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MSBLOG Exclusive: Windows Live is about to get a hell of a lot louder

September 24th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

We might be wrong about certain Live software being bundled with Windows Vista by the way… we’ll have to wait and see – more information as soon as we get it

 Please note – no official word from Microsoft yet, and we’re going on speculation, different sources of information and other influential people – there may not be such a thing, however we’ll soon work it out – just give us time.

Posted in Windows Live, Windows Vista | 4 Comments »

Interesting UK based MSN/Windows Live stats

September 24th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

This information is from MSN Advertising which I got off the web earlier on today – it’s available to one and all, I’ve just condensed some of it into a much easier way to understand.

Something else which is interesting – I was talking to Jo (works on Family Safety) in the office a few weeks ago about Spaces and how it’s become so large. Some of you will know, that MSN Spaces (now Windows Live Spaces) is the biggest blogging community in the world – even in the UK we only just beat MySpace which is still a huge achievement… but the funny thing is, is that Microsoft never marketed MSN Spaces when it was released into public beta December 2004. They never advertised it, never marketed it, this is how it became so big – it’s all down to this button

Amazing how something can become so big from thinking “oh, I haven’t seen that button before – I’ll click it and see where it gets me”. That’s exactly what I did when I started the MSN Messenger 7.0 beta back in Autumn/late 2004 and that’s how I started blogging 🙂

Posted in Microsoft, Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger | 3 Comments »

Where in the World Are Vista Beta Testers?

September 24th, 2006 by Patrick S

Windows Test Manager Paul Donnelly just sent out an email to connect beta testers with a few interesting stats about Microsoft Windows Beta Testers.
The email as follows:

I’m sure you’ve noticed people here in the newsgroups from all over the globe.  When we put this program together one of our goals is diversity that closely mirrors that of our customers as much as possible.  We’ve hit all our targets and have a truly global program.  I realize only a fraction of people are active in the newsgroups and you never get to interact with and learn about most testers. The below will help you get an idea of where we get feedback from and where Windows Vista is being tested.  The below represents just the Technical Beta Program and is current as of 2 weeks ago.

Interesting facts:

  • We have approximately 30,000 Vista Beta testers in this program now.
  • There are Windows Vista beta testers in 125 countries.
  • We have testers in all 50 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, Guam and several other U.S. locations.
  • Exactly 50% of our testers are somewhere other than the U.S.
  • The northernmost person appears to be in Fairbanks, Alaska at 64.85 degrees N. latitude though it’s a close call with a person in Iceland.
  • The southernmost person appears to be in the Kerguelen Islands at 49.56 degrees S latitude.
  • We have 1 person on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • We also have a person in the Tuamoto archipelago which is almost exactly half-way between South America and Australia.
  • If we had someone in the Yukon and someone in Labrador/Newfoundland we would have all Canadian provinces and territories represented.
  • In the U.S. we have testers in over 6,000 zip codes, or well over 10% of all zip codes in the U.S.
  • There is a roughly 15% failure rate for pushpin creation due to the complexities of matching addresses globally.

The figures speak for themselves…its darn amazing how big this project this is…. With this many people onboard Vista is bound to be great 😀

Showen here…All vista testers around the world (I can see my pin 😉 )

If you want to see more maps-By country check out the post here at the vista team blog. 

 -Patrick S

Posted in Beta News, Windows Vista | Comments Off on Where in the World Are Vista Beta Testers?

ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2 released

September 24th, 2006 by Patrick S

A couple of days ago we released the updated Beta of Activesync 4.5.

You can download it from HERE

Changes in ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2 help resolve issues related to setup, partnerships, and connectivity with the PC and Microsoft Exchange. In addition, it includes a troubleshooter utility that scans your computer and device to identify problems and offers information and corrective actions to solve them.
Fixes include:
• Faster file transfer speed and photo sync via Outlook are only available for Windows Mobile 5.0 powered devices.
• Remote PC Sync (via WiFi or LAN) has been removed due to Enterprise customer feedback around security issues.
• Customers using Microsoft Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 with devices running the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 will benefit from the following feature enhancements included in ActiveSync 4.5: Direct Push Technology, local device wipe, and certificate powered authentication to Microsoft Exchange.
• Microsoft® Outlook® 2000 is not supported by ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2. It is highly recommended that users upgrade to Microsoft® Outlook® 2003 messaging and collaboration client.
• Conversion of database files for use on a mobile device is not supported by ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2. On previous versions, this feature was limited to devices running Windows Mobile software for Pocket PC 2003 and earlier.
• Conversion of font files for use on a mobile device is not supported by ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2. On previous versions, this feature was limited to devices running Windows Mobile software for Pocket PC 2003 and earlier.

