the Hunger Games experience to convince users to go back to Internet Explorer. This is due to the fact that other browsers have taken a bite out of the market that Microsoft once held in the 90% range. Not so now. It is more in the 60% range, and dropping.

But the new HTML5 experience should point out to users that the browser is presenting new features that other browsers aren’t capturing yet.

Source: Geek Wire

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Microsoft Lining Up Windows 8 For October 2012 Releasehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/19/microsoft-lining-windows-8-october-2012-release/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/19/microsoft-lining-windows-8-october-2012-release/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2012 22:27:29 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=3045 This probably doesn’t come as much as a surprise to many of us, we all knew well that Microsoft are looking to release Windows 8 towards the end of 2012. It also makes sense that they’d want to ship it in time for the holidays to get a some extra bang for their buck. Going on Bloomberg’s report, Microsoft are aiming to ship Windows 8 in October of this year.

According to their report, Microsoft are looking to wrap up work on Windows 8 this summer, with an army of Windows Tablets and other hardware devices shipping with the new OS in October. We’re also being told that both Intel and ARM devices will be hitting our shelves at release.

We’re being told that Microsoft are getting ready to hold an even in April for its industry partners. At this event they will outline release schedules as well as their marketing campaign for the new operating system.

This report pretty much confirms everything we had already been expecting, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Microsoft will want to get Windows 8 on the market as soon as possible. It has to if they want to prevent themselves losing much more ground to Apple.

A lot of Windows 8 success will come down to the range of hardware on offer at launch. There needs to be some killer devices launched with it to tempt people away from the iPad, but more importantly their cash.

Now who wants to place a bet on the release date?

I’m going for October 22nd… sound familiar?

Source:

Bloomberg

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First Windows 8 Codec Pack Releasedhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/17/windows-8-codec-pack-released/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/17/windows-8-codec-pack-released/#comments Sat, 17 Mar 2012 13:48:20 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=3014 While it is possible to play a certain number of files right away in the Windows operating systems, others are not supported by the default applications right out of the box. You can for instance play wmv videos directly, while you won’t be able to do the same with mkv files.

If you want to play unsupported formats, you have three options to do just that. You can try and convert the video format into a format supported by the operating system. That’s not an ideal solution though, as it takes time and system resources to convert, and becomes less practicable the more files you have that you need converted.

The second option is to install a program that is supporting the file format. As far as video is concerned, you could install the VLC media player which supports virtually all popular media formats.

But third party software does not help you if you prefer to use Windows Media Player or another software that ships with the operating system. That’s when you need to install codecs to add support for the formats system-wide. You could go codec hunting now to find the codecs that you need, or you could install a codec pack instead which installs codecs for all the popular formats in one go.

The first Windows 8 Codec Pack has just been released by the same author who has created codec packs for previous Windows operating systems as well. Pay close attention to the installation dialog though, as it will install third party software on your system if you do not uncheck it during setup.

windows 8 codec pack

The codec package adds support for a variety of media files, including divx, flac, flv, mkv, rmvb, xvid and more than a dozen other formats. These are system-wide codecs which means that any program can utilize them to play the files.

You can download the latest version of the codecs pack from the developer website.

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Problems in Microsoft’s MAPP Program?http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/17/microsoft-mapp-security-program-hacked-leaked/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/17/microsoft-mapp-security-program-hacked-leaked/#comments Sat, 17 Mar 2012 14:27:09 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=77514 Microsoft confirmed that a security code leak in MAPP following the publication of a proof-of-concept code for a serious security hole in all versions of Windows.

The proof-of-concept code leak, from a group of Chinese Hackers, provides a roadmap to exploit a remote desktop protocol (RDP) vulnerability. Microsoft patched that vulnerability earlier this week. This was part of the security program.

MAPP

The Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) provides vulnerability data and triggers to vendors of anti-virus, intrusion prevention/detection and corporate network security programs about 24 hours before the patch is released. It also gives detection guidance ahead of time to help security vendors reproduce the vulnerabilities, ship signatures, and detection capabilities without false positives entering the mix. Security companies can join the MAPP program to help them get their security patches ready. It has worked well since its inception in 2008.

Microsoft MAPP

 

MAPP Hacked or Leaked?

Microsoft tries to maintain criteria that will guarantee the secrecy of the program, nevertheless, Microsoft affirms “…with 100% certainty that MAPP information got into the wrong hands,” according to a security researcher with access to the information. Indeed, a packet stored in the Chinese proof-of-concept was the “EXACT ONE” provided to TippingPoint ZDI (Zero Day Initiative), the company that bought the rights to the bug information; so said the writer of the security packet, Luigi Auriemma, a security researcher. He contends that the leak came from Microsoft.

MAPP Proof-Of-Concept Leak

Hacked or leaked, either way, this is not good for Microsoft. The MAPP program looks compromised and this is bad since Microsoft is making a big effort to secure the Windows ecosystem. The possibility of someone with access to the MAPP scheme to copy and sell the information was brought up in 2008 in a blog post, “Microsoft makes daring vulnerability sharing move.” Unfortunately, the chickens have come home to roost.

MAPP - Guidelines

Source Zdnet

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Ex – Microsoft Employee Wants To Fix Windows 8http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/15/microsoft-employee-fix-windows-8/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/15/microsoft-employee-fix-windows-8/#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2012 14:23:31 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=3003 There can be no denying that Windows 8 has brought a radical new change to Windows as we know it. The Metro UI is completely new to Windows, it does take some time to get used to. One Ex-Microsoft employee has decided to express his views about the new Metro UI and Windows 8 as a whole. And he doesn’t like it.

The former employee has launched a website called “Fixing Windows 8” (at the time of writing this the website appears to be down) where he outlines various different suggestions that Microsoft could do the improve the user experience. The former employee is Mike Bibik who is a user interface designer.

Like a lot of people, Mike is pretty annoyed by the lack of a start button in Windows 8. His biggest gripe however seems to be with the new Metro UI and how it all seems to be based around touch ,with mouse and keyboard controls thrown in as an after thought.

 

During the MWC keynote, Microsoft made it very clear that Windows 8 will work fantastically if you are using touch, mouse or keyboard, Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true.

