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Microsoft Windows Sysinternals

November 8th, 2006 by Patrick S

Recently (July 18th 2006 to be precie) Microsoft acquired Winternals Software-a site created in 1996 by  Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell to host their advanced system utilities and technical information.

Yesterday Microsoft made all their old utilities available to the public (the free ones anyway), as well as some brand new ones such as Process Monitor 1.0.
Whether you’re an IT Pro or a developer, or even a home user, you’ll find Sysinternals utilities to help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications.

You can find the new site located here:

Posted in Computing, Microsoft, MS News, Products | Comments Off on Microsoft Windows Sysinternals

Why Windows Genuine Activation sucks

September 26th, 2006 by André Nogueira

Even if you don’t use Windows, it’s almost certain you’ve heard about activation – when you install Windows you can use it only for a few days without activating. After that, you’ll need to activate it (ie. communicate with a Microsoft server to tell it you’ve just installed Windows, and receive a message saying if it was successful or not) or it you’ll only be able to start Windows in safe mode.

But does Windows Genuine Activation (WGA) work? Not likely. Is it completely transparent and hassle-free for legitimate, paying customers? Maybe in a parallel universe, but not on Earth.

Being a beta tester for several companies I format my computers all the time. I have a handful of licences, but I don’t keep track of what licence is installed on what computer – the family computer has an OEM version of Windows installed, and on all other computers (which get formatted at most once a week) I use the first product key I can grab. I have 3 full XP licences for 2 computers, so I’m certainly not a pirate, right? Not according to Microsoft.

I don’t know how many activations you’re allowed to have during a given time period, but I’ve lost count of the number of times Internet activation failed because I had activated “too many times”. When this happens you have no alternative but to call – not too big a deal, right? Wrong. I don’t know how it’s like in the rest of the world, but at least in Portugal there are two phone numbers – a regular paid one, and a toll-free one. The problem? More and more people don’t have fixed phones anymore, just mobile phones, and here in Portugal you can’t call the toll free number from your mobile phone – you get a signal like the number didn’t exist. If you want to activate from a mobile phone, you have to pay the 10 minute phone call (this includes trying to activate by phone, hearing all the instructions you can’t skip – I’ve tried countless times – and explaining what happened to the operator you’re transfered to when activation fails).

Furthermore, your copy isn’t deactivated when you uninstall. Imagine you work on a small business which owns a boxed version of, say, Office. You’ll be doing a presentation later that week, so you install Office 2003 on your laptop, since now you only have Office 2000. You install and activate, but something went wrong with the upgrade – addins stopped working, random crashes… You format your computer, and install and activate Office 2003 again. This time everything works, but at the last moment you find that your laptop is too old to play that embeded video in your presentation, so you uninstall Office and install and activate it on your boss’s brand new laptop. Chances are you’ll have a problem activating, even though these are legitimate uses – you can have the boxed version installed on only one computer, which was the case here. However, because programs aren’t deactivated Microsoft thought Office was installed in 3 computers at the same time when in fact it was installed in only one. Trying to convince the operator that you’re not breaking the licence can be though, or at least take some time. And if you think this was just some made up story of what could happen, think again – this happened to me last Sunday.

But think about it – just who is prevented from installing pirated copies of Windows? Have pirated copies of Windows stopped circulating? They haven’t – on the contrary, with the widespread usage of peer-to-peer software it’s never been easier to find cracked software, including software which requires activation.

So to sum up… Is WGA serving its purpose? No, and I honestly don’t believe WGA in Vista will be any different. What WGA is doing – and it does this brilliantly – is annoy paying customers, preventing them from doing their work. I’ve lost count of the number of times I went to some company to prepare the computers for some presentation later that week, and ended up having to install OpenOffice.Org because I couldn’t activate their copies of Office. If anything, WGA is the #1 reason for people to stop using Office and Windows.

Resources which are currently being wasted with WGA could very well be used for more interesting projects – perhaps make some Microsoft Research prototypes a reality, or creating new products all together. As it is, WGA is doing nothing more than making Windows, Office and other products which use it a bit more expensive because of the money spent on developing and maintaining it.

Edit: It was suggested in the comments section that I simply don’t activate Office and Windows, since I will be reinstalling them anyway. Since Office (at least all the versions I’m using) limit you to opening Office applications X times, I have to activate. I can’t take the chance of needing to edit a document or make a presentation, and have Office tell me “Sorry, you can’t – you need to activate”. Regarding Windows, it could work if it weren’t for the fact that without activating I can’t get access to Windows Update and a lot of downloads on Microsoft Download Center. To be able to fully use those two services, you need to have an activated copy of Windows (not all downloads from the Download Center require activation, but many do).

Posted in Computing, Microsoft, MS News, Windows Vista, Windows XP | 11 Comments »

Cisco/Microsoft Interoperability Beta This Year

September 7th, 2006 by Joseph Bittman MCSD .Net

Microsoft and Cisco have announced a joint architecture for Vista & Longhorn and Cisco networking. There will be a limited beta later this year for beta testers to try it out & give feedback!

