Windows

Windows Vista and XP support changes

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Today Microsoft is cancelling the mainstream support for Windows Vista.

Assuming that there is no large Windows base out there, this is really not a tragic step. However, Windows Vista will still receive security relevant updates during this time. But this will only be this way until April 2017, when the extended support phase ends.

As Windows XP has a bigger market share than Windows Vista, the extended support ends in April 2014. This has not been changed – due to the “big” market share.

If you are running one of both systems on your PC, you should think about a change to a newer version of Windows. I do not say you have to do so in the next two month, but over the span of one year you will sure find the right upgrade for your PC, be it Windows 7 or the upcoming Windows 8.

If you run XP after 2014 and Vista after 2017, you are all alone to secure your PC and all your personal data. Do yourself a favor and think about it.

source: Microsoft, ZDnet

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments
W8CP is much faster than Windows 7 in common tasks

W8CP is much faster than Windows 7 in common tasks

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Recently pcworld.com has done a benchmark between the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows 7. As the title says, W8CP is the clear winner.

First, let´s have a look on the machine the ran the tests on:

  • 3,3 GHz Intel Core i5-2500K CPU
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM (1333 MHz)
  • 1 TB HDD, 7200 rpm
  • NVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card

They used their very own WorldBench 7 testing method (here you can read in detail how they test). They stated what everyone who has Windows 7 and the W8CP installed: W8CP is simply faster. It did the Benchmark 14 percent faster than Windows 7!

Startup Time:

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As you can see, the startup time is very different. The opened a text file after startup to get the time. W8CP is although it has to load the Metro Design, switch to Desktop and then open the file still about 25 % faster than Windows 7. Yes, 25%!

What the hell is going on?

Well, it is a so called “hybrid boot” why it is this fast. Microsoft simply combined the speed and functionality of hibernate mode and the benefits of a fresh startup. How does this work? When Windows goes to hibernate mode, all RAM-data is written into a file on the HDD. On restart, this file is loaded again. This mode was ported to the whole system: all apps are closed by the system on shutdown. The OS state is hibernated to the HDD. On restart, the System loads the hibernated state, and you have the same state as before shutdown.

I love this. You can test it by yourself: open and work with some apps, restart and open the same apps: you are where you left.

pcworld.com tested also the

Web performance

Here they received  a much bigger difference between the two OS:  about 50%! Windows 7 and IE 9 achieved 18.9 frames per second, while Windows 8 with IE10 received 28.6 fps. the tasks were dynamic web content, including Javascript and HTML 5. Microsoft has done a real good job here.

Audio, Video, Images

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Here comes a big point about running a beta version of Windows: missing drivers. Windows 8 has a huge database like Windows 7, but a dedicated driver from the manufacturer is the best solution. So I would say here we go with a draw (the difference is under 5%, so it is not noticeable for a normal user).

Office productivity

This was the only category where Windows 7 was faster. Tasks to do were typical office things like editing text, application launches or scanning for viruses. Windows 7 wins here with about 8 percent.

We are still in beta

with Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The preview shows already, where the way goes. Windows 7 was fast, and Windows 8 will be even faster. I bet over time several updates will show the real potential of Windows 8.

You can read the detailed article on pcworld.com.

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments

(Updated x2) How to prepare W8CP for Metro apps on devices with small screen resolutions

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Microsoft stated that Windows 8 will be able to an huge amount of devices, such as PCs, tablets as well as other devices. Well, a netbook is also a kind of a PC.

There are certain netbooks out there, which can be run in 800*600 max. screen resolution by default. Currently drivers from vendors are missing for these devices, so there won´t be a possibility to change.  A colleague of me has a Nokia 3G booklet. He could not get the Metro part of the W8CP to work. He is running into an error message like the one illustrated above.

There is a solution.

Paul Thurrott posted a solution to this on his supersite for Windows. OK, it seems more than a hack, but it will lead to target.

