Sidebar Geek

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

January 2006 - Posts

  • More New IE 7 Build Screenshots

    Today, according to, new screenshots of Internet Explorer 7 Build 5296 for Windows XP appeared on a Chinese blog. They show some more adjustments to the UI as well as new setup screens. Microsoft has yet to discuss when we might be seeing Beta 2 for Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP and with the leaks of screenshots within the past twon weeks, speculation is that we could expect to see Beta 2 soon. It is also unknown whether these screenshots are even in fact real.

    If I were to make any judgments off these screenshots, they would be just of curiousity to try it out for myself when the times comes when IE 7 Beta 2 is available to me. After testing it myself, I can then make more valid judgements instead of just off "leaked" screenshots. So I'll wait until then.

  • Windows Code-named "Vienna"?

    Today Robert Scoble let slip over at Channel 9 that Microsoft may have changed the code-name for the next version of Windows after Windows Vista, originally called "Blackcomb".

    "Zeo: sssshhhhh, but since this video was shot the codename for Blackcomb has indeed changed to Vienna. I haven't gotten the story on this yet, though."

    Some speculate Robert may be pulling our leg. If its indeed what the next version of Windows code-name will be, I like it. Josh over at Windows Connected doesn't like it as much. Its certainly different than the names Microsoft had previously been choosing for code-names for Windows. Thanks to Andre for giving me the heads up.

    UPDATE 1/19: Mary Jo Foley looks to have gotten the official confirmation of "Vienna" replacing "Blackcomb" as the code-name for the next version of Windows after Windows Vista.

  • Windows Live Favorites on Windows Vista

    I must be insane this evening. I decided I wanted to try out Windows Live Favorites. On Windows Vista. And the only way to do that was to install the MSN Toolbar. So I did.

    Screenshot: MSN Toolbar with Windows Live Favorites on IE 7 in Windows Vista

    The results weren't too bad. The toolbar doesn't look too good in IE 7 with Aero. But Windows Live Favorites seems to work perfectly. I love the service. Just wish there was something better than MSN Toolbar available to use the service with. I strongly believe Microsoft should re-engineer the MSN Toolbar...replace it totally with a Live Toolbar instead. And make it compatible with Windows Vista and IE 7.

    I guess we'll see what the future has in store for the MSN Toolbar.

    UPDATE: I've since uninstalled the MSN Toolbar after it began to severely impact the performance of IE 7 on Vista. So goodbye Live Favorites for the time being.

  • "Dogfooding" Windows Vista

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    Sean Alexander talks about moving to Vista - which he calls "dogfooding" Microsoft's own product. He also talks about the important of demonstrating Vista out in "the field" and how Vista makes installing demos easier with the image-based setup Vista now offers.

    "You see, for 'the field' at Microsoft (that's what we call the subsidiary offices), they also need to be able to show Vista to customers. Of course, they have all sorts of different hardware, so creating a master demo image can be a pain. With Vista, the drivers are "abstracted" from the core OS - the result is that you can build a single image and deploy it on multiple PCs of different types and in most cases, no additional drivers are required."

    Then he goes off teasing with his epxeriences with Windows Media Player 11 and Windows Sidebar. Thanks Sean ;-)

  • TechNet Article: New Windows Firewall in Windows Vista

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    The "Cable Guy" over at TechNet as written a impressive article of Window Vista's and Longhorn Server's Windows Firewall explaining many of the new features and controls that the new firewall in Windows offers. It is definately worth the read!

    Sorry for being a little late on this one.

  • Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 on the way?

    Signs this weekend seem to be pointing to a possible new release of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP in the near future. On a post on Neowin's forums links to possible new screenshots of Build 5291. Also, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 Search Guide page talks about adding different search engines to "Build 5291 or higher" as well as the Windows Vista CTP.

    Even if the screenshots prove to be fake, Microsoft's own website mentions a new build of Internet Explorer which could be hinting at an upcoming release.

    Until confirmed by Microsoft, take this all as speculation at the moment.

  • Another Feature Preview Added: Windows Defender

    This evening I was able to get online my next Feature Preview on Windows Defender. There's plenty of screenshots, but not much to say because my experience with Windows Defender seems to show that aside from the new user interface, Windows Defender in Build 5270 pretty much has the same functionality of Windows Antispyware. Of course, this is just my experience so far and would love to hear about anyone else's experience. Check out the Windows Defender Feature Preview here.

    Personally, I am optimistic on the direction Microsoft is taking with Windows Defender.

    Check out my previous Feature Previews here.

  • Talking about "elevating" privileges in Windows Vista

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    The UAC Blog discusses the technical process of indentifying programs that require elevation of privileges in Windows Vista. The post is technical but very interesting and insightful. UAC, or User Access Control, is a new security protection feature in Windows Vista that is designed to prevent malware from installing without user's permission on Windows PC's. Administrative rights are required to be given for programs to install or run and levels critical to the operation of the Windows Vista.

    Microsoft hopes this feature will help curb the amount of malware being loaded on users computers causing system instability, data loss, and sometimes indentity theft.

  • New Feature Preview Added: System Properties

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    I've added a new Feature Preview this evening. Its on the new Windows Vista System Properties. Check it out with Screenshots.

    I've also changed all my previous Feature Previews from being blog posts to articles. You can view my Feature Preview Index page by clicking here. Bookmark it as I intend to add more Feature Previews this weekend and as I continue to test Windows Vista.

