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Scott Dorman Microsoft MVP, Software Architect, Developer, Author Vista There are 70 entries for the tag Vista
TechEd 2010 Schedule and Twitter Tool
If you’re going to TechEd 2010* (North America), be sure to check out the TechEd 2010 Schedule and Twitter Tool. If you have a mobile device (Windows Mobile 6.5, Android, iPhone), a tablet (Windows 7, iPad), or even a laptop (Windows Vista or Windows 7 gadgets) then this tool is essential. It allows you to view all of the session details and build your own customized schedule. You can also keep up with all of the TechEd related Twitter traffic from the same application. By default, the #TechEd hashtag ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 1, 2010 6:19 PM

Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
Windows 7 includes a lot of improvements in the Windows Explorer. Most of them are fairly obvious, but the new preview pane is likely to go unnoticed (or passed over as the same as Vista’s preview pane) by a lot of people. The new preview pane supports a much wider range of formats than the Windows XP and Windows Vista preview pane did, including the ability to preview HTML, text files, XML files, images, videos, music, and WordPad files without any additional software installed. If you have Microsoft ......

Posted On Saturday, May 16, 2009 5:18 PM

Windows 7 Tricks and Keyboard Shortcuts
I’ve been running Windows 7 RC for a little over a week now and can’t imagine going back to Vista at this point. I decided to start with a fresh install of Windows 7, so I’ve been in the process of reinstalling all of my applications and cleaning up my disk drives. In the process, I went searching to see if there are any interesting Windows 7 power toys or tricks available. While I didn’t find any power toys, I did discover that all of the Windows Vista tricks are still available on Windows 7. Tim ......

Posted On Sunday, May 10, 2009 9:28 PM

Windows 7 Release Candidate
Microsoft has reached a critical milestone in the Windows 7 development cycle with the limited release of the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) today for Microsoft TechNet and MSDN subscribers and general availability from the Microsoft Download Center on May 5th. There has been a lot of excitement about Windows 7 and, so far, the excitement has been justified. The Windows 7 RC comes after extensive beta testing and feedback from the MVP community with a lot of enhancements and bug fixes since the ......

Posted On Thursday, April 30, 2009 9:07 AM

Microsoft Fix it Solution for Disappearing System Tray Icons on Windows Vista
About two years ago I talked about a very common problem in Windows Vista where the network, volume, and power icons in the system tray disappear. In that post, I provide a solution which involves editing the registry. Several people posted comments that provide slightly more automated ways to make the registry changes through a batch/command file and through a registry file. Jump ahead to today and Microsoft has a Fix it solution for this problem. Fix this problem Technorati Tags: Fix it,Vista,System ......

Posted On Monday, April 6, 2009 10:07 AM

Windows 7 Product Lines Announced
Microsoft today announced the new product line for Windows 7. In some ways the new Windows 7 product line follows the same ideas of Windows Vista, but the big differences are that each Windows 7 edition is a superset of the previous edition (which means that each higher edition will have every feature of all lower editions) and they will be focusing primarily on two editions of Windows 7: Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional. The breakdown on the different editions is: Windows 7 Starter ......

Posted On Tuesday, February 3, 2009 3:01 PM

Windows Vista Service Pack 2
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Beta is now available for public download on MSDN and TechNet. This is a combined update for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1. This will be the first service pack for Windows Server 2008 since it shipped and includes a lot of performance improvements for WS08. Did you notice that I specifically said Windows Vista Service Pack 1? That’s correct, if you want to install this service pack on Vista, you must first have SP1 installed. That means that SP2 ......

Posted On Friday, December 5, 2008 12:21 AM

Windows Live Wave 3 Beta Downloads
The beta downloads for the new Windows Live Wave 3 applications are here. This includes new versions of: Messenger Mail Writer Photo Gallery Movie Maker Toolbar Family Safety Microsoft Office Outlook Connector To give you an idea of what’s new in some of the products: The look and visible features have been updated in all of the products, but the ones that are most noticeable are Messenger, Writer, and Mail. There are a lot of new features in Messenger, but some noticeable ones are that “Shared Folders” ......

