I’m trying to upgrade my boot disc drive, which uses XP as the OS. I’d failed twice and hen turned to Norton Ghost 12 to copy my C drive to my new disc. During the clone, everything seemed to be working until about 70 percent of the way through the procedure. At that point, a message appeared stating that my computer was trying to communicate with Microsoft. After about two minutes another message appeared stating that the attempt to communicate failed. Then the computer crashed.
I had some difficulty rebooting and then found that XP failed to recognize the new disc drive. It took me some time to figure out that this drive had to be reformatted. I’ve upgraded discs before but never encountered difficulties like this. I called Microsoft and they suggested I buy a copy of Vista and rebuild from scratch. I don’t want to do this. Am I missing something?
Begun, the Clone Wars have. Answers after the jump.
It's too early to tell how effective (or ineffective) Microsoft's new commercials will be in currying favor among those leaning towards buying a Mac or on the fence as to which direction to take, but at least one OEM might not be willing to wait and find out. According to an article in BusinessWeek, those every ready 'anonymous sources' claim Hewlett-Packard is looking into offering a Windows alternative.
"Sources say employees in HP's PC division are exploring the possibility of building a mass-market operating system," the article states.
Naturally, the new OS will most likely take root in Linux, albeit a customized version that wouldn't be so intimidating to mainstream users. The idea, according to the sources, is to make HP less dependent on Windows and snag some the customers that become mesmerized under Justin Long's spell.
Phil McKinney, CTO of HP's Personal Systems Group, didn't outright deny report, but he came close when he said "Is HP funding a huge R&D team to go off and create an operating systems? (That) makes no sense."
Face it, activation is a failure. For power users who frequently upgrade their PCs, dialing in to reactivate the OS is beyond irritating. Instead, Microsoft must come up with a novel way to punish pirates without annoying its paying customers. (May we suggest displaying massive popup ads in pirate copies of Windows?) For legitimate customers, a realistic home-licensing program—buy one copy at full price, get four more upgrades for $50 to $100 each—would go a long way toward creating goodwill.
Thankfully, that very strange Bill Gates + Jerry Seinfeld TV ad isn't the only way that Microsoft is reaching out to a customer base that's still suspicious of Windows Vista. The San Jose Mercury News' SiliconValley.com website reports that Microsoft is planning to put 155 "Microsoft Gurus" into big-box electronics stores like Best Buy and Circuit City to help improve how Windows Vista and other parts of the Windows ecosystem are received by retail customers. It's part of a $300 million marketing campaign that also includes closer cooperation between Microsoft and major computer OEMs to make Windows faster and more reliable.
According to the official Microsoft news release, you can expect to see the gurus located in specially-branded 'store within a store' locations by year's end, using techniques being developed at Microsoft's Redmond-based Retail Experience Center (see photo at the start of this article).
Microsoft compares its new retail methodology to the personal shoppers employed by high-end stores such as as Nordstrom, while others suggest comparisons with the Apple "Genius Bars" located in Apple retailers. One difference: Microsoft Gurus are tasked with handling pre-sales questions only , while the Apple Genius Bar personnel can also provide technical support.
For anyone who's ever had to drive off a commission-based computer salesperson's desperate struggle to load you up with a lifetime's supply of ink or toner, a USB cable for each finger, or other high-margin goods, one question is, 'how will Microsoft Gurus be paid?' SiliconValley.com quotes Microsoft GM of Corporate Communications, Tom Pilla, as saying a major determining factor will be customer satisfaction and their "ability to translate the technology to a language consumers feel comfortable with."
So, how do you think the Microsoft Guru program will work out? For your chance to sound off, see us after the jump.
We sat down with Microsoft to hear the company’s side of the Vista story. What lessons have been learned following the worst Windows launch in the company’s history? Is Microsoft doing enough to regain PC users’ faith?
Way back in January 2007, after years of hype and anticipation, Microsoft unveiled Windows Vista to a decidedly lukewarm reception by the PC community, IT pros, and tech journalists alike. Instead of a revolutionary next-generation OS that was chock-full of new features, the Windows community got an underwhelming rehash with very little going for it. Oh, and Vista was plagued with performance and incompatibility problems to boot.
