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New Shipment of Vista Ultimate Extra’s (Of Sorts)

April 23rd, 2008 by Patrick S

After months of being left in the dark after the first release of Microsoft Ultimate Extra’s for Windows Vista’s Ultimate edition Microsoft surprised us yesterday with some new content.

I admit  surprised is sort of the wrong word used to describe my feelings for the latest batch of Ultimate Extra’s…
But nonethe less – Get ready to justify Ultimate’s large price tag because today we were gifted a few cheesy Windows sound effects, some language packs and a couple more mediocre Windows Dream-scene wallpapers.

…Sure in the past we were rewarded with Texas Hold’em Poker as well as Windows Dream scene, with promises of more to come but the latest instalment has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth-I think it’s time Microsoft woke up and actually fulfilled their promise and take care of the little guy!

…But who knows, perhaps its just a Taste of whats to come?

The WoW Starts now?

Added Feature?: Windows Live Photo Show NOW appears in the list of apps to which sound events may be added. New sound effects to come?

Posted in MS News, Rants, Windows Vista | 4 Comments »

Microsoft discloses vulnerability affecting multiple Windows Versions

April 22nd, 2008 by Patrick S

After investigating public reports, Microsoft has published Microsoft Security Advisory 951306, which describes a vulnerability that affects multiple versions of Windows (including Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, all supported versions and editions of Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2008.)

The newly found security flaw could potentially allow a malicious local user (who has authentication) to execute specially crafted code to raise his privilege level to LocalSystem. IIS and SQL Server are the main attack vectors. But other vectors are possible, such as Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC) on Windows Server 2003.

The vulnerability looks like it basically allows for any process that has the SeImpersonatePrivilege to execute some code and be able to impersonate LocalSystem (which has the NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM SID and a wealth of privileges in its token). For Windows 2003 and beyond the users awarded that privilege are in the Network Services, Local Services, Local System, and Administrators groups. On Vista/Server 2008 you additionally won’t have the privilege unless you’ve elevated. That fortunately reduces the scope of this otherwise highly serious vulnerability, though it still isn’t pretty.

It must be noted however  Microsoft stated in its advisory that- “Hosting providers may be at increased risk from this elevation of privilege vulnerability.” However, no exploitation has been observed at this time.
Microsoft Security Advisory 951306

Posted in MS News, Security, Windows Server System, Windows Vista, Windows XP | 1 Comment »

Slow Browsing of Network Drives in Vista?

April 22nd, 2008 by Patrick S

Ever since i made the change to Vista I have noticed that the browsing of network folders  on my network was slow-with OR without connecting through a domain (esp When browsing Windows Server 2003 shared folders).

When opening the network folder your computer displays straight away but there is  5-6+ second wait before other network computers & shares are displayed…

So what to do? The fix involves changing two settings from the command prompt. You need to run the command prompt as an administrator. You can do this by right-clicking and selecting run as administrator. Type in the following commands:

netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled
netsh int tcp set global rss=disabled

You will need to restart your machine afterwards. The difference is night and day. I wonder what the reasoning was for not having Vista set like this out of the box?If you are unhappy with the changes you can restore the default settings with

netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal
netsh int tcp set global rss=enabled

 I saw this fix over at Excalibur Partners

Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Slow Browsing of Network Drives in Vista?

Windows XP SP3 RTM’ed

April 22nd, 2008 by Patrick S

Well it seems as though its finally happened-Service Pack 3 for every-ones favourite OS, Windows XP has been released to manufacturing (however not available to the public just yet-expect to see it on April 29th).

Service Pack 3 updates all 32-bit versions of Windows XP from Starter to XP Professional (the x64 edition of XP is based on Server 2003 and requires the Service Packs for that product). The complete package from the Download Center will reportedly be some 320 MB. Downloads via the Update function will be around 70 MB according to Microsoft’s current plans; this update can be so much smaller because only the data required for a specific XP version are downloaded, not the entire package.

Support for Windows XP without any service packs expired long ago and officially SP2 has to already be installed before SP3 can be installed, despite the fact there is no technical reason for this requirement. However Microsoft is inconsistent and SP3 can in practice be installed on XP with only SP1. Strangely, the complete SP3 contains all of the patches you need to update even a fresh base version of XP. Microsoft says that a slipstream installation CD can be created so that the operating system with SP3 can be installed at once without any other service pack.

