Showing posts with label Vista. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vista. Show all posts

Monday, December 09, 2013

What a Date (for when a Windows version is no longer supported...)?

Mike's Window - Some dates for your calendar..


Support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on April 9, 2013. Be sure to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 today to continue to receive support and updates

Windows lifecycle fact sheet

Last updated: October 2013

In this page

Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported or sold. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software. Here are the rights and limits of the Windows lifecycle.

End of support

End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update or service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information. For more information go to Microsoft Support Lifecycle.



End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of OEMS are Dell and Toshiba—PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software. When a version of Windows reaches its end of sales date, it's a good time to think about upgrading.

This table gives end of sales dates for specific Windows operating systems.



Service packs and updates


Some important, to IT and like geeks, dates.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tip on using the Extended Send To [and how to tweak it] -> Send To -> You

Tweaking with Vishal - [Tip] Customize Hidden “Extended Send To” Menu in Windows, Add or Remove Shortcuts

When Windows Vista was released, Microsoft added a new feature to the OS which is called "Extended Context Menu". Context menu is the menu which is shown when you right-click on an item and extended context menu is an advanced form of it. Extended context menu can be accessed by press and hold SHIFT key and then right-click on an item.

Extended context menu adds a few extra options to normal context menu which are only shown when you press and hold Shift key while right-clicking otherwise you'll get normal context menu.

You can check these extended context menus anywhere in Windows such as Desktop, Windows Explorer, etc. Just press and hold Shift key and right-click and you'll see some new options in the context menu such as open command prompt here, copy as path, etc.

Extended context menu feature is not only present in Windows Vista but also present in all Windows OS which were released after Windows Vista such as Windows 7 and Windows 8.


Have you ever tried to access "Extended Send To" menu in Windows? Press and hold SHIFT key and then right-click on an item and select "Send To" menu. Now you'll get many other shortcuts present in the menu as shown in following screenshot:



Now the question comes how to customize "Extended Send To" menu? Recently an AskVG reader "J.R. Rickman" asked us about customizing "Extended Send To" menu:


While I've known about the Explorer Extended Right-Click for forever, I don't think I ever knew that it also applied to the Send To too... sigh... While I love power-user features I also hate hidden features too. Anyway, now I know and know how to tweak it so some of them are no longer hidden... :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When is XPS not XPS? When it's OXPS. (Actually OXPS is a better XPS, but not if you're on Win7/Vista/XP)

Mitch Prince's Blog - XPS and OXPS file support in Windows 7 and Windows 8

"The XMLPaper Specification (XPS) was originally created by Microsoft and then adopted by ECMA TC46 as ECMA-388, the Open XML Paper Specification.  This is also referred to as OpenXPS.  XPS has the file extension of XPS and OpenXPS uses the OXPS file extension. These two file formats aren’t the same. Windows Vista and Windows 7 both contain support to view and create XPS files.  You can choose to print to the “Microsoft XPS Document Writer”  (MXDW) to create an XPS file and use the XPS Viewer to view them.

Windows 8 can view and create both XPS and OXPS files.   See OpenXPS Support in WindowsThe “Microsoft XPS Document Writer”  defaults to creating an OXPS file [GD:Emphasis added].  When creating a document, you can choose which file type to create when you are prompted for the filename.  You can change this default using the group policy editor or use PowerShell as described in Changing the Default Format for Microsoft XPS Document Writer.

You can’t view an OXPS file on earlier versions of Windows (i.e Windows 7, Vista, or WinXP) because, these operating systems only support XPS.


The Microsoft XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack (version 1.2) provides support for Vista and Windows XP to view and create XPS files but, not OXPS files.

However, you can use the XpsConverter utility to convert OXPS files to the XPS file format.  The Windows Driver Kit 8 (WDK) which used to be called the DDK, describes the XpsConverter tool.  This tool isn’t included in WDK 7.


I hadn't seen this and personally had thought XPS was pretty much dead. Interesting that not only is it not dead on Windows 8, but there's a new, better, and more open version.

