News Posts matching "Windows Vista"

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WARP10 Brings in DirectX 10 CPU Acceleration

Back when Redmond was gearing up for the launch of Windows Vista, the PC hardware industry had its own plans, of brandishing support for the new operating system. Microsoft then came up with its “Windows Vista-Capable” hardware tag, which eventually put the company into an embarrassing situation where users would rant about their hardware, more so branded PCs and notebooks, being anything but capable of the OS. That was because vendors sold PCs with dated DirectX 9 supportive hardware, which didn’t quite qualify to be “capable” of the DirectX 10 API the OS shipped with. The company even saw itself facing charges for false marketing.

To avoid that happening with the next release of the OS, Windows 7, Microsoft shaped up the Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform (WARP10). WARP10 is a component of the DirectX 10 API that provides software rasterization for all DirectX 10 calls, using every available hardware component the PC has. Think of it as 100% software acceleration in the absence of compliant hardware. It is shipping in beta form in the November 2008 DirectX SDK. Now, even a Pentium III 800 MHz will be “capable” of rendering Direct3D 10 scenes, as Microsoft puts it. With this, Microsoft guarantees that any and every PC or notebook carrying the “Vista Capable” sticker would be able to use every single feature the OS has to offer, including DirectX 10. WARP10 benefits from multi-threaded and multi-core CPUs, with specific benefits coming out from the availability of SSE4.1 instruction sets. Microsoft claims that even the CPU in Windows Vista’s minimum system requirements list will be capable of WARP10. The excitement however, dies down when you find out just how capable today’s CPUs are in accelerating 3D: An Intel Core i7 was able to “run” Crysis, on a resolution of 800 x 600, churning out a proud 7.36 frames per second (at least it managed to beat Intel’s best integrated graphics). To learn more about WARP10, visit this page.

Microsoft Confirms DirectX 11 to Accompany Windows 7

Microsoft's Ben Basaric, product marketing manager for Windows products, confirmed to PC Games Hardware that the next major update to the DirectX API, DirectX 11 would accompany Windows 7, the next major consumer operating system software by Microsoft. This, overwriting his own statement given to the website earlier that he wasn't sure if DirectX 11 would be ready to ship with the OS upon its launch. Furthermore, he also indicated that Windows Vista will have access to the updated API, although not sure at what point in time.Source: PCGH

Corsair Notes 6GB of Memory Significantly Beneficial for Gaming PCs with Core i7

Today, Intel made its newest piece of silicon, the Core i7 series processor official with the introduction of three models based on the newer architecture, and socket. One of the significant feature-additions for Core i7 is the 192-bit wide DDR3 memory bus, meaning that memory modules in groups of three or six can be used to make use of the triple-channel memory controller the processors come with.

For memory vendors, it means selling kits consisting of three or six modules of 1 GB or 2 GB per module, resulting in 3 GB, 6 GB or potentially, a 12 GB kit (consisting of six 2 GB modules). Corsair, on its part, has been advertising the benefits of 4 GB system memory in the recent past, in a bit to sell its 2x 2GB kits. One of the important benefits Corsair noted was, that it benefited today's games. Come Core i7, and Corsair thinks 6 GB of memory would significantly benefit gaming PCs based on the Core i7 processors. The company released a whitepaper, in which gaming performance between Core i7-based systems equipped with 3 GB and 6 GB of memory were compared.

Shuttle Announces HD-compatible AMD-based XPC H7 7800H Mini-PC

Shuttle Inc., the market leader in the Mini-PC sector and manufacturer of Multi-Form-Factor solutions extends its portfolio with a new compact entertainment artist specifically designed to play back high-resolution Blu-ray media. The Shuttle XPC H7 7800H complete Mini-PC system is easy to use, stands for high processing power and space for expansion.

The Windows Vista based complete system includes a Blu-ray Combo drive, a card reader, hybrid TV tuner card, WLAN and a remote control. Based on the Shuttle XPC Barebone SN78SH7, this attractive Mini-PC solution barely measures 32.5 x 20.8 x 18.9 cm (DWH).

Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Beta Next Week

Windows Vista Team Blog posted today some good information on the next service pack, second in row, for Windows Vista.
We are committed to continually improving Windows, and we've been getting some questions about the timing of the next service pack for Windows Vista. Following the success of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 last spring, we have been working hard on Windows Vista Service Pack 2. As a part of the development and testing process, we're going to start by providing a small group of Technology Adoption Program customers with Windows Vista SP2 Beta for evaluation next Wednesday, October 29. The final release date for Windows Vista SP2 will be based on quality. So we'll track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date for the release.
Windows Vista SP2 Beta will contain previously released fixes focused on addressing specific reliability, performance, and compatibility issues.

