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I did a retrieve of my e-mails from archive. Did lots of them, actually, because I was so confused and didn't recognize where the information was going.
Now, I have loads of folders above my 'Outlook Today' folder, and another 4 Personal Folders way down at the bottom.
Can I just delete those folders? There are about 20-30 folders in each one (because I keep my ingoing/outgoing e-mails by subject matter). I don't want Outlook's performance to be degraded because it is so cluttered. I don't want to delete the archive, either - I just want to get it out of Outlook until I need it again.
Am I safe to simply delete those folders?
Thank you,

As Imentioned earlier in another forum, I am part of a group putting together our upcoming class reunion. This morning I did a Reply to All, and my ZA, politely informed me that both my Outlook was over the send limit, and that my ChoiceMail One was over the send limit. I allowed both. I was able to find that setting and uped the ante in ChoiceMail t0 150 but I can't find that in Outlook. A search on Microsoft showed how to in Exchange Server ,but nothing else that I could find. Google wasn't much help either.

I am a dial-up internet user. I have set up Outlook so that it does not automatically attempt to send an e-mail when I click on Send. The mail just waits in my Outbox. I often connect to my dial-up ISP with several e-mails in my Outbox. I have also configured it so that I get the details box when I click the Send/Receive icon.

Of course, Outlook reports that it is sending mail when I am connected and I click on Send/Receive. However, I have several times seen it say "sending 1 of 2" and then "sending 2 of 2", when I know for a certainty that I have only one e-mail in the Outbox.

Can anybody suggest what is going on?

Thanks and all the best for 2003

could someone please tell me how to get a person's name to show up in the e-mail address line rather than their actual address? when i send e-mails, i get a mixture of names and addresses. i don't know why or how this has happened. most everyone i write to is in my address book, although i have most of their addresses memorized (not deliberately; that's just how my brain works ).

when i send out mail to multiple friends, i put my address in the To: line, and put their addresses in the Bcc: line. i have had too many people get my address from the begats that show up when people forward things without cleaning them up first (that's something else that i do. can't stand the begats; drives me nuts.), then i get mail from people i have never heard of or don't know. don't need it, either.

it just seems to me that there should be some consistency with what shows up in the address box, but i sure can't find it or figure it out; maybe all y'all can. i'd appreciate any insight here as to how to make it work the way that i want it to, and think that it should.

as usual, for your help; i really appreciate it. until the next time, take care and God bless.


Take a look at BoilerBase, a search and indexing tool that can operate over Netscape mail files directly, or work as a POP3 interceptor, or... (it has almost too many options). Still "two worlds," though.

After nodding off in the OL Help files and Lounge search results (finding some cool stuff, but not what I was looking for). . .
Is there any way to set up Contact specific send options? I send far too many e-mails to consider setting all of them as high importance/request read receipt, but there are some I definitely need to send with those options (i.e. invoicing); the problem is that I don't always remember to do that. This is becoming a real issue for me, so any assistance is greatly appreciated.

Since there was a thread about Android and calendar / contact sync which has been followed quite vigourously, I thought that someone might be able to assist with my simple query.... I now know that the Samsung series will sync directly with my Outlook contacts and calendar - hooray! I don't have to migrate to Google calendars and such.

I currently have a Nokia N8 and am looking to get a new phone - I love it, but there are too many dropped calls or unsuccessful calls, so it's time to move on...

The Blackberry series does not work for me, as I am now so used to a touch phone...... also the screen size and camera just don't come up to what I expect.

I am therefore looking hard at the Samsung Android range - S2 and new S3. The one criteria that I really like about my N8 is that I can add a whole lot of individual e-mail accounts that I can check separately. So here are my questions that I can't find a specific answer to:

Will the Samsung support multiple e-mail accounts? (Pop3 or IMAP)
Will the Samsung do this without havign to combine everything into a GMAIL account?

Thanks for your help - it's much appreciated!

As the title says, I am having issued with the indexing. It will index many e-mails, but get stuck at some number (currently, that number is 7,329)

So i do "delete and rebuild index". the Indexing Options window freezes for a while, and then it unfreezes, with the status of "waiting to receive indexing status", and it stays like that.

So I restart my computer, and the indexing begins from zero... all is well and good until it gets to a certain point.

This was happening before, so i kept indexing less and less libraries, and by now, the only thing it would index was my e-mail. Then, it got stuck on my e-mail!

So what do I do? I want it to index my files, and my e-mail, but if i can't have both, let me at least have my e-mail indexed! I need it!

I have tried to see if it was corrupted data files, but that did nothing.
I did the registry change with the "setupcomplete" thing, but that did nothing.

The only other idea I had is that back when I had Windows 7 Release Candidate, the search worked flawlessly, so if I could get the dll files from the RC, i could try replacing my current ones, but I don't have an install for the RC. If anyone agrees with this as a possible solution, and could send me their srchadmin.dll file (if they have the RC), i would give it a try. My version is 7.0.7600.16385, and I believe the RC version (found from some web searches) is 7.00.7100.0. Maybe there is another file I need to replace too? OR SOMETHING BETTER THAN REPLACING .DLL's???
Honestly, I am out of ideas.

Here are the details of my computer:
Lenovo T61p
Type: B64-6457
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 @2.50 GHz
Ram: 3.00 GB
HDD: 160 GB

Outloow 2007 (12.0.6514.5000) SP2
Windows 7 Enterprise (i go to RPI, so they gave us images of the Enterprise edition as part of our laptop program. it is basically identical to ultimate, but with a special group licensing)

Thanks for your help!

I am using the Send Object command to send selected reports using GroupWise in Novell Network. The following statement is used to attach a report to GroupWise email and send it to specific user. There could be anywhere from 1 to 300 e-mail sent at a any one time.

DoCmd.SendObject acReport,
"rptDataEntryCheckToEmail", _
"SnapshotFormat(*.snp)", strTo, _
strCC, "", strSubject, strBody, False, ""

This works great, however, when the user clicks Email command button "Choose Profile" dialogue box pops up. The dialogue box defaults to "Novel Default Settings" and all the user has to do is click OK button to continue.

The dialogue box is only displayed once regardless of how many records the SendEmail function are processed or how many e-mails are sent to various email addresses.

The problem with "Choose Profile" dialogue box is the fact that same users click Email button and walking away thinking the process is going to take a long time so they may as well do something else in the mean time. However, if the user walks away too quickly the user may not click OK when "Choose Profile" dialogue box pops up.

The email function takes anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes to process filtered records and send e-mail remainders to selected people. If the user does not click OK button when prompted by "Choose Profile" dialogue box, he or she comes back later to find that "Choose Profile" dialogue box is still there waiting for someone to click OK button.

At that stage the user gets really angry with the &%&^ programmer who didn't program the application to automatically send e-mails without the $%^ dialogue box coming up in the first place.

As the programmer in the firing line I am begging anyone to tell me how to use DoCmd.SendObject without "Choose Profile" dialogue box coming up at all. Help, users of this application are after blood (my blood). Any help will be greatly appreciated.


Share with Buzz (but hopefully not too much)

By Scott Mace

In their headlong drive to steal some of Facebook's thunder, Microsoft and Google incorporate some highly questionable social-networking features into their popular e-mail services.

Google's Buzz comes under the most fire, with many privacy experts and Internet users deeply concerned that it plays fast and loose with personal privacy. There are some important facts all Gmail users should know.The full text of this column is posted at (opens in a new window/tab).

Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

Ladies and Gents,

When it comes to email I'm a user, not a techie, so this forum is the best resource I know of for help with this problem.

I have both a personal domain and a business domain with the same hosting company ( -- might be relevant, might not). There are multiple mailboxes associated with each domain. For what it's worth, my websites and blogs are also hosted on

Naturally, I use shared servers; the cost for a dedicated server is way out of line both for the value and for my finances. However, this also means I'm subject to the vagaries of the various spam services who go strictly by IP address to determine whether a sender is a spammer.

Neither my business nor the organizations I volunteer for can tolerate email that's not delivered because someone else on the same server might be a spammer. Comcast is the most notorious for delaying and eventually rejecting delivery, but there are others as well.

I doubt that I'm being identified as a spammer; aside from 1 message I just had to send to roughly 200 members of one organization (which I broke into bunches of 10 addresses at a time), at most I send monthly messages to groups with as many as (gasp!) 26 members. Thus, I suspect the problem is, as noted above, someone else on the same server.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get my emails delivered reliably? This isn't a constant problem, but it happens far too often.

In a fast paced world, three years after Windows 7, Microsoft’s upcoming successor OS, Windows 8 remains a hard sell. Does that mean it is not worthy of the buzz and hype?

Browse a tech magazine lately? Check out a news site about technology? Chances are, you will read something about Windows 8. Just two weeks ago, Microsoft released the Consumer Preview for Windows 8. It hasn’t even hit store shelves yet, and people are already complaining. This is nothing new in tech circles: Everyone is resistant to change. Sometimes, that resistance to change can be helpful, and even good feedback for developers. Other times, it can result in a shouting match that just remains unwinnable. But like many things, thinking in absolutes is often deconstructive, and seldom objective. Business men and women will judge Windows 8 with business acumen; savoring each bit of financial data and sales indicators to prove a point about the new system. Decision-makers in IT circles will look at security and reliability before weighing in with a more structured cost-benefit analysis that deals in infrastructure. Home users are likely to place more value on aesthetics, performance, and ease-of-use as major factors in the upgrade model.

