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Windows XP to be put to bed in 2008

April 14th, 2007 by Patrick S

From the end of January 2008 all Microsoft Windows XP products will be retired to make way for its successor, Windows Vista.
Microsoft has confirmed that from 31 January 2008 large PC makers, such as Dell, HP and Toshiba, will no longer be able to buy licences for the software so they can install it on new machines. This change includes ALL versions of Windows including Home, Pro, MCE and Tablet PC editions

So far the responses to this news from MSFT have been “luke warm”. While people want to see change to the new version of Windows many people are also annoyed at Microsoft for pulling XP from right under them. Vista from has had a VERY average response from the general public since it went RTM. Many people refuse to upgrade and prefer the tried and true XP.

The end is near for XP-However I can still see MSFT releasing SP3 soon enough to accommodate for the masses of XP users that still remain…and shall remain for a long time to come. We will still get to see that friendly Blue Luna theme for a while yet.

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

ANI Patch now Released!!!

April 4th, 2007 by Patrick S

Microsoft’s Patch for the ANI vulnerability is now out.

Click for bigger view

As discussed in our previous blog, this update was earlier to the usual second Tuesday monthly Security Release because of the alarming increase of Malwares and sites exploiting the ANI vulnerability. Please make sure you install this security update right now!

Update: When you install the patch and have a computer with a Realtek Audio card you might get an error message saying “Rthdcpl.exe – Illegal System DLL Relocation”. Microsoft has released a hotfix for this so if you have this problem, you can download the fix here.

Update etc sourced from F-secure

Posted in MS News, Security, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Comments Off on ANI Patch now Released!!!

Animated cursor attacks escalate; emergency patch coming

April 2nd, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Microsoft plans to release an emergency, out-of-cycle Windows update on Tuesday, April 3, 2006 to patch the animated cursor (.ani) vulnerability currently being used in widespread malware attacks.

The decision follows a weekend of escalated attacks, which include a self-propagating worm spotted in China and the discovery of hundreds (possibly thousands) of hacked Web sites hosting animated cursor exploits.

According to Christopher Budd, a program manager in the MSRC (Microsoft Security Response Center), the out-of-band patch is in response to the increased attacks and the public disclosure of proof-of-concept code.

“In light of these points, and based on customer feedback, we have been working around the clock to test this update and are currently planning to release the security update that addresses this issue on Tuesday April 3, 2007,” Budd said in a blog entry.

The proof-of-concept code is available at Milw0rm.com, a public repository for free exploits. The remote exploit code even bypasses the unofficial patch being offered by eEye Digital Security.

Source: http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=145&tag=nl.e622

Posted in Windows Vista, Windows XP | 1 Comment »

Windows Server 2003 SP2 and WinXP x64 SP2 have released!

March 15th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Windows Serviceability is pleased to announce the broad availability of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2. This release includes the following standalone builds of Service Pack 2:

  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (32-bit x86)
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Service Pack 2 for x64 Editions
  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 for Itanium-based Systems

Service Pack 2 for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition will also be available integrated with the operating system. Today’s release includes editions for English and German. Other languages will be released in the coming weeks.

You may visit http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsserver/sp2.mspx to get official builds, tools and documentation related to this release.

Posted in Windows Server System, Windows XP | Comments Off on Windows Server 2003 SP2 and WinXP x64 SP2 have released!

Microsoft Wireless devices giving you issue? Screensaver doesn’t pops up?

February 13th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

There is an issue when you have a Microsoft wireless devices and Windows XP/Vista’s Screensaver doesn’t work. Does that sound familiar to all of you hardcore Microsoft hardware fans?

Wait no more as Microsoft has released a patch to fix this issue.

From Jason Tsang’s [MVP for Media Center] blog:

My contact at Microsoft reported the following to me:

If you have your 27 Mhz wireless device connected to the system when you go to Windows Update, it will give you a HID update that corrects the problem where the screen savers don’t work with our 27 Mhz wireless products plugged in. This will fix it on both Vista and XP.

You will see this on Windows/Microsoft Update in the ‘Hardware, Optional’ category if you have your Microsoft 27Mhz Wireless device plugged into the USB port (27Mhz wireless devices basically mean any keyboard/mouse product that doesn’t use Bluetooth). It will show up as ‘HID Non-User Input Data Filter’ from Microsoft.

For those of you who are wondering, the update consists of four files.