SP3 not only contains patches and updates, but also a number of add-onsthat have been sold separately, such as Background Intelligent Transfer Service (Bits) 2.5, Windows Installer 3.1, Management Console (MMC) 3.0 and Core XML Services 6.0. SP3 does not, however, contain any fundamentally new functions, and no new versions of Internet Explorer or Media Player are included.

This is set to be the very last Service pack for XP however patches and updates for the OS are set to continue until Service Pack 3 expires in 2014.
A time line of SP3:

  • April 14, 2008: Support is available for the release version of Windows XP SP3
  • April 21, 2008: RTM, OEMs
  • April 29, 2008: RTW, Windows Update and Microsoft Download Center
  • May 2, 2008: MSDN and TechNet subscriber downloads
  • May 19, 2008: Windows XP SP3 Fulfillment Media
  • June 1, 2008: Microsoft Volume Licensing customer downloads
  • June 10, 2008: Automatic Updates
  • An overview for SP3 is available here (MSFT), however expect new documentation to arise pretty soon.

     

     

    Posted in Beta News, MS News, Products, Windows XP | 1 Comment »

    VideoBlog.NET – Blog about all things .NET and win a Trip for 2 to Bali!

    March 28th, 2008 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

    The following is targetting towards Malaysia residents:

    So you’ve been talking and hearing about the super duper cool Start.NET program that Microsoft Malaysia is currently running….  but have you been getting the anticipated attention from your friends and colleagues? 

    How? 

    Read on for more details. 

     Who are we looking for? Anyone who share the passion and excitement on .NET, and do it in the most creative and interesting ways.  Someone who can create a sparkle of getting to know more about .NET!  What do you need to do? 

    ·         Create a VideoBlog about .NET (between 30 – 60 seconds). You may obtain the facts and information from: http://www.microsoft.com/malaysia/press/archive2007/linkpage4361.mspx·         The ending frame of your VideoBlog must include the URL: www.startdotnet.info

    ·         Upload the video on your blog or online

    ·         Email your Name, Company, Telephone number and Email Address, together with your VideoBlog URL to blogdotnet@crystaledge.net  

    But… what do I VideoBlog about?

    VideoBlog the coolest, slickest, cutest, or most elegant styles you have to drive the excitement of getting to know .NET.  VideoBlog about what you LIKE, who do you WANT to see, what technology in .NET that you LOVE about … Seriously, just blog about ANYTHING that’s related to .NET! For more information, please go to http://blogs.msdn.com/malaysia/archive/2008/03/26/start-net-video.aspx

    Posted in MS News | Comments Off on VideoBlog.NET – Blog about all things .NET and win a Trip for 2 to Bali!

    Microsoft’s Big changes

    January 15th, 2008 by Patrick S

    I stumbled accross the Shipping Seven blog today… Its a blog from someone on the Windows 7 team who isn’t afraid to make their true feelings about Microsoft and Windows and general heard (all be it annomously 😉 )

     Check out this interesting post off the Shipping Seven blog: 

    In almost every Windows OS release so far, we’ve changed something major in the OS subsystems, to improve the Windows infrastructure. And that generally screws up application or driver compatibility:
    Windows 95
    Long file names – Application developers had to fix their applications to support long file names. (A good thing, though: What is in 1NTINPRS.AVI?)
    Windows NT
    Driver developers had to write drivers for a new driver framework because of the hardware abstraction layer. Actually, most of them just stayed away, and supported Win9x only.

    Windows 2000
    A major annoyance for driver developers, who could ignore the NT driver models up to this point. Win2k ran on NTFS, and had locked-down permissions – developers couldn’t install their application’s files in \windows\system anymore.
    We were telling corporations to set up their users as non-admins on their machines, and for the first time, corporate users in were logging in without admin rights, breaking all sorts of enterprise apps.

    Consumers just sailed past, on to:
    Windows XP
    Installed on NTFS on default – breaking lots of applications that were used to the wide-open, unsecured world of FAT32.

    We were telling the dads (or moms) of the world to run as administrator, and set up non-administrator accounts for everybody else in the household. Pretty much nobody did that – they all just logged on as Administrator. A situation that almost every bit of spyware exploited.