The important point here is that if you're on Win8 and using XPS to share documents (say you're printing them to XPS to share them with someone else, or to archive a print out, etc) and they are on Win7, Vista, XP, you're going to want to either change your XPS Printer Driver settings or convert them.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Work Smart Guides updated. Don't write your own "how to use X/Y/Z Microsoft tech," download and customize these!

Education - WorkSmart Guides - Updated ready-made IT user documentation


One of the godsends for me was a set of documents called Work Smart Guides, which walked me through the basics of some of the new technology I was encountering.

As our IT team describe it, Work Smart Guides bridge the gap between technology and users. Work Smart guides provide employees with scenario-based, best-use productivity aids on Microsoft products and technologies.


Updated ready-made IT guides

The Microsoft IT Team have just updated the published versions that you could modify and publish for your users. This is a great step – I’m guessing that lots of schools, TAFEs and Universities are either producing user documentation for staff, or want to. And I bet that 80-90% of the content is identical in each institution. So these guides would make a good starter for 10, either for the format, or the instructions, or simply the screenshots. As an example, here’s the Email Basics one.

The subjects covered in the step-by-step guides for users include:

  • Protecting data with BitLocker
  • Getting started with email
  • Transfer files and settings to a new computer
  • Collaborating with SharePoint
  • An overview of collaboration tools
  • Customising SharePoint sites
  • SharePoint workspaces
  • Integrating Outlook with SharePoint
  • Basics of managing email (Are you a stacker or a filer?)
  • Office tips for Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Word
  • Outlook email signatures
  • New features for users in Windows 7
  • Securing Windows Phone
  • Get started with Outlook Web Access
  • Successful meetings with Lync
Download the Work Smart Guides

There are 36 of them, and they come in one big Zip file for you to play with:

..." [GD: Click through for the download]


These are short and sweat guides that you can use as the base for your internal guides. Update the logo and style and you've got professional looking internal doc's. Remember good writers borrow, great ones steal...



Related Past Post XRef:
Work Smart (by letting someone else do the icky document creation grunt work) – “Work Smart Productivity Guides” from Microsoft for your end-user training, re-use and tweaking pleasure

Friday, April 13, 2012

Seeing the [Corp] magic behind the [Win8] scenes... "Group Policy Settings Reference for Windows and Windows Server"

Microsoft Downloads - Group Policy Settings Reference for Windows and Windows Server

"These spreadsheets list the policy settings for computer and user configurations included in the Administrative template files delivered with the Windows operating systems specified. You can configure these policy settings when you edit Group Policy objects (GPOs).

Version:April 12, 2012
Date published:4/13/ 2012



Using column filters, you can filter the information in these spreadsheets by operating system, component, or computer or user configuration. You can also search for information by using text or keywords.

These spreadsheets include the following categories of security policy settings: Account Policies (Password Policy, Account Lockout Policy, and Kerberos Policy), Local Policies (Audit Policy, User Rights Assignment, and Security Options), Event Log, Restricted Groups, System Services, Registry, and File System policy settings. These spreadsheets do not include security settings that exist outside of the Security Settings extension (scecli.dll), such as Wireless Network extension, Public Key Policies, or Software Restriction Policies.

  • Group Policy Settings Reference for Windows Server "8" Beta and Windows "8" Consumer Preview: This spreadsheet lists the policy settings for computer and user configurations included in the Administrative template files (admx/adml) delivered with Windows Server® "8" Beta. The policy settings included in this spreadsheet cover Windows "8" Consumer Preview, Windows Server "8" Beta, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista with SP1, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with SP2 or earlier service packs, Windows XP Professional with SP2 or earlier service packs, and Windows 2000 with SP5 or earlier service packs. These files are used to expose policy settings when you edit Group Policy objects (GPOs) using the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC).
    You can use the filtering capabilities included in this spreadsheet to view a specific subset of data based on one value or a combination of values that are available in one or more of the columns. In addition, you can click Custom in the drop-down list of any of the column headings to add additional filtering criteria within that column. To view a specific subset of data, click the drop-down arrow in the column heading of cells that contain the value or combination of values on which you want to filter, and then click the desired value in the drop-down list. For example, to view a subset of policy settings that are available for Windows Server 8 Beta in the Administrative Template worksheet, click the drop-down arrow next to Supported On, and then click At least Microsoft Windows Server 8 Beta.
    What's New for Windows Server "8" Beta and Windows "8" Consumer Preview?
    The spreadsheet contains three columns that provide more information about each policy setting's behavior related to reboots, logoffs, and schema extensions. These columns are the following:
    • Reboot Required: A "Yes" in this column means Windows requires a restart before it applies the described policy setting.
    • Logoff Required: A "Yes" in this column means Windows requires the user to log off and log on again before it applies the described policy setting.
    • Active Directory Schema or Domain Requirements: A "Yes" in this column means you extend your Active Directory Schema before deploying this policy setting.