    If you have any suggestions for future Feature Previews, just comment on this post.

  • All Windows Vista Features to ship with every Version

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    Word is Microsoft will ship every feature with every SKU of Windows Vista and certain features would be unlocked depending on the product key. I am also hearing that Windows Media Center might become a essential feature of Windows and thus there won't be a Windows Vista Media Center Edition, rather - all editions would come with Media Center.

    Microsoft has yet to officially discuss plans for the Windows Vista SKU's or if Media Center will be included in all versions of Vista so until a official announcement, I guess its only speculation at the moment.

  • Clearing your History with Internet Explorer 7

    Uche Enuha, Program Manager on the User Experice Team for Internet Explorer, talks about IE's newest feature "Delete Browsing History". Pretty much users can delete their history or internet "tracks" with just one click of a button.

    "Let’s look at an example of how this feature can be used. So you’re trying to buy a gift for your loved one and you know how important it is to keep this mission secret. You’re aware of every site you visit but your machine is aware of even more; the stuff you type, the information you read, even the cookies requested by the site where you eventually buy the gift. You realize how important it is that your loved one never gets hold of any of this information. So you do what we all would, you try and cover your tracks. Now back in IE6, you would have to spend a lot of time looking through various places on your computer to get rid of all the relevant information and possibly still miss some critical information. Now with the ‘Delete Browsing History’ feature, we are giving every person the ability to clear all their browsing information from one location with a click of a button and, the peace of mind that the job was done right."

    Read more on this new feature from Uche from his post at the IE Blog.

    Very interesting article on a very neat feature, you should check it out.

  • Windows Vista: Looks like XP?

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    It has been confirmed that the Windows Vista User Interface we've seen in Build 5270 (the December CTP) is what the final interface for Microsoft's new operating system will offficially be.

    Many people like Microsoft's updated Aero Glass interface, while others say "it still looks like XP". While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I find myself irritated when I hear that. Why? Well, for starters it doesn't look that much like Windows XP, rather its an updated look to the same interface we've seen since progress from Windows 95 to Windows XP. It builds off what users have grown to like about Windows. Windows XP has been around for over 4 years now. Changing the user interface completely would not only be a big turn-off to the general consumer, businesses would be less likely no adopt it because the re-training of their company employees just on how to use the OS would be too expensive on top of upgrading.

    I think maybe everyone was expecting a user interface change similar to what was experienced with the jump from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.

  • No Aero Glass for my New Laptop

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    I received my new laptop from Dell earlier this week: a Dell Inspiron B120. I had originally installed Windows Vista Build 5270 on it and it ran beautifully but without Aero Glass. The laptop comes with Intel's Mobile 915GM/GMS 910 GML Express Chipset integrated graphics. Intel has begun releasing drivers for their wireless technologies but nothing for graphics. I have since then, gone to Windows XP Professional.

    I can't help but think maybe I jumped the gun in decided to ditch Vista because Aero Glass doesn't work. Vista performs just as well without Glass. But I just don't like the look of what Microsoft is called "Aero Express". Windows XP's Royale Theme (seen in Windows XP Media Center 2005) looks alot better than Vista's Aero Express in my eyes.

    I am curious on what people's thoughts are on this.

  • Windows Team Chat on Drivers and Setup

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    You can find a chat transcript of a chat with the Windows Team regarding Drivers and Installation for Windows Vista. I read through it and its definately worth reading. They discuss many aspects of the new installation being implemented with Windows Vista such as the fact the setup is largely image-based unlike previous version of Windows.

    I was disappointed to hear that Windows Vista will still require you to have an external DVD decorder source, like PowerDVD, for it to play DVD's. That means I have to install seperate DVD-player software just to get Windows to play DVD's.

    Caught this link over at Bink.

  • Talking About Windows Media Player 11

    At CES, we saw Microsoft and MTV debut a new service for Windows Media Player 11 called Urge. Urge will offer music for all ages via Windows Media Player. Now, Urge has definately got me interested in the new media player from Microsoft. But after reading Sean Alexander's post this evening regarding Windows Media Player 11, it seems we have more to look forward to with the new player.

    "One of the pieces that has me so excited this year is the new Windows Media Player 11. This is part of the reason I re-joined the group. Can you say performance? I have over 10,000 tracks in my library. I was so tired of UI freezes and slow searches that I started using Windows Desktop Search as my way of finding music. WMP11 takes a completely rethought and highly optimized database that is hands-down the fastest media player library I've ever seen- visually and logically. Album art is amazing. There are tons of perf improvements folks are just starting to see. I'm also hearing about additional perf optimizations in Vista's USB stack that will help as well."

    Now that sounds exciting.

    I've been using iTunes as my main library for music as well as primary service for purchasing music. I like iTunes simplistic structure of how my music is all arranged within the program. Windows Media Player 11, in the current build of Vista, seems to simplify its own structure a bit making it less complicated for the user to do what they want with their music. On top of that, Urge will allow me to share my lists with other people. I can have my friends check out what music I'm currently listening to through Urge. I can't wait to test Windows Media Player 11 out with Urge. It might be the one thing that moves me away from iTunes, but it might not. We'll have to see.

    You can read more about Windows Media Player 11 and Urge here at Microsoft's new website for Windows Vista. Will Windows Media Player 11 be available for Windows XP? Yes of course. A beta is expected to hit for Windows XP within the first half of 2006.