Posts Tagged ‘windows’

Your Computer is Infected, Call This Number (Scam)

Just a quick post as i received a call from a client saying that he had a message on his computer today “stating that his computer has a serious virus and then asked him to call 866-628-4936 or a UK number to remove the virus” which was a voice speaking to him!!

This is defiantly a SCAM “DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER”

If you require any help or support with this problem please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our website Remote computer repair

Kind Regards

IT Solutions Site Support Team

PCs Come Pre-Installed With All Your Favorite Malware

Malware and viruses are bad, but so long as you’re careful, your PC will stay squeaky clean, right? Maybe not. Microsoft has found that many PCs from China are coming with malware pre-installed, as many as a fifth.

As if bloatware wasn’t bad enough, the four offending computers all run forged versions of  Windows, forged versions of Windows with all kinds of nasty functionality baked right in. Generally, the malware is designed to control the PCs for use in a botnet, In worse cases, the viruses could remotely engage cameras and microphones.

You’re probably safe; most of the computers that suffer from this come from relatively unregulated markets like China. Still, even if your laptop is clean having more infected computers out there isn’t going to be good for anyone. Microsoft has been trying to fix the problem with a lawsuit, but it’s a big problem to fix. For the time being, don’t buy a new computer in China if you can avoid it

Rootkit infection requires Windows reinstall, says Microsoft

IT Solutions – Microsoft is telling Windows users that they’ll have to reinstall the operating system if they get infected with a new rootkit that hides in the machine’s boot sector.

A new variant of a Trojan Microsoft calls “Popureb” digs so deeply into the system that the only way to eradicate it is to return Windows to its out-of-the-box configuration, Chun Feng, an engineer with the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC), said last week on the group’s blog.

“If your system does get infected with Trojan:Win32/Popureb.E, we advise you to fix the MBR and then use a recovery CD to restore your system to a pre-infected state,” said Feng.

A recovery disc returns Windows to its factory settings.

Malware like Popureb overwrites the hard drive’s master boot record (MBR), the first sector — sector 0 — where code is stored to bootstrap the operating system after the computer’s BIOS does its start-up checks. Because it hides on the MBR, the rootkit is effectively invisible to both the operating system and security software.

According to Feng, Popureb detects write operations aimed at the MBR — operations designed to scrub the MBR or other disk sectors containing attack code — and then swaps out the write operation with a read operation.

Although the operation will seem to succeed, the new data is not actually written to the disk. In other words, the cleaning process will have failed.

Feng provided links to MBR-fixing instructions for XP, Vista and Windows 7

Rootkits are often planted by attackers to hide follow-on malware, such as banking password-stealing Trojans. They’re not a new phenomenon on Windows.

In early 2010, for example, Microsoft contended with a rootkit dubbed “Alureon” that infected Windows XP systems and crippled machines after a Microsoft security update.

At the time, Microsoft’s advice was similar to what Feng is now offering for Popureb.

If you need help and support with virus removal please don’t hesitate to contact us.

IT Solutions Support Team

Microsoft Security Essentials upgrade 1.0.1959.0

In the past 2 weeks I noticed that on Microsoft download center Microsoft Security Essentials was re-published. But when I tried to install it, it stated that it was already installed, telling me it was the same version.

Now it is published again and now it is a new version (build) 1.0.1959.0.

Download and run it directly and it will upgrade.

Download details Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple.
Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so you’re free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.
*Your PC must run genuine Windows to install Microsoft Security Essentials. Learn more about genuine.

Watch videos to help you get the most from Microsoft Security Essentials.

Tuesday’s Patch Will Be a Windows Wash

Microsoft today signaled that a hefty batch of security fixes will arrive on Tuesday.

Microsoft’s has tended to break its own records of late. In the past six months, Patch Tuesdays have seemed more like “Fat Tuesdays,” at least in terms of the volume of fixes contained in the monthly patch. February’s patch looks to be no different. According to Microsoft’s advance notice, it will contain 13 fixes — five “critical,” seven “important” and one “moderate” fix.

“This amount of bulletins make this the busiest February we’ve seen from Microsoft, with only four [seen in February of] last year and an average of 11 to 12 [bulletins seen] in the three years prior,” said Sheldon Malm, senior director of security strategy at Rapid7.

“All eyes will be on Internet Explorer, given last month’s out-of-band update and the current zero day [bug] affecting older versions and instances where Protected Mode is disabled.”