The new architecture will better combine the new security aspects & improvements in Longhorn and Vista with Cisco’s well-known security standards.

Consumers will be able to deploy the new NAP-NAC architecture after Longhorn releases in 2007.

Microsoft Presspass:

Posted in Computing, Corporation, MS News, Security | 1 Comment »

Is 1GB of mailbox size not enough? Try 3GB mailbox from Lycos!

August 20th, 2006 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Quite a long while back, Gmail offers users with 2GB of mailbox size and it’s now increasing slowly as we talk. Then it comes Yahoo Mail and Hotmail, both offering 1GB of mailbox size.

Guess who’s in town to catch up with the race??? it’s Lycos! Lycos Mail promises to offer users 3GB mailbox size and spam filtering with unlimited size attachments.

I have created an email account I need your help: Please spam it so I can fill it to 3GB!!

Let’s hope Lycos can stay on longer 🙂

Posted in Computing, MS News | 7 Comments »

Visual Studio.Net 2003 Service Pack 1 has been released

August 18th, 2006 by André Nogueira

As the title says, Visual Studio.Net 2003 Service Pack 1 is now available for download!

Download size: 160 MB


  • English
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Russian

Operating Systems:

  • Windows NT 4
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Vista

Supported Frameworks:

  • .NET Framework 1.1
  • .NET Framework 1.1 SP1 (recommended Framework level)

More Information:

Source: Visual C++ Team Blog

Posted in .NET Framework, Computing, Microsoft, MS News, Visual Studio | Comments Off on Visual Studio.Net 2003 Service Pack 1 has been released

MSFT to offer Vista Coupons

August 11th, 2006 by Patrick S

A few years ago when whistler (XP) was just around the corner many people put off the purchasing of a computer until the new OS was released (so they wouldn’t have to upgrade in the near future). So what about vista… XP is to be outdated soon so what will consumers do then?

The solution? Coupons. According to what is essentially third-hand but still reliable information, Microsoft has struck a deal with many PC manufacturers to offer coupons to their buyers in the fourth quarter of 2006, when Vista was supposed to be released. The coupons can then be redeemed for a copy of Vista upon its release in first quarter 2007. The arrangement was hammered out back in July, but MS is expected to keep quiet on it until at least October to not harm third quarter sales instead.

The leak has been confirmed inadvertently by at least one company: Ray Chen, President of Compal Electronics, acknowledged the deal in an investor meeting this week. He commented that the availability of both Intel Merom processors and a coupon for Windows Vista would point to a stronger fourth quarter sales than expected, as well as first quarter of 2007.

So, it looks like Bob Cratchit can go ahead and get that Vista ready laptop for Tiny Tim in time for Christmas after all. Awwwwww, Bill Gates saves Michael Dell’s Christmas! All sarcasm aside, though, it seems like a wise move by MS when you consider the delays – more computers will be sold, and users will pay for the proper Vista license when they buy it.
Source Bit-Tech

Posted in Computing, MS News, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Comments Off on MSFT to offer Vista Coupons

VistaBase v3 rolls out

July 15th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Just wanted you to know that tonight at 8pm British Summertime, I uploaded and activated my new version
of my Windows Vista knowledge base. It’s designed to help users tweak, understand and customise Vista, as
well as for Windows Server “Longhorn”, Windows Internet Explorer 7, and other “Longhorn” technologies
such as .NET Framework 3.0 (previously codenamed WinFX).

I’ve received some great feedback from people – and also some critism which is why I pushed forward the new
release of the site, to make it easier for anyone regardless of browser, race, background, gender or operating
system to view it 🙂

There’s an RSS feed which I’ll be updating every so often – the entire site is now Firefox supported (and a huge
thanks to Dean, a fellow blogger here who helped me iron out some major Firefox issues at the end of it…
little did I know what trouble a single backslash could cause in my code!), and the site is generally much easier
to see… with no framesets or tables – pure HTML, CSS and a little bit of PHP where I felt adventurous!

If you want to support VistaBase – please send in your questions so I can answer them and put them
on there. The more support from users, the bigger and better the knowledge base can become! 🙂

Posted in Computing, Learning | 4 Comments »

Todays the day…Farewell Windows 98!

July 12th, 2006 by Patrick S

Well it’s today…today’s the day i have been dreading. Microsoft has pulled the proverbial plug on Windows 98…

From 11 July, Microsoft will no longer help users over the phone with any problems they have with the ageing operating system.
The firm will also stop providing security updates for Windows 98 from the same date.
Support for the software was originally due to end in 2003, but was extended following customer protests.

Products affected by closing down the support system include Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Me (Millennium Edition). Analyst firm IDC believes that more than 70 million users will be hit by the change.

The change means that those still using Windows 98 and Me after 11 July could become more vulnerable to many security risks, as bug fixes for loopholes exploited by hackers will no longer become available. 

Farewell to the illegal operations (bless them), The Numerous Blue Screens of Death, bad installs, data corruption, low uptime, poor security and finally the Hassle to maintain this Great OS.