It is the middle of the month: March 15, 2012 to be precise. It is hard to believe that already three years have gone by since the release of Windows 7. Many IT business people, including server administrators, are just starting to become acclimated with the Windows 7 client environment, its off-shoot productivity software, and the Windows Server 2008 family of products, including Windows Server 2008 R2. In one worldview, short and steady wins the race. While more tech savvy companies clearly saw the benefit of migrating quickly upon release, many SMBs, mid-range companies, and home users remain in a Windows XP limbo – either due to the economic mess that most of the world is dealing with, budgetary constraints, or simply a lack of knowledge about how to port all of their important data over to a Windows 7-based network. But as time has gone on, these groups are a minority, for as much as is known. While much of the third world may still be using Windows XP, and even older systems, it is difficult for that data to be chomped up and read by skeptics and true-believers. In agrarian, rural, and largely undeveloped lands, Internet access still remains a commodity that is seldom traded, and where mobile phone companies continue to make inroads.

Back here in the west, the difference is noticeable in how a company conducts its business, especially when you walk into one running Windows XP and Server 2003. It is not uncommon to see pending Windows Updates on every workstation, versus an up-to-date Windows 7 network. If the IT tasks are outsourced, how that time is spent, and for what purpose, will likely face scrutiny and prioritization. For instance, the administration of an important database may take precedence over the application of client operating system updates. Many system administrators may simply ignore, or be unaware of, the capability of domain controllers and file servers to push out updates across the internal network using WSUS. In many offices, however, you will be likely to find a hybrid network. With a lack of EOL policy and strategy, many businesses end up with certain departments stuck between Windows XP and Windows 7, and that difference takes place when they purchase new hardware – not due to a timetable, but out of necessity. A hybrid network of these systems is not exactly the best medicine for either a business or group of home users who rely on their Windows computer systems day-to-day activities, but it may be better than nothing.

A Trip to Seattle: Home to 90’s Alternative Music, Starbucks Coffee, and Microsoft
On April 1, 2011, I received the Microsoft MVP award for Windows Expert – Consumer. It was a real treat to know that Microsoft had recognized my contributions in the form of setting up forum websites and participating in them. I was certainly very thankful for the award, and presumably happy to know that I could continue to do what I do best, as that is why I received it. I wasn’t the first to be recognized by Microsoft for my contributions to my own website: Ross Cameron (handle: kemical) became one of our first Microsoft MVP’s. One of our former members, Greg (handle: cybercore), had contributed thousands of helpful posts on and was nominated. As time went by, we were fortunate enough to see other MVP’s join our website, including Shyam (handle: Captain Jack), Pat Cooke (handle: patcooke), Bill Bright (handle: Digerati), and Ken Johnston (handle: zigzag3143). These people are experts in their field and genuinely reflect an attitude of altruism towards people. Such traits are hard to find, especially over the Internet, and in a field that is driven by individual competitiveness that forces group cohesion as a necessity. I started communicating with one MVP as a result of a disagreement, but have since gained an enormous amount of respect for her: Corrine Chorney, the owner of SecurityGarden. When I made a video that contained an error or two, about ESET Smart Security, I was suddenly contacted by a fellow MVP: Aryeh Goretsky. These types of people live and breathe technology, and thus, even having a brief e-mail exchange can be a breath of fresh air. It becomes recognizable and clear to me that Microsoft’s selection process and choices for those who receive this award is hardly based on pure number crunching, but on gauging a person’s enthusiasm and demonstrated expertise in a field. Understanding how that translates to a much broader audience is compelling. To me, this is a good thing, as it shows that even one of the world’s most successful corporations, in this case Microsoft, perhaps in one of the few acts of selflessness that one could expect from a multi-national corporation, finds customers who have made a mark in information technology and celebrates that. I become hopeful that they recognize the countless others who make contributions on a day-to-day basis. With half a dozen certifications under my belt, and nearly a decade and a half of experience, I am but one person. And for every Microsoft MVP I have met, their dialogue always translated into real energy and enthusiasm. How many countless others have not received an award, or merit, for helping someone “fix their box”? I suspect that number is in the millions. This in no way belittles the award, because to me, such an award really is about helping others.

Often times helping others is giving someone your opinion: even if your opinion runs contrary to running a system consisting purely of Microsoft software. One example is Windows Live: I have a fundamental disagreement about how I chose to use Windows Live, and whether or not I want Windows Live Services embedded into my operating system experience: something that home users with Microsoft-connected accounts will notice almost immediately upon starting the OS. I do not, in any way, undervalue the development of these services, or their potential market value to consumers. I simply have a difference of opinion. And this should no way diminish someone’s ability to receive an award. I am not an employee or pitch man for Microsoft products, but someone who conveys his own thoughts and expertise in that area. To me, the award would have little value if I was expected to tout the benefits of using Microsoft Security Essentials over a paid anti-malware suite. I think that even the developers of the software themselves would take exception to misinformation. And to Microsoft’s credit, they have asked me nothing of the sort. To me, that is a fundamental sign of an award that encourages community participation and expertise in a given area of technology, from a company that is now expected to set standards on the world stage.

Not everyone made it to this summit: For many of them Redmond, WA is far, far away. For me, living in New York, that also rings true. But it sure are the people who make it worthwhile – even when you’ve never met them in person, the way they behave and conduct themselves, towards you, speaks volumes. And so I’ve learned a lot from every Microsoft MVP that I have met – both online and off; in a five minute conversation, or a fifteen hundred word e-mail.

During the Microsoft MVP Global Summit in the Seattle-Bellevue-Redmond area, I had the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting and eclectic groups of people in information technology that I’ve encountered in years. Truly, the revolution taking place around technology in Seattle, and its famous campus grounds located at 1 Microsoft Way in Redmond, is in no way limited to laboratories that are seldom, if ever, open to the public. Quite to the contrary, acclimating with Microsoft’s extensive community of worldwide supporters and individual contributors doesn’t just result in hearing success story after success story (although that is fun too). Of the thousands of people invited to the event, from all over the world, including Japan, Asia, Indochina, North America, Brazil, and the world at large, I found myself welcomed by a remarkable group of individuals. These men and women were of no traditional demographic one would think of – in fact quite the opposite was at hand. At 29 years old, I met kids younger and more successful than myself, who had generated their own start-up firms. I also met much older men and women, who witnessed the transformative nature of technology and got involved, one way or the other. These men and women came from all walks of life, but I am reminded, in particular, of a few of them I met who had a real impact on me. As someone who had come so far to be a part of this event, I did feel uneasy knowing that I was there alone. The individuals I met at the summit were polite, courteous, helpful, and informative. It was not difficult to see why they are considered experts in their field.

Whether the issue for them was something simple, like MP3 players like Zune, the Xbox, MS SQL, or the Microsoft Windows family of client and server products, this entire network of community supporters really outlined why Microsoft continues to have far-reaching success around the world. The level of enthusiasm for their technologies is clear, concise, and breaks down the traditional barriers of race, color, nationality, and gender inequality.

At that summit, I was witnessing not just what technology would be capable of doing in the future, but as a first timer, I got to see with my own eyes what it had done for just about every participant I was able to strike up a conversation with. Having been severely jet-lagged and exhausted from my trip, I travelled all the way from New York City to Seattle-Tacoma airport in a few hours. Having travelled, for the first time, outside of my own time zone, suspended at 38,000 feet in the air, I found myself dizzy, drowsy, and often times downright sick once I got off the airplane. It was something really unfamiliar to me, but in a way, strange thoughts began to fill my head. I realized that in Seattle, it nearly almost always rains once per day. There is certainly less sunlight there than in New York. Perhaps this lack of sunlight had inadvertently made people more likely to turn on a computer and create some kind of innovative programming. It was a silly thought, but staring at the horizon in the distance, I could not help but think about Mount Rainier, Lake Washington, and the land I was now interconnected with. In many cases a landmark home to science fiction, Seattle’s own Space Needle is a national treasure. A marvel of all aerodynamic ingenuity west of the Mississippi River valley, the Space Needle is essentially a giant UFO-shaped tower that is capable of housing restaurants, sight-seeing tours, and shines a giant beam of light that was part of the original design, but was only recently added.

Perhaps, I thought to myself, this is how the term “cloud computing” had caught on. With a lack of major sunlight ever permeating this area, to my knowledge, and with rain and humidity always on the horizon in a constant lake effect, it suddenly made sense to me how the area had become famous for its murky alternative rock grunge music in the 1990’s, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the evangelical computer programmers, and a number of activities, like concerts and music performances, that are usually held in-doors! In a way, it all made sense to me now, and I spent a great majority of my time taking in the sights, sounds, and hospitality of an entirely different area of the country. The most populous city in the northern United States is also home and origin to Starbucks. It all began to make sense to me that it would be here, more than anywhere else in the USA, that they would need fresh coffee beans from Jamaica available at a moment’s notice. And as humorous and sophomoric as that may read, I still think there is some truth to this.

