Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Asus, looking to capitalize on the rapidly expanding widescreen monitor market has introduced two new HD-Ready models. These new models are the Asus MW2210, which is a 22-inch LCD and the Asus MW201U which is a 20-inch LCD. Both these new LCD panels have a native resolution of 1680×1050, a response time of 2ms and are HDCP ready.

2 Vista-ready LCD Panels by ASUS

The new monitors with the large screen sizes have, been designed to optimize a user’s Windows Vista experience and have thus been certified as Windows Vista Premium ready. Asus also looking to extend the multimedia experience of these monitors, has equipped both these monitors with built-in stereo speakers and earphone jacks.

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Notebook manufacturers are claiming that the Vista Aero interface is draining the battery life of portable notebook computers thanks to using the CPU and GPU to deliver the translucent and transparent Aero experience.

A report at CNET says that some of Microsoft’s notebook partners are unhappy that the Aero interface is reportedly shortening the battery life of laptop/notebook portable computers.

As a Vista user myself, running Aero and using two batteries – the main battery and one in the docking bay, I get approximately 5 hours of battery life from both batteries, with, from memory, nearly six hours of life when previously using Windows XP, although I am now thoroughly used to getting 5 hours of life from Vista, and then using a third docking-bay battery for an addition two and a half hours of battery life if needed because I’m on the road or otherwise away from a power point.

This being the case, it would seem anecdotally true that Vista delivers less battery life than XP despite advancements in Vista to more intelligently use less power and use a combined sleep and hibernation mode to conserve power.

The consensus is that if you switch off the Aero graphics settings on your Vista equipped notebook, you will get the same kind of battery life you got under Windows XP – but you naturally miss out on the Aero graphical goodies.

Some manufacturers have resorted to implementing their own power saving schemes, automatically switching off Aero when ‘maximum power’ savings are selected, while Microsoft is promising to do more to enhance battery life through future Vista updates and patches.

Of course, future enhancements to battery technologies will remove this problem, but until then, users will have to decide between slightly less battery life if they wish to preserve Aero graphical niceties, the no-Aero graphics solution, or simply resort to carrying a second or third spare battery with them if they truly need non-stop power for hours.

You know a game is nearing completion when the box art becomes available. But in this case, the suspense is probably far less…eh…suspenseful, considering that we already have an idea of when the game is coming out. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t report on all the latest happenings regarding Halo 2 Vista. And in this particular, that happens to be the release of the box art.

Now if you honestly don’t know what Halo 2 Vista is, I think you need to get out from under your rock and at least keep up to date with Microsoft’s latest attempts at controlling a little planet called Earth. But seriously, Halo 2 Vista is the biggest first-person shooter to hit the PC sector since the last Counter-Strike spin-off. H2V features vehicles, a grand shooting adventure and most importantly, an even bigger multiplayer mode than what was found on the original Xbox version. Can you believe that? It’s actually bigger. That’s almost insane.

More maps, faster frame-rates, more options and better visuals round out what will be a phenomenal experience for PC gamers. Okay, so yeah…there’s like a hundred other FPS games on PC that look just as good, maybe even have twice as many weapons and possibly feature a much longer story-mode experience, but come on…it’s Halo!

Well, if you still don’t care all that much for Halo 2 for Windows Vista, you can least take some measure of appreciation for the super cool looking box art. I mean, it is really cool!

GamePro received an e-mail from Microsoft today notifying us that the developers of Halo 2 for Windows Vista are delaying the release of the game, which had originally been planned for an American release next week on May 8th.

“We’re making some updates to Halo 2 for Windows Vista that should improve the install experience and address other technical issues, ensuring that the final retail version provides a fantastic experience for gamers,” the statement writes. “Given these changes, we will be adjusting the on-shelf date of the product.”

Although the message does not specifically state how long this delay will be, retailers and other video game-related websites have already taken the liberty of extending the U.S. release to May 22nd, 2007. GamePro will update you if we receive further word from either Bungie or Microsoft.

