Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

November 2006 - Posts

  • Office 2007 Now On MSDN & TechNet

    Microsoft just posted Office 2007 to MSDN & TechNet. There are two new nodes under the "Applications" section, as shown below.


    You can also get your keys now... they're towards the end of the key list. Let the fun begin!
  • Anyone Still Have Office 2007 Beta 1 Binaries?

    I have some important documents that I created in Office 2007 beta 1, that are now trapped for all time, unless I get my hands on a copy of the Beta 1 bits. Does anyone still have them that can help me out? If so, please use the contact form at right to e-mail me. Thanks!

  • Steve Ball Talks Vista Sounds on NPR Radio

    NPR's "Morning Edition" interviewed Microsoft's Steve Ball this morning, and revealed the Windows Vista startup sound to the world. They compared the startup sounds from 95, 2000, XP, and Vista. If you've got 2 minutes and 15 seconds to spare, take a listen.

  • Vista, Antivirus, & Jim Allchin

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    UPDATE: Jim has responded to the hubub himself. Hey Jim, isn't having a blog great?

    Mary Jo is dead on the money about the reports regarding Jim's antivirus claim in Wednesday's phone conference. Scott's article was completely irresponsible, and he should have done more investigative work before posting it. That kind of reporting is completely uncharacteristic from BetaNews, which is one of the most reputable fact-based reporting sites I know.

    The first time I heard it was during my interview, when he discussed it at length in a discussion that was centered around security/PatchGuard/Symantec. That type of statement was perfectly OK for my audience... most of whom are pretty well-educated on Vista's security approach.

    But 75% of the people that were in on the call have never seen nor touched Vista. They don't know about ASLR, UAC, Parental Controls, and the numerous other features that can turn a Vista computer into a kid-friendly "games and internet" appliance.

    Jim should never have made that statement to the audience he was in front of. He oversimplified the discussion to a point where reporters just didn't get it, and were only going to repeat what he said. They just knew that there was news and they had to report it. Parroting what someone says does not require a great deal of comprehension skills, and the comment was inappropriate for that call.

    Having said that, just because the guy that manages the construction of Windows doesn't fell that his computer needs an anti-virus solution, doesn't mean the 97% of the rest of the population doesn't, either. Anti-virus is designed to save computer users from their own lack of experience. Most people don't care to educate themselves about the dangers of the internet, how to tell if an e-mail is dangerous, etc. Any guy who thinks someone random is going to e-mail naked pictures of some celebrity that don't have as many diseases as the person in the picture obviously has too much blood being diverted to places other than his brain.

    But Jim's not the only one that doesn't run antivirus on Vista. I don't, either. Why? Because I'm my own active internet protection. I'm careful about what I download, and I'm careful about what I open. And I've rarely had a problem. The one time I can remember where I did have a problem, opened something I knew I shouldn't have.

    I've done it since before Vista... except for a bout of OneCare beta testing, I haven't run anything since XPSP1, and the advancements in Vista make me feel that much more confident that I don't need to bog down my computer with something that my own brain can handle.

    Does that mean I'm advocating that to the world? Hell no, and Jim wasn't either. I sell copies of OneCare for every system I repair. Everyone in my family is running it. And they will continue to run it after they upgrade to Vista. Everyone else should be running an antivirus solution to protect themselves from themselves. But Jim's family doesn't have to... and that's ok.

  • Sounds Like Windows Vista

    Long Zheng has a comparison of sounds between Windows XP and Windows Vista. Jim Allchin tells us "why".

    Sounds are obviously an important part of how people interact with their PC.  The idea is to use your ears to get information from a sound without even thinking about it.  For example, certain sounds on our PC tell us when we have a new email or instant message.

    It was our goal for the sounds to be just noticeable enough that if they weren’t there you would miss them, but they’re subtle enough that they don’t get in your way.  Just like the visual cues of the new Start button, the audio cues of the new sounds are "rounded" and "translucent."  The default sound scheme in Windows Vista is intentionally much gentler and softer than in previous versions.

  • Vista Remote Desktop Supports Multiple Monitors

    Here's a Vista feature I didn't know about. RDC in Windows Vista supports spanning multiple monitors.

