Tag Archive for Windows

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.

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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.

and

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

Read the full press release.

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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.

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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.

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Windows 7 Release Candidate

The Windows 7 Release Candidate has been made available to MSDN and Technet subscribers. It will be available to the general public on May 5th. This RC will expire on June 1 2010. There is also a dedicated forum for Windows 7 at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/category/w7itpro

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Possible KSOD (blacK Screen Of Death) Solution for Windows Vista

A few days ago, my Windows Vista on my notebook started to have the KSOD (blacK Screen Of Death) syndrome. This syndrome is that after typing your username and password on the login screen, you are presented with a black screen and a mouse, nothing else. When searching on the internet for solutions I found out that quite a few people experienced the same issue with all kinds of different solutions. I tried some suggestions like System Restore, file system check, registry changes etc etc, but nothing was working for me.

When you are presented with a KSOD, you can try to press the left SHIFT button a few times to trigger the sticky keys feature of windows. This will popup a window that contains a link. You can then click this link and from there you are able to launch different applications. Of course, if you disabled sticky keys, you are out of luck…

After wasting almost a whole day on trying everything I could think of, I stumbled upon a blog where they said that it might be related to the eventlog. To test this, I wanted to disable the eventlog. Unfortunately you cannot disable the eventlog from a running Windows because some other services are relying on it. I booted into “safe mode with command prompt”, because normal safe mode would also give me the KSOD. I disabled the eventlog and rebooted the machine and to my surprise everything worked :)

The next step was to delete all eventlog files from C:\Windows\System32\Winevt\logs, switch on the eventlog again, reboot and everything was again working :)

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Developing High DPI Aware Applications

I’m currently in the process of implementing high DPI support in one of my applications. High DPI support is getting more and more important, especially with the resolution of todays laptop screens. Most people will switch to 120 DPI or even 144 DPI instead of the default 96 DPI to make text easier to read. However, when your application is not High DPI aware, Windows Vista and Windows 7 will in certain situations scale everything for you but this will result in a blurry user interface.

Microsoft has released an interesting document describing the steps involved in developing High DPI aware applications. You can find them at the following links:

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Windows 7: New Maximizing Feature

With the release of the first beta of Windows 7, obviously I had to download it and try it out. I tested it on an older P4 2GHz with only 512MB of memory. I normally run Vista on that machine and 512MB of memory is a little bit on the low side for Vista. When Windows 7 first started I immediately noticed how much smoother and how much more responsive everything feels compared to Vista on the same box. I was really impressed.

In this post I want to explain a new maximizing feature that is currently in the Windows 7 beta. Suppose you start with a Wordpad window in the middle of your screen. On a side note, you can also see that Wordpad finally received a GUI update and now includes a ribbon.

Windows 7 Maximizing Feature (before)

Now, grab the Wordpad window and move it to the far left of your screen. Windows 7 will draw a translucent rectangle with the size of half your screen.

Windows 7 Maximizing Feature (middle)

When you now release your mouse button, Windows 7 will maximize the window to half your screen as in the following screenshot.

Windows 7 Maximizing Feature (after)

This feature is a pretty useful one in my opinion, especially on widescreen monitors that are getting more and more common.

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