Mikes main concerns are as follows:

  • New users won’t have a clue how to navigate through the interface as so many choices are hidden from view. You’ll need to know the various gestures to open up settings, the charms menu and other options. Also the lack of the start button will have users confused as to where they can find a master list of apps on their machine.
  • Because of the new Metro apps and how they function, they don’t have window controls like minimize and exit which will confuse users. They may not be aware of the fact that Windows 8 will pause apps and that they do not have to close them
  • Because the charms menu is hidden from view until the user goes looking for it, it makes it very difficult to perform basic options like searching within apps or powering off your device unless you know where to look.

I can agree with him on some of these points, but not entirely. I think that novice users, who are used to using a traditional desktop like Windows 7 will have trouble getting to terms with the lack of a start button and the hidden charm and settings controls. But power users and even intermediate Windows users should not have any problems getting to grips with the new controls very quickly.

You can be sure that Microsoft will have a very comprehensive walk through of the new features when users power up a Windows 8 machine for the first time. I can imagine that there will also be an extensive marketing campaign to inform users of how different Windows 8 is compared to previous Windows OS’s.

Mike say’s that he’s not trying to be negative, he just wants to be informative and offer his opinion for alternative solutions. These include

  • Combining the desktop task bar with the new Start screen
  • Combining Charms and the master apps list into a single menu
  • Adding a dedicated Charms bar to the bottom of the screen
  • Reinstating a Start button on the desktop

Windows 8 is a big change, there’s no denying that, but there is an increasing number of people starting to be won over by it. I for one was a little sceptical at first, but after using it for a while now with just a mouse and keyboard, I’ve actually become quite used to all the gestures. I think what freaks most people out is the fact that you can’t see any on screen options until you actual perform a gesture by moving to the corners etc.. but it doesn’t take too long until that becomes second nature.

What do you think?

Do you agree with what Chris has to say?

Let us know in the comments

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Microsoft Reveals Additional Details About Metro IE10http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/14/microsoft-reveals-additional-details-metro-ie10/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/14/microsoft-reveals-additional-details-metro-ie10/#comments Wed, 14 Mar 2012 13:33:07 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2987 By now you know that Windows 8 will ship with two different versions of the Internet Explorer web browser. First the classic desktop version which is a direct upgrade of Internet Explorer 9 that is currently out and available, and then a modified Metro version that sports a minimalistic user interface and does away with plugins and browser add-ons.

We already mentioned that Mozilla and Google are working on Metro versions of their browsers, and that other companies like Opera are considering it. Microsoft recently revealed additional details about the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 on the Building Windows 8 blog.

metro style internet explorer tabs

Metro IE10 comes with a chrome-less interface that displays interface elements only when they are needed. The browser will displays an address bar and a handful of interface elements at the bottom when you start typing.These icons include going back, reloading the page, using find on page, and opening a site in Internet Explorer for the desktop.

The most likely result is then auto-filled in the address bar, and all remaining sites in navigational tiles on the screen.

These tiles are divided into frequently visited sites, and pinned sites.

internet explorer favorites

You can pin sites easily with a click on the pin icon when the address bar element is visible on the screen. Pinning is the equivalent to adding the site to the favorites of the browser. There is however one core difference between the two. Pinned sites are automatically added to your Metro start page. While this may  not be a problem for users who use the feature sparingly, it may be a problem for users with hundreds of favorites.

With site pinning, you can personalize your Windows Start screen with the sites you use all the time. You can pin any website to the Start screen from IE10, so you have one place to access all the things you care about or need.

The tiles for pinned sites reflect the site’s color and icon. With IE10, sites can provide background notifications for new messages and other account activity on the website. The site can also program additional commands that appear in IE’s navigation bar in a touch-friendly way, the same way that sites can program jumplists for IE on the desktop.

Pinned sites use the dominating color of the website for the tile’s background color, and the favicon in the middle. Favicons look a bit small compared to the tab size though.

The Metro version of Internet Explorer supports tabs, but hides them away on the screen as well. The tab switcher appears when you right-click the mouse, use the windows-z shortcut or swipe from the bottom or top of the screen with touch.

With the address bar hidden, it becomes difficulty to identify secure sites. Microsoft displays badges when the address bar is displayed that indicate the type of connection a site uses.

Microsoft has posted a list of changes from the Developer Preview, which you find below.

  • Full, independent composition enables responsive, fast and fluid behavior on real websites (including pages with fixed elements, nested scrolling regions, animations, and video)
  • Back and forward swipe navigation with preview
  • Double-tap to zoom in on content
  • Fast back and forward navigation controls for mouse
  • Mouse (CTRL+scroll wheel) and keyboard methods for quickly zooming in and out to mirror touch interactions
  • Automatic domain suggestions for faster navigation and less typing
  • Share charm support for URLs, snippets, images and selection with Mail and other apps
  • Search charm with visual search suggestions
  • Devices charm for printing, projecting, and playing video to external devices like TVs
  • Plug-in free support: notifications for sites requiring activeX
  • Background notifications for pinned sites and other tile improvements
  • Jumplists for pinned sites
  • InPrivate tabs that are easier to open
  • Clean up tabs command, which quickly closes all but current tab

Have you had the time to work with the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10? If so, what is your impression of the browser?

 

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Google: We Are Working On A Chrome Metro Versionhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/13/google-working-chrome-metro-version/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/13/google-working-chrome-metro-version/#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2012 15:21:27 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2979 If you have followed the Windows 8 development up to this point you know that the operating system will ship with two different interfaces. First the regular desktop interface, and then the Metro user interface, which Microsoft calls the start page. With these interfaces come two versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10. First the regular version and successor of Internet Explorer 9, and then a “bare-bones” version optimized for Metro.

The Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 will be plugin-free, fullscreen, and without other features that Windows users have come to expect from a browser. While sharing the same core, the browser’s are fundamentally different from each other.

Mozilla recently made the announcement that they have started to work on a Windows 8 version of the Firefox web browser. A Wiki at the official Mozilla website highlights the development status and intention.

The feature goal here is a new Gecko based browser built for and integrated with the Metro environment.

Firefox on Metro, like all other Metro apps will be full screen, focused on touch interactions, and connected to the rest of the Metro environment through Windows 8 contracts.

Google today confirmed that the company is also working on a Google Chrome Metro version of the browser. The Metro version of Chrome is based on the desktop version of the browser, and not the mobile client Google released some time ago.

According to Mashable, Google plans to include enhanced touch support in the release to go along with Microsoft’s touch-centric philosophy.  It is not clear at this point in time if Metro Chrome will have all the features of the desktop version, or if it will be limited just like Microsoft’s browser is.