Posted On Thursday, September 18, 2008 10:07 AM

Axialis IconWorkshop Lite
Axialis Software and Microsoft worked to create a free Visual Studio add-in to create an icon editing tool that allows you to create high-quality 256x256 PNG-compressed icons for Windows Vista. The editing experience, both inside and outside Visual Studio, is very easy to use and provides various tools, filters, and effects, as well as the ability to create icons from existing images or ready-to-use image objects. *IMPORTANT: Axialis IconWorkshop™ Lite installs ONLY if Visual Studio® 2008 Professional ......

Posted On Saturday, August 30, 2008 11:03 AM

Windows Vista UX Guidelines and Visual Studio
Whether you like Vista or not, the user interface aspects of the operating system are here to stay. Overall, I think Microsoft did a good job with the core interface guidelines, as presented in the Windows Vista User Experience Guidelines. From the guidelines, The goals for these official Windows Vista® User Experience Guidelines (or "UX Guide" for short) are to: Establish a high quality and consistency baseline for all Windows Vista-based applications. Answer your specific user experience questions. ......

Posted On Friday, July 25, 2008 9:50 AM

When Should You Use WPF?
It’s pretty clear that Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is here to stay. In fact, use of WPF is becoming more popular and frequent, particularly now that Silverlight 2.0 is on the horizon. The problem is that there has been very little guidance available to help you decide when to use the various UI technologies available. There is however, some unofficial help in the form of this blog post and this white paper. Here is the comparison matrix from Michael’s blog post: WPF WPF XBAP Silverlight ......

Posted On Sunday, July 20, 2008 1:52 PM

Consolas for a Command Prompt
This actually came out a while ago, but if you like the Consolas font that ships with Vista and Office 2007 you can change the Command Prompt (CMD.EXE) settings to allow you to use Consolas. If you don’t have Consolas installed, you can download from the Microsoft Download Center. In order to add Consolas to the list of fonts available for the Command Prompt, you need to run the following command (run this in an elevated command prompt in Vista): reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWAR... ......

Posted On Sunday, July 20, 2008 9:40 AM

Product Review: uCertify PrepKit
I recently took a look at the PrepKit offerings from uCertify. If you aren’t familiar with uCertify, they make practice exams and test preparation packages for a pretty extensive range of IT certifications including Microsoft, Oracle, CompTIA, Cisco, and Sun. The interesting thing about the uCertify PrepKit is that they are completely exam/quiz oriented. You can download a trial version of the PrepKit which includes 30 questions and then purchase the full PrepKit directly from within the “PrepEngine”. ......

Posted On Saturday, July 19, 2008 11:08 AM

Windows Live FolderShare Beta
A while ago I talked about Windows Live FolderShare. As a reminder, for those of you who don't know: FolderShare allows you to synchronize files across multiple computers and access or share files with colleagues and friends. You no longer need to send large files via email, burn them to CDs/DVDs and mail them, or upload them to a website. FolderShare allows you to share and sync important information instantly with anyone you invite, making it the perfect solution for personal or small business ......

Posted On Monday, March 10, 2008 11:11 PM

Code Signing
Ever since the .NET Framework was first release, Microsoft has always recommended that your code be signed. Windows Vista drives this point home even more with UAC and the Windows Error Reporting (WER) features, not to mention the fact that it's a requirement for Vista logo certification. John Robbins from Wintellect provides an excellent explanation of how to sign your code. As it turns out, it's a lot easier than many of you may have thought ......

Posted On Friday, February 29, 2008 9:59 PM

Post Categories and Image Galleries
Post Categories Conferences Tech·Ed Tech·Ed 2006 Tech·Ed 2007 Tech·Ed 2008 PDC PDC 2007 PDC 2008 Open Source Projects Subtext CI Factory MSBuildContrib CruiseControl.NET .NET Related Technologies .NET (General) .NET (C#) WPF WCF Communities and User Groups Community Credit IASA Other topics General Vista Code Styles & Standards Image Galleries Conferences Tech·Ed Tech·Ed 2006 Tech·Ed 2005 Tech·Ed 2007 PDC PDC 2007 ......