This summit was my first experience with my Microsoft MVP award for Windows IT Expert – Consumer on the road. It was certainly a bumpy ride, and I did not take advantage of all of the event activities I could have. Windows product group experts and Microsoft employees were available, nearly from the break of dawn to the dark hours of night, to provide on and off-campus sessions to enthusiastic individuals. Looking back, the path was worthwhile. While most of the people I met had embedded themselves in this event for many years, I was certainly a newcomer. Determined to act the part, I tried my best to overcome the massive jetlag I had encountered, and vowed to myself to never eat sushi after getting off of a six hour flight again. Who could not be anxious when arriving in such a foreign place compared to the east coast of the USA? I have certainly flown and driven up and down that area most of my life, visiting nearly all of the north and south, but I had no idea what to expect near Redmond. An acquaintance of mine from Los Angeles was able to help me deal with the insomnia and time difference that comes with this type of travel, and she probably helped me in a way that she still doesn’t know – all from a few text messages. I am constantly reminded that technology itself has made us all interconnected, no matter where we are. At the Microsoft MVP Global Summit, what I did find were individuals, many of whom who had a certain selflessness about them, and a desire, above all things, to learn more, experience more, and help even more.

Upon immediately striking up a conversation with anyone at the event, it was absolutely easy to see how these men and women achieved recognition of excellence from Microsoft. While many young people who attended the event had created innovative ways to help others by setting up websites or studying the inner-workings of the Microsoft entertainment platform, others had been part of the commercial information technology circles and big businesses that have changed the environment of the Internet. I even caught a glimpse of two individuals who appeared to be working for a former web host that one of my websites was hosted on. These businesses, powered by ingenious individuals, have swept the Internet. And while many people appeared to be there as part of a corporately backed package, it was clear to me that most others had made a name for themselves by creating their own platform for innovation and success. Most important, and pronounced to me, was that each and every person there reached that point through acts of selflessness -- for helping others. In each and every instance, you could go around the area and know that you were surrounded by people who could speak your language: whether that be ASPX, XML, C, PHP, JavaScript, or BBCode. While a person there from Asia may not have had any comprehension of what I was talking about if he did not speak English, if I showed him Process Monitor in Windows, I could probably communicate with him on some technical level.

To contrast that, I came home to an environment back in New York where the Windows 8 Consumer Preview had just been released. It was no surprise to me that Windows 8 had been getting some slag for replacing the Windows Start Orb and Start Menu with the Metro User Interface (Metro UI). Windows 8 still has some major feature improvements going for it. This early in the game, there is no question that many of these features have likely gone undocumented, exist under-the-hood, or simply have not reached a stage in development that was acceptable for the Consumer Preview. First, it is important to note that the Consumer Preview is as much of a beta release for public testing as it is a marketing tool for Microsoft. When we examine how this has been released to the public, it is not hard for me to conclude that it is also a way to gauge public reaction to the first serious and inherent differences to the way the Microsoft Windows GUI has been presented – ever. Other operating system releases have taken the idea of the Start Menu and added search capabilities and refined a core concept. Slowly, but surely, we see an improvement that has occurred over time, with the look and feel of Windows remaining consistent over the ages.

The Consumer Preview Was Released To Test Your Reaction; Not Just The OS

In fact, this is a public release of Microsoft Windows to appear in limelight, in what is essentially a beta (and presumably near release candidate stage), with some features either completely omitted or broken. But not all is lost for Windows 8. There are some under-the-hood changes that show promise. I am not a Windows developer or programmer (most of my tinkering involves Linux, C, HTML, PHP, and JavaScript), but I can start to appreciate the level of changes that are being made on a core level as I get more time to become acquainted with this system and allow various whitepapers and documents to enter my lexicon.

Those looking to upgrade, or who will receive the upgrade already as part of a plan, like Microsoft VLK Software Assurance, will reap some benefits by making the upgrade to Windows 8. Businesses that have been around long enough will be familiar with creating and following a comprehensive End of Life (EOL) cycle plan. Such plans are usually coordinated between an enterprise administrative team that manages the day-to-day changes of internal certificate authorities, domain controllers, and mail servers. This group usually (and hopefully) has the training and forethought necessary to look at the official Microsoft release timetable, as well as the support for commonly used hardware and software. Assessments can be made to better understand how, where, when, and why this software and hardware is deployed, and under what conditions it is upgraded or phased out entirely. Not only does this level of planning bring clarity to what could otherwise become a source of enormous administrative overhead, but it also helps to mitigate the risk associated with allowing systems to continue running under-the-radar and without proper security auditing. Under such a scenario, businesses may choose to have their internal IT department perform network-wide audits of all systems. It is an affordable alternative to bringing in an outside specialist, and comparisons with Microsoft’s official support timetable can help make the transition to new hardware and software – as well as what comes with that -- such as training and significant infrastructure investment -- a more conceivable possibility.

Home users can depend on a much more simple approach, and that is to monitor requirements needed for tasks like school, work, and entertainment, while keeping up-to-date with Microsoft’s in-band and out-of-band security patches. As mentioned previously, Microsoft already publishes a roadmap to indicate when mainstream support, and even updates, will be terminated for their operating systems. Combining all of these ideas together, it is not unreasonable to come to a conclusion that one can continue using Windows 7 for a few more years without much difficulty. When the time comes, an upgrade will be made easy, as the large system manufacturers and independent system builders will, no doubt, bundle OEM copies of the system after RTM (“release-to-manufacturer”). On the side, one could begin to upgrade a small office or a home network with new computers when the need arises, in order to take advantage of the new feature set that is sure to be setting a precedent going forward.

Very large enterprise networks usually already make use of proprietary, custom software and hardware. Those businesses can begin the transition planning in phases, and will have access to fully licensed Microsoft support personnel who work in the corporate sales division of the company. Those resources can be accessed by standard enterprises (approx. 200 clients systems) and by mid-range offices (approx. 50-200 client systems) using Microsoft Gold Certified Partner program members that also specialize in employee training, resource management, and all-inclusive maintenance plans. Even a few well-trained and certified IT consultants and managers could handle a migration and post-migration scenario with the right level of planning and funding.

Stay positive, here is some deductive reasoning as to why not all is lost, and how the feature improvements that Windows 8 customers will benefit from may actually start to appear after the OS hits store shelves. (The kind of stuff that may not be readily apparent in the incomplete Consumer Preview version):

Virtualization Scores A Win

Hyper-V Virtualization included in Windows 8 will allow you to take your computing experience to the next level. If you are not entirely enticed by the prospect of running Windows 8, or still have a co-dependent relationship with legacy applications, Hyper-V will be sure to help you in that area; much like Microsoft Virtual PC brought Windows XP onto the desktop for many Windows 7 users. While Hyper-V isn’t about to take the throne away from VMWare’s line of virtualization products just yet, especially Workstation and ThinApp, expect to see the inclusion of Hyper-V as an experience that has the potential to compartmentalize the installation of applications – even really old ones. With Hyper-V and Metro as platforms likely to be directly controllable and manageable from Windows Server 8, IT admins can rejoice at the concept of virtualizing what is left of the desktop – and preventing inappropriate use of computer system resources at work. With full control of Metro and Hyper-V under Active Directory, system management is about to get a whole lot easier. Windows 8 fits as the one OS that office managers can control directly from Windows Server 8 without remorse. Limiting access to the desktop will reduce headaches for employees who may only be obligated to launch specific company-approved Metro apps.

Metro: The User Interface Revolution
Metro UI will not be alien to anyone who is old enough to remember Microsoft Encarta, or to any youngster who has already owned a Windows Phone. I still remember using Microsoft Encarta’s slick navigation system to look up John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address. This was one of the first times I saw decent video footage in an encyclopedia. Back in those days, everyone was on dial-up, and an encyclopedia like Encarta was the be-all and end-all of factoid finding for non-academics and kids still in grade school. So expect Metro-powered applications, programmed in C++, C#, HTML, JavaScript, and even VisualBasic. This programming platform, dubbed, Windows Runtime or WindowsRT for short, is object-oriented and just getting started. With enough knowledge of HTML and JavaScript, many people out there with limited knowledge of C++ could create some pretty snazzy object-oriented apps that make use of jQuery and YUI hosted over the web. With the launch of the Windows App Store, don’t be surprised to see some amazing third party apps put long-time industry staples to shame. Once you start looking into the development platform for Metro, then you start to realize that it isn’t just a gimmick for touch screen users. Ostensibly, a great deal of time developing the .NET Framework is about to pay off, in bundles, for everyone who starts using Metro.

Gamers Not Doomed; HID Development Pushed Forward by Windows 8 OS
Gamers likely won’t be left out of the picture. Metro apps are designed to run in full screen, and as all hardcore gamers know, most high intensity games actually throw you into full-screen mode any way. The difference is likely to be negligible, but who wouldn’t like a concise way to manage all entertainment software and keep it running in the background every once in a while? Single player games that enter the market as instant classics like TES: Skyrim could suddenly appear more interactive in the future. Don’t be surprised to see some form of Windows 8 incorporated into the next version of Xbox (Xbox 720?) with DirectX 11 support. It would be nice to see cross-compatibility with the Xbox and Windows PC. Imagine if you could run any console game on a PC and vice versa: Now that kind of unification would prevent a lot of people from buying all those Media Center extenders and going wild on home entertainment systems. Only time will tell how far Microsoft will take us down the rabbit hole. For gamers, that is a great thing.

