Microsoft Releases Windows 7 with Promises of More Speed & Improvements
Three days ago, Microsoft announced the release Windows 7 with promises of more speed and improvements over its predecessor Windows Vista which failed to get the wide acceptance and approvals of millions of users all over the world.
Windows 7 Improvements over Windows Vista & XP:
Open the programs and files you use most in just a click or two using Pin and Jump Lists features.
Navigate lots of open windows more quickly using Snap, Aero Peek, & Aero Shake feastures.
Easily share files, photos, and music among multiple PCs at home and print to a single printer from any PC in the house using HomeGroup feature.
Ability to organize lots of files, documents, and photos effortlessly using Libraries feature.
Ability to connect to any available wireless network in just three clicks.
Ability to run many Windows XP productivity programs using Windows XP Mode.
Faster sleep and resume.
Improved power management for longer battery life.
Touch and tap on screen instead of point and click using Windows Touch feature.
Editions & Prices:
Windows 7 Home Premium: $119.99 for Upgrade and $199.99 for Full version.
Windows 7 Professional: $199.99 for Upgrade and $299.99 for Full version.
Windows 7 Ultimate: $219.99 for Upgrade and $319.99 for Full version.
Today Microsoft has reached a significant milestone with the Release Candidate (RC) of the highly anticipated Windows 7 operating system, available starting from today May 5 on the Microsoft Windows 7 site. The RC milestone is a result of feedback from millions of customers and partners around the world. It indicates the operating system is entering the final phases of development and almost ready to be commercially available to public.
With the RC, Microsoft is also providing guidance on the minimum system requirements for Windows 7, showing that Windows 7 will work on a broader array of hardware than any other release of Windows at launch:
1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor.
1 GB of RAM (32-bit)/2 GB of RAM (64-bit) .
16 GB of available disk space (32-bit)/20 GB (64-bit) .
DirectX 9 graphics device with Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or higher driver.
I'm going to download it today and test drive it! I hope it is better than Windows Vista.
“Customers have made clear what they want in a Web browser — safety, speed and greater ease of use,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “With Internet Explorer 8, we are delivering a browser that gets people to the information they need, fast, and provides protection that no other browser can match.”
Internet Explorer 8 offers the best security protections among leading browsers: a study released today by NSS Labs indicates that Internet Explorer 8 blocks two to four times as many malicious sites as other browsers on the market today.
In addition to offering improved security and privacy protections, Internet Explorer 8 is one of the fastest browsers on the market today, beating other top browsers in page load time on almost 50 percent of the 25 top comScore Inc. Web sites. It also helps people save time while using the Web with easy-to-use new features, including the following:
Accelerators. Accelerators make it faster and easier to perform common tasks online by making Web-based services such as ESPN.com, Live Search and Sina available for use directly from the page people are viewing. Users can simply right-click a word or phrase and instantly map, e-mail, or share it.
Web Slices. Web Slices in Internet Explorer 8 makes favorite information from sites such as Digg, Yahoo! Mail, OneRiot, and eBay instantly available wherever someone goes on the Web.
Visual search suggestions. The Instant Search Box in Internet Explorer 8 enables rich, real-time search from sites such as The New York Times, Amazon.com and Wikipedia, as well as sites from people’s own Favorites and History, complete with visuals and detailed information that saves time.
“We are excited about Internet Explorer 8 for several reasons, including its ability to provide our customers with updates to eBay products using Web Slices so they can keep track of their buying activity while surfing the web,” said Matt Ackley, vice president of Internet Marketing and Advertising at eBay.
Microsoft Releases Windows 7 Test Copies For Developers & Images To Public
Yesterday, Microsoft gave out test copies to developers of the latest version of its next Windows operating system, Windows 7. Windows 7, successor to Windows Vista, is slated to ship in early 2010 (although rumor has it that Microsoft hopes to get it out even earlier. But aside from saying it will refine Vista's kernel, Microsoft hadn't released many details about the new OS--until now. Pre-beta code distributed at the Microsoft Professional Developers' Conference 2008 suggests that Microsoft is serious about creating a less in-your-face OS.
The following are some screenshots of Windows 7 released at PDC 2008:
More gallery pictures of Windows 7 released during PDC 2008 can be viewed here and here.
A beta release is planned for early 2009. As of January 2008, the release date of a release candidate is "to be determined." Different Microsoft representatives have confirmed the second half of 2009 and around January 2010, and InternetNews.com suggests that June 3, 2009 is the release date internally planned at Microsoft.