Posted in Beta News, Gadgets, MS News, Products | 3 Comments »

IE VML Exploit

September 23rd, 2006 by Patrick S

Once again there is a browser vulnerability that allows for the remote execution of code. And the only action necessary to become infected is to view a malicious webpage using Internet Explorer or an HTML formatted e-mail.

It was discovered in the wild by Sunbelt. Microsoft published Microsoft Security Advisory (925568) yesterday regarding the issue. The update is currently scheduled for October 10th – the next regular patch Tuesday.

Like the WMF exploit it is advised to unregister the susceptible dll from the system as a workaround for the vulnerability.

To unregister the dll you should execute from Start, Run:
regsvr32 /u “%CommonProgramFiles%\Microsoft Shared\VGX\vgx.dll”

This differs slightly from Microsoft’s recommendation – so as to include localized versions of Windows.

The vgx.dll component solely handles Vector Markup Language (VML). VML is a description format for browsers to draw vector graphics. Not too many websites use this format today – but rather display plain images. Also – it’s only supported by Internet Explorer. Opera and Firefox implement Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

Use this link with IE to see an example of VML. If you have the dll registered, you’ll see a clock. Once unregistered, you shouldn’t see anything.

Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail client is also potentially vulnerable for this exploit. But fortunately e-mail is treated as if from Restricted Sites by default, where Binary and Scripting Behaviors is disabled. By using a web-mail client and Internet Explorer you might still be vulnerable.

There’s an unsupported third party patch for the VML vulnerability available at ZERT. (untested)

But it’s good to know something is available if this VML thingy really gets out of hand (which it hasn’t yet).

Updated to add: Your mileage may vary – this patch might not work with everyone. See discussion at PC Doctor Guides.

Update 2: Seems that this exploit does not apply to IE 7 🙂

Source: Fsecure

Posted in Internet Explorer, MS News, Security | 5 Comments »

Happy Birthday …

September 23rd, 2006 by Kristan M. Kenney

Happy Birthday… ack, what’s the name of the guy that’s celebrating the birthday today… hmm, Jack? no… that can’t be it.. Crack? Oh no wait, drugs are bad… mmmkay… oh, oh, I know!



Ok… see this guy? Now HES on crack 😛

Posted in Daily Life, MSBLOG Related | 8 Comments »

Bigggg big rant

September 22nd, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

That’s right – it’s been a slow week so to speak for technology news – and I just want to air my views a little bit on here because I can do… ’nuff said.

  • Microsoft, in all it’s glory, is a dis-organisation. Whilst Patrick E’s and Wendy’s department is running like clockwork (because they want it to, therefore it is), others most certainly aren’t. However, if the Vista guys don’t stop making fun of the Live guys and going like “” to them, then I’ll have to get stroppy at you all and cry a lot because I’m a Live guy and therefore feeling insulted myself.
  • I’ve got a rotten bloody stinking cold and I’m not happy about it at all. It’s my bloody mother’s fault for not keeping her bloody germs to herself so I’m blaming her so far.
  • I’m 18 tomorrow (and no, for the love of God post crappy messages like “happy birthday” because I just hate birthdays) and I’m meant to be going out to see a band I really like – and there’s a chance I can’t because I feel absolutely crappy.
  • New build of Vista coming very soon – and Paul Thurrott once again seems to get the new build and the new stuff. WHY I ask thee, WHY. Is it a controlled leak from Microsoft to ensure that he gets the latest news and stuff so that he can market it for them? No, it’s because he has all his “sources” to get him the new stuff, but makes up for all the bullsh*t he comes up with like misleading release dates and going on for God knows long about how “Vector Glass will be in Vista” even though I could have told you when I wasn’t with Microsoft that there was no such bloody thing!!
  • I’m sick of deleting spam messages on here as well – if anyone else does it, I’ll hunt down the server and DDOS them (or at least try to).