  • NuidFltr.cat
  • NuidFltr.inf
  • NuidFltr.sys (v
  • WdfCoInstaller01005.dll (v 1.5.6000.0)

Hopefully this update will fix the issues that some of you have been having.

Source: http://jtsang.blogspot.com/2007/02/microsoft-hid-update-for-microsoft.html

Posted in Windows Vista, Windows XP | 2 Comments »

First Monthly Patch of 2007

January 10th, 2007 by Patrick S

Microsoft’s January patches are now out. The update includes three critical patches that fix flaws in Excel, Outlook, and Internet Explorer. All of these allow remote code execution and can be used as a vector for virus or trojan attacks.

 MSFT Jan updates

At the moment, anti-virus vendors such as f-secure haven’t seen malware taking advantage of these vulnerabilities.

Start the year right, patch now!

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

Has your Office eXPired?

January 2nd, 2007 by André Nogueira

Nick White, a Program Manager at Microsoft, posted what I think is a quite imaginative poster on his blog:

The other day I was wandering through Building 27 here on the MS campus and found that Michael Howard has a great little poster hanging on his office door.  I thought you folks might be interested 🙂

You can download the poster here (901KB).Hope you like it!

Posted in Humour, MS News, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Comments Off on Has your Office eXPired?

Just in time for the holidays another Microsoft 0-Day

December 24th, 2006 by Patrick S

Microsoft has received and acknowledged that a new 0-Day exploit is public, and the proof-of-concept code announced for it is valid today on their Security Blog.

The proof-of-concept code targets the CSRSS (Client/Server Runtime Server Subsystem) the part of windows that launches and closes applications, the exploit affects all versions of Windows including the (un)released Windows Vista.
Tested on XP Service Pack 2 the proof-of-concept will cause the computer to crash resulting in a system lockup, system failure (Blue Screen of Death), or simple hard reboot.

Microsoft SRC said today “Initial indications are that in order for the attack to be successful, the attacker must already have authenticated access to the target system. Of course these are preliminary findings and we have activated our emergency response process involving a multitude of folks who are investigating the issue in depth to determine the full scope and potential impact to Microsoft’s customers.”

This is good news for users, as a patch is coming. The potential for attack, rated less critical by Secunia is still problematic if the system is infected by rootkits, or applications designed to allow remote access to a PC. The method of attack, and the way this exploit works, means there is no real protection for end users, other than to ensure you are fully patched, and your malware, spyware, and virus scanning software is running and up to date.

Info Sourced from monstersandcritics.com

Posted in Bugs, MS News, Products, Security, Windows Server System, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Comments Off on Just in time for the holidays another Microsoft 0-Day

50 free essential software to consider using

December 17th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Here is compiled a full list of software which must be downloaded. Yep, every one of them. All of these are brilliant in every way, shape and form and are just plain brilliance. OK you don’t have to download them, but all of these are free except where stated, and are just great. Download ahoy!

 = Download the software
 = Show information regarding the software

  1. Windows Live Messenger
Talk to your online friends, view your Live Space and join the biggest instant messenger network in the UK! Formerly MSN Messenger, you can video chat, transfer files and even talk using your mobile device.

  2. Adobe Reader (formerly Acrobat Reader)
“The reader of e-books” – allowing you to view the popular PDF format. Use it to view small tiny files which can contain rich content and images.

  3. Audacity
One of the best sound and audio editors on the market, and it’s 100% free. It’s open source so you can play with the program to your hearts content. Hosts many features and simple to use.

  4. Daemon Tools
Emulate ISO and other type of images as if it’s another disc drive in your computer. It’s fast, reliable and works brilliantly restoring files from images you’ve created previously, and ideal for installing Vista!

  5. Microsoft Virtual PC 2004
Virtually run an entire operating system from a small, compact and simple to use stable and reliable environment which has no impact on your actual system other than using memory and CPU. Brilliant!

  6. Microsoft Visual Express 2005 Editions
Free software for developing web pages, C++ applications, J# and the ever so popular C# programming language. Write visually rich applications and the code behind it aint so difficult to get either!

  7. Mozilla Firefox 2
This web browser being open source is free, simple to use and secure. You can search from any web page, and reads pages directly from the code behind it.

  8. Visual Task Tips
An XP program designed for emulating the “Live Thumbnails” feature in Vista. Any program in the taskbar will show up in it’s own preview window above the taskbar item to show you what it’s doing.