It is likely that Google will implement a data synchronization feature to sync data between the Metro, desktop and mobile versions of the browser.

As far as major browser developers are concerned, only Opera and Apple have not yet announced a Metro version of their browsers. It is not clear if we will see Metro Opera or Metro Safari any time soon, or if the companies will pass and concentrate on a single desktop version instead.

What’s your take on the development? Let us know in the comments.

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Microsoft Not Happy With OnLive Streaming Windows 7http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/09/23152/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/09/23152/#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2012 22:52:01 +0000 http://www.windows7news.com/?p=23152 Over the past few months we’ve been covering OnLive, a great app that allows you to stream a full Windows 7 desktop to your iPad so that you can use it as well as Microsoft Office applications on your device. It’s been widely covered since it essentially allows you to have Windows 7 on Apple’s very locked down iPad. However it looks like OnLive may be running into some trouble over licensing agreements with Microsoft.

Microsoft recently published a blog post about volume licensing in which they make particular reference to OnLive and how they believe that it’s in breach of their licensing agreements.

Companies are allowed to offer some “desktop-like functionality” to users via remote hosting, however hosting Windows 7 itself and Office through an actual Windows 7 installation is excluded from this agreement. If OnLive wanted to continue with this setup, Microsoft are saying that the end user needs to hold a license with Microsoft for the relevant software that they are using on the remote hardware. Basically if you’re using OnLive, you’ll have to have a license for Windows 7 and Office if you’re using it.

At the moment OnLive’s services do not seem to meet these license requirements at all and Microsoft have said that they are “committed to seeing this issue is resolved”.

Some inquiries about these scenarios have been raised as a result of recent media coverage related to OnLive’s Desktop and Desktop Plus services. Additionally, the analyst firm Gartner raised questions regarding the compliance of these services last week. We are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are committed to seeing this issue is resolved.

OnLive has proved quite popular recently, especially for businesses. They currently give 2 GB of cloud storage and full access to Microsoft Office and other apps as well as Windows 7. There’s also a Plus version with full flash support and faster Internet speeds that costs $4.99 per month. The premium version – OnLine Desktop Pro costs $10 per month and adds even more features to OnLive Desktop Plus.

OnLive will be surely missed if Microsoft put their license agreement into effect and prevent them from offering the service unless users have the correct licences. They might still be able to retain the service, but the price for the end user would go way up.

It will be interesting to see how this develops

 

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Microsoft Comments On Windows 8′s Start Button Issuehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/09/microsoft-comments-windows-8s-start-button-issue/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/09/microsoft-comments-windows-8s-start-button-issue/#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2012 08:11:12 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2911 If you have been following this blog or any of the other excellent news site that cover Windows 8, or had your first hours of first-hand experience with the Consumer Preview version of the operating system, you know by now that the Start button is not in the location anymore that it used to be in.

This removal has caused quite the controversy, with many veteran users criticizing Microsoft for the move. The replacement is the new Start page which users can access in a number of ways. This includes pressing the Windows key on the keyboard, or moving down the mouse cursor into the left bottom corner where a click will open the start screen as well.

Microsoft seems to be aware of the confusion the move caused, and addressed the issue in a new blog post on the Windows Experience Blog.

According to Microsoft, the start button is still there but in another location. Before you get to excited about this revelation, you need to know that the company refers to the start button in the Charms menu as the start menu’s new location.

windows 8 start button

It should be obvious on first glance that this is not an exact replica of the start button of, say Windows 7 for instance. That does not mean that all of the start button’s functionality is gone, as Microsoft points out. Searching for instance happens in exactly the same way as before, only the interface is different. How did you search in Windows 7? Most users clicked on the start button or tapped on the Windows key, and started typing afterwards. In Windows 8, you tap on the Windows key and start typing. The key difference is that Windows 8 switches to the start page automatically, and back if you start a regular app and not a Metro app.

Power users find a few interesting tips in the post that may speed up their experience with the operating system. They can right-click in the lower left corner of the screen to bring up a menu that links to common administrative tasks on the system. This includes direct links to the control panel, device manager and command prompt, as well as search and run options.

windows 8 power user

The second is a listing of all new keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8. The shortcuts are shown as an image, and available as pdf or xps documents for downloading.

The blog post is a good read for users new to the operating system. What’s your take here? Has everything remained the same functionality wise, or do you feel that something is missing in this regard?

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Dell Working On A Windows 8 Tablet For Businesshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/08/dell-working-windows-8-tablet-business/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/08/dell-working-windows-8-tablet-business/#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2012 21:30:12 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2892 Windows 8 has been greeted with mixed opinions by many people, some hate the new Metro UI, other’s love it. But there’s also a lot of people who are starting to be won over slowly but surely (Our very own Mike Halsey for one). Dell along with the other OEM’s have certainly recognised the potential that Windows 8 holds, and I feel that it will do particularly well on tablets when consumers mess around with the Metro UI.

Dell also reckon that Windows 8 powered tablets will have the edge over competitors like the iPad because they will support the likes of Microsoft Office as well as the ability to connect to secure corporate networks. All while retaining full Windows functionality that they are all familiar with.

Dell’s CEO Michael Dell was speaking with Bloomberg about how there is growing demand for a tablet that runs Windows to compete with the iPad. He said that they are hard at work developing business friendly tablets that will go on sale the “exact same day” that Windows 8 will hit the market. (Unfortunately he was careful enough not to let a release date slip, then again he probably knows as much as us)

Apple have certainly been making ground into the business sector with the iPad over recent years and this is normally where Microsoft excels. Luckily for them there was no new stand out feature in the latest iPad so it gives Microsoft a chance to finally fight back and get some proper tablets on the market to compete with Apple.

Dell are looking to “lead the market” with Windows 8 powered tablets. It’s certainly going to be a tough battle, and Dell will have to come out with some seriously good devices, but it is possible.

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Windows 8 Themes Not Compatible With Windows 7 Themeshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/07/windows-8-themes-compatible-windows-7-themes/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/07/windows-8-themes-compatible-windows-7-themes/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2012 13:30:17 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2879 Microsoft in a new blog post on the Windows Experience Blog clarified the company’s intention to go forward with the way themes have been provided recently. Windows 7 users may remember the changes the company made to themes in their operating system. The fundamental change made themes distributable, and as a result incompatible with previous Windows operating systems.