Here’s how I feel – perhaps pictures speak louder than words – so I hope this makes a profound statement:

Posted in Rants | 5 Comments »

Microsoft Beta Client to be replaced

September 20th, 2006 by Patrick S

Looks like that trusty little tool (MBC)-the workhorse of the humble beta tester is to be replaced by something bigger and better!

Today the Windows Beta Team was pleased to announce our plans to develop a new bug reporting client, code named “Holmes”. In the future, “Holmes” will replace the current bug reporting client Microsoft Beta Client (MBC).

Microsoft have started to gather requirements for the new client from beta participants this summer. They hope that testers can help them prioritize these requirements so that they can focus our resources on areas that are most important to us the beta tester.

So… If you are a vista tester get that survey answered ASAP to get “Holmes” going-cant wait.

Holmes and [Dr] Watson what an awesome team!! 😉

Posted in Beta News, Windows Vista | 1 Comment »

Windows Vista Pre-order price is……

September 19th, 2006 by kenlin@HK [MVP]
Pre-Order Price List from Amazon (taken on 31/8/2006 and all prices are in USD):
Full versions
– Windows Vista Home Basic: $199
– Windows Vista Home Premium: $239
– Windows Vista Business: $299
– Windows Vista Ultimate: $399
Upgrade versions
– Windows Vista Home Basic Upgrade: $99.95
– Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade: $159
– Windows Vista Business Upgrade: $199
– Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade: $359
P.S. Windows Vista Enterprise could be only available to Microsoft Volumn License Customers, this version is not available for retail purchase.
Microsoft is also planning to release “Additional License” packs, which will be including only the Product Key, thus enabling customers to use the OS on a second computer.


Posted in Corporation, Daily Life, MS News, Windows Vista | Comments Off on Windows Vista Pre-order price is……

Windows Vista: Now is the Time!

September 16th, 2006 by Patrick Elliott

I had the oppertunity to hear Jim Allchin talk in-depth about this in person earlier today at a company event, but I thought I’d share with everyone here:

Thanks for all your feedback on Windows Vista!!! I LOVE THIS PRODUCT!!!!
-Patrick Elliott / Windows Beta Team

Read Jim’s remarks about Windows Vista and Developers and ISVs here:

Posted in MS News, Windows Vista | Comments Off on Windows Vista: Now is the Time!

My BDD 2007 Standard Edition Advanced Training Guide!

September 14th, 2006 by laidaniel
I just completed my BDD 2007 Standard Edition Advanced Training Guide.Smile  

It included Windows Deployment Service, SMS 2003 OSD Update and Office 2007.

You can use it as an additional reference of my previous BDD 2007 Training Guide.!


PS. It also posted on my Technical Blog, and MS will post on MSHK and MSTW website soon. 

Posted in MS News | 1 Comment »

Installing Windows Vista RC1 in VMWare Workstation

September 14th, 2006 by kenlin@HK [MVP]


If you are trying to install Windows Vista RC1 in VMWare Workstation, you may see setup appear to hang on the text-mode screen that says “Windows is loading files…”.

Actually what has happened is that Vista Setup is already in graphics mode trying to do things, but something about the way it switches the display adapter into graphics mode is not working right on VMWare.

Since Microsoft makes a competitive product, Virtual PC, this is funny that they come out with a major new test release(Windows Vista RC1) that just not work on VMWare Workstation. Or Product team did not test this product with VMWare Workstation? But in my memory, I can recall that Microsoft also using VMWare Workstation before Microsoft has bought VirtualPC.

After researching, I found that there is a workaround, for now, while VMWare works on the problem. Before you install Windows Vista RC1 to VMWare Workstation, you may edit the virtual machine’s .vmx to include the following,

svga.maxWidth = “640”
svga.maxHeight = “480”

You can get Vista installed in VGA 16 color 640×480 mode (it will look awful) and then when you get everything running, install VMWare tools and take out those two lines and you’ll be good to go.