Critical Items
The five critical security fixes will be targeted toward most Windows operating systems, according to Microsoft’s advance notice. Every fix will be associated with remote code execution (RCE) security implications across several as-yet-unspecified Windows components. The most pressing Windows component so far this year from a security perspective has been Internet Explorer, expert say.

While the critical fixes apply across most Windows OSes, there will be a couple of exceptions. Critical patch No. 2 will not affect Vista, Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008. Critical patch No. 4 only touches on Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Important Items
The seven important items will be a mixed bag of RCE, elevation-of-privilege and denial-of-service exploit patches affecting both Windows components and Microsoft Office applications. Every supported Windows OS is affected in some form or another.

For the Office fixes, only Office apps sitting on Office XP, Office 2003 and Office 2004 for Mac will be affected.

Moderate Item
The lone moderate fix will only touch on the Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems as a patch for an RCE exploit.

It will be a busy day next Tuesday if the advance notice is any indication. Security experts anticipate no less than 20 vulnerabilities targeted in the February patch. All 13 security items may require a system restart.

“None of the operating systems escaped this month’s updates. Even the latest versions of Windows have been hit hard this month, with six updates for Vista, eight for Server 2008, and five for Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7,” Malm said in reference to the advance bulletin. “I won’t be surprised if Microsoft is playing catch-up on some lingering vulnerabilities from last year.”

If any IT administrators still have time for nonsecurity updates, they can check out this Knowledge Basearticle. It describes updates arriving via Windows Update, Microsoft Update and Windows Server Update Service.

Here are the 30 best Features in Windows 7?

Hi Guys,

After testing Windows 7 we’ve ranked the 30 best features we’ve found in Windows 7 so far, ranging from minor tweaks of the user interface to a full replacement for virtual private networks. Please feel FREE to leave your comments on Windows 7.


The top 30 best features of Windows 7:

1. Don’t need a new PC

Windows 7 will become the first major Windows release that any of us can remember that doesn’t require better hardware than its predecessor. In fact, it might even run on systems that struggle with Vista, especially netbooks.

Our real-world benchmarks show that the performance difference between Vista and Windows 7 is zilch. Our Office benchmarks and video-encoding tests completed in precisely the same time, regardless of which OS was installed on our test machine. However, there’s no doubt that Windows 7 feels faster. Applications open in a snap, and there are fewer instances of the whirly waiting wheel that afflicts Vista.

Better still, it runs happily on netbooks. Although we’ve seen a few netbooks such as the HP Mini-Note 2133 pre-installed with Vista Basic, most resort to Windows XP. However, we installed Windows 7 on an MSI Wind, with an Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, and it performed spotlessly.

The Aero interface is smooth, menus responsive, even Media Center works with commendable polish. What’s more, it goes from power off to booted and ready to use in around 50 seconds – only ten seconds slower than Windows 7 boots on a Dell M1330 laptop, with a Core 2 Duo T9500 running at 2.6GHz and 3GB of RAM.

2. Big-screen support

Large, high-definition displays are much better catered for in Windows 7. First, there’s no more fiddling around in the Control Panel to make your desktop appear on an external display – pressing Windows + P brings up a pop-up menu with options to duplicate, extend or transfer your desktop on to the second screen.

There’s also good news for those who’ve been squinting at the mammoth LCD panels connected to their PCs. The telemetry from Microsoft’s Customer Experience Programme revealed that only half of Windows users are running their PCs at native resolution, with others artificially reducing the resolution as they’re struggling to read the text.

Consequently, there’s a new option to boost the text and other onscreen items to 150% of their normal size. We tested this feature on a 30in widescreen display and it instantly made the text more readable, although you obviously have to sacrifice some screen real estate – which is the main reason for choosing a bigger screen in the first place.

The art is finding a reasonable compromise. If you simply want to zoom in on a small portion of the screen, the Mac-like magnifier allows you to smoothly zoom in and scroll around the screen.

3. Start button search

The Start button search facility introduced with Windows Vista has been given a spruce up that makes it a genuine timesaver. Instead of merely hunting for exact filename and application matches, the search is more intelligent.

Search for “disk” for example, and not only do applications such as Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter appear as they would in Vista, but also Control Panel tasks such as “Create and format hard disk partitions” and “Create a password reset disk”.

