Tag: "windows"

Internet Explorer 9 - fastest browser on mobiles too

Internet Explorer 9 came out a few weeks ago, if you're not using it. I'd recommend it. Especially people who are still using Firefox. It is well documented as the fastest browser out there. Not just in javascript speed, but also important areas like start time, and page rendering.

With the update to Windows Phone coming later this year, Internet Explorer 9 will be included. With it comes all the HTML5, and hardware acceleration that IE9 brought to Windows, but now in your pocket.

Here's a video to give you an idea:

To sum up, Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone renders at 23 fps, Chrome comes in at 11 fps on Android, and Safari on an iPhone 4 comes in at a dismal 2 fps.

Removing the manufacturer's login screen from Windows 7

Over the last couple of months several people who rely on my computer savvy to clean their computers out of bloatware have purchased new computers, one from Dell and another from Acer.

Both of these computers have their own login backgrounds supplied by the computer manufacturer. As well as the regular desktop wallpapers - but they're easy enough to change yourself. Changing the login screen back to how Microsoft intended it to be is slightly more challenging.

You'll need to use the registry editor to change it back. To do this you'll need to be logged into an administrator's account.

Click Start

  • Type regedit into Start Search and press enter and elevate the application
  • You'll want to make your way to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background

  • From there, you should be able to see an entry called OEMBackground
  • Double-click it, and in the window that pops up change the 1 to a 0 (zero)
  • Press OK, and reboot your computer

After following those steps the computer should display the default login screen.

For those not comfortable with editing the system registry, download the registry file here, and run it. When prompted accept the request to merge with your computer's registry.

Google spreading the security FUD

This week's news of Google transitioning away from Windows to Linux or Mac OS has spread its way across the internet, Google cite security reasons for the move. But is that the only reason behind it? The answer is no.

First up, we're talking about Google; of course they would rather run their own in-house stuff. Primarily Linux, they use that as the basis of Android and Chrome OS, their servers run Linux. It should come to no surprise that Google from a corporate level would prefer to be seen running their own stuff, or if not their own at least not the stuff of their main competitor - Microsoft.

That in my opinion is the main reason behind it. The security excuse they chucked out is FUD pure and simple. Microsoft or Windows aren't at fault for Google being hacked back in January. Google got hacked because their IT administrators allowed a 9 year old browser on their machines, running on a 9 year old operating system. I tell people almost daily, upgrade your browser, and if you can afford it look at moving to Windows 7.

If they had proactive IT administrators, ones who roll out updates within days of their release, or ones who through group policy prevent unpatched machines getting onto the network this would not have happened. Heck IE8 was blasted onto all my machines within hours of release. Testing compatibility with the machines or their own systems could be done during the public beta. For Google, a so-called leading internet company to be using a nine year old browser is embarrassing.

Of course Google were quick to blame Microsoft for the problem, why wouldn't they? The fact it didn't effect Windows Vista or up, or Windows XP with IE7 or up was irrelevant, they needed some FUD to spread. This new story is just part two of their FUD campaign, and they're almost getting a free pass with it.

Google could deal with all their security problems by moving to Windows 7. They might as well even use their own Chrome browser if they want, it is pretty respectable. Moving to Linux is certainly not going to solve their security problems, and giving their workers the option for Mac OS in addition is only going to be a total security disaster with how insecure that is.

Security wise, Mac OS X is a joke, it consistently falls first in any test. Linux is respectable security wise, although it has far more vulnerabilities than Windows, and is more difficult to maintain, and let's not even talk about usability. Microsoft since the release of Windows Vista back 2006/2007 has had a very good track record on security, to the point where exploits on Windows aren't targeting Windows itself anymore, they're targeting Adobe Reader, Flash or QuickTime because exploiting Windows itself is too difficult these days.

For Google to cite security is laughable.

Sometimes you need to install DirectX

There's a lot of confusion going on out there. Increasingly it's more and more about issues related to DirectX. So much so that now I'm writing an update to the article I wrote almost 3 years ago now. That article advised people to install the latest DirectX end-user runtime if they encountered errors like d3dx9.dll is missing or not installed.