Here is how to get the Metro part working through changing your screen resolution settings:

  • run Regedit (Win + C, search, type in regedit (note: you have to type in complete, otherwise the app shows not up)
  • search for “display1_downscalingsupported” (CTRL+F)
  • change its value from 0 to 1
  • search all entries in registry by using the F3-key of your netbook, and change again the value from 0 to 1

Paul noted that the look of the desktop part maybe a little bit skewed or squished. But now you have additional screen resolution options.

Note: if you do not know what you’re doing, you should not follow these steps! I am not responsible for any errors or damage caused by changing your registry.

I will try to do this on my colleague´s netbook, and will update this post.

Update 2: Nokia Booklet loves W8CP!

So my colleague was playing around with his netbook and installed the device graphics driver. He had do install it with the Windows device manager. He simply downloaded the driver (here), and pointed the device manager to use this file. So he is now enjoying the Metro apps on his netbook.

Until then, feel free to use the steps above and leave some comments. Most important thing:

Have fun using the Metro apps also on your netbook!

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments
Microsoft shows up what surfing the web means with IE10 on W8CP

Microsoft shows up what surfing the web means with IE10 on W8CP

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Yesterday Microsoft posted some information about the recent changes of IE10 for the Windows 8 consumer preview.

The changes are made to give us an even better user experience while browsing the web.

Content first

What we get is a chrome-less browser, which concentrates on the content, not the app you are using. This is very Metro following. It may remind you  the experience on Windows Phone when browsing the web. As you can see, there is only the content, no bars, menus or anything else:

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Microsoft highlights several features in his blog post:

  • Navigation tiles. Tiles are helping you to find your pinned as well as frequent used sites. This feature shows up as soon as you begin typing in the adress bar.

IE10 NAvtiles

  • Tabs. Tabs are showing up when  swipe from the bottom of the screen (on touch), right click with the mouse or press Win + Z.

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  • The Metro  I0 10 is well integrated in all key Windows 8 features like the Charm bar, where you can use the search and the applications settings as well as the snapping feature:

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Microsoft summarizes all changes like this:

  • Full, independent composition enables responsive, fast and fluid behavior on real websites (including pages with fixed elements, nested scrolling regions, animations, and video)
  • Back and forward swipe navigation with preview
  • Double-tap to zoom in on content
  • Fast back and forward navigation controls for mouse
  • Mouse (CTRL+scroll wheel) and keyboard methods for quickly zooming in and out to mirror touch interactions
  • Automatic domain suggestions for faster navigation and less typing
  • Share charm support for URLs, snippets, images and selection with Mail and other apps
  • Search charm with visual search suggestions
  • Devices charm for printing, projecting, and playing video to external devices like TVs
  • Plug-in free support: notifications for sites requiring activeX
  • Background notifications for pinned sites and other tile improvements
  • Jumplists for pinned sites
  • InPrivate tabs that are easier to open
  • Clean up tabs command, which quickly closes all but current tab

No-compromise with Metro styled browsing

Microsoft these days often uses the phrase no-compromise to describe their features. IE 10 for Metro sure will give us a highly content driven experience, and is well integrated into Windows 8. I am looking forward to my first tablet or touch device to use the Metro IE 10 more for surfing.

You can read the whole post at the Building Windows 8  Blog.

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments

Bing Maps SDK on Windows 8 (W8CP)

With the release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, it was only a matter of time that Microsoft releases some new SDKs to us developers. We are starting with the Bing Maps SDK.

Bing Maps SDK for Windows 8 Metro style apps

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Microsoft´s Bing Maps team released a new SDK for Windows 8. You can use the SDK free and unlimited during the preview period.

The new SDK supports Java by using the AJAX v7 controls, and provides all standard items like map types, pushpins, infoboxes and tile layers. Additionally there is now a venue Maps module. At the moment there are still some missing bits like directions, traffic and overlays. Your maybe previous used REST APIs will still work and help you to use more features. If you want to learn on an example, you can watch this site.

Of course you can also use C#, C++ or Visual Basic to create apps that are using the SDK. The SDK now supports client vendor rendering as well as full hardware acceleration.You can also use Aerial and  Bird´s eye view and traffic overlays  within you app. Some features are in this early stage US only. You can learn on an example on this MSDN page.