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2: Adding New Features For Privacy, Security, & Crash Recovery
Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 1 for developers, released by Microsoft on March 6th 2008, offered some fascinating new capabilities. Yesterday, IE8 Beta 2 was released improving and adding some new features, such as:
Search suggestions: Search smarter with detailed suggestions from your favorite search providers and browsing history. See visual previews and get suggested content topics while you type in the enhanced Instant Search Box.
InPrivate Browsing: Keep Internet Explorer 8 from adding any sites you visit to Browsing History with InPrivate Browsing. Now you can shop for that special gift with confidence knowing your family won't accidentally find out.
Compatibility View: Internet Explorer 8's built-in Compatibility View button enables you to display websites that were designed for older browsers. Simply press the Compatibility View button if you see display problems on a website like misaligned text, images, or text boxes. It's located next to the Refresh button on the Address Bar.
Accelerators: Accelerators let you complete your everyday browsing activities more quickly and even discover new services. Start mapping, translating, emailing, and more in just a few mouse clicks.
Web Slices: Keep up with changes to the sites you care about most. Add a Web Slice and you won't have to go back to the same website again and again for updates on news, stock quotes, online auctions, weather, or even sports scores.
SmartScreen Filter: New security features help to protect you against deceptive and malicious websites which can compromise your data, privacy, and identity.
Automatic Crash Recovery: If a website or add-on causes a tab to crash in Internet Explorer 8, only that tab is affected. The browser itself remains stable and other tabs remain unaffected, thereby minimizing any disruption to your browsing experience. Also if one or more of your tabs do crash, your tabs are automatically reloaded and you are returned to whatever page you were on before the crash.
How to uninstall Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2
In case you wanted to go back to your Internet Explorer 7 in your Windows Vista, uninstall Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 by following these steps:
Click Start button, type Programs and Features in the Start Search box, and then click Programs and Features in the Programs list. (If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.)
In the Tasks pane, click View installed updates.
Click Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, and then click Uninstall.
If Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 does not appear in the Currently Installed Updates list, run the following command at an elevated command prompt:
RocketDock: Mac OS X-like Application Launcher For Windows
Click above for larger image
Have you ever glanced over the shoulder of a Mac user and seen the nifty little bar of icons at the bottom of their screen? This is known as a "dock." For those of you that haven't seen this, a dock is simply a bar that can be set to the edge of your screen with a background and a row of shortcut icons. The function of a dock is to bring quick access to these shortcuts in an organized fashion relieving your desktop of clutter. It acts much like the Quick Launch, pointing each icon to the original folder or file.
Now you can have the "dock" in your desktop by installing RocketDock for Windows XP & Vista. RocketDock lets you easily access all of your most commonly used Windows applications and minimize them in one place. All you have to do is drag and drop shortcuts to the launcher in order to access them. You can even customize RocketDock with different colors and effects.
RocketDock is a project by Punk Labs. With RocketDock, icons zoom and transition smoothly when you move your mouse over them. You can minimize windows to the dock instead of Windows task bar. RocketDock runs great on slower computers and supports many languages and can easily be translated (including Arabic). And best of all... its FREE.
Note: RocketDock does not remove, replace, store, duplicate, or backup any of the items you drag into the dock. You should never delete the original items. Dock shortcuts are not stored as files and cannot be dragged back onto the desktop or anywhere else.
Desktops 1.0: Adds Multiple Desktops To Your Windows
Such simple applications can make life easier. This is a great example to apply on Microsoft Windows. Desktops 1.0 is a small and simple application created by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell from Windows Sysinternals. It just got published 2 days ago. Desktops 1.0 allows you to organize your applications on up to four virtual desktops. Read email on one, browse the web on the second, and do work in your productivity software on the third, without the clutter of the windows you’re not using. After you configure hotkeys for switching desktops, you can create and switch desktops either by clicking on the tray icon to open a desktop preview and switching window, or by using the hotkeys. Desktops 1.0 is free and only (62 kb) in size.
The Sysinternals web site was created in 1996 by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell to host their advanced system utilities and technical information. Microsoft acquired Sysinternals in July, 2006. Whether you’re an IT Pro or a developer, you’ll find Sysinternals utilities to help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications.