Since then, the PC community has taken the idea that Vista is underwhelming and turned it into a mantra. We’ve all heard about Vista’s poor network transfer speeds, low frame rates in games, and driver issues—shoot, we’ve experienced the problems ourselves. But over the last 18 months, Vista has undergone myriad changes, including the release of Service Pack 1, making the OS worth a second look. It’s time we determine once and for all whether we should stick with XP for the next 18 months while we wait for Windows 7. But before we answer that question, let’s review exactly what’s wrong with Windows Vista.
I am currently running Windows XP Pro. Every time I start my computer, the first thing that appears on my desktop is a pop-up error screen. It’s a rectangular box with “system.exe -Application Error” at the top. On the bottom of the window is a red circle with a white X through it and this message: “The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000022). Click OK to terminate the application.” I don’t know what this means.
ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has apparently learned that Microsoft’s online alternative to Google Docs will emerge from beta before the end of this year. Office Live Workspace is a service that is geared to work as either a standalone product, or in tandem with Office 2003-2007. It has been suggested that the current public beta is fairly close to the final version, and the primary issue outstanding is language support. Microsoft wishes to expand the 11 languages it currently supports to 37 before it officially lifts the beta tag later this year. Spokesmen Kirk Gregersen from Microsoft has also reportedly commented on the surprising trends they have identified during the public beta. It was originally assumed that casual users such as students would use Live Workspace as a means to author and remotely access documents. Instead, the service is being used mostly as a single access point for collaborative efforts involving multiple users. Insiders have suggested that this only further demonstrates why desktop versions of Microsoft Office won’t be leaving us anytime soon.
For those who haven’t been following the development of Office Live Workspace, hit the jump to learn more about the services currently being offered.
One of the biggest challenges Maximum PC readers often face is the never ending battle we endure when it comes to restoring the PC’s of family and friends. We often find ourselves bombarded with machines that may have once been configured by us, but have become infected or modified beyond recognition. The good news is that Microsoft finally has a solution and it comes in the form of a free add on for Windows XP and Vista which promises to restore sanity to your world.
Windows Steady State goes far beyond a simple group policy editor. It gives users the protection and peace of mind that until now could only be matched by a virtual machine. Simply put, Windows Steady State gives you nearly unlimited control over what can and cannot be done on a protected PC. With the ability to flush unwanted changes with each reboot every new session can be as fresh and snappy as the day you first installed the OS.
The obvious application for Steady State is anyone who maintains a large fleet of public computers, but I would argue that it works just as well for anyone who maintains a troublesome household computer with friends or family who just can’t resist opening email attachments. Steady State gives administrators full control over how users access the internet, how they import and export data, and even what programs they can use. Interested in learning how to master this amazing new utility?
Read on to learn how to configure Steady State for your application.
Starting this week, Microsoft will update the way its Windows Genuine Advantage behaves. The first change will come in how WGA keeps itself updated, with MS saying "in this release we've also added the ability for future updates to WGA Notifications to have both the validation logic, as well as new forms of notifications, installed without additional steps."
But the biggest change comes to how WGA handles installations that fail to pass validation. Taking somewhat of a cue from Vista, users sporting a copy of Windows flagged as non-genuine will be greeted to a plain black background. Users will still be given the ability to change the background to whatever it was before, but every 60 minutes the desktop will go back to black until Windows passes validation.
In addition, Microsoft plans to add a "persistent desktop notification." Similar to a watermark, the non-interactive notification will appear permanently over the system tray as a reminder that the copy didn't pass validation. Users won't be able to click, move, or otherwise manipulate the notification, but it will be translucent over desktop items, and stay hidden under open windows.
Will this latest effort curb software piracy, or is WGA a bad idea to begin with?
We can all agree that the Mac commercials blasting all things PC (most of which revolve around Microsoft's Vista OS) aren't always accurate, but few outside the PC loyal would argue they're not funny. Or at least they used to be - there are only so many times you can watch Justin Long remind the world what a supposed hip computer user looks and dresses like.
Now it's Microsoft's turn, but rather than try to redefine 'cool,' it's reportedly going back in time a decade to snag an instantly recognizable spokesman who's most recent celebrity role involved a voice over for a talking bee. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jerry Seinfeld will be one of the key celebrity pitchmen for Microsoft's new $300 million advertising campaign, in which Bill Gates will also appear. Also fresh from the rumor mill, look for the new slogan "Windows, Not Walls."
The new ads are likely to debut on September 4th. Lulz?