While it it possible to extract the theme contents to make use of the wallpaper images they contain, there is no option to install the themes directly in Vista, XP or another pre-Windows 7 operating system.

Themes get new improvements and features in Windows 8, namely auto color settings, panoramic theme support and better dual monitor support in general.

The auto coloring feature changes the color of the desktop class and taskbar color to the dominant color of the background image.  You can read more about the feature here: Windows 8 Aero Auto-Colorization

windows 8 auto color

The feature is optional though, and Windows 8 users who prefer to stick with a select color can do so as well.

Panoramic themes are themes optimized for dual monitor systems. They are designed to display a panoramic image on both monitors. They can be installed on single-monitor systems as well, in which case the images will be cropped on the left and right so that only the center will be visible.

The second dual monitor feature is support for different wallpaper images if a regular-sized theme is installed. Windows 8 will automatically display two wallpaper images from the theme instead of the same image on both monitors.

Because of those changes, Windows 8 themes are not compatible with Windows 7 operating systems. The other way round works though. Windows 8 users can install Windows 7 themes on their system just fine.

Check out the full post here.

 

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Office 15 Screenshots Show Metro-Style Simplificationhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/07/office-15-screenshots-show-metrostyle-simplification/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/07/office-15-screenshots-show-metrostyle-simplification/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2012 08:50:46 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2873 It will never be possible to simplify productivity software as complex as Microsoft Office down to a Metro UI level, which is why it has been reported that the Office team at Microsoft aren’t keen to release a metro version.  However a new leaked series of screenshots published on The Verge seem to show that some Metro visual elements have indeed made the move from Windows.

This new cleaner interface is probably what we would expect but Microsoft have long worked to make Office easier to use and to make documents and features within it easier to find.

It is actually quite difficult to improve on Microsoft Office and this is a problem the company has faced for some years now.  For many people versions such as Office XP offered every feature they needed and many more consider Office 2003 to be the definitive version.  This being the last version before the introduction of the Ribbon interface in Office 2007.

The Ribbon still exists in Office 15 and is the one interface element that could port successfully to Windows 8′s new Metro UI.  In fact this blogger has been left wondering why it isn’t there already?  This alone could make for a reasonable version of Office for Metro.

With Office 15 Microsoft’s focus has been on productivity and helping people to get things done.  This is a much better approach then working on features.  As I mentioned earlier most people only use a tiny proportion of Office features and many people are content to use the stripped-down free Office 2010 Starter that ships with new Windows PCs or even the free Office web apps.  The ARM version of Windows 8 will also come with free desktop versions of Microsoft Office, though how usable they will be remains to be seen given the history Windows 7 has on tablets.

A public beta of Office 15, which does still not have a formal name, is expected to be released in the summer with a final version due at the end of the year or early next.

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Facebook Messenger For Windows 7 Now Officially Availablehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/06/facebook-messenger-windows-7-officially/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/06/facebook-messenger-windows-7-officially/#comments Tue, 06 Mar 2012 13:27:01 +0000 http://www.windows7news.com/?p=23095 It’s probably one of the worst kept secrets and I doubt it comes as a surprise to many of you, but Facebook have now officially released their Messenger app for Windows 7. The application was leaked last year and was also available in beta mode for quite a while now and it’s not really clear why Facebook took so long to actually release it officially.

Facebook already have a similar app available on smartphones which has proved to be quite popular to date so I imagine that people will find this app quite handy as well for their desktops. However unless you’re running Windows 7, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Facebook haven’t made this app available for users running Windows XP or Windows Vista for some reason.

Unfortunately there is no video chat feature available in this app, which is rather odd. Facebook already have video chat built into their website so it’s strange that they haven’t actually included it into the app.

Messenger for Windows will give you the ability to chat with your friends without ever having to open your browser at all. It also lets you get notifications straight to your desktop. The notifications aren’t just for chat messages, but they also include notifications for comments,tags etc..

Facebook have also said that the Mac OS X Version will be coming along soon, and that there will be plenty of updates in the future.

Part of me thinks that this app is kind of pointless for Windows 7. I mean I very rarely find myself on my laptop and not having a browser window open. It’s just a simple matter of having an extra tab with Facebook in it and you can chat and have full access to Facebook by simply switching tabs.

You can download it here

Are you guys going to be using it?

Let us know in the comments

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Trinity – the New Microsoft Database Technologyhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/05/trinity-microsoft-database-technology-program/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/05/trinity-microsoft-database-technology-program/#comments Tue, 06 Mar 2012 04:30:58 +0000 http://www.windows7news.com/?p=23080 Question, how do you access data from a large database collection, where there are no easy facts to search from? How many sales were in the 200,000 range or higher category? That question can be easily answered from a database because the collection of data is based on facts. But what if there are no easy facts to build your query? That’s where Trinity comes in.

The Trinity Graph Database

But Trinity is a graph database and graph computation platform. Central to Trinity is a distributed RAM-based key-value store. An example of a graph database is a social media system, like Linked in or Facebook. As a social graph it has over 800 million nodes and 104 billion edges. The World Wide Web contains over 50 billion web pages and one trillion unique links. But try to get facts from that collection of nodes is not easy, and it can be time consuming. So as an all-in-memory key-value process, Trinity provides fast random data access. This feature naturally makes Trinity suitable for large graph processing.

 

 


Trinity is a graph database from the perspective of data management. It is a parallel graph computation platform from the perspective of graph analytics. And as a database, it provides features such as data indexing, concurrent query processing, and concurrency control. As a computation platform, it provides vertex-based parallel graph computation on large scale graphs.

 

Data access on graphs has no locality meaning that the database system is not structured, like a SQL database. This means that graph exploration incurs massive random data access. And it makes large graph processing very challenging. To address this issue, Trinity makes graphs resident in a distributed memory storage. Then it optimizes the use of main memory and communication to deliver the best performance for both on-line query processing and off-line graph analytics.

The architecture looks like this.

What this portends for data analysis is the use of a new type of database system that has a large boundaries, not those formally created, but randomly created throughout the Internet, or on local applications.

Source The Insider, Microsoft Research

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Windows Reader, Windows 8′s Built-In PDF Readerhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/05/windows-reader-windows-8s-builtin-pdf-reader/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/05/windows-reader-windows-8s-builtin-pdf-reader/#comments Mon, 05 Mar 2012 11:32:31 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2804 Windows Reader is a new program that Microsoft has developed exclusively for the Windows 8 operating system. The reader is integrated into the Consumer Preview version of the operating system, so that it can be checked out by everyone.

