Microsoft announced Monday that Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is available in public beta form. While desktop Windows 7 is looking mainly like a rollup of hotfixes, the update for Server 2008 R2 is more substantive. Server will be getting the new RemoteFX feature which will provide higher quality 3D accelerated graphics for remote users. Server 2008 R2 is also seeing dynamic memory support added.
A copy of SP1 leaked online back and April and is rumored to have USB 3.0 support and an updated Bluetooth/Wi-Fi stack. None of this has been confirmed yet, but the update isn't final yet. To try the new service pack, you have to pretend to be either a developer, or an IT professional. You'll also need a final copy of Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2. Download it here. Let us know if you give it a shot.
It's good to see Apple get some real competition in this space. For a long time Mobile Safari was out in front of the pack. We hope to see both companies continue to push the envelope to deliver a better mobile browsing experience.
Microsoft's follow up the highly successful Windows 7 is already under development, and the first solid details have been disclosed to hardware partners. The leak comes in the form of some PowerPoint slides apparently provided to several manufacturers. The aptly named Windows 8 is said to focus on a number of issues that have been called out by reviewers and users alike.
Windows 8 is going to see a streamlined, faster start up and improved Hibernate support. There will be facial recognition login baked into the OS. Of course, Internet Explorer 9 will come preinstalled. One thing that we find really interesting is a so-called "Push-Button Reset" that would basically reinstall Windows without touching your files, applications, or settings. If true, it could be a giant leap forward in assuring system stability, but it sounds too much like magic to us.
On last thing that the leaked slides point to is a feature we're a little confused about. There will apparently be a Windows App Store in the new OS. It's unclear what that means. Will it just be a place to showcase high quality Windows applications, or a special repository that developers will submit apps to? Do any of these supposed features give you the warm fuzzies?
A Microsoft kernel engineer, Dave Probert, gave a presentation last week about the future of multi-core computing. He claims that modern operating systems fail to take full advantage of multi-core CPUs. "Why should you ever, with all this parallel hardware, ever be waiting for your computer?" asked Probert.
Currently all operating systems share cores among all the running processes. Probert believes a more efficient method would be to assign processes to cores. This method could allow OS designers to discard ideas like protected memory, leading to a faster overall system. But not all computing experts agree.
Many feel that the problem is not task-switching between cores, but that processes just take too long to complete. The most efficient way to improve multi-core utilization may be to find a better way to split up tasks among cores. The Parallel Computing Research Center has been working on this for some time now. No one’s quite sure how we’ll make use of multi-core technology in the future, but it’s clear we have a way yet to go
The Linux faithful should see quite a change when they download the next major release of the popular Ubuntu distro. Version 10.04 is expected to come with a heavily revamped default theme. Yes, gone are the days of the brown default theme that has graced Ubuntu installs since its introduction in 2004.
Canonical has evolved the look ever so slightly as the OS has gone through revisions. The look has been getting decidedly brighter as time goes on with oranges creeping into the desktop color scheme. An expected black/orange redesign back in the 8.04 days never materialized, but the idea of a visual refresh never went away.
The new theme uses “light” as the model. The iconic logo has also been refreshed slightly with a thinner font and overall reduction in size. The Canonical design document claims, “We're drawn to Light because it denotes both warmth and clarity, and intrigued by the idea that 'light' is a good value in software.” There are two different looks currently posted on the wiki page, it is unclear which will be the new default theme. Both have purple and orange elements, while one makes heavy use of slate grey, and the other uses light tans. These are still in the early stages, but it seems clear that Ubuntu will never look the same again.
So you've read our Complete Beginner's Guide to Linux and have decided to adopt an open-source operating system--congratulations! But diving right into a new OS is daunting, even if it is as polished and stable as Ubuntu. That's OK though, because we're here to help. We've compiled a list of the 20 most important skills that every Ubuntu user should have. These tips, ranging from basic GUI manipulation to advanced system recovery, are essential to your Windows-free computing experience. Whether you've just installed Ubuntu for the first time or have been a Linux acolyte for years, you'll want to read our refresher. And if you have any tips you can't live without, we'd love to hear about them in the comments section!