It isn’t a straight keyword search, either – “Use tools to improve performance” comes up when you search for “processor”, for instance. It’s a clever way of making hard-to-find Control Panel features more accessible.

click to view full size image

4. BitLocker To Go

With USB sticks responsible for many recent security scares, Microsoft has decided to tackle the issue head-on with Windows 7. BitLocker To Go effortlessly encrypts any external USB drive by right-clicking on the drive’s icon and entering a suitably secure password. You’re given the option to save and print out a recovery key, which can be used to access data on the drive should you forget the password.

The USB drive can also be automatically unlocked on your mainPC, to save entering the password every time, although this obviously makes it less secure. Microsoft promises that BitLocker To Go will offer read-only support on older versions of Windows – for now, encrypted disks appear as full, inaccessible drives on Windows XP and Vista.

IT departments running the forthcoming Windows Server 2008 R2 can set a group policy that forces employees to encrypt the drive before they can copy company data to the disk, which should help prevent data leaks and the need for more drastic security measures, such as locking down USB ports.

Microsoft has boosted BitLocker support for internal drives, too, with PC hard disks also encryptable at the right-click of a mouse (Windows 7 will automatically create the hidden boot partition). Whether BitLocker will be restricted to Enterprise and Ultimate versions of the OS, as it was with Vista, remains to be seen.

5. Document libraries

Microsoft has taken a whole world of pain out of locating and searching for documents in Windows 7. The new Libraries function in Windows Explorer allows you to add network folders, SharePoint documents, and pretty much any folder you choose to your Documents Library, meaning even files that are tucked away within the nether regions of a server can be accessed within only a couple of clicks.

Better still, if the drive containing your documents fills up, you can simply change the default save location and add that new location into the Documents view. No time-consuming file copies required.

There’s also a new concept of Search Connectors. Add an email search connector into the Documents view and, when you type a search term in the box at the top-right, it will search your email, too.

6. Nag-free System Tray

Your antivirus software is out of date! Wireless networks detected! The woman at number 43 has just turned on her oven! Vista’s System Tray spewed out so many pop-up warnings that you couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Windows 7’s revamped System Tray, on the other hand, has been blissfully gagged.

Windows warning messages are now concealed in the “Windows Solutions Center” – a small lighthouse icon that sits silently in the System Tray and delivers warning messages only when you click on it. In fact, it could even be argued that Microsoft has gone a little too far.

Hidden warnings that the security software is switched off, for example, won’t bother most PC Authority readers, but the average consumer would probably appreciate the heads-up.

The modern-day habit of every application barging its way into the System Tray has also been curtailed. The System Tray now consists of only three key Windows icons, with the rest banished to a new overflow area. Users have complete control over which icons appear in the System Tray, so if there’s a particular app you need to keep an eye on, you can promote it.

7. Drag and snap windows

Today’s large widescreen displays are perfect for comparing documents side by side, but resizing two Windows to fit on the same screen in XP or Vista is a faff. Windows 7 makes it a cinch: drag one window to the far left, the other to the right, and the two fit snugly together like old ladies on the bus.
Windows can be dragged into action in other ways, too. Pull a window to the top of the screen and it’s automatically maximised. Pull it back down from the top, and the window returns to its original size. Such gesture-like controls quickly become second nature, practically sending the “maximise” and “restore” controls to the dole queue.

8. Location-aware printing

Anyone used to ferrying a laptop between work and home will be familiar with the tedium of thoughtlessly pressing <Ctrl+P> in the office, only to find Word struggling to find the home inkjet that’s set as default. In Windows 7, the PC automatically detects when you’re at home and at work when you connect to the network, and automatically selects the relevant printer. It’s the little things…

9. UAC silencer

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has admitted that Vista’s User Account Control had proved as popular as the village serial killer. The show-stopping interruptions are now completely under user control, with a sliding scale of UAC setting that ranges from turning the security “feature” off completely, to notifications every time a piece of software raises an eyebrow at your settings.

10. Media streamer playback

Windows Media Player now includes the option to play back music on other networked devices in the home, not only the PC you’re sat in front of. So, for example, you could be sitting in the lounge with a laptop and select a music track to play back through a media-streaming device with its own dedicated speakers, instead of your tinny laptop affairs.

click to view full size image

11. Revamped Taskbar and jumplists

Replacing the Taskbar window tabs with large, chunky icons isn’t big, clever, nor particularly innovative – Apple’s Mac OS X Dock and the KDE interface have been doing this for donkey’s years.