Farewell my beloved Windows 98, is it time to Upgrade to Windows ME…Nah ROLL ON VISTA!!!

Patrick S

Posted in Computing, MS News, Products | 2 Comments »

Microsoft Private Folder 1.0

July 6th, 2006 by Patrick S

Microsoft have released Private Folder 1.0, which lets you have a folder called ‘My Private Folder’ which you can password protect.pvtfolder
Microsoft Private Folder 1.0 is a useful tool for you to protect your private data when your friends, colleagues, kids or other people share your PC or account. With this tool, you will get one password protected folder called ‘My Private Folder’ in your account to save your personal files.

You can grab a copy of it HERE (However this requires a “Genuine” version of Windows-As most free Microsoft software requires now days.)

Patrick S

Posted in Computing, Products, Windows XP | 129 Comments »

A Tour of Microsoft’s Mac Lab

April 20th, 2006 by Patrick S

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

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

 Thanks for showing me this Brodie.

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

MSBLOG Exclusive: Windows Timeline (but much easier to understand!)

April 13th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

I’ve created (another…) new page to the top right hand menu to see the current Windows Timeline. You may think… “I know the timeline to some degree, Vista’s in beta, released early next year”, well you’ll certainly be right. But what happens after Vista? Longhorn won’t be round for much longer 😉

Microsoft announced that they had a new operating system in the works, to some people named “Vista R2”, but now we hear that they’ve codenamed it “Fiji”. There’s Blackcomb, Vienna, Fiji, Vista and Longhorn… to some Britons they may think it’s a selection of fancy ice-creams you can get from your local Asda (or Wal-Mart to you Americans), the more cultural will think of them as scenic destinations from a popular ski resort to the ancient home of the well known biscuit (trust me…) but to the untrained eye… they’re all versions of Windows.

So with the help of my Microsoft employee friend (who doesn’t want to be named, but agreed on being codenamed “Aniston”) get your grips of the latest operating system, what goes where and when are they released – a simple timeline shows you what’s going on, when you can get them and especially in relation to the other operating systems… and trust me, this is exclusive to MSBLOG – nowhere else on the Internet will you have it laid out on a plate like this!

Check it out now!

Posted in Computing, Products, Windows Vista | 5 Comments »

Which popular websites run which web server?

April 1st, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

I got bored… very very bored indeed and I found this great site (or rather a small section of a site) which tells you what web server that particular site is running… so here we go.

As you can see… I got bored… but look how IIS compares to Apache 😮 Quite shocking don’t you think?

(Click on Image for bigger view of results!)

Posted in Computing | 6 Comments »

DDoS by our faithful readers

March 26th, 2006 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Dear Readers,

In the last 8 hours, we are having lots of request from and other sites where readers wanting to view our latest Vista’s screenshot. We are not anticipating this extreme load thus it took down MSBLOG.

Since MSBLOG has grown tremendously in the past few months, we are in need of a Virtual Private Server (VPN) solution and that will cost us around USD$50 a month. We are open for sponsorship (by hosting companies or individual) so we can have MSBLOG transferred to a VPS or a dedicated machine.

What we can give back to our sponsors is a undecided amount of things/freebies, decided on case by case basis.

If you are interested in helping to support MSBLOG, please send an email to with the details on what you can help to keep MSBLOG alive.

If you have any suggestions, do post a comment or email us at the above email directly.

Note: We have removed the album from our server temporary.

Posted in Computing, Daily Life | 1 Comment »

The UK’s Internet partially broken

March 4th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

For the last few hours especially, a lot of people in the UK have said and complained about the fact that some Internet sites won’t load up on their computers when some do. I know how they feel, the same happened to me, so much so is that I’m on a Remote Desktop connection to Patrick Elliott’s server in West United States so that I can then use Internet Explorer on that to get to MSBLOG. I’ve checked with my ISP and here’s the official word.

“Our engineers have identified that the issue with DNS lookups is external to our network, and there are reports from other ISPs in the UK of similar issues occurring. We believe that this is down to DNS Propagation issues elsewhere on the internet. As such this isn’t something that we can resolve internally, though we will post a further update once more information is available.”

It’s not meant to affect a lot of people in the UK, but from what I’ve seen, it definitely affects a lot of my contact list, which are 600 people at least including myself. Let’s hope it gets fixed soon… I don’t have any access to Google!

Posted in Computing, Daily Life | 4 Comments »


February 26th, 2006 by Joseph Bittman MCSD .Net

Thanks to Patrick Elliott :), I now have at least a temporary domain name: CactiDevelopers.Resdev.Net. It still points to, which I’m sure you have heard before. If there are problems with the DNS of the site, (like should pull up my blog directly), then let me know! – I can’t actually test the URLs myself, due to my annoyingly limited-ability router. lol Let me know!

 -Joseph Bittman DPM MVP MCSD.Net

Posted in Computing, Daily Life | Comments Off on CactiDevelopers.Resdev.Net

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