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In-Depth With the Windows 7 Public Beta 785

Dozer writes "With the Windows 7 public beta out, Ars Technica has an in-depth look at the release. There's praise for Windows 7's UI changes and polish as well much-needed changes to UAC, but also a warning that those who have problems with Vista won't like Windows 7 much better. 'If you couldn't stand Vista's UI (whether it's because you didn't like Explorer, Aero, Control Panel, UAC, or anything else), Windows 7 is unlikely to do much to help, as it builds on the same UI. If Vista's hardware demands were too steep, Windows 7 will likely cause you the same grief, as its hardware demands match. And if Vista didn't work with a program or device you need to use, Windows 7 will offer no salvation, as its compatibility is virtually identical.'"

Windows 7 Beta Screenshots Leaked 587

Slatterz writes "Screenshots of what is said to be the next version of Microsoft's Windows operating system have been leaked onto the internet. The blog posted a range of screenshots over the weekend which it said represents Windows 7. Overall, the screenshots show a distinctly Vista-like interface, but there is still plenty of time for tweaks and changes to take place."

Black Screens For Unauthorized Copies of Windows 762

arcticstoat writes "In a bid to deter people from using pirate versions of Windows XP, Microsoft is now updating its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) tool to introduce a few uncomfortable niggles for users of pirated versions of Windows. These include replacing the desktop wallpaper with a black screen every 60 minutes, although you can still replace it with your wallpaper of choice in the intervening period. As well as this, copies of Windows deemed to not be genuine will also have a translucent watermark above the system tray, which Microsoft calls a 'persistent desktop notification.'"

Vista's Security Rendered Completely Useless 415

scribbles89 sends in a story that originally ran in SearchSecurity; it sounds like it could be a game-changer. "While this may seem like any standard security hole, other researchers say that the work is a major breakthrough and there is very little that Microsoft can do to fix the problems. These attacks work differently than other security exploits, as they aren't based on any new Windows vulnerabilities, but instead take advantage of the way Microsoft chose to guard Vista's fundamental architecture. According to Dino Dai Zovi..., 'the genius of this is that it's completely reusable. They have attacks that let them load chosen content to a chosen location with chosen permissions. That's completely game over.'" Update: 08/08 14:23 GMT by KD : Changed the link, as the story first linked had been lifted without attribution.

20 Features Windows 7 Should Include 901

Damian Francis writes "Australian computer expert Vito Cassisi has come up with a list of 20 features that Windows 7 should have. The article includes features like modularized OS, new UAC, program caching, standards compliant browser and a whole lot more with explanations as to why these features should be included. With Windows Vista only receiving a luke-warm reception, Microsoft needs to make sure Windows 7 is a winner from the get go." What other features would you suggest to Microsoft if they are to have a hope for recovery?

Time for a Vista Do-Over? 746

DigitalDame2 writes "'There's nothing wrong with Vista,' PC Mag editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff tells a Microsoft rep at this year's CES. 'But you guys have a big problem on your hands. Perception is reality, and the perception is that Vista is a dud.' He goes on to confess that the operating system is too complex and burdened by things people don't need. Plus, Vista sometimes seems so slow. Ulanoff gives four suggestions for a complete Vista makeover, like starting with new code and creating a universal interface table. But will Microsoft really listen?"
Book Reviews

Windows Vista Annoyances 399

stoolpigeon writes "It has been well documented that the reception for Microsoft's Windows Vista has not been all that warm. Yet, visiting the web site of many PC manufacturers or visiting a retail outlet selling computers will show that most new hardware is being offered with Vista as the primary if not only option. O'Reilly's newest in their Annoyances series, "Windows Vista Annoyances", by David A. Karp, seeks to alleviate some of the pain for new Vista users. For the Vista owner who is able to put the book's suggestion into place, the edge should be taken off. For the individual considering a purchase of Vista and wondering if it can really be that bad, this book seems to indicate that yes, it is that bad." Read below for the rest of JR's review.

Driver Update Can Cause Vista Deactivation 875

KrispySausage writes "After weeks of grueling troubleshooting, I've finally had it confirmed by Microsoft Australia and USA — something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation. Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour."