Microsoft has dropped two strong hints in the past two days that the next version of its Windows operating system will arrive in 2009, shaving up to a year off previous expectations. It could also be a signal that Microsoft intends to cut its losses with Windows Vista, which has been poorly received or shunned by customers, especially large companies.
Microsoft has long said it wants to release Windows 7 (formerly known as Windows Vienna) about three years after Vista, which was released to manufacturing in November 2006 but not officially launched until January 2007. Given Microsoft's recent track record - Vista arrived more than five years after XP -- most outsiders had pegged sometime in 2010 as a safe bet for Windows 7's arrival.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates answered a question at a business meeting in Miami about Windows Vista by saying "Sometime in the next year or so we will have a new version."
And during its announcement yesterday that it would extend the availability of Windows XP Home for low-cost laptops, Microsoft said it would retire the operating system only after June 30, 2010, or one year after the release of Windows 7, whichever comes later.
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1: Promising New Features
Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 1 for developers, released by Microsoft on March 6th, offers some fascinating new capabilities. For example, it introduces two new features called Activities and WebSlices that extend the capabilities of the browser by interacting with other Web sites and services.
There are also a variety of other changes, including some much-needed additions, such as a feature that will restore crashed browser sessions and tabs like Firefox does. You also have the option to import your favorites from existing installed browsers when you first install IE8.
IE8 now includes a Developer Tools feature, which includes tools for HTML, CSS, scripting and debugging. Microsoft claims that the browser includes better scripting performance, and support for HTML5. And in the final version, although not this one, Microsoft claims that IE8 will have full CSS 2.1 support.
A particularly nice new feature, and one that I hope makes it into the final version of IE8, is the small Emulate IE7 button near the top of the screen. If there are any compatibility issues between IE8 and a Web site -- with a new browser, you never know -- just click the button, and it will fool the site into thinking you're running IE7.
WebSlices is among the most important features of IE8. WebSlices are something like RSS feeds on steroids. As with an RSS feed, you subscribe to changing content that you find on a Web page. But WebSlices are graphically richer and interactive. In addition, they will alert you when content in a specific portion of a Web page changes -- for example, a stock price, or the current high price on an auction.
Activities feature gives extra power to the Internet Explorer right-click menu. Hover your mouse over an item or highlight it, right-click and a list of actions appears. These include viewing the highlighted term in a map, translating it, blogging it, defining it and so on.
IE8 introduces some smaller features that may not be earthshaking, but that can be useful like making it Easier-to-identify domains. For example, some URLs are so long and complex that it can be tough to immediately decipher which domain you're currently visiting. In IE8's Address bar, only the domain (for example, fahad.com) is black; everything else is gray. That way, you can see immediately where you are.
"I'm losing my mind. I want the new SP. I followed instructions on checking updates...its not "there" and my updates are fully up to date. If I go to my "control panel", it doesn't appear that I've got SP1 running.....why can't I get this update? Help!", said COG93rd in his comment to Windows Vista Blog.
Just 3 days ago, Microsoft released the highly anticipated fixing package for Windows Vista (Windows Vista SP1). First of all, if you own Windows Vista and you have tried to get SP1 through Windows Update, then good luck with that! It didn't work for me and for many others all over the world. I would suggest you do it manually by getting it from Microsoft Download Center. It's about (434.5 MB) in size.
Here are some problems Adrian Kingsley-Hughes was able to extract from users' reactions and comments after trying to install SP1":
Users unable to download SP1.
Users finding the download really slow or unreliable.
Random crashes and lock-ups.
Total system wipeouts (not a common complaint).
Driver problems after install (and not just drivers known to have issues with SP1, but odd stuff such as nVIDIA drivers vanishing).
Post-install performance issues such as spiking CPU and sluggish response times.
Hey ... Do you know that Microsoft is going to Release Windows XP SP3 Next Week?
Windows Home Server: For Home File Sharing, Automated Backups, & Remote Access
HP EX475 MediaSmart Home Server (AMD Live/ 64 Bit Sempron Processor, 1 TB Hard Drive)
Windows Home Server is a home server operating system from Microsoft. Announced on January 7, 2007 at the Consumer Electronics Show by Bill Gates, Windows Home Server is intended to be a solution for homes with multiple connected PCs to offer file sharing, automated backups, and remote access. It is based on Windows Server 2003 SP2.
Windows Home Server was released to manufacturing on July 16, 2007.