Posted On Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:42 PM

Statistics for 2007
Even though I've been blogging since June 2006, I really started consistently blogging in November of that year with it really picking up in 2007. Borrowing a concept from many of the bloggers that I read regularly, I wanted to review how my blog did over the last year. I only started tracking blog statistics through Google Analytics since the end of September 2007. My site usage for September 2007 through December 2007 was 36,371 visits from 146 different countries. The top 5 are: United States ......

Posted On Friday, January 4, 2008 12:54 AM

Disappearing System Tray Icons on Windows Vista
I've been running Vista on my work laptop since the first quarter of this year and on my development system at home since August. So far, I haven't had too many problems with it. Actually, on my home system I've had almost no problems. My laptop, on the other hand, routinely has issues. One of the more annoying issues is that my wireless network connection periodically and randomly dies. It comes back to life after about 30 seconds to a minute, but it's still pretty frustrating. (Yes, I know I need ......

Posted On Monday, December 31, 2007 1:51 AM

.NET Framework v2.0 and v3.0 SP1
Now that Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework v3.5 have shipped, you may have noticed that Service Pack 1 for .NET Framework 2.0 and Service Pack 1 for .NET Framework 3.0 also shipped at the same time. Both are automatically installed with .NET Framework v3.5, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1. For Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 they are available as a standalone update. Daniel Moth has an excellent post that describes what is actually in the service packs. Here is the ......

Posted On Wednesday, December 19, 2007 8:38 PM

Tech·Ed U.S. Just Got Bigger
Following the lead of Tech·Ed Barcelona, Tech·Ed U.S. 2008 will also be expanded into a "split event". For the first time, Tech·Ed U.S. is evolving from a one week conference to two separate back-to-back conferences: Tech·Ed U.S. 2008 Developers, June 3-6, and Tech·Ed U.S. 2008 IT Professionals, June 10-13, in Orlando, FL. Each event is priced separately, but there will be special package pricing for those that want to attend both events. The format is intended to provide the same experience but ......

Posted On Thursday, November 8, 2007 8:06 AM

WPF Virtual Bootcamp
I just came across a post by Tim Sneath announcing the WPF Virtual Bootcamp. This is a three-day virtual training course that covers all aspects of WPF as part of MIX University. The best part about this bootcamp is that it's completely free. This was originally delivered on the Redmond campus earlier this year to a small invited audience and features: A keynote from Ian Ellison-Taylor, the general manager responsible for WPF, Silverlight and client platform tools. Introductory sessions on core WPF ......

Posted On Friday, October 26, 2007 10:01 PM

Microsoft SharedView
Microsoft SharedView is now in Beta 2. While SharedView isn't a Windows Live application, it is available under the Windows Live Betas page, and will probably end up being rebranded to Windows Live SharedView before it actually ships. Even though there is a similar application available to Windows Vista users (Windows Meeting Space), I have a feeling that both Microsoft SharedView and the Windows Live Photo Gallery will eventually replace both Windows Meeting Space and Windows Photo Gallery, respectively. ......

Posted On Friday, October 26, 2007 9:40 PM

Windows Live ID now supports Windows CardSpace
Well, this isn't actually breaking news, but at the end of August, Windows Live ID added support for Windows CardSpace as a new way to sign in to any Live ID enabled website. Using CardSpace means you don't use a password to sign in, instead you send your Information Card. Windows Vista users already have everything needed to use CardSpace. For Windows XP or Windows 2003, you will need to install IE 7.0 and .NET 3.0 with CardSpace support. Once you have everything you need to use CardSpace, you can ......

Posted On Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:57 PM

Windows Vista User Experience (UX) Guidelines
The Windows Vista UX Guide is probably the most comprehensive UX guide that Microsoft has published. The big drawback has been that it was only available online through MSDN. Fortunately, as of today, the UX Guide is now available as a PDF document so you can read all 627 pages of it offline ......

Posted On Thursday, October 25, 2007 7:27 PM

MCP 2008
If you are a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), you should be sure to check out Georgeo's blog. He is the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Community Marketing Manager (as of June) and before that he managed the MSDN Webcasts Program. Yesterday he announced some new benefits for MCPs worldwide as part of the MCP 2008 program. These benefits are part of MCP 2008 Phase 1. As long as you have your MCP ID, you can log in to the the MCP site and start using the new benefits right now. As part ......