It’s suspicious ad placement any way you slice it. If you do a Google search for “download Windows 7” you’ll probably see an ad for switching to Mac. If you search for “buy Windows 7”, you get no such thing. The ad will show up in the “Sponsored Links” section at the top or the right side. If the search is repeated, several different versions of the ad will appear.
The theory goes that if someone wants to download Windows illegally, they might consult Google. Maybe if they don't consider Windows worth paying for, maybe they would pay for a Mac. Could it be that Apple is targeting Windows pirates? It’s not like software pirates have a reputation for buying things. Do people that intend to pirate Windows even search for “download Windows 7” anyway? Are they just after people who don’t know any better? If you have any possible explanation for this, let us know in the comments.
Although most Linux users rely on pre-built Linux distros and customize their software configuration after installation, there is nothing quite like having a Linux distro that was custom-designed to your specifications. This allows you to get whatever you want out of the box, but in the past it was difficult to create such a distro since it involved compiling the entire operating system from source. (something firmly in the realm of advanced-to-expert-level users)
In more recent years, it has become possible to create your own Linux distro through various easy-to-use online interfaces. The most well-known distro customization tool is Slax (which we recently discussed) but Novell has a tool called SuSE Studio in closed beta which allows you to assemble your own custom SuSE-based distro from pre-compiled packages. Right now, SuSE Studio is still invite-only since Novell gives you storage space on their servers and bandwidth to both store and download your creations.
Read on to learn how we built our own Maximum PC-themed Linux distro!
Anyone who tried to install their upgrade version of Windows 7 to a fresh drive was treated to a cruel wake up call. Not when they installed the OS, not even after they installed all their applications, but when the time came to activate. The deal with upgrade media is simple, an existing, and activated copy of Windows must exist on the hard drive prior to installation, or be prepared to start over. To make matters worse, the activation warning doesn't even give you a phone number to call and appeal you're case. The good news is you’re not dead in the water, that is, as long as you're comfortable making a few simple registry edits.
This guide will give you tips on all the upgrading scenarios, and even teach you how to use your upgrade DVD to perform a clean install on a fresh system with no prior OS. We show you how to turn the tables on the dreaded activation error code 0xC004F061: "The Software Licensing Service determined that this specified product key can only be used for upgrade, not for clean installations."
Editor's Note: Windows 7 comes out this thursday, so we're re-posting our review in case you're still on the fence about upgrading.
For the Windows faithful, it’s been a tough eight years. With the launch of Windows XP in 2001, we thought we were poised on a brink of a new world of NT-based goodness—but two years and uncountable exploits later, the future of Windows was grim. Facing a never-ending torrent of new ‘sploits, worms, and trojans, Microsoft fired back with the single greatest operating system update of all time—Service Pack 2. In the single fell swoop of SP2, Windows XP went from Swiss cheese to secure, and once again we were poised to enter the promised land with… (wait for it)… Vista.
Of course, we all know how Vista turned out. Haunted by poor performance in everything from games to disk access to networking, Vista is widely considered to be Microsoft’s biggest failure. Nonetheless, Vista laid the groundwork for a host of new technologies, all absolutely vital to pushing Windows into the 21st century. Vista’s new, modern driver architecture was designed to move core functionality from the kernel (where any instability can bring down the whole system) to user space—an absolutely necessary development. Likewise, Vista’s proper enforcement of permissions for both users and applications enhanced security, even though UAC remains very annoying. And once vendors fixed their driver flaws and Microsoft squashed some underlying bugs, Vista morphed into an entirely workable operating system, even if we still wouldn’t describe it as “good.”
So, as 2009 draws to a close, we find ourselves testing another new Microsoft OS: Windows 7. Building on the now-mature technologies introduced with Vista, but with a renewed focus on performance and ease-of-use, Windows 7 seems poised to succeed where Vista couldn’t. We’ve finally received a final build of Win7, and have run it through the wringer in both the Lab and in the real-world. Here’s what we found.