Over the last year, Windows 7 has slowly, but steadily been gaining market share. Now perhaps we can all just get together and call it a huge success. According to some Google analytics data, Windows 7 has blown by Vista, and should surpass Windows XP by year's end. What we're talking about here are usage statistics for various websites, but this is indicative of what regular consumers are running.
In July, Microsoft announced that they had sold 175 million Windows 7 licenses. That amounts to 30 million per month. Still, when Microsoft talks about this, there's no joy, no self-congratulations. It wouldn't be prudent to talk up the platform too much, but consumers seem pleased with Windows 7. Microsoft has avoided reliving the PR nightmare that the Vista launch turned into.
All the data shows that Vista users are upgrading at an astounding rate. This in and of itself is odd. In the past, most users have just waited until they bought a new computer to get the new version of Windows. It could be a symptom of widespread dissatisfaction with Vista, but the quality of Windows 7 is also getting XP users to take the plunge. Did you step up to Windows 7 from XP? Tell us about your experience.
You hear a lot of doom and gloom stories about Microsoft these days, but the Redmond software giant seems to be doing just fine. In the midst of earnings season, Microsoft has taken the opportunity to announce that they've sold 175 million copies of Windows 7 since its release. This keeps up the convenient rate of about 7 copies per second we heard a few months ago.
The interesting thing about the numbers is that demand is not yet falling off. People are adopting Windows 7 in droves, in many cases moving right from XP. While Microsoft probably isn't thrilled about people skipping Vista, the massive step up to Windows 7 is likely to impress skeptical consumers. One last stat from Microsoft; Windows 7 is now running on 16% of the world's PCs. Not bad.
Are you a Windows 7 user? If you made the jump from XP, let us know what you think about the latest and greatest.
Make of this what you will, but according to Microsoft, some 74 percent of businesses are still running Windows XP, an operating system now two generations old.
That number comes from Tammi Reller, CVP of Microsoft Windows, who stated as much during the company's Worldwide Partner Conference this week. What Reller didn't do, however, is view this negatively.
According to Reller, this statistic just means that Microsoft is in a great position to capitalize on would-be converts to Windows 7. Given the early issues and poor public perception of Vista, Microsoft wasn't able to convince very many businesses that they need or should upgrade, but that could change with Windows 7, given how well regarded Microsoft's latest OS is.
On a side note, Reller says that the average PC is 4.4 years old, the highest average age in a decade. And that, of course, means more upgrade potential too, Reller said.
We've touched on the impending demise of XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) on a couple of occasions in the past week or so, and if you were still caught off guard today by Microsoft ending support, then extend your leg and swing it back as far and as fast as possible, with the goal being to kick yourself in your own ass for failing to pay attention.
Whether you were ready for it or not, what happens now? For starters, Microsoft will stop sending out updates and security patches for the now-defunct version of Windows, leaving XP SP2 users vulnerable in a number of areas, including IE, WMP, and Outlook Express.
You do have some options, however, the most obvious one being to upgrade to SP3. If for whatever reason that's not an option and you're simply stuck on XP SP2, you can make the best of a bad situation by first and foremost getting rid of IE. It doesn't matter what version of Microsoft's popular browser you're running, you won't be receiving updates. Instead, consider (strongly) switching to any of the alternatives, such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera, all of which will continue kicking out updates.
Other steps you can take: update other programs, install AV software (if you haven't already), keep your firewall running, and cross your fingers.
Everyone has different reasons for exposing Windows security flaws. Some do it for avenging a fellow security researcher's insult, others to bring home the bacon. Unlike the Microsoft -Spurned Researcher Collective, which falls in the former category, Danish security firm Secunia's motivation is purely pecuniary.
“The vulnerability is caused due to a boundary error in the "UpdateFrameTitleForDocument()" function of the CFrameWnd class in mfc42.dll. This can be exploited to cause a stack-based buffer overflow by passing an overly long title string argument to the affected function,” Secunia said on its site.