Posted On Friday, October 19, 2007 2:46 PM

About me...
Scott J Dormanhttp://about.me/scott... Profile I am a Microsoft C# MVP, author, speaker, blogger, and creator of WP Requests and WinMetro Requests. I've been involved with computers in one way or another for as long as I can remember, but started professionally in 1993. Although my primary focus right now is commercial software applications, I prefer building infrastructure components, reusable shared libraries and helping companies define, develop and automate process standards and ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:16 PM

StarTech.com Print Server
I recently straightened up my home office and decided to move the printer to a different corner of my desk. Of course, the corner I wanted it at was about as far away from the computer as possible and I didn't have a long enough parallel port cable (and I'm not even sure they make them long enough anyway) so I decided to get a print server. I already have a wireless 4-port router and an old but trustworthy HP LaserJet 2100, so all I needed was a print server. I know I could have upgraded to a newer ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 8, 2007 8:53 PM

Windows Vista Performance and Reliability Updates
Microsoft has just released two updates for Windows Vista that address some of the performance and reliability issues people have been seeing. These updates are a precursor to the upcoming Windows Vista SP1 release. You can get more details and download them from here: Windows Vista Performance Update (KB 938979): x86 Download x64 Download Windows Vista Reliability Update (KB 938194): x86 Download x64 Download ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 8, 2007 9:53 AM

Vista Service Pack 1
According to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Vista SP1 beta 1 to launch in mid-July, with the final version around November 2007. A November release is also the target for RTM of Windows Server 2008, which, if they meet the deadlines means that they were able to stick to a schedule announced a year ago when they announced Vista SP! and Windows Server 2008 will be released simultaneously. Apparently, the Microsoft Windows Client team is trying to clamp down on the amount of information available relating to ......

Posted On Monday, July 9, 2007 11:06 AM

Closed Betas for Windows Live Folder and Windows Live Photo Gallery
Microsoft has started offering limited beta testing of Windows Live Folder and Windows Live Photo Gallery. Windows Live Folder is designed to allow file sharing without relying on email, external USB devices, or public sharing sites. The Live Folder service uses email to share a link to the folder, but the files are stored and accessed online. One of the things that make Live Folder different from other public online sites (like Xdrive) is that you choose who has access to the folder from a list ......

Posted On Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:04 AM

Understanding the .NET Framework 3.5
Daniel Moth has an excellent post that explains what makes up the .NET Framework 3.5. This post also sparked a very good discussion on The Code Project. There are two elements that make up version 3.5 of the Framework: the "green bits" and the "red bits". This model is aimed at minimizing the impact of delivering new features and functionality. The red bits are those parts of the Framework that exist in release today, which include the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 releases. The green bits are brand ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 12, 2007 9:59 PM

Windows Vista Application Compatability Labs
I won't be able to attend these labs as I have other schedule conflicts, but the Windows Vista team is providing two training labs at Tech·Ed 2007. Both labs are free for Tech·Ed attendees, but you must register to reserve your spot. The first lab is an Instructor led Lab in Room S331-C and is broken up into two 90 minute parts. Part 1 takes an in-depth look at the most common application compatability issues and the ramifications of the new security enhancements in Windows Vista. This covers topics ......

Posted On Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:01 PM

Search Driven Development
A few months ago, Phil Haack wrote about a phenomena being referred to as Search Driven Development (SDD). If you don't know what Search Driven Development is, there is a great article on LinuxWorld by Ken Krugler and John D. Mitchell. According to them article About 25% of a developer's time is spend [sic] searching for information. It's well spent, though -- finding reusable code can get a project done on time and with high quality results. I don't know about you, but (like Phil) I find that Google ......

Posted On Sunday, May 20, 2007 3:05 PM

IronPython Running on Mono
When Microsoft announced the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) at MIX07, it was an interesting concept. Now, thanks to some very hard work by some of the talented people on the Mono project, it only took 16 days to get Microsoft’s IronPython running with DLR on Mono. This means that IronPython can now run: In the Silverlight browser plugin Natively on Windows Vista On Windows XP with WinFx On Linux, BSD, and OSX with Mono It also means that the other dynamic languages (IronRuby, VBx, Smalltalk/DLR, ......

