Microsoft released the release candidate for Windows Vista SP2 (Vista SP2 RC) to the public yesterday. You can now download it from the Microsoft TechNet website. However, before you install Vista SP2 RC, here are ten essential facts about the latest update to Windows Vista:
SP2 RC doesn't include a lot of visible razzle-dazzle, but....
.. it's designed to make your system work better with the latest hardware...
...and to clean up after itself.
It includes over 600 hotfixes to help your system work more reliably, but there are a few glitches to watch out for.
You're not ready for Vista SP2 RC if you don't have Vista SP1 installed.
vLite-streamlined Vista SP1 won't work with SP2 RC
Vista SP2 RC is available in a bunch of installation flavors, but if you want to get it via Windows Update right now, you have some extra work to do.
You can help Microsoft make the SP2 installation process better, but nobody's forcing you to do so.
Yeah, your desktop will remind you you're running a pre-release program
In part one of our guide, we walked you through the process of finding a distro that is right for you. By now, you hopefully have become more familiar with the distros that are out there and have at least one that you would like to try. This chapter is going to walk you through downloading and burning a CD image of your chosen distro(s), the traditional way of partitioning and setting up a dual-boot system, and another way to dual-boot without repartitioning. Instead of providing a step-by-step tutorial for a specific installation process, our goal is to educate you on the underlying concepts in a more generalized way that you will be able to apply towards many different Linux distros. You should also read our previous guide to installing Ubuntu for further instructions.
The official release of Windows 7 might still be several months away, but that isn't stopping Nvidia from preparing for Vista's successor with new graphics drivers aimed at Windows 7 beta users. The new drivers are available now, and Nividia promises this is just the start of a regular driver release schedule. Remember that shortly after Vista debuted, Microsoft blamed buggy Nvidia drivers for giving the OS a bad rap.
"Since its release last month, the Windows 7 Beta has been eagerly tested by hundreds of thousands of NVIDIA GeForce owners, who are excited about the many graphical improvements Microsoft has added into the upcoming operating system," said Ujesh Desai, vice president of GeForce desktop business at NVIDIA.
Nvidia says it has been working closely with Microsoft so that its new drivers will take full advantage of the additional features and functionality Windows 7 brings to the table. Kicking off with v181.71, Nvidia's graphics drivers support the new Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) v1.1. The drivers also support SLI on DX9, 10, and OpenGL applications, PhysX, CUDA, and Direct3D, Direct2D, and DirectWrite.
We are certain that many of you want to try Linux to see what it is like, but have no idea where to start or how to get into it. This article is the first installment in a four-part guide that will gradually introduce you to the Linux environment and how to adjust to it if you are a new user.
One of the hardest things to do while starting out is finding a distro that is right for you. Many users try several before settling on one of two that they really like. Once they find a distro that feels right, they are often reluctant to switch unless the distro becomes unsuitable for their needs for whatever reason.
In most instances, choosing a distro ultimately comes down to several factors: Your skill level, the purpose of the system, and package management.
Attention Windows 7 beta users, up to five (5), I said f-i-v-e test updates are coming via Windows Update tomorrow (February 24). These updates are strictly for testing purposes, our friends in Redmond tell us. By the way, you must install these updates manually via Windows Update - even if you run WU in Automatic mode. BTW Mark 2: these updates replace some system files with the same version that's already on your system.
So, what's the point of running WU and selecting these updates? Mama Microsoft want to make sure it can update Windows 7 properly. Don't want to play? See the Microsoft Update Team Blog to learn more.
If you're on the Microsoft Connect testing list for Windows Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2, Redmond has just rung the "come and get it" bell - SP2 RC (the same package upgrades both Vista SP1 and Windows Server) was released to MS Connect testers yesterday, Ars Technicareports.
So, what's special about SP2 RC? Some highlights include:
Support for VIA's 64-bit CPU
Integration of the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, including support for Bluetooth 2.1
Support for writing to Blu-ray media
Integration of Windows Search 4.0
Better and more secure installation experience
Over 690 hotfixes
If you're not among the fortunate few testing Vista SP2 RC, what should you be doing until you can try it? For our suggestions, as well as an early comparison with Vista RC1 (not to mention your chance to sound off), join us after the jump.
