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Windows Vista testers: Stop leaking content!!

April 24th, 2006 by Patrick Elliott

I don’t usually go on rants, however, I have to this time…

Vista / Longhorn TechBeta testers — PLEASE stop leaking newsgroup posts, connect information, etc.. You are breaking the close relationship and trust that many of us have established with Microsoft, and you’re also upsetting many friends of mine who are working hard to get this stuff out to you before it reaches everyone else. I’ve been told they have so much they’d like to do for us testers, but you who keep leaking this stuff are ruining it.

So, if you wish to leak information, and we find out about it, you will be reported. I don’t have anything against you personally, but business is business.

PatrickE

Posted in MS News, Windows Vista | Comments Off on Windows Vista testers: Stop leaking content!!

Out of office

April 24th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Hey, just wanted to let the MSBLOG team as well as everyone else know, that I’m in London for the next few days and won’t be posting or commenting.

Got a meeting with the Microsoft lot from London (lovely people by the way, they’re the Windows Live lot :P) but I’ll be back on Thursday I think…

In the meantime, MSBLOG continue’s without me, but hopefully by the time I get back, we’ll have another exclusive on our hands, I hope 😉

Posted in Daily Life, MSBLOG Related | Comments Off on Out of office

Latest build of Windows Vista reviewed (with some comparison with Mac OS X)

April 23rd, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

How can Windows Vista beat the pants off Mac OS X? It’s not really that difficult to be quite honest, seeing as you’ve got a platform which supports over 90% of all applications out there, and the fact that you don’t now need a specific computer to run Vista on.

I’ll grant the fact that Apple has created the “Boot Camp” software which enables Mac hardware users to split the hard drive in half and stick Windows XP on it – that’s a good move from Apple, but even still, if I was to buy a Mac, I wouldn’t even bother with OS X because it’s complicated to use and simply, it doesn’t support half the file types out there in the world.

I saw this video some time ago (I’ll try and dig it out from my vast storage server) of a bloke who hates the Mac OS X system so much that he deliberately recorded and edited everything you could see… on a Mac. But I’m not here to talk about the Mac as much; I’m here to talk about Vista and what’s new in the latest build. I’ll start with whatever I think of first, and carry on working my way through.

Searching
Wow… compared to Windows XP, has anyone realised how fast this is? You can search for anything and it’ll pop up a whole load of results within the first few seconds of it searching. Granted that the SearchIndexer.exe application crashes sometimes, but regardless of that it’s really smooth.

You can save your searches, you can modify the search to a whole load of different subsections including specific size ranges, data ranges and modified/created dates. You may think that’s standard, but it’s easier to search, it’s faster to search and it takes the hassle and pain out of searching, something which had to be fixed ever since Windows 2000 Professional hit the shelves over half a decade ago.

Windows Internet Explorer 7
Nothing much has changed in this build from the previous build of Vista, even the public-Beta 2 preview that was released to Windows XP, there’s very little difference. What I did notice, is that in the About box, it now says “Windows Internet Explorer 7+” whatever that means… but it obviously means that something’s coming after 7…

PNG transparency still works a treat, and it seems much smoother with the user interface. The Glass area’s haven’t changed, but the entire application seems more streamlined. You have a strip of toolbar options which can be played with instead of having a chunky Classic menu (which can be viewed at any time by pressing Alt on the keyboard). There are even more icons and minor changes – especially with the Feeds icon and the Favourites area of IE7. As expected, the favourites you store still link in with the Sidebar gadgets… of which reminds me…

Windows Sidebar (ahhhhhh :))
You’ve got to love the Sidebar. I missed it when it left after 4053 Alpha builds, but am so glad that it’s back and better than ever. We see even more Gadgets making an appearance in this build, such as the Stock Checker which enables you to check stock quotes. You have the option of even more skins for the clock (and some rather funky looking futuristic ones), a calculatopr has been added, sticky notes enabling you to leave a note on the desktop, but two especially cool Gadgets. The CPU Meter and the Weather Gadget – the CPU one you can probably work out for yourself, but it measures what the Performance tab in the Task Manager shows you, and the Weather Gadget lets you type in your local city and have a visually rich graphic showing you the weather. If it’s sunny in that area, it’ll tell you. If it’s snowing or raining, or even cloudy, it’ll tell you. Even if it’s nighttime, it’ll tell you! It’s absolutely great – now I don’t even need to step outside the house to see what the weather’s like!