Posted On Saturday, May 19, 2007 10:50 AM

Tech·Ed for Novices
Microsoft has created a Tips for the "Newbie" page designed to give first time Tech·Ed attendees a fighting chance of finding their way around. It does a decent job letting the first timer know about what Tech·Ed has to offer, but I don't think it goes nearly far enough. Tech·Ed is a huge event, last year's event had about 13000 people attending, with an equally huge amount of content. The current count of sessions (including the Hands-on labs) is 1057. That's right, over 1000 sessions. The actual ......

Posted On Saturday, May 19, 2007 10:32 AM

Mindscape BrainDump
My friend Simone, from Subtext and the creator of the CCNET monitor gadget for Vista, was just interviewed for the first Mindscape BrainDump video blog post. Check out the full video at: BrainDump #1 - Simone Chiaretta. Congratulations, Simone ......

Posted On Friday, May 18, 2007 1:24 PM

Windows Live Hotmail official
Earlier this week, Microsoft rather quietly released it's Windows Live Hotmail offering. Along with the release, a replacement for the Outlook Express and Windows Mail desktop clients was announced as well as new software to integrate web mail with Outlook, called the Outlook Internet Mail Connector. Outlook Express and Windows Mail will be replaced with a new desktop product called Windows Live Mail in the coming weeks. The program will handle POP, IMAP, and Windows Live Hotmail accounts and is ......

Posted On Saturday, May 12, 2007 1:13 PM

CC.NET Vista Sidebar Gadget 0.8 Released
Earlier this month, I talked about the upcoming release of Simone's CC.NET Monitor Gadget for the Vista Sidebar. I'm very pleased to announce now that version 0.8 has been released. This release adds the following features: new tab style settings page ability to monitor more than one CC.NET dashboard possibility to choose which project to display for each server added a license page (which is the new BSD license, as stated in my copyright and licensing policy) added an icon at the bottom of both ......

Posted On Saturday, May 12, 2007 10:07 AM

CC.NET Vista Sidebar Gadget updates
For those of you who are keeping up with the progress Simone Chiaretta has been making on his excellent CC.NET Monitor gadget, he is getting ready to release the 0.8 version. This version includes a lot of feedback received, and implements the following features: new tab style settings page ability to monitor more than one CC.NET dashboard possibility to choose which project to display for each server added a license page (which is the new BSD license, as stated in my copyright and licensing policy) ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 2, 2007 11:44 PM

FeedGhost
I've just found a new blog reader that promises to completely change the way you read blogs. The biggest difference between FeedGhost and other blog readers is that it works on a subscription basis. What this means is that when you subscribe to a blog, the state is kept synchronized across all machines that you have FeedGhost installed. The price of the subscription is $20 per year, which gives you access to any FeedGhost products or upgrades as they become available, use of the synchronization service ......

Posted On Saturday, April 21, 2007 2:03 PM

Visual Studio "Orcas" Beta 1
Microsoft has just released Beta 1 of Visual Studio "Orcas". For those that don't know, "Orcas" is the next generation development tool for Windows Vista, the 2007 Office System, and the web. The Beta 1 release consists of multiple products including Visual Studio Professional Edition, Visual Studio Team Suite and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, which are available as ISO images. You can also download VPC images with the software pre-installed. To download either the ISO images or the VPC images, ......

Posted On Friday, April 20, 2007 10:44 PM

CC.NET Vista Sidebar Gadget
Simone Chiaretta has just released a beta version of his new Vista Sidebar Gadget for monitoring Cruise Control.NET. This gadget uses the CC.NET REST-like API and connects to the XmlStatusReport service that comes as part of CC.NET. CC.NET Vista Sidebar Gadget docked to the sidebar CC.NET Vista Sidebar Gadget undocked on the desktop CC.NET Vista Sidebar Gadget settings page The look of the gadget is excellent, and provides the same monitoring capabilities currently available in the CCTray application. ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 17, 2007 12:54 AM

Windows XP phase out
According to APC magazine, Windows XP is due to be phased out by the end of 2007. Microsoft plans to stop OEM copies as an option for system builders. What this will mean is that starting next year, any new computer bought from a retailer must come with Windows Vista. Dell has indicated that it continue offering Windows XP on select system until later this summer. This is an interesting move by Microsoft, in that it will force Vista on the consumer market whether it is ready for it or not. On one ......