Multi-monitor and multi-touch support will bring Windows 8 to tablets and phones like never before with certified Metro applications that are programmed for Windows Runtime (WindowsRT). Expect a lot to happen in how we use our desktop and laptop systems. While major advancements in human interface devices are years away, it appears to be one of the major cornerstones of IBM Research and Microsoft Research. Unification across platforms is a recipe for redundancy, but in the case of sensitive data, redundancy is a very good thing. We want to be able to access our office files from home and our home files from the office, without necessarily having to do cartwheels with third party software. The integration of SkyDrive, and ultimately, shell extensions for third-party apps like Dropbox, is a given. Microsoft is never going to take over the cloud-hosted backup market, but they could pull off a pretty neat way of sharing, updating, and collaborating on projects between tablets, phones, desktops, laptops, game consoles, and more. Kinect for Windows is going to be scoffed at in the beginning, but once everyone has such a device linked up to their monitor, moving your hand around to change the active Window on your computer isn’t going to be that bad of a trade-off. In 2009, I gave a speech to a number of people in the public sector about what I saw as the cornerstone for future technology. That presentation included the fact that a device like the SmartBoard would be obsolete within five years’ time, due to the decreasing price of touch screen computers, and the ability for computing devices to detect human movement. While it didn’t go over well with the locals, it is happening, right now. That is something to be excited about. Whatever touch screen advancements Microsoft introduces with Windows 8 will once again push the hardware market to accommodate the software. This means all sorts of new human interface devices are already in development, even from third parties (see: Google Goggles/Google Glasses as one superlative example).

A New World for Software and Hardware Development

It’s not just a Microsoft world: Software companies, game studios, and all sorts of IT companies depend on the reliability and performance of Microsoft products and services, even when their customers aren’t in Microsoft Windows. This happens whenever an e-mail passes through an Exchange server, or a large database is designed for interoperability between a metadata retrieval system and Microsoft Access. Companies that specialize in document management, database administration, and even brand marketing will reap massive benefit from an interface that contains a display mechanism that has the potential to plot and chart raw data into something visually understandable. For example, if I tell you we ordered a hundred pizzas, each consisting of eight slices, and we only have 10 minutes to finish 25 slices, you’re going to wonder how many pizzas we have left. Once data entry software, even stuff that was initially designed with a Mac in mind, is designed for Metro, we’re not just going to be able to see how many pizza slices we have left – we may have the option to order some extras, or watch other people eat the ones left in 10 minutes. It’s that kind of world we’re delving into. We don’t see how great Metro can be: Only because software companies known for their great innovative capabilities like Google and Apple are just getting started on WindowsRT and Metro. This stuff is not going away, and when all the great innovator’s in the world get involved, we’re going to see sparks fly off the third rail.

Negativity Bias
Many people who try the Windows Consumer Preview may be inexperienced with running beta software. And when your whole operating system is a big chunk of bugs, in many cases unbranded, and in some cases feature incomplete, there is going to be a heck of a lot to complain about. I admit that I’m one of them. Take a look at my post about Windows 8 being a platform to sell Windows Live connected services. Well, of course that is what Windows 8 is, but it has the potential to be much more. Studies show us that, on average, people tend to remember a negative outcome 2.5x more than they do a good one. That means you’re 2.5 times more likely to remember when you got a bad haircut then when you got a good one. You’re 2.5 times more likely to dwell on the day you lost your job, than you are to remember the years you spent at the very same job when you contributed an enormous amount of productivity to the company’s bottom line. You’re 2.5 times more likely to remember that turbulence on the airplane. It was unbearable for ten minutes, and now you’re 2.5 times less likely to remember the time you struck up a great conversation with someone on that long flight. You’re 2.5x more likely to remember that woman or man who rejected you on that first date then you are to remember the laughs you shared going into the restaurant. This negativity bias is something we usually learn about in the first or second year of undergraduate psychology, but very few of us even remember or know what it is. In general, your body is trained to remember when bad things happened more than good things, and actually dwell on it. It is truly a response from the Stone Age, and is a very healthy response. It keeps you in balance. But in today’s high tech and demanding world, it can be taken too far.
So yes, we can look at Windows 8 and positively say, “Maybe this thing won’t be so bad. Maybe I can learn it, and enjoy it.”

The True Test: Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts?

Don’t forget that Windows 8 will include a Start on Demand model for all system-related services. For years, I found myself sending Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 customers to a web page called Black Viper ( This site contained detailed guides on how to configure your Windows operating system to use as few services as absolutely necessary. That site became especially popular during the Windows Vista release. Essentially, the site goes through every single service running on your system and will tell you, not only what the default start setting is for it, but how best to optimize it to suit your needs. If you were trying to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the operating system, without much care for its ability to perform certain operations, you could always use BlackViper’s “Service Configurations” lists to decide whether or not it was safe to make sure that something like the Distributed Link Tracking Client service or the World Wide Web Publishing Service could be completely disabled or not. If I haven’t lost you on this one, Microsoft has come up with a novel solution that is sure to improve your experience with Windows 8, and that is by using “Start on Demand”. Under Start on Demand, when Windows 8 needs a service, it launches it – only when. So that, in and of itself, will save resources. And when we look at what is coming up with memory deduplication, we are looking at true advancement in operating system performance at its most basic level.

Yes, the Consumer Preview is flawed, but for all its flaws, let us all think about these things and realize that the best is yet to come for an operating system ahead of its time.

I have reserved a great deal of time not passing judgement on Windows 8, but so far I am not as enthused as, perhaps, I should be. This is not to say that I have given up on Windows 8, but for me, the Consumer Preview just isn't doing it. The main problem, of course, for me, and I suspect many others, is not so much the lack of Start Orb, but the Metro UI itself. Please allow me to explain:

Is Windows 8 a service, a product, or both?

I have discussed this quite entangling issue to some length with others in confidence, and have found myself to be disappointed with Metro UI. Some concerns that I see myself and others having is the Metro UI as a service platform for Windows Live. It is clear to me that this is likely the reason that Metro UI has been embedded into the operating system. While its usability is no doubt optimized for touch screens and next generation human interface devices, I find myself frustrated with the pre-installed applications in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. In fact, I find myself quite annoyed, and in some cases, startled by what happens when you link your Windows Live ID to Microsoft Windows 8.

In Microsoft Windows 98 SE, upon launching Internet Explorer 5, one of the first screens a user saw was:

"Welcome to MSN Internet Access"
"Get fast, reliable Internet access and e-mail from Microsoft."

During that time, it was uncommon for someone to be on a LAN (local area network) using a router. A LAN would actually have to be manually set up, and so Microsoft attempted to use MSN as an Internet Service Provider to give you dial-up access to the Internet using a dial-up modem.

However, this terminology is telling to me. The issues with Active Desktop from the Windows 9x series of operating systems have not been lost on me. In this context, I am mindful of the fact that Microsoft has attempted to control the desktop, and did make an early bid to control and monetize on the Internet, from its early ages. This is not so much condemnation of Microsoft as it is a realization that Microsoft is a business: just like Google and Facebook.

But what was once seen as a massive attempt to take over the Internet by a corporation that controls the majority of the operating system market, now seems to be getting a welcome reception with bells and whistles from a new generation, corporations, media, and people planning on selling books off their review sites. Indeed, even Paul Thurrott threw me for a loop in one of his more recent reviews, when he concluded something like (paraphrase) "More soon... I have a book to write! (Windows 8 Secrets)".

I have always admired Paul, and his contributions with reviews and early access to Microsoft software. In fact, I have nothing against the guy. But it is true. He has a book to write. About all of the secrets of Windows 8. Much of that review was spent explaining what certain features do. And why they actually may be relevant. To me, this was a sharp departure from highlighting some of the improvements that could be found in the OS or talking about faster benchmarks and better ease of use. What I saw was a middle-of-the-road exploration of features that are so difficult to interpret or understand, even though they are deeply embedded into the operating system, that he has to go around telling you what they are for.

Most of the benchmarks performed on the CP show that there is a small performance blow in comparison to Windows 7, thus far. The system does not run any faster, but boot times have been expedited by code optimization. We have seen this before, with other Windows releases besides Windows 7. One major drag on the operating system seems to be battery usage. The results seem to be inconclusive in this realm, with one site showing better returns, and another site showing massive battery consumption compared to Windows 7. Even though memory deduplication is supposed to improve battery life, benchmarks show either less battery utilization, or much more.

Better Battery Life:
Hands on with Windows 8 CP: Battery life test | ITworld

Less Battery Life:
Windows 8 Consumer Preview: A Quick Look at Battery Life (Updated) | Your source for downloading popular benchmarks

Then there is the whole idea of interest in this OS:

windows 8 cp vs 7 vs xpsp3 benchmarks? - Neowin Forums

Huh? What is going on here? Where is the main interest in the system that we saw with the likes of Windows 7 and even Windows Vista? Windows Vista was a major flop for Microsoft, and it was released years after Windows XP. Still, it offered robust security, and was a step in the right direction for many of us. This is because Windows XP was released in October 2001, and something had to go in the right direction after so much time. Now, with Windows 7 only a couple years old, one is left to ask whether they even need a new operating system. With five years of time between Windows XP and Windows Vista, we still saw big manufacturers like Dell and HP offering downgrades to Windows XP - which many businesses took to save money, at their own peril. But Windows 7 offered something its predecessor, Windows Vista, could not offer. And that was performance on par with Windows XP, a much more slick look, and virtualization technology that would allow anyone with a fairly decent computer system to run, not just a legacy Windows XP application, but the entire Windows XP operating system, in a virtual machine inside Windows 7.