Getting started…

OC course, you need to download the SDK to get started overall:  http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/0c341dfb-4584-4738-949c-daf55b82df58. You can also use the VS11 Extension Manager to download the SDK.

Secondly, you will net a special “Metro style  apps (BETA) key” to use the SDK within you apps. Get your key at www.bingmapsportal.com .

If you want to read a lot more about using Bing Maps within you Metro styled apps, head over to the documentation sites at MSDN.

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, win8dev, 0 comments

Microsoft at CeBIT 2012: “Microsoft Heartbeat – The Power of Design”

This was the motto today on Microsoft´s CeBit opening press conference.

It was all about Metro. Ralph Haupter, General Manager at Microsoft Germany, explained what this means for Microsoft:

”Design also says something about the state of a company. We used to define ourselves by our software’s functionality. Today the question at Microsoft is how we people can get to grips with this wonderful new digital world and enjoy it, whether we want to entrust it with our data and if we can control it. This is a question of integrated design.”

A homogeneous look on Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows 8

All major products of Microsoft are using the Metro look. Be it the experience on Windows Phone, the new Xbox Dashboard or last weeks previewed Windows 8: Metro leads to an homogeneous look and feel. Also the CeBIT trade show stand is shining in the new Metro look.

Microsoft is facing three critical factors here:

  • Esthetics of the experience. For Microsoft, working with technology nowadays should be both appealing and enjoyable.
  • Clarity of the function. IT must stay controllable with a vast number of devices as well as data sources
  • Intelligence of the blueprint.  New the technologies only become flexible and smart, if they are in first place.

The result is shown through the Metro Design. With the consumer preview been downloaded over a million times within the first 24 hours, it is clear the there is a huge interest in the Metro UI. Also for developers the Metro UI has potential:

One of the first German suppliers in the new Windows Store is the Berlin start-up company ”6Wunderkinder”. Their ”Wunderlist” app, a no-frills and easy-to-use Task Manager will soon be available to download. Christian Reber, CEO of the successful company, underlines that an attractive and effective operational concept is key factor for the app’s success. The Metro Design provides the ideal framework here. Plus Windows, which is by far the most popular operating system worldwide. ”We are not only convinced by the Metro Design approach, but also see an enormous potential for our company to reach far more people with our ideas and apps via Windows 8 in the future,” explained Reber.

The new experience will be available in 231 different markets, while using more than 100 languages. This opportunities are only given on Microsoft´s upcoming OS.

Tomorrow there will be a keynote of Kevin Turner, Microsoft´s Chief Operating Officer, at 10 am (EST). He will talk about „What’s Next: IT trends, business opportunity and Windows 8”. You can watch the keynote live at the CeBIT Global Conferences 2012.

Interesting words at the end:

“Windows 8 is also ”Windows reinvented” for a whole new generation of devices. It will be the best operating system for hundreds of millions of PCs, tablets and other devices, and for way more than one billion people across the whole world”, says Ralph Haupter.

I find interesting that Microsoft says “PCs, tablets and other devices”. Maybe this is also another hint of merging the Windows 8 kernel into Windows Phone, or even another Xbox Dashboard upgrade?

If you want to find out more about the CeBIT-News from Microsoft, head over to Microsoft´s official CeBIT site (also fully designed in Metro).

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, 0 comments
Discovering Xbox LIVE and Xbox Companion apps on W8CP

Discovering Xbox LIVE and Xbox Companion apps on W8CP

As the Xbox Live apps do not work in every country, I want to give you a short view to both apps. Both are preinstalled on W8CP.

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Xbox LIVE Games

The Xbox LIVE Games app comes with a few functions which you might know from your Smartphone app. Once you start the app, you will get to the overview screen:

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As you can see, your Avatar (if you have one), is loaded into the app. You can view your own profile as well as have a look on your friends profiles:

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On your profile you can see your achievements or modify your avatar. If you choose a friend, you will be able to compare your achievements:

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Here is a look on a friends profile:

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Currently, you cannot send or view messages within the app like on the smartphone app. Hopefully this app will be updated during the preview time to fit with the smartphone functionality.

