It's no secret that Vista was not the best version of Windows when it was released. It was roundly criticized for poor performance, and hardware incompatibilities. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is usually Redmond's number one cheerleader. But today he's letting the cat out of the bag saying Vista was, "not executed well." Okay, it's something at least.
This statement was part of a half-hour long speech in which Ballmer discussed how he runs Microsoft. He stressed finding the best employees, and investing time in the right areas. The comments about Vista were part of an answer about how Microsoft innovates. He says that thousands of man-years were wasted because they were trying to do too much they were developing Vista.
Since Ballmer took over the reins of Microsoft, however, there have been a number of major releases. From Windows 7, to Bing, to Office 2010. Sure, Ballmer may always be remembered for running around a stage chanting and sweating, but you can't argue with his results.
Although USB flash drives have become the most popular way to transport project files between systems, you're probably looking for a cheaper way to distribute presentations, music, photo, or video compilations. For these jobs and others, creating a CD or DVD make more sense. However, there's plenty of confusion at home and the office when it comes to what media to choose and how to write your files.
Read on to discover our ultimate guide to CD and DVD media, burn strategies, and freeware CD and DVD burning programs.
The headline sounds quite a bit more sensational than the content, but bear with me here folks. According to Raimund Genes, CTO of the security firm Trend Micro, the User Account Control changes in Windows 7 make it significantly less secure out of the box than Vista was. Genes claims Microsoft has made design choices that sacrifice security, primarily in the name of usability.
"I was disappointed when I first used a Windows 7 machine that there was no warning that I had no anti-virus, unlike Vista," Genes said. "There are no file extension hidden warnings either. Even when you do install anti-virus, warnings that it has not been updated are almost invisible." "Windows 7 may be an improvement in terms of usability but in terms of security it's a mistake, though one that isn't that surprising. When Microsoft's developers choose between usability and security, they will always choose usability," Genes argued.
This is an interesting theory, but is Windows 7’s really less secure? Some might argue that when dealing with the general public, security and usability is a delicate and important balance. If you nag and warn users too much about non-critical security issues, they tend to eventually tune out or pay less attention to them. For example, if UAC prompts are so frequent that they interfere with your work, you’re less likely to stop and examine each one to determine its validity.
No power user runs Windows with just stock settings; the plethora of third-party PC utilities is an embarrassment of riches. But what about Microsoft's own contributions? Tools like SyncToy and Pro Photos are pretty well known, but there's actually a wealth of advanced tools buried in the Sysinternals section of Microsoft's Technet site for IT professionals.
The Sysinternals site hosts some of the most powerful Windows utilities you can find. Yet surprisingly, not too many people know about them, since TechNet is primarily a System Administrator resource. Whether you're looking for more powerful ways to find out what's under the hood of Windows, need help creating VHD images for use with virtualization hosts, or just wanting to play a joke on your co-workers, these little-known utilities have you covered. We cherry pick and explain the features of the ten most useful Sysinternals tools, and then show you the best of the rest.
Read on to dive into this awesome stash of Microsoft-sanctioned tools and tweakers for Windows XP, Vista, and 7!
"It has been quite amazing to watch the global excitement build around Windows 7, especially during a tough economic climate. It was just a few short weeks ago that we learned about Windows 7 outselling the UK's "own" Harry Potter. In Japan, anxious PC users waited in line to be one of the first to get their hands on Windows 7," a clearly ecstatic Le Blanc wrote on the official Windows Team Blog.
According to NPD's weekly tracking service, Windows 7 software unit sales in the US surpassed VIstas by 234 percent during the first few days. However, revenue generated by Windows 7 sales was only 82 percent higher than Vista's during the tracking period. NPD imputed the rather lackluster revenue growth to the discounts offered on pre-sales and Microsoft's failure to plug the Ultimate version in a manner its due. Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade with an average selling price of $76 was the top-selling Windows 7 SKU during the week ending October 24, 2009.
