If you want the look and feel of Windows 7 without the hassle of playing with the beta that is currently out, although, from the feedback I have read, it’s not really a hassle, but an improvement so far, there are a bunch of Windows 7 themes for Windows XP you can try out now. You can also add some of the features to your XP machine, such as Aero shake, Aero snap, you can change your dialog boxes and much more. Links await you below.
Now this site, Tweaking with Vishal, has some really good tutorials on how to make themes and the other customizations work in Windows, I have linked to some of the more interesting tutorials below.
Transform Windows XP into Windows 7 without using Customization Pack This one shows you how to do the Windows Theme or Visual Style, the Icons, the Boot Screen, the Login or Welcome Screen, Taskbar, Wallpapers, Progress Dialog Box, Shutdown / Log off Dialog Box, the About Windows Box, System Properties Dialog Box and add extras like “Aero Shake”, “Aero Snap”, “Aero Peek”, “Calculator” and “WordPad”.
[AIO] Ultimate Tutorial to Customize Desktop Context Menu in Windows Vista, Server 2008 and Windows 7 This one shows you how to add your desired application shortcuts in Desktop context menu e.g. Windows Media Player, Firefox, Winamp, Opera, Chrome, etc, you can add new useful options like Change Wallpaper, Change Theme, Change Cursor, Task Manager, Folder Options, Device Manager, Run, Search, Aero On/Off, etc in Desktop context menu, you can add any website link in Desktop context menu, you can remove unwanted options like your Graphics card settings from Desktop context menu.
Many, many great tutorials and how to’s are listed, definitely a site worth checking out.
Here are some of the manufacturers who are still offering consumers Windows XP instead of Windows Vista. This is actually win-win for everyone as you get a license for both, well, at least for now you do.
From Toshiba Computers:
Save 20% instantly when you customize select Toshiba Satellite laptops online. Offer ends 5.15.08. Shop ToshibaDirect.com today!
Get $100 off when you customize select Toshiba Satellite laptops priced $899 or more at ToshibaDirect.com. Use coupon code: LNK100. Offer ends 5.31.08.
Free Ground Shipping on orders of $549 or more (before taxes) at ToshibaDirect.com. Offer expires 8.15.08.
Buy any Toshiba Satellite laptop with up to 15.4 screen and get a Case Logic Carrying Case Free after Mail-in Rebate. Only at ToshibaDirect.com through 5.31.08.
From Dell Computers:
From Sony Computers:
I am sure of it, why? Because they are already talking about releasing the next version of Windows, Windows 7, or whatever they end up calling it. That is a sure sign they see that people aren’t going to just jump on the Vista bandwagon. The biggest reason, in my opinion, will be public interest, with all the complaining that bloggers and tech writers have done about it, people are more resistant to it, thinking it’s not going to be as good as XP is right now. If Microsoft extends it and gives the people what they think they want, then, guess what, the big bad Microsoft image goes away even more than it has recently.
What people today don’t realize, or remember, is the same cry was heard when Microsoft released Windows XP, people loved Windows 98, some even loved ME, and didn’t want the new operating system that Microsoft was forcing on them, Windows XP. The same reactions, the same types of problems with drivers and old hardware, it’s deja vu all over again. The difference today? The big echosphere we have in the form of tech blogs and mainstream media that jump on the bandwagon, it has intensified everything, more people are reading about it and deciding, before they see it, that they don’t want Vista and that nothing works with it, etc, etc.
For an example, check out these great write-ups by Ed Bott detailing the similarities to the release of Windows 95, Vista isn’t Me2, it’s Win95 + 12 years, adoption rates Windows adoption rates: a history lesson, and, my personal favorite, Remembering Windows XP’s early days where he compares what one writer from InfoWorld said when they released Windows XP and how it compares to what he is saying about Windows Vista right now. Hilarious.
Well, guess what? We are rolling it out here and there and aren’t hearing near as many complaints as we did when we upgraded to Office 2007 from 2003, but, that is mainly a user training issue as people actually use Office, they just login and mess up Windows. My laptop has Vista and I haven’t had one problem with it, the first time my kids used it, they only noticed that it was prettier, and went ahead using it and abusing it. My five year old uses it as easily as he does XP, and this is an upgraded laptop, not a brand new one out of the box, I haven’t noticed it being slower, but I’m not trying to run aero on it either.
The death of Windows XP may have been greatly exaggerated.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the company could re-evaluate its plans to phase out Windows XP by June 30, if customers demand that it stick around. So far, they have not.
