Monthly Archives: July 2007

Vista hotfixes improves file performance, reliability, standby/resume, games graphics and global warming

Windows Vista performanceIf you were one of the many betting on performance and reliability improvements in anticipation for Windows Vista Service Pack 1, then your winnings has arrived early, in fact some can already claim the jackpot. Winning lotto balls KB938194 and KB938979 for Windows Vista were distributed today to a group of Windows Server 2008 testers which is said to fix many of the mass-reported performance issues in Vista and even some unexpected improvements.

First reported in the forums of AeroXP and NVNews, two Vista hotfixes were made available to beta testers yesterday with a changelog promising to improve performance and reliability right across the board. Of course, this was an unexpected find in the Server 2008 beta as everyone anticipated such changes to by in the Vista SP1 beta than anything else. Nevertheless, the fix is what matters no matter what beta it’s under.

The changes that caught everyone’s eyes were
Windows Vista hotfixes

  • Improves the performance in calculating the ‘estimated time remaining’ when copying/moving large files.
  • Improves performance in bringing up Login Screen after resuming from Hibernate.
  • Improves the performance when copying or moving entire directories containing large amounts of data or files.
  • Improves the performance of Vista’s Memory Manager in specific customer scenarios and prevents some issues which may lead to memory corruption.
  • Improved reliability and compatibility of Vista when used with newer graphics cards in several specific scenarios and configurations.
  • Increased compatibility with many video drivers.
  • Improved visual appearance of games with high intensity graphics.
  • Increased reliability and performance of Vista when entering sleep and resuming from sleep.

and so they should because those are, or at least imitate, the holy grail to most of the rants and raves of Vista horror stories we’ve been hearing.

AeroXP benchmarkAeroXP’s Bryant and Rafael has also done an early non-benchmark test on these patches and reports extremely promising results with up to 80% decreases in file operation times such as move or copy with large files and folders. Whilst I’m sure a more scientific test would lead to lesser but more accurate results, but it’s a good indication there was a real problem and this is a real solution.

It’s also no surprise to see these leaked unbelievably fast without much doubt over legality and the like. Whilst I’m sure Microsoft released these under private beta for good reasons, I can’t imagine them thinking not every Vista enthusiast awake or asleep will want this the very first second they read Neowin or any other Windows enthusiast website, so they can’t really blame anyone for a leak if they do decide to investigate.

Windows Vista hotfixesA patch in beta would otherwise seem like a risky idea, but I guess the potential benefits far outweighs the risks of stuffing up your entire installation. Quick, before Microsoft notices, you can the download the X86 version patches here, and X64 version patches here. Word of warning for those gutsy X64 owners out there (update: downloads obviously removed upon Microsoft’s request), disabling driver-signing with BCDEdit will no longer work after this patch is applied so you will not be able to boot with any unsigned drivers.

Some say these patches will be distributed via Windows Update in the coming weeks, but I speculate this patch will become the cornerstone for Vista SP1’s long list of fixes, and we should expect more fixes like these in other areas of the operating system when it is released. I can’t see Microsoft miss out on the opportunity to promote the benefits of SP1.

Update: Microsoft has, at the time of writing, removed the downloads from Mediafire’s file hosting service.

Inside the Insiders: Kip Kniskern of LiveSide

Inside the Insiders is a series of interviews with some of the most recognized and outspoken Microsoft influentials, journalists and enthusiasts I know. I plan to go around interviewing as many of these peers as possible to find out more about their background, life outside of Microsoft and their darkest Unix fetishes. At least that’s what I tell them. Little did they know their answers will help me annihilate them and my other competitors.

Scared of a backlash, Kip now only shows affection for the butterfly indoors.How Microsoft will beat Google is a question on everybody’s minds, and as soon Microsoft has the answer we’ll hear it on LiveSide. LiveSide is not only the resource for many technology pundits who have a hard time digesting the Microsoft online strategy some call Windows Live, but even Microsoft employees themselves. Kip Kniskern is one of the three “sneaky geniuses” who collectively knows more Live products and services than probably exists. Started on the 3rd day in January 2006, LiveSide has grown to one of the most popular Microsoft blogs with more an impressive track record for scoops and early beta insights.

Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, I’m a purely amateur computer enthusiast who got into this by trying to get into as many Microsoft betas as I could, just to see what was going on. I subscribe to about 600 blogs. Before becoming involved with LiveSide, I didn’t even use IM, and now I talk with people every day from the US, Australia, China, Germany, the UK, and Canada.

I try to make some sense of what has been a wild ride with MSN morphing into Windows Live, and where it’s gone from there. I try not to let Long Zheng bore me too much.

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Exclusive Halo 3 hoodies at TechEd Australia 07

Halo 3Even for someone like myself who’s never played the Halo story or own an Xbox to do so, I can’t help but not get excited by Halo 3. Halo has changed gaming like how Lord of the Rings changed film-making – continuously setting new standards for graphics, gameplay and storytelling with each release. No doubt Halo 3 will set even higher standards with a bang.

As we approach the not-too-distant release date in September, it’s no surprise to see the merchandise trickling out to juice this sucker one last time, and rightly so they deserve to. So far we have everything from the special edition Xbox 360 with an interesting color palette, X360 faceplates, controllers, headsets, books, comics and even the Zune. Bungie of course also have some merchandise of their own, clothing included, but none of them beats what came out of Microsoft Australia today.

Halo 3 hoodie

As announced on the TechNet Australia blog, they will be giving away 50 limited-release Halo 3 hooded jumpers to some very lucky TechEd Australia attendees. To be eligible to win, you will have to put your hand up to become a walking billboard, but that’s nothing compared to the eBay value of this treat. I have been told this are exclusively made for TechEd by the Xbox team in Australia, so you won’t be seeing this ever again.

Compared to the other Halo 3 hoodie they have at the official Bungie store, the Australian one kicks ass like Master Chief. I’m going to put my hand up to plaster myself all over with TechEd stickers, I need a new hoodie. 😀

Vista SP1 Beta – VS2008 B2 issues & DirectX 10.1

Windows Vista SP1For a Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Beta vaguely coming “sometime this year“, everything seems to be rolling along right now. Private beta in-progress, TechEd sessions, products roadmap, kernel documentations and even advisories to hardware manufacturers for new WHQL tests. And there’s no sign of slowing down as two more SP1 cameo appearances has been recently spotted in Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 and DirectX SDK August 2007.

Visual Studio 2008Thanks to a tipoff by Mustapha Adjiri as well as hawks-eye Channel9 member stun, inside the Visual Studio 2008 “Orcas” Beta 2 distributed last week was a readme file with specific mentions of a Vista SP1 beta. Unfortunately to those special few running SP1, they’ll have problems installing Orcas.

“When Orcas is installed on a Windows Vista SP1 Beta platform, the .Net Framework has mismatched versions. This causes random failures in the product.” I’m assuming the culprit is a rollup release of .NET Framework 3.0 included in SP1 which Orcas has issues detecting. With no apparent workaround, sucks to be beta testing both at once.

DirectX 10Thanks to another tipoff by Brian (update: and brownie points to AeroXP too), Vista SP1 is doing more good than bad for another part of the development platform. It appears everyone is taking DirectX 10 nice and slow except Microsoft who’s now readying to roll out the first revision before anyone has even took advantage of the first release yet, Direct3D 10.1. In the August 2007 release of the DirectX SDK it writes,

Direct3D 10.1 Tech Preview
Direct3D 10.1 is an incremental, side-by-side update to Direct3D 10.0 that provides a series of new rendering features that will be available in an upcoming generation of graphics hardware.

  • TextureCube Arrays which are dynamically indexable in shader code.
  • An updated shader model (shader model 4.1).
  • The ability to select the MSAA sample pattern for a resource from a palette of patterns, and retrieve the corresponding sample positions.
  • The ability to render to block-compressed textures.
  • More flexibility with respect to copying of resources.
  • Support for blending on all unorm and snorm formats.