    Which brings us to the OS everybody loves to hate (that isn’t actually that bad) – the fustercluck known as:
     

    Windows Vista
    This time round, punch-drunk from all our security issues, the Windows team said: F*** it, let’s just lock it all down:
    AUC: All your applications will run as non-administrator, even if you have an administrator account. No excuses. We’ve been telling you that you should do this since 1999.
    A new graphics driver infrastructure: We had to protect the system from video driver crashes, as graphics card companies care only about performance, not stability.
    Session 0 Isolation: No system service can directly create a UI. Lots of drivers and antivirus apps broke, but we fixed up a major security design flaw in Windows.

    Posted in MS News | 2 Comments »

    Get the new face of Windows XP, Before it eXPires!!!

    January 6th, 2008 by Patrick S

     

    2008 Is here, its now time to face the truth… The clock is ticking on Microsoft’s Windows XP. And whilst Microsoft may view this as a natural stage in the evolution of a product that was RTM’ed (released to manufacturing) all the way back in 2001, a healthy proportion of people will fail to see eye to eye with the company on this one. In this context… Windows Vista.xptarget

    Vista In 2007

    Even with Vista hot off the presses, XP did not give one inkling that it was going to give up the fight, with Microsoft focusing on winding XP up for good-Ending support for SP1 and soon to be SP2.

    -Microsoft’s Windows Product Management vice president Mike Nash on September 27th: “with more than 60 million licenses sold as of this summer, Windows Vista is on track to be the fastest-selling operating system in Microsoft’s history.”
    They had done it-sold over 20 million licences in the first month since RTM, passing 40million within the first 100days and 60 million by mid 2007. The last statistics made available to the public, dating back to the end of October, pointed to over 88 million Vista copies sold worldwide.

    At the end of 2007, according to statistics provided by Net Applications, Vista enjoyed a market share of 10.48% – a percentage roughly synonymous with 100+ million sold copies. And while in just a single year Vista’s install base has passed the combined audience of Mac OS X and all the Linux distributions, its performance is still perceived with nuances of failure. And at fault is Windows XP with its roots firmly dug in for the past six years.

    Vista’s Problem

    Currently Vista (in general) leaves a lot to be desired-to be honest it’s just how I feel. Sure SP1 comes out this year, and there is still hope that Microsoft will boost Vista up to the OS that it has the potential to be, but lets face it-there are A LOT of users who wont go with the flow. Admittedly Vista HAS grown on me since I first tested it a couple of years ago-I have the upmost confidence SP1 will change my mind for the better.

    Let’s explore what’s gone down with Vista last year:

    • Dell, HP and Acer have all asked Microsoft to extend XP’s availability for an additional 6 months due to the concerns of customers.
    • Many Businesses have been slow to adopt Vista due to poor performance and compatibility issues.
    • Complaints have arisen regarding performance issues and the fact that Vista is so damn hungry.

    XP’s Future

    2008 Marks another milestone for Microsoft Windows-No it’s not Service Pack 1. It’s the real upgrade to Vista (SP0)… XP’s Service Pack 3. This final major update to XP has been dubbed by some as the Vista without the crap.

    Although XP was faster than Vista before, SP3 ups the ante. Microsoft has said that SP3 features about 1073 fixes and adds some cool features from Vista to make your experience far better. Using Vista after XP seems weird-no device incompatibility warnings, pop-ups asking for permission and poor performance.

    Sure this may not seem like big improvements and most of the fixes included in SP3 can already be found on Vista, but isn’t that the issue here? Now that XP is more secure and already sports any and all drivers you are currently using without costing hundreds of dollars to implement, couldn’t it be said that XP is simply the better choice? … It just works!!!

    Sadly the end of June (30th )2008 marks the day where Windows XP will no longer be available pre-loaded on computers from original equipment manufactures or from retail outlets. Starting with the summer of this year (4th Quarter) and ending sometime in 2010, when windows 7 is planned, end users will only have access to Windows Vista. XP will survive a little longer with System Builders until early 2009, and until mid 2010 with the Starter edition, but sales of the Windows operating system connected with white-box PC’s are only a fraction of the Windows client businesses.

    What about the Big Picture?

    In the end, it’s not all about the support life-cycles and marketing, not by a long shot. With SP1, Vista will enter its first stage of evolution and with that a massively increased user-base. This will lead better support and compatibility, to increased reliability and boosted performance-XP will fade to the background and Vista will take centre stage.

