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Windows Vista SP1 to fight Piracy

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/windows-vista-sp1-to-fight-piracy-525/

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Wed, 09 Jan 2008 10:32:09 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/windows-vista-sp1-to-fight-piracy-525/

There is no secret that Microsoft has huge plans with Windows Vista but we also do know that not a lot of results have appeared to back up the excitement with which the operating system is marketed. During the middle of November we saw a release candidate version of Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista. According to various reports, SP1 addresses many performance related problems and also comes with a security update aimed at fixing various bugs that appeared since the official launch that took place more than 1 year ago.

Besides what has already been said about SP1, it also looks like Microsoft aims at fighting pirating Vista. According to The Redmond, a Washington based company, there are new features included in Service Pack 1 that will make Windows Vista become less pirated. According to Microsoft, piracy for Vista is less than half of that which is visible with Windows XP. We must also realize that the number of Windows XP users is also a lot higher when compared with Vista so that statistic is not really accurate. It looks like one flow that will be closed stands in one popular method of extending the grace period needed to activate Windows Vista. The current exploit aids the user in extending this period to 120 days, then to one year and another one will help you gain a grace period until 2099. It looks like Microsoft solved this problem and once the 30 day grace period expired nothing will work anymore. A black screen will appear with a dialog box that will tell you that the grace period expired. Also, there will be a stop to the OEM BIOS exploit that allows pirates to edit various system files and the BIOS of a motherboard in order to make Windows think that a genuine OEM system is present. It will be interesting to see whether or not these modifications will aid in reducing the number of pirated Windows Vistas out there.

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Migration to Windows Vista still Problematic for Microsoft

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Thu, 25 Oct 2007 11:30:26 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/migration-to-windows-vista-still-problematic-for-microsoft-441/

Contrary to what we previously thought, Microsoft is keeping us informed on news about the Windows XP Service Pack 3 extension, or maybe the beta testers are actually doing this. Windows Vista did not prove to be such a huge success as previously envisioned and there is still a large number of people that want to continue utilizing Windows XP.

We have witnessed Microsoft offering XP downgrades for unhappy Vista buyers and recently after that event we also got to see an announcement that Microsoft will keep on selling XP until the 30th of June 2008. Then we got to see a new version of Internet Explorer 7.0 for Windows XP that does not need product activation and Service Pack 3 Beta was launched for a small number of testers.

Service Pack comes with the 3205 label and is just 334.92 MB. Different reports have appeared concerning SP3 and we were happy to see that it features 1,073 patches and hotfixes. 114 of them are security related and many are also features available in Vista that are now included in the service pack and will run on Windows XP. Out of the Windows Vista applications included in SP3, the most talked about is the Network Access Protection Module together with a Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module and a Black Hole Router detection that can be very useful.

Microsoft Windows Vista migration did not go as planned for the company and this brought a need for the development of XP Service Pack 3 and the longer availability period. OEMs also still sell systems with XP as an installed operating system and the general feeling of the situation is that time still needs to pass until Vista will reach the level of popularity envisioned by Microsoft.

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HealthVault Launched in Beta Version

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Sun, 07 Oct 2007 13:13:04 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/healthvault-launched-in-beta-version-425/

Microsoft recently launched the public beta version of HealthVault, a service that allows users to store health information and documents. This opportunity seems to be aiming towards easing the operations with healthcare by putting us in control of entering all the information we get from our doctors. What is interesting is that the user can also choose what to make public or not and doctors are supposed to consult this information in order to give a more precise diagnosis.

In order to access HealthVault you will require a Windows Live ID and of course, signing up with a HealthVault account based on the above mentioned ID. After you log in you can start uploading different documents from your computer, enter information that you want and transfer data from different devices. The information is then stored and you get to chose what to make available to doctors and family members. HealthVault appears as a great web site that could help the healthcare system by making different connections that are difficult in real life.

Talking about security of data, Microsoft claims that it will not transfer information to a third party without having you informed and having your written consent. It also seems that advertising that the company will use on HealthVault will not even be contextually linked to any of the individual’s personal information. In an official statement, Microsoft stated that the data on their system is encrypted and all the traffic to or from partners and users receive the same encryption. Company employees’ access to user data is tightly monitored and limited to just small groups of people that need to perform some critical operations. Backup data is also encrypted and everything is logged from access to data changes. It will be interesting to see how HealthVault handles itself in the future.