The confusion seems to stem from people running Windows Vista or Windows 7 and seeing that they have DirectX 10 or 11 installed, by way of the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.

DirectX 10 however represented a clean break from DirectX 9, essentially the two are on the system together. DirectX 10 and up handles all the new stuff and DirectX 9 provides all the backwards compatibility with previous versions.

It can be represented like this:

Graphic representing DirectX as two seperate stacks

The DirectX team felt this was superior than bloating out DirectX 10 with all the old features nessasary to support ten years worth of games. Why do that when DirectX 9 would be on the system anyway and can achieve all of that?

The most recent example I came across, about 30 minutes ago. Had a user attempting to play Flight Simulator X, which returned the following error:

Flight Simulator cannot run because the version of Microsoft DirectX(R) installed on your computer is incompatible. Please reinstall DirectX9.0 by running Flight Simulator Setup, or download current version from www.microsoft.com/directx.

Nice and simple, and tells you exactly what to do. Go to the DirectX website, and grab the latest version. Doing that would solve the problem.

However, as people think they have DirectX 10 or 11 installed, they don't think they need to grab the update. Not realising that DirectX 9 has its own updates which may be required or that it has optional components which don't come installed on the system.

My advice for those with problems, just install DirectX. It doesn't matter what version you have, grab the update anyway. It won't break anything by installing it, it'll know what optional components are needed and which components need to be updated and update them.

For those installing a game, and are tempted to cancel the DirectX installer, just think for a second that maybe that installer is installing something the game needs to work.

What is an MS Explorer and Google's security

The BBC have a headline that reads "German government warns against using MS Explorer". Well that's no problem, as I've never even heard of an MS Explorer. Of course what they're really going on about is Internet Explorer, and how version 6 was used to compromise Google's systems.

find an alternative browser to Internet Explorer to protect security.

Who knows what "protect security" actually means. Perhaps they mean protect their systems, or improve their security. Seriously who wrote this article?

What they should really be having a go at is what sort of incompetent system administrators would be using a 10 year old browser on a 10 year old operating system. Ed Bott says such administrators should be guilty of malpractice. And I agree with him, what sort of people are running the IT departments of companies like Adobe and Google to allow such dated technology on the network.

Even three year old systems like Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7 in the default configuration are immune to this sort of attack.

And it is just amazing that this has somehow been spun into an anti-Internet Explorer story when the real story is how can we trust Google with our data in the cloud when they're running such antiquated systems?

Randall Stross proves he should stop writing about technology

What a rubbish article, I'm very disappointed at the New York Times for allowing this to go to print. Almost as much as the BBC giving the Free Software Foundation free access to write technology articles on their website, the equivalent of letting Microsoft have their marketing department write for the BBC.

Windows Could Use a Rush of Fresh Air

Ohhh that's new-age sounding, it's gotta be good.

Beginning as a thin veneer for older software code

Yup Windows began as a GUI for DOS.

it has become an obese monolith built on an ancient frame

Wrong, there's nothing of the "ancient frame" remaining in Windows today. It's completely different. More details below.

Adding features, plugging security holes, fixing bugs, fixing the fixes that never worked properly, all while maintaining compatibility with older software and hardware

Oh yeah all very good. Let's stop doing that, we won't add any new features. Then of course you'll be complaining because the new version of Windows doesn't have anything new. Security holes, OK we won't do anything about those, patching bugs, meh we'll just sell you the new version instead like Apple do. Compatibility, ah nobody needs that, we'll just stop worrying about that so you can buy all your hardware and software again every time a new version is released.

What planet is this guy on? Anything as an excuse to bash Windows.

Vista is the equivalent, at a minimum, of Windows version 12 — preceded by 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, NT, 95, NT 4.0, 98, 2000, ME, XP. After six years of development, the longest interval between versions in the previous 22-year history of Windows, and long enough to permit Apple to bring out three new versions of Mac OS X, Vista was introduced to consumers in January 2007.

Oh here we go Apple must be nimble and quick because Microsoft didn't release anything new for six years. Wrong.