Windows Reader will open all pdf documents by default, regardless of their origin. The Metro UI app opens local pdf documents and those that you download from the Internet. Windows users who prefer a different pdf reader can install it on the system to associate pdf documents with the program instead. The core benefit of Windows Reader is that it adds native pdf support to the Windows operating system, so that you do not need to install a third party application anymore for that. Windows Reader on the other hand is just a document viewer, it cannot be used to modify pdf documents in any way.

The program is not added to the start page by default, which makes sense as it is opened automatically when you click on a pdf file. You can however easily add the program to the start page. When in Metro, enter Windows Reader, and right-click the result afterwards. This pins the program to the start page. You can then launch it with a click, and open pdf documents from within.

windows reader

The fullscreen app displays only the opened document on the screen. A right-click displays a toolbar at the bottom that lets you open, save and find documents, switch between a one or two pages layout or rotate documents.

When you use find or open to load pdf documents, you are taken to a filtered view of My Documents where only pdf documents are visible and every other file is hidden from view.

Windows Reader is  a basic pdf reader, comparable to the built-in pdf reader of the Google Chrome browser. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially so for users who just need a program to access the occasional pdf document on their computer. The inclusion makes sense from a usability point of view, and maybe even security, considering that the most popular pdf reader, Adobe Reader, is also one of the most attacked.

 

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Some Market Statistics on Microsoft Productshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/04/market-statistics-microsoft-products/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/04/market-statistics-microsoft-products/#comments Sun, 04 Mar 2012 20:33:28 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=23025 Despite all of the recent attention to Windows 8, there have been other developments in the Microsoft product market. One that has made Microsoft happy is the attention to the Browser, IE9.

For starters, IE9 dominates both world-wide and also US market.

They continue to dominate the market for those PC’s running Windows 7.

 

 

Figures from MarketShare, a company that specializes in Market analysis recently showed where and how much mobile and the pc make up the market.

Here is the breakdown on the mobile market, which makes up only 7.2 percent of the computer market.

 

These figures show at the tablet/mobile level Internet Explorer is not making any kind of impact. Neither is Mango, Windows Phone 7.

The browser market would normally fall to Apple, with their iPhone and iPad, and that is what Safari shows. The Search engine environment is overwhelmingly dominated by Chrome and Bing makes only a slight appearance. But turning to the PC market, which makes up 92.5% of the computer market, the numbers look different.

Internet Explorer continues to dominate the browser market in the PC arena with Firefox in 2nd place followed by Chrome and then Safari. And as everyone knows, so it is no surprise that the Windows OS overwhelms the PC market.

One of the interesting elements of this is the focus on diversification that Microsoft is pursing. For two decades Microsoft was content to be number 1 in the OS arena, with Office the happy step child. But now they are into a variety of areas, mobile, tablet, the Cloud, browsers, Xbox, embedded products, servers, and software development frameworks. A very quick lesson here is that if you don’t keep up with technological changes, you could end up like Blockbuster or Kodak. So as it is, Microsoft is in a position to maintain it’s dominant form for at least a decade.

Source: MarketShare

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Windows 8 Can Make Microsoft a Competitor in the Tablets Arenahttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/02/windows-8-microsoft-competitor-tablets-arena/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/02/windows-8-microsoft-competitor-tablets-arena/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 23:07:12 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2728 I remember a remark by Steve Balmer shortly after Windows 2000 Professional came out. He said something to the effect that It was too bad that this product was going to replace the successful Windows NT product. In other words, you don’t kill a successful product. But that is what Microsoft did in 2000.  But recently, someone else said something like that, Samsung executive Hankii Yoon said at Mobile World Congress, “The best thing to survive in the market is to kill your products.” What this can mean for Microsoft, is that the successful introduction of a product can keep the company healthy in the long run.

Apparently, that is what must be done because computer products get old very quickly, and if you don’t replace them, then the market will leave you by the side of the road. So this brings up the case where Windows 8 may actually be in the right position to compete with the iPad. Here are some items that can make the case for the Windows 8 tablets arena.

Legacy compatibility

The ability to run older Windows applications (for x86 tablets, not ARM) is huge. A lot of users of the Windows tablet are comfortable with it because it runs older applications, like Microsoft Office.

Enterprise Engagement

Microsoft is making an effort to have one operating system for mobile phones, tablets, and PC’s. That’s a relief because compared to Android that has multiple variants, the Microsoft way can establish a unified system for corporate/personal users.

True keyboard/mouse compatibility

Another thing that stands out is that other tablets from Apple or Google, don’t do well with mouse or keyboard connectivity. The iPad doesn’t handle the mouse, and Android can but to a limited extent. However, Microsoft tablets can do the job well. Now with the newer OS and an engaging user interface, that can change users views.

Apps

Microsoft still has a ways to go to catch up to Apple or Google in this area, but in 2012, they could have their own app library that could compete with the others.

 

Windows 8, could be a salvation for Microsoft in both the mobile phone and the tablet market. At least it could offer Microsoft a better and alternative way to deal with those other competitors.

 

 

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All Windows 8 Editions That Microsoft Will Releasehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/02/windows-8-editions-microsoft-release/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/02/windows-8-editions-microsoft-release/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 13:57:33 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2688 Still wondering if Microsoft will cut down on the number of Windows 8 editions that the company will make available when the full version gets released later this year? Worry no more, we have all the information that you need.

If you search the Registry of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview version, you will find a listing of all the different versions that Microsoft intends to release. But first, let me explain how you can access the information in your version of Windows 8.

Open the Windows Registry Editor first. If you are on the desktop, use Windows-R to bring up the run box, enter regedit in there and tap on the return key. Select yes if an UAC prompt comes up. If you are in the Metro interface, type regedit, hit enter and select Yes in the UAC prompt.