According to group manager Jerry Bryant, “Microsoft is investigating new public claims of a possible vulnerability in Windows 2000 and Windows XP.” However, he is unaware of any attacks based on the vulnerability.
It didn't take long for digital ne'er do gooders to actively exploit a new Windows XP flaw discovered by a Google engineer last month. In a blog post on Wednesday, Microsoft said it noted some 10,000 "distinct computers" have fallen prey to the attack.
"At first, we only saw legitmate researchers testing innocuous proof-of-concepts. Then, early on June 15th, the first real public exploits emerged," Microsoft said. "Those intial exploits were targeted and fairly limited. In the past week, however, attacks have picked up."
Microsoft also said the attacks are no longer limited to specific geographies, noting outbreaks in Portugal, Russia, Croatia, Germany, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and several others, including the United States.
The exploit involves a vulnerability in the Windows Help and Support Center software that comes with Windows XP. In short, the attack is being used to download various malware, as well as a piece of software called Obitel that...downloads more malware. Go figure.
Microsoft has acknowledged that it is aware of a zero-day vulnerability in the HCP protocol. It learned about the threat on June 5, 2010 from Google security engineer Tavis Ormandy, who barely waited four more days before making the details of the threat public, complete with his proof-of-concept exploit code.
Microsoft took a dim view of Ormandy’s eagerness to make a public disclosure. “Public disclosure of the details of this vulnerability and how to exploit it, without giving us time to resolve the issue for our potentially affected customers, makes broad attacks more likely and puts customers at risk,” wrote Mike Reavey, director of the Microsoft Security Response Center, in a blog post.
Reavey also criticized Ormandy for not being thorough in his analysis: “It turns out that the analysis is incomplete and the actual workaround Google suggested is easily circumvented.”
The vulnerability is known to affect Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 only. Microsoft is currently working on a fix. In the interim, users can protect themselves by unregistering the HCP protocol as described in Microsoft Security Advisory 2219475.
If you prefer your netbooks in the Windows XP flavor, you might want to plan ahead and buy a six pack. Starting this coming October, Microsoft will no longer allow manufacturers to install XP on netbooks. Microsoft has previously alerted OEMs to this, but took the opportunity this week to remind everyone.
Microsoft went out of its way to optimize Windows 7 for netbooks, and most users seem to be fine with the newer OS. The number of Windows 7 netbooks has been increasing steadily, while XP machines are declining, Though, there are still a number of XP netbooks being sold.
OEMs are rumored to be paying about $50 per Windows 7 license, as opposed to a mere $15 for XP. We can see why they'd want to continue offering XP on some machines, given the famously low profit margins on netbooks. Do you still want XP on your netbooks?
I have Windows 7 Home Edition 64-bit. When I download pictures from the Internet, I want to save them to a specific folder—let’s call it ABC. I right-click the picture and select Save Picture As. Then Windows Explorer sends me to Libraries\Picture Library. I then navigate to ABC folder and click it, then click Save. I right-click the second picture, but I’m sent back to the pictures library! The save dialog in Windows XP would open right at the last directory I saved photos to, so I didn’t have to click back to the ABC folder every time. Why won’t Windows 7 do the same?
Read the Doctor's answer for Glenn after the jump.
Security software firm McAfee apologized last week for issuing an update to the company's corporate antivirus suite that caused the scanner to identify a benign file in Windows XP machines as a virus. The screw up, which mainly affected XP SP3 rigs, had IT departments scrambling to repair and restore machines that had crashed.
"First off, I want to apologize on behalf of McAfee and say that we're extremely sorry for any impact the faulty signature update file may have caused you and your organizations," said Barry McPherson, executive vice president of support and customer service, in a blog post.
McPherson went on to blame the situation on a recent change made to McAfee's QA environment that resulted in a faulty DAT making its way out of the company's test environment and onto customer PCs.
McAfee didn't disclose how many computer systems were affected, though some estimates put the number in the thousands. The timing is especially bad for McAfee, as the company's consumer oriented internet security suite seemed to have turned a corner with this year's release, earning an 8 verdict in our recent 10-man security shootout.