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Memories fade…

January 20th, 2007 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

Today the next round with 12 puzzles of the Vanishingpoint game started. This time the following locations were used to give hints to solve them:

  • * Great Britain, London
  • * Germany, Berlin
  • * Singapore, Singapore
  •    Canada, Toronto
  •    USA, California, San Francisco

All events marked with “*” in front of the location are already finished.

I arrived at 6.30pm at the Brandeburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. I took some pictures of the Brandeburg Gate for those people who don’t know what it is.
Between 6.30 and 7.00pm I walked around on the area in front of the Brandenburg Gate and meet some other bloggers/beta testers like Gregor Herdmann and Stefen Niemeyer (his Blog) there.
I personally thought that much people will visit the event because of the Vanishing Point game but there were around ten visitors only.
At 7pm we realized that this week “projections” are used at every event location to provide information to solve the puzzles. The event team used two very big outdoor beamers to create a very colorful projections of the universe onto the Brandenburg Gate. I have taken much pictures of the projections.
After the staff took some pictures of the projection and of course of the guys/gals which came to the event too, they used a MacBook! with MacOS on it (haha, nice… no Windows Vista…) to edit the pictures which they previously took.


Brandenburg Gate #9 – MacBook


Then then they used a UMTS broadband connetion to send them via an email message to the appropriate team, which uploaded them within seconds to the Vanishing Point game site.
But now have a look at the pictures which I have taken from the Brandenburg Gate.


Brandenburg Gate #1 | Brandenburg Gate #2 | Brandenburg Gate #3 | Brandenburg Gate #4

Brandenburg Gate #5 | Brandenburg Gate #6 | Brandenburg Gate #7 | Brandenburg Gate #8


P.S. The event team told us that there are only 65 people in the world which know the solutions of all puzzles etc. 🙂

Feel free to post your opinion, ideas etc.


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

Posted in MS News, Windows Vista | 3 Comments »

Explaining the Vanishing Point

January 14th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

A few people have emailed me over the last few days saying “what is this Vanishing Point?” and I thought it was only fair to really explain it – as it’s got many people perplexed.

It’s a game and a huge marketing campaign alliancing AMD and Microsoft together for Windows Vista. The vanishing point is the 30th January 2007 of which “Loki” disappears, the game finishes and Windows Vista is released for the public to buy.

The game lasts 4 weeks and there are 4 boxes to open up – each with 12 puzzles inside. Each week, there is an event in the real world (the first week it was a projection outside the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, the second week it was sky-written messages in Miami) and these events hold a load of clues which help you solve the puzzles in the box for that week.

Once you’ve solved all the puzzles in a box, you’ll get a video from Loki (who is the director of all this, and creates the challenges, supposibly) and gives you an insight into her life or so to speak. Also at the end of each video, flashes up on-screen a part of the website of which leads another puzzle – enter this to the end of the URL and you’ll have the chance to enter another competition.

I’ve spent a good few days trying to work out these puzzles, and then I find out once I’ve completed the first two boxes there’s an entire Wiki website with all the bloody answers there. So if you need any help, the best place to be is the Wiki site. Enjoy!

Vanishing Point Game – Start
Vanishing Point Game – Wiki Help Site

Posted in Microsoft, Windows Vista, Xbox and Gaming | 1 Comment »

First of Four Vista Certifications Released

January 11th, 2007 by Patrick S

If you have had a feel for Windows Vista (through beta’s or if you are lucky enough to own a copy even before it has been released this month) you could quite possibly start the year more qualified than anyone else in the field of this Operating System.

How?…By passing Microsoft’s four brand spanking new Vista Certifications (Exam 70-620).
Microsoft Certification Exam 70-620 covers Microsoft Windows Vista Configuration and covers the following elements:

  • Installing and Upgrading Windows Vista
  • Configuring and Troubleshooting Post-Installation System Settings
  • Configuring Windows Security Features
  • Configuring Network Connectivity
  •  Configuring Applications Included with Windows Vista
  • Maintaining and Optimizing Systems That Run Windows Vista
  • Configuring and Troubleshooting Mobile Computing

So get down to your local testing agent and pass 70-620 today 🙂
Check out the Preparation guide here:

I have a spare exam code I won lying around I might go give it a shot 🙂

Posted in Learning, MS News, Windows Vista | 2 Comments »

The digital decade

January 8th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Bill Gates was speaking his keynote speech earlier on, and some things are to be taken from that which are quite interesting.