Xbox Companion

The Xbox companion is very similar to the one on Windows Phone. Once you have logged in and connected to your Xbox, you will see a start screen with your last activity as well as your last played games:

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You can scroll through videos. games and music as well:

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Finally, you have the search, like on the smartphone app:

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Again, please remember that the W8CP is still a “Beta”-release, so it is usual that not all functions are working. I am sure the apps will be updated – at least with the official launch of Windows 8. I hope you liked this small overview over both Xbox apps. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to.

Posted by msicc in Windows, 0 comments

SkyDrive for Windows 8 demoed by Microsoft

 

Today Microsoft posted another bit of the upcoming Windows 8 features. Today we are talking about the SkyDrive app for Windows 8.

Delivering personal cloud storage for billions of people

is Microsoft´s goal. Microsoft stores at this time already 10 petabytes of user data, used by 17 million of SkyDrive customers. With the availability of Windows 8 this numbers will even increase.

So what is this all about?

Enter the new SkyDrive app. With the SkyDrive app, an early version of which will be available at Consumer Preview, we focused on two things: 1) designing a fast, fluid, touch-first version of SkyDrive that makes it quick, easy, and even fun to browse and access your files, and 2) making your SkyDrive available for use from any Metro style app via the file picker (open/save) and the new Share charm in Windows 8.

The new SkyDrive app will be able to use some of Windows 8 advantages like the sharing function on your pc/tablet. Here are some preview shots:

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skydrive2

I have to admit, I love it! But the nice look is not all to that: SkyDrive will be available through the whole system – and through other apps:

  • as file picker from any app you will be able to open/save files on your SkyDrive
  • if a developer enables it, your data could be stored to SkyDrive automatically
  • content files (e.g. documents) could save directly to your SkyDrive
  • SkyDrive will enable you to share your files without adding attachments

The experience is said to be like on your local hard drive.

There is also a desktop part of SkyDrive in Windows 8, which underlines this experience:

skydrive desktop 1

skydrive desktop 2

And at least you will still be able to use it through SkyDrive.com. If you are working on SkyDrive.com, you will get the same user experience in Metro as in the app.

“Forgot something?”

Another nice feature will be a remote access your PC through SkyDrive. This feature is secured by a token you will get by SMS to access your PC. This will look like this:

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Microsoft said this is just the beginning, and we all be experiencing this over the next month.

You can read the full article at Microsoft´s Building Windows 8 Blog.

Stay tuned, as we sure will get more bits over the next few days!

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, 0 comments
Windows 8 on ARM (“WOA”)

Windows 8 on ARM (“WOA”)

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Microsoft just has done a real big post about Windows on ARM (called “WOA”) .

Check what is all about in short:

  • Windows on ARM, or WOA, is a new member of the Windows family that builds on the foundation of Windows, has a very high degree of commonality and very significant shared code with Windows 8, and will be developed for, sold, and supported as a part of the largest computing ecosystem in the world. We created WOA to enable a new class of PC with unique capabilities and form factors, supported by a new set of partners that expand the ecosystem of which Windows is part.
  • WOA PCs are still under development and our collective goal is for PC makers to ship them the same time as PCs designed for Windows 8 on x86/64. These PCs will be built on unique and innovative hardware platforms provided by NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments, with a common Windows on ARM OS foundation—all running the same Windows OS binaries, a unique approach for the industry. PC manufacturers are hard at work on PCs designed from the ground up to be great and exclusively for WOA.
  • Metro style apps in the Windows Store can support both WOA and Windows 8 on x86/64. Developers wishing to target WOA do so by writing applications for the WinRT (Windows APIs for building Metro style apps) using the new Visual Studio 11 tools in a variety of languages, including C#/VB/XAML and Jscript/ HTML5. Native code targeting WinRT is also supported using C and C++, which can be targeted across architectures and distributed through the Windows Store. WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps. Code that uses only system or OS services from WinRT can be used within an app and distributed through the Windows Store for both WOA and x86/64. Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.
  • WOA can support all new Metro style apps, including apps from Microsoft for mail, calendaring, contacts, photos, and storage. WOA also includes industry-leading support for hardware-accelerated HTML5 with Internet Explorer 10.WOA will provide support for other industry-standard media formats, including those with hardware acceleration and offloading computation, and industry-standard document formats. In all cases, Microsoft seeks to lead in end-user choice and control of what apps to use and what formats to support.
  • WOA includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. These new Office applications, codenamed “Office 15”, have been significantly architected for both touch and minimized power/resource consumption, while also being fully-featured for consumers and providing complete document compatibility. WOA supports the Windows desktop experience including File Explorer, Internet Explorer 10 for the desktop, and most other intrinsic Windows desktop features—which have been significantly architected for both touch and minimized power/resource consumption.
  • With WOA you can look forward to integrated, end-to-end products—hardware, firmware and WOA software, all built from the ground up. Building WOA has been an ongoing engineering effort involving Microsoft, ARM licensees, PC makers, and developers of components and peripherals. These efforts spanned a wide array of subsystems that have been newly created or substantially re-architected for WOA. Partners will provide WOA PCs as integrated, end-to-end products that include hardware, firmware, and Windows on ARM software. Windows on ARM software will not be sold or distributed independent of a new WOA PC, just as you would expect from a consumer electronics device that relies on unique and integrated pairings of hardware and software. Over the useful lifetime of the PC, the provided software will be serviced and improved.
  • Around the next milestone release of Windows 8 on x86/64, a limited number of test PCs will be made available to developers and hardware partners in a closed, invitation-only program. These devices will be running the same branch of Windows 8 on x86/64 as we release broadly at that time. These are not samples or hints of forthcoming PCs, but tools for hardware and software engineers running WOA-specific hardware.
  • The Windows Consumer Preview, the beta of Windows 8 on x86/64, will be available for download by the end of February. This next milestone of Windows 8 will be available in several languages and is open for anyone to download.

 

They also released a video to show this all new features, which you can watch here (thanks to Tom Warren @ the verge who uploaded the video on YouTube).

 

I don´t dive deeper into that whole thing as we all can watch the video. Once the consumer preview is launched, you can expect more posts about the next Windows version.

There are several discussions on the verge as well as on twitter about this post.

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, 0 comments

Details leaked on next major WindowsPhone version ‘Apollo’

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Yesterday evening the internet turned totally crazy about the newest leaks about WindowsPhone 8, codenamed “Apollo”.

Pocketnow.com managed to get hands on a video which was intended for partners at Nokia, in which Joe Belfiore himself talks about the next major version.

Check out what we learned from them:

  • Hardware changes: support for multicore-devices, new screen resolutions, and finally support for SD-cards. On top of that MS will ad NFC-capabilities.
  • Windows Phone 8 will also use a lot of the same components as Windows 8. Phone and PC-OS will work natively together, so there will be no need for the Zune client. Finally, there will be also support again for ActiveSync. Developers will be able to share a lot of code between Windows and Windows Phone. But that is still not all:
  • SkyDrive will be integrated deeply in both Windows and Windows Phone.
  • Ecosystem: MS expects to break the 100.000 Apps mark with the launch of Apollo. To get this a little more pushed forward, MS is adding support app-to-app communication. There will be also a Skype integration in the OS.
  • The camera app will be provided in basics from MS. The OEMs are able to change them for their needs more than it is right now.
  • DataSmart: a breakdown of data consumption on your phone.
  • server-side compression to reduce the data consumption in Mobile IE10
  • BitLocker support on the phone. Basically the same as on Windows.

This are awesome news, but we all have to wait for this until the launch of Windows 8 as well as Windows Phone 8.

With the rumors for Tango to add also a folder function into Windows Phone, and the above more or less confirmed leaks, it will be even more awesome to use a Windows Phone.

Let´s hope all that this will help Windows Phone to take off and gain some real good market share!

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 0 comments