  9. Winamp
A small, compact and very handy media player. It just sits in the corner of your screen playing music, playing video and even streamed music over the web.

  10.Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Service Pack 2
The next Internet browser following on from the world’s most used browser. Simple, secure, has some brilliant safety features and works on all Windows machines.

  11. Windows Live Maps (and Virtual Earth 3D Beta)
Online maps are fair enough, but this is the Google Earth equivilent and runs directly from your web browser. You can see the contours of the landscape, advertisements on billboards and 3D-buildings.

  12. The Linux operating system
The free operating system – boasts some brilliant things such as plug-ins and styles.

  13. OpenOffice
If you’re a student or strapped for cash, use the OpenOffice suite – totally free and works with all the Microsoft Office filetypes. Brillant for opening and editing Word documents and it’s simple to use.

  14. Apache Web Server
The world’s most popular web server application. Host your own websites from your computer at home – drag and drop in your web pages and it’ll organise them and traffic easily.

  15. PHP Runtime
Superb backend server side programming language which lets web developers do some amazing things with their code. Highly dynamic and it’s all server side so it’ll work in any browser on any computer.

  16. Free Download Manager
Sick of your downloads failing or stopping for no reason? This free solution lets you start, pause, stop and manage your downloads and even preview them before their even done. Hense the name, 100% free.

  17. Sygate Personal Firewall 5.8
Although taken over by Symantec, this is one of the best free firewalls on the market. Simple to use, and protects your computer from incoming and outgoing traffic which could be malware etc.

  18. Windows Defender
Microsoft’s free anti-spyware tool. It runs in the background and constantly protects your machine from all kinds of nasty malware. It’s very easy to use and even for the most basic user it’s simple to manage.

  19. ClamWin Anti-Virus
The world’s free portable anti-virus. It doesn’t embed itself into your system, and doesn’t realtime scan so it doesn’t use loads of memory. However you can scan your system whenever you feel like it!

  20. LimeWire 4.13 (Beta)
Browse the world of peer-to-peer networking, download files from other machines and even download torrents using this software. Remember, play safe and don’t donwload something which has a copyright!

  21. WinRAR (free trial)
A brilliant software tool which lets you compress and decompress all kinds of files. It uses a popular RAR extension which is used worldwide and decompresses all kinds of file types – ISO, ZIP, TAR and GZIP.

  22. FLV Player (free trial)
A web Flash player which lets you convert any media file into a web standard. Instead of hosting hefty files online, simply embed this into your page and it’s small, efficient and easy for users to use.

  23. Windows Media Player 11
One of the world’s most used media players which comes as an Automatic Update in Windows XP and as a download. Enables you to download from an online store, organise your music, videos and pictures.

  24. Primo PDF
Forget saving everything as a Word or PowerPoint document, not everyone uses the Microsoft Office System. Using this software you can turn any Office file into a PDF so it’s small in size and portable.

  25. Password Safe
Loads of passwords? I know, so put them all into the Password Safe for memory’s sake and use one strong password to open it up again. Keeps all your passwords safe but helps you keep track of them all.

  26. Microsoft Office 2003 File Viewers
If you only want to view certain Microsoft Office 2003 documents, you can just view them with these programs instead of downloading or buying the full version of Office. Download the Word, Visio, PowerPoint, Excel viewers.

  27. Paint.NET
An excellence in image editing. Initially a project from Microsoft interns, this software has become huge. You can do almost anything with almost any image type and it’s amazingly simple to use.

  28. DynDNS Updater
Want to host a website but only get an IP address? Then DynDNS enables you to transfer your websites homepage IP address into an actual website – eg. = http://www.google.com!

  29. Messenger Plus! Live
The world’s biggest Windows Live Messenger plugin. Forget standard instant messaging, with this you can send each other sounds, you can enhance your IM experience and set custom status messages.

  30. VLC Media Player
This media player will play absolutely anything and everything. It’s light, it’s portable and it works on almost any computer (from the download source anyway).

  31. Windows Vista Product Guide
Want to know more about Windows Vista before it comes out? Download the product guide – it is packed with information, screenshots, images and lets anyone understand the power of Vista.

  32. Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager (Standard)
Got loads of USB devices? Then this software is for you – you can backup and restore entire drives and even rename them so when you plug them in, it’ll give you a handy description of it so you know which is which!

  33. Windows Live OneCare Family Safety
Protect your family and the kids in the house from those bad websites – this free software enables parents (administrators) to block categories of websites and individual websites out for the kids (clients) so that kids are protected from the online nasties.