Posted On Monday, April 16, 2007 11:19 PM

Tech·Ed Technical Tracks Summary, Updated
There are 14 core tracks and 2 virtual tracks at Tech·Ed this year, which will cover more than 1,000 sessions. In case you're wondering, a virtual track is a collection of sessions or labs that share a common theme but span several tracks. Microsoft has revised the technical tracks slightly since my original post, so I have updated my summary. Architecture Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Office Business Applications Software as a Service (SaaS) Business Capabilities Software+Services Industry ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 4, 2007 9:31 PM

FoxPro Retiring
It seems this is the year for Microsoft to announce product retirements. First GotDotNet, then Visual J#, and now eWeek just announced that FoxPro is being retired as well. According to Microsoft, they will not be releasing any new versions of Visual FoxPro past version 9.0, but they will continue to support it through 2015. The FoxPro development team, which is actually part of the Microsoft Visual Studio team, will be spread out across different groups in the Microsoft Developer Division, including ......

Posted On Thursday, March 15, 2007 10:27 PM

Commodore is back!
I don't know about you, but my first home computer was a Commodore VIC-20 longer ago than I care to admit. From there, it was a Commodore C64, then a C128. After that, we got our first IBM PC compatible, a Goldstar made PC clone. I never really got in to the Commodore Amiga, although the graphics and operating system where definitely ahead of it's time. The Commodore line sort of died out in 1996 with the Amiga, and hasn't been heard in the mass-consumer market since then. That's all about to change! ......

Posted On Thursday, March 15, 2007 10:11 PM

Folder Size for Windows Explorer
If you have ever wanted to know how big a folder was, you had two options: Open a dos prompt and get a directory listing Open the properties for the folder Wouldn't it be great if the folder size could be displayed right in Windows Explorer, just like it does for file size? Well, thanks to this post on Noah's blog, it is now possible! This is an open source project available on SourceForge at: http://foldersize.sourcefor... Of course, this information is only available in Details view, but if ......

Posted On Sunday, March 4, 2007 11:49 AM

GotDotNet shutting down!
The Microsoft sponsored GotDotNet developer community site is shutting down! All of the functionality will be phased out by July 2007, so there isn't much time left. According to the announcement, Microsoft is phasing out GotDotNet for the following reasons: Eliminate redundant functionality between GDN and other community resources provided by Microsoft Traffic and usage has significantly decreased over the last 6 months Reinvest the resources in new and better community features The phase out schedule ......

Posted On Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:22 PM

Reflector 5.0
Reflector 5.0 was just released today. If you haven't already downloaded, do it now. It has a ton of new features, and makes version 4 pale in comparison. In fact, there are so many new features that Lutz has put together a PowerPoint slideshow that gives an overview of what's new. One of the coolest new features is a custom protocol handler that will really show the versatility of Reflector. If you already have Reflector 5 installed, you can navigate directly to a code item through a code:// URL. ......

Posted On Tuesday, February 20, 2007 11:43 PM

Tech·Ed Technical Tracks Summary
There are 14 core tracks and 2 virtual tracks at Tech·Ed this year, which will cover more than 1,000 sessions. In case you're wondering, a virtual track is a collection of sessions or labs that share a common theme but span several tracks. The Session Scheduler launches in April and we will get our first real look at the actual sessions available in each track. Until then, we have to be content to speculate. Looking at the technical tracks page, it became clear to me that there is a lot of information ......

Posted On Saturday, February 17, 2007 12:15 PM

Windows Mobile 6
Microsoft just announced Windows Mobile 6 (press release) at the 3GSM World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. The first WM6 powered devices will start hitting the streets by the second quarter of this year, and many companies are planning upgrade options for existing WM5 devices. There are a lot of changes in this release, but Microsoft has really focused on improving usability and adding support for more Microsoft Office features. The user interface has received a much needed face-lift, giving it ......