This is some interesting reading if you want to see what kind of settings and controls businesses, and yourself, will have in Windows 8.

Here's an example, filtered for Windows 8, Consumer Preview.



For example, want to change how Win8 Windows Explorer Ribbon looks, expanded or minimized? There's a setting for that...


And the beauty of this all is that all of these are just registry entries. So if you know where to poke, you can write apps to do it too (as opposed to using the Group Policy Editor and walking people through all of that...)


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Copy Path Path... An easier, more configurable, flexible Explorer Shell Extension to copy a file's path (oh and x86/x64 and source available too!)

CodePlex - Path Copy Copy

"A Windows Explorer add-on that adds a contextual menu item on all files and folders allowing the user to copy the path in various formats. Idea copied from "Path Copy".
Works on Windows XP or later, both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.


The extension has a modular architecture where each menu item in the sub-menu is actually a Plugin.

Custom plugins are supported using COM - plugin developers should check out the Documentation section for details.


On XP I've used ClipPath for years (since 2004!) but when I moved to Win7 x64 I've been just been using the baked in Shift-Right Click "Copy as Path." And while that works, there's the remembering to hold the shift (which I always forget), the fact that it puts quotes around the path and there's no options or means to configure it (that I know of).

So when I saw this I knew I had to give it a try...


Not only is it free, but the source is available (and you don't have to download it from CNET's :|   )

v9 installed with no problems and as soon as I fired up Explorer, the option was right there. No fuss, no muss and just works...

And if this doesn't give me enough options, well... lol


Related Past Post XRef:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

IE 6/7/8 XP/Vista/Win7 VHD's Refreshed

Microsoft Downloads - Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image

Windows Virtual PC VHDs for testing websites with different Internet Explorer versions [Last Updated: 12/14/11]

Version: 4.3
Date Published: 12/14/2011

Language: English

In order to help web designers and web developers test their websites in older versions of Internet Explorer, we've provided the following VHD with Windows set up with the specified version of Internet Explorer. The images are patched with the latest security updates and are otherwise clean installs of the operating system with very few modifications.
This download page contains different VPC images, depending on what you want to test. These images are specifically designed to run on Microsoft Virtual PC, and may or may not work in other hosting environments.

Due to the size of the Windows 7 and Windows Vista VHDs, it is split across several files, you'll need to download all files for that version of the Internet Explorer and uncompress them to the same directory to unpack the VHD file.

The password to login to all of these images is Password1 and the username will be present when you first login.

*Note: You may be required to activate the OS as the product key has been deactivated. This is the expected behavior. The VHDs will not pass genuine validation. Immediately after you start the Windows 7 or Windows Vista images they will request to be activated. You can cancel the request and it will login to the desktop. You can activate up to two “rearms” (type slmgr –rearm at the command prompt) which will extend the trial for another 30 days each time OR simply shutdown the VPC image and discard the changes you’ve made from undo disks to reset the image back to its initial state. By doing either of these methods, you can technically have a base image which never expires although you will never be able to permanently save any changes on these images for longer than 90 days.

