With Windows 7 coming down the pike in less than a month, it's time for Microsoft to update its Windows Home Server product to support new features in Windows 7, such as Libraries and image-based backup. Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 (announced in July and now available in beta via Microsoft Connect) provides the Windows 7 support Windows Home Server needs, but that's not all that's new.
Windows 7 and Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 are designed to play nicely together, thanks to updates that support Windows 7 libraries and WHS backup that's Action Center aware (so Action Center will no longer nag a Windows 7 user that backups aren't happening when WHS does its backup thing). To find out what else is new in Windows Home Server, and for the latest on when "beta" comes off the title, join us after the break.
This week, Adobe announced its eighth generation of Photoshop Elements for both PC and Mac, and this time Mac users need to wait only a month for the latest version.
Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows and MacOS includes a number of new photo-editing goodies including Photomerge Exposure, Recompose, and better quick fixes for common photo problems. For more about what's new, why MacOS users won't mind waiting a bit longer for their version, and how to try PSE8 for free, join us after the jump.
Adobe's new Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows adds a number of features for easier photo editing, including:
Photomerge Exposure, which builds upon the powerful Photomerge feature in earlier versions of PE to enable you to combine the properly-exposed areas in two otherwise-identical photos into a "single, perfectly-lit photo." The example Adobe demonstrates uses two photos of friends posing in front of a floodlit building, one with and without flash. It'll be interesting to see how Photomerge Exposure does with a pair of RAW images optimized for bright and dark areas.
Recompose, which allows you to intelligently stretch a photo to fit in a particular frame without distorting the main subject. The example Adobe uses converts a landscape-format photo into a square photo, but inquiring minds (like mine) are wondering about converting 4:3 photos into 16:9 photos (and vice-versa).
Smarter, faster quick fixes for exposure, teeth whitening, bluer skies, contrast, and more with better previews.
Read on to find out what else is new in Elements 8.
When we last visited the Lenovo Thinkpad T400s, we gave it a relatively good score based on its sleek, black matte chassis, its comfortable ergonomic keyboard and its reliable on-the-go specifications, which included a 128GB SSD. Now, the T400s has had a minor overhaul in hardware (including a touchscreen LCD) and software and we were lucky enough to get some hands-on playtime with the still-in-beta SimpleTap multi-touch software.
Canon fired the latest salvo in the hotter-than-ever digital SLR wars this week, introducing its new EOS 7D. The $1699 (body-only) EOS 7D includes some now-familiar features, such as APS-C image sensor size (1.6x crop factor), 3-inch LCD with Live View, and Full HD Video.
The 7D boasts an 18MP image sensor and ISO expandable to 12,800, but that's just the beginning of what makes it bigger, faster, smarter, and stronger than previous mid-range Canon DSLRs. For the rest of the story, join us after the jump.
AutoRun was originally intended to help automatically start programs stored on optical media. However, once USB drives became popular, AutoRun also became a popular way to launch programs from hard disks and thumb drives by working with Windows' built-in AutoPlay functionality. Unfortunately, AutoRun's ability to provide instant launching for programs has also been widely exploited by malware such as the notorious Conficker/Downadup worm and others. Microsoft changed how AutoRun works in Windows 7 RC, but until now, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003 have been wide open to USB-based AutoRun attacks. To find out how Redmond's reining in AutoRun, join us after the jump.
AMD's new ATI Graphics Scout is a visual wizard designed to help you find the "perfect" ATI GPU for your needs. Graphics Scout provides feature selections in four categories: video applications, pictures and photos, games, and office applications. Select the most important feature or features in some or all categories, and Graphics Scout (which resembles a Star Wars R2-D2 with a flat-panel upgrade) suggests a suitable match.
Earlier this week, The Inquirercomplained that Graphics Scout was pushing out some questionable suggestions. Thankfully, as an update to the original story indicates, ATI's been making some changes, and in our tests today, it made recommendations that make sense:
When we selected video editing, photo editing, DirectX 10+ gaming, and Microsoft Office applications, it suggested the top-of-the-line HD 4890.
When we changed our mind and selected big-screen TV connections with Blu-Ray support, photo viewing and editing, online gaming, and web browsing, Graphics Scout suggested the mid-line HD 4550.
The ability to move up and down the GPU line to see what upgrading or downgrading the recommended selection is handy, as is the ability to compare any other card with the recommended card. For its intended UK audience, Graphics Scout is great, as it provides links to various UK dealers. For users in other countries, it's still useful, but you'll need to use a site such as Cnet's Shopper.com to find actual products for sale. Take Graphics Scout for a spin and join us after the jump to chime in on its recommendations.
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.
While Windows 7, unlike Vista, runs well on netbooks, there are two big problems that must be overcome to make Windows 7 easy to install on netbooks:
Most netbooks lack CD or DVD drives
Netbooks run Windows XP or Linux, neither of which are supported for upgrade installations of Windows 7
As far as problem number one is concerned, there may be a solution: Cnet's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft is mulling over the idea of providing Windows 7 on USB thumbdrives to make upgrading netbooks easier without connecting an external CD or DVD drive. As we demonstrated earlier this year, you can install Windows 7 from a USB key after a bit of finagling. Creating a version of Windows 7 that's USB key-friendly would make the process a lot easier for clean installs.
However, what about Windows XP netbook users who want an easy upgrade? Fried reports that Best Buy's Geek Squad is looking at developing Windows 7 upgrade services.
Windows 7 does include Windows Easy Transfer to move user accounts, email, and data files from Windows Vista or XP systems, but is there a better solution that also works with programs? How about Linux netbook users? Any apps or scripts that can at least get the data over to Windowsland safely? We're looking for better suggestions for making the move from Windows XP or Linux on a netbook or other PC to Windows 7 as painless as possible for non-technical users. Think simple, think reliable, and join us after the jump to pass them along.
Until the introduction of Windows 7, device management was a multi-application nightmare. Want to see a device's hardware configuration? Open Device Manager. Want to browse the contents of a storage device? Open My Computer. Need to manage the settings used by a specific device? Open the appropriate applet in Control Panel (Mouse, Keyboard, Game Controller, and so on). If you have a multifunction device, you would need to open separate applets to manage the printing, faxing, scanning, and file management functions of one device.
In Windows 7, the Devices and Printers applet in Control Panel provides a single entry point to managing single-purpose and multifunction devices. Microsoft considers Devices and Printers so important to system management that you can start Devices and Printers directly from the Start menu. To learn how Devices and Printers will make your life easier, and what you need to do to make it work better for you, join us after the jump.
In Windows 7, Windows Media Center is a more useful tool than ever before for working with audio and visual media. While at first glance, Windows 7's version of WMC doesn't look a whole lot different than its predecessor, it includes many improvements. In this article, we'll focus on improvements in WMC's TV setup process, support for digital broadcast TV, the program guide, Internet TV, WMC access from the desktop, RAW file support for photos, picture and music playback and sports.