Microsoft shipped two server releases, four versions of Media Center, and at least two Tablet PC Editions, without counting Windows Mobile and Embedded that's eight versions of Windows right there. I should also mention Windows XP SP2, which could of been sold quite easily as a new version of Windows - Microsoft put pretty much the entire Windows team on SP2 for a year, pushing Windows Vista back so they could give you a free upgrade. I suppose you'd rather of seen a Windows XP R2 or SE in the shops for $200 though right?

The internal code name for the next version is “Windows 7.” The “7” refers to nothing in particular

Wrong, the seven refers to the next major version of the NT kernel, which in Windows Vista and Server 2008 is version six.

Yes version six (with four major releases), so your twelve versions of Windows is junk too. Why? Because there was a version of Windows started up from the ground up. It's called NT, which is why your ancient frame comment in your first sentence is utter nonsense. In fact Microsoft did it so well that apparently Randall doesn't even know they pulled it off.

the company should take heart from Apple’s willingness to brave the wrath of its users when, in 2001, it introduced Mac OS X. It was based on a modern microkernel design

Completely different. Apple took an existing operating system, FreeBSD (based on Unix) and built on it. So on the one hand you're proposing they "borrow" somebody else's operating system, and on the other hand you're telling them to start over fresh. Which is it Randall?

Asking Microsoft to chuck compatibility in the bin and start over new would be the biggest disaster ever in the technology industry, and no doubt the most expensive undertaking in history. Do you have any idea of the scale of forcing a complete overhaul for over a billion computers? Apple only had to worry about the backlash of a few million of their strongest supporters. Microsoft have to worry about a billion computer users, the largest companies in the world and everyone else. Talk about letting Microsoft give ammunition to people like you, who in next week's article would be attacking Microsoft for hurting backwards compatibility.

Windows Vista represents the biggest leap forward in changing the system since Windows 95, huge aspects of the operating system were thrown away and written from the ground up, NT security measures were enforced. That hurt compatibility, and Microsoft spent a considerable amount of time working on using visualisation to keep the impact to a minimum (something I believe they were extremely successful with). Something the scale of change we saw in Windows Vista was really as far as Microsoft could push it. Don't get me wrong, I'm one of the people who say we need to move forward, and that ensuring compatibility does hold things back. But what you're saying a completely re-write of the entire system from scratch, with modern ways of building a system is so far out of the real world. The press and blogosphere have a field day with Windows Vista already because it was so much of a change (completely unwarranted in my opinion Windows Vista is the best OS to date), what you're suggesting would amplify it a hundred times over. But I've got a feeling that's what Randall wants to see, or at least the people he got all these crazy ideas from.

They believe that problems like security vulnerabilities and system crashes can be fixed only by abandoning system design orthodoxy, formed in the 1960s and ’70s, that was built into Windows.

Now he's talking utter crap. Mac OS X you keep going on about is based on Unix from the 1960s!

Windows NT comes from the early 1990s, it was based on VMS which was created to address all the problems with Unix. You've got things completely upside down Randall. And even if they were right, it's not like you can use old or modern in this space to assume an operating system is good or not.

A MONOLITHIC operating system like Windows perpetuates an obsolete design.

What? Oh you're using a technical term to the general public so they think monolithic means bloated and big, and even that is 10 years out of date. This strikes me like creationists calling evolution a "theory", knowing full well how the general public understand the word, and how scientists use it are completely different. Windows NT uses a hybrid-kernel, not a monolithic kernel. He seems to be brushing over the fact that internally it is extremely modular, and not at all similar to something like Windows 95 or Linux, which use a monolithic kernel.

We don’t need to load up our machines with bloated layers we won’t use. We need what Mr. Silver and Mr. MacDonald speak of as a “just enough” operating system. Additional functionality, appropriate to a given task, can be loaded as needed.

What you mean like Windows? When you need to load something, you load it up and when you're finished you close it so it's not using any resources. Jeez.

I can't even be bothered talking about the rest, this guy just has absolutely no clue, everything he says is wrong, it started off completely wrong, and he just went further and further towards cluelessness. He's got so many concepts just completely backwards, and he's propagating so many myths straight out of the Apple/Linux crowd like Microsoft didn't do anything for six years between Windows XP and Windows Vista.

You're wrong Randall, totally wrong.

1 2 3