After purchasing a Lenovo PC preloaded with Microsoft's Windows Vista, Emma Alvarado was shocked to learn she would have to pay $59.25 in order to downgrade to Windows XP. She's now taking the matter to court and has a filed a lawsuit against Microsoft.
"Microsoft has used its market power to take advantage of consumer demand for the Windows XP operating system by requiring consumers to purchase computers preinstalled with the Vista operating system and to pay additional sums to 'downgrade' to the Windows XP operating system," the suit alleges.
The suit is an interesting one, though probably an uphill battle for Alvrado to convince a judge that Microsoft is in the wrong. The software maker had originally intended for XP to go the way of the dodo bird at the end of June in 2008, but has since offered more than one stay of execution due to consumer demand. Both Vista Business and Ultimate come with downgrade rights, but it's up to the OEMs to decide if they want to offer it as an option, and if so, for how much. Pricing varies by OEM, which might make Alvarado's claim that Microsoft extended its XP cutoff date because of "tremendous profits" hard to prove in court.
Does Alvarado have a case? Hit the jump and give us your verdict.
Computerworldreports that HP will offer not only Windows 7 Professional and Home Premium SKUs on its netbooks, but also the stripped-down (three apps open at a time) Windows 7 Starter edition. Making Starter available in all markets is a departure for Microsoft, which has offered Windows XP and Windows Vista Starter editions only in developing countries.
As we reported earlier this month, Windows 7, unlike Windows Vista, is designed to run on everything from netbooks to the most powerful desktop and laptop PCs on the market. Although HP isn't the first company to announce it would be running Windows 7 on netbooks (ASUS beat them to the punch back in October), HP's decision provides more backing for Microsoft's claim that Windows 7 covers all the modern PC bases. So, how about you? What's the lowest-performance platform you've used for installing Windows 7 Beta? Were you satisfied with the performance, or not? Join us after the jump for your chance to share your Windows 7 Beta on netbook or low-end PC platforms war stories.
The last thing you want to be told when buying a new car is that you shouldn't be driving it, and likewise, HTC G1 owners can't be geeked to learn that at least one security researcher is advising against using the Android-based phone's web browser.
Security researcher Charlie Miller says a vulnerability in Google Android makes it possible for hackers to remotely take control of the phone's web browser and other related processes. At that point, hackers could then gain access to saved information stored in the browser and spy on a user's online transactions, including encrypted ones.
Interestingly, Miller notified Google of the flaw back on January 21 and a patch was put forth, which the search company has given to T-Mobile. But as of this writing, T-Mobile has yet to deploy the fix.
"The Android Security Team responded by contacting PacketVideo, T-Mobile, and oCERT, a public Computer Emergency Response Team. PacketVideo developed a fix on February 5th, and they patched Open Source Android two days later," writes Rich Cannings, a Google Android security engineer. "oCERT assisted PacketVideo with coordinating the fix, and they published an advisory detailing this issue. We offered the patch to T-Mobile when it became available, and G1 users will be updated at T-Mobile’s discretion."
No word has been given on when T-Mobile expects to push out the patch.
Select Vista owners may be getting a free ride to Windows 7, according to a draft document TechArp claims to have obtained. The document, which TechArp says was handed out to OEM partners on December 10 with a one month deadline to provide feedback, outlines Microsoft's tentatively named "Windows 7 Upgrade Program."
The point of the program is to alleviate the concern from potential PC buyers who may be postponing a purchase in anticipation of Windows 7. As it's being reported, it's a consumer-oriented upgrade program aimed at both individual consumers and small businesses who purchase a Vista-based PC during the unspecified 'Program Eligibility Period.'
To qualify, end users must buy a new PC with Vista pre-installed, and the system must come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached. The upgrade only apples to Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate flavors, which can then be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate respectively. And finally, Microsoft says the program does not support multiple upgrades for medium, large, or enterprise customers, according to the document.
Keep in mind the above is based on a draft document, and should it become finalized, eligibility requirements and other details could very well change. Stay tuned!