Category Archive for Software

Visual Studio 2013 Available for Download

The final versions of Visual Studio 2013, Team Foundation Server 2013 and .NET 4.51 are now available from MSDN. You can also download trials.

VS 2013 can be installed side by side with previous versions of Visual Studio or, if you have a VS 2013 pre-release, it can be installed straight on top of the pre-release. TFS 2013 cannot be installed side by side but can also be installed on top of either a previous version (TFS 2012 or TFS 2010) or a pre-release.

Learn more about what’s new in Visual Studio 2013.

What’s new in Visual C++ 2013 (excerpt from MSDN):

  • Compiler
    • Added support for the following ISO C++11 language features:
      • Default template arguments for function templates.
      • Delegating constructors.
      • Explicit conversion operators.
      • Initializer lists and uniform initialization.
      • Raw string literals.
      • Variadic templates.
      • Alias templates.
      • Deleted functions.
      • Non-static data member initializers (NSDMIs).
      • Defaulted functions.  (using =default to request memberwise move constructors and move assignment operators is not supported)
    • Added support for the following ISO C99 language features:
      • _Bool
      • Compound literals.
      • Designated initializers.
      • Mixing declarations with code.
    • String literal conversion to modifiable values can be disallowed by using the new compiler option /Zc:strictStrings. In C++98, conversion from string literals to char * (and wide string literals to wchar_t *) was deprecated. In C++11, the conversion was removed entirely. Although the compiler could strictly conform to the standard, instead it provides the /Zc:strictStrings option so that you can control conversion. By default, the option is off. Note that when you are using this option in debug mode, the STL will not compile.
    • rvalue/lvalue Reference Casts. With rvalue references, C++11 can clearly distinguish between lvalues and rvalues. Previously, the Visual C++ compiler did not provide this in specific casting scenarios. A new compiler option, /Zc:rvalueCast, has been added to make the compiler conformant with the C++ Language Working Paper(see section 5.4, [expr.cast]/1). The default behavior when this option is not specified is the same as in Visual Studio 2012.
  • STL
    • Support for the C++11 explicit conversion operators, initializer lists, scoped enums, and variadic templates.
    • All containers now support the C++11 fine-grained element requirements.
    • Support for these C++14 features:
      • “Transparent operator functors” less<>, greater<>, plus<>, multiplies<>, and so on.
      • make_unique<T>(args…) and make_unique<T[]>(n)
      • cbegin()/cend(), rbegin()/rend(), and crbegin()/crend() non-member functions.
    • <atomic> received numerous performance enhancements.
    • <type_traits> received major stabilization and code fixes.

This list is just a small part of everything that’s new. There are also

  • Visual C++ library enhancements
  • C++ application performance enhancements
  • Diagnostics enhancements
  • 3D graphics enhancements
  • Quite a few very nice IDE and Productivity enhancements.

Read all the details here.

Visual C++ 2013 now also supports “just my code” debugging which makes working with C++ even better. The ability to filter the call stack down to just the code you wrote when debugging has long existed for managed languages and is now available for C++ 🙂


Wallpaper Cycler Uses Axialis Ribbon & Toolbar Stock Icons

In a previous post I mentioned that I would add a user-friendly context-sensitive ribbon to Wallpaper Cycler.
I’m working on that right now, and found a very interesting icon pack that contains lots of icons that I can use for my ribbon bar. It’s called the Ribbon & Toolbar Stock Icons from Axialis. Their description:

  • Pixel perfect, ready-to-use royalty-free icons
  • 48×48, 32×32, 24×24, 16×16
  • RGB with alpha channel, RGB
  • 96 PPI compatible with WPF, Silverlight, MFC, VB…
  • Normal, Hot, Disabled states
  • PNG, ICO, BMP file formats
  • Many derivatives & overlays
  • Lifetime Commercial/No-Attribution License

The set contains 1108 unique icons for €39.

And even better, you get 30% discount if you order before November 20 by following this link.


Windows 8 Developer Preview

By now, virtually everyone on this planet heart about the Windows 8 Developer Preview that was launched a couple of days ago on the Microsoft BUILD conference.
Everyone can download this developer preview. This will give you the opportunity to play and experiment with the new Metro layout for Windows.