Microsoft are really keen on getting media anywhere and everywhere it seems, with IPTV (internet protocol television) on any number of devices, and having access to your media from any other device you might have. It’s already clear that by this time next year, partners will be offering live and on-demand

I don’t know where the post has gone… but I told you I was right about Windows Home Server 😉 Partnering with HP, home users will be able to access and store all their data on a central device from any number of Windows powered products, from the Zune to the Xbox 360, PC’s and mobile phones.

Windows Home Server is expected to arrive sometime this year – from what I believe it’ll be more of a home-user-friendly product rather than it being targetted at Windows Server administrators. My guess it’ll probably look at lot like Vista but with a few dashboard options to easily guide a user through storing their content on the server.

Posted in Windows Server System, Windows Vista, Xbox and Gaming | Comments Off on The digital decade

New Windows Vista Test Drive Website

January 7th, 2007 by Patrick S

Remember the Microsoft Office 12/2007 test drive website we blogged about in June 06? This test drive site allowed the common user to try out tasks in a sandbox environment before they bought the product sight unseen.

Well Microsoft have just launched a new test environment site for people to try out many Vista related tasks before the product goes on sale in a few weeks and without having to install Vista on your computer.

Where the Microsoft Office 07 test drive used a Citrix client to connect to the remote server this new Vista test environment seams to use a Virtual Server/Computer plugin to view the test environment in a browser window which I find to be superior when connecting to the sandbox.

All nerdyness aside this innovative idea is sure to win Microsoft customers for their next Generation of Desktop OS be warned however-when I tried it I found the whole thing to be dead slow so be patient its bound to ease up soon.

Find the website here
Source Active Win

Posted in Computing, MS News, Virtual Machine, Windows Vista | 2 Comments »

‘Bill Gates’ signature on a Windows Vista retail box?… Yes

January 6th, 2007 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

A friend of me has sent me a link to an offer of They will sell special editions of Windows Vista at the end of january. But what is so special about them?

These editions are called ‘signature edition’ and got a signature of Bill Gates on the front of the retail box. The signature editions seem to be limited because above the sign you will find a consecutive number.


Accordingly to Windows Vista Ultimate UPGRADE (Signature Edition) will cost 259.00 $.
Other editions of Windows Vista are not available as ‘signature edition’ on yet.


Feel free to post your opinion, ideas etc.


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

Posted in Windows Vista | 10 Comments »

VistaBase v4 ready

January 3rd, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

It’s taken me many hours to get this finally going – but a knowledge base is now complete of which you can put your input in on any article – leave a comment, leave a reply, ask questions then get answers – it’s a real knowledge base where your input gets easily submitted back to me for improvements.

  • Leave a reply and get a response
  • Comment on each individual post
  • Comment on each demonstration
  • Fully Firefox compatible
  • Mobile site coming soon

It’s what you all asked me to do – so I did it. To make it easy for existing users, it still looks pretty much exactly the same – but waiting times for articles to load are slashed to a fraction of the time as before. Big thanks to Dean and Oliver who helped with the backend stuff behind it (as I’m not so good at that!). The old URL still works, but it’ll redirect to here where the real magic is – so check it out!

Posted in Internet Explorer, MSBLOG Related, Windows Vista | 2 Comments »

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?

Moving the Offline Files Cache in Windows Vista

December 29th, 2006 by Patrick Elliott

Thanks to Jill Z, Navjot Virk, Sriram Srinivasan, and Shubhankar Sanyal for posting this over on The Filing Cabinet.   I wasn’t aware you could do this, so I’ve learned something new myself (and it’s useful because *everything* (offline files, my documents, pictures, etc) is redirected to my secondary partition now)

“Several customers have asked us how to move the Offline Files cache location from the default location (c:\windows\csc) to another volume. Here is a procedure for doing this.

Continue reading here…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Testing, Windows Vista | 1 Comment »

Microsoft gives out Ferrari’s (laptops, not the cars) but not to us!