This tech preview provides an early look at these features and the handful of new APIs that support them. The August 2007 Direct3D 10.1 Tech Preview requires the Windows Vista SP1 Beta which will be available to MSDN subscribers once it is publicly released.

What’s interesting is the reference to a Windows Vista SP1 MSDN release that hasn’t been mentioned before. However, I’m not sure if they mean MSDN subscribers will get it first, or simultaneously during the public beta test. Since there’s only 154 days left in “sometime this year”, it could ship any day now. 😉

More TechEd Vista SP1 typos

TechEd BarcelonaIt looks like Microsoft Australia aren’t the only ones with a “Windows Vista SP1” typo on their TechEd website. This time around two upcoming TechEd events in Barcelona – TechEd IT Forum and TechEd Developers – both inherit the same ‘typo’ that was on TechEd Australia’s website before being removed earlier last week. Coincidence? I think not.

TechEd Barcelona Windows Vista SP1

Comparing the content on the pages above with TechEd Australia, it is obvious there’s a lot of similarity between all of the regional TechEd events – the topics they cover along with the abstract description. My guess is that the mothership (Redmond) decides exactly what topics are and are not to be covered across the entire TechEd family in a particular timeframe, and it is up to each individual region to add flair and value to the content. If that’s the case, then at some point in time, at least one person was confident enough to include Vista SP1 in the list of topic – under the assumption it had to be available in some form to discuss.

Why are they retracting that statement now? What happened between writing this abstract and now is causing them to exclude SP1 from the list? Certainly there’s no better event to showcase Vista SP1 if indeed it is ready – this is just about the last major Microsoft event before the new year and the audience is largely IT decision makers and administrators. Makes me wonder if they are hiding it on purpose. Personally I’m still hopeful someone will mention SP1 at TechEd Australia in 2 weeks time. *wink wink* *nudge nudge*

Microsoft products roadmap for FY08 and beyond

Oh boy, a Microsoft roadmap, haven’t seen one of these in a while. This is extracted from Steve Ballmer’s Powerpoint presentation at Microsoft Show and Tell (Financial Analyst Meeting) 2007 yesterday. I’m surprised Mary Jo Foley or Todd Bishop haven’t picked this up earlier. I’ve noted some of my items of interest with a red asterisk.

Microsoft products roadmap for FY08 and beyond

Operating Systems

  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Small Business Server Code name "Cougar"
  • Windows Server Code Name "Centro"
  • Windows Vista SP1*
  • Windows Server 2008 Update Release*
  • Windows Server 2008 SP1*


  • Forefront Code Name "Stirling"
  • Forefront Client Security
  • Forefront Security for Office Communications Server
  • Forefront Security Management Console
  • Intelligent Gateway Application 2007
  • Forefront Security for Exchange Server "14"
  • Forefront Security for SharePoint "14"

IT Operations

  • System Center Operations Manager 2007
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Essentials "v2"
  • System Center Service Manager
  • System Center Configuration Manager 2007
  • System Center Capacity Planner 2007
  • System Center Data Protection Manager "v2"
  • Identity Lifecycle Manager 2007
  • Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance


  • Windows Live
  • Office Live
  • MSN
  • adCenter
  • XBOX Live
  • Live Search


  • Office Communications Server 2007
  • Office Communicator 2007
  • Expression Studio
  • Speech Server 2007
  • Microsoft Tellme*
  • Office:mac

Entertainment & Devices

  • Zune*
  • Mediaroom
  • Windows Embedded CE
  • Wndows Automotive
  • Windows Media
  • Surface
  • Office Mobile
  • XBOX 360 Elite*

Business Platform

  • Dynamics NAV
  • Dynamics AX
  • Dynamics SL
  • Dynamics GP
  • Dynamics CRM
  • Dynamics Live CRM
  • Dynamics Entrepreneur Solution

Application Platform

  • SQL Server 2008
  • BizTalk Server R2
  • .NET Framework
  • Visual Studio 2008
  • Popfly
  • Expression Studio V2*
  • Silverlight

This above information contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. If you make investments based on this information alone, you are an ass. Please remove yourself from the stock market immediately.