The developer preview also includes a preview of Microsoft Visual Studio 11 express edition, which makes it very easy to make Metro style applications in C++, C#, VB.Net, or JavaScript.

Any serious developer should download this preview and learn as much as possible about the new Windows platform.

Go to the BUILD website to download the preview and to download interesting video recordings of the sessions on the BUILD conference.


Internet Explorer 9 Launched

Get your copy here.
You can also browse the above site to learn all the new features of IE9, especially its focus on speed and standard compliancy 🙂


Internet Explorer 9 RC is Out

Microsoft has released the release candidate of Internet Explorer 9.
Get it here.


Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2 Released

Microsoft released Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2 to MSDN subscribers which extends testing, code visualization and modeling capabilities in VS2010. Its main features are more advanced platform and tool support for both manual and automated testing scenarios. It allows you to better control your Silverlight 4 testing scenarios and UI testing code.

Feature Pack 2 includes the following C++ related additions:

Feature Pack 2 is cumulative and includes Feature Pack 1.

Get more information here.


Microsoft Security Essentials Available FREE to Small Businesses in October

In October, Microsoft will be making a change to the licensing of its Microsoft Security Essentials product. After the change, small businesses can install the Security Essentials on up to 10 PCs for FREE. Previously, it was only free for consumer use. Microsoft Security Essentials provides protection from viruses, spyware and other malicious threats.

Get more information on MSDN.

Visit the Microsoft Security Essentials website.


Internet Explorer 9 Beta is Out

Today Microsoft released a public beta of Internet Explorer 9. The new version is much better standard compliant and support such standards as HTML5, CSS3 and SVG2. It scores a nice 95/100 on the Acid3 test. I just installed it myself and I’m impressed with how much faster it works compared to IE8. You can read a full review here.
Download it here.


Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 Launched for Business Customers

Microsoft has launched the following products for business customers:

  • Office 2010
  • SharePoint Server 2010
  • Visio 2010
  • Project 2010

“Microsoft’s Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 beta programs were the largest ever, with three times the number of participants compared with the Office 2007 beta program. As a result, 8.6 million people are already using Office 2010 and related products. In addition, more than 1,000 partners are already building solutions for the 2010 set of products.”

Right now it’s available in 14 languages. In the next few months it will become available in 94 languages.

Read the full press release.


Windows 2000, XP SP2 and Vista End of Life Support

This is a message to everyone who is running an older version of Windows. There are a few End of Life Support dates coming up, so it’s important to keep that in mind to avoid running unsupported versions of Windows.

Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server are approaching 10 years since their launch and both products will go out of support on July 13, 2010.

Windows XP was launched back in 2001. While support for the product will continue, Service Pack 2 will go out of support on July 13, 2010. From that date onwards, Microsoft will no longer support or provide free security updates for Windows XP SP2.  Please install the free Service Pack 3 for Windows XP to have the most secure and supported Windows XP platform.

Finally, Windows Vista with no Service Packs installed will end support on April 13 2010.  Please install the free Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista to have the most secure and supported Windows Vista platform.


Visual Studio 2010 Licensing White Paper

Microsoft has released a white paper for Visual Studio 2010 licensing which provides an overview of the complete Visual Studio 2010 product line. The paper also gives a number of example deployment scenarios and the licensing requirements for those.

Client editions in the Visual Studio 2010 product line include:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 with MSDN

(Visual Studio 2010 products can be purchased without an MSDN subscription in certain channels.)

Server products in the Visual Studio 2010 product line include:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Lab Management 2010

Volume licensing customers who need a definitive guide to licensing terms and conditions should reference the Microsoft Licensing Product Use Rights (PUR) and applicable licensing agreements. For retail customers, the license terms are specified in the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) included with the product.


Microsoft Office 2010 Beta

Microsoft has just released a beta version of Office 2010.

The following programs are available in this beta version:

  • Word
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • Excel
  • OneNote
  • Access
  • Publisher
  • InfoPath
  • SharePoint Workspace
  • Communicator

Separately available beta programs are:

  • Microsoft Visio 2010
  • Microsoft Project 2010

Get all the details.