I’ll say this though – back to the original title of this entry – placing all the Gadgets on the desktop really can make it look like the Dashboard on Mac OS X, but it looks so much better and the content is much richer. Windows 1, Mac OS X 0.

UAP (User Account Protection)
Not a huge amount of change you may notice, except for the background dimming whilst a UAP dialog asking for authentication appears, but a lot has improved. It prevents standard users from creating silly mistakes that can harm the operating system, but really does it’s job.

I tried removing registry entries, playing around with system settings and that kinda thing whilst logged in as a standard user. I really couldn’t do it without entering in my administrators password. We’ll end up seeing a lot more improvements coming to UAP over the next few builds, because some critisise it saying it doesn’t implement the UX (user experience) guidelines because there are so many dialog boxes, but before you know it, I’m sure it’ll appear much more appealing to users.

Installation
This build installs in less than an hour, almost guaranteed. I’ve installed it now on 3 machines at home, with WinSAT Ratings of 2 to 4, including one on Virtual Server 2005 R2 and they all complete within the hour. The general view of the installation is much easier to understand what happens, because it breaks it down in about 10 or so seperate categories all counting up what’s happened. Before you know it, the installation’s been copied and expanded etc. and the time goes by quicker because you’re being updated about the installation much more regularly.

We’ll see staged and unstaged installations being rolled into Vista, enabling system administrators to have a whole load of computers running exactly the same because they’re from the same installation package which is useful for corporate networks and school systems.

Aero Glass
As a “colleague” of mine in the newsgroups said, Aero Glass does need a little work on it, seeing as it’s difficult to tell whether a window is active or inactive. I agree – the only difference I see is brightness and cloudyness of the window.

Nevertheless, a good example for a “full Glass demo” would be to “Add Gadgets” to the Windows Sidebar, stick a nice wallpaper on such as the palm-tree wallpaper in the “Vistas” category, then apply and move around the Add Gadgets window. Pay special attention to the diagonal lines, also known as “Glass refraction”. You can see the shadows and blending behind them, you can see the transparency but you must understand the complexity of the whole thing. Each pixel is updated every refresh rate, so if you played a video behind the Glass enabled window, you’d see the whole thing blur and refract.

What people may see as a gimick or a bit of eye-candy, I see as a technology as something beautiful. It really is like a set of glasses or spectacles, that’s probably the best way to describe it being a glasses wearer myself.

Fine details
Finally for now, the fine details that are there. The icons have nearly all but been updated to brand new icons. There are brand new wallpapers in there (of which may stick for the public beta, we just don’t know yet) and the animations that are present in the dialog boxes when you copy, move or delete files – it’s all there just the smallest of details.

Messaging
Windows Mail, the sometimes critically acclaimed new version of Outlook Express ships with the new operating system. Some people don’t like it, I for one am still getting used to it. However with it comes advanced searching of emails in the content bar at the top. You can type in and click andthere you have any email you search for. It also has integrated public newsgroup support so instead of having to configure it, you can access them instantly.

With newsgroups in mind, the MVP support people will have it much easier to select out nominated MVP’s also. With newsgroup post rating, you can rate a post on how useful it is, giving the user extra points or negative points depending on your opinion of the post. This helps other users pick out genuine helpers and also dull out the ones that spam.

Windows Explorer
Explorer has come along a long way since Windows XP. You still have the ability to search straight away from the folder your in. You have favourite links down the left hand side which enables you go straight to places where you might need to go in a hurry.