Now navigate to the following Registry key:  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionComponent Based ServicingPackageIndexProduct

windows 8 editions

The Registry key lists the following Windows 8 editions:

  • Microsoft Windows Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Enterprise Eval Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Home Basic Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Home Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Prerelease ARM Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Prerelease Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Professional Plus Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Starter Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Ultimate Edition

The majority of editions are identical to Windows 7. Only the ARM edition appears to be new. The Eval and Prerelease editions appear to be for testing purposes only. (via Caschy’s Blog)

 

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Windows 8 Downloads Break The 1 Million Barrierhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/02/windows-8-downloads-break-1-million-barrier/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/02/windows-8-downloads-break-1-million-barrier/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 08:41:02 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2661 Downloads can be a rough indicator of the popularity of a particular product. If a company can report a lot of downloads, or even better, more downloads than for a previous version of the product, then it is generally assumed that the product is in higher demand than the last. We unfortunately do not have download information about Microsoft’s previous product, Windows 7 Beta.

The Redmond company yesterday posted a message on Twitter stating that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been downloaded more than one million times since its release less than a day ago.

It is a big milestone and Microsoft seems proud enough about it to post a public message on Twitter to announce it.

one million downloads

If you look back to the days of the first Windows 7 Beta, you may remember that servers were  hammered with requests back then and that Microsoft had to extend the beta download period so that everyone could download it. Initially designed for 2.5 million users, the limit was removed as well.

The situation may not be comparable though for a number of reasons. Microsoft may have invested heavily in their server infrastructure in last years, especially with their move to the cloud. Servers may have additional capacities which may be the reason why there were not reports of slow downloads or hammered servers.

Everyone was waiting for Windows 7 back then, as Vista had a bad image, and XP was still good but quiet old at that time. With Windows 7 being such a success, many users might not feel the need to switch just yet to another operating system.

Still, one million downloads is a solid number for an operating system that is not as well received as Windows 7 was back in 2009.

Have you downloaded Windows 8 yet? Or are you waiting for the release candidate or final build, or skipping this version of Windows?

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Microsoft Stock Climbs on Windows 8 CP Releasehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/01/microsoft-stock-climbs-windows-8-cp-release/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/01/microsoft-stock-climbs-windows-8-cp-release/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 05:20:56 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2649 Microsoft seems to be receiving a much-needed and much-deserved stock bump from its Windows 8 announcements and release yesterday in Barcelona. The new operating system from Microsoft is a bold bet and major transition for the company that many believed to be stagnant in the new touchscreen computing world. The current stock price for Microsoft is 32.29 and is expected to hit at least $36 very soon on the positive release of the first beta of Windows 8.

The new version of Microsoft Windows, Windows 8, is receiving very positive reviews from most tech journalists and blogs. More importantly, for Microsoft, the build that was released to the public dubbed “Consumer Preview” is very stable and looks to be nearly complete with some minor tweaking and bug fixes certainly yet to come. This means that Microsoft could conceivably have a Windows 8 release in mid-2012, beating most estimates.

Microsoft expects Windows 8 to beat even the incredible sales of the current-generation OS, Windows 7, which has sold approximately 550 million licenses to date.

Source: Forbes

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview Keynote Now Onlinehttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/01/windows-8-consumer-preview-keynote-online/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/01/windows-8-consumer-preview-keynote-online/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 15:22:55 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2627 For some unknown reason Microsoft decided not to do a live webcast for their event yesterday when they unveiled the Windows 8 consumer preview. Microsoft normally have a live webcast so if you weren’t lucky enough to be at the keynote in Barcelona yesterday you had to rely on the tech news sites live blogging from the event.

But just in case you were hiding under a rock for the last 24hrs and you haven’t actually heard about everything that happened at the keynote yesterday, you can now go and watch it for yourself online.

Microsoft have now posted a video of the whole keynote over at their news center. The 90 minute long keynote is there available to stream or download (at 688mb).

Microsoft have also posted a few demo clips of specific sections of the keynote which are much shorter. Much handier if you only want to look at a certain part of the keynote. They cover topics such as

  • Announcement of the consumer preview
  • The new start screen
  • Using a mouse and keyboard
  • New hardware

They also link to a further 3 videos on YouTube which includes a flashy introduction for Windows 8 as well as a longer more detailed demo of Windows 8. I’ve embedded them both below.

Source:

Microsoft News Room

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First Impressions: Windows8 Consumer Previewhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/01/impressions-windows8-consumer-preview/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/03/01/impressions-windows8-consumer-preview/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 13:33:52 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2601 Yesterday the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (beta) was released, so I am going to give you my first impressions of the software.

The Installation

After the download, I went to a Dell Vostro 200 and commenced with the installation. This machine has 4 Gig of Ram and a 100 Gig Hard Drive. It already had Windows 7 Installed on it. So when the installation began, with a ISO file, it asked a few questions about getting ready, and then it was preparing the computer for the new configuration. This part took about 10 minutes. The screen had a new interface, and a rotating circle of dots, which basically told you that it was not stuck or jammed. But my first impression of the process was to be patient. So I was.

The system did a reboot, and continued to install the system. I noticed that it did not ask to create a new partition, or if I wanted to update my existing operating system; it just did the installation.

After about an hour, yes, an hour, the installation was complete, and the computer rebooted.

 

When it came up the fish icon screen came up. You can tell that it is beta because it wasn’t even a classy or showy icon, but that can get fixed.

 

Metro

I also notice that some of my icons from the Windows7 configuration are on the screen. I press the Microsoft key on the keyboard (between the ctrl key and the alt key on the left side.) Ok, so now I see metro in its full glory. But where is the start button? How do I get to my applications?

Then I right clicked on the screen and a ribbon appeared on the bottom with the word “All Apps” at the left side. So I clicked that and I found this:

But there were so many icons, that another ribbon appeared at the bottom so I could drag it to the right to see the rest of the icons. All told there were about 50, and did not fit into the screen. So after I dragged the arrow across the screen I saw the rest.

I also noticed that all of my programs were still there; they hadn’t been changed or modified. Then I realized that part of the installation process was to make Windows8 backwards compatible so that users would not have concern about their current data. Clever.

How this will play out on the real version is unclear. In my case, there was room to put the new OS, but what about a new computer and a clean install, how will that work? We’ll have to wait and see. Also, the new software programs that will be installed, will that be the same as in the older systems? My guess that it is the same, but I’ll be checking that out in the days ahead.

If you are familiar with smartphone Apps, or tablets with Apps, then Metro shouldn’t be difficult to use.

I also noticed that when I tried to run Microsoft word on the system it wanted an activation key, when I clicked cancel, my document opened, but I was unable to edit it, just view it.