“XP will hit an end-of-life. We have announced one. If customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter, but right now, we have a plan for end-of-life for new XP shipments,” Ballmer said during a Thursday news conference in Belgium, according to Reuters. Source: Ballmer: You want XP, we’ll keep XP
So, as long as people really are requesting XP over Vista, as long as businesses need XP to run on their older hardware, and as long as manufacturers are complaining about XP going away, I think Microsoft will step up to the plate and knock one out by extending it at least another year, a year closer to the next version of Windows. Besides, they were planning on selling it on lower cost pc’s anyway, machines with slower processors, smaller screens, etc, so why not?
Larry Dignan at ZDnet has posted a comparison of the numbers of vulnerabilities between Mac OS X and Windows, both XP and Vista, and while the numbers look like Microsoft has a big lead on security, it certainly does not mean that. It just says that Mac OS X has 5 times the flaws of XP and Vista every month in 2007.
Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X vulnerability stats for 2007 XP Vista XP + Vista Mac OS X Total extremely critical 3 1 4 0 Total highly critical 19 12 23 234 Total moderately critical 2 1 3 2 Total less critical 3 1 4 7 Total flaws 34 20 44 243 Average flaws per month 2.83 1.67 3.67 20.25
Now, before everyone does the Mac versus PC thing, this is just a comparison of the vulnerabilities and in no way does it say that Windows is more secure, now, if they did a comparison of the actual number of exploits taking advantage of the same vulnerabilities, I am sure the number would be severely tilted to Microsoft as they have the larger installed base. Plus, after reading some of the comments, it doesn’t take into account how many of these are actually from Apple for their software, as they distribute patches for the software that comes with their OS as well, lots of it being open source.
Microsoft to Try Windows XP Out on OLPC in January Microsoft said it plans to conduct field trials in January of Windows XP running on the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop. The XO laptop ships with a Linux operating system and is meant to be a low-cost machine available to people who live in countries with developing economies.
December 2007 Advance Notification I wanted to let you know that we just posted our Advance Notification for next week’s bulletin release which will occur on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at or around 10 a.m. Pacific Time.
It is important to remember that while the information posted below is intended to help with your planning, because it is preliminary information, it is subject to change.
Internet Explorer 8 Just as he was the first to talk about IE7, Bill Gates kept the tradition alive and discussed IE8 at the Mix ‘n Mash event here on campus yesterday. Bill was talking to some bloggers about IE.Next and called it IE8, the same way we do here in the IE team hallway. So, yes, the version after IE7 is IE8.
Dell to sell PCs at Best Buy Beginning in the next few weeks, Dell notebooks and desktops will be for sale at Best Buy, the companies announced Thursday.
Several models of XPS and Inspiron PCs will be available at 900 Best Buy locations, including the XPS M1330 in white, the Inspiron 1521 in blue and black, the Inspiron 1420 in black, and the all-in-one XPS One desktop.
Microsoft gears up for the biggest enterprise launch in its history Microsoft will be spending more than US$150 million worldwide to do a combined launch of its trio of enterprise products: Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, next year. The theme will be “Heroes Happen Here,” and the launch events will kick off in Los Angeles starting February 27, 2008.
IBM researchers build supercomputer-on-a-chip Supercomputers may soon be the same size as a laptop if IBM brings to market research detailed on Thursday, in which pulses of light replace electricity to make data transfer between processor cores on a chip up to one-hundred times faster.
Microsoft releases final version of HD Photo plug-in for Photoshop Microsoft has taken the beta tag off a plug-in to let Photoshop read and write files in the HD Photo format, which Microsoft is standardizing as JPEG XR. The free plug-in is available for download for Windows and Mac OS X systems.
Microsoft trials XP on XO laptop Microsoft is to begin field tests of Windows XP working on the so-called $100 laptop, or XO, early in 2008. It has not committed to offering XP on the XO laptop but hopes to release the operating system in the first half of 2008 if the trials succeed.
Looks like Microsoft has released beta versions of the service packs for Windows Vista and Windows XP.
Shhhh! Pre-beta Vista SP1 is out there Over the past couple of days, there have been new reports of sightings of the pre-beta of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1. The reported build number: 6001.16549 (longhorn_sp1beta1.070628-1825). I?ve been getting tips over the past couple of weeks from testers who said they had the promised pre-beta. The tipsters all were referencing different build numbers. My first guess was the secrecy-obsessed Windows Vista team might be providing different testers with different build numbers in order to trace leaks.
Windows XP SP3 Released To Small Group (Updated) In addition to the previously reported Windows Vista SP1 drop to testers, Microsoft has just recently (few days ago) dropped a copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3 in the lap of the same small group of testers. Coming in at less than 350MB, the service pack includes fixes for over 900 reported problems, some of which have already been resolved with post-Service Pack 2 hot fixes. For the hardcore build string collectors, this build is tagged 5.1.2600.3180 (xpsp.070718-2058).