Sometimes, however, ‘borrowing’ ideas from others is better than attempting to reinvent the wheel, and our hands-on tests with the new Windows 7 interface at the Professional Developers Conference (the user interface isn’t incorporated into the Windows 7 build Microsoft has released for testing) showed that Microsoft was right to flatter its rivals with a little imitation.

Not only are the bigger icons more finger-friendly for those running Windows 7 on a touchscreen PC, they also conceal the new “jumplists”.

Accessible through a right-click (or an upwards swipe of the finger) on the Taskbar icon, the jumplists spring out to reveal a bevy of handy shortcuts that are tailored to that particular application. These might be recently opened documents in Word, music player controls in Windows Media Player, or a link to open the privacy mode in Internet Explorer, for example.

Jumplists are also available from programs listed in the Start menu, with a pop-up box appearing to the right.  And, at long last, Microsoft has finally made it possible to drag and drop the Taskbar icons into the order you wish, without having to download the TweakUI PowerToy.

12. HomeGroup

With the average household now containing multiple PCs according to Microsoft, home networking is heading towards the mainstream. HomeGroup should help make it easier. After setting up your HomeGroup on your first Windows 7 PC, any new Windows 7 machine that’s connected to the home network will be automatically detected and enrolled into the HomeGroup.

This means a new Windows 7 laptop can instantly share the printer connected to the desktop PC in the study, for example. It also allows any PC on the HomeGroup to share documents, photos, music, video and other files across the network. Files on other Windows 7 PCs can be searched for as if they were stored locally, using the new Libraries function in Windows Explorer.

Certain types of documents and folders can be excluded from the HomeGroup if you wish to keep those private, and companies can lock down the HomeGroup functions to prevent business data being shared when an employee fires up their laptop at home.

The obvious downside is that all the other PCs on the network will need to be left on if you wish to search their files, which still makes a NAS/Windows Home Server device a more sensible option for sharing data in the home.

click to view full size image

13 – 20

13. New User State Migration tool

Vista’s User State Migration tool allowed a new OS to be installed while retaining the user’s data, but it physically moved the data from one place to another on the hard disk, slowing down the process.

Windows 7 accelerates the process with ‘hardlink migration’, which leaves the data in the exact same place on the hard disk, and uses a series of redirect links to help Windows 7 find the files. Microsoft demonstrated a PC being upgraded from Vista to Windows 7 in a little over 25 minutes using the new migration tool. Something of an improvement on the three hours it took for us to perform a regular upgrade installation of Vista to Windows 7 from the DVD.

14. iTunes support in Windows Media Player

In a promising sign that Microsoft is prepared to stop playing silly buggers with proprietary formats, Windows Media Player now offers support for the iTunes AAC format. Not only does this mean you don’t have to open up iTunes on your PC to play those tracks, but you can also play back iTunes libraries on other PCs over the network without having the Apple software installed on your system. DRM-protected files remain off limits, of course. AVC and H.264 video are supported, too.

click to view full size image

15. Show Desktop

Power users will be familiar with the frustration of having to minimise countless open windows to take a quick look at newsfeeds or other gadgets on the Windows desktop. The revamped Show Desktop button – which now occupies the few remaining pixels between the System Tray Clock and the right edge of the Taskbar – makes all open Windows transparent when you hover the mouse over the icon. Ideal for a quick peek at the football scores before ploughing on with work.

16. Touch controls

Multitouch is the feature that’s most likely to divide the Windows faithful. Some will see it as the next stage in an evolution that was rapidly accelerated by the iPhone; others will cling to keyboard and mouse and dismiss it as needless frippery.

Touch support and the new Taskbar haven’t been included in our test build, so we can only form an early judgement on the hands-on trials we sampled at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference. In our view, Microsoft hasn’t gone far enough to accommodate hands-on controls.

Yes, the new larger Taskbar icons make it easier to select apps, and Microsoft has cleverly allowed programs such as Word to benefit from touch-based scrolling, zooms and pans, without doing any work to the application itself.

But in our experience, touch only works when the UI has been specifically designed for the purpose, as with the iPhone or HP’s TouchSmart PCs, which put a separate touch overlay on Vista. There’s nothing to stop the likes of HP doing the same with Windows 7, but we can’t help thinking that pushing the onus of UI design on to PC manufacturers isn’t the path to mainstream adoption.

