Microsoft Releases Public Beta 2 of Windows Vista
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
Last Thursday Microsoft announced the imediate availability of Windows Vista Beta 2 to the public, using the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP), which will provide the broadest access yet to pre-release test versions of Windows Vista.
Microsoft announced the availability of the program with a special videotaped message from Chris Jones, corporate vice president, Windows Client Core Development, on The Hive. To see the video, please visit The Hive (note that the video is a 90MB download).
On Microsoft's Web site it reads: "We invite you to be among the first to experience the clarity that Windows Vista can bring to your world. The Windows Vista Customer Preview Program makes a pre-release edition of Windows Vista Ultimate broadly available to the public for the first time."
Microsoft also notes: "This is beta code and should not be used in a production environment or on a main machine in the home. Beta 2 is intended for developers, IT professionals and technology experts to continue or begin their testing of Windows Vista. Before you decide to use Beta 2, you should feel comfortable with installing operating systems, updating drivers, and general PC troubleshooting. Some risks of using beta operating systems include hardware and software incompatibility and system instability. If you have concerns about installing this beta software on your computer, we encourage you to obtain the final release version of Windows Vista when it is available in 2007."
So consider yourself warned! You should only install this beta on a separate machine, or maybe a second hard drive in your system. I did attempt to upgrade my main machine (running Windows XP SP2) to Vista, but this resulted in a corrupted user profile. Fortunately I had taken precautions and had a drive image backup made just prior to upgrading, so I had a working system back in a couple of hours.
If you want to go ahead, visit the Windows Vista Get Ready Web site, where you can download the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor beta to check if your PC is ready for Vista. Windows Vista Ultimate Beta 2 can be ordered on DVD, or you can download a 3.5GB ISO file (or 4.4GB for the x64 version). You'll need either a DVD burner, or software that will let you mount the image as a drive in your system.
I'm currently working on a review of Windows Vista Beta 2, check out the HelpWithWindows.com site for details.
Windows 98 / 98SE and Windows Me: Last month before End-Of-Life!
On July 11, 2006 Microsoft will end support for both Windows 98 / 98 Second Edition and Windows Millennium Edition (Me). This means that Microsoft will no longer provide critical security updates for these operating systems, and will no longer provide (paid) incident support. Only the self-help support will be available until at least July 10, 2007.
End-Of-Life (EOL) for these operating systems mean that any vulnerability discovered after this date will go unpatched. Specifically company IT departments should assume that every Windows 9x system in their network will be compromised. This means you'll have to upgrade. It is unfortunate that Windows Vista is not released at this time ends so that one could do the migration to Vista at the same time.
Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition support was scheduled to end on January 16, 2004, but Microsoft extended that deadline after receiving feedback for users.
These days, the aging OS is still found on roughly 3% of company computers, although in the Far East (or smaller and emerging markets as Microsoft prefers to call it) estimates are running as high as 10%. I haven't been able to find any recent statistics on home users, but most Web site statistics seem to indicate that roughly 6% of users on-line are still using a Windows 9x version. My advise: if you are using Windows 9x to go on the Internet, you really should be thinking about upgrading. If you use it on a 2nd computer or are not connected you could use it some more...
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Here are some sites in the Top 15 for May 2006:
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Update for Windows XP (KB916595)
Install this update to prevent an issue in which you may receive a "Stop 0xD" error message on a computer that is running Windows XP Service Pack 2. The error may occur during startup, or after the system has started.
For more information about this update, read Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 916595.
Supported Operating System: Windows XP Service Pack 2
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Update for Windows XP (KB917730)
Install this update to fix a situation where you cannot create a network connection when you are starting a Windows XP SP2-based computer. During boot time, the hard-coded firewall boot policy blocks traffic on the default UDP port until the firewall service is running.
For more information about this update, read Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 917730.
Supported Operating System: Windows XP Service Pack 2
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Follow your favorite teams and players during the FIFA World Cup tournament with Microsoft Soccer Scoreboard. This fun program allows you to access all the latest tournament news and information with the click of a button! Live game data allow you to monitor your favorite teams progress in real-time.
Supported Operating System: Windows XP
IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Security with Microsoft Windows
Although wireless LAN networks provide freedom of movement, they also require you to address security issues that are not as prevalent on a private cabling system for a wired LAN technology such as Ethernet. This Microsoft Word document discusses the security issues of IEEE 802.11 wireless networks and shows how Microsoft Windows operating systems can be used to make 802.11 wireless networks as secure as the current set of 802.11-related technologies allow.
Supported Operating Systems: Longhorn; Windows 2000; Server 2003; Vista; XP
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