They have included several screenshots of both service packs.
Microsoft has released 2 Windows Vista fix packs and one for Windows XP. The one for XP is actually downloadable now, get it here, the two Vista fix packs have been uploaded to mediafire file serving site and can be downloaded here for the X86 version and the X64 versions here. It is being speculated that these two fix packs will be the majority of what comprises the Windows Vista sp1 and that it will not contain much more, but most all of the service pack information concerning Windows Vista is speculation right now.
938979 Vista Performance and Reliability Pack
This update resolves a number of individual issues which may be affecting some computers running Windows Vista. These issues have been reported by customers using the Error Reporting service, product support, or other means. Installing this update will improve the performance and responsiveness for some scenarios and improves reliability of Windows Vista in a variety of scenarios. Some examples of the improvements contained in this update are:
- Improves performance in resuming back to the desktop from the Photo and Windows Energy screensaver.
- Resolves an issue where some secured web pages using advanced security technologies may not get displayed in Internet Explorer on Windows Vista.
- Resolves an issue where a shared printer may not get installed if the printer is connected to a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 system and User Access Control is disabled on the Vista client.
- Resolves an issue where creating AVI files on Vista may get corrupted.
- Improves the performance in calculating the ?estimated time remaining? when copying/moving large files.
- Improves performance in bringing up Login Screen after resuming from Hibernate.
- Resolves an issue where synchronization of offline files to a server can get corrupted.
- Resolves a compatibility issue with RAW images created by Canon EOS 1D/1DS Digital SLR Camera which can lead to data loss. This only affects RAW images created by these two specific camera models.
- Resolves an issue where a computer can lose its default Gateway address when resuming from sleep mode.
- Improves the performance when copying or moving entire directories containing large amounts of data or files.
- Improves the performance of Vista?s Memory Manager in specific customer scenarios and prevents some issues which may lead to memory corruption.
938194 Vista Compatibility and Reliability Pack
- Improved reliability and compatibility of Vista when used with newer graphics cards in several specific scenarios and configurations.
- Improved reliability when working with external displays on a laptop.
- Increased compatibility with many video drivers.
- Improved visual appearance of games with high intensity graphics.
- Improved quality of playback for HD-DVD and Blue-Ray disks on large monitors.
- Improved reliability for Internet Explorer when some third party toolbars are installed on Vista.
- Improved Vista reliability in networking configuration scenarios.
- Improved the reliability of Windows Calendar in Vista.
- Improved reliability of systems that were upgraded from XP to Vista.
- Increased compatibility with many printer drivers.
- Increased reliability and performance of Vista when entering sleep and resuming from sleep.
Looks like a lot of improvements for Windows Vista users, lets hope that it is actually the case. No reports from anyone using them currently that I am aware of. Mary Jo Foley got a look at the email sent to the testers and it had some service pack 1 information in it.
Q: What is in Windows Vista SP1?
A: ?Windows Vista SP1 is an update to Windows Vista that, along with improvements delivered to users via Windows Update, addresses feedback from our customers. In addition to previously released updates, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards.?
Q: What is not in Windows Vista SP1?
A: SP1 is not intended to be a vehicle for releasing new features; however some existing components do gain enhanced functionality in SP1. ?
Q: What are some examples of ?improved security and quality??
A: SP1 delivers improvements that target what we?ve found to be the most common causes of crashes and hangs, giving users a more reliable experience. SP1 also improves upon performance in key scenarios, such as copying files and shutdown time.
Beyond improvements to the basics, SP1 addresses other areas where we have received feedback. For example, SP1 improves the success of peer-to-peer connections, such as Windows MeetingSpace or Remote Assistance, when both PCs are behind symmetric firewalls. It also gives vendors of security software a more secure way to communicate with Windows Security Center. Source: New Vista fix packs provide updates promised for SP1
Some of the folks over on the AeroXperience.org website have benchmarked the time it takes to copy files before and after the fixes and the improvements are indeed promising.
During the tests, we quickly found copying small files (1MB-10MB) proved too difficult to time and therefore were cut from the benchmark. The other tests, however, blew us away (sorry, we’re pessimists when it comes to NVIDIA drivers and Microsoft hotfixes)…
After some very lengthy re-learning of percentages, we calculated the transfers completed over twice as fast! One oddity, however, was the fact the speed indicator in the file transfer dialog remained at a fairly constant rate (48MB/s), giving us the impression the speed calculation code is borked. Despite this, however, these numbers are very encouraging given the hotfix’s short life; we can’t wait to see what the final build delivers! Source: KB938979 to Fix File Transfer Woes. No, really.
So, it definitely appears that it will be a help to most people.