Posted in Bugs, Virtual Machine, Windows Vista | 8 Comments »

Longhorn 2006 CTP Now Available!

September 13th, 2006 by Patrick S

Hot on the heels of Windows Vista RC1, we have now released the August 2006 Community Technology Preview (CTP)of Windows Server “Longhorn”. It’s available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers to download.Marked as Build 5600, the August 2006 CTP is an update to Windows Server “Longhorn” Beta 2. You won’t find many additional features over Beta 2, but there are big gains in performance and reliability as we’ve been able to bake in all the core OS improvements that were happening simultaneously in Windows Vista [as well as fix a bunch of our own bugs ;-)].

Source Windows Server Division WebLog

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

Live gone mobile

September 12th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Mobile has been in beta now for over a year, and although you can reach it on any desktop machine and see your personalised content, what about mobile devices? For a long time, I thought that Mobile Live would simply be (see screenshot) but even I thought wrong. That’s the public MSN portal showing off the public Windows Live mobile services such as Windows Live Mobile Mail and Windows Live Mobile Spaces, but that’s it…

Mobile is here, but not quite ready yet. However it’s still fun to play with in the meantime. You’ll be able to see the content which you’ve personalised from viewing on your desktop computer, you’ll be able to see your Live Mail, your Live Space as well as other gadgets that you’ve added such as RSS feeds. Live Web Search will be embdedded but also let you search Live Local for local businesses and stuff.

At the moment, the only way to access it is via and it has to be typed that way otherwise it’ll take you straight to Live Ideas. You can see it on a desktop computer, as well as your mobile device. Soon it’ll have the hotspot locator in-built (which is pretty stupid seeing as you’ll need a hotspot/Internet access to view it), but you’ll also be able to see all the other things that you previously had access to with the MSN Portal such as news, money, weather and entertainment.

Here’s some screenies I took a little bit ago – click to enlarge 🙂

Mobile Messenger
That’s right, there’s even going to be a Mobile Web Messenger. As some of you know, Windows Live Messenger 8.1 will be in beta next week, Windows Live for Windows Mobile 5.0 devices is in beta and lets you access Messenger on your phone as an application… now they’re extending it that little bit more so that anyone with a mobile device can access Messenger from anywhere.

It’s a web Messenger basically and it’s certainly far from complete, because so far it’s very much a “hush hush” project, but as per usual, I’m here to blow the trumpet on everything that’s going on 😛

The images aren’t set yet, and the functionality is a bit crap, but it’s basically Messenger but on your mobile web browser – it even signs you out of Messenger when logged on to it from a desktop computer. You can interact with your contacts, see who’s on and who’s not and eventually you’ll be able to see their status in the form of an image.

You can access it here on your mobile device – has to be typed exactly like this otherwise it’ll redirect to Windows Live Ideas:

Posted in Windows Live, Windows Mobile | 2 Comments »


September 12th, 2006 by Patrick S

Zack just released his application and I felt left out (well not really) so I thought it time to launch, we here at MSBLOG have received thousands of spam comments/emails from bots daily regarding all sorts of topics (drugs, casino deals, porn and who knows what else) and to be honest I got SICK of it. So what to do to stop this problem or make some sort of influence… fight fire with fire of course 😛 . Introducing

The idea is simple and probably not that original. Using PHP we generate 500 random email addresses to domains that don’t exist. The idea is that email crawling robots index this page and begin to send out emails to these “people on our/your mailing list” to addresses that don’t exist in theory wasting the robots bandwidth, CPU cycles and time in the process.

Although the amount of resources that the bot will waste is minimal it is still an annoyance and a way for the common user to fight back. Perhaps the bots will learn a lesson and stop crawling this page or even yours!

So feel free to link to that page the bot will stumble across it while it crawls through all your pages and get a rude surprise.

 < -- you can use this image if you wish to link to the page (please upload it to your own server and not mooch off ours!) You can find the link to ANTI spam here at .

Patrick S (sorry for the doubble post i deleted the old one by accient)

Posted in MSBLOG Related | 3 Comments »

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