By now, many of you will have a fresh copy of Windows 7 in your hands, ready to load up onto your PC (we show you the right way to do it). But while that stock Windows install may be OK for your mom, but is it good enough for you? Never! You deserve a Windows that soars above the clouds, swift and strong. That’s why we collected our team of Windows experts and spent countless hours mucking around in the registry, downloading little-known tools, and searching for new keyboard shortcuts to bring you this, our finest Windows tips guide of all time.
Dig it: we give you the definitive list of kick-ass, Maximum PC–approved tips and tweaks for Windows, whether you run XP, Vista, or Windows 7. While some are specific to Microsoft’s latest OS (you’ve upgraded, right?), many will work on XP and Vista, as well. So sit back, relax, and get ready to make Windows better.
Since the dawn of Windows, power-user tipsters (us included) have proffered hundreds of suggestions with the promise of improving your PC’s performance or streamlining its operation. The tip-givers have the best of intentions, but do all of those tweaks, registry hacks, utilities, and “undocumented secrets” really make any difference? To our surprise, in a number of cases, it turns out that tips that sound great on the surface don’t actually do anything when you put the screws to them. And some of those complicated registry hacks are more easily done with tools like TweakUI, saving you a lot of hassle.
We put 25 of the most commonly published XP and Vista performance tips and registry hacks to the test. Do the speed tweaks yield dividends? We clocked performance with PCMark and timed boots and shutdowns repeatedly after making the changes suggested in the tips. In the end, we found that many tips were right on the money, but some were outright wrong or just a waste of time. Some tips fell into the gray area in between, offering some improvement but perhaps not enough to merit the trouble of the hack to begin with.
Read on for our results. You’ll never tweak the same way again!
Windows XP usage plunged 1.1 percent in August, equaling its previous worst showing in November 2008. XP still has a viselike grip on the OS market, with a 71.8 percent market share. According to Net Applications’ data, Vista usage reached an all-time high of 18.8 percent in the month of August, during which it rose by 0.9 percent. Windows 7 also gained 0.3 percent to finish the month with a 1.2 percent market share.
Windows 7 still isn’t officially released to the general public yet, but I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that it will be a universal hit. Users making the jump from Windows XP have a lot of advances to look forward to, and for the most part we can thank Vista. The similarities between the two OS’s are shocking, so much so that many have simply dubbed Windows 7 as “Vista done right”.
Nobody will argue that Windows 7 isn’t a huge leap forward in terms of performance, but even a $600 PC purchased today has more than enough muscle to deliver an excellent experience in Vista. The simple fact that Windows 7 will be born into a mature world full of drivers written for it’s predecessor will almost singlehandedly ensure a successful rollout. Lack of drivers if you recall, was the single largest complaint against Vista’s at launch and Microsoft even alleges that it was a huge factor in reports of it’s early instability.
"I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there" said Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft, in a ChannelWeb story. "So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista."
So with the Windows 7 launch day less than three months away, are you ready to forgive Vista?
This week, Microsoft announced that DirectShow ActiveX code in Internet Explorer 6 and 7 that was reserved for future use has finally been used - by malware providers. The DirectShow Video ActiveX control in the msvidctr.dll file can be used to take over your system if you visit an infected website. According to Symantec, thousands of websites (primarily in China and other parts of Asia) have been affected.
Who's vulnerable? According to Microsoft Knowledge Base article 972890, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP SP3, and Windows XP 64-bit edition are at risk if they haven't upgraded to IE8. IE8 is not vulnerable because the DirectShow ActiveX control being exploited was disabled in IE8. But, if you're still running IE7 (or - horrors! - IE6), what now?
Although Microsoft doesn't have a software patch, it's offering the next best thing: visit KB article 972890 to download and run Microsoft Fix it control 50287 to work around the problem (the same site also offers Microsoft Fix it control 50288 to disable the workaround). The woraround and disable workaround controls are distributed in .msi installer files. Microsoft also recommends the workaround for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 users who are still running IE7.
If you want to learn more about what the workaround changes, you can visit the Microsoft Security Advisory (972890) page. This page lists the CLSID values that must be changed. This information can be incorporated into a .reg file, or can be distributed to multiple PCs in a domain using Group Policy. For additional information, see Security Focus article 35558.