Ironically, the French had been warned as far back as October to harden their systems, but as we reported last month, millions of PCs hadn't yet been protected by installing KB958644. How bad was the infection, and how was it spread? Hit your afterburners and join us after the jump for details.
It is finally happening! Microsoft is now changing over to a 64-bit operating system by default instead of 32 bit. Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the first operating system to feature 32 bit optional. This means that all the applications included with Windows Server 2008 R2 will be native 64 bit. It appears Microsoft is now ready to embrace the 21st century and begin shipping their new server operating systems as 64 bit only.
For the system administrators that still want to run 32-bit applications inside of Windows Server 2008 R2 they will have to install WoW64. This application support layer is not included by default with the operating system.
Hit the jump for more information and what this means to regular home users.
We have all had those stubborn problems that refuse to go away no matter how long you try to fix it. As a power user, you know that Microsoft has a gigantic library of fixes. The hard part is finding the particular fix for the problem you are having. Once you get to the KB article, you are given a list of steps to perform. Most likely the steps are easy to perform and do not take much time. However, what if you manage a huge network of computers and each one of them has the particular problem? Microsoft has announced they are going to start being proactive and help people fix their computers.
Hit the jump for more information on this feature.
Whether you're using Windows and IE, managing Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server at work, or using Microsoft Office, this month's Patch Tuesday has a security update for you. All four security bulletins address Remote Code Execution vulnerabilities in recent and current service packs for each product listed:
IE 7: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003
Microsoft Office: Visio 2002, 2003, 2007
SQL: SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine on Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003; Windows Internal Database (WYukon) on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008; SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005
Exchange Server: Exchange 2000 Server, Exchange Server 2003, Exchange Server 2007
But Wait, There's More!
Other updates to be released tomorrow include:
Cumulative Update for Windows Vista Media Center (KB960544)
Cumulative Update for Windows Vista Media Center TVPack (KB958653)
Upgrade Rollup for ActiveX Killbits for Windows (KB960715)
February 2009 updates for Windows Mail Junk Email Filter (KB905866) and Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830)
In case you missed the earlier stories, MaximumPC readers and many others have been concerned about how easy it was for malware to change UAC levels and subvert the new and allegedly improved User Account Control in Windows 7.
To find out what's changing - and who deserves the credit - join us after the jump.
The Registerreports that there's good news and bad news for the many Windows XP users who took a pass on Windows Vista and decided to wait for Windows 7.
The good news? Windows XP users will be eligible for Windows 7 upgrade pricing.
The bad news? Windows XP users will need to do a clean install of Windows 7.
El Reg quotes a Microsoft rep thus:
I can confirm that customers will be able to purchase upgrade media and an upgrade license to move from Windows XP to Windows 7 - however, they will need to do a clean installation of Windows 7.
This requires the user to back up their data, install Windows 7, re-install the programs and restore their data. For PCs running Windows Vista customers have the option of an in-place upgrade of Windows 7 keeping their data and programs intact or to perform a clean install of Windows 7.
For those of you in the XP to Windows 7 camp, does the need to do a clean install bother you, or were you planning a clean install anyway? Join us after the jump for your chance to be heard.
So, what is it about Windows 7's UAC that makes it vulnerable? As Zhen puts it:
Windows is a platform that welcomes third-party code with open arms. A handful of these Microsoft-signed applications can also execute third-party code for various legitimate purposes. Since there is an inherent trust on everything Microsoft-signed, by design, the chain of trust inadvertently flows onto other third-party code as well. A phenomenon I’ve started calling “piggybacking”.
To demonstrate, one of the many Microsoft-signed applications that can be taken advantage of is “RUNDLL32.exe”. With a simple “proxy” executable that does nothing more than launch an elevated instance of "RUNDLL32 pointing to a malicious payload DLL, the code inside that DLL now inherits the administrative privileges from its parent process "RUNDLL32" without ever prompting for UAC or turning it off.
It sounds serious, but before you jump to conclusions, join us after the jump for Microsoft's response and a workaround.
For the many MaximumPC.com readers who wrote that two or three Windows 7 SKUs was all that Microsoft needs to offer, the news that Windows 7 will be available in six flavors (Starter, Home Basic, Enterprise, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) may seem like throwing gasoline on an already-raging fire. However, before you start reformatting your Windows 7 partitions, take a look at Windows GM Mike Ybarra's reasoning. Here's a bit of it:
The first change in Windows 7 was to make sure that editions of Windows 7 are a superset of one another. That is to say, as customers upgrade from one version to the next, they keep all features and functionality from the previous edition...The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops...
Although Windows 7 will be available in six SKUs, most of the emphasis will be on just two. To find out which SKUs are expected to do the heavy sales lifting and how the editions differ, join us after the break.
Gizmodo's Wilson Rothman installed Windows 7 Beta on an HP TouchSmart PC over the weekend, and offers a detailed look at how multitouch works, complete with several videos. Some highlights:
If you install Windows 7 Beta on a system that's already running the manufacturer's touch software, a clean install (instead of upgrading from Windows Vista) provides a truer multitouch experience with fewer connfiguration headaches
You can use multitouch as a mouse replacement; running Windows Media Center; zooming, rotating, and drawing; and for gaming
If you answered Yes to the above question then you are in luck, but even if you hate Microsoft, you can bury it in the ground along with all of your other Microsoft related apparel. These shirts are primarily for people in technology development, but they will probably give a shirt to anyone that completes the survey. The survey is nine questions and lasts less than 5 minutes. The shirt is available in small, medium, large and extra large. According to the website, it will take 6-8 weeks for your shirt to arrive. They will probably be in short supply, so if you are interested in showing off your love for Microsoft and their operating system, hit the jump for more details and a list of the questions asked.