My first point was about Windows 8 as a service, and that is where I also run into some difficulty swallowing the results. Windows 8, when connected with a Windows Live account, seems to want to download your life from Facebook. The "People" Metro application runs a Facebook-based application that, with your consent, downloads all of your information from Facebook and syndicates it to your Windows Live page and Windows Live Messenger. It then uses that information to help you find your "people", by literally just taking all of the data off of your Facebook account. Then, your Windows Live status page becomes something of a Facebook clone. You can find even more people by performing the same task on LinkedIn, and presumably, in the future, all other services, perhaps maybe Google. But what if they let you link Google as well? Then, you can just access everything from "People", which is your Windows Live Messenger status page. What incentive do those other sites have to continue to develop their own social networking sites?

Next up was the product placement in Metro UI applications. When going to video, I found advertisements for popular television shows like The Walking Dead on AMC. It appears that you will eventually be able to purchase video content from this store, and watch videos on your computer. Where will this content come from? Microsoft, of course. This would not be a problem for me, if other services did not exist, like Netflix, for this very purpose. Then, going to Music doesn't show any advertisements just yet - but it does show a blank user library, where you can't add any music to it unless you go into the Desktop any way. Chances are this will be changed, but that doesn't discount the fact that over a decade of software development went into Windows Media Player, which has taken almost a dozen versions for any serious audiophile to even remotely take into consideration. Most will still jump over to iTunes, Winamp, and foobar. Does the Music app interact in some way with Windows Media Player? Is Windows Media Player being phased out? Is Microsoft going to offer its own music service now? We are left to try to figure this out.

You may be wondering where this is going. For me, any way, controlling the presentation means controlling the content. I am very pleased that services have been created like Steam for games and Spotify for music. With these programs, you are able to purchase music as a service. You are also able to purchase and download the full version of games. This software is fantastic, has its own interface, and offers remarkable service when you create an account. You are free to buy stuff, or never do that at all. You can take advantage of social networking within these services. But the great thing about these programs, in my opinion, has always been that you can install and uninstall them at your leisure. Thus, I ask the question, why can't Metro UI itself, just be an icon on the desktop, and a component of Windows that can be removed at any time? After testing the Windows Live features in the built-in Microsoft apps, I am left to make a conclusion I don't really want to make. That conclusion is that because Microsoft could not market social networking to the masses on par with Facebook or Google+, and because the company could not market their operating system to phones and tablets, they have decided to use forced obsolescence to make sure that everyone on the entire planet that buys a PC desktop or laptop computer, besides Linux users, will be forced to interact with their online services like Windows Live and Bing.

When I use the term forced obsolescence, I specifically state that Windows 8 is being designed to make Windows 7 obsolete - eventually. While the touch screen features are great, they seem to be an excuse for giving us a brand new version of Active Desktop. However, this time, everyone actually uses the Internet, and bandwidth/connection speed/throughput is no longer a major concern.

I am left to imagine an Internet where everyone who used a Microsoft Windows computer signed up for MSN Internet Access in Windows 98 and never bought a router. What if everyone in the world was OK with Microsoft placing advertisements for their own or preferred online services in all of their applications years ago? Well, you'd never have Facebook, Google, Yahoo, or a number of other companies. Everyone would be using MSN Search (Bing), Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Live Mail (Hotmail). I am reminded of America Online.

I have never really minded that Microsoft sells their online services to the world. Windows Live has always been something I considered a decent alternative to Google. However, I do have a problem with the operating system that I use also being designed directly to connect to a slew of services I do not use, and likely never will. This includes everything I listed above about Windows Live. This integration of applications that are dependent on Windows Live is a sharp contrast from Windows 7, and I, at least right now, would have major privacy issues divulging all of my Facebook information, online information, and handing it over to Windows Live. I like the fact that I can use multiple social networks, and that I have options. I use Windows Live for a variety of reasons, but I would never want it to be the only option on my phone. much less my desktop. I would want to be able to uninstall software applications associated with Live.

Because Microsoft controls the operating system market, they have decided to expand their business and compete in other areas. This includes gaming consoles, phones, and tablets. I have never taken issue with this, but I do take issue when these services are being bundled and forced down my throat in an OS release. I am reminded of how, on nearly every operating system installation I performed for years, I would have to be sure to remove the "Online Services" section from Microsoft Windows. These "Online Services" included America Online, AT&T WorldNet, CompuServe, and Prodigy.

Today, the desktop is being phased out. Many Windows 8 Consumer Preview users have found this to be a difficult issue to deal with. They claim they prefer the traditional desktop and Start Menu. I find that to be true, but for different reasons. At the click of a few buttons, in order to use the People app in Windows, Microsoft downloaded nearly the entire contents of my online Facebook account. They downloaded my data from LinkedIn. And they turned it into a Windows Live service. When I go to the Videos app, they're trying to sell me movies and TV shows when I already have Netflix. When I go to the desktop, I'm led to believe that the entire concept is a legacy feature. When I want to access a web browser, I don't want it to take up my entire screen and use 20% of my entire monitor to show me what my browser URL is. What happens when I actually need to do some real work? What happens when I need to bypass all of this junk?

For me, it will probably be easy. I have worked in IT and trained myself on how to get around almost anything. I have learned, over the years, what services are not essential on a Windows desktop, and how to install, manage, and maintain all kinds of different services. But for a person who is basic to intermediary with computers, they will never get passed Metro. They will have their content presented to them in a way Microsoft can control. And instead of the Internet being divided up into different areas operated by different corporations and public interest groups, it becomes very clear to me that Microsoft will showcase a heavy hand in controlling all online content, including multimedia, browsing, search, and social networking. Whereas before people didn't use their services because Google or Facebook may have had an edge, tomorrow people will be led to believe that this is much easier. With no off switch, Metro UI becomes a platform for delivering "online services" as part of the computing experience itself. And in so far that Microsoft could not put a dent in the multi-billion dollar online advertising network run by Google, or take advantage of the benefits of data mining that Facebook has had with their one billion users, they will now use their operating system platform to scoop up hundreds of millions, if not billions of new Windows Live members. To me, this matters.

While I have never had an issue with Google managing my e-mails and search, they also don't control the presentation of all the apps on my desktop. And while I may rely on their online services, I would never purchase an operating system released by them for just that reason. And that brings me back to Metro UI, and the reason why, at least right now, I can't tolerate it.

Here will be my test: If Windows 8 is even significantly slower or more resource intensive than Microsoft Windows 7, I will likely have no reason to upgrade. With a big magnifying glass being placed on my online presence through the integration of Windows Live into my operating system, I won't want to. If my computer boots a few seconds faster with Windows 8, I'll still breathe a sigh of relief that someone isn't trying to sell me zombie flicks directly on my desktop with no off switch.

I won't have as many privacy concerns as others will. If people were upset that Microsoft was going overboard with including Internet Explorer with their operating system, they will be infuriated by the massive takeover of the desktop with intrusive data-collecting applications that make up the Windows 8 Metro UI interface on install. While Microsoft was once a software development company that released products, they have now concerned themselves with maintaining a strong and marketable online presence on the web. They want people using their services on every phone, every gaming console, every desktop, every laptop, and every type of device in existence that uses a micro-processor. For me, this is overboard, and not what I'm interested in spending my money on.

I would have liked if Microsoft came out with an option for consumers: Pay a $100 annual subscription for feature improvements to the operating system. That is a service I would have been willing to buy. And under those circumstances, I'm willing to bet I'd be promptly allowed to uninstall Metro UI and delete the shortcut to it off my desktop; something that will never happen once you examine the changes that have been made between the Windows 8 Developer Preview and the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

When discussing the new OS with even some of the most technically minded individuals, a guy who designed a Skype app for Windows Phone before the official one was even announced, I found these types of comments:

"Im going to place a shortcut to shutdown.exe -s on my desktop. Although I have my power button assigned to turn it off too."

If that's not being "Vista'd" I don't know what is. But perhaps here are some other considerations:

If this is the most advanced operating system in the world, is it going to even detect whether or not you have a touch screen monitor, and adjust the situation to compensate?

As one other expert put it, why do you have to do "double-backflips" to shut it down?

If the Windows 8 installation asked if you wanted to install Metro UI, would the majority of desktop users currently say no?

Does the operating system showcase more opportunities to market Microsoft online services than it does actual improvements to productivity, usability, and computing power?

How come the only way to close an app is to hit ALT-F4 or CTRl-ALT-DEL, but the option to download TV shows seems to be fully developed? Is this thing like a hotel room menu or something?

Is this OS release inspired by a spur of new innovation or a desire to compete more directly with iOS, Android, Google, Facebook, and Apple?

Does Windows 8 outperform Windows 7?

I'd love to read your comments.