    So…While Office 07 and Vista get their first Service Packs-Windows XP will get its last.

    I Say “Viva La XP” but Bring on Vista SP1 😀

    Stats and info sourced from cnet and softpedia

    Posted in Beta News, MS News, Products, Windows Vista, Windows XP | 2 Comments »

    Microsoft Commits to November Release Date for Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5

    November 6th, 2007 by kenlin@HK [MVP]

    BARCELONA, Spain — Nov. 5, 2007 — Today, during the keynote address at Microsoft TechEd Developers 2007, S. “Soma” Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft Corp., announced that Microsoft will release Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 by the end of November 2007. Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 enable developers at all levels to rapidly create connected applications that offer compelling user experiences for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, mobile devices and the Web. Soma also unveiled plans to open new opportunities for Visual Studio partners, as well as to deliver new tools and resources for developers, including a first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Microsoft Sync Framework and new capabilities for Popfly Explorer.

    “The highly social and visual nature of the Web has fundamentally changed what users expect from all applications they interact with, regardless of whether it’s on a customer-facing Web site or Windows rich client application, or a desktop business application built using Microsoft Office,” said Somasegar. “Traditionally, organizations have been hard pressed to deliver the richer, more connected applications and services they need to boost productivity, drive revenue and stay ahead of the competition. With Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5, it is easy for developers to use the skills they already have to build compelling applications that take advantage of the latest platforms.”

    FWBS Ltd., Xerox Corp., Dell Inc. and K2 are just a few of the early adopter customers that are already experiencing the benefits of these releases. FWBS used Visual Studio, the .NET Framework and the Microsoft Office system to build an Office Business Application (OBA) for the law field. The application enables users to work within Microsoft Office — the tools they use every day — while also dramatically improving productivity and helping users respond quickly to changing business needs.

    Xerox has also had early success developing applications with the new tools. “We’ve already seen significant advantages from using Visual Studio Team System 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5. With the first application we built, we easily saved 50 percent of the time and money it would have taken to create the same application with other tools,” said Eugene Shustef, feature design lead, Global Technology, Xerox. “That’s more than a savings to IT — it delivers a huge time-to-market advantage because it put the tool into the hands of our analysts six months sooner than they would have had it otherwise.”

    Creating New Opportunities for Partners

    Microsoft also announced plans to make additional investments in the Visual Studio partner ecosystem. In response to partner feedback and in order to provide better support for interoperability with other developer tools and cross-platform scenarios, Microsoft is today announcing plans to change licensing terms, no longer limiting partners to building solutions on top of Visual Studio for Windows and other Microsoft platforms only. This licensing change will be effective for the release of Visual Studio 2008 and the Visual Studio 2008 SDK.

    “Integrating dynaTrace’s cross-platform application performance management and diagnostics product with Visual Studio has opened up additional commercial opportunities for our business and delivered a compelling solution for our customers. .NET and Visual Studio is a strategic platform for our business, and Microsoft’s additional investments in the partner ecosystem make it even more compelling,” said Klaus Fellner, senior director of product marketing at dynaTrace. “We’re looking forward to taking advantage of the new technology available with the launch of Visual Studio 2008 and the partner benefits available through the Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program.”

    In addition, Microsoft announced plans to create a shared source licensing program for Premier-level partners in the VSIP program. The program will provide these partners with the ability to view Visual Studio IDE source code for debugging purposes, and simplify the process of integrating their products with Visual Studio 2008.

    Tools for Today and Tomorrow

    Microsoft also announced a number of additional resources for developers of all skill sets, enabling them to make the most out of their Microsoft tools investments to build great applications on the latest platforms:

    • The first CTP of the Microsoft Sync Framework demonstrates Microsoft’s ongoing investments in synchronization and builds on the synchronization functionality available in Visual Studio 2008. With Visual Studio 2008, developers can rapidly take advantage of offline synchronization capabilities to sync-enable applications and services easily with rich designer support. The Microsoft Sync Framework extends the support featured in Visual Studio 2008 to also include offline and peer-to-peer collaboration using any protocol for any data type, and any data store. This is part of Microsoft’s long-term commitment to providing synchronization for partners and independent software vendors that can embed the Sync Framework into their applications easily to create rich sync-enabled ecosystems that allow any type of data to follow their customers wherever they go.
    • A new release of Popfly Explorer will add new Web tools that provide Web developers and Popfly users an easy way to add Silverlight gadgets built in Popfly to their Web pages, as well as publish HTML Web pages directly to Popfly.