Microsoft 'Stealth Update' Proving Problematic 257

DaMan writes "According to the site WindowsSecrets, the stealth Update that Microsoft released back in August isn't quite as harmless as the company claims. The site's research has shown that when users try to do a repair to XP subsequent to the update, bad things happen. 'After using the repair option from an XP CD-ROM, Windows Update now downloads and installs the new 7.0.600.381 executable files. Some WU executables aren't registered with the operating system, preventing Windows Update from working as intended. This, in turn, prevents Microsoft's 80 latest patches from installing -- even if the patches successfully downloaded to the PC.' ZDNet's Hardware 2.0 has independently confirmed that this update adversely affects repaired XP installations: 'This issue highlights why it is vitally important that Microsoft doesn't release undocumented updates on the sly. Even the best tested update can have unpleasant side-effects, but if patches are documented properly and released in such a way that users (especially IT professionals) know they exist, it offers a necessary starting point for troubleshooting.'"

Next Version of Windows? Call it '7' 488

CNet has the news that Microsoft is currently aiming to release the next version of the Windows operating system in about three years. Previously known as Vienna, the OS is now simply known internally as '7'. After achieving a quality product, the article states, Microsoft's big goal with 7 is to recapture a regular release schedule for their operating system product. From the article: "Like Vista, Windows 7 will ship in consumer and business versions, and in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The company also confirmed that it is considering a subscription model to complement Windows, but did not provide specifics or a time frame. Next up on Microsoft's agenda is Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista, which is expected before year's end. The discussion of Windows' future isn't surprising, given that Microsoft has been criticized by business customers for delays related to Vista. Many business customers pay for Microsoft's software under a license agreement called Software Assurance."

HP Stops Selling Printers, Starts Selling Prints 346

An anonymous reader writes "HP has launched a new line of business printers but there's a big catch — you won't be able to buy one. For the first time in history, the company will make customers purchase printing services, rather than the product itself. At its biggest printer launch since the LaserJet in 1984, HP's new business-class Edgeline printers will only be available through a managed services contract. Pricing will be per page, depending on the quality of the printout. Edgeline technology is said to be so ink-efficient that if HP were to sell these printers, they would never match the money they make from consumables (cartridges etc) now."

MS Trying To Spur Vista Sales With Discounts 329

Ang writes "Is Microsoft having worries about selling Vista already? Ars reports that Microsoft has announced yet another 'discount program' for Vista, but these new discounts work out to only about 10% off list price — not much when you notice that retailers already sell Vista below list. To make matters worse, the discount program would still end up costing you $100 more than the older 'family' discount built around Vista Ultimate in some situations. Ars spends seven paragraphs explaining this convoluted offer. Is all of this complexity supposed to help sell Vista?" If you must buy Vista, it might be advisable to sit on your wallet for a while. The discounts are bound to get sweeter.

Quirks and Tips For Upgrading To Vista 236

jcatcw writes "Computerworld's Scot Finnie has some advice for those considering an upgrade to Vista. He praises the work Microsoft has done on the installation program, but thinks it still presents problems for those who wish to upgrade. He recommends the free Windows Vista Upgrade Adviser. Then, be sure to pick the best edition for your use." From the article: "Don't bother wiping your hard disk. Just run the in-place upgrade from your previous installation. You'll be given the option to perform either an Upgrade or Custom (advanced) installation. Opt for the Custom install to clean-install Vista, and Windows Vista Setup does something smart: It creates a folder called Windows.old in your root directory that contains your old Documents and Settings, Program Files and Windows folders. (Note that on my test machine, this added step used an additional 7GB of disk storage.)"

Financial Incentives for Live Search Data 36

InfoWorldMike writes "In an apparent attempt to boost its disappointing Web search market share, Microsoft will give 'service or training credits' to companies that will share employees' Live Search usage data. The program is being tested with 'a select number of enterprise customers based on the number of Web search queries conducted by their employees via Live Search,' Microsoft said in a statement late on Thursday. The move prompts InfoWord's ed-in-chief to ask: Is Office Live Microsoft's gateway drug?"

Prescription Meds For Vista Sleep Disorder 144

Arnold O'Connor writes "NeoSmart Technologies has compiled a list of hotfixes and patches provided by Microsoft for Windows Vista that address a large number of issues related to waking/resuming a Vista PC (both x86 and x64) from sleep or hibernation. Sleep-related disorders have plagued Vista since its release, though they were not present in earlier betas. Most of these fixes are due to be included in Windows Vista SP1 — codenamed Fiji."

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