(These are my opinions and they do not reflect on anyone else here at They are subject to change, of course. Here's hoping Microsoft gets it right.)

I,m very new to this and have just ordered a new PC with Windows 7 to arrive in about 10 days. I have a good 18" LG1810B monitor and although I have tried to research the question - cannot find the answer.

Is it possible to retain the old monitor and have the new Samsung SM-2443BW 24" as the main monitor and have the LG as a second monitor. Also is it possible to have different images on each, for instance, showing a powerpoint on say the LG and continue using the main screen for something else?

If I need additional hardwaer in the PC, I could ask Chillblast to add it in beforet is shipped, so an answr back soon would be appreciated, or e-mail to

I,m not too technically minded so please explain details if possible.

Many thanks


I want to transfer some pics (about 300 - 400) to my Girls computer... without sending them through e-mail and stuff like that. There Has to be a way to hook our laptops via a USB cord, but... Ive seen TOO many variations of male/male.. male/female.. this n that n the other thing, I just don't know what USB cables i need. Any Help would be Greatly Appreciated !!

Hi everyone, I have problem with size of fonts in some applications. For example in Mozzila Thunderbird i have very small fonts on message body. It is not caused by setup of Thunderbird!

The same problem i have in print preview in some application. Fonts in preview are just 50%.

Thank you for your advices.

Jindrich Attached Thumbnails   Share Share this post on Digg Technorati Twitter
Reply With Quote .postbitlegacy .postfoot .textcontrols a.post_info_button, .postbit .postfoot .textcontrols a.post_info_button { background: url(/images/post_infobox.png) no-repeat transparent left; padding-left: 20px; } .postbitlegacy .postfoot .textcontrols a.post_info_button:hover, .postbit .postfoot .textcontrols a.post_info_button:hover { background: url(/images/post_infobox-hover.png) no-repeat transparent left;   JavaScript must be enabled 04-28-2010 #2 Mike Administrator Welcome to Windows 7 Forums!  
Join Date Jul 2005 Age 30 Posts 3,761 Blog Entries63 The font sizes you are seeing are dependent on the size defined by the HTML of the e-mail. If you cannot find an option to enlarge the font size in Thunderbird, try using Windows Key + and - in Windows 7 to make use of the magnifier for hard to read e-mails.

The problem of difficult to read font size is the result of monitor resolution changes taking place. While many users are now using high resolution, hi-definition monitors, some are still using older, low resolution monitors. This has resulted in a disparity that requires many publishers to display their content with a smaller font, in order to accomodate words that would appear too large on the screen.

The majority of Internet users are still not using hi-definition, high resolution monitors, but this number is growing, resulting in disproportioned content. It is recommended that you make use of the program's own magnification abilities, and the larger and smaller font sizes under Display Properties. When that is not possible, it is recommended that you use the magnifier option in Windows.

I clicked on the download link in my e-mail to download the manager to get windows 7 and when i did this i got an error message telling me unable to connect to the download site, please try again later. so i closed internet explorer and tried again in firefox, and go the error message

Too many download attempts: 16. You were allowed to download only 10 times.

If you have any questions, please contact Digital River Customer Service at

I have only tried to download it 4 times, and it will not let me. Does anyone have a solution to this? I have been waiting for 45 minutes for a response from digital rivers customer support.

BH Landscape

Next week, many of us here will be heading down to Las Vegas for Black Hat. The MSRC, and other teams in Microsoft, have been attending Black Hat for years. In fact, we've been sponsoring the show for the last eight years-the last five as a platinum sponsor. Some might ask why? It's funny, I can actually remember back in my days as an officer protecting networks in the U.S. Air Force, questioning why Microsoft had such a presence at the show. As much as I'd like to say it's because of the weather (after all, most of us are over here in the rainy Northwest), or because it's the largest security conference out there (it's not), or even better, because we so look forward to getting our next Pwnie Award-the truth is it's none of the above. Well, maybe just a bit on the Pwnie. But the reality is that to us, Black Hat has always been a reflection of, and driven by, the community-likeminded people from all walks of life and professions with a shared interest in advancing the state of security. They come together to share ideas, advance thinking, network and collaborate, and ultimately learn from one another. We feel connected to that and always look forward to being a part of it.

So with the show fast approaching, I've taken some time to reflect on where the Microsoft Security Response Center is currently and where we see ourselves going with respect to security. Specifically, I've been thinking a lot about three areas: 1) our work to address vulnerabilities in our software, 2) our work with the security community and 3) our philosophy on vulnerability disclosure. Given the fact that each of these topics have recently garnered interest and fueled discussion in the community and media, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Vulnerabilities and Time to Fix

Some will say that we take too long to fix our vulnerabilities. But it isn't all about time-to-fix: Our chief priority with respect to security updates is to minimize disruption to our customers and to help protect them from online criminal attackers. These customers own and operate a diverse ecosystem of nearly a billion systems worldwide. It's humbling to think about the responsibility this entails and yet we embrace the challenge. Even in the face of that, our overall track record shows the window of vulnerability is being reduced and we have additional plans to improve.

The Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) receives more than 100,000 e-mail messages per year at - that's nearly 275 per day or 11 per hour. This is filtered down to approximately 1,000 legitimate investigations per year. Once a vulnerability has been confirmed, a comprehensive examination is undertaken to ensure that the reported vulnerability is addressed, other vulnerabilities that might exist in related code are identified and addressed, and no new vulnerabilities or bugs are introduced during this process.

But why don't we commit to fixed timelines? Because it is important to consider the overall customer risk when focusing on updating software for security issues. Most security updates released by the MSRC will be rapidly deployed to hundreds of millions of systems worldwide helping to protect customers from attacks in a very short timeframe. And the software being updated is being used by hundreds of thousands of applications on all sorts of hardware in all sorts of scenarios. So it is imperative that the update has been rigorously engineered and tested in order to avoid creating any type of disruption to these systems. During this time, the MSRC monitors for signs that the vulnerability, or variants, are being used in active attacks. The MSRC does this by using comprehensive telemetry systems as well as data and information provided by customers and partners around the world, and the rest of the industry. This approach helps Microsoft balance between the potential urgency of releasing an update for a particular vulnerability and ensuring high confidence that the update will address the vulnerability, all of its variants and maintain the functionality and stability that customers expect from the affected products.

Many times the issue that the finder reported is an indication of other similar vulnerabilities in that area of code. And the original issue may not be the most complicated, or even the most likely to get used in attacks. Microsoft tries to address vulnerabilities and all of their variants in as few updates as possible because they cost enterprise customers time, effort and money to re-assess and deploy multiple updates for issues that could potentially be addressed in a single update. The time it takes to complete a comprehensive examination helps to ensure the number of security updates Microsoft releases and needs to re-release is kept to a minimum, thus reducing the costs and potential disruption to enterprise customers' operations. Due to the increase in quality that Microsoft has achieved over the last five years, some enterprise customers deploy security updates with little or no testing, and hundreds of millions of consumers continue to use the Automatic Update client on their systems to ensure that they stay protected automatically.

For the majority of issues, we are able to release high quality and comprehensive security updates to customers well before any indication of attacks, and well before they are disclosed publicly. However, there are exceptions. In some cases attacks result, and when that happens, we have to compress testing to release updates quickly. Also, when there are attacks, we release workarounds in days that can block these attacks even without the updates. Usually these take the form of a "FixIt" that can protect customers with one click or be easily deployed throughout the enterprise.

However, there are cases that take much longer. In fact, last year at Black Hat there was a security event dealing with a vulnerability in a library called "ATL" or "Active Template Library." That issue affected not only multiple Microsoft product versions, but also several 3rd party products and services. It took over a year to coordinate that release, and in the end, even the finders themselves understood and commented that with the complexity involved, taking over a year wasn't unreasonable. When seemingly simple security issues, such as a memory corruption bug, affect multiple different products, the coordination and calibration can drive longer timelines so no product, or customers of those products are left behind. And there have also been cases that are such deep architectural changes that they can take multiple years to fully resolve or may not be able to be resolved in some of our older products. Usually these issues result from new threats emerging that product designs or assumptions couldn't anticipate. Changing those assumptions for products that have been in market for several years does take time and coordination so customers and applications can work effectively with them.

Focusing on resolving security issues has and will always be a priority for us. And work to improve our processes will continue, but we must always strike a balance between timeliness and quality.

Working with the Security Community

The topic of how well Microsoft works with the security community is important to me personally, and to my team. Years ago, this was a very valid concern. I can remember being on the outside of Microsoft and watching researcher discussions noting how Microsoft wouldn't engage or was unresponsive. We've made dramatic changes on this front since the inception of Trustworthy Computing. At Microsoft we recognize, and appreciate, the unique value that security researchers play in identifying issues and helping the entire computing ecosystem improve from a security perspective. We also thank many in the community for their collaborative work over the years, and for nearly a decade we have demonstrated our commitment to working with them in an honest and transparent manner. We may not always agree on the severity and the amount of time it should take to develop and test an update that has to work with hundreds of millions of computers, but we do believe we're fair and open when working with researchers. It's not in our interest or the interest of our customers to behave any differently.

