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Windows XP SP1 and SP1a support ends on October 10, 2006

June 5th, 2006 by Patrick S

Support for Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Service Pack 1a (SP1a) ends on October 10, 2006. Microsoft will end support on this date. This also includes security updates for these service packs. Microsoft is providing final notifications to customers regarding the end of support for these products.

Microsoft is ending support for these products as part of the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Service Pack support policy. We recommend that customers who are still running Windows XP SP1 or SP1a upgrade to Windows XP Service Pack 2 as soon as possible.

To determine whether you are running Windows XP SP1, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties. If “Service Pack 1” appears under System, you are running Windows XP SP1. We do not recommend that you install SP1a if you are already running SP1. We recommend that you install Windows XP SP2 if you are running Windows XP SP1 or SP1a.

Key dates:

  • Windows XP SP2 was released on September 17, 2004. According to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Service Pack policy, Microsoft provided 24 months of support for Windows XP SP1 following the Windows XP SP2 release.
  • The original support end date for Windows XP SP1 was September 17, 2006.
  • In January 2006, Microsoft announced an adjustment to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle expiration dates, moving the end of support date for Windows XP SP1 to October 10, 2006. Details about this announcement can be found at

If you are currently running XP with SP1(a) you may as well upgrade to SP2 today to take advantage of any upcoming patches etc.
Read all about SP 2 and download it HERE

Microsoft notification


Posted in MS News, Windows XP | 4 Comments »

Xbox 360 releases over 125 new features

June 5th, 2006 by Patrick S

To enhance next-generation gameplay and entertainment Microsoft have just launched over 125 new features for their new gaming console, the XBOX 360 (on the 6/6/06 i might add)

For a full list check it out HERE

Posted in Xbox and Gaming | Comments Off on Xbox 360 releases over 125 new features

Protected: Vista: Feature FAQ

June 5th, 2006 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Protected: Vista: Feature FAQ

We love this product as much as you do :)

June 5th, 2006 by Patrick Elliott

Thanks to Jessep B. for snapping this pic the other night — yes, I am wearing a Vista shirt as well 🙂

Posted in Daily Life, Humour, Windows Vista | 11 Comments »

TechNet Chat: An Introduction to Windows Server “Longhorn”

June 5th, 2006 by Patrick Elliott

Thanks to JillZ on the Microsoft CFS team for this information — Join us in hearing more about Windows Server Codename “Longhorn”

Please join Bill Laing, General Manager of the Windows Server Division, and Iain McDonald, Director of Central Program Management within the Windows Server Division, for a discussion about Windows Server “Longhorn” Beta 2. Windows Server “Longhorn” is the next generation server operating system from Microsoft that will help IT professionals maximize control over their infrastructure and deliver a more secure, reliable and robust server environment. Join us to provide feedback, input into the product and to get answers to your tough questions.

June 9, 2006
10:00 A.M. Pacific Time

Click here to sign up


Posted in MS News, Windows Vista | Comments Off on TechNet Chat: An Introduction to Windows Server “Longhorn”

Windows Vista Chat Room

June 4th, 2006 by Kristan M. Kenney

Microsoft has recently set up a chat room for Windows Vista peer-to-peer technical discussions. Let’s hope to see some people in there soon – at the time of writing, it’s deader than a doornail in there.

View: Windows Vista Chat Room

Posted in MS News, Windows Vista | 3 Comments »

I suppose now is a good time…

June 4th, 2006 by Kristan M. Kenney

Hey everyone! I thought now would be a good time to introduce myself here on MSBLOG. My name is Kristan Kenney, I’m from Nova Scotia, Canada and I am a technology enthusiast & amateur photographer. You might recognize me from the Windows Vista and Windows XP public news groups as well as the Windows Expert Zone chat room.

I’m happy to be a part of the team here at MSBLOG and would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone here and all the readers as well, I’ve got a lot in store for you all, so stay tuned!

Posted in Introductions | 6 Comments »

Enhanced sound performance with Windows Vista

June 4th, 2006 by Kristan M. Kenney

One of the many new features in Windows Vista is the improved sound stack. This sound stack gives you the ability to have unsurpassed sound quality without skipping or stuttering.

Here’s the thing – for the most part, vendors have been shipping Windows XP drivers for Sound devices, and not alot of them have exclusive Windows Vista drivers available as of yet. The good thing? Windows Vista’s new sound stack can still make these drivers work great (provided they do work).

