Posts Tagged ‘Windows XP’

Microsoft Warns of IE Bug on Windows XP

Internet Explorer continues to be a target of unpatched exploits as Microsoft released yet another security advisory for IE on Wednesday, mostly applying to Windows XP users.

According to the advisory, the software giant is investigating a new publicly reported bug affecting IE versions 5 to 8 on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2. The fix applies to IE browsers that aren’t configured by default to run in “protected mode” or that have that function turned off.

Microsoft’s advisory also applies to IE 5.01 SP4 on Windows 2000 SP4, as well as to IE 6 SP1 on Windows 2000 SP4.

This vulnerability typically doesn’t apply when running IE on Windows Vista or Windows 7 because those operating systems use protected mode by default, according to a Microsoft blog. The blog noted that Microsoft has already issued a “Fix it” automated patch to help individual users enable protected mode on XP systems.

“Windows XP users, or users who have disabled Protected Mode, can help protect themselves by implementing Network Protocol Lockdown,” the blog explains. “We have created a Microsoft Fix It to automate this. The Fix It can be run on individual systems or enterprises can deploy it through their automated systems.”

The bug in question would still require that users be directed to a malicious Web site in order for the exploit to happen. A hacker could gain the same local user rights as the IE user if an attack is carried out successfully. Limiting user rights on the system thus can be a helpful way to lessen an attack’s impact.

Redmond may release a patch for this bug in its monthly security update, coming next Tuesday, or issue an out-of-band patch. Microsoft already issued an out-of-band fix for IE in January to address a remote code execution bug that led to attacks on Google and other companies.

IT Solutions top 5 Windows 7 Features

themed_microsoftWe’ve all been playing with Windows 7 for quite some time now, and now that general availability has passed we recently asked the community what their favorite feature of Windows 7 was. We’ve tallied the results, and just in case you haven’t explored these features yet here’s an in depth overview of our community’s favorite features:

#5 Libraries

Since the days of Windows XP, Microsoft has continued to simplify the way users can store their data on a PC. Windows 7 has introduced users to a new way of file organization by adding a new structure called libraries. What exactly is a library? By default Windows 7 has four separate libraries: Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

Most users store data in different folders across their PC in a somewhat unified manor. Libraries organize all of your data into one view, while leaving the physical location of your files in the folders in which you saved them in. In other words, Libraries monitor the folders you select and provide a single access point to all of your selected data (Music, Pictures, Video, and Documents).

Confused? Let’s take another look at my music library. By default the library will monitor the following folders:

Like most people, I use various applications to download music. These programs will normally store music in a designated folder instead of the actual “Music” folder that Windows provides (Unless specified). To include these files in your library, click the “X locations” link underneath the navigation bar.

Then navigate to the folder you want the library to monitor and add the folder. It’s as simple as that, now all of your music can be viewed in one library instead of opening multiple windows.

#4 Aero Peek

The addition of the new improved thumbnail previews to the taskbar has led to a new feature called Aero Peek. This feature allows you to simply hover over the thumbnail previews on your taskbar, and easily switch to that application. All other programs fade away into glass sheets.

#3 Jumplists

Jump lists are a fantastic feature that allows users to quickly access application options by right clicking an open application in the taskbar. Internet Explorer’s jump list features your most frequently visited websites, the ability to open a new tab, and access your options. A few programs have already started taking advantage of this feature include: Internet Explorer, Zune, Windows Live Messenger, Office 2010, Paint, Windows MediaPlayer, and so on. Check it out:

But they don’t stop there; jump lists are also available in your start menu. Applications that opens specific files will have an arrow next to it and when hovered over will show a list of your most recent documents allowing you to quickly launch files.

#2 Superbar

One of the most simplistic yet widely liked features in Windows 7 is the ‘Superbar’ (A.K.A. the taskbar), as Microsoft likes to call it. Applications that are running will appear in the form of an icon with a gentle glowing gradient as shown below:

Applications with multiple windows open will have extra overlays:

One of the cooler features of the Superbar is if an application is in the process of downloading or copying a file. The Superbar provides a progress bar throughout the icon of the program:

#1 Aero Snap

The number one feature that IT Solutions likes in Windows 7 is undoubtedly Aero Snap. Aero Snap is a very simple feature that allows you to quickly organize open windows. The feature allows you to simply drag windows to the top, bottom, left, or right side of your screen.

There is also hotkeys that allow you to quickly use Aero Snap: Windows Key+Left/Right/Up/Down.

Categories: windows 7 Tags: , ,

Patch Tuesday for November

Windows Update Icon

Microsoft is set to release six security bulletin patches this coming Tuesday. Three of the six have been labeled as Critical, Microsoft’s highest security rating, and three more patches labeled as Important, the second highest security rating.