Microsoft Windows XP Downgrade Program Extended by Another Six Months

Windows XP, the OS that is still widely available although its Vista successor is trying to get the upper hand for more than a year, has just received another six months before going down forever. Earlier this summer, Microsoft instructed retailers to stop selling copies of Windows XP to consumers. Regardless of that customers were still able to use their lovely XP OS through a loophole that allowed them to purchase a new computer running certain version of Windows Vista and still downgrade to Windows XP for free. Originally, that option was set to expire on January 31st, 2009. Now Microsoft has extended that date by another six months, through July 31st, 2009. Recent market research shows that one third of the customers that can take advantage of the downgrade program, return to Windows XP without thinking twice. Recently Microsoft also made Windows XP licenses and support available for netbooks until 2010. With little help Windows XP could be still alive when Vista's deputy Windows 7 becomes available.Source: The Register

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Series Driver 2.18.0004 for Windows Vista Released

A long time has passed since Creative last released any new Vista drivers for its X-Fi audio cards. Usually new drivers are being published every single day, and they don't concern us much, but in Creative's case a new driver release can be considered a break-through. It goes even worse, because when we talk about new Creative drivers for Windows Vista we expect something new to be added, but in reward we receive only features that are supposed to work by default with this concrete product. A perfect example for my words is the brand new Windows Vista 2.18.0004 driver for Creative X-Fi cards released today. It is now here to re-establish the hardware Dolby Digital, DTS decode and DVD-Audio playback functions, that were available in Windows XP for more than two years. If you own a Creative X-Fi card just like me and you use it under Windows Vista 32/64-bit, please follow this link to download Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi series Driver 2.18.0004.Source: Creative

Microsoft's 'new' OS Gets a Website

Last week, Microsoft conducted an experiment in San Francisco, USA where 120 users with a negative opinion on Windows Vista were introduced to a new OS to which a majority of them gave positive feedback, only to discover it was Windows Vista under the covers (covered here). Microsoft now wants to publish its results in a new website presumably with promotional tones over its so-far-flop Windows Vista operating system. Results come out in the form of videos, text and presentations. The website titled "The Mojave Experiment" can be reached here.

Source: CNET

Microsoft Spins Over a 'Mojave' Approach to Grow Vista User-base

Choice is a wonderful thing. Informed Choice is even better, where you choose something after knowing its inside-outs. The very opposite of informed choice is dogma, where you rigidly oppose something and stick to your beliefs. Incidentally, dogma seems to be one of the significant factors keeping users away from embracing Windows Vista OS, of what can be inferred from an experiment by Microsoft in San Fransisco, United States. A group of Windows XP users having negative impressions on Windows Vista were introduced to a "new" operating system they referred to as "Mojave". User experiences on using this operating system were noted and feedback taken. A surprising 90 percent of these users gave positive feedback on this new OS. They were later told that the new OS was nothing else but Windows Vista.

Despite Microsoft releasing numerous updates and fixes to the Vista OS making it a fairly stable, reliable OS close to expectations if not exactly on par, it seems to be mass dogma that's keeping users away from adopting this new OS. Going back to that experiment, a user is reported to have exclaimed "Oh wow", something Microsoft expected users to do with the new OS originally, as portrayed in those numerous television and print commercials going with the tag line "wow". Following the recent announcement of a huge budget allocation towards propagating Vista (covered here) for home and enterprise segments, the message being sent out is that Microsoft is not only being aggressive but also proactive.Source: CNET

Sandisk CEO: ''Windows Vista not Optimized for SSDs''

During a conference of the company's second quarter earnings, the CEO Eli Harari of Sandisk, a significant player in the solid state drive (SSD) industry said that Windows Vista would present a special challenge for solid state drive (SSD) makers. Says Harari: "As soon as you get into Vista applications in notebook and desktop, you start running into very demanding applications because Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid state disk,". He hints at the design of Vista as a cause for performance not being upto the mark, adding that Sandisk's next generation drive controllers should aim to "basically compensate for Vista shortfalls".

"Unfortunately, (SSDs) performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs and that is why we need to develop the next generation, which we'll start sampling end of this year, early next year," said Harari. Ironically, he has also been quoted saying that such issues didn't affect the "very low-end, ultra low-cost PCs" (read ULPCs), where existing controller technologies could handle 8 ~ 32 GB drive capacities. Clever choice of words since that's the segment that has drive manufacturers, both SSD and HDD, eying at since it's an emerging segment.Source: CNET

Microsoft to kick-off a 300M Dollar Vista Campaign

If you have watched the TNT Original movie Pirates of the Silicon Valley or read the book Fire in the Valley, you