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Microsoft is now allowing users to download IE7 without with Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) check either at the download or at the time of the installations.
This means that even those who have pirated copies of the Windows XP can even download and install IE7.
I wonder why Microsoft is doing this now ? Maybe they want bring all the Windows XP system on par as far as internet security (safe browsing plateform). Or maybe they are just worried about the increasing share of the Mozilla Firefox. Or maybe they are just laying the foundation for there next version of the Internet Explorer. Who knows! Your guess is as good as mine.
Windows XP users will be able to download Internet Explorer 7 through Windows Update or from Microsoft's IE7 home page.
Microsoft is now selling DRM-free music (currently 1 million songs) on its Zune marketplace. Isn't it the same company that pretty much invented the DRM (or better known as labyrinth of pain in online music buyers).
I don't know whether Microsoft is trying to be project this hip new attitude by starting selling DRM-free music. Or maybe it is realizing that this is the way to the future of online music selling as all the other major players are doing it. (That is after iTunes and Amazon's MP3 DRM-free music store started)
Whatever maybe the reason, it is good to hear and see Microsoft doing something like this.
I remember this CA (Charted Accountant) friend of mine was hassled because he wasn't able to run the old (only DOS) version of Tally 4.5 on Windows XP. (Those of it who don't what is Tally; It is a very popular accounting software.)
And he had asked me look into finding solutions for it. So I start looking for ways to do it. And found that using a virtualization to be the easiest way to go about. I had tried other virtual PC emulators like Qemu and VMware Player but I found that Microsoft's Virtual PC to be the most easily (for the normal computer user) method to do this.
To get started:
- Download the free Virtual PC from the Microsoft's site.
- Download the Win98 Bootdisk ISO image from AllBootDisks.
- Install the Virtual PC 2004 on to your system.
- After installation, start the program and start by creating a new Virtual Machine by using the Virtual Machine Wizard, name this "MS DOS Machine" or "Tally Machine". Select OS as "MS DOS".
- During the process, the Wizard will ask whether you want an existing virtual hard disk, or a new virtual hard disk. Select "new virtual hard disk". Enter a name for the file, something like "Tally.vfd".
- Save the settings.
Format, Prepare and Get ready:
- Start this newly created virtual machine by selecting it and clicking Start button. After few seconds of bios output, the screen will say unable to find a bootable device. This is normal, since we haven't made our virtual hard disk bootable.
- Now click on CD menu and select the "Capture ISO image ..." option. This will popup a file selection dialong box. Select the ISO image that we have downloaded from AllBootDisks.
- Now restart the virtual machine by selecting the Action menu and select the "Ctrl+Alt+Del". After restart the VM (virtual machine) will boot using the Windows 98 boot disk ISO we just loaded and come to
- Now run the FDISK program and create the "Primary DOS partition" on the drive. After exiting FDISK, restart the VM and again boot from the CD again.
- Now when at the
A:>prompt, issue a format command with parameters something like this:
- After the format is complete, switch to C: drive, create a directory by the name of DOS, by issuing the command
- Now copy all the files from the
A:drive or the bootable CD drive to the
- Select the "Release CD" from the CD menu and restart the VM.
- Now the machine would have booted from the C drive and come to a
- Now select the "Capture Floppy Disk Image" option from the Floppy menu. This would open up a file selection dialog box. Goto the directory where you had installed the Virtual PC.
Should be something like this
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Virtual PC; Now in this directory there should be directory by the name
Virtual Machine Additions; Select this and then select the file with the name of
DOS Virtual Machine Additions.vfd; You have just loaded a virtual floppy.
- Switch to
A:>drive. And run the command
DOSADD.BAT. This will add the required additional features like folder share, etc to this Dos VM.
- Select the "Release Floppy" from the Floppy menu and restart the VM.