So after an initial sitting here is what I’ve seen: The installation may take too much time, but it preserves your current settings so, it’s a plus. Metro may take some time to get used to and you have to use the Microsoft key on your keyboard. Again, that is not a game killer. Then again, I’ll be reporting on other changes as I start to use it. But so far so good. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

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Well It’s Here: Windows8 Consumer Previewhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/29/windows8-consumer-preview/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/29/windows8-consumer-preview/#comments Wed, 29 Feb 2012 15:10:27 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2487 Well it’s here. Microsoft is at the Barcelona Spain for the Mobile World Congress, and it is bringing out the Windows 8 big guns. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is available.

Yes, Windows 8. The next OS version that is expected to make big changes to the computer PC market because the OS is different. So what is supposed to come out?

First the download of the Consumer preview (beta) is available. If you are anxious to test the OS, you can download it here. You can also download the Visual Studio “11” for developing programs for Windows 8 because that is also available today.

Is ARM ready to go?

Not at this time. That is because ARM is a hardware element, which will be part of the Windows 8 on ARM. Since the hardware has to be developed by manufacturers, Microsoft instead is focusing only on the software side now. These manufacturers are by invitation only. And it remains to be seen whether there will be demonstrations of the ARM side. But to download it, no that is not available today.

What Changes are expected?

Aside from the GUI interface, which has drawn a lot of attention, there is the touch screen feature, but most importantly, is how it will work with existing Laptops and PC’s. This is important, because notwithstanding the expected new development in hardware to match the software, if the OS doesn’t work well on existing units, then it’s a bomb now not later.

If everything is alright, is this the final deployment?

That’s hard to say. This is called beta because Microsoft expects to make further tweaks and changes to the system. However, it is also true that the core foundation will not change, meaning that the cake is baked, but there may need to be changes to the icing. That said, the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) should be out soon, with a release to the public by the 3rd or 4th quarter, 2012.

Source: Microsoft

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview Wallpapers and Lockscreenshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/29/windows-8-consumer-preview-wallpapers-lockscreens/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/29/windows-8-consumer-preview-wallpapers-lockscreens/#comments Wed, 29 Feb 2012 14:16:35 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2475 Guess what! With the official unveiling of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview less than an hour away, Win8China have leaked all the new wallpapers and lockscreens in the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 to us. I know I covered a story yesterday on this, but we didn’t have as many wallpapers then.

Chances are you will all be able to see these wallpapers for yourself later on today when you Download Windows 8, ,but here’s a teaser to what you’ll see.

Here’s the gallery of lockscreens

And Here’s the gallery of Wallpapers

You can download all the Lockscreens and Wallpapers from the link below

[Download not found]

 

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Businesshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/29/windows-8-consumer-preview-product-guide-business/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/29/windows-8-consumer-preview-product-guide-business/#comments Wed, 29 Feb 2012 09:34:19 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2456 Microsoft has released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business in time before the public release of the new preview version of Windows 8 later today. The pdf document highlights some of the new – and some of the old – features that Windows offers for businesses around the globe.

The guide covers the new Start Screen and touch experience, Internet Explorer 10, new mobile productivity features, end-to-end security and unified management across devices.

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business provides a detailed look at the many new and improved features in Windows 8. The guide is designed as an accurate source of information that can help businesses understand how Windows 8 enables users to be ready and productive practically anywhere, allows for a personalized user experience, and provides IT with more secure, easy-to-manage intelligent infrastructure.

The guide offers a quick summary for interested users who have not followed the development process closely up to this point. Users who did won’t find new information or features that have not been talked about before. It is a good read even for home users, as it covers both home and business related topics.

windows to go

Growing mobility and consumerization trends pressure IT professionals to provide users with secure access to a corporate operating system and apps in situations when a device or network is out of the IT department’s control. Windows 8 includes the ability to provide users with a full corporate copy of Windows (along with user’s business apps, data, and settings) on a USB storage device. When users insert their device into any Windows 7 or Windows 8 compatible PC and restart the PC, they get their entire personal environment, and operate as a fully managed device. When they sign out, they can remove the USB device, and it is ready to use on another PC

The guide should not be confused with a user manual though, as it is to short for that and does not cover installation of the operating system or configuration options.

It is likely that Microsoft will release a Windows 8 Consumer Preview guide with today’s release, as it has done with the Developer Preview release.

You can grab your copy of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business from Microsoft’s Download Center.

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Get Help With Windows 8 In Our Forumshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/28/windows-8-forums/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/28/windows-8-forums/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 20:46:26 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2438 After taking the forums offline for a much needed update, we are happy to announce the Windows 8 Forums relaunch just in time for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  The forum is a great place to talk to other readers and to draw upon our community for any help you might need.

The forums are fully integrated into the site, making access easy.  To visit the forums, just click on one of the links in the header or the sidebar. Registering is just as easy – you can connect your facebook account or you can create a fresh account with this site.

We hope to see you in the forums soon!

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New Lockscreen Wallpaper Spotted In Windows 8 Consumer Previewhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/28/lockscreen-wallpaper-spotted-windows-8-consumer-preview/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/28/lockscreen-wallpaper-spotted-windows-8-consumer-preview/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 15:03:51 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2411 There’s not long to go now, in about 24 hours time, Microsoft will be officially unveiling the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 in Barcelona tomorrow. Microsoft have interestingly decided to reveal Windows 8 at the Mobile World Congress which is currently under way there. This really goes to show Microsoft’s dedication to pushing out Windows 8 to portable devices like tablets instead of the traditional PC set up.

I know that we will all be able to get our hands on the consumer preview pretty soon, but there’s been a few leaks popping up on the web recently from people who’ve managed to get their hands on it sooner than others. Apparently the Consumer Preview has been uploaded to Microsoft’s servers over the last few days.

 

I’m sure we will probably find that there is plenty of wallpapers that will be available in the consumer preview.

Another interesting screenshot I came across is of the icon for the hard drive. As you can see below, it appears to have the new Windows 8 Logo on top of the hard drive icon. My reckoning is that Microsoft will display the Windows 8 logo on the drive which has the actual Windows 8 OS installed on it, I can’t see them placing this logo on all the drives connected to your computer if you have more than one.

Well there’s just a few teasers for you now to get you in the mood for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Hopefully from tomorrow you will get to see a lot more screenshots as well as be able to install the Consumer Preview yourself.