    These latest releases are part of the broader Microsoft Application Platform, a portfolio of technology capabilities and core products that help organizations develop, deploy and manage applications and IT infrastructure. They also mark another major milestone leading up to the global launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 on Feb. 27, 2008, in Los Angeles.

    Product Information and Availability

    Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 will be available by the end of November 2007. The .NET Framework 3.5 will also be available to end users via a free, optional download from Microsoft Update. A CTP of Microsoft Sync Framework is available today at http://msdn.microsoft.com/sync. Popfly Explorer is a hosted development environment available today at http://www.popfly.com. More information about all of these releases is available at http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio.

    Posted in .NET Framework, MS News, MSDN, Products, Visual Studio | Comments Off on Microsoft Commits to November Release Date for Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5

    Microsoft to push functional programming into the mainstream with F#

    October 24th, 2007 by kenlin@HK [MVP]

    Microsoft has announced that support for the F# functional programming language will be fully integrated into Visual Studio. This marks a bold new commitment to facilitating functional programming on the .NET platform and could potentially help legitimize functional programming in enterprise environments. Microsoft’s promotion of F# to a fully-supported language in Visual Studio is also indicative of the extreme versatility of the .NET platform and Microsoft’s Common Language Runtime.

    F# began its life as a Microsoft Research project to demonstrate the efficacy of .NET as a platform for mixing multiple distinct programming paradigms. F# is heavily inspired by the OCaml programming language, and a subset of F# and OCaml are largely compatible. F# offers developers many valuable and compelling features without sacrificing much runtime efficiency. F# supports type inference, pattern matching, high-order functions, and currying. F# also supports interactive execution, which means that F# programs can be run like scripts or inputted in an interactive top-level environment similar to the Python shell or Ruby’s IRB. F# also has full access to the .NET APIs and components written in other .NET languages.

    The advantages of functional programming

    Unlike imperative or procedural programming languages, in which computation is typically performed by altering program state, functional programming languages operate on the principles of mathematical evaluation and reduction. Such programming languages are deeply rooted in formal mathematical logic and computational theory. Functional programming languages are largely based on the system of lambda calculus devised by Alonzo Church, in which numerical values, sequences, data structures, basic mathematical computations, and even recursion can be expressed entirely with nested functions.

    The close association with lambda calculus and category theory makes functional languages a powerful tool for understanding and programmatically modeling concepts like catamorphisms and recursion. For some programmers, learning to see the ineffable theoretical perfection of functional programming languages is a profoundly illuminating experience that opens the mind to a completely new way of perceiving and understanding computer programming. In some cases, certain functional programming languages are also valued because functional purity is highly conducive to referential transparency and minimizes the potential for side effects.

    Outside of the academic world, functional programming idioms are valued because they are often far more expressive than imperative or procedural equivalents. Modern dynamic scripting languages like Python and Ruby, for instance, offer first-class functions in order to boost developer productivity. Even C# offers some features—like LINQ—that are heavily based on functional programming concepts. The ability to mix F# and C# in .NET applications makes it far easier for software developers to use the programming paradigms that are best suited for each individual task.

    Functional programming on .NET

    Microsoft’s decision to productize F# represents a particularly significant step forward for the .NET platform. Microsoft took an equally significant step when it unveiled the Dynamic Language Runtime earlier this year. The .NET platform now fully, officially, and equally supports functional, dynamic, and conventional imperative programming paradigms in an interoperable manner all with a single runtime. This is a tremendous accomplishment and strong evidence of the .NET platform’s success and long-term viability.

    “[W]e aim to continue the flow of good ideas from functional programming world into mainstream development,” wrote Microsoft developer division vice president S. Somasegar in a blog entry. “Furthermore, the somewhat mathematical slant of functional programming just seems naturally appealing to professionals whose primary domain is described with mathematical notation—domains such as financial, scientific and technical computing. On top of the syntactic appeal, the strong type system yields the sort of guarantees which are often crucial in these domains, and enables a superb tooling experience through Visual Studio.”

