Sidebar Geek

My experience with Windows Vista. Windows Sidebar and Microsoft Gadgets.

January 2006 - Posts

  • Public Windows Vista Newsgroups Online at Microsoft

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    Andre pointed this out to me this evening. Microsoft has put online Public Newsgroups for those interested in Windows Vista.

    Here is a list of available newsgroups for Windows Vista as of today:


    Head on over to this page at Microsoft's website on how to configure your newsreader to read Microsoft's Public Newsgroups.

  • Windows OneCare to be offered for Windows Vista after all

    Mary Jo at Microsoft-Watch was able to get a response from Microsoft in regards to Windows OneCare on Windows Vista. Previous statements from Microsoft were that there were no plans to put Windows OneCare on Windows Vista but it seems those plans may have changed:

    "Microsoft officials told us after this article was published that Microsoft will do a version of OneCare for Vista users 'in the future'. A spokeswoman provided no further details on timing or features."

    This is very promising and look forward to seeing the product expanded to Windows Vista when the time comes. I would imagine they are probably waiting for the Vista code to get to a certain point before beginning development of Windows OneCare for Vista.

    I still think Microsoft needs to stop development of Windows OneCare and have everything go through Windows Defender in terms of protection services for your PC through Microsoft. Giving consumers one program with multiple services to subscribe to seems much better than having two programs. Also: Windows's Vista's backup and system protection policies (including Vista's Firewall) are far superior than Windows OneCare's so why would we want Windows OneCare on Vista aside from its virus protection service? I can't wait to see what Microsoft does in this arena.

  • Microsoft: No antivirus in Windows Vista

    According to The Register, Microsoft will "omit" antivirus services for Windows Vista when it ships. Previously, it had been thought Microsoft may incorporate some sort of antivirus technology within Vista. Microsoft is shipping Windows Defender, Microsoft antispyware program currently in beta, with Windows Vista and also making it available to users on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Microsoft currently as their own antivirus program in beta testing under Windows OneCare.

    Now not only am I disappointed, but also confused by the statements at hand. Microsoft has previously stated there were no plans to offer Windows OneCare (atleast from what I was told)on the Windows Vista platform, making it specifically for Windows XP Serivce Pack 2 users. The Register mentions Windows OneCare which forces me to think perhaps they have changed their thoughts. Could we see Windows OneCare offered for Windows Vista? Maybe.

    I've been testing Windows OneCare for quite some time and its an excellent program. But when compared with some of the new features currently in Windows Vista, I'm not sure Windows OneCare makes sense on Vista. Windows OneCare offers excellent backup capabilities yet Windows Vista offers some of the same in the new Windows Backup feature. The only two things that strike me as something that sort-of fits for Windows Vista is the one-click PC Tune-up and Antivirus features. Other than that, Windows OneCare really doesn't offer much more than what's already in Windows Vista - in my opinion.

    What I think Microsoft should do is simply drop Windows OneCare. Get rid of it. Port it over to Windows Defender. Allow users of Windows Defender on Windows 2000, XP, and Vista to pick and choose services via Defender in the way of modules. If I want high end virus protection, I can simply pay for the service, download the antivirus module for Defender, and I'm set. Same for enhanced backups and PC tune-ups and any other services Microsoft may sit fit. This way Defender is the key application for PC protection. Consumers won't get confused over Windows OneCare and Windows Defender and these PC protection services would be avaible on multiple platforms. For people who want to choose not to use Windows Defender, don't worry - Defender can be deactivated in Windows Vista. These are just my thoughts here.

    Josh at Windows Connected likes my idea.

  • Charlie Owen considers moving to Vista

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    Charlie Owen, Program Manager on the Microsoft Windows eHome Team, considers moving to Windows Vista. Charlie has noticed that many people at Microsoft are currently moved over using the latest CTP's for daily work around the office. Here's what Charlie says "tipped the scales" for him:

    "I was on an email thread with a Microsoft VP the other day and his signature read 'Sent from Windows Vista CTP'. Seriously, if my bosses' bosses' bosses' bosses' boss can tough it out, so can (should) I."

    He's a bit apprehensive. I can't blame him. Overall, my experience with Vista on my Desktop PC has been very nice with very little problems aside from the driver issues which is to be expected. He's putting Vista on a Toshiba Tablet PC and I know Robert has had issues with his tablet but he thinks it may have been hardware related. I look forward to hearing what Charlie's post-installation experience of Vista is.

  • Microsoft Skipping Beta 2 of Windows Vista

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    NOTE: Sorry for the lateness in blogging about this, I flew back on Thursday from Seattle and needed time to settle in. Plus, I had some catch up at work to do.

    Mary Jo Foley at Microsoft-Watch has some information online in regards to the future of Vista's development cycle. Microsoft won't be releasing a Beta 2 like originally thought and planned. Instead, their focus will be bi-monthly CTP's or Community Technology Previews. Mary Jo was able to talk with Jim Allchin, Co-president of Microsoft's Platform Products and Services Division, in regards to what's next for Windows Vista's development as we head toward RTM (which at this point Microsoft says they are on schedule for).