Posted On Thursday, February 15, 2007 11:13 PM

See you at Tech·Ed 2007
Hopefully I'm not jumping the gun, but I was just given a tentative "green light" to be able to go to Tech·Ed again this year. This year, the focus will be on all of the newly released products, such as Vista, Exchange Server 2007, Office 2007, and ASP.NET AJAX. I'll see you there ......

Posted On Thursday, February 8, 2007 10:29 PM

Vista Goes Gold!
Earlier today Microsoft announced that Vista is finally complete, after over 5 years of work. Expect to see it hit the consumer and small-business market by the end of January 2007. Large companies will have access to it by the end of the month. For more details, read the full PC Magazine article ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 8, 2006 6:08 PM

PatchGuard, the eWEEK opinion
eWEEK Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer just published an article on eWEEK.com providing his opinion on the benefits, and limitations, of PatchGuard. In the article, Larry reiterates some of the points I made in my post on PatchGuard a few days ago, namely: Only 64-bit Windows versions are affected by PatchGuard. 64-bit Windows versions, especially desktop versions, have puny market share. The problems are limited to what can generally be called HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention Systems). Conventional ......

Posted On Thursday, November 2, 2006 4:44 PM

Kernel Patch Protection aka "PatchGuard"
If anyone has been following this technology closely, there have been a lot of complaints by some of the security vendors regarding PatchGuard. I first heard about this technology at TechEd 2006 in a lot of the Vista sessions. The recent controversy caused me to do a little more research in to this technology and the issues surrounding it. The official name for this technology is called Kernel Patch Protection (KPP) and it's purpose is to increase the security and stability of the Windows kernel. ......

Posted On Monday, October 30, 2006 5:06 PM

BitLocker™ - The dirty details
One of the new security features coming in Windows Vista and Longhorn is the new BitLocker™ Drive Encryption technology. BitLocker™ is designed to help prevent information loss, whether it is by theft or accidental. Information loss is costly to business on several levels, and the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that intellectual property theft cost enterprises $250 billion in 2004. BitLocker™ Drive Encryption gives you improved data protection on your notebooks, desktops, ......

Posted On Tuesday, July 4, 2006 9:21 AM

.NET 3.0 - The next revolution
Since last years TechEd everyone has been hearing about .NET 3.0 and the cool features of LINQ, lambda expressions, and all of the other cool new language features. I don't know about you, but I was definitely looking forward to them. We were also hearing about WinFx and “Avalon“ and “Indigo“, InfoCard, Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF) and the other new technologies that looked like they would only be part of Vista. Fast-forward a year to this years TechEd and we're still ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 4:55 PM