This has been tested with interim build 5381.1 and Windows Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384.4), and may not work on previous builds.

What you need to do is allow exclusive control mode for your audio device. To do this:

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click “Hardware and Sound”.
  3. Click on “Audio Devices and Sound Themes”.
  4. Double click on the playback device you have installed in your computer.
  5. Navigate to the “Options” tab.
  6. Under “Exclusive Mode”, check “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device”.
  7. Also check “Give exclusive mode applications priority”.
  8. Press OK.

Now when you are rockin’ to your favorite tunes in Windows Media Player while doing some heavy data crunchin’, you won’t miss a beat!

Please note: You need to have a sound card that supports this, such as one of the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy or X-Fi cards, however it should work for most others as well.

Posted in Windows Vista | 1 Comment »

MSBLOG Exclusive – Vector Glass/Aero Diamond – it’s not coming folks

June 3rd, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

It’s a controversial statement and for those who are expecting “True Glass” or “Aero Diamond” or “vector based Glass” where the Glass imagery in Vista is directly drawn from Direct3D or the Windows Presentation Foundation… but folks, it’s very unrealistic that this is real, or even thought of in the first place. Let’s just analyse some of the facts or myths that is flying around the Internet.



Neowin: “Aero Diamond is the most beautiful Aero interface and will only be available to users of the Media Center Edition of Longhorn (perhaps it could be backported now that theming capabilities are unlocked?) Aero Glass is the interface most of us see in the Longhorn screenshots. Aero Express is similar to the Aero Glass theme except toned down a little for slower hardware. Aero To-Go is for laptops and other battery-powered devices and will have an XP-like interface. Aero Classic is the 2000-style theme.”

Although that’s not an official Microsoft source, it still shows that they could have been planning a vector-based Glass, but where’s the Media Center Edition? There isn’t one and never was one planned because Media Center is going to be part of every Vista edition from Home Premium up. So without a specific theme for a non-existant Media Center Edition, what else have we got to go on that there’s actually going to be a vector-based Glass theme?

Wikipedia: “Windows Aero is the name for the new graphical user interface and visual style in Windows Vista. Its name is an acronym for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open. Intended to be a cleaner, more powerful, more efficient and more aesthetically pleasing user interface, it also includes new transparencies, animations and eye candy. Since mid-2005, Microsoft has gradually added elements of Aero to released Windows Vista builds. Build 5270 (released in December 2005) contained an implementation of Aero which was virtually complete, according to sources at Microsoft; however, small changes will continue to be made until Windows Vista is released.

We already know that Beta 2 (build 5384.4) is now “feature complete” which means that nothing’s going to be added for future builds, only bug fixes and minor tweaks (such as adding real names to products instead of codenames) so what makes anyone think that this nearly-public release will have this vector based Aero? It’s very unlikely. The image above with the new Glass imagery seen in the Product Guide, the amount of computing power that would be needed to get the detail and the precision for that is unbelievable. It’s difficult enough to get Windows Aero running on a machine as it is, and Computer Weekly did an article about how the average user would need to spend £300 (about $450 or so) on upgrading their existing machine to get the new transparency features.

Exclusive: I’ve spoken to a contact within Microsoft about this – so far nobody even knows about this “vector Glass”, so we’re expecting an official statement from them very soon, and hopefully we here at MSBLOG can either confirm, or finally rest the myths about vector-based Aero graphics to sleep.

Posted in Rants, Windows Vista | 6 Comments » 2.0 Up and Running

June 3rd, 2006 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

Only some minutes ago Microsoft finished the upgrading process of to version 2.0. It’s up and running again.

New features:

  • Provide feedback to product groups on many levels
  • Much different forms for submitting information, i.e. bugs, suggestions, others -> more flexibility
  • Some parts of can be viewed anonymously now
  • Find all information you need in one concentrated place -> community experience
  • Much much more…

We can’t provide screenshots because some parts of veil under NDA. If you are a BT login and check out what’s new on!



Dennis Fraederich [MCP], a Microsoft Betatester
Contact via Email / WLM: mcgiga[at]

Posted in Beta News | 3 Comments »

Vista Sidebar Ported Back To Windows XP

June 3rd, 2006 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

I stumbled across a blog from Unni, he is a program manager of the Expression Interactive Designer team. He mainly creates user interfaces and other experiences.