    Although this is the first time that Microsoft has treated functional programming on .NET as a product instead of an experiment, many independent developers have long used functional programming languages on top of .NET. The open-source Nemerle programming language, for instance, supports extremely impressive features like macros and is preferred over F# by some programmers in the Ars community. There are also several Standard ML and Lisp implementations for .NET.

    As the C# programming language and .NET continue to evolve, developers can undoubtedly look forward to seeing more dynamic and functional programming concepts move out of scripting and academia to augment and complement more conventional programming techniques. Microsoft’s efforts to push dynamic and functional programming into the mainstream are one of many signs that the art of software development is enjoying a profound renaissance.


    Reported By: Tony Cheung from Hong Kong
    Writen By: Ryan Paul
    Source: Arstechnica.com

    Posted in .NET Framework, MS News, Visual Studio | 2 Comments »

    FrontPage Server Extensions for IIS7

    September 11th, 2007 by kenlin@HK [MVP]

    If you are a .NET Developer, and you might found out that Vista( or Windows Server 2008) is not including the FrontPage Server Extensions for IIS7, this component which is important when hosting a ASP or ASP.NET web site.

    A good news from IIS.NET, they are going to make a seperate installion package for you to install the FrontPage Server Extensions for IIS7. Althought it is still in Beta stage, you may try to install and test on it.


    [OverView]

    Microsoft and Ready to Run Software have released a beta version of the FrontPage 2002 Server Extensions (FPSE 2002) for Windows Server Code Name “Longhorn” and Windows Vista.

    [Features]

    This version of FPSE 2002 introduces no new functionality, and is essentially the same version that was created for Windows Server 2003 that has been updated to work on Windows Server Code Name “Longhorn” and Windows Vista.

    [Benefits]

    FPSE 2002 enables web hosters and developers to author their web content on servers or workstations that are running IIS 7.0 on Windows Server Code Name “Longhorn” and Windows Vista.

    [Requirements]

    The following role services and features are required to install FPSE 2002 on Windows Code Name “Longhorn”; if they are not already installed on your computer, they will be installed for you automatically when you install FPSE 2002:

    1. Web Server (IIS) Role Services:
      a. Web Server
        1) Common HTTP Features (Static Content, Default Document, Directory Browsing, HTTP Errors)
        2) Application Development (ISAPI Extensions, ISAPI Filters)
        3) Security (Windows Authentication, Request Filtering)
        4) Health and Diagnostics (HTTP Logging, Request Monitor)
        5) Performance (Static Content Compression)
      b. Management Tools (Role Services)
        1) IIS 6 Management Compatibility (IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility)
        2) IIS Management Console
    2. Features:
      a. Windows Process Activation Service
        1) Process Model

    .
    [Source from IIS.NET] More Detail Here

    (Specially thanks for news reporter, Tony Cheung from Hong Kong)

    Posted in MS News | Comments Off on FrontPage Server Extensions for IIS7

    Exclusive: Windows XP SP3 and Windows Server 2008 Update!

    August 29th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

    Windows XP SP3

    On 8/28/07 we will also be announcing plans for Windows XP SP3 as a roll up of all the hot fixes and patches including security updates, out of band releases and hotfixes. This is a standard practice to release a service pack as a release nears end-of-life that rolls up all hot fixes and patches, for the convenience of our customers and partners. There are no new features in Windows XP SP3, with the exception of Network Access Protection, a capability in Windows Vista that is also being made available on Windows XP SP3 and will require Windows Server 2008.

    When will Windows XP SP3 be available?

    We are targeting 1H 2008 for the release of Windows XP SP3, though our timing will always be based on quality as a first priority.

    Windows Server 2008 update:

    · Windows Server 2008 is now slated to release to manufacturing in the first quarter of calendar year 2008. The joint Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 launch, scheduled for February 27, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA, as well as the launch events taking place around the world, remain on track.

    · Windows Server 2008 is releasing to manufacturing a bit later than expected because Microsoft’s first priority is to deliver a quality product to our customers and we need a little more time to meet the high quality bar that we set for ourselves.

    · Microsoft Windows Server 2008, with its built-in web and virtualization technologies, is the most robust, secure, and reliable foundation on which to develop, deliver, and manage rich user experiences and applications.

    Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Exclusive: Windows XP SP3 and Windows Server 2008 Update!