You have different panes such as the navigation pane and task pane which run seamlessly with the display enabling you to perform functions with your files with a touch of a button and not need to click through multiple displays. Not to mention, the views menu, enabling you full control of the view of your files. Yeh you’ve got the standard settings such as “list” or “large icons” and “small icons” but with the new slider menu, you can set custom views with your files and folders enabling you an in-between setting which many users have been wanting for some time.

External protection
The firewall has been advanced and set to “on” by default, and also had bugs that were present in Windows XP fixed. Windows Defender (previously known as AntiSpyware) has been integrated as part of the system, and set so it runs all the time but as part of the svchost.exe (the Generic Host for Win32 Services) so it runs in the background. The Security Center has had a bit of a facelift and enables you to customise the settings a lot more. Such things as UAP, it will alert you whether it’s running or not, but doesn’t let you change whether it’s on or not as this is part of the user protection again.

Finally…
If anyone can think of anything else to add to this, leave a comment. But although there isn’t a huge comparison to Mac OS X in this entry, I still think that overall if you read again, these features totally outnumber what’s there in Mac OS X in my honest opinion.

Slate me if you will, but that’s my opinion from a technological professional.

Posted in Reviews, Windows Vista | 20 Comments »

Screenshots of Vista Build 5365 running on Virtual Server 2005 R2

April 23rd, 2006 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

Yesterday I have installed Vista Build 5365 on Virtual Server 2005 R2. This time without any problems. On the last build I had still some problems to get the harddrive/partition recognized. Overall the setup process is very fast, it seems to be faster than WindowsXP!
By the way on the current build the Vista setup changed a little bit, it shows more details about what it’s doing in every step of the setup.
I haven’t played much with that build yet but I can say it runs very fast on Virtual Server and gets faster everytime the build number increases! Good work.

So check out my screenshots. More to come later!

Windows Vista Build 5365 on Virtual Server 2005 R2

Posted in Windows Vista | Comments Off on Screenshots of Vista Build 5365 running on Virtual Server 2005 R2

Windows Live Messenger official banner?

April 23rd, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Just seen this as an advertisement in Windows Live Messenger – could this be an official banner or at least a preview of what the official banner looks like?
Either way, still looks pretty cool 🙂 That’s certainly a larger view of the new icon that comes with Windows Live Messenger, but maybe we can expect to see some more cool graphics coming soon.

wlmbanner.PNG  

Posted in Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger | Comments Off on Windows Live Messenger official banner?

Windows Vista Aurora Wallpaper

April 22nd, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Just edited this a bit seeing as I couldn’t find a blank copy of it anywhere, it’s the new “Aurora” background from the latest build of Windows Vista. Feel free to download and use as your wallpaper. It’s 1152×864, so that’s the “average” monitor size.

Just for legal lingo, all rights reserved to Microsoft as they kinda had the wallpaper – I edited it and stuff, but all rights go to them. Microsoft doesn’t affiliate (much) with this blog, and they hold no responsibility for anything that happens here… *sigh*

Right click here and select “Save Target As” to download.
Mac users, hold down the clover leaf thing and do some other jiggery-pokery, I don’t know…

Posted in Windows Vista | Comments Off on Windows Vista Aurora Wallpaper

Vista 5365 Screenshots

April 22nd, 2006 by Patrick S

Thanks to Zack we have Vista 5365 Screenshots…This build looks to be the best yet.

This build seems SO feature packed and pretty…This will beat the Pants off of MACOS X

photoswidgets

Check them out HERE (theres a lot of them!)
View more HERE

Important Copyright Notice
Windows Vista™ Copyright ©2006 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
The Windows Vistaâ„¢ operating system and its user interface are protected by trademark and other pending or existing intellectual property rights in the United States and other countries.

(Big thanks to AeroXP for these – my Aero Glass drivers are incompatible so although I can get Glass, screenshots don’t work whatsoever so I couldn’t get my own unless I used Aero Express, never the less, AeroXP… thanks very much and so sorry for the confusion over this post and the images!)

Posted in Windows Vista | 10 Comments »

Want to join DPM’s SP1 or V2 TAP?

