ZDNet's Hardware 2.0 maven, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, rose to the challenge and has put Windows 7 build 6956 up against Vista SP1, Vista RTM (the original and worst), and Windows XP SP3 in three benchmarks: boot time, Passmark Performance Test 6.1, and Cinebench R10.
Not surprisingly, Windows Vista SP1 blew the doors off its RTM ancestor, but was similarly run off the road by Windows 7, which also made Windows XP SP3 eat its dust in virtually every test. The only test in which Windows XP SP3 held off its two-generation newer rival was in the OpenGL version of the Cinebench R10 benchmark. If this performance level continues until Windows 7 sees the light of day sometime next year, Windows 7 users will be very happy, and Windows XP diehards who have resisted "Mojave" will finally upgrade.
Join us after the jump for your chance to chime in on how you rate Windows 7 versus its predecessors.
According to Valve’s November hardware report, a majority of you gamers using Steam are favoring Windows XP, Nvidia graphics cards and Intel processors.
These numbers come as very little surprise. Windows XP has remained dominant for gamers due to a lack of any significant DirectX 10 enabled titles, Nvidia has been heavily strutting their stuff in the graphics game and Intel is up to their usual, benchmark-crushing shenanigans.
The exact numbers show that there really is a startling majority. 70 percent of users were running Windows XP, 65 percent viewing on Nvidia, and 64 percent thinking with Intel.
Be sure to check out the survey yourself and check out what piece of the pie you reside in!
If you want to downgrade a Dell PC in the Inspiron 1525 notebook or 530 desktop line with Windows Vista to Windows XP, it's going to cost more than the $20-50 premium we told you about last summer for other Dell models. How much more? The difference between systems in the Inspiron 1525 and 530 series with Windows Vista and those with Windows Vista Bonus with Windows XP is $150. That's a huge difference, but the reason why isn't really Dell's fault, TG Daily reports. It's all about which Vista versions permit downgrades - and how much they cost.
So, what's going on? These models are normally shipped with Vista Basic SP1 or Vista Home Premium SP1, neither of which include downgrade rights to Windows XP. So, to get Windows Vista Business or Ultimate, which do offer downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional (XP Home's not an option, alas), you must upgrade to Windows Vista Business or Ultimate, which accounts for the extra cost.
For your chance to sound off on the cost and availability of XP downgrades, join us after the jump.
It looks like Microsoft’s lawyer fueled banhammer has been in full swing lately (surprise, surprise), having just filed 63 lawsuits against online retailers in 12 countries that have been supposedly selling counterfeit Microsoft software.
The lawsuits have reportedly been filed against sellers of counterfeit copies of Windows XP for the most part. “Pirates want to counterfeit all of our products but there always is a trend as a product nears the end of its life cycle,” said Matt Lundy, senior attorney with Microsoft’s anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting team. “They're not going to cease selling XP because Microsoft has.”
The pirates were clearly none-too-bright either. Given that they were selling the software on sites such as Amazon, eBay and even Microsoft’s MSN shopping network, they were asking to get caught.
Thanks to a borked update, some PC users running AVG's free antivirus were in for a long and frustrating weekend. The virus definition update, which was released on Saturday, erroneously detected the "user32.dll" file for the Trojan Horse PSW.Banker4.APSA instead of recognizing it as a critical Windows component. Once the scanner went active, users found their AVG software recommending that they delete the quarantined file. Doing so caused systems to either stop booting or enter into a continuous reboot loop. Whoops!
The misinformed update affected both AVG 7.5 and AVG 8.0 installations on Windows XP. Vista users appear to be in the clear, though a spattering of user comments around the web have indicated otherwise. In any event, another update has corrected the error. For those who already deleted the critical system file, AVG is providing step-by-step instructions on how to restore your system back to a working state. Whether or not it restores your faith back in the program is another question altogether.
Hit the jump and let us know what security software you're using.
This month's Patch Tuesday, unlike October's, is a quiet one, with just two security bulletins:
MS08-069 solves a remote code execution vulnerability in Microsoft's XML Core Service that is rated as Critical for version 3.0 and Important for later versions. All 32-bit and 64-bit desktop versions of Windows from Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows Vista SP1 are affected, as well as Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007. The Exploitability Index is 1 (Consistent Exploit Code Likely - the most serious ranking) or 2 (Inconsistent Exploit Code Likely), depending upon the version of XML Core Services installed. Windows Server 2003 and some installations of Windows Server 2008 are also affected.
MS08-068 patches a remote code execution vulnerability in the SMB protocol. MS08-068 is rated as Important for Windows 2000 SP4 and Windows XP, and Moderate for Windows Vista. Windows Server 2003 and all Windows Server 2008 installations are also affected. Despite Microsoft's rating this vulnerability as only Important rather than Critical, MS08-068's Exploitability Index is 1 because exploit code targeting Windows XP is already public.
That's it for Patch Tuesday security bulletins, both of which will be arriving soon via Windows Update (or can be downloaded manually if you prefer). What else has Microsoft served up?
The only non-security content this time is the usual monthly update for the Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830; not yet updated as this article was posted now updated) and the usual monthly update for the Windows Mail junk mail filter (KB905866), available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
One of the most frustrating experiences you can have as a PC user is when something just won’t work. Maybe it’s a game that blacks out after the title screen, or an app that refuses to launch when you tell it to, but in any case it doesn’t give you much of a clue what’s going wrong, and it’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out.
One possible cause of these mysterious crashes is interference with one of your computer’s background processes. Unfortunately, a whole host of them start with Windows, so it can be tricky to figure out if they’re causing a problem, and if so, which one.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use a clean boot to identify harmful program interactions. A clean boot is a boot where no unnecessary background processes launch at startup. Some functionality of the computer may be lost while performing a clean boot, but it’s easily reversible and a powerful diagnostic technique.
For most of the last decade, improving 3D performance has been the primary goal of operating system, application (read gaming) developers, and hardware developers. However, when you're at work, trying hard to make the money you need to buy a new HDTV and über-gaming PC, you're probably working in a 2D world that's being managed by the creaky GDI/GDI+ APIs which were first developed back to the 1990s.
This week, Microsoft introduced a replacement for GDI/GDI+ called Direct2D. Microsoft's Thomas Olsen, a Dev Lead in the Windows Desktop Graphics organization, uses his new blog to bring us up to speed on why we need the new Direct2D API and how it will make PCs work better.
To learn more about Direct2D, join us after the jump.
Redmond usually releases security patches once a month, on Patch Tuesday, but Microsoft's security experts are worried enough about a newly reported vulnerability in the Server service to post an "out-of-band" security update, MS08-067, yesterday for all versions of Windows from Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 pre-beta. Microsoft hasn't issued a security update between Patch Tuesday releases since April 2007, so this is a significant security issue.
Although all supported versions of Windows are vulnerable, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 versions are especially vulnerable to this flaw, which can permit remote code execution via a specially crafted RFC request.
To find out what makes this vulnerability so critical, and to learn how to get the update, join us after the jump.
Adobe began shipping its Creative Suite 4 (CS4) this week, and perhaps the most significant new feature from a typical Maximum PC reader's point of view is the support for GPU acceleration in Photoshop CS4 and other components, including Bridge CS4, After Effects CS4, Premiere Pro CS4, Acrobat 9, and Flash Player 10.