Unless third-party developers can create compelling touch-based apps, we suspect multitouch will go the same way as the Tablet PC – a niche within a niche.

17. DirectAccess

DirectAccess promises to take much of the hassle out of remote working by providing access to the corporate network without having to tunnel in via a VPN. Using IPv6 over IPsec, DirectAccess encrypts data sent over the public internet, allowing remote workers access to the company network, intranet, shared folders and all the other data they’d have access to in-house.

PCs logging in via DirectAccess are managed in the same way as office-bound machines, meaning they can be constantly updated with security patches and subject to the same group policy rules as office machines, giving IT departments a much more secure, “always managed” infrastructure.

DirectAccess also allows internet traffic to be separated from access to the company’s network, so workers can surf the web without adding to the company’s network congestion.

18. Sensor support

Touch isn’t the only new way to interact with a Windows 7 PC – the operating system also includes support for various sensors that will detect location, movement and light among other variables. We put this to the test with a prototype Freescale board sporting a three-axis accelerometer, an ambient light sensor and a proximity switch array.

The test applications that came with the board allowed us to zoom in and out on documents by moving the board back and forth, while another allowed us to tilt a marble across the screen in true Super Monkeyball style.

It’s conceivable that such sensors will be embedded in laptops and UMPCs, as well as dedicated peripherals such as gamepads, opening up all manner of potential applications: panning around Google Earth by tilting a laptop, for example. This is definitely one to watch.

19. AppLocker

IT managers who want to prevent employees installing unauthorised software will benefit from the tighter controls afforded by AppLocker. This group-policy feature allows IT departments to specify installations right down to the version of the software concerned.

Companies might decide to allow employees to install only Flash version 9 and above, for example, to guard against security flaws in less secure versions. Conversely, they might want to prevent employees installing the latest version of an app until it’s been subject to internal testing. Such publishing rules are based upon the application’s digital signature, which is easier than writing a new rule for each version of an application.

20. Gadgets are go

Desktop gadgets have been let off the leash in Windows 7, with the sidebar condemned to the scrapheap and gadgets allowed to roam freely across the desktop.

They can also be resized, allowing you to give due prominence to favoured applets, and easily view them with the new Show Desktop button (see number 15). Microsoft says that “it’s also easier for the applications you use to install helpful companion gadgets”. Let’s hope those gadgets turn out to be as “helpful” as billed.

21 – 30

21. Remote apps that feel like a desktop

Although we’ve been unable to verify such claims, Microsoft promises that running applications via Remote Desktop will feel just like the real thing. “Users can more easily connect to remote applications and remote desktop sessions from any Windows 7 PC, whether in the office or on the road,” Microsoft boasts. “Applications launch, look, and feel just like they do when running locally.

New applications that IT professionals make available automatically appear on the Start menu, so that users always have access to the latest programs.”

22. DeviceStage

DeviceStage has the potential to become incredibly useful… or Windows 7’s UAC. This feature sees Microsoft create specific “homepages” for devices such as digital cameras, smartphones and printers, and hand them over to the device manufacturer.

Aside from glossy pictures and logos linking to the manufacturer’s website, the pages will (theoretically) contain links to applications and services specifically tailored to that device, such as a link to a website selling ink cartridges for that model of printer or extra software downloads for a mobile phone.

The problem with the DeviceStage concept is that it relies on the integrity of the hardware manufacturers. Will they use it to genuinely add value to their products, or will it be abused as a cheap marketing tool for extra subscription services and crapware? We can only hope it’s the former.

23.Bluetooth wizard

A quick peek in the revamped System Tray reveals a new Bluetooth icon. Windows 7 adds support for Bluetooth 2.1, making it easier to discover and pair devices using a simple wizard. Our test Nokia E71 smartphone was paired within seconds, although the drivers failed to install properly on the phone, meaning we could send photos to the phone, but not vice versa. Hopefully, such niggles will be ironed out before launch.
24. Problem Steps Recorder

IT support staff will need a new form of exercise, as the Problem Steps Recorder might mean fewer trips up and down stairs in big offices. The troubleshooting feature takes screengrabs of the user’s PC as they run through a process that’s causing them problems – a botched installation or driver failure, say.

