Thursday, March 30, 2006

MS Solicit Internet Explorer Feedback

In a recent posting to the IE Team Blog Al Billings announced the Internet Explorer Feedback site over at MS Connect. COOL! Finally a more public way of feeding back on IE bugs. You first have to go to the MS Connect site ( So bring on those bugs!

Windows Server Feedback

Microsoft has a cool page Windows Server Feedback where you can leave your feedback on Windows Server. This is a great idea, although I am not sure if it actually active - the logo at the top right (for SUS) refers to a product that MS stopped supporting last year. And if you click the "Best Feedback" link, the resulting page is dated April 2004. So while this may be a great concept, it looks like one that has been dropped from active use.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Thanks Microsoft!

Thank you Microsoft for this now freely available bug fix to the bug, described in KB319740.

This is one of those bugs, and one that has bugged me for a long, long time. I use a mail and news product called Turnpike. It has many advantages over OE but I'll leave the Turnpike evangelism to another day! This bug first cropped up during the beta of XP, but I never managed to work out what it was until after XP's RTM. At that time, I was running my laptop on Windows Server (as I was writing for the Windows Server Resource Kit team around that time) so the bug really did not affect me till after RTM. There was a patch raised, and the fix went into SP1 - and all was well. But for reasons never very clear, this bug re-surfaced in SP2. I want to say it was a regression, but it could well have been a bug that developed when fixing the orignal bug. Whatever the cause, it was in SP2 RTM.

The basic bug is that when using XP's theme service certain MFC applications leaked handles when child windows are created. This was a bug that could have easily been demonstrated by just testing the MFC samples as part of testing the OS SPs. The problem with this bug for me was its impact on Turnpike's Connect.exe. Connect.exe is the 'service' that sends and recivies and files mail and news. Connect works by creating a child window for each connection to a mail or news server (to allow you to see the details of the connection on screen if you want). Of course, most of the time, the windows stay unopened - but their creation and termination caused a handle leak that eventually required a reboot. If you stopped connect before all the handles were leaked, or just turned the theme service off, all was well. But the regular reboots were a real pain.

Eventually a post SP2 patch was created, but getting it was neigh on impossible Long time readers of Demon's Turnpike support newsgroup will know just how painful getting this was. I've posted in this blog my trials and tribulations over this bug. But a few weeks ago, I was at a round table at MS who were looking for examples of how to do a better job support wise. At that meeting, and in several long and detailed emails, I spelled out how bad this bug made MS look. Why did a bug regress? Why aren't MFC samples tested for OS Compatibility? WHy was there a regression into SP2? Why was a bug in RTM, fixed in SP1, not explicity tested for regression? Etc.

After the many mails, MS has finally posted this fix for free download. Yeah, you have to do the Real Advantage thing, but on this occasion, it would seem churlish to complain. Thanks to Phil Cross and Kristin Thomas at MS for getting this patch out there.

Microsoft Delays Vista. Again.

This is the first story I've seen thus far around MS delaying Vista (again). I hate the delay, but I think it's the right answer.


There are now lots of more articles on line about this! This post notes the impact the delay is having on MS shares.

{even later}

Here is a MS Press release on the issue. And here is a link to Jim Alchin describing the move.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Internet Explorer 7: Beta 2 Preview - released on March 20th - checklists

Yesterday, Microsoft issued an updated beta of Internet Explorer 7, entitled Beta 2 Preview. You can download it here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Get Firefox?

I showed the Get Firefox page to my wife, as I thought it was kind of funny. She did not get the joke. I wonder if others of a more litigous bent will see the humour?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Windows "Monad" Shell Beta 3.1 is Released

Microsoft has issued an updated MSH Beta. Dubbed Beta 3.1, you can get the x86 version here. If you are X64, get the updated beta here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ever lost the Admin password to a Windows Box?

I was working last week for a client and we came across a box whose admin password was not what we expected (or any of the many variations of what we expected), or any of the non expected variations. To no avail. However, one of our techs came up with this. This is a VPC floppy image (you can use VPC to create a real floppy disk). It contains a small linux build plus a password changing tool - which worked on XP SP2 just fine.

This floppy disk was developed by a Norwegian, and you can find more information on his web site

Creating Passionate Users

I stumbled on the site Creating Passionate Users which has some great ideas about how to be better at what you do!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

PC Pro Column - Configuring ASP.NET

My latest PC Pro column is now on the web at the PC Pro web site. Entitled Configuring ASP.NET, you can get it at the Real World Computing: Configuring ASP.NET page. Also - see for the links to the other (and future) articles.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

VIsta Licensing Policy

David Berlind at ZDNet, has an interesting analysis on Microsoft's licensing policy for Virtual PC on Vista.

Customers with an EA/SA can obtain Vista Enterprise, which has the right to install a second instance of an OS. In the retail channel, you will only be able to obtain Vista Ultimate, which does not carry these rights. With Vista Ultimate, you have to license every VM separately, and for most corporates this probably means buying an additional retail licenses. Interstingly the right to run a 2nd instance extends to both physical installations (a multi boot between two OSs installed in separate partitions) and running in a VM. While I'm sure MS want you to use VPC as the virtulisation platform, you can use VMware. Now given that VMware Server is shortly to be free, that gives Vista Enterprise customers some intreiguing options.

The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week

Writing on, Colin Barr's article The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week has an interesting take on Neil Holloway's statment on MSN Search.

In this article, Holloway is quoted from the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecom Summit in Paris as saying "What we're saying is that in six months' time we'll be more relevant in the U.S. marketplace than Google, The quality of our search and the relevance of our search from a solution perspective to the consumer will be more relevant."

As an MVP, I wish MS would concentrate first on making search better before taking on Google. If MS concentrerated on making it's own site more sensibly searchable, that would be a great first step. I occasionally use MSN search and Google - with Google constantly giving me better results both searching inside Microsoft's sites and on the wider internet. As a user, the gap between these two search engines may have narrowed a bit - but it's still very very wide. I wish Holloway good luck!