The patches are due to release on November 10 and will focus on patching Remote Code Executions and DoS (Denial of Service) flaws in the Windows operating system. Four of the patches will be released for Windows, while two will patch Remote Code Executions in Microsoft Office.

The patches will fix security holes in:

  • Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 & 3 *
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 1 & 2 *
  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 *
  • Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 *
  • Microsoft Office XP
  • Microsoft Office 2003
  • Microsoft Office 2007
  • Microsoft Office 2004 (Mac)
  • Microsoft Office 2008 (Mac)

* Both 32bit and 64bit architecture

No updates for Windows 7 will be released. Currently, Windows 7 only has one officially released security patch, released on October 8, 2009.

Some of the updates may require a restart.

VMware Workstation 7 released with full Windows 7 support


VMware has announced the latest version it’s flagship virtualization software – VMware Workstation 7 which is packed full of new features which are huge – including full 3D graphics support for virtual machines. VMware workstation is compatible with over 20 operating systems out of the box, and can run many other operating systems unofficially.

As previously mentioned, the new VMware workstation comes with full 3D graphics support for guest operating systems – meaning that if your computer can’t play a game, but has the resources to run a virtual operating system well, you can run an earlier version of Windows (or Linux) to play it.

VMware also announced that VMware workstation 7 is “…optimized for maximum performance when running on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 PCs” and can now run virtual machines “with up to four virtual CPUs and 32GB of RAM dedicated to each virtual machine.

The new release also finally supports Aero – which is well coincided with the release of Windows 7. VMware is even claiming that their virtualization is “Better than Windows XP Mode, you can run Windows XP with 3D graphics, faster performance, and tighter integration with Unity“. It is also compatible with Windows 7 features on the host machine, allowing the user to use Flip 3D and Aero Peek to view their virtual machines.

Other major new features of Workstation 7 include AutoProtect – a tool which automatically saves states of virtual machines, printing without printerdrivers, 256-bit encryption of virtual machines and more. A 30-day trial version can be obtained from VMware’s website.

Install and Use XP Mode in Windows 7

October 24, 2009 1 comment


Sometimes all of the compatibility settings in Windows 7 are not enough to make legacy applications run. XP Mode is a free download component for Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise customers that allows you to run legacy apps inside a Windows XP virtual machine running in the background. The end user does not have load and work inside the virtual machines as required in the past. With XP mode they start the application from a shortcut in the Start Menu. It appears like any other window on your desktop and taskbar. The only way you can tell it is running in the XP Virtual Machine in the background is by the XP visual style that surrounds the window.

The only hardware requirement for using XP mode is a computer with a processor that supports hardware-assisted virtualization such as AMD-V, Intel-VT or VIA VT.  Microsoft has a helpful tool that will detect if your hardware is compatible called the HAV Detection Tool. On some computers the feature may be turned off in the BIOS, click here for instructions on how to turn it on.

Getting XP mode up and running requires four main steps:

  1. Download and install the XP Mode Components.
  2. Download and install Windows Virtual PC.
  3. Setup the XP Virtual Machine.
  4. Configure your apps in the XP Virtual Machine.

First, visit the XP Mode Web page, select the edition and language of Windows 7 you have and click theWindows XP Mode button to download that component. After the 470 MB XP Mode component is downloaded, install.

Then, return to the XP Mode Web page and click the Windows Virtual PC button and download & install that component. After installing the Virtual PC component you will need to reboot.

After the reboot, click on the Start Menu and navigate through All Programs, Windows Virtual PC and select Windows XP Mode to begin configuring XP Mode.

Click I accept the license terms and click Next.

Next, you will need to specify the password for the local account XPMuser that runs in the XP virtual machine. Type in a password in both boxes and click Next.

XP Mode runs a fully functional Windows XP virtual machine in the background so it must be patched every month as new security updates are released to keep applications running in the VM protected.  The best way to accomplish this is by turning on Automatic Updates.  Check Help protect my computer by turning on Automatic Updates now and click Next.

Click Start Setup on the following screen.

Setup will now run and configure the Windows XP virtual machine.  This will take a few minutes.

When setup is completed the Windows XP virtual machine will be displayed.

At this point install any applications in the XP Virtual Machine like you normally install applications.  For a test I installed Office 95.

After setup was completed you should see the programs icons in the Windows 7 Start Menu under All Programs, Windows Virtual PC and finally Windows XP Mode applications.

Just click on one of the shortcuts and the application will load in just like a locally installed app.

If you ever want to service or install more application in the XP Virtual Machine just click on the Start Menu and navigate through All Programs, Windows Virtual PC and select Windows XP Mode. That will start the XP virtual machine in desktop mode.