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No More WGA Protection in IE7

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/no-more-wga-protection-in-ie7-419/

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Sun, 07 Oct 2007 08:48:50 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/no-more-wga-protection-in-ie7-419/

Internet Explorer 7 was highly expected and this is mainly because the huge rise in popularity that Mozilla’s Firefox showed. This brought huge expectations from IE7 but only brought controversy because of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) check that was included in every single installation kit of Internet Explorer 7. It looks like this will be removed by Microsoft with the latest update for Windows XP users.

Ever since the inclusion of WGA in IE7, things seemed strange as the Windows XP Service Pack 2 package came with such a check that allowed people to utilize important services like the company’s Windows Update web site. This meant that the only individuals that would be caught by the new WGA would be those that had already cracked Windows XP and their SP2. On the other hand, there was no real result with this inclusion as possibilities like Firefox are everywhere on the Internet.

This is the first time Microsoft has removed WGA protection with the sole purpose of increasing the attractiveness of one product. It is plain to see that the company wants as much IE7 users as possible, including those that pirated both Windows and the browser. On the other hand, everybody is still wondering why Microsoft ever installed the genuine check system in the first place. The current move appears obvious as Firefox is gaining market share every single month and Internet Explorer 7 does not seem to gain new fans. We must also think about the fact that IE7 comes with every Vista package out there so we could expect market shares to rise in the future. Also, Microsoft’s browser also comes with a number of modifications and different tweaks as well so we could say the company is working hard at making it better for customers.

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Windows Media Center Internet TV Beta Launched

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Sun, 30 Sep 2007 11:55:38 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/windows-media-center-internet-tv-beta-launched-405/

Microsoft just recently launched the beta version of their Windows Media Center Internet TV platform. If you have Windows Vista Ultimate or Windows Vista Home Premium on your computer, you could get a chance to watch the company’s Internet TV. This means you will gain access to free, ad supported TV material without even needing a TV tuner.

With the beta launch, there will be around 100 hours of programs available. This includes concerts by Snoop Dogg, John Mayer and episodes from “Arrested Development”. Sports highlights from FOX Sports and news clips from MSNBC will also be available.

This TV platform was supposed to be launched for Microsoft Xbox 360 customers but, as you can see, it is first implemented on the Windows platform. On the other hand, if you have one of the company’s gaming consoles, you can turn it into a Windows Media Extender and you can view the same content that is available on Windows.

According to Microsoft but not yet tested by users, Linksys’ Media Center Extender DMA2100 ($299), D-Link’s DSM-750 MediaLounge HD Media Center Extender ($349) and Hewlett-Packard’s 42 and 47 inch MediaSmart LCD HDTVs have already included Windows Media Center technology. It seems that the company is trying to deliver the “ultimate experience for every TV set in your home” according to Joe Belfiore, vice president of the company’s Entertainment and Devices eHome Division.

We have an interesting launch here as Microsoft will probably soon add a lot to the 100 hours of initial material available for their Internet TV. This service could be successful because it is free but the company needs to pay attention to the type of ads they implement. YouTube is said to implement 15 seconds ads before each movie, this could instantly mean disaster. The same thing goes for Microsoft’s Internet TV.

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Microsoft Windows Files Modified Without Notification

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/microsoft-windows-files-modified-without-notification-375/

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Sat, 15 Sep 2007 15:33:17 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/microsoft-windows-files-modified-without-notification-375/

Microsoft is at it again. It seems they started updating various files in Windows Vista and Windows XP even when the user chose to disable automatic updates for their operating systems. Scott Dunn, an editor at the “Windows Secrets” newsletter, was among the first to point out the changes. He claimed that 9 files in Windows XP and Vista were changed by Windows Update without even asking for permission. It seems like different files were modified in the two operating systems and they are all linked to the actual Windows Update tool

The modifications were pinpointed to the date of August 24 and were also confirmed by ZDNET’s Hardware 2.0 blog, which noticed the same changes in their OS. On the other hand, on Dunn’s personal machine the logs showed that this update took place this week so everything seems strange.