Windows XP Image

  • Filename: Windows_XP_IE6.exe
  • Contains: Windows XP SP3 with IE6 VHD file and was fully patched to December 2011. This image also contains the install files for IE7 and IE8. If you want to have separate base XP images for IE7 and IE8, you can copy the VHD, rename it, and install the other desired version of IE.
  • Expires: This image will shutdown and become completely unusable on April 4, 2012.
Windows Vista Image
  • Contains: Windows Vista SP2 with IE7 VHD file and was patched through March 2011. The install files for IE8 and IE9 are also available for install on the image.
  • Filenames: Windows_Vista_IE7.part01.exe, Windows_Vista_IE7.part02.rar, Windows_Vista_IE7.part03.rar, Windows_Vista_IE7.part04.rar, Windows_Vista_IE7.part05.rar, Windows_Vista_IE7.part06.rar, Windows_Vista_IE7.part07.rar
  • Expires: See *Note above
Windows 7 IE8 Image
  • Contains: Windows 7 SP1 with IE8 VHD file and was patched through March 2011. The install files for IE9 are also available for install on the image.
  • Filenames: Windows_7_IE8.part01.exe, Windows_7_IE8.part02.rar, Windows_7_IE8.part03.rar, Windows_7_IE8.part04.rar
  • Expires: See *Note above
Windows 7 IE9 + Tools Image
  • Contains: Windows 7 SP1 with IE9 VHD file and was patched through March 2011. This image also has the ACT Toolkit 5.6, IECTT, and Expression Super Preview software installed.
  • Filenames: Windows_7_IE9.part01.exe, Windows_7_IE9.part02.rar, Windows_7_IE9.part03.rar, Windows_7_IE9.part04.rar, Windows_7_IE9.part05.rar, Windows_7_IE9.part06.rar, Windows_7_IE9.part07.rar
  • Expires: See *Note above

Here's the direct download URL's;

This is one of those things where if you need it, you really need it and these VHD's can save you hours of admin/setup/etc. I also think it's interesting that the Win7/IE9 version includes Expression Preview... That's a nice touch (but also one that's been there for a bit, since the last refresh at least)


Related Past Post XRef:
IE VPC's Refreshed. Get your WinXP/IE6, Vista/IE7/8/9, Win7/IE8/9 VHD's here...
Play with IE8 RC1 the safe and easy way – via the Internet Explorer Compatibility Images (VPC VHD)
The Internet Explorer Compatibility Images (VPC VHD) updated – Now with a IE8 Beta 2 VHD (and expire dates of 01/09)
The IE8 VPC - IE8 the easy way
WinXP IE6 & WinXP IE7 VPC Images
WinXP SP2 IE6 VPC Image Refreshed
WinXP SP2 IE6 VPC Image

Friday, September 09, 2011

Like video/vod casts, like those on Channel 9? Wish you could easily watch them on your TV? Say via a Media Center Plugin? And you could get the source to the plugin too?

In geeks we trust … - Video Podcasts on TV

"Yay! Well this is a big deal for me. I’ve had the BT engineers out a couple of times in the last 2 months looking at our internet connection. (I live in the Country and historically have always had very poor connectivity).

But, …For the first time I can now stream video in real time! Just in time for BUILD!

So the first thing I did was set up the Channel 9 RSS Blog feed in Media Center (using the excellent Media Browser add-in). and now I have a nice list of streamable videos:



Media Browser

Media Browser is a media aggregator plugin for Media Center that takes your recorded, digital, or ripped media and presents it in a simple, easy to use interface. Media Browser prides itself on delivering a fast, intuitive, media rich experience for the whole family.


Media Browser - Download


Media Browser is available free of charge for NON-COMMERCIAL personal use. Media Browser currently is available for Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7. Further license information can be found on the about page .

The latest version of Media Browser is 2.3.2

Source Code

The latest development version of Media Browser is updated as soon as developers commit any changes, and is hosted kindly by Google Code. Development versions of Media Browser are recommended only for developers, experienced testers, or those otherwise interested in compiling from Media Browser from source code. You may get the code via any Subversion client:


This plugin looks like one of the easiest ways I've found to watch videocasts on my TV. After a minor bit of setup, plugging on the RSS feeds for the shows I want to watch, the rest is drop dead easy. I've tried other means, but none were as easy as this...