  34. Windows Live Mail desktop/center
The replacement for Outlook Express – manage your Windows Live Mail accounts, your POP3 accounts, work email accounts and even your schedule with this free software. Say goodbye to Outlook for good!

  35. Windows Desktop Search
With this, you can search any aspect of your computer from documents, emails, pictures, and other types of media with the push of a button.

  36. HealthMonitor
A brilliant free and powerful system performance monitor which monitors CPU usage, memory usage, disk space and the Event Viewer and can inform users via email, popups or even through text message.

  37. Cheetah DVD Burner
The ultimate in burning software – it lets you burn pretty much any kind of media to disk and even sets options for bootable disks, setup disks, and disks which work in DVD players.

  38. Microsoft Research Group Shot
Free image manipulating software which overlays two similar pictures to expand the final image to a bigger and more beautiful image. Take two photographs and overlay them together for a brilliant finish.

  39. HijackThis
Lets you see right into your computer – what’s running and what shouldn’t be running. Kill processes, check your startup items, and browser hijackers. Very simple and powerful software for any user.

  40. Orb 2.0
Free remote access software which lets you stream music, images and video directly from your home computer to any other computer in the world and even over a mobile device.

  41. Skype
VoIP (Voice over IP) software which lets you make free phone calls to potentially anyone in the world. Excellent voice quality, video support and even instant messaging support. Works on desktop computers, mobile phones and mobile devices.

  42. Google Earth
Lets you search for any landmark or location and find it on a 3D map. You can browse through the 7 Wonders of the World and even find landmarks through the online submission forums.

  43. NetStumbler
Wireless software which lets you pick up information about any detected wireless network, and also helps protect the user against rogue access points. Any wireless user should have this software.

  44. Microsoft Sysinternals Suite
A collection of small unique programs and utilities which can help any system administrator or even the advanced user troubleshoot and help secure their systems.

  45. MediaPortal
This software turns your computer into a media center. It’s open source, works with most TV sets and allows you to share, store and record DVD’s and other file formats.

  46. WordPress
Free web-based database software for blogging with! Runs on any web server and is easy to use and install, and even has free plugins and themes for the user to change the style of their blog.

  47. Resource Hacker
A small utility to extract, view, modify, rename, add, delete and extract resources in Windows executables and resource files such as DLL files and other files with media attached.

  48. Azureus
A free, simple Java based torrent downloader which manages your torrents in any number of ways. Limit download speeds, upload speeds, handy icons to see what your torrent is doing – simply ingenious!

  49. IrfanView
One of the most popular image viewers in the world. Convert images to other file types, it’s small, compact, and opens files within micro-seconds.

  50. Zone Alarm
A free, simple to use personal firewall and lets users customise their computers inbound and outbound traffic so that they are significantly safer from online threats.

Posted in Daily Life, Windows Live, Windows Vista, Windows XP | 14 Comments »

Install Windows Media Player 11 on Windows Server 2003

December 17th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Aye, I’ve finally worked out a way how to do this, and as far as I can see from 5 test machines running Windows Server 2003, Standard; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise; Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise; Windows Server 2003, Datacenter, Windows Server 2003 x64 Enteprise… it works.

1) Download the Windows Media Player 11 setup file from here and save to disk.
2) Run the setup file – the first thing you should see if a validation checker. Just leave this up, don’t go any further.
3) Search the hard drive for “wmp11.exe” – it should be in a temporary directory somewhere. Right click the file in the search then click “Open containing folder” (and not open).
4) Open and run the wmfdist11.exe file, then umdf.exe and wmdbexport.exe. Be warned, you may need to run these files in Compatibilty Mode. Simply right click each file, click Properties. Go to the Compatibility tab, then ensure that Windows XP is selected.
5) After all these are installed, you must restart (very important.)
6) Once you’ve restarted, run the wmp11.exe file in the same directory – this also may require compatibility settings being applied to it. Restart once more.
7) Back into Windows again, go to Start, Run then type in wmplayer then OK. Configure as you like, and viola it’s done 🙂

Any questions?
Post em here 😉

Posted in Media Center/Media Player, Windows Server System, Windows XP | 103 Comments »

How to login to an expired Windows

December 15th, 2006 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Microsoft has a neat little way to prevent software piracy of their Windows operating system. “Windows Genuine Advantage”[edit: I stand corrected, it has nothing to do with WGA] with its “Product Activation” requirement. Essentially, even with a valid product key, you still need to activate your Windows to ensure that only one computer is using that specific product key. If you can’t activate your Windows, there being many reasons for this, you are left with a 30 day grace period to change your product key to one that is fully valid or get in contact with Microsoft and plea your case.