Throughout the years we've seen researchers saying that if vendors really valued their work, we'd compensate them directly for the vulnerabilities they discover. That's a trend that's continued in recent weeks. We absolutely value the researcher ecosystem, and show that in a variety of ways. The most well-known is the fact that we acknowledge the researcher's work in our bulletins when a researcher has coordinated the release of vulnerability details with the release of a security update. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We also work to make sure we can support the community's development by sponsoring and supporting nearly 50 security conferences in over 20 countries each year.

Probably the community effort that started more of the deeper relationships we've built with researchers is our own little "hacker" conference we host at Redmond each year, called "BlueHat Security Briefings." Launched in 2004, this conference is aimed at bringing Microsoft security professionals and external security researchers together in a relaxed environment to promote the sharing of ideas, social networking and ultimately improving the security of Microsoft products. Key to the success of BlueHat and its benefit to our customers is the direct question-and-answer access that researchers get with the specific owners of the technology they're researching. In many cases, some of our direct competitors have sat on our stage at Microsoft and talked about problems in our products, directly to the folks that develop and manage them. And they've been able to get feedback on their research from the same folks as well.

The Shift to Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure

If there's one area that has had had staying power in terms of driving polarized debate in the broader security community-as manifested in mainstream and social media this past month-it's in how to disclose vulnerability details. Ideally, updates for those vulnerabilities are available for all customers before details are broadly available. This allows us to protect the end-users because they just get the updates automatically, and large Enterprises can analyze, prioritize and deploy updates to hundreds of thousands of systems quickly. When communication breakdowns and disagreements happen, resulting in vulnerability details disclosed by researchers before we release an update, those details are then used by criminals to attack our customers. The worst situation is when vulnerabilities aren't disclosed to the vendor at all, because then there's very little hope of broad protections ever getting released for all customers.

Because of this range of situations, we also see a range of philosophies. Of course, Microsoft always supported the position that the best way to disclose issues is in a coordinated fashion, where details of the vulnerability are released in conjunction with an update that is broadly available for customers. This is known as "Responsible Disclosure." The term itself can be subjective because if either party doesn't abide by those terms, it is implied that they themselves are "irresponsible." Debate on this very issue of responsibility is understandable; however, it is important to remember that in the end we are dealing with customer safety issues - and we should all take that seriously. It is unfortunate these debates can make us lose focus on what is really important - protecting people using the Internet from harm.

Today, Matt Thomlinson, the general manager of Security at Trustworthy Computing, introduced a new disclosure philosophy Microsoft is adopting called Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure . Katie Moussouris, senior security strategist on the MSRC Ecosystem Strategy team, provides more information and insight on the necessity of this shift in disclosure philosophy and practice on the MSRC Ecosystem Strategy Team Blog You'll see from her post, we're not alone in acknowledging it is time for a change. Other vendors and researchers from the broader community of defenders are supportive and will be instrumental in making this shift a reality. So read the post, provide your feedback and then join us in making this an industry wide shift.

Now back to the catalyst for this post-Black Hat. We're just a few days from the event itself and we'll likely see more themes develop once it kicks-off. But I hope the thoughts I've shared here provide some insights into our point of view on recent discussions in the community.

The realities of today's threat landscape point to a world that has shifted from a variety of participants with various motives to one of two sides-those who intend to harm or commit crime and those who intend to prevent harm and fight crime. As an industry and community, philosophical differences or competition aside, we should be in this together. Our own welfare as individuals and a collective community is at stake with unseen criminals who show no indication of backing down. It's our hope that this effort to shift to a shared responsibility of coordination and collaboration is something that is carried beyond Black Hat as we progress and evolve as a global community of defenders.

Hope to see you at Black Hat!

Mike Reavey
Director, MSRC


802.11b networks are proliferating like mad. Even though faster wireless networks are now available, 802.11b offers users what they want at a reasonably low price. While the high throughput of other technologies is attractive to large Local Area Networks (LANs) and people wanting to use wireless for high-end home entertainment purposes, 802.11b's 11Mbit/sec is more than enough to hook up a handful of clients in your home to the Wide Area Network (WAN), which in most cases is simply the Internet.
However, as we have seen in War Flying San Diego and War Flying Silicon Valley, many users are not taking adequate steps to secure their 802.11b networks. This guide is going to give a practical overview of the methods you can use to lock down your network as tightly as possible without purchasing additional software or setting up Virtual Private Network (VPN) support. If you want a broader overview of 802.11x technology and its security issues, check out our Wireless Security Blackpaper. It's a great article that covers the hows and whys of wireless security issues, and anyone in IT should read that paper before implementing a wireless solution. This article, however, will be focused on the home/small network.
Before we get started, verify that your wireless LAN is in fact working, and then check to make sure that you're running the latest firmware. Many of the earliest 802.11b routers came with lax security features and extremely weak security key options, but a simple update will probably provide you with the options you need to begin to secure your wireless LAN. And we should note, as well, that keeping up with firmware is always a good idea, because security bugs tend to pop up from time to time, anyway.
Note: 802.11a consumer-end security is, for the most part, the same as that exhibited in 802.11b. Furthermore, depending on your hardware manufacturer, you may or may not be able to follow all of these practices.
Basic strategy: don't be an easy target, and know what you want to secure

802.11x is not without its flaws. If someone wants on your wireless network bad enough, they'll probably get on one way or another. What your average home user needs to do is simply not provide fertile stomping grounds for people who are out for an easy target. You might wonder why anyone would even want access to your network. In most scenarios, your wireless network provides perpetrators with two things: 1) access to your local network (the computers connected up in your house), which if unsecured means access to your data, and better yet, 2) access to the 'net. 11Mbits/sec isn't a bad little heist for someone who wants to spend all night downloading pr0n from your connection, or perhaps they'd rather mail bomb the government or something. It's no matter--just don't be an easy target. We're gonna help.
Thus, strictly speaking, there are two things that a user will want to secure: 1) client-to-router traffic, and 2) cracker-to-router access to the LAN/Internet.
Client-to-Router concerns

In this first instance, your concern is that you don't want someone to be able to see (aka, sniff) the data that travels from your legitimate clients to your wireless router (e.g., e-mail, URLs, your passwords that are plaintext, etc.). The simple fact of the matter is that if a cracker sits within range of your network long enough, with the right tools they will break your basic encryption (if you even have it turned on, which most people apparently do not). Without purchasing rather expensive software, all of the traffic that flows between your wireless laptop (for example) and your router can be seen by a cracker with minimal effort. Therefore, if you work with extremely sensitive data, doing so over a wireless connection is dangerous, unless you are using safe tools. For example, if you want to administrate your UNIX servers via a terminal connection, using SSH makes WEP security irrelevant, since traffic is encrypted via SSH, and SSH is rather strong.
Of course, corporate entities may enlist the help of commercial Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to secure such traffic. See the Wireless Security Blackpaper for more information.
Cracker-to-Router Access to the LAN/Internet

The second issue involves officially becoming part of your network, and enjoying all which that may entail--including free access to the net, any open shares you might have, etc. For most users, this is the issue to worry about. Your average war driver isn't looking to crack into your super secret anime collection. Rather, they want free pipe. In this article, we're going to address both concerns. To keep things clear, we've divided the article into three parts: (1) Lock down must-dos, (2) Additional security options, and (3) Little tricks.

Part I: Lock down must-dos

Lock down must-dos are just that, must-dos. If you do anything, do these. Doing these relatively simple things will instantly make you much less of an easy target. It's a bit like taking off your Where's Waldo? garb cap and removing the kick-me sign off of your back. Keep in mind that almost all 802.11x routers and access points ship from the manufacturer with the weakest security options enabled by default in order for you have the easiest time possible setting that hardware up. The default config is not, I repeat, not secure. In this regard I must applaud Microsoft; the company ships its wireless products with WEP setup by default.
Nota Bene: many of the changes suggested below will have immediate effects on your network. We recommend using a PC with an Ethernet connection to your wireless router to do configuration. Otherwise, if you make a mistake configuring your router from a wireless client, you can cut your own access off and be forced to completely reset your router. Furthermore, for safety's sake, make sure all of your wireless clients have the latest drives for the WLAN cards downloaded and installed (some really old cards may not support WEP out of the box) before proceeding.
Change the admin password and turn off remote management

These are so obvious that we're loath to mention them, but here goes nothing. Your wireless router's default password should be changed immediately. You might think, "well, I have remote access to the configuration disabled, so no one can get to me," but you're wrong. Even with remote management disabled (which it should be, unless you have a very good reason otherwise), anyone who approaches your wireless LAN with a wireless card is "behind" your firewall, not in front of it. So, if you have a Linksys router and the password is still 'admin,' someone sitting in China can't get to it from the Internet, but they certainly can from your back yard or the room next door. And once they do that, they own your wireless LAN (until you hard reset). Change the password, and turn off remote management (which will only prevent people managing your router from the WAN).
Turn off SSID Broadcast

This is the real Job One. By allowing broadcast SSID to associate, you make it easy for your pals to come over and get hooked up on your LAN for some gaming or whatnot, but you also pretty much make it easy for anyone with a wireless receiver to gain access to your network, too. Leaving broadcasting on is a bit like leaving your garage door open at night: anyone passing by looking for trouble can see without much effort that there's opportunity afoot. This is why so many clients with an SSID of 'any' can roam from place to place and find access: broadcast SSID support allows any SSID to bind. That's not good for your security. With a firmware update, pretty much every major wireless router out there now supports this option. Do it!
When you turn this off, your wireless clients will have to be configured with the exact SSID that you have set for your wireless network. This brings us to the next bit...