    Ivan Brugiolo from the Terminal Services Blog has the details:

    One of the new features of the Terminal Server/Remote Desktop Client in Windows Vista is the support for multiple monitors.  If the machine running the TS-Client has a multi-monitor configuration that creates one logical rectangle, then the TS-Client can span over all the monitors, creating one virtual desktop of the combined size.

    Once my M4 gets back from the shop I might have to try that out...

  • RTM Bits on MSDN Friday Night?

    If you're an MSDN subscriber, you should see an alert on your Subscriber Home page...

    MSDN Subscriber Downloads Service Outage Notification
    MSDN Subscriber Downloads will be unavailable from 7:00PM to 9:00PM Pacific time on Friday, November 10, 2006, for planned maintenance and upgrades. Both downloads and product keys will be unavailable, though downloads already in progress will not be interrupted. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    Does that mean that Vista & Office will be on MSDN after 9PM PST on Friday? Hard to say with any certainty... but I don't think it's coincidence that they scheduled maintenance in the RTM + 7 day window.

  • Blogcast Show #1 - Jim Allchin Interview

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    To celebrate the release of Windows Vista to manufacturing, I've FINALLY edited together my interview with Jim Allchin. It's a wide ranging interview

    It was a lot of fun, and we cover a lot of ground. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Without further adieu, on with the show!

    Get the blogcast
    [WMA] Download the show (WMA)
    [MP3] Download the show (MP3)

    UPDATE: I uploaded the files to CacheFly so the files wouldn't kill my bandwidth. I have 2TB of transfer a month, but only a 100mb port. Anyways, CacheFly has a free 30 day trial offer that ends tomorrow, so if you host large files, you should check them out.

  • Windows Vista Has RTMed!

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    WOO HOO! Jim Allchin announced today that Windows Vista's FINALLY in the can! In a video posted to the WindowsVistaBlog, he also announced that general availability (launch) will be on January 30th 2007. So Amazon really did leak the launch dates after all...

    Congratulations to the thousands of people that made Vista possible. You hard work will have an impact on the world for years to come!

    To celebrate, I've posted my interview with Jim. WindowsNow Blogcast Show #1 is now live. Go check it out!

  • Is Microsoft Cutting Corners To Launch Vista?

    You betcha. WinFS wasn't the only thing to get cut from Vista. Because development took so long, Microsoft had to get creative to save money. In order to have enough in the budget for launch marketing, Jim Allchin ordered 25% of the corners removed the final product.

    Long Zheng busts this story wide open (as he so often does) in a special RTM edition of NWiT:

    The torn corner was a nice touch, doncha think? :).

  • US Residents: Public Service Announcement

    This is an off-topic post. I don't do this often so I'll keep it brief. 

    If you're reading this, and you live in the US... get off your butt and go vote! People die every year trying to earn the right to take something so crucial for granted. I don't care if you're Republican, Democrat, Black, White, Brown, Green or Purple... you can't control whether Vista will RTM today or tomorrow. But you can control who represents you in our government.


  • Woo Hoo! TV Shows on Xbox Live!

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    In less then three weeks, and virtually coinciding with the PS3 launch, Microsoft officially took any remaining wind out of Sony's sails today by announcing that Xbox Live will become a major payer for video content, with the Xbox Live Video Marketplace. For the record, I totally called it.

    I'll let these pictures, courtesy of Microsoft and CNET, do the talking.

    Pictures not enough? Let Larry Hyrb ("Major Nelson") walk you thought the how it works. From the video's title, I can gather that the Dasboard update was codenamed "Pegasus".

    From C|NET

    Henson told CNET that pricing for the new content has not yet been finalized, but that TV shows and movies downloaded via Xbox Live would be "competitive" in the marketplace. HD content will cost somewhat more than that in standard definition.

    While he did not say so, the competitive marketplace includes Apple's iTunes music store, Netflix, local video stores and other outlets.