In his last blog he presented the Vista Sidebar which he ported back to Windows XP.



He will release the sourcecode of the sidebar to CodePlex when a appropriate version of WinFX ships. However it’s not an official application from Microsoft itself. Maybe Microsoft will catch his project and create an official sidebar for WindowsXP instead of Unni’s project. Or is Microsoft already working on a sidebar for Windows XP? Who knows… 🙂

So stay tuned!



Dennis Fraederich [MCP], a Microsoft Betatester
Contact via Email / WLM: mcgiga[at]

Posted in Windows Vista, Windows XP | 5 Comments »

Windows Vista Beta 2 Campus Artwork

June 3rd, 2006 by Patrick Elliott

We’re pretty proud of Beta 2, and I wanted to share some campus artwork with everyone so you can share in the celebration and pride for all the hard work you guys are doing filing bugs!


Thanks again for all the hard work!!

– Patrick Elliott

Posted in Daily Life, MS News, Windows Vista | 6 Comments »

Windows Live Invitations

June 2nd, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

First come, first serve – come and get them! Click a cross below – if you’re lucky, you’ll get one!


Posted in MS News, Windows Live | 6 Comments »

Vista ReadyBoost or SnailBoost?

June 1st, 2006 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

Yesterday I got my 2GB USB thumbdrive from my hardware supplier back. I had to send it back because the first one broke up two days after the purchase. And now what could I do with Vista Beta 2 and an 2GB thumbdrive? Right! Benchmark the Vista ReadyBoost feature. So let’s go!

Technical information: The ReadyBoost feature uses USB thumbdrives greater than 256MB to swap system files on them to boost-up the boot sequence. Remember the following as a simple rule to boost-up a system:

– less system memory  + much memory on usb thumbdrive = ++ more speed-up on boot sequence


But that’s a theory only, what does the practice tell? I will investigate it now.

But that’s a theory only, what does the practice tell? I will investigate it now.I have used the following laptop system for our benchmark tests:

Windows Vista Beta 2, Ultimate, Build 5384.4, german
Laptop make: Asus A6000Va
CPU: 1,7GHz Pentium M (Centrino), Dothan core
GFX: ATI Mobility Radeon X700
RAM: 1024MB Memory from Transcend (2x 512MB)
HDD: 80GB Harddisk from Samsung 5400rpm
Thumbdrive: 2GB from ExtremeMemory

I did three different test runs with my thumbdrive. The first run was without any thumbdrive connected to the laptop, the second run with a FAT32 formatted thumdrive and the last run with a NTFS formatted thumbdrive, each one with a recommended swap file by Vista. Before I began to benchmark I have defragmented the harddisk and the USB thumbdrive. A test is measured from pressing the power-on button till the Vista login screen is reached. Each test run was repeated three times to have a good average value.

Test run #1
(without thumbdrive):

  • Average boot time: 1:10m ~ 70s

Test run #2 (FAT32 formatted, 1840MB ReadyBoost swap file):

  • Average boot time: 1:13m ~ 73s

Test run #3 (NTFS formatted, 1840MB ReadyBoost swap file):

  • Average boot time: 1:05m ~ 65s


Diagram: Results

So like you can see the results are very disappointing! Maybe we have to wait for the next build to see if something will change and improve the Vista ReadyBoost feature.


Dennis Fraederich [MCP], a Microsoft Betatester
Contact via Email / WLM: mcgiga[at]

Posted in Windows Vista | 10 Comments »

Get Windows Server Update Services SP1 Now!

June 1st, 2006 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

Today Microsoft released the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) Service Pack1.
It includes support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and of course support for Windows Vista! After all performance and stability issues were fixed too!


  • Windows Vista support
  • Supports Microsoft SQL Server 2005
  • Full support for all Office and Vista languages
  • Faster performance, better response times
  • It includes all hotfixes since the release of WSUS

View: WSUS SP1 Overview
Read: WSUS SP1 Readme
Download: WSUS SP1
Instant Download: WSUS SP1 (x86, Size: 130MB)

Source: /


Dennis Fraederich [MCP], a Microsoft Betatester
Contact via Email / WLM: mcgiga[at]

Posted in Windows Vista, WSUS | Comments Off on Get Windows Server Update Services SP1 Now!

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