Windows Home Server automatically backs up your home computers. Computers and individual files can be easily restored. Additionally, computer health monitoring allows you to see the health of computers running Windows Vista in your home. You will know if your anti-virus programs and other system software are up-to-date.
Every member of the family can access what they need on the home server from another computer in the house. You can also share information with faraway friends and family through a personalized Web address, or access your own files from a computer with a Web browser when you’re away from home.
Your family photos, videos and music, and other important documents are together in one central place. Folders can be created by subject or topic, so your family can stay organized and up-to-date.
You can simply connect a new hard drive to Windows Home Server as your storage needs increase. Also, application developers can create innovative Windows Home Server Add-Ins to expand the functionality of your home server. For example, Add-ins can be created for home automation, home webcams, media sharing, and home security solutions.
Windows Live SkyDrive (previously Windows Live Folders) is part of Microsoft's Windows Live range of services which allow users to upload their files to the cloud, providing access to them from an internet browser. The service utilizes Windows Live ID to limit access to the files the user has uploaded, allowing them to keep the files private, share with contacts, or make the files public. Publicly-shared files do not require a Windows Live ID to access.
The service currently offers 1GB, with a maximum upload file size of 50MB. Up to five files can be uploaded each time. Optionally, an ActiveX tool can be installed to allow drag-and-drop uploading from Windows Explorer.
Click below to see Fahad Inc.'s public folder as an example of how your public folder will look like in Windows Live SkyDrive:
And just like at your online bank, all file transfers are protected using Secure Socket Layers (SSL).
Good News For Windows Pirates: Microsoft Allows Bypass of Vista Activation
I found this article very interesting. Microsoft has embedded into its new Vista operating system a feature that makes things easier than ever for true, mass software pirates. These tricksters will be able to produce thousands of Windows PCs machines that won't demand activation indefinitely — at least for a year or more. The following isn't a hacker exploit. It doesn't require any tools or utilities whatsoever to go around Windows Vista activation process:
Step 1. While running a copy of Windows Vista that hasn't yet been activated, click the Start button, type regedit into the Search box, then press Enter to launch the Registry Editor.
Step 2. Explore down to the following Registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ SL
Step 3. Right-click the Registry key named SkipRearm and click Edit. The default is a Dword (a double word or 4 bytes) with a hex value of 00000000. Change this value to any positive integer, such as 00000001, save the change, and close the Registry Editor.
Step 4. Start a command prompt with administrative rights. The fastest way to do this is to click the Start button, enter cmd in the Search box, then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. If you're asked for a network username and password, provide the ones that log you into your domain. You may be asked to approve a User Account Control prompt and to provide an administrator password.
Step 5. Type one of the following two commands and press Enter:
slmgr -rearm or rundll32 slc.dll,SLReArmWindows
Either command uses Vista's built-in Software Licensing Manager (SLMGR) to push the activation deadline out to 30 days after the command is run. Changing SkipRearm from 0 to 1 allows SLMGR to do this an indefinite number of times. Running either command initializes the value of SkipRearm back to 0.
Step 6. Reboot the PC to make the postponement take effect. (After you log in, if you like, you can open a command prompt and run the command slmgr -xpr to see Vista's new expiration date and time. I explained the slmgr command and its parameters in my Feb. 15 article.)
Step 7. To extend the activation deadline of Vista indefinitely, repeat steps 1 through 6 as necessary.
Windows Vienna: Vista's Successor Is Around the Corner
Although most of us have not put their arms around the new Windows Vista, Microsoft is already warming up for the next operating system Windows Vienna.
That would be a much faster turn-around than Vista, which shipped more than five years after Windows XP, but Vista was exceptional, said Ben Fathi, corporate vice president of development with Microsoft's Windows Core Operating System Division this week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.
"We put Longhorn on the back burner for awhile," Fathi said. "Then when we came back to it, we realized that there were incremental things that we wanted to do, and significant improvements that we wanted to make in Vista that we couldn't deliver in one release."
Vista shipped about two-and-a-half years after XP SP 2, and Vista's follow-up is expected to take about the same amount of time, according to Fathi. "You can think roughly two, two-and-a-half years is a reasonable time frame that our partners can depend on and can work with," he said. "That's a good timeframe for refresh."
Microsoft Releases Windows Vista & Office 2007 Today
Microsoft has released Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System for consumers. The two flagship products, which were released to business customers on November 30, 2006, will be available for consumers starting January 30, 2007, in more than 70 countries, in 19 languages (with 99 languages anticipated by the end of the year), and at more than 39,000 retail stores and online.