[Download not found] [Download not found]

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Microsoft’s Techforum Shows Off New Technologieshttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/28/microsofts-techforum-technologies/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/28/microsofts-techforum-technologies/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 14:18:14 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=22957 It used to be that Bell Labs, in New Jersey, was one of the  premier scientific research labs in the US. After all, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone started the Volta Lab, which later became the Bell Laboratory. One of their most prestigious inventions came in 1948, the transistor, which now appears in every electronic device in the world. But now, Microsoft may be the company that is pushing the boundaries of new technology.

Microsoft TechForum

At the Techforum exhibition, new technologies were presented that have a certain Star Trek feel to them, meaning that you don’t have to wait for the 23 century to see the future.

The holoflector is a device where graphics are superimposed on your reflection to create an extended reality experience.

Behind the screen overlays utilizes a transparent organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display with view-dependent and depth-corrected gaze to manipulate virtual objects on screen.

Display changes using Seeing Display This format uses flat lenses to see through a semi-transparent organic light-emitting diode (OLED) to enable novel above-screen gesture and scanning interactions.

Lifebrowser builds a timeline around landmarks like appointments, photos and computing activities, which enables people to search and retrieve associated content. It manages machine learning and reasoning to help people navigate through large stores of information to access “memory landmarks” – events and activities that people would find important.

The Translator Hub enables language communities and others to create automatic translation systems.

You have a meeting with participants in different cities. One person writes on a board, but everyone else takes notes. But IllumiShare enables people to remotely share any physical or digital object on any surface. People can sketch together using real ink and paper, remote meeting attendees can interact with conference room whiteboards, and children can have remote play dates in which they play with real toys. Illumishare also integrates Skype video chatting.

3D Telepresence provides a glassless 3D display that enables correct camera pose and view pose for a live view-dependent 3D Window Telepresence experience.

So how do you measure time? This may be one of physics biggest problems but it is also one for evolutionary biologists, historians, anthropologists, astronomers, you name it; anyone that needs to show time frames knows the difficulty. ChronoZoom will enable transitioning between scales of one year to billions of years, putting historical episodes in context, comparing vast amounts of time-related data across different fields and disciplines.

Marketing operations…so you want to open a new retail shop, where do you put it? You can use a large-scale display to overlay multiple sources of data and information to help him decide the best location to open a new retail shop.

Want to see a concert? How about a sports event? You can use Bing to search for and purchase game or concert tickets directly.

From these examples, Microsoft shows that their R&D is not just about software and operating systems. In fact, some of these examples, may portend a new company that makes some of these products. With the changing focus to Xbox, Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Mouse, and embedded systems, Microsoft may be planning a new direction, the way Apple went from PC’s to tables and mobile phones. They won’t abandon software, but they may be ready to make a transition to another type of company, not just a company product. They may create a new company that does hardware.

With multiple technologies available and still more on the drawing board, Microsoft could be the 21st technical innovator that could lead many other companies into Star Trek territory.

You hear that Spock?

Yes Captain I heard that.

Source: Microsoft

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Check For Program Updates With Secunia PSIhttp://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/27/check-program-updates-secunia-psi/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/27/check-program-updates-secunia-psi/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 18:52:26 +0000 http://www.everything-microsoft.com/?p=22938 Most Windows users know that they need to keep their system up to date with the latest patches to protect it from attacks that exploit known security vulnerabilities. Windows can handle the distribution and patching automatically in the background, which is also the default setting for new installations.

Making sure that third party software, like the Firefox or Chrome browser, Adobe Flash or the media player VLC are update to date falls into the responsibility of the user. Some programs make use of internal updaters to download and install patches automatically, while others do not come with those options at all.

That’s where a program like Secunia PSI (the PSI stands for Personal Software Inspector) come into play. PSI scans the system for software installations, and compares the installed version of the software with an up to date database.

Secunia today has released version 3.0 beta of their software updater. The interface is now as minimalistic as it gets, but that does not need to be a bad thing.

Once you have installed the program on the computer, you can run it to scan the system for programs that are not up to date.

secunia psi

All recognized programs that need to be updated are displayed in a list in the end. Each program is displayed with its program icon, name, version, and the course of actions. Some can be updated directly from within the program interface. All it takes for that is a few clicks to update to the latest version.

Others may require manual updating, which loads the program homepage where the latest version can be downloaded, while others may require to select an interface language first before the update can commence.

software update

Windows users who do not want to install a program to check for updates, can run the online version of the Software Inspector instead. It requires Java and a compatible web browser.

The Personal Software Inspector is a useful program to check a Windows PC for outdated software. Just keep in mind that programs need to be in Secunia’s program database to be checked for new versions. It will happen that you run programs on your system that are not covered by this. You need to manually check those to keep them up to date as well.

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Microsoft Says Goodbye To Live Branding In Windows 8http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/26/microsoft-goodbye-live-branding-windows-8/ http://www.everything-microsoft.com/2012/02/26/microsoft-goodbye-live-branding-windows-8/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 07:02:36 +0000 http://www.windows8news.com/?p=2340 The “Live” brand name has been running throughout Windows for quite some time now, but it looks like Microsoft are getting ready to remove the branding from Windows as it attempts to unify it’s software across the board.

Currently the Live name covers many products such as Messenger, Photos, Mail and more. However in Windows 8 these services are going to be bundled applications with a native Metro UI look as well as simpler names. Mail will replace Windows Live Mail, Photos will replace Windows Live Photo Gallery and so on. The new apps will be tightly integrated into Windows and still retain all the cross functionality that we’ve seen to date. They will all now be unified by one single “Microsoft Account” to make things easier to manage.

A similar story has been happening with Microsoft’s Zune branding as of late as well. While Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 owe much of their characteristics to Zune, Microsoft is quietly putting that brand to bed. Zune is now going to be replaced by Xbox Live as the main entertainment centre for Windows 8. Microsoft are still going to be retaining to Live name here as the Xbox Live branding has become a very strong image for Microsoft’s entertainment division.

One product which we haven’t really heard too much about is Windows Live Messenger. A few people reckon that Microsoft are going to look at integrating that it Skype and incorporate that into Windows instead of having a stand alone Live Messenger program which pretty much does the exact same thing that Skype does.

This is a big branding shake up for Microsoft, probably the biggest they’ve ever done, and while I’m sure it’s going to be quite tricky to get it done properly, I say the vast majority of people will be glad that Microsoft is unifying everything under a single brand. It just makes things easier for everyone involved.

What do you think of this big branding shake up?

Let us know in the comments.

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