Oh and the fact we can get the source to it to makes this +10! :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

CMD that app to speak up (or shut up)! App level volume control via the NirCmd command line utility

NirBlog - How to control the volume level of specific application from command-line, on Windows 7/2008/Vista

"But what about changing the volume level of specific application from command-line and without any user interface ?

The new version of NirCmd (v2.50) allows you to easily set, change, or mute/unmute the volume of every application on Windows 7/2008/Vista.

There are 3 new commands - setappvolume for setting absolute volume lever, changeappvolume for increasing/decreasing the volume level, and muteappvolume which allows you to mute/unmute the volume.

For example, if you want to set the volume of Internet Explorer to 40%, execute this command:
NirCmd.exe setappvolume iexplore.exe 0.4


NirSoft - NirCmd v2.50 - Freeware Windows command-line tool

"NirCmd is a small command-line utility that allows you to do some useful tasks without displaying any user interface. By running NirCmd with simple command-line option, you can write and delete values and keys in the Registry, write values into INI file, dial to your internet account or connect to a VPN network, restart windows or shut down the computer, create shortcut to a file, change the created/modified date of a file, change your display settings, turn off your monitor, open the door of your CD-ROM drive, and more...



I can see where command line control of specific application volume levels could come in real handy. Say a "Presentation" cmd file to turn down some apps and turn others up. Or a "Meeting" CMD, and so on... Kind of like volume profiles. hum... volume profiles... That sounds like an interesting idea for a utility. Like the Power Profiles but for volume... hum...


Related Past Post XRef:
Capturing data (cough… passwords… cough) on unsecured wireless isn’t hard… (so don’t use them or SSL it baby!)
Another portable application suite and launcher, NirLauncher (Beta) - 100+ NirSoft utilities + easy Sysinternals integration too
Nirsoft + Sysinternals + One interface = Windows System Control Center
Quick, what’s the version on your video driver? Wi-Fi driver? Audio? USB?… NirSoft’s DriverView makes all that info and more just a click away…
Find those WEP/WPA keys stored on your PC with WirelessKeyView and Six Other Free Tech Tools...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Windows Registry Quick Find Chart, a 34 page PDF with common registry data locations guide [meant for forensic use, but cool reference for the everyday IT guy]

Computer Forensics and IR - What's New? - Updated Windows Registry and Mac resources & Jad's Software....updated


Registry Quick Find Chart [GD:Click through for the link]- a very recently updated 34-page reference documenting Registry locations for the standard 5 Registry files.  The document has a few new columns in the document - one which lists what versions of Windows the reference pertains to (ie: XP, Vista or Win7) and a second column that states when the Registry reference is updated (immediately, when document opened, at logon...)    This document would also be great starting reference to initiate further research on Registry locations and extractable artifacts.  D/L it....know it....print it and keep it handy!


AccessData - Supplemental Material


A snap from the PDF;



There’s a good bit of information here and something I know I’ll be able to use…

Monday, October 11, 2010

Windows Ribbon for WinForms v2.5 Released - Event handling reworked

Arik Poznanski's Blog - Windows Ribbon for WinForms v2.5 Released – New Events Mechanism

“The Windows Ribbon for WinForms is a managed wrapper around Windows Ribbon Framework, a free ribbon control that Microsoft provides in Windows 7 and Vista.
More details on this project can be found in the project site: .

I’ve just released another update to the project.

Note: this release contains breaking changes, only take it if you are starting a new project, or you don’t mind the needed updates to your code.

Basically I’ve changed how events are exposed in the library, made it a little more .NET friendly.

The benefits of these changes are:

  • You now get the control which generated the event as the sender of the event.
    For example, this allows registering the same callback function to different buttons and have the ability to know which button raised the event.
  • You can now use the Windows Ribbon for WinForms library in languages that can work only with proper .NET event handlers. The first request for this feature was from someone who wanted to use it in Progress ABL… There is a world beyond C#, C++ and VB.NET…


The new event signatures are much more “.Net” like… I like that.