How easy is it for you to use Windows 7, versus say, whatever you are normally used to? This is a question that has decided the fate of not just entire households, but entire businesses when it comes to a proposed Windows 7 migration. I have noticed that one of the biggest preconceptions about Windows 7 is that it must be extremely difficult to use and understand, despite its rave reviews. This must be due to the fact, as some would contend that so much time has gone by since the release of Windows XP. Another preconception I have found is that driver support must be a problem, especially if you use the 64-bit version. Are these quickly becoming stereotypes? How fair are these statements?

I look at these statements with interest from a different lens. For an IT department, writing off Windows 7 as too difficult for employees to use and impossible to upgrade to may be statements that are easier to make to senior management, than, say, actually upgrading an entire business. For home users, it may be a good way to rationalize hanging on to that old computer for just one more year.

Through my use of Windows 7, I have found that the ease of use is roughly the same as Windows XP. I have not had any issues with drivers, as most of my hardware is new, and I haven’t used Windows XP, except at work, since the RTM (release to manufacturing) of Windows Vista. Many of us in the technology fields share a commonality – whether we have certifications, awards, experience, or not – we have a skillset that less experienced computer users don’t have. Therefore, it may be hard to judge what exactly constitutes ease of use.

Who are these people, who consider themselves skilled in other areas, but not in computers? According to some studies, it’s a large chunk of the workforce and a majority of consumers in the industrialized world. This group is complimented by the baby boomer demographic: People born from the 1940s to the 1960s view computers as difficult to work with. This is quickly becoming the oldest generation living today. Outside of that, a majority of people born in developing nations, where the tools necessary for widespread home computer use has been lacking, share a lack of confidence about ease of use. In some cases, due to trade imbalances and a variety of complex political and social issues, it could be argued that people in the developing world have been deprived of this technology and innovation. How can it be possible, though, that so many people around the world have a lack of confidence in their own abilities in general, especially with computers?

It is safe to say that many, if not most, jobs in the United States and Western Europe must require at least a basic to intermediate level of understanding on how to use computers – and more specifically, word processor software, basic file and database retrieval, and in many cases data entry.

It has amazed me, personally, to see the CEO of a business, which has made millions – if not billions - of dollars due to savvy business skills and entrepreneurial spirit, know absolutely nothing about computers except how to navigate Windows Explorer and write e-mails in Outlook. This strange dichotomy, to a computer person, almost seems like something from outer space. Then again, one could argue a business owner in such a position can, quite literally, afford to pay someone else for their ignorance. When we realize that many business moguls alive today lived without powerful desktop computers capable of inconceivable floating-point operations and immersive graphic user interfaces, the idea is not so far-fetched. In fact, many business owners such in my example are uniquely aware of their own limitations, keen on the capability these computers have when placed in the right hands, and have a vision for their business where computers play a central role. They can also recognize, as pragmatists, that they better serve their business by focusing on what they know and delegating computer, MIS, and IT responsibilities to others.

In a younger world, the new workforce is expected to have intermediate to advanced level of computer skills. College entrants are expected to be computer proficient, to know how to use online tools to their advantage, and the idea of not having a laptop to conduct research or write reports has become alien in academia. It is noted that the Internet itself was nurtured by large universities before it became generally available, and ultimately accepted, by consumers around the world.

The older segment of the workforce may need similar skills, but this requires that a company with older employees engage in skills training. If the boards of directors of a company, or their own CEO, do not know much about computers, they could receive poor advice from an understaffed IT department. “We need to come to an understanding that the majority of our employees will never be able to learn Windows [insert whatever version here]”. This could be considered an easy out for many IT departments, unless the marketplace and nature of the business demands fundamental change. One area where accountability and free market economics takes a back seat pass, at least as we can confirm it, is in the United States government. Many government computers in large urban areas continue to run Windows 2000 or Windows XP – unpatched. Viruses continue to be a daily occurrence and threat. Many of these departments are inundated with bureaucratic wrangling, are also understaffed, due to the competitive nature of the private sector and the mindset of information technology experts – who may not want to find themselves locked into a public service position at a low base salary for several decades. Ironically, it may be the federal government, which many perceive to be as inept, which comes out with the policies necessary to keep public computer systems around the country up to date. Local municipalities, state, and city governments may be less likely to have implemented end of life cycle practices.

So when we consider all of these possibilities, how is it possible that some people still fear Windows 7, and is that fear justified? From an objective standpoint, it is not difficult to see how budget restrictions can prevent large organizations, or even individual people, from upgrading to Windows 7. When market forces begin to demand faster computers, people will gradually latch on to the new operating system. While the base system is markedly improved from Windows XP, with advanced security features and enhanced stability, Windows 7 could be considered just as easy – if not easier to use – than Windows XP. The area where people may be getting confused the most is in driver and software support.

For one thing, Windows XP uses an older graphical display driver model for video graphics cards. Older computers with integrated video graphics cards or video cards that just don’t cut the mustard may have trouble under Windows 7. While the base operating system and the majority of its functions will still work under Windows 7 – in some cases even outperforming Windows XP – extremely old systems will have difficulty rendering the transparency effects known as Aero which have, by now, become well known to enthusiasts. Therefore, Windows XP users with old school games and graphics cards, may not be too pleased when it comes to their Windows 7 experience. To placate this group of people, “XP Mode” was created, which allows a virtual instance of Windows XP to run side-by-side with Windows 7 using Microsoft Virtual PC technology. This prevents any lazy IT department from saying “our software won’t run on Windows 7”. However, on older systems, graphics issues will still create a gap, often requiring upgrade.

The mindset under which people approach device drivers is confusing to computer technicians, consultants, and IT gurus who have worked in the field. As it seems, most people believe that Microsoft itself is 100% responsible for driver support. This is not the case at all. When your old Epson (or insert any brand name here) printer or scanner doesn’t work in Windows 7, it is very well due to the fact that the manufacturer, in our example, Epson, has not designated development time to create the proper device drivers for the next version of Windows. While Microsoft has written and co-authored tens of thousands of compatibility drivers, not every device will work with these, and even if they did they would not be performing very well. It is almost always up to the manufacturer to support their hardware. Such is a problem with old Windows XP peripherals being brought up to par with Windows 7. Since Windows XP was released in 2001, Windows 7 is nearly, but not quite, a decade older than Windows XP. Hardware manufacturers had plenty of time to see where development was going, and most Windows Vista drivers will work under Windows 7. Therefore, if your printer, scanner, or USB turntable doesn’t work under Windows 7, this is a very rare instance, and is usually due to the fact that the manufacturer of these peripherals probably wants you to buy a new one. It may seem lowdown, dirty, and rotten, but these companies make most of their money by consumers buying new products. They do in fact spend (and lose money) by supporting discontinued models.

What about software? Many people in the workplace and at home approach Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet applications with a sense of fear and loathing. It is as if this one program has become the bane of the workplace – the new abacus; the confirmation that, at the start of the day, a mountain of paperwork must be created – but this time with dreaded formulas. How then, could one ever learn to use Excel 2010 when Excel 2003 is still being learned? Much development time is spent on making programs easier to use. In Excel 2010, for example, it is far easier to actually print out and display reports in an easier way than it could ever be in 2003. The ribbon menu, which was so harshly criticized in Office 2007, is now seen as a welcome upgrade in Office 2010, after feedback and Q&A testing showed how to make it right. Still, I have gotten the sense that many people approach their programs emotionally, and not logically. The ones that provide entertainment are innately good, and the ones that are used for productivity are just terrible. This sort of stigmatism can prevent entire offices from upgrading their software for years on end, especially when senior management adopts the same mentality.

Readers who know me would not be surprised to see me advocating the latest and the greatest as far as software and hardware. It has always been my opinion that more can get done and be enjoyed on a computer when it’s being used to its fullest resources. While my vision of future offices running the latest version of every operating system and processor may be a bit far-fetched, it becomes clear to me that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. I emphasize that the middle I am talking about does not lie somewhere between 2010 and 2001, but in finding middle ground with people who are truly intimidated by their computer – worried they may damage it at any time or that they do not have the skillset to properly use it.

People can have confidence in their ability to use computers, and Windows 7, once they realize that their skills are not limited to what they have learned in grade school, high school, or college. New skills can be developed at any time, so long as a person is willing to pursue it. That motivation must come from within. This is particularly important for older readers. One needs only to understand the basis, and importance of logic, in order to draw a parallel between how a computer works and how the human mind can also function. What interests me, and perhaps others, is that we, as a group of collective individuals, may soon find that an operating system, or computer system itself, is limited in only what we put into it. Accessible from a computer today is the sum of all human knowledge on the Internet – as well as movie rentals and all of Vanilla Ice’s music videos. Truly, the opportunities are endless.

So do I believe Windows 7 is easier to use than Windows XP? Absolutely. Conventional wisdom and the facts tell us so. It is up to the end-user to challenge themselves to something new – and not to fear the unknown. It appears that many people are doing just that. This year, Windows 7 became the fastest selling operating system of all time.

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