    "There will be no single, catch-all Beta 2 of Vista, according to Jim Allchin, copresident of Microsoft's Platform Products & Services Division in Redmond, Wa. Instead, Microsoft is planning to rely increasingly on Community Technology Preview (CTP) builds to get its feedback from Windows testers."

    ..."In Microsoft parlance, CTPs are interim test releases that represent a product snapshot in time. They are usually less stable than traditional beta releases. When Microsoft first launched the Windows CTP program last year, company officials said they hoped to deliver monthly Vista CTPs. But it now seems Microsoft is moving toward more of a quarterly CTP."

    Instead of a Beta 2 in April, which Paul Thurrott is reporting at his Supersite for Windows, Microsoft will instead ship a CPP or Customer Preview Program which will be a specialized CTP.

    At this point, Microsoft says all dates are speculation at this point and won't confirm any dates for any CTP release despite reporting the February CTP will be released on February 21st.

    With Microsoft releasing bi-monthly or quarterly CTP's, they are getting a ton more feedback from testers than if they were sticking to a Beta-to-RC Schedule they had done with previous versions of Windows. With the amount of feedback and work going into Windows from the Windows Team in response to that feedback, I can't help but think Windows Vista will be very impressive when its code goes "gold".

  • More Laptop Woes

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    So my Dell Inspiron B120 isn't doing so hot these days. After Windows Vista didn't work out, I put XP back on it and it seems to still be struggling a bit. During my Trip to Search Champs in Seattle, my Laptop went weird on me. The minute I got into my hotel in Seattle I had issues. The hotel only provided ethernet instead of Wireless so I though "no problem". Hooked my laptop up and for some reason, the integrated network card drivers just went whacky. Ended up going to the Library to use their wireless to download new drivers. Then, throughout Search Champs, it kept freezing up. Was hard to do anything.

    But its good to be home. I can sit in from of my Vista PC again and continue testing.

    UPDATE 1/28/06: I was able to get Vista back on my laptop and its running quite nicely without Aero Glass. Not sure if I might have had a bad install or what.

  • Clarifacation on Laptop Graphics Issues

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    A comment by MysteriousE has made me feel I should clarify some things real quick in regards to my previous post where my integrated Intel graphics for my new Dell laptop won't work.

    First off, I apologize if the post may have too emotion-driven. I was kind of ticked. Second, my issues are mainly with Dell and Intel and not the fact the CTP wasn't running well. Intel is choosing not to support a integrated graphics for laptops that is shipping with new laptops now and to me that just kind of sucks.

    I had an older Dell Laptop which was quite a bit less powerful than my new one which ran Vista just fine without glass. The fact that this new laptop (a Dell Insipiron B120), which is supposed to be quite a bit better, doesn't run Vista as well as my old one is something that's a bit irritating. MsysteriousE tells me "its just a CTP, not even Beta" and he's correct. But my experience with the current CTP has been very pleasant on numerous PC's with and without Aero Glass. Will I run Vista on a laptop that isn't powerful enough to run Aero Glass? Yes of course.

    My dissatisfaction is with my new laptop and not Build 5270 or Microsoft'd development of Windows Vista. Maybe I should take MysteriousE's advice and return this laptop and spend more cash for one with nicer graphics? I am taking the suggestion seriously but at the same time, its not about Aero Glass rather how well the OS will run. I think I might sit back for a few months and wait for Vista's code progress a little more.

  • Information on Windows DVD Maker

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    Eric Gunnerson makes a really interesting post about the upcoming Windows DVD Maker program coming with Windows Vista. I've been unable to test this feature out due to hardware/driver issues.

    Check it out.

  • Search Champs in Seattle

    I've been at Search Champs for the past two days up in Seattle. Its been amazing. I've met alot of awesome people that blog and are well respected in the technology community. Although not Windows Vista related, I'd like to point out a few things real quick.

    I've made two posts at MSTechToday in regards to a awesome new Gadget coming as well as a new feature coming in an update to tomorrow.

    Also, the MSN Team put on a session regarding the recent headline news about MSN giving information to the government, sparking a sort of privacy concern. I am not sure I can talk about the session due to NDA but Robert Scoble has a post regarding what was said.

    I will post what I can about my experiences once our sessions wrap up tomorrow.

  • Volumn Control in Windows Vista

    Larry Osterman makes a very interesting blog post in regards to Windows Vista's Volumn Control.

    "For Vista, each audio stream is associated with an 'audio session', and the audio session is roughly associated with a process (each process can have more than one audio session, and audio sessions can span multiple process, but by default each audio session is the collection of audio streams being rendered by the process)."

    "Each audio session has its own volume control, and WASAPI exposes interfaces that allow applications to control the volume of their audio session. The volume control API also includes a notification mechanism so applications that want to be notified when their volume control changes can implement this - this mechanism allows an application to track when someone else changes their volume."

    Read the rest of his post here.

    Thanks to Matt Goyer for pointing Larry's post out.