Axialis Black Friday till Cyber Monday Promotion

I’m a big fan of Axialis IconWorkshop. A while ago I wrote a small review of it which you can find here.

It seems Axialis is having a special promotion this weekend. From Black Friday until Cyber Monday you get 50% discount on all products. Find out more.


Windows 7 breaks all pre-order records at Amazon

Apparently the pre-order of Windows 7 went extremely well. According to Amazon UK, they sold more Windows 7 pre-orders in the first 8 hours of its release than Vista did during it’s entire pre-order period.

According to Brian McBride, Amazon UK MD:

“The launch of Windows 7 has superseded everyone’s expectations, storming ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the biggest grossing pre-order product of all-time at, and demand is still going strong. Over the past three months, only Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol has sold more copies than Windows 7, which is an incredible achievement for a software product.”.

Tomorrow is the official launch date of Windows 7 🙂


Access Hidden Regional Themes in Windows 7

I just came across an interesting blog post.

Apparently, Windows 7 comes with several regional themes which include wallpapers from Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Great Britain. You can easily activate those themes following the procedure in the following blog post.

Access Hidden Regional Themes in Windows 7


Visual C++ 2010 Beta 1 and the Windows 7 RC SDK

The Visual C++ 2010 Beta 1 release contains the Windows 7 Beta SDK. For Direct2D and DirectWrite there were some breaking changes between the beta version of the SDK and the RC version of the SDK. So if you want to use those new Direct2D and DirectWrite APIs, you definitely need the latest Windows 7 RC SDK. There are some manual steps involved in getting that to work with Visual C++ 2010. For detailed explanation please check out Using the Windows 7 RC SDK in Visual C++ 2010 Beta 1 on the Visual C++ Team Blog.


Visual Studio 2010 and .NET FX 4 Beta 1 Released :)

Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 and .NET FX 4 Beta 1 have been released and is available for download if you have an MSDN subscription. The beta 1 will be publicly released very soon. Check out for more information.


Windows 7 on Track for Holiday Season

It seems that Microsoft Windows 7 is on track to be released in time for the holiday season of 2009. At the TechEd North America 2009 in Los Angeles, Bill Veghte said:

Microsoft is committed to ensuring that IT professionals and developers continue to have the platform and technologies to drive maximum value and business results. Getting the most out of IT investments is even more important in today’s economy.


With early RC testing and extensive partner feedback we’ve received, Windows 7 is tracking well for holiday availability.

Read the full press release.


EasyBCD: Easily Manage The Vista Bootloader

A friend of mine pointed me to EasyBCD to easily make changes to the Windows Vista Bootloader. This is expecially useful if you have installed Windows 7 in a VHD for example. If you want to remove your VHD installation, simply delete the VHD file and then use EasyBCD to remove the Windows 7 boot entry from the Bootloader.


Windows 7 RC Installed in VHD

I downloaded the freshly released Windows 7 Release Candidate from MSDN and was thinking on how to test it. First I thought to install it in a virtual machine, however, that means I would not be able to test with Aero enabled. A friend of mine suggested to use a new feature in the Windows 7 bootloader that allows you to boot an operating system installed inside a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk Image). On his blog he explains the steps involved in getting this to work. I followed his steps and everything went without a hitch and Windows 7 was up and running in no time, including Aero 🙂

The benefit of using a VHD is that you don’t need to repartition your drives. The VHD is just 1 big file but when booting from the VHD, everything looks and feels as if the operating system was installed on its own physical drive/partition.

I did encounter one anomaly while using Windows 7 booting from VHD. The Windows Experience Index cannot be computed. When asking Windows 7 RC to compute the WEI score, it gives an error saying that it cannot properly assess hard drive speed, but other than that, everything seems to be working smoothly. 🙂

Over the coming days I will keep testing Windows 7 RC. One thing I stumbled upon today is that Windows 7 RC seems to have built-in support for playing XVID movies. It even shows thumbnails for XVID movies in the Windows Explorer.