The files modified in Windows Vista are: wuapi.dll, wuauclt.exe, wuapp.exe, wucltux.dll, wuaueng.dll, wudriver.dll, wups.dll, wuwebv.dll and wups2.dll. In XP (with service pack 2 installed) the files are: cdm.dll, wuapi.dll, wuauclt.exe, wuaueng.dll, wucltui.dll, wuaucpl.cpl, wups.dll, wups2.dll, and wuweb.dll.

This discovery could lead to a lot of problems. Many individuals (including myself) and companies are very touchy when it comes to modifications done to their computer. It is safe to believe that if Microsoft can modify files without letting you know then it can do so again and again. The company declared that these updates were really updates for Windows Update and not for Windows XP or Vista. Microsoft did admit to the fact that it should have let people know and they are currently “looking at the best way to clarify” the behavior of Windows Update. This statement is going to make people relax but there is one question that can be asked: Can Windows Update modify files in the Windows operating system without letting people know they are doing so? The answer surely is “Yes” but any type of change like this would bring a lot of bad responses from customers around the world and Linux is always a solution.

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New Vista Service Pack Out and About

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Tue, 28 Aug 2007 11:19:08 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/new-vista-service-pack-out-and-about-354/

It is starting to look like the new Service Pack (SP) 1 for Windows Vista is even closer then we through. A new version of the service pack has turned up in the wild. The new version has been released to private beta testers, and it looks like one of the testers didn’t feel the need to keep it so private. The new version of the service pack can be found on more then one BitTorrent site if you looks hard enough.

The

came as a complete instillation, which meant that you could not upgrade an existing install of Windows. To use the new SP you would have to do a completely clean install. This build seems to be just a 684MB executable file that can be used to upgrade your existing instillation.

I wasn’t surprised by the size of the service pack. Vista is in need of some serious patches and this sounds like it’s going to be every Vista users dream. I am a Vista user and have a list as long as my arm, consisting of all the bugs and faults. Let’s hope this will bring an end to all the problems. But with all service packs, this one when released will come with a whole new set of problems.

It goes without saying, but if you are considering trying the new beta service pack, do so with extreme caution. Microsoft software is very buggy at the best of times, but running a beta Service Pack is just asking for trouble.

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WGA Down For The Count?

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/wga-down-for-the-count-348/

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Sun, 26 Aug 2007 09:14:08 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/tech-news/wga-down-for-the-count-348/

Well it was only a matter of time before Microsoft paid the price for the useless anti-piracy tool; know as Windows Genuine Advantage, or WGA. The WGA system has been a disaster waiting to happen from day one.

Well it looks like that day has come.

have reported cases of the WGA system not working as it should. It is making legitimate copy of Windows fail the WGA test and they are being marked as pirated and limiting the feature set of that copy.

It was always going to happen. The WGA systems have been a pain in the butt from day one. Hopefully this will teach the people at Microsoft that you can’t put so much faith in to a system that could go down at any second. But as always this will just make them bring in some other ridicules systems that will most likely be even easier to crack and just as unreliable.

If that weren’t bad enough, the article also mentions that Microsoft is recommending people refrain from retrying activation until Tuesday the 28th of August. If you’re unfortunate enough to get caught in this let us know in the comments.

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Vista Finally Gets A Big Patch

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Tue, 31 Jul 2007 09:43:22 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/vista-finally-gets-a-big-patch-328/

Well I think it is well over due, but it looks like Microsoft are preparing for a big patch of Vista very soon. Just because you can’t get the new updates through the Windows Live Update feature, it doesn’t mean it can’t be found else where. Reportedly, the the new release of the Vista Compatibility and Reliability Pack will contain a number of much needed fixes and speed increases in a variety of areas. The list is long but here are a few notables inclusions:

So if it is everything it is said to be, all Vista users should welcome the new improvements with open arms. This is a much needed fix up for Vista, and I’m sure it wont be the last.

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MSN Soapbox Open again, Now With Copyright Protection

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Mon, 04 Jun 2007 11:48:51 +0000

Robert

http://www.feedthegeeks.com/microsoft/msn-soapbox-open-again-now-with-copyright-protection-245/

Microsoft’s video sharing site is back up. Just over a month after opening Soapbox up to the public, Microsoft

in March.

In that time Microsoft have added new features that allows copyright holder to find and remove unauthorized content. This comes at a time when it’s biggest rival, Google is tangled up in may lawsuits of the same nature

Soapbox is now using digital-fingerprinting technology from to discover copyrighted content.

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