  • No Aero for Mobile Intel 915PM Express Chipset

    I bought my new Dell Laptop less than three weeks ago with the Mobile Intel 915PM Express Chipset. I figured, the newer chipset would be able to support Vista's Aero Glass once LDDM drivers were developed for it. Well I found out tonight that this is not going to be the case. Here's what Intel has to say about running Aero Glass with the 915PM Express Chipset:

    "After the launch of Windows Vista, laptop PCs with Mobile Intel® 915GM Express Chipset will be able to run Windows Vista providing a Windows* XP-comparable graphics experience. On newly shipping systems with Mobile Intel® 915PM Express Chipset platforms, additional functionality, including support for the Windows Vista Display Driver Model, may be available with certain 3rd party graphics cards."

    Thumbs way down for Intel on this. And like Dell is really going to go out of their way to provide 3rd Party drivers for this laptop so Vista runs better.

    I wouldn't be so mad about this except for I just bought this new laptop and also even without Glass running, with Vista my laptop runs horribly. But I guess it running like crap isn't entirely Intel's fault. Dell can share some of the blame. But hey, it runs well with Windows XP. I'll be installing that back on it later tonight.

  • "Defending" Windows Vista

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    On Friday, Technical Beta Testers were treated to a chat with the folks involved in developing Windows Defender for Windows Vista (and soon Windows 2000 and Windows XP).

    Windows Defender in Windows Vista will work hand-in-hand with User Access Control (UAC) which is the primary difference between Windows Defender on Vista and Windows Defender on XP. Windows Defender will ultimately "defend" Vista users from malware and built into the operating system.

    Alot of the questions during the chat revolved around the UI and availability of Defender on Windows XP or 2000. Windows Defender will be available to Windows 2000, XP and Windows Server and no charge - meaning it will be a free download to those with genuine copies of Windows. As for the UI, and features, the UI is not final nor are the icons. Many things can change although roughly what you see in Beta 2 is what will be the final product. Final feature set is being planned out as well.

    This is my problem: Windows Defender looks to be a fine program to protect users from spyware on Vista but what about antivirus? According to the Beta chat, there are no plans to include antivirus in Defender in the near future. Windows XP has Windows OneCare which will offer both antivirus and antispyware protection but it seems on Vista, we're missing the antivirus part. The Windows OneCare team says OneCare won't be available on Vista. I've been testing OneCare for quite some time now and its an incredible program. I've moved most of my PC's away from Symantec products because OneCare performs so much better. Its sad to not see this kind of technology ported over to Vista. I'm not asking Microsoft to bundle antivirus into the operating system (that would be asking for a ton of lawsuits) rather offer it in a nice program such as OneCare.

    But Microsoft hasn't yet finalized all plans with Vista as of yet so maybe we'll see something pop up in terms of the same antivirus protection we see in OneCare for Vista.

  • Installing Windows Vista on my Laptop

    Tonight I've decided to install Windows Vista on my laptop. I hope it works out well...I'm leaving for a trip to Seattle on Tuesday and need the laptop to work well. Alot of people I know are moving to Windows Vista and figured I should too. My laptop isn't my main PC rather just one I carry with me while I'm out and about from my office. I just hope I don't end up regretting this tonight.

    We'll see.

    UPDATE: So Build 5270 installed just fine...most of the drivers for my Dell Inspiron B120 worked out. Everything seems to work ok, minus Glass. Can I live without Glass? Yeah. Should Intel get off their butts and make drivers for their Mobile Graphics? Yeah. I'm still uneasy traveling with it though.

  • User Access Control (UAC) Interview

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    Josh at Windows Connected scored an interview with Chris Corio, Program Mananger for Windows Security who is also on the User Access Control (UAC) Team. Very informative and interesting interview.
  • Why you will want Windows Vista

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    Robert Scoble talks about a recent argument on a mailling list he belongs to on why Windows Vista is important and worth migrating to rather than staying with Windows XP. Someone on his mailing list said "XP is good enough for me" and Robert responded with a list of 15 videos from Channel 9 showcasing just some of Windows Vista's most important features. Apparently Scoble's response impressed Manuel Clement so he blogged about it....very impressive post with links to those Channel 9 videos. All of those videos are worth every minute and I suggest everyone give them a watch.

    Sean Alexander also talks about both Robert Scoble's and Manuel Clement's posts also says he's working with Robert to bring some more videos to Channel 9 on the Digital Media side of things within the next month. Those should be good! I can't wait.

    My thoughts: I've heard, within the past few weeks, alot of discussion from respected friends and colleagues on how Windows Vista isn't all its cracked up to be with Microsoft removing most of the impressive parts in order to supposedly ship the OS on time. My opinion is that those parts were removed for good reasons and I feel Windows Vista represents a great step into what future Windows operating systems will be. Recently, Microsoft renamed the code-name of the next version of Windows after Vista from "Blackcomb" to "Vienna". I think Vista lays a strong groundwork for "Vienna" and where Windows will be heading. I would imagine that most of the impressive parts originally slated for Vista will find themselves in "Vienna" one way or another. And that's going to be quite exciting to see.

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