In case you missed the earlier stories, MaximumPC readers and many others have been concerned about how easy it was for malware to change UAC levels and subvert the new and allegedly improved User Account Control in Windows 7.
To find out what's changing - and who deserves the credit - join us after the jump.
The Registerreports that there's good news and bad news for the many Windows XP users who took a pass on Windows Vista and decided to wait for Windows 7.
The good news? Windows XP users will be eligible for Windows 7 upgrade pricing.
The bad news? Windows XP users will need to do a clean install of Windows 7.
El Reg quotes a Microsoft rep thus:
I can confirm that customers will be able to purchase upgrade media and an upgrade license to move from Windows XP to Windows 7 - however, they will need to do a clean installation of Windows 7.
This requires the user to back up their data, install Windows 7, re-install the programs and restore their data. For PCs running Windows Vista customers have the option of an in-place upgrade of Windows 7 keeping their data and programs intact or to perform a clean install of Windows 7.
For those of you in the XP to Windows 7 camp, does the need to do a clean install bother you, or were you planning a clean install anyway? Join us after the jump for your chance to be heard.
So, what is it about Windows 7's UAC that makes it vulnerable? As Zhen puts it:
Windows is a platform that welcomes third-party code with open arms. A handful of these Microsoft-signed applications can also execute third-party code for various legitimate purposes. Since there is an inherent trust on everything Microsoft-signed, by design, the chain of trust inadvertently flows onto other third-party code as well. A phenomenon I’ve started calling “piggybacking”.
To demonstrate, one of the many Microsoft-signed applications that can be taken advantage of is “RUNDLL32.exe”. With a simple “proxy” executable that does nothing more than launch an elevated instance of "RUNDLL32 pointing to a malicious payload DLL, the code inside that DLL now inherits the administrative privileges from its parent process "RUNDLL32" without ever prompting for UAC or turning it off.
It sounds serious, but before you jump to conclusions, join us after the jump for Microsoft's response and a workaround.
For the many MaximumPC.com readers who wrote that two or three Windows 7 SKUs was all that Microsoft needs to offer, the news that Windows 7 will be available in six flavors (Starter, Home Basic, Enterprise, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) may seem like throwing gasoline on an already-raging fire. However, before you start reformatting your Windows 7 partitions, take a look at Windows GM Mike Ybarra's reasoning. Here's a bit of it:
The first change in Windows 7 was to make sure that editions of Windows 7 are a superset of one another. That is to say, as customers upgrade from one version to the next, they keep all features and functionality from the previous edition...The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops...
Although Windows 7 will be available in six SKUs, most of the emphasis will be on just two. To find out which SKUs are expected to do the heavy sales lifting and how the editions differ, join us after the break.
Gizmodo's Wilson Rothman installed Windows 7 Beta on an HP TouchSmart PC over the weekend, and offers a detailed look at how multitouch works, complete with several videos. Some highlights:
If you install Windows 7 Beta on a system that's already running the manufacturer's touch software, a clean install (instead of upgrading from Windows Vista) provides a truer multitouch experience with fewer connfiguration headaches
You can use multitouch as a mouse replacement; running Windows Media Center; zooming, rotating, and drawing; and for gaming
If you answered Yes to the above question then you are in luck, but even if you hate Microsoft, you can bury it in the ground along with all of your other Microsoft related apparel. These shirts are primarily for people in technology development, but they will probably give a shirt to anyone that completes the survey. The survey is nine questions and lasts less than 5 minutes. The shirt is available in small, medium, large and extra large. According to the website, it will take 6-8 weeks for your shirt to arrive. They will probably be in short supply, so if you are interested in showing off your love for Microsoft and their operating system, hit the jump for more details and a list of the questions asked.
Been admiring those sleek new netbooks, but you already sank your ready cash into a smartphone? If Microsoft's patent application is approved, you might already have half a netbook. As reported by The Register, Redmond has applied for a patent on a so-called "Smart Interface System for Mobile Communication Devices," which would transform your humble smartphone into the practical equivalent of a netbook. According to El Reg:
Although similar features have already been seen in existing cradles, Microsoft’s model would be equipped with a dedicated processor and memory. This would be used for storing and executing the on-board OS and an application for handling communication between the phone, peripherals and other connections, such as Wi-Fi.
Microsoft's patent application says that the device will use USB and "other suitable connector interfaces," and is designed to connect to TVs, monitors, mice, keyboards, printers, drives, and networks. There's a long way between a patent application and real hardware, but what would make you more (or less) likely to give a real-world version of this a careful look? Join us after the jump and sound off.
It seems like just yesterday that Microsoft reluctantly introduced us to the world of User Account Control (UAC). Many disgruntled reviewers claimed that the UAC present in Windows Vista was too intrusive. It caused a lot of frustration when trying to install programs that needed administrator credentials. Apple even made a commercial that illustrated how people felt about the constant nagging of UAC in Windows Vista.
Fast forward to Windows 7 Beta 1, Microsoft now gives full control over the number of prompts you receive. The problem is any malware can defeat UAC by sending a few Visual Basic scripts to activate the slider and turn off UAC. Once UAC is off, the computer can be restarted and the malware can be launched with full administrator credentials and expose the computer to more malware and exploits.
USNews's David LaGesse reports that Charter Communications is about to 10-up its high-speed rivals Verizon and Comcast by rolling out a 60Mbps broadband service (Verizon and Comcast currently offer 50Mbps in some markets).
If the settlement is approved, the owner of each eligible iPod Nano sold without a protective slipcase would receive $25. Owners of iPod Nanos sold with a protective slipcase would receive $15 per unit. Learn more at the settlement website's FAQ page.
Did you buy an early iPod Nano? Join us after the jump for your chance to tell us your scratch horror stories.