HelpWithWindows Newsletter Volume 9, Number 24
December 23, 2006

In this issue:

Windows Vista Review

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

Windows Vista As you probably know, Microsoft has released Windows Vista for its business clients, meaning that businesses that have a licensing deal with Microsoft can obtain the new operating system (OS). Microsoft will be releasing Windows Vista to consumers next month. I don't expect businesses to start deploying Windows Vista any time soon. There are several reasons for that. In the first place, businesses usually wait till the 1st Service Pack (SP1) of any OS has been released before they start deploying it. They want the 1st bugs to have been addressed. Right now Microsoft hasn't released a date for SP1 of Vista (typically it's around 6 months after 1st release). Another reason is training/familiarization costs. Imagine all the employees getting Windows Vista for the 1st time: they will spend a lot of time just investigating the new system & checking out its capabilities; better wait till they have upgraded their home PC and familiarized themselves with Vista in their own time.

Consumers can obtain Windows Vista in various ways, and although most people will get the new operating system when they buy a new PC, I suspect that a good number of you will be contemplating upgrading their Windows XP machines to Vista. To get the best experience, here's my recommendation:

    Clean Install: Forget about upgrading, a clean install will give you the best performance possible. And yes, you can use an 'upgrade' edition of Vista to do a clean install.

    Hardware requirements: Make sure you have at least a 2.4 GHz processor if you have a single-core CPU; 1.8 GHz if you have a dual-core CPU.
    Since Vista only ships on DVD, you'll need to have a DVD drive.
    As for memory, I'd say the absolute minimum is 1 GB, you'd be better off with 1.5 or 2 GB.
    The more tricky part is the Video card. Microsoft's minimum requirements for a "Windows Vista Premium Ready PC" call for "Support for DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum), Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel". The "WDDM driver" (Windows Display Driver Model) is a critical requirement, the WWDM driver is needed for the Aero user experience. You can check on most graphic cards designers Web sites for their compatible models (NVIDEA, ATI). I would also suggest a minimum of 256 MB of RAM for your graphics card.

Some larger OEM retailers will offer you an "Express Upgrade" when you buy a new PC now, so that once Windows Vista will be released next month for consumers you can upgrade for no (or little) cost. Be aware that some are offering this upgrade on PC's with specifications that - while they do fall within Microsoft's minimum requirements - will not give you a decent experience. For more details on the Express Upgrade, check out Microsoft's Windows Vista Web site.

My advice: If you are in the market for a new PC, wait another month (or two) till the 'dust' on Vista's release has settled, and manufacturers will be offering new configurations that include Vista on some decent hardware specs.

For the first three parts of my Windows Vista Review, check out the HelpWithWindows Web site.

Microsoft Security

Microsoft Windows Security Bulletin Summary for December, 2006

The security update for December 2006 includes four fixes for Microsoft Windows, one for Internet Explorer and one for Outlook Express.

Severity Rating: Critical

Severity Rating: Important


Before You Connect a New Computer to the Internet

The Christmas holiday period is traditional a time that a lot of people will get their first (or a new) PC, and will connect it to the Internet for the first time. If you do not have taken the proper safeguards, you can safely assume that your new present will be a broken toy within 15 to 20 minutes (and most of the time it doesn't take that long).

Please read this useful guide published by the CERT:

Before You Connect a New Computer to the Internet

Latest Microsoft & Windows News from around the Internet

Windows XP: Stop Password Expiration

After you have run Windows XP for a while, you may receive this message when you log on: "Your password will expire in 14 days.....".

Read Full Article

Recommended Book:

Windows Vista(TM) Inside Out ($34.49)

In Association With Amazon.com

Windows XP: Create a Password Recovery Disk

If you want some added safety in case you forget your password, you should create a Password Recovery Disk.

Read Full Article

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Happy Holidays!

This is the last issue of the HelpWithWindows Newsletter for this year. Most of you will celebrate the Christmas holiday, so from myself and the entire InfiniSource team I want to wish you & your loved ones happy Holidays and all the best for 2007!

Early January I will be traveling to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), I will attempt to publish a Newsletter around the 13th January.

Recent Support BBS Postings


Windows XP Updates

This month, Microsoft issued a number of updates for Windows XP:

  • KB924441 - Address an issue where a system using a dual core or multiprocessor Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processor that supports ACPI processor performance states (AMD PowerNow!) stops responding.
  • KB896256 - Fixes a situation where your Windows-based system that supports processor power management features, and is equipped with multiple processors, may experience decreased performance.
  • KB924941 - Resolves timing issues resulting in race conditions when using Bluetooth devices connected via USB.
  • Update for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (KB926251) - Address Windows Media Player 10 automatic update failures after installing Update for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (KB913800).
  • Update for Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP (KB928089) - Resolves a performance issue with the Phishing Filter. When visiting certain web pages, the Phishing Filter may increase CPU usage while evaluating the page contents and the system may become slow to respond


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