The screengrabs are then forwarded on to IT support, packaged with a batch of telemetry from the user’s PC, hopefully allowing the technician to diagnose and even fix the problem from their desk, using a Remote Desktop session.

25. One-click Wi-Fi

It’s one of those features that’s so obvious you wonder how it took Microsoft so long to cotton on, especially since it’s been a feature of Linux distributions for years, but new Wi-Fi networks are now only a click away.

A simple click on the wireless network System Tray icon produces a pop-up of available networks, rather than having to delve into the separate View Available Networks option that was found in XP and Vista. A small but worthwhile change.

26. Internet Explorer 8

Internet Explorer 8 isn’t unique to Windows 7, with a beta already available for Vista, but in terms of usability there’s no comparison between the two. On Windows 7, it’s a revelation: not only does it launch quickly, but the pages render in a flash. Considering that performance was our main criticism of IE8 when we compared all the major browsers recently (see December 08, page 16), this bodes well for its future.

That said, it still falls well behind Google Chrome for JavaScript speed, with Chrome on average five times faster in the SunSpider benchmark. The interface also looks crowded compared with Chrome, and we’re yet to be convinced that its Accelerators – where you select text from the current web page and get given the option to paste that text into, say, Google Search or Microsoft Translate – are the revolutionary time-saver Microsoft claims.

click to view full size image

27. Wireless USB and Blu-ray write support

New operating system, new technologies to support. Ultra Wideband (UWB) and Wireless USB (WUSB) have rather stalled in the blocks, but should the wireless alternatives to USB cables ever take off, Windows 7 will support both. Also included for the first time is native support for burning Blu-ray discs.

28. BranchCache

In a bid to help office workers struggling with limited bandwidth, Microsoft is introducing BranchCache. The idea is that content from remote file and web servers is cached locally in the branch office – either on a server or distributed across Windows 7 client PCs.

This means, for example, that if one employee spends two minutes downloading a large PowerPoint presentation off the company’s intranet, the next person in the same office will have access to the cached version of the file within seconds. BranchCache will work with any app based on the HTTPS and Server Message Block (SMB) protocols, but requires the company to have rolled out Windows Server 2008 R2.

29. Colour calibration tool

Although it definitely isn’t a replacement for spectrometers, the new Display Colour Calibration wizard should help make colours look more natural and text sharper on LCDs.

It tells you how to adjust the parameters available through your monitor’s onscreen menus to perfect contrast, brightness and sharpness. It also calibrates the ClearType text for LCD panels.

30. Toggle Windows features

Switching off unwanted Windows features used to involve an uninstall. Now, such features can be simply toggled on and off, with the files remaining on the hard disk should you decide to use them later.

Categories: windows 7 Tags: , ,

Microsoft sends biggest patch on record

October 13, 2009 1 comment


Microsoft Corp issued its biggest software patch on record on Tuesday to fix a range of security issues in its programs, including the yet-to-be-released Windows 7 operating system.

In a monthly update sent to users of its software, Microsoft released 13 security bulletins, or patches, to address 34 vulnerabilities it identified across its Windows, Internet Explorer, Silverlight, Office and other products.

It said six of the patches were high priority and should be deployed immediately. The patches — which update software to write over glitches — are designed to protect users from hackers or malicious software downloaded from the Internet.

Several of the patches affect Windows 7, the software maker’s mew operating system which will be officially unveiled next week but has been widely used in test versions.

Such an early sign of security issues on Windows 7 is potentially worrying for Microsoft, which is hoping its new operating system will erase ill-feeling among many customers who bought the predecessor Vista.

A Microsoft spokesperson could not immediately say whether the company had identified further security problems with Windows 7. The company generally does not disclose such problems until it has patches available.

Windows 7 critical holes fixed in Microsoft’s biggest Patch Tuesday


Microsoft released a record number of 13 bulletins for 34 vulnerabilities on Patch Tuesday and the first critical update for Windows 7, as well as fixes for zero-day flaws involving Server Message Block (SMB) and Internet Information Services (IIS).

The most severe of the three SMB flaws, which were first reported on last month, could allow an attacker to take control of a computer remotely by sending a specially crafted SMB packet to a computer running the Server service. Exploit code for one of the SMB holes has been posted to the Web, Microsoft said.