Related Past Post XRef:
Windows Ribbon for WinForms v2.1 – Now with Visual Basic samples and number of new series entries too
Windows 7 Ribbon for WinForms – Yes you can…

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Power Eraser, Norton style, is now free (as in free)

CNet Download Blog - Norton's new Power Eraser goes free

“Norton Power Eraser is a new tool from Symantec that the company says is the home user's last, best hope for eradicating an aggressive malware infection. Power Eraser is free …

By making Power Eraser free, the company hopes to draw in users who have been scared off by years of bad experiences and who haven't given the Norton suites a chance since the programs' turnaround in the 2009 versions. Although Power Eraser represents an aggressive approach towards helping infected consumers, the suites have also been improved in other ways. …”

Norton Power Eraser

“Norton Power Eraser target and eliminate virus that regular virus scan can't detect. Norton Power Eraser uses aggressive methods to detect these threats, there is a risk that it can select some legitimate programs for removal. You should use this tool very carefully, and only after you have exhausted other options. …”

Say what you will about Symantec/Norton, they do have a great deal of experience in the malware space, so a really free tool from them is a tool that might be worth of addition to your utility tool belt.

This is a no-install portable utility that seemed to run just fine on my Win7 x32 box. It ran, scanned and then went away when I was done with it (i.e. no services, etc spawned). BUT BE CAREFUL. This tool, as the above text very clearly says, isn’t for the casual user. That it can, and will, identify things it finds “bad” which are in-fact ok (i.e. false positives).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sidebar that Silverlight - VB Project Template to help build Silverlight based Windows Sidebar Gadgets

Visual Studio Gallery - Silverlight Sidebar Gadget (VB)

“Template to easily get started on developing a Sidebar Gadget using Silverlight 3.0 or 4.0 controls in Visual Basic.NET


There’s something about using Silverlight for a Sidebar gadget that appeals to me. Then there’s the fact that, with Win7’s success, sidebar gadgets are now getting more usage. And finally there’s the general uptick happening with Silverlight itself.  So we mash all these together and get…?

Yes, there’s also a C# template too, Silverlight Sidebar Gadget (C#)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It’s a new Sysinternals Tool Day! RAMMap v1.0 released

Sysinternals Site Discussion - New Tool: Sysinternals RAMMap v1.0

RAMMap v1.0: Have you ever wondered how Windows allocates physical memory or what’s using it? RAMMap is a new utility for analyzing system RAM usage on Windows Vista and Windows 7 that provides insight never before available. RAMMap shows information about each page of memory, summaries of memory usage by type, views of file data stored in memory, and more.” [GD: Page Leached in Full]

Windows Sysinternals - RAMMap v1.0

“Have you ever wondered exactly how Windows is assigning physical memory, how much file data is cached in RAM, or how much RAM is used by the kernel and device drivers? RAMMap makes answering those questions easy. RAMMap is an advanced physical memory usage analysis utility for Windows Vista and higher. It presents usage information in different ways on its several different tabs:

  • Use Counts: usage summary by type and paging list
  • Processes: process working set sizes
  • Priority Summary: prioritized standby list sizes
  • Physical Pages: per-page use for all physical memory
  • Physical Ranges: physical memory addresses
  • File Summary: file data in RAM by file
  • File Details: individual physical pages by file

Use RAMMap to gain understanding of the way Windows manages memory, to analyze application memory usage, or to answer specific questions about how RAM is being allocated. RAMMap’s refresh feature enables you to update the display and it includes support for saving and loading memory snapshots.


New Sysinternals Tools = Much Goodness and Joy in Life

(Wow, I really need a life then… ;)


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

IE9 Platform Preview Updated (1.9.7766.6000)

Microsoft Downloads - Windows Internet Explorer Platform Preview

“Test drive the new Internet Explorer 9 Platform via the Internet Explorer Platform Preview

File Name: iepreview.msi
Version: 1.9.7766.6000
Date Published: 5/5/2010
Language: English
Download Size: 14.3 MB

The Internet Explorer Platform Preview has been updated. We encourage you to try out the newly added platform capabilities, and report any issues that you find in the Internet Explorer 9 web platform. Note: some features are incomplete or might change later. For more information, visit the IE9 Test Drive site and read the Platform Preview User Guide .