Microsoft recommends machines have at least 512Mb of RAM, a 800Mhz processor and 15Gb of hard disk space. Microsoft has pledged to continue support for XP users until 2011.
The consumer launch of Windows Vista is also expected to unleash a flood of new next-generation hardware, software and entertainment devices and services. Currently, more than 1.5 million devices and peripherals are on the market that work with Windows Vista, including more than 2,500 that are Certified for Windows Vista. In addition, thousands of PC manufacturers and system builders around the globe will deliver the Windows Vista operating system and Microsoft Office 2007 on new PCs.
In the US prices start from $100 for an upgrade of Vista Home basic to $249 for the equivalent Ultimate version.
Windows Vista & Microsoft Office 2007 New Packaging Revealed
Microsoft revealed yesterday the retail packaging for Windows Vista and Office 2007, the eagerly awaited new products to be made widely available in early 2007.
"With Windows Vista and 2007 Office system, we didn't just redesign the software packages themselves, but are also introducing new packaging for the two products. The packaging has been completely revised and, we hope, foreshadows the great experience that awaits you once you open it." said Nick White in Windows Vista Blog.
"Designed to be user-friendly, the new packaging is a small, hard, plastic container that’s designed to protect the software inside for life-long use. It provides a convenient and attractive place for you to permanently store both discs and documentation. The new design will provide the strength, dimensional stability and impact resistance required when packaging software today. Our plan is to extend this packaging style to other Microsoft products after the launch of Windows Vista and 2007 Office system."
"RC2 reflects that feedback and includes important improvements in performance, application compatibility, and fit and finish work," said a statement released by Microsoft on Friday afternoon. A Microsoft representative was not available for comment to discuss the specific changes.
Microsoft expects that RC2 will be the final release before Vista hits market, which is still scheduled for January 2007. The statement also assures that RC1 will continue to be supported until the launch of Vista because it "remains a viable build for logo certification."
Windows Vista RC1 Available For Free On DVD & Online
Want to try out the first Windows Vista release candidate for free? Microsoft yesterday made the late beta version of its next-generation OS, which was completed earlier this month, available to people who don't already have access to it (for example, members of the Microsoft Developers Network, TechNet, or the Customer Preview Program (CPP) that made Beta 2 of the OS available to more than a million people).
Just head to Microsoft's Windows Vista web site, click on "Get Windows Vista RC1" and you can sign up for the CPP (which stopped accepting new participants subsequent to the Beta 2 release but is now taking them again). Note that you'll have to register with Windows Live (which requires providing an e-mail address--I use my old HotMail address).
You can get RC1 either as a download (3GB for the 32-bit version, 4GB for the 64-bit version) or on DVD. If you choose to get a DVD, you'll have to pay Microsoft for shipping and handling, but the fees aren't too bad: $3.00 for the U.S. or $12.16 for the UAE.
Before you accept Microsoft's offer, I'd recommend reading over the caveats on the download site very carefully. Among other things, Microsoft points out that RC1 will expire on June 1 of next year, at which time you'll either have to buy and install the shipping version of Vista or reinstall an older version of Windows. In other words (and Microsoft has this part in bold face), "you cannot roll back to the previous operating system installation." Also take note of what you will have to pay to upgrade to a shipping version.
Windows Vista won't be released until earlier next year at the best, but at least Windows Vista soft drink is currently Microsoft campus' refrigerators.
Special-edition cans of Talking Rain Lemon-Lime sparkling water, sporting the logo for the upcoming operating system, have been stocked among the other free sodas available to the company's employees. It's a promotion for the preliminary version of the program, pointing employees to an internal Windows Vista site.
So now at least we know that Microsoft is serious about the release of Windows Vista.
Change Your Windows Password Even If You've Lost It
I found this tip very useful and I thought I would share it with you guys. This is a very simple command you can use to change your Windows login password ... it doesn't matter if you remember the old password or not! All you have to do is go to the command prompt and enter:
> net user "fahad al mahmood" ilovemyself
where "fahad al mahmood" is the user name and "ilovemyself" is the password. And if you don't want anyone next to you to see your new password then type instead:
> net user "fahad al mahmood" * Type a password for the user: Confirm the password:
Of course you need to have admin access to perform this change from the command line.