Windows 7 is affected by two critical patches that fix vulnerabilities that could allow remote code execution if a malicious Web page were viewed, one part of a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer and the other in .NET Framework and Silverlight.

Windows 7 was finalized in July and is due to go on sale Oct. 22.

Other critical patches fix in the security bulletin for October a vulnerability in Windows Media Runtime that could be exploited if a user opened a malicious media file or received malicious streaming content from a Web site or application, and if a specially crafted ASF (Advanced Systems Format) file is played using Windows Media Player 6.4.

Among the critical updates was a cumulative security update of ActiveX Kill Bits that is being exploited that affects ActiveX controls compiled using Active Template Library (ATL) and another patch resolving several vulnerabilities in ATL ActiveX Controls that could allow remote code execution if a user loaded a malicious component or control. ActiveX and ATLs were the subject of an emergency patch Microsoft released in July.

The final critical bulletin fixes a hole in Windows GDI+ (Graphics Device Interface) that could allow an attacker to take control of a computer if user viewed a malicious image file using affected software or browed a malicious Web page.

“Microsoft has repeatedly had to fix problems related to the Graphics Device Interface in Windows and vulnerabilities in the component have been exploited broadly in the past. We can expect that security researchers will be looking to reverse engineer today’s patches, which may very well lead to exploits being created,” said Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications at McAfee Labs.

Nine of the vulnerabilities were previously disclosed, which meant that attackers had time to come up with so-called “zero-day” exploits before the patches were available, Marcus noted.

The most alarming vulnerability in the mix is the SMB flaw, which according to the person who discovered it was introduced by the patch for a different vulnerability, according to Josh Phillips, virus researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle, said the but that is likely to have teh biggest impact will be the critical one affecting Windows Media Runtime and which involves a speech codec bug that has limited exploits in the wild. “This is a typical file parsing issue and similar to vulnerabilities have allowed attackers to create drive-by attacks that infect unsuspecting video viewers,” he said.

Meanwhile, the critical SMB vulnerability is relatively difficult to exploit given default firewall conditions, but the IIS bugs are easy to exploit, Storms added.

Also released were five bulletins rated “important” to fix vulnerabilities in IIS, for which exploit code has been publicly released and there have been limited attacks, Windows CryptoAPI, Windows Indexing Service, Windows Kernel and Local Security Authority Subsystem Service.

The update for Windows CryptoAPI relates to flaws in the way domain names are verified on the Internet that could allow attackers to impersonate a site and steal information from unsuspecting Web surfers. The holes were revealed by researchers Dan Kaminsky and Moxie Marlinspike at Defcon in August.

Affected software is Windows 7, Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003 and 2008, Office XP, Office 2003 and 2007Microsoft Office System, SQL Server 2000 and 2005, Silverlight, Visual Studio .NET 2003, Visual Studio 2005 and 2008, Visual FoxPro 8.0 and 9.0, Microsoft Report Viewer 2005 and 2008, Forefront Client Security 1.0, and Office software including Visio, Project, Word Viewer and Works.

The installation also removes the Win/FakeScanti Trojan that claim to scan a system for malware and claim to find it in order to get money from computer users.

Categories: windows 7 Tags: , ,

Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM Download Live


Windows Server 2008 R2 editions are now available for download on the MSDN, TechNet and Microsoft licensing Web site.  While Windows Server 2008 R2 reached the RTM milestone the same day as Windows 7 it has taken a back seat with Windows 7 RTM releasing first last week.  Now that the initial download surge of Windows 7 has passed Windows Server 2008 R2 has be released for all subscribers and VL customers.

Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit Direct Download Links:

MSDN: Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, and Web

TechNet: Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, and Web

Volume License Customers:

Windows Web Server 2008 R2

Windows Server Standard 2008 R2

Windows Server Enterprise 2008 R2

Windows Server DataCenter 2008 R2

Download Microsoft Windows 7 90-Day Evaluation VHD


The Microsoft VHD Test Drive Program provides customers with an enhanced server-based software evaluation experience that’s faster, better supported and more flexible.

This download helps you evaluate the new features of Windows 7, Windows 7 has better ways to find and manage files—like Jump Lists and improved taskbar previews—to help you speed through everyday tasks.

This is a preconfigured virtual machine set contained within the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format. Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, or the R2 versions of these products is required to use this virtual machine. Please refer to the system requirements section for more details.

Click Download details: Windows 7

Categories: windows 7 Tags: , ,