Installed over top the Previous version with no problems, no reboots, etc. Just install and run. This version continues to run side-by-side with your existing version of IE






Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Becoming a Windows Search Ninja - “Mastering Windows Search using Advanced Query Syntax”

ars technica - Mastering Windows Search using Advanced Query Syntax

“Search has become an integral part of Windows, particularly in later versions. While the major search improvements began with Windows Vista and were backported to Windows XP, it's really only with Windows 7 that the larger majority of users are discovering the search bar all over in the operating system. Search is built into every aspect of Windows 7 to help users cope with the increasingly rapidly growing number of files, be they work documents and e-mails, personal photos and videos, or music collections.

Many users perform searches without thinking nowadays: it's an ingrained habit of using the operating system. Like many habits, this one is worth breaking in order to to develop an even better one. Here we take a quick look at a few basic search techniques and a few more advanced ones. Force yourself to use them and you'll soon become a master of Windows Search. A bit of extra time now will save you loads of effort in the long run.

image image


Windows Search is one of those things I use a little allot, but rarely in depth, which I find ironic. I can’t live without the full text indexing of my email, which has also changed how I store and use email, let alone the power Windows Search provides in Win7, yet my searching is still very basic and primitive.

The next time I search, I need to try some of these things out…

Must… Become… Search… Ninja!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Work Smart (by letting someone else do the icky document creation grunt work) – “Work Smart Productivity Guides” from Microsoft for your end-user training, re-use and tweaking pleasure

UK Further Education Blog - Ready-made IT user documentation

“When I started working at Microsoft, I hadn’t been in such an open, technology rich culture before. And with so many IT systems around, and so many different software resources, my head was buzzing. In fact, I remember that at the end of the first week, the number of links in my Favorites was massive – just to internal websites.

I’d never used internet telephony, encryption, instant messaging, live meeting, SharePoint or Groove before, so I was all at sea until I could play around and work out how they were supposed to operate. Meanwhile, people who’d been at Microsoft for a while were metaphorically whizzing past me, as they collaborated, shared, published and distributed information. Whilst I was trying to work out how to answer my desk phone.

One of the godsends for me was a set of documents called Work Smart Guides, which walked me through the basics of some of the new technology I was encountering.

The subjects covered in the step-by-step guides for users include:

  • Environmental sustainability (hints like using Balanced power settings on your laptop)
  • Protecting data with BitLocker
  • Getting started with email
  • Transfer files and settings to a new computer
  • Collaborating with SharePoint
  • An overview of collaboration tools
  • Customizing SharePoint sites
  • Integrating Outlook with SharePoint
  • Basics of managing email (Are you a stacker or a filer?)
  • Office tips
  • Outlook email signatures
  • New features for users in Windows 7


…” [GD: Post Leach Level: 70%]

TechNet - Work Smart Productivity Guides

Microsoft IT Showcase

Microsoft IT created Work Smart productivity guides (previously Everyday Productivity Education (EPE) guides) to bridge the gap between technology and users. Work Smart guides provide employees with scenario-based, best-use productivity aids on Microsoft products and technologies. As more Work Smart guides are published, Microsoft IT expects to see more consistent, productive, and cost-effective use of products and technologies across the company.

Work Smart Productivity Guides
Download customizable versions of Work Smart materials to use as samples and reusable templates that specifically address the scenarios and processes in your information worker environment.


I don’t know how many times I’ve seen IT, User Support, Training and Doc, etc groups create or buy general, end user documentation for basic things like Office, Windows, SharePoint, etc. Too many.

So when I saw this, I thought it too cool to not mention. What’s cool is that it’s in DocX format and you are not only allowed, but encouraged, to tweak it to fit your environment. Love that…


Here’s what you get in the 23MB zip;




Monday, February 01, 2010

“Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines” – aka the UX Guide for Windows 7 and Vista free eBook

Microsoft Downloads - Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines

“Download the Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines (UX Guide) for Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

File Name: UXGuide.pdf
Version: 1.0
Date Published: 1/27/2010
Language: English
Download Size: 35.0 MB - 76.6 MB*


Use this page to download the Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines (or UX Guide) for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. These guidelines contain information on design principles, and guidelines for controls, commands, text, interaction, windows, messages, aesthetics, and the Windows environment. They help designers and developers create high-quality Windows applications with a consistent “look and feel.”