    Microsoft Connect 2.4 has been released…

    July 29th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

    With the following major change:

    • Support for Web based newsgroup

    It uses Ajax but it’s like Live Mail, loads slow – compared to Gmail.

    You can access the web based newsgroup by going to the Newsgroup link, after opening the beta program page.

    There’s some other minor changes in Connect but it’s not worth noting here.

    Any comments about the new web based newsgroup? 🙂

    Posted in MS News | 2 Comments »

    Vista Recovery Command Prompt

    June 16th, 2007 by Patrick S

    As good as the recovery console in is Windows-it really aint that secure at all. Did you know that the Command Prompt tool found in Vista’s System Recovery Options doesn’t require a User Name or Password? And that the Command Prompt provides Administrator level access to the hard drive? For multiple versions of Windows? All you need is a Vista Install DVD and you’re all set to go.

    Just boot from the DVD and select the Repair option:

    Then select the Command Prompt:

    Here you have full access to this computer, not only as an administrator but also as a system account user. After this you can insert usb-memory and copy any non-encrypted file from this computer to usb-memory and steal information without leaving any marks to the system or event viewer logs.
    Also, you could for example copy SAM-file (contains names and passwords of local users) from c:\windows\system32\config to usb-memory and start cracking computer’s user password at  remote computer.

    A cracker can:
    1. … copy files from hard disk to USB, floppy or network server
    2. … create / modify / delete files and folders
    3. … use most of the MS-DOS like commands
    4. … use this method in Vista, XP, 200x

    To protect you computer or workstation, try to:

    setup bios boot order so that booting from other media than hard disk is not possible

  • setup startup password from your bios (mainly in home computers)

  • use hard disk encryption software, if possible (such as bit locker)

  • encrypt files and folders using EFS, if mechanisms above are not possible

  • This kind of reminds you of a Windows XP Home feature. The Administrator account password for XP Home is blank by default and is hidden in Normal Mode. But if you select F8 during boot for Safe Mode, you can access the Administrator account and have complete access to the computer.

    For more proof of the concept check out find more details from Mr. Kimmo Rousku and F-Secure

    Posted in MS News, Products, Security, Windows Vista, Windows XP | 5 Comments »

    Integrate SMS 2003 with Microsoft SoftGrid Step by Step Guide!

    June 12th, 2007 by laidaniel

    My latest guide released on the web already.

    Enjoy it.

    http://www.microsoft.com/hk/community/article/article_070606.aspx

    Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Integrate SMS 2003 with Microsoft SoftGrid Step by Step Guide!

    Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager V2 Beta 2 Released

    June 1st, 2007 by Joseph Bittman MCSD .Net

    A lot of people have been waiting months for this day, when sometime in the 9′ clock hour, Beta 2 of Version 2 was released! This groundbreaking release for DPM has so much to offer which hasn’t been previously announced. If you ever thought about DPM and maybe weren’t as impressed in the past, even as recently as Beta 1, you MUST revisit your decision. Some of the brand-new features include file protection support for XP and Vista machines (domain joined), protection of Virtual Server’s configuration AND *running* virtual machines, Windows Sharepoint 2.0 and 3.0 (3.0 natively, 2.0 through SQL backup), SQL 2000 (natively, yes! – not previously going to be supported, but with recent development now is – of course, 2005 was already previously natively supported in beta 1), all kinds of Exchange stuff including CCRs and other things beyond my knowledge, System State, and much more!

     Including, what I want to announce to the whole WORLD!!!!!! You do NOT need to add a whole disk to the DPM storage pool anymore! There is now what is called “Custom Volumes”, where you can create your own seperate partitions for the replica and recovery point areas, which then you specify for each PG/workload. This means you are now able to have 1, count them ONE, hard drive to run DPM! 🙂 I know there are tons of people out there who even wanted to just *test and try* DPM, but couldn’t because they didn’t have the hardware requirement of 2 HDs…. not anymore, test to your hearts content!

     Oh, and BTW, there is a bug bash contest going on for Beta 2 – see Connect for details. Also, the beta is public, so that means anyone can still join the beta on Connect even to this day.

     Look for a lot of posts to come about DPM – most of the content covered in detail you will only find written by me! 🙂

    Posted in DPM, MS News | 1 Comment »

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