December 28th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

OK this isn’t fair. Yeh I’m jumping on the bandwagon here because I want and/or need a new laptop and I’m having a world class hissy fit because of it. *sigh*

According to Alexa Traffic Rankings:

So Mitch Denny (the latter of the two addresses) gets a free laptop with free Windows Vista Ultimate installed on it… even though he’s not as heard of as us. It’s not fair, we didn’t even get *one* to share. OK it’ll be hard for me and Patrick to share as he’s literally half the world away, but has anyone heard of Remote Desktop? I do think so.

My conclusion - it’s not fair. I’ve worked with the Windows Live teams in the UK, Patrick E works for Microsoft, Joseph and Jabez are both MVP’s, Patrick S is just a geek but we love him none the less, Dean’s a geek also but he’s bloody good on the web, and Andre, dear Andre, the ultimate in bug submission for Windows Server 2003 R2.

If you’re from the team that decided to send out laptops to these guys – we respect your decision. However could we have one pretty please, as we’ve given so much to your organisation and we expect very little. We’ll love you lots and lots? 🙂

Posted in Humour, Microsoft, Windows Vista | 5 Comments »

Administering Windows Server 2003 from Windows Vista

December 25th, 2006 by Patrick Elliott

Want to know how to get the Admin Tools to work on Windows Vista?  Thanks to the Windows Server guys, there is a KB article here!  —

From the Windows Server Weblog:

“One of the more popular questions on our Windows Server “Longhorn” discussion forums is around the Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack. In particular, people have been asking why they can’t use the Admin Pack on Windows Vista. It can be installed, but it gives error messages and many of the administration tools seem to be missing or are not properly configured. Some of these issues are related to User Account Control and not having the necessary administrative privileges when attempting to install the pack.

Well help is at hand! We’ve just released a new Knowledge Base article describing how to get the Admin Pack working on Windows Vista, and describing some of the limitations that will still exist.

Note that this does not address managing Windows Server “Longhorn” from a client machine (either Windows XP or Windows Vista). We are working on a new version of the Admin Pack for Windows Server “Longhorn” and we will provide an update on our progress with this in the Beta 3 timeframe.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

– Patrick Elliott

Posted in Testing, Windows Server System, Windows Vista | 1 Comment »

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

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. =!

  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 »

EVO (Exchange, Vista and Office) Image Gallery

December 11th, 2006 by Zack Whittaker

Microsoft have put up a few images of the EVO (Exchange 2007, Vista and Office) released-to-manufacturing screenshots on their “A New Day for Business” bit on the PressPass website. Kinda fits seeing as all three have RTM’d and are available for businesses. Anyway, enjoy!

Note: Some of the images are rather big in size – they vary from around 600kb to around 1.4mbso just be careful!

2007 Microsoft Office System (RTM)
Save as PDF add-in function in Microsoft® Office Word 2007 Inbox Attachment preview in Microsoft® Office Outlook® Table formatting in Microsoft® Office Excel® 2007

Windows Vista Ultimate (RTM)
Live Icons Sidebar and gadgetsTaskbar thumbnails

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 (RTM)
Exchange Server 2007 Management Console Mailbox view Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) inbox


Posted in Office 2007, Windows Vista | 2 Comments »

Microsoft SoftGrid on Windows Vista

December 10th, 2006 by laidaniel

If you are using Microsoft SoftGrid in your company environment, You may consider the compatibility of SoftGrid Client on Windows Vista.

There are many new features and security enhancements in Windows Vista. But it may conflict with SoftGrid Client.

If the management board confirmed to Upgrade the Existing Windows to Windows Vista, And they also want to continue to use SoftGrid. Don’t worry. SoftGrid Client supports It!

To configure the SoftGrid Client on Windows Vista, You have to Disable the UAC Feature in Windows Vista first. You can disable it in “Control Panel”, “User Accounts”   

And then Install and Configure SoftGrid Client on Windows Vista.

Note| You need to add a new environment variable “SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER” on Windows Vista OR Change the %SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER% to the IP or FQDN of the SoftGrid Virtual Applications Server in the SoftGrid OSD File.

Posted in MS News, Windows Vista | 3 Comments »

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