Joanna Rutkowska, a Windows security researcher, is to demonstrate new ways for hackers to invade Windows Vista, including rootkit techniques and ways to defeat BitLocker drive encryption.

Rutkowska recently announced she will be running a training session called ‘Understanding Stealth Malware’ during the Black Hat Briefings and Training event in Las Vegas, which runs from 28 July to 2 August.

The training session, which will be co-presented by researcher Alex Tereshkin, promises to demonstrate new rootkits developed for Vista, ways of defeating hardware-based forensics systems and other techniques Microsoft would probably prefer the world didn’t know.

Rutkowska said she, too, is aware of the need for discretion. “For ethical reasons we want to limit the availability of this course to only ‘legitimate’ companies,” she said in a post on her blog, Invisible Things.

Rutkowska isn’t against Windows as such, but has a track record of ferreting out its weaknesses. She recently uncovered a number of flaws in Vista’s much-hyped User Account Control (UAC) feature, which led Microsoft to declare that the feature wasn’t really intended for security after all.

Until recently she was a researcher for Coseinc, but is now in the process of founding a security start-up based in Poland, she said.

Earlier this spring she demonstrated several methods that sophisticated rootkits can use to hide from even the most reliable detection method currently available – hardware-based products that read a system’s RAM.

The demonstration in July will cover such methods, but will be more comprehensive, including unpublished techniques, implementation details, new code and sample rootkits.

The target will be Windows and specifically 64bit Vista, including new kernel attacks against the latest 64bit Vista builds.

“These attacks, of course, work on the fly and do not require system reboot and are not afraid of the TPM/BitLocker protection,” she wrote.

TPM (Trusted Platform Module) refers to security systems with a hardware component built into the processor, designed to improve security and specifically to make copy-protection systems more difficult to circumvent. Rutkowska said the demonstrated techniques would work against copy-protection systems, but that this side of things wouldn’t be specifically discussed at the demonstration.

The training is aimed at security and OS developers, forensic investigators and penetration testers, Rutkowska said.

Microsoft Corp. likes to promote Windows Vista as its most secure operating system release ever. And with good reason. After all, the company put a lot of software-development elbow grease into its top-to-bottom redesign of Vista’s default security experience.

That’s why it surprised many that Vista — like its Win32 and Win64 predecessors — was listed as susceptible to the Windows Animated Cursor Handling vulnerability that Microsoft patched last month.

That vulnerability stemmed from a basic flaw (a stack-based buffer overrun) in Microsoft’s Windows GDI implementation — the kind of thing you’d expect Microsoft to have eliminated, especially in light of Vista’s top-to-bottom Desktop Window Manager (DWM) overhaul, anyway. Continue Reading »

Despite signs that businesses and consumers still want Windows XP, Microsoft officials said sales of Vista’s predecessor operating system will shrink to just 15% of the company’s total OS shipments as soon as the next fiscal year. On a conference call with financial analysts Thursday following the release of Microsoft’s third-quarter results, officials at the software maker said they expect that Windows Vista will account for 85% of operating system sales in fiscal 2008 compared with 15% for Windows XP. Continue Reading »

I found this today and will try soon, when I have the Vodafone vodem updated to work with Windows Vista:

bcdedit /set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS

This command disables the requirement for signed drivers under Windows Vista 64 bit. Nirvana!

Thanks to Chris123NT for the tip.

By the way, the Vodafone vodem can be updated to work with Windows Vista, but the firmware updater only runs on Windows XP. I don’t have any Windwos XP PC here anymore. Might have to borrow one just to update the device.

People have been pretty hard on Vista since its launch. Honestly, I don’t think that it’s done without just cause. But according to the numbers, Vista sales aren’t as bad as everyone seems to think.

Vista logo

According to the numbers released by Microsoft, Vista sales are doing well, with Microsoft Client Division, which handles Windows sales, showing a 67 percent increase over last year. With over 85% of those sales being Windows Vista, it sure sounds like sales are up.

What is very interesting is that 71 percent of the people that purchased Windows Vista Opted for the Premium versions over the Basic. I guess it goes to show that people really do want the extra features.

Today’s Editor Pick : idNueus