LAS VEGAS--It's easy now to look back at Microsoft's Windows Vista and berate the company for the operating system's shortcomings, but the truth is far more complex, according to one security researcher. At the second day of the annual Black Hat conference here, Chris Paget, chief hacker at the security company Recursion Ventures, discussed her independent contracting work for Microsoft on Vista prior to its release for the first time. Before Recursion took on the contract, all members of the team that worked on Vista were made to sign non-disclosure agreements that took five years to expire. … Read more
After a healthy 10-year run, Windows XP may finally be losing its overwhelming grip on computer users.
Though it's still the most heavily used version of the Windows operating system, XP's market share among all operating systems finally dipped just below the 50 percent mark last month, according to stats out today from Net Applications.
The aging OS has gradually been shedding market share a bit each month over the past few years, touching 62 percent a year ago and 51 percent in June before its latest dip in July, according to Net Applications.
At the same time, … Read more
An interesting note for people using either Windows XP or Windows Vista with Boot Camp is that you will not be able to install the latest version of Boot Camp (version 4) on your system. In a recent knowledgebase article, Apple outlines the system requirements for Boot Camp 4, part of which is the requirement for "an authentic, single, full-installation, 32-bit or 64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate disc."
While Boot Camp 4.0 will run in either Snow Leopard or Lion, it is a requirement for setting up new Windows installations in Lion even … Read more
Updated at 5 p.m. ET with correction about how this feature works.
Microsoft finally shows some love to camera raw shooters, but it feels like more of a hug than a big, sloppy wet kiss. The company now offers a free download of Microsoft Camera Codec Pack for Windows 7 and Vista users that will render thumbnails and display previews of most popular raw camera formats. (A complete list is available at the download site.)
About mid-Vista vintage, Microsoft introduced its own "open" raw format that it hoped camera manufacturers would adopt for better integration with Windows, … Read more
A day like any other: you're ready to get your compute on, but when you press the power button on your machine, nothing happens. Maybe the screen stays blank, or maybe it shows a blinking cursor and nothing else. Nightmare scenarios race through your mind: big repair bill? Lost data? New PC? (Gasp!)
Don't panic. Put away the sledgehammer. All is probably not lost--at least not yet.
A reader contacted me the other day to ask how she could revive her PC, which she had configured to dual-boot Windows XP and Vista. It seems she ran a popular … Read more
Microsoft appears to be winning a major battle against autorun malware.
A blog post this week by Microsoft's Malware Protection Center said the company discovered 1.3 million fewer infections on Windows Vista and XP caused by autorun malware from mid-February to mid-May, compared with the three months prior.
A persistent security threat for the past several years, autorun malware typically spreads through flash drives, memory cards, and other external devices courtesy of Microsoft's autorun feature, which automatically executes a command when the device is plugged in.
Autorun has been a trigger for some of the "top … Read more
Windows 8 will include a PDF reader, greater customization of the Aero interface, and a new version of Internet Explorer 9 that works like its Windows Phone counterpart, according to new details posted online by Microsoft partners.
Offering new tidbits and screenshots from a Windows 8 pre-beta build, "Windows 8 Secrets" co-authors Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott revealed some notable new features this week via the Web site Within Windows.
Registry cleaners are fine when used with care but can cause problems when used carelessly. Unfortunately, those users who most need a reliable registry cleaner are often unable to tell vital entries from junk, with predictable consequences. Registry cleaners now emphasize doing no harm; none more so than freeware registry cleaners such as Wise Registry Cleaner Free from WiseCleaner. It's touted as thorough but especially safe and easy to use, which we found an appealing combination. By and large, it lives up to the claim.
Wise Registry Cleaner Free's installer persuades users to download and install the Ask … Read more
Alt-Tab is a useful Windows keyboard shortcut that lets users view a list of open windows and tab quickly among them. The Alt-Tab dialog is definitely more function than form, though; it's just a gray box with icons representing each window, and the windows' names appear as you tab through them. VistaSwitcher takes the Alt-Tab function and jazzes it up a bit. Though this program isn't really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it's a definite improvement if you're a frequent Alt-Tabber.
When VistaSwitcher is running it appears unobtrusively as an icon in … Read more
Nearing its first birthday, Microsoft's Windows 7 is starting to grab more customers than its predecessor, Vista, according to new stats released Wednesday by Net Applications.
For the month of August, Windows 7 grew to take in a 15.87 percent share of devices accessing the Internet, while Vista dropped to 14 percent. That's only the second month in which Windows 7 started to outshine Vista. In July, the newest flavor of Windows grabbed 14.46 percent of the market, compared with Vista's 14.34 percent share, according to Net Applications.
Microsoft's push to convince customers … Read more