    So what can you expect to watch? According to the Press Release

    The initial lineup of TV shows available for download to own and feature films available for download to rent will include a growing catalog of popular hits. Examples of content that will be available on the network by the end of year include the following:

    • “Robot Chicken” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” from Adult Swim
    • “CSI,” “Survivor” and “Star Trek” from CBS
    • Emmy and Peabody award-winning “South Park” and “Chappelle’s Show” from COMEDY CENTRAL
    • “The Real World” and “Pimp My Ride” from MTV
    • “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and ”SpongeBob SquarePants” from Nickelodeon
    • “Skyland” and “The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival” from Nicktoons Network
    • “M:i:III,” Nacho Libre” and “Jackass: The Movie” from Paramount Pictures 
    • “Carpocalypse” and “Raising the Roofs” from Spike TV
    • “Race Rewind” provided by NASCAR.COM
    • Select episodes of the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and the “UFC: All Access” shows from the UFC
    • “Breaking Bonaduce” and “Hogan Knows Best” from VH1
    • “The Matrix,” “Superman Returns” and “Batman Forever” from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

    Make no mistake, Microsoft has officially declared all out war on your television. And with 5 million units already in the marketplace, they are poised to win.

    Now I want to hear more about the Vista Media Center and Zune integration story. There's no way Microsoft's not going to take advantage of the raw potential there.


  • .NET Framework 3.0 (WinFX) RTM

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    As the final runup to Vista RTM continues, Microsoft has announced at the .NET Framework 3.0 (formerly WinFX) has RTMed and is available on Microsoft Downloads. This is a significant milestone for the Developer Division, and delivers on some of the promise of Windows Vista programmability on earlier platforms.


    • Windows Presentation Foundation
    • Windows Communication Foundation
    • Windows Workflow Foundation
    • Windows CardSpace

    Download the quick installer
    Download the full x86 redistributable
    Download the full x64 redistributable

    IMPORTANT: If you have installed previous pre-release versions of the .NET Framework 3.0, such as Beta 2, RC1 or Community Technical Preview (CTP) builds, then you must uninstall these versions using Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel before installing this final release version.

  • Didn't Get a Dell? Get the Vista Express Upgrade Bonus Pack

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    Microsoft has officially launched the new Vista Express Upgrade Bonus Pack program. Basically, if you bought a PC from a local system builder from March 1 2006 and the end of this month, you get a bunch of special discounts, including a free D-Link WiFi router, and 30 days of free WiFi at any TMobile HotSpot. From the FAQs:

  • Purchase one of the following genuine Windows XP operating systems, with one of the part numbers listed below: "
    • Windows XP Home Edition
    • Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
    • Windows XP Professional
  • Purchase from a local PC builder in the United States between March 1, 2006 and November 30, 2006.
  • Validate the software using the Windows Genuine Advantage program by December 15, 2006.
  • Redeem the BONUS PACK by January 15, 2007, in the United States.
    Is the BONUS PACK offer available in Canada?
    No, the BONUS PACK offer is only available to customers that purchased the genuine Windows XP software in the United States and redeem the offer in the United States.
    Is there any limit to the number of PCs I can purchase in order to redeem the offers for the BONUS PACK offer?
    There is no limit to the number of PC purchases you can make to redeem the offers for the BONUS PACK offer, but there is a limit of one BONUS PACK per PC purchase. All purchases must be made between March 1, 2006 and November 30, 2006, must be redeemed by January 15, 2007 and must meet all other requirements of the offer.

    Visit for more details!

  • Microsoft FINALLY Leveraging Own Virtualization Technology

    Microsoft announced today that it's making a bunch of it's products available for testing using Virtual Machines, instead of trying to figure out how to configure trial apps themselves. Windows Server 2003 R2, Exchange 2007, SQL 2005, and ISA 2006 are all available for download.

    I don't know why they didn't do this sooner. I suggested at PDC 2003 that Microsoft put out it's Longhorn (Vista) builds as VPC images. It may be impractical for Vista, as the time to download a 5GB compressed VHD wouldn't outweigh the benefits of Vista's staged install, but I'm glad to see Microsoft finally leveraging it's virtualization technology for the benefit of everyone else.

    Now, if they'd only make ALL of their server products available in a pre-installed, licensed format (not trials) on VHD for MSDN subscribers... I'd totally go for it. Why worry about misconfiguring the software when MS has already configured it for you? Just download it, copy the file to your virtualization environment, and away you go!

    PS: Hey Microsoft, while the "easy button" thing was cute, I sure hope you cleared that phrase with MSLegal first... seeing as how that's Staples' thing. If I were them I don't think I'd be too happy about it.