Windows 7's display configuration settings have gone through some of the biggest transformations from previous editions, including Windows Vista. And, the changes are more than skin-deep. With improved support for portrait displays, better ways to detect and manage multiple monitors, easy projector connections, and better theme controls, Windows 7 makes it easier than ever before to make the visual components of Windows work the way you want them to. Join us after the jump for all the details.
T-Mobile G1 owners already have an idea what to expect from Google's Android operating system, but now anyone can give the OS a whirl, and they can do it on their PC. No convoluted hacks required - just download the Live CD image, burn it to disc, and reboot your PC.
The hacked OS comes courtesy of the Beijing-based LiveAndroid team, who released its first LiveAndroid alpha build in May. Now in version 0.2, the new release is based on Android Cupcake (version 1.5) and adds some useful functionality, like a mouse-controlled curser, keyboard support, and Ethernet. Still missing are WiFi, Bluetooth, and audio.
Although Windows has included the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab to help older programs to run properly under the current version of Windows since Windows XP, these features are not always able to help older applications to run. While Windows 7 continues to offer these features, some editions can also use a better way to run older Windows applications: XP Mode.
Join us after the jump for an in-depth look at XP Mode: the FAQs, what it can do for you, who benefits most from XP Mode, and how to use its new features.
Despite what you might have read, Windows 7 has not yet hit RTM (Release to Manufacturing), although it is getting very close, Microsoft says.
"As we've said all along, we will RTM Windows 7 when it's ready," Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. "As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July."
LeBlanc's statement would seem to contradict the Windows 7 7600 build that has been running rampant on torrent sites, but LeBlanc insists that "just because a single build may have 'leaked' it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM." Before Windows 7 reaches that stage, all languages must be completely finished and Microsoft needs to get to a point of "global readiness," LeBlanc added.
Once Windows 7 is complete, there are a few ways you can get your hands on a copy, depending on which category you fall into. MSDN and TechNet subscribers will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 a few weeks after Microsoft announces RTM, Volume License (VL) customers can get a copy starting September 1st, and everyone else will have to either wait until October 22nd, or trust that the inevitable torrent downloads are legit.
In just a little over three months from now, Microsoft will release Windows 7 to an eager user base ready to put Vista in their rear view mirror. Or at least that's the general feeling among home consumers. In the business world, the reception for Windows 7 might be far cautiousmet with even more fanfare.
According to a survey conducted by ScriptLogic Corp., six in 10 companies aren't planning to purchase Windows 7, many of them citing a "lack of time and resources" as the reason. But it wasn't all about the money. The companies surveyed also voiced concern over compatibility of Windows 7 with existing applications a whopping 40 percent of companies plan to make the jump from XP or Vista to Windows 7 by the end of the year. If you're Microsoft, you have to be happy with those numbers, considering the economy has everyone scrambling to save money wherever they can, and software would be one place to do that.
As for the other 60 percent? They're taking the traditional route and will make sure the new OS doesn't break compatibility with an existing applications.
"The IT department must complete thorough testing to ensure that the applications we rely on each day, specifically radiology information systems and financial applications, will be compatible, before deploying any new platforms or software to our 1,500 desktops," noted Sean Angus, a senior PC technician at Middlesex Hospital.
News of a Google operating system sent shockwaves through the technology industry last week, but unfortunately the announcement left us with more questions than answers. In an attempt to stem the flow of emails on the subject, VP of Product Management Sundar Pichai posted a follow up FAQ on the Official Chrome Blog. The posting doesn’t say much, but it at least confirmed that Chrome OS, just like every other Google product, will be absolutely free. Pichai also detailed the industry partners working with Google, and it’s an impressive lineup, even though Intel was noticeably absent.
Intel’s only comment on the issue at the time was to defend its own operating system initiative, code named Moblin, and to insist that it wouldn’t compete directly with Chrome. What they neglected to mention at the time oddly enough, is that they have actually been working closely with Google on Chromes development, and are extremely pleased with its progress. According to an Intel spokesmen, "We have been privy to the project for some time and we have worked with Google on a variety of projects, including this one. We welcome Google's move here."
Do you think this will cool Intel’s warm relations with Apple and Microsoft?
July 11 crept up fast, and ignoring the "or while supplies last" clause, today is the last day you can preorder upgrade versions of Windows Home Premium and Professional at reduced rates. For those of you who have been without Internet and managed to avoid any computer savvy friends for the past week, pre-sale pricing runs $50 for Premium and $100 for Professional, down from $119 and $199, respectively. Get the full scoop on pricing here.
You can choose among several online retailers participating in the preorder program, which include:
For those of you not yet ready to jump on the Windows 7 bandwagon but fear the reduced rates may be too good to pass up, there's a chance Microsoft will release a Family Pack good for up to three PCs. Rumors of the Family Pack spread like wildfire when a handful of online retailers leaked the product SKU along with pricing information (most of those pages -- though not all -- have since been pulled, probably at the request of Microsoft). It looks like the Family Pack will run about $145, but bear in mind no official word has come out of Redmond. As Clint Eastwood would say, 'Are you feeling lucky?'
Plenty more Windows 7 coverage right here on Maximum PC:
Microsoft's reduced pre-order pricing for upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional remains in effect until July 11th, but you might be wondering, 'Am I better off picking up a copy of Ultimate?' At $219 for the upgrade disc and $319 for the full version, compared to as little as $50 for Premium (pre-order Upgrade), that becomes a big (or at least costly) decision. We won't tell you which copy to get, but while Microsoft peddles Windows 7 Ultimate to enthusiasts, let's look at what the extra Benjamin(s)+ buys you.
Windows 7 Ultimate brings to the table several features not found in the Premium and Professional versions, at least eight of them that we know about. Three of them include BranchCache, Enterprise Search, and DirectAccess, all of which are of much more interest to Enterprise environments than for a typical home user. For the latter group, the full language pack, Bitlocker, and AppLocker might hold a bit more appeal.
That leaves Virtual Desktop Interface and Virtual Hard Drive Booting as the two remaining known features that only Ultimate users will have access to, plus whatever "Unspecified Features" Microsoft has on tap.
"There is a small set of customers who want everything Windows 7 has to offer. So, we will continue to have Windows 7 Ultimate Edition to meet that specialized need," Windows General Manager Mike Ybarra stated in a Microsoft PressPass interview describing Ultimate as the OS for "enthusiasts."
Is it enough to justify the price premium? Hit the jump and tell us which edition you're gunning for.
The big news out of the Google camp last night is that they've been working on a Chrome operating system, which the search giant says will be a natural extension of Google Chrome. Google will initially target netbooks, but reassured its newest project won't be replacing either the Chrome browser or Android.
"Speed, simplicity, and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS," Google wrote in a blog post. "We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the Web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of the way, and most of the user experience takes place on the Web."
The barebones approach isn't surprising, considering that Google's Chrome browser follows the same philosophy. And as the name might suggest, the two are linked by more than just design goals. Google's essentially tweaking the Chrome code base to run within a new windowing system piggybacking on top of a Linux kernel. It will run on both x86 and ARM chips, and Google has already put the wheels in motion with various OEMs to bring several Chrome-based netbooks to market in the second half of 2010.
While Google Chrome OS is still a year away from shipping, Google said they will have more updates this fall.
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.