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How About a Mouse and Keyboard to Go With That Vista?
02-23-2007, 10:03 AM
Post: #1
Big Grin Microsoft Offers Tools to Ease Vista Transition
Microsoft released six tools for helping businesses make the upgrade to Windows Vista. Though the release will not likely cause an instant surge in demand for Vista from businesses, the tools will shorten the time companies require to upgrade, which can often take between six and 18 months.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) on Tuesday released the final versions of six new tools designed to help businesses make the migration to its newly released operating system (OS), Windows Vista. The tools can assist business users at each stage in their upgrade to the next-generation OS, including assessment, planning, testing and deployment, according to Microsoft.

"Broadly deploying a new Windows client operating system starts with a testing and planning process, followed by a significant investment in time and effort to roll out the new solution," said Al Gillen, research vice president for System Software at IDC. "The tools Microsoft has delivered with Windows Vista will help customers save time and reduce effort both in the planning process and in the deployment phase."
Compatibility Issues
The tools can assess the compatibility of both hardware and software , assist with the actual deployment and managing volume activation of the OS, and provide a virtual environment for continued use of past versions of the Windows client.

Businesses with questions about whether their organization currently has the PC power to upgrade to Vista can turn to the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment 1.0 (WVHA) tool. With WVHA, companies can assess their entire network of hardware -- computers and other devices -- for compatibility with Vista, quickly and easily. The tool takes an inventory of each PC without the need to install software agents on any machine. The free download automatically generates a set of comprehensive reports with upgrade recommendations for each PC, the company said.

Once businesses have determined whether their computers are up to snuff, they can turn their attention to ascertaining how an upgrade will affect the applications running on their network.

The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0 can assist companies by reducing the cost and time it takes to resolve any compatibility issues they may encounter in the migration. At all levels of the software development process, using a series of compatibility evaluators and tools, ACT 5.0 provides software developers, independent software vendors (ISV) and IT professional with the ability to identify potential application conflicts and how best to resolve them before the OS has been deployed.

The free tool includes mechanisms for remediating compatibility issues and tracking compatibility information throughout the life cycle of an application. ACT 5.0 also includes a new online ACT community through which users can access regularly-updated assessments and test results from Microsoft as well as a variety of other companies, including the ISVs.
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02-23-2007, 10:22 AM (This post was last modified: 02-23-2007 10:27 AM by smitharose.)
Post: #2
Cool How About a Mouse and Keyboard to Go With That Vista?
Microsoft finally got its Windows Vista software out the door. Now comes the hardware.

The Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 combines a Bluetooth keyboard with Microsoft’s first rechargeable mouse. Both can work up to 30 feet from the U.S.B. transmitter in the computer.

The $150 unit was designed for Vista, but it works with Windows XP. Dedicated keys call up the Windows Vista start menu, the Windows Live instant-messaging system and Windows “gadgets” — desktop programs that offer weather, news, calendars and other functions.

The keyboard, featuring a thin, curved design, is geared to multimedia use. The left side has what amounts to a remote control for all the devices that are connected through Windows Media Center.

The included software even adds some Vista visual functions. A click on the mouse’s scroll wheel displays large thumbnails of all the open windows. And the small right button can be used to magnify a portion of the screen — ideal for reading the fine print in those user agreements. STEPHEN C. MILLER
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02-23-2007, 10:26 AM (This post was last modified: 02-23-2007 10:27 AM by smitharose.)
Post: #3
Rolleyes Microsoft tells some users no on Vista
After years of delays and billions in development and marketing efforts, it would seem that Microsoft Corp. would want anyone who possibly can to buy its new Windows Vista operating system. Yet Microsoft is making it hard for Mac owners and other potentially influential customers to adopt the software

Microsoft says the blockade is necessary for security reasons. But that is disputed. The circumstances might simply reflect a business decision Microsoft doesn't want to explain.

The situation involves a technology known as virtualization. Essentially, it lets one computer mimic multiple machines, even ones with different operating systems. It does this by running multiple applications at the same time, but in separate realms of the computer.

Virtualization has long been used in corporate data centers as a way to increase server efficiency or to test programs in a walled-off portion of a machine. The technology also has been available for home users, but often at the expense of the computer's performance.

But now that        Macintosh computers from Apple Inc. use Intel Corp. chips, just like Windows-based PCs, virtualization programs let Mac users easily switch back and forth between Apple's Mac        OS X operating system and Windows. That could appeal to Mac enthusiasts who want access to programs that only work on Windows, including some games.

Consequently, the launch of Vista seemed to be a good opportunity for Parallels Inc., a subsidiary of SWsoft Inc. that sells virtualization products.

Unlike Apple's free Boot Camp program that lets Windows run on a Mac, Parallels' $80 virtualization product for Macs does not require users to have just one operating system running at a time. Parallels runs Windows in a, well, window on the Mac desktop.

Parallels also sells a $50 version for Windows PCs — which would let people run both Vista and its predecessor,        Windows XP, so they can keep programs that aren't yet Vista-compatible.

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03-02-2007, 09:22 AM
Post: #4
Vista security full of holes says Symantec
Thursday 01 Mar 2007

Windows Vista delivers on some of the security improvements Microsoft promised for it, but there are still a host of ways attackers can exploit the OS and leave users open to threats, according to findings by Symantec.

The security vendor's Security Response Advanced Threat Research group Wednesday released four reports on the security implications of Vista -- with two more to come next week -- and found that while the underlying OS is more secure, there are still unplugged holes that will allow malicious code to penetrate a user's system, said Oliver Friedrichs, director of Symantec's Security Response Emerging Threats group.

"There are areas where they are to be commended [because] they have eradicated certain types of threats," he said. "But there are areas where Microsoft falls short and continues to create exposure for consumers and enterprises."

Microsoft has done a good job at locking down the core OS against memory-manipulation threats, such as buffer overflows that were used by worms such as Blaster and Sasser to attack Windows, Friedrichs said. This security improvement has spurred attackers into changing their tactics and target third-party applications that run on the OS rather than the OS itself, he said.

It's in protecting applications where Vista falls short, Friedrichs said. "Third-party applications are still exposed," he said.

Third-party application drivers running on the 64-bit version of Vista are especially vulnerable due to the ability to disable the driver-signing feature of the 64-bit kernel, Friedrichs said. Symantec security researchers were able to disable this new feature -- which requires all kernel drivers to be signed digitally by a reputable party in order to load into the kernel -- in just one week.

Other new 64-bit kernel features -- patchguard and code integrity -- also could be disabled in a week, he added. Patchguard protects the kernel from direct threats such as rootkits, and code integrity enables the OS to protect itself and its applications from external manipulation.

Another feature in Vista that was supposed to improve the security of the system actually poses a new security threat, Friedrichs said. User account control, a feature that can be set up so a Vista user has limited privileges to access an application or an administrator function, actually can be bypassed by hackers to allow someone to gain full and unrestricted access to the OS, he said.

"Originally it was considered to be one of the most notable security technologies in Vista," Friedrichs said. "More recently, because of research done both by Microsoft and third parties, we found that the technology is not as effective as originally envisioned."

Friedrichs acknowledged that it may be self-serving for Symantec, which offers add-on security products for Windows, to publish findings that the OS is not secure. But he said that his group conducted its research by a legitimate scientific method. Moreover, the research is intended to provide recommendations to Microsoft for improving Windows security in the future.

In a statement through its public-relations firm, Microsoft defended its position that Vista is the most secure client version of Windows to date. But the company said it will take into consideration research by Symantec and other parties about Vista and make changes if necessary to make the OS even more safe against possible threats.
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