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
The Windows 7 beta fish surfaced to face the public for the first time on January 10th 2009. Since its release we have been both excited and terrified with what Microsoft has in store for us. A few naysayers aside, few will argue that the beta is very stable, and is an impressive offering. But is it ready for release?
Well as of February 1st 2009, 2,108 of you thought so! A fan of the Leo Laporte podcasting network took a cue from the host and decided to launch an online petition to try and convince Microsoft that Windows 7 is ready. In a recent podcast both the host Leo Laporte, and co-host Paul Thurrott commented on the petition to which their names were used as advocates, and they nervously took a step back. They both claimed to be enthusiastic about the future of Windows, but admitted that nobody wants Windows 7 to ship before its ready.
A quick scan of the comments from previous Windows 7 discussions would seem to suggest that this is likely to be a heavily debated petition. The vast majority of readers seem to be leaving positive feedback on the beta, but some incompatibilities clearly still remain.
Do you think the Windows 7 beta is good enough to launch? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
As noted by Gizmodo, Windows 7 has made quite a few tweaks to the Windows Experience Index (WEI) first introduced by Windows Vista. For those of you tuning in late, the WEI tests hardware performance of five subsystems (processor, memory, desktop graphics, 3D gaming graphics, and hard disk), calculates a score for each one, and uses the lowest subsystem score as your WEI base score.
Since just after Windows Vista shipped, users of high-performance components, especially graphics cards, have been complaining loudly about Vista's WEI top score being capped at 5.9. While the Minpaso database of Vista WEI scores calculates a "presumption score" to try to make allowances for today's faster hardware, there hasn't been an official move from Microsoft until now. The code jockeys in Redmond heard you, and the top WEI subsystem and base score in Windows 7 is 7.9.
Wondering why the top score changed, and what else is different? Join us after the jump for details.
Draw the line in the sand! It's the showdown the tech world has feared: Microsoft's upstart Windows 7 versus Linux. We've seen plenty of volleys back and forth from both camps over the past few days, thanks to the beta launch of the Windows 7 operating system. The new OS has a lot going for it--features that directly target the growing Linux base in the mobile PC market coupled with design elements that, honestly, look a lot like what we've seen in Linux desktop environments for some time now. But will that be enough to topple the best the open-source world has to offer? We dig deep into the arguments from both camps to find out whether Windows 7 is The Terminator... or John Conner.
Ever since the Windows 7 public beta went live yesterday, Microsoft servers have been buckling under the demand. The much coveted ISO files and CD keys have had somewhat sporadic availability, but as always can be had if you know where to look. Luckily for you, we’ve kicked over every stone to bring you everything you’ll need to get started.
I recommend when surfing through the links that you fire up Internet Explorer, as you will likely run into the same problems I did using Firefox or Chrome. If you manage to use the official beta site in fact, you will require an IE specific ActiveX control to be installed. So if you’re looking for a copy of Windows 7, and are ready to begin, follow along below.
Step #1 – Get Yourself a Beta Key
- The steps were detailed in a blog entry which allows you to access key’s via http://technet.microsoft.com . Simply follow the link and log in using the sign in option in the top right corner. It will ask you for your tech net user name and password, but I was successfully able to do this using my Windows Live ID.
- Next simply copy and paste the following link into your active window
Windows 7 32-Bit Key: https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/scripts/gcs.aspx?Product=tn-win7-32-ww&LCID=1033
Windows 7 64-Bit Key: https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/scripts/gcs.aspx?Product=tn-win7-64-ww&LCID=1033
- Finally, just copy down the CD key for use during installation.
Step #2 – Download The Beta
- The official download site seems to come and go, but here are some deep links to the file which seem to be working even through the disruption.
Remember to back up your data before giving this a try and it’s probably not best to run this on your primary machine. The beta key’s are supposedly valid until August 2009 and should give you a good preview of what is to come.
Hit the jump and leave your impressions of Windows 7.
The wait’s nearly over, but it’s not going down without a fight. Today, developer Relic confirmed that Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II, its long-awaited RTS sequel, will take back the tabletop on February 23. However, should your need to… er, what were we saying? Sorry, we got distracted by some wicked-awesome Dawn of War II screenshots and realized that we’d really like to play the game before its relea...
On January 28, Relic will finally let its armor-clad, gun-toting progeny wander outside its baby-pen for a quick open beta. Even better, those who purchased the final Dawn of War expansion, Soulstorm, can expect beta access on January 21.
The beta will give players a chance to poke and prod all four of the game’s races across five multiplayer maps. Steam and Games for Windows Live are teaming up to put on this peep show, with Steam providing the downloads and GFW the matchmaking.
So then, we’re just going to sleep for the next 456 hours, because we’re not into the whole waiting thing. You, er, probably won’t even notice.
Here's what Microsoft is saying about the glitch (via ArsTechnica):
We've had some reports over the last few hours where customers have been receiving errors when requesting Windows 7 Beta product keys. We can confirm that we are having trouble distributing Windows 7 Beta product keys right now. Since Windows has a grace period built in before a product key is required, please don't hesitate to download and use the Beta without the product key. We will post information here as soon as this is resolved.
Like ArsTechnica, we'll also be keeping an eye on this problem and will let you know when it's solved. Join us after the jump and let us know what's good, bad, and ugly about the official Windows 7 beta.
When Build 7000 of Windows 7 leaked onto the Internet recently, some bloggers speculated that Microsoft had deliberately leaked Build 7000. If that's the case, Redmond has some 'splainin' to do: numerous users have reported that Windows Media Player 12 (the media player included in Windows 7) corrupts some MP3 files.
Microsoft is aware of the bug and is working on a patch, but if you've decided not to wait for an official Beta 1 of Windows 7, what should you do in the meantime to protect your MP3 collection? Join us after the jump to learn how to protect your precious rips and purchased files - and for your chance to tell us if this has happened to you.