Windows PowerShell - Unix comes to Windows
Windows PowerShell (formerly known as “Monad”) is a Microsoft's answer to the power and flexibility of the Unix command shells. It should finally complete the Windows management picture by providing a solid command line shell to administer Windows systems. PowerShell is part of Vista, but fortunately for all of us, it is being released separately and is available for Windows XP as well. PowerShell is a command line shell that is: as interactive and composable as bash/ksh (or any other ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 4:18 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Shadows of Reliability, Performance and Scalability
Performance and Scalability Vista makes fewer and larger disk reads for page faults and system cache read-ahead and has removed the 64KB limit. Fewer, faster, and larger disk writes for the system page file and mapped file I/O reduce the page file fragmentation and allow a larger cluster size. The CPU usage has also been improved by providing improvements in the concurrency management within the kernel. Windows Error Reporting (WER) Vista is a more robust and resilient operating system that provides ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:59 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Kernel Transactions
Kernel Transaction Manager (KTM) Before Vista, applications had to do a lot of hard work to recover from errors during the modification of files and registry keys. Windows Vista implements a generalized transaction manager called the Kernel Transaction Manager (KTM) which provides “all or nothing” transaction semantics. This means that changes are committed only when the associated transaction is completed and commits. The KTM is extensible through third-party resource managers and coordinates ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:38 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Wakeup, wakeup, wakeup!
Up until Vista, an application or a driver could prevent the system from entering a sleep mode (standby or hibernate) and was often caused by a bug or an overly aggressive power management policy. The problem with this was that the user might not know the system hasn't entered the appropriate sleep stat and eventually loose data. Vista no longer queries processes when entering sleep states like previous versions of Windows and has reduced the timeout for user-mode notifications to 2 seconds (down ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:24 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Can I get some service?
Delayed AutoStart Services There are a lot of services that are set to autostart that aren't needed by the boot process. Unfortunately these services start at boot time and login time, which can severely impact login performance. Vista solves this by allowing services that can request a delayed autostart. These services are started by the Service Control Manager (SCM) after the automatic start services. Delayed autostart services also start with the initial thread set to THREAD_PRIORITY_LOWEST and ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:17 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Has any body seen Gina and what's a UAC?
Interactive Logon Architecture Vista changes the logon architecture and replaces GINAs with Credential Providers. Credential providers are easier to write than GINAs and plug in to the logonui.exe. The biggest advantage of Credential Providers (besides being easier to write) are that multiple concurrent providers are supported and can be user selected or event driven. Credential providers are used to capture elevation credentials and run as first-class citizens of the logon process. Credential providers ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 5:15 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Pre-Boot and Startup
Boot Configuration Database (BCD) Vista unifies the boot mechanism to be platform independent. The information stored in the boot.ini file is now replaced by the BCD, which abstracts the firmware and is unified across different OS installations. The BCD also uses Unicode strings to support internationalization. To help ensure the security of the boot environment, the BCD is stored in the registry in a binary format and is protected by registry key security. In order to edit the BCD data, Microsoft ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 4:42 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Here boy! Here boy! Fetch!
SuperFetchTM Everyone is probably familiar with Prefetch which was introduced in Windows XP. Prefetch really only handled single processes at process startup. In Vista, SuperFetchTM prefetches across a set of applications and takes in to account the frequency of page usgae and the usage of the page in the context of other pages in memory. It adapts to memory usage patterns, including complex usage scenarios and uses a low-prioirty I/O request for pre-fetching and pre-population. SuperFetchTM is implemented ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 4:16 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - UMDF and Dynamic System Address Space
User-Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) Everyone has seen at least one Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) when it comes to buggy kernel-mode drivers causing a crash or allowing privilege escalation. UMDF is Vista's attempt to solve at least some of these problems and supports migration of some USB, Bluetooth, and IP drivers to user mode. Why is this good? Bugs in the driver won't crash the operating system and user-mode drivers can be transparently “restarted“. Devices that are currently supporting ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:30 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - I/O, I/O, It's off to work I go...
I/O Completion Port Improvement I/O completion ports allow threads to wait efficiently for completion of multiple I/O requests. Before Vista, each completion caused a context switch to the issuing thread. Now, the I/O completion is deferred to when the thread pulls off the completion port, which avoids the context switch. I/O Scalability Improvements Vista adds a new extended version of the GetQueuedCompletionStatus API named GetQueuedCompletionStatusEx which can return multiple I/O results in a ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:26 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Resource Quotas and Symlinks
Resource Quotas Prior to Vista, quotas were system-wide. Vista supports per-user hard resource quotas that cover: CPU usage working set minimum page file usage nonpaged pool paged pool Process and thread creation have new extended attributes contained in the STARTUPINFOEX structure and new API functions: *ProcThreadAttributeList. Unfortunately, none of this information is documented yet, but keep an eye out. It promises to make quotas a lot more useful for the system administrators. Symbolic File ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:13 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Cycle Times, Class Schedulers and Synchronization
Cycle Time Counter Prior to Vista, the kernel accounted for CPU time based on the interval clock timer which had a resolution of between 10-15ms. This timing interval was not always fair or accurate since threads where charged for interrupts that occurred while they were running and a thread might not get a turn to execute or could get up to three turns to execute. Vista changes this timing mechanism by reading the Time Stamp Counter (TSC) at each context switch. This allows the CPU to charge the ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:08 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes
Windows Vista is coming and will be here sooner than some might think. By now you have probably seen the graphical changes coming in Vista with the new Aero and Aero Glass user interfaces (and the associated hardware needed to support them) and heard all about the new user account controls in Vista that are designed to make the operating system more secure. But what about the “under-the-hood” changes in the Vista kernel? Lots of exciting changes in Windows Vista kernel are being made ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:01 PM

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