April 22nd, 2006 by Joseph Bittman MCSD .Net

Hi everyone! DPM has released an email address to email if you are interested in joining the normal DPM SP1 or specialty V2 TAP beta. . . . there isn’t an email address for the normal V2 beta. The email address is: “dpmtb[at]microsoft.com”!

Quote from source:

Among the exsiting DPM V1 customers we are looking for customers who want to participate in our beta for Service Pack 1. 

SP1 enables: 

  • protection of 64 bit production servers  

  • protection of production servers with Single Instance Store (SIS) enabled  

  • allows for protection of clustered production servers  

  • and has a roll up of all fixes

If interested in testing, shoot an email to dpmtb[at]microsoft.com”

Posted at blogs.technet.com/dpm by Marc Kamstrup.

Enjoy! – Joseph Bittman DPM MVP

Posted in Beta News, DPM | 3 Comments »

Introducing the FIRST MSBLOG Podcast!

April 22nd, 2006 by Patrick S

Well its what you have been waiting for…The first (propper) MSBLOG podcast is here!

This version includes an indepth discussion between Zack and Dean (two of MSBLOG bloggers) over a range of new Microsoft products-includeing Windows Vista and MSN passport/mobile products.

Check it out its worth a listen:

Posted in Podcast | 9 Comments »

Come and get it – The new Build is up!!

April 22nd, 2006 by Patrick S

For those who have not heard the news the new build of Vista is Up… go get it now on connect!!

Most people know what the build number is…but i wont say just in case.

Will try get some Screenshots ASAP

 -Patrick

Posted in Windows Vista | Comments Off on Come and get it – The new Build is up!!

Win 95 Song funny-but oh so true.

April 21st, 2006 by Patrick S

Just heard a funny song about windows 95 and i can relate it to myself when i first got vista… Exclusing the 386 part-and the end part i guess 😀

 Check it out here

Posted in Humour | 2 Comments »

Microsoft Patch ‘Erases’ Outlook Express Addresses

April 21st, 2006 by Patrick S

IT seems that one of the Patches that MSFT released last week is causing problems according to some XP users. (Familiar Feeling).

After applying the patch from security bulletin MS06-016, say dozens of users, their Outlook Express e-mail client’s address book disappeared and form-style messages can’t be sent.

After the update was applied last Thursday, when I try to open one of the .eml [templates] on my desktop, it opens and only allows me to forward the e-mail,” wrote Ken Terry on Microsoft’s Outlook Express newsgroup.

The problem was the MS06-016 patch (also tagged as KB911567); uninstalling the patch returned the address book to its prior state and allowed template-based messages to be e-mailed normally.

Posted in MS News, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Microsoft Patch ‘Erases’ Outlook Express Addresses

A Tour of Microsoft’s Mac Lab

April 20th, 2006 by Patrick S

David Weiss’s latest blog post is certinally an eye operner for a person like me with (dare i say it) a Mac backround. This lab is huge!!

Check out the lighter side of Microsft’s Mac department (it certinally is an eye opener)

http://davidweiss.blogspot.com/2006/04/tour-of-microsofts-mac-lab.html

 Thanks for showing me this Brodie.

Posted in Computing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Tour of Microsoft’s Mac Lab

Windows Sidebar Styler (for build 5342+)

April 19th, 2006 by admin

Stanimir Stoyanov, administrator of AeroXperience and a good friend of mine, has been working on an application which allows you to style the Windows Sidebar from Windows Vista build 5342 and higher. The tool also works under Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems when running the Windows Sidebar under those platforms (it has been patched to run on these platforms by Rafael and ZoRoNaX).This application allows you to change alot of the aspects of the Windows Sidebar including background, color, and more.

Source: DigitalFive

Posted in MS News | 1 Comment »

Visual Studio 2005 Express is free forever

April 19th, 2006 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

Dave Massy announced on his blog today that the Express version of Visual Studio 2005 will be free forever! It started as a promotion but now they decided to keep it free!

Source: Dave Massy’s Blog

Download: Visual Studio Express Editions

Posted in Visual Studio | 1 Comment »

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