Once your grace period is up, Windows refuses to let you login anymore. You cannot access your files. You cannot go on the Internet. You cannot do anything, except the thrill of trying to activate Windows.

Well, luckily for me I do not have to worry about this issues, as my Windows is valid and activated. However, for those who do not and have been so unfortunate enough to have their Windows expire on them, I present to you a bit of relief. How to gain access to your files on an expired Windows, with even enough functionality to surf the web, talk on MSN Messenger, and load up most of your applications. It doesn’t give you full functionality of Windows, but it will be enough to get the job done until you can find the time to activate your Windows. Best of all though, it’s all very simple and easy to do!!!
Source: http://tomorrowtimes.blogspot.com/2006/12/how-to-login-to-expired-windows.html

Posted in Windows XP | Comments Off on How to login to an expired Windows

Wireless Client Update for Windows XP

December 15th, 2006 by Patrick S

Windows XP SP2 Update KB917021 was published on October 17th 2006. What’s that you say?

It’s an update to “help prevent the Windows wireless client from advertising the wireless networks in its preferred networks list”. Those of you that travel with confidential information might want to investigate this patch. It wasn’t included in Microsoft’s monthly updates.

Advertising the name of your preferred networks creates the potential for a man-in-the-middle attack. This patch won’t stop your Windows notebook from using a spoofed network, but it will fix it so that the hacker would have to guess the name.

You can find more details on this from Brian Krebs and Knowledge Base article 917021. You can download it from Microsoft’s Download Center – Validation Required.


This update is further to the ones that were released on Tuesday where several code execution vulnerabilities. However December update does not include a patch for the number of recently discovered Word vulnerabilities.

Info Sourced from F-Secure.com

Posted in Networking, Products, Security, Windows XP | Comments Off on Wireless Client Update for Windows XP

Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) Responder

November 23rd, 2006 by Patrick S

If you were testing Vista on the same network with a Windows XP machiene you may have wondered why the XP computer did not show up in your “Network Map” in the Network Control Centre.

Well the simple reason is that Windows XP couldn’t/wouldn’t respond to the LLTD Call made by Windows Vista over your network. (LLTD enables device discovery via the data-link layer and determines the topology of a network ((802.3 Ethernet & 802.11)).
So in reply to this Microsoft have released the Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) responder for Windows XP computers. This in turn will allow you to see a graphical view of your network layout.

To download the LLTD Responder Click HERE or visit the KB Article

I am unsure weather the LLTD Protocol is built into Windows Server as I have not tested it. However if it is not there is not Patch for it as of yet.

-Patrick S


Demo of the LLDT Network Map Screen

Posted in Networking, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Comments Off on Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) Responder

Windows Media Player 11 RTMed

October 31st, 2006 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

A few hours old about this news but here goes:

Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP offers great new ways to store and enjoy all your music, video, pictures, and recorded TV. Play it, view it, and sync it to a portable device for enjoying on the go or even share with devices around your home—all from one place.

– Simplicity in Design
– More of the Music that you love
– All your entertainment in One Place
– Enjoy Everywhere

Download: Click Here

More Info: Click Here

Credits: Leen Snoek

Posted in MS News, Windows XP | 1 Comment »

IIS 6.0 Overtakes Apache in Fortune 1000

October 13th, 2006 by Patrick S

The Windows Server Team found a nice press release from Port80 Software, who have been tracking Web server usage among Fortune 1000 companies for the last few years.

Their report shows that, for the first time, IIS 6.0 has overtaken Apache in serving up corporate Web sites for the Fortune 1000. IIS 6.0 now has 27.0% of the market, with Apache on 23.3%. IIS 5.0 is still slightly ahead on 27.1%, but the trend clearly shows IIS 6.0 due to take the top spot very soon. A related study shows ASP and ASP.NET as the leading application server technologies in use on the same Web sites with a combined 48.4%.

Even though we are using Apache for this blog (for the PHP) Im a Windows Server person for life 😉

Posted in Windows Server System, Windows XP | Comments Off on IIS 6.0 Overtakes Apache in Fortune 1000

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