Here are a couple Vista service pack 1 related stories.
Vista ReadyBoost Suckage & Vista resume sluggishness Problems with a computer resuming from S3/S4 sleep are related to the encryption key that is created with the Readyboost file. Apparently, the key is created once per windows session, so, sometimes when resuming from sleep, Vista realizes it needs to rebuild the Readyboost file because of the key, so, while it is trying to come out of sleep mode, while it is paging data to the memory, it is also rebuilding the Readyboost file. So, on resume, if you notice your computer thrashing the hard drive and poor resume performance, you know why. This is supposed to be fixed in Windows Vista SP1.
Vista SP1 beta 1 to launch in mid-July Looks like Microsoft is planning on beta testing the Vista SP1 in mid July with a final release date of November 2007.
Microsoft’s OEM catch-22: XP still in the driver’s seat Now more than half a year into the launch of Windows Vista, it’s beginning to look as though Microsoft may have a rebellion on its hands, at least in the corporate world. While Windows Vista continues to sell like hotcakes via OEMs to consumers, businesses are calling up those same OEMs and asking how they can get Windows XP instead.
Here are some pretty good tweaks, tips, downloads and info for Windows XP, some are older, some are not, but they all are useful.
Boot Windows XP from a USB flash drive Ever had a PC crash and become unbootable? With this article, you can create a bootable USB drive that runs Windows XP, and if you can run Windows XP, you can get into the drive and run a virus scan, check for spyware, do some disk or partition repair to make your computer work again.
Hide shared folders with Windows XP Pro’s Net command line tool Use the Net command line tool to hide your PC, and/or your shared folders from other users on your network.
Use these four Registry tweaks to accelerate Windows XP Plenty of third-party programs claim to tweak or optimize Windows. However, most of them simply make Registry edits. Here are four manual tweaks that experienced IT professionals can make to improve the speed of Windows XP, from Windows XP Hacks, 2nd Edition.
XP Tools Pro XP Tools is a integrated suite of powerful PC Utilities to fix, speed up, and protect your computer. With only a few minutes of tweaking, XP Tools will optimize the performance of your computer, correct problems and it will help you to customize your system to suit your needs. XP Tools will erase your Internet tracks, the ones that it can anyway, hide your sensitive files and folders, lock your important applications, and give you the tools that you need to fine-tune your computer. When you run XP Tools, your Windows system will run faster, will crash less often, and will be more private and secure. And isn’t that about everything you want from a utility?
And check out some of the latest Windows XP News from Google.
For all of you people out there with Windows Mobile smart phones, you could soon be making free phone calls from your Windows Mobile and Windows Mobile 6 smart phones using Fring, a VOIP service that’s a lot like Skype.
Fring allows users to make free VoIP phone calls and conduct multiple live chat sessions through Skype, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, and many other SIP service providers, according to the company.
Fringland says its mobile VoIP client enables “WiFi enabled but SIM-less” Windows Mobile PDAs to function as open VoIP phones, using either WiFi hot spots or 3G cellular data services for access to the Internet. It supports making low cost VoIP calls to PSTN/POTS landline phones using SkypeOut or similar services. “Presence” functions indicate a contact’s availability in real-time, allowing the user to select the best calling method based on factors such as the recipient’s availability, reception quality, and call cost, according to the company. Source: Free VoIP For Your Windows Mobile Smart phone
Download Fring here. In a related story, it appears Microsoft has been working on an application that will allow voice searches of your Windows Mobile device using Bluetooth and your mic. Check it out here.
From Techrepublic, you can download a Font properties extension that will give you loads more information on the fonts that are installed in your Windows XP system, both versions, home and professional.
After you download and install this extension, the number of tabs on each font’s properties dialog box will jump from two to 11, with each tab providing all kinds of information about the font. The information contained on these 11 tabs includes very detailed descriptions of each font, links to the font vendors and font designers, legal information, such as ownership, copyright, trademark, license, and embedding permissions, as well as technical information about the font. Source: Download an extension to learn more about Windows XP fonts
Tired of the auto play box that pops up every time you insert your USB drive(s) into your computer? You can set Windows Explorer to be the default auto play action and it will open up every time you insert a USB drive, instead of that annoying box.
- Insert your flash drive into the USB port.
- When you see the AutoPlay dialog box, click Cancel.
- Open My Computer, right-click your flash drive icon, and select Properties.
- In the Properties dialog box, select the AutoPlay tab.
- Perform the following steps for each item in the Content Type drop-down list:
- Select an item in the Content Type drop-down list.
- Choose Select An Action To Perform in the Actions panel.
- Select the Open Folder To View Files In Windows Explorer action.
- Click the Apply button.
- Click OK to close the Properties dialog box