The goals for these official Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines for Windows® 7 and Windows Vista® (or “UX Guide” for short) are to:

  • Establish a high quality and consistency baseline for all Windows-based applications.
  • Answer your specific user experience questions.
  • Make your job easier!

What’s new
The following guidelines have been added since our last update:

  • Animations and Transitions
  • Setup

UX Guide is downloadable and printable!
By popular demand, we have UX Guide in PDF format.


Only 876 pages of UX Guidance… :|

I liked though how “new” technology is included, like guidance UI/UX for Touch app’s as well as other Win7 features like the Taskbar/Jump Lists, etc.

(via meraTechPort - Free E-book: UX Guide for Windows 7 and Windows Vista)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Directory Linker – Simple symbolic directory link utility for Vista/Windows 7

Addictive Tips - Easy Way To Create Symbolic Directory Links In Windows 7/Vista

“The process of creating a symbolic directory link for a folder in Windows 7 and Vista is a serious time waster. Creating a target folder, coping content to this folder, deleting the folder that you want to be linked, and then entering the command in command prompt, doesn’t sound like an easy process.

Directory Linker is a portable opensource tool which makes creating a symbolic directory possible in just a few clicks. Choose the link location and the folder that you want to link too and hit Go. In case the link location already exists, you can choose to delete the content inside it or first copy them to the target folder and then delete the content.



CodePlex - Directory Linker

“Project Description
Directory Linker is a small Winforms application that allows the user to quickly and easily create Symbolic Directory links in Windows Vista and Windows 7. (Note XP is not supported)

  1. Create the target
  2. Copy any existing content to the target
  3. Delete the folder you want to be a link
  4. Start cmd.exe and then enter the mklink command along with the full paths of the folders you want to link

DirLinker helps with this, it is very basic UI that allows you to enter where you want the link and where you want to link to. You can just delete the link place or copy the contents over first. Use these options at your own risk, …”

Directory Linker - V 1.1.0

“Released: Jan 17 2010
Updated: Jan 17 2010 by WillC
Dev status: Stable

Recommended Download

application, 46K, uploaded Jan 17

Other Available Downloads

application, 72K, uploaded Jan 17


Symbolic links are like the red headed step child of Windows/NTFS. We’ve seen more usage in newer OS’s but I still don’t think its being used to its fullest potential (which can be said about a number of NTFS features…  cough… like its ability to support deep paths, 32K in length [insert MAX_PATH rant here]… cough…)

Anyway, I thought this a simple yet cool utility that not only exposes junctions/symbolic links but that its C# source was also available…

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Using wireless networking at home? Have a ton of neighbors with wireless too? Check your channel (and here’s a tip on how)

Derek Hatchard’s Information Flume Ride - Find the Right Wireless Networking Channel

“The hard core geeks know that to optimize your wireless networking experience you want to select a channel that is unused by other nearby wireless devices.

If you run Windows 7 (or Vista), use the following command at the Command Prompt to see the channels and signal strength of nearby networks:

netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid


The channel numbers will be in the range of 1 to 11.  Find a hole, ideally at least five channels away from your neighbours, and change your wireless router configuration to use that channel.  If you are in an area with lots of wireless networks, focus on avoiding interference with the strongest competing signals.

Slightly Deeper Explanation


I love learning something new every day… I’ve used netsh in the past, but never for this (so I guess I’m not a hard core geek… lol…).

We’re a huge UVerse neighborhood and I’m surrounded with everyone’s 2Wire WAP’s (6-9+ WAP’s are in range of my home office). I’ve been changing my channel to try to find a good one, but was obviously doing it the lamer way (i.e. hit and miss). With this knowledge I can now take a much more methodical approach.

[Insert normal disclaimer here. YMMV. Keep arms and hands inside the car. Filmed on a closed track with a professional driver… In short, if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it…]