Installing and Running Tally:
- After the restart, the DOS will load additional programs. After the booting is done; right-click the "Folder Icon" on the bottom status bar and select "Share Folder" option. Select the folder in which your tally installation or installed folder is and select the drive letter as Z.
- Copy the data from the Z drive to the C drive by creating appropriate folder; After its done, switch to the
C:\TALLYfolder and start tally and viola, you are done.
If you have copied the data / folder from your old set, you can specify the direct path in the
command line, for e.g. if your data is stored in
C:\TALLY\DATA, you can specify the
C:\>TALLY C:\TALLY\DATA to run tally and look in
C:\TALLY\DATA for the data
instead of specified in the tally configuration file.
Microsoft has released Virtual PC 2004 with Service Pack 1 for free.
The company also announced the next version, Virtual PC 2007, will be released during 2007 and will be completely free as well.
Deleting a shortcut from the Windows Vista desktop is "just a few clicks away"
See what happend when someone tries to delete a shortcut on Windows Vista (Beta).
I hope you must have seen the screenshots of the new Office 12 user interface. Going a step further, there is Office 12 video also available which highlights the new UI and other features in the new upcoming Office.
Don't droll yet, it maybe a year or so till you see this shipped!
I hope that by then the OpenOffice would have also upgraded their UI to match MSOffice.
There is an inherit flaw in logic of Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage program to allow customers to download security patches only after authentication that their copy of Windows (XP) is authentic.
The flaw is that check it not being performed at the time of patching the system but at the time of downloading. This presents some interesting but very real and practical situations. Supposedly one could download the patches from a genuine Windows system and then apply the patch on a system with pirated copy of Windows XP. There is no software check stopping the customer from doing so.
This type of scenario would be ideal in a SME in countries like India and China, wherein the rate of piracy has dropped but not completely vanished. In this scenario a company or individual would have few genuine copies and many pirated one.
Although, Microsoft has used the check at the time of installing in past like in Service Pack 2 (SP2). But then that was a huge pack and Microsoft could actually do that in such a huge pack. The trick would be to implement this in a normal patches of 200 ~ 700 KB sizes. Till then piraters are one step ahead of Microsoft on this issue.
P.S: Microsoft has started using actively the Windows Genuine Advatage program recently. And to implement this has switched to version 6 (v6) of the Windows Update site.
First, some basics: we're committing to deliver a new version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP customers. Betas of IE7 will be available this summer. This new release will build on the work we did in Windows XP SP2 and (among other things) go further to defend users from phishing as well as deceptive or malicious software.
Why? Because we listened to customers, analysts, and business partners. We heard a clear message: "Yes, XP SP2 makes the situation better. We want more, sooner. We want security on top of the compatibility and extensibility IE gives us, and we want it on XP. Microsoft, show us your commitment."
At this moment, all I can say is I will have to see it to believe it. And by that I don't mean the actual delivery. I know Microsoft is going to get out the new version. But I want to see is whether they are really listening and are going to make the browser more secure and standards compliance. If Microsoft can really deliver on this one, then it make life much easier for us.
Microsoft's MSN Music (currently in beta) will compete with the Apple's iTunes store.
At first glance site seems to be slick (enough) to compete with iTunes atleast in presentation. Pricing for a song and album also seems to be equivalent to iTunes.
The surprise is that Microsoft has been a bit generous in terms of rights ... "MSN Music allows you to play your music on up to five Windows PCs, burn play lists to CD up to seven times, and transfer to an unlimited number of portable audio devices."
Microsoft seems to getting ready for opening another front in its domainance, but a crucial piece the Windows Media Player 10 is still in beta and is expected to be released shortly. (If you believe some rumors, within this week)
If you look beneath the surface and analyse the situation, the online music business has margins of few pennies (or less) per song. Then why is Microsoft doing this ? A well calculated guess is that wants to ward of the influence of iPod and iTunes on the windows community. Apple has made an indirect dent into the windows community with the iPod+iTunes combination. And this is what worries Microsoft. If had it been left unchecked, it would have became very dangerous for its core business of providing OS and Office suites, which is already facing a stiff competition from the Linux and its variants like Linspire (formely Lindows) and OpenOffice, StarOffice.
Another goal that Mircrosft would achieve from this is that, it would be strengthen its foundation in the digital content creation and distribution. Its previous attempt at digital content creation (with digital rights management) in the form of eBook Reader was lukewarm. Gaining valuable experience from the MSN music, the natual direction would be extend the store for more digital content namely Video and integrate its other efforts with it. And Windows Media Player would be used more than just a player view trailers off the web and old video CDs, but a true Media player.
Microsoft has finally released the much anticipated Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). But don't jump to windowsupdate yet. Because it is not available there at present. Microsoft is doing a phase by phase release of the software. However, it is expected to be released to general Windows Update service in next week or so. It will also be available for customers in CDs for free!
I have given serious thought to not installing the SP2. But I 'll wait for a while before actually taking a final decision.
Has anyone downloaded and installed it yet ? Are there any last minute bugs or problems ? Do let me know ...
Microsoft has justed started its book store.
At first glance, it is a simple, to the point, no fuss, book store. But then you find out that it listing of books from various publishers on topics related to Microsoft products and technologies. And Microsoft isn't even selling them here. It is redirecting it to Amazon in case someone ones to buy them. But the interesting thing is that: just below the book description, you find links to related Microsoft case studies, resouces and other stuff.
I think it is a wonderful idea that Microsoft is targetting the development community, and not thinking of making money.
But, then I do wonder whether Microsoft would be getting commission from Amazon ? (Afterall, it is Microsoft we are talking about! ;) )
Although we are almost a month away, what I have heard from the news and evaluations till now, I am seriously considering not to apply the XP SP2 patch.
At this moment, I think the problem outweight the benefits of installing the XP SP2. (But this might change when the patch is released and I get more comments from the users who are going to apply it.) Although there are number of people who are have applied the latest build and found not many problems.
Here is a list of major changes in XP SP2 and my 2 cents:
- IE will block pop-up by default
Good! But I have switched to Firefox.
- XPSP2 will limit your max. connections/sec
Although a good idea to delay / prevent the spread of viruses. But then I would limit few of my applications performance.
- After SP2, more pirated copies will not be allowed to get updates from WindowsUpdate service
Microsoft is strategically wrong in doing so.
- Firewall would be enabled by default and is going to be more aggresive
Excellent! Should have done it from the intial release.
- Update service is going to remind you often (read nagging)
Although this is good for the majority of the users, but it does give me the impression of nagging.
- A more complaint IE
Good! But then taking the track record of IE in this segment, I 'll belive it when I see it.
- Usual security pack
Everybody wants its security vulnerabilities patch. So do I!
Considering the comments they are getting, I think users are pretty pissed at the IE team, especially the web developers.
So tell them how you feel about IE.
It seems that Microsft has delayed (again) the release of SP2 till August. No reason has been provided by Microsoft.
Just as Microsoft released 7 security bulletins, I heard that 4 new vulnerabilities were discoved.
Well I guess patching IE seems to game of hide and seek for the IE developer team. TAG! (IE Team) you are IT!
After you have installed the Windows XP SP2 and want to use the windowsupdate service, then you would be taken to the new v5 of the service at http://v5.windowsupdate.microsoft.com.
In this version 5, Microsoft has made sure that pirated copies wouldn't be able to use this service. More pirated keys have been added to the blacklist and it seems that Microsoft is using a more thorough check of the copies of the users (and copies) who would be using the WindowsUpdate service.
Visit the Office Clip Art and Media site and look at its souce code:
Notice anything funny ? <script .. > tag is outside the <!DOCTYPE> tag. And the <link ... > tag is also not in the <head> section too!
I sure would like to see more standards compliant website from Microsoft. :)
Microsoft Internet Explorer team is hosting a chat on Thursday 8th July, 10:30 pm India Standard Time (IST). Details available at Expert Chat Zone.
If you read the short description on site for the IE chat, it says " ... Join Microsoft experts as we engage in a fun and interactive online chat about Internet Explorer." Something tells me that it is not going to be all that fun for the IE team.
See you there on Thursday 8th July ...
I had to see it to belive it! But yes its true. Slate, Mirosoft's online magazine has this article titled "Are the Browser Wars Back?" (How Mozilla's Firefox trumps Internet Explorer.)
A stern measure was expected from Microsoft after the Download.ject virus and CERT recommends other browsers like Mozilla, Firefox. But I didn't expect this.
If Microsoft is really concerned about the security of its users, then this is step in the right direction, and quite frankly should have been done a long time ago. If this is just the authors' point of view, even then I am glad that atleast someone is awakening to the realties.
Let us hope for some more recommendations from Microsoft.
In the last month or so, we heard that Microsoft would allow everyone to upgrade to XP SP2 even cracked copies..., but then later we heard that Microsoft bars Windows pirates.
Personally I think it was a good decision, to allow even the pirated copies to upgrade SP2, too bad they had to reverse it. Don't get me wrong here, I am not advocating piracy here but I am talking in terms of strategy and weighing the pros and cons of the decision.
Over the last two decades or so, piracy has been one of the unspoken reason for Microsoft's success, especially in early years of countries like India and China where the piracy levels were as high as 90% in the mid-90's. Because every Tom, Dick and Harry was running the Microsoft product be it the Windows or the Office, helped tremendously in increaing the Microsoft's reach to almost everyone using the PC.
But with more people taking to the internet, it has given a twist to the scenario. The pirated copies are the most venerable to the virus, worms and other attacks, because they are using the still unprotected old version of the software, while the legal owners can upgrade an protect themselves from any new threat, as soon as it has been found and fixed.
The situation has become worse in the last couple of years, as we have seen the fast spreading worms and viruses like LoveBug, Sasser, RPC Hacks. And the reason that they had spread so fast because there are so many unprotected (read pirated) copies of the Windows XP exists. This has put a bump into the Microsoft's image. And the image we see now, is that of creator of un-secure, money-gobbling, patch-everytime-worm-relase OSes. And Microsoft is trying to change this image and that is spending a huge US$ 1 billion to make its OSes more secure.
But there is a flaw in its strategy, Microsoft is STILL excluding the pirated copies from its patches, which are still one of the largest unprotected group of Windows XP PCs (or for that matter any other Windows OS). The effect would be far reaching had Microsoft allowed even the pirated copies to become secure (by allowing them access to Service Packs and Windows Update).
So, I wonder, what would be the rate of the spread of any new worm or virus in the post Windows XP SP2 days ...
When I read this in the RSS feed, I thought well this is a link to one of those conferences, but I was pleasently surprised when I visied the link: Ways to talk with Internet Explorer team
Mircosft using WiKi ? I didn't picture this even in my dreams! But then I guess developer in IE team are like any other developer, and they too would like to have feedback from the users. I think setting up the Internet Explorer Feedback Wiki is in the right direction.
But the real question is when will we see these requests implemented in IE ?. I don't want to wait for 2005 or 2007 just to see these changes made to IE. I have already switched to Firefox for most of my browsing needs. IE team are you listening ?
Well, this is a first, even for Microsoft. To get a virus relaeas on a platform even before the offical release of the OS.
On one hand, it highlight the security issues, on the other, it gives Microosft a chance to patch the OS.
I guess Microsoft admins should update their servers.
In recent times hackers, virus and worm creators have been increasingly targetting Windows. I guess, this war has taken a new turn. Lets wait for the Microsoft's response. Is there going to another US$ 100,000 offered ?
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Amit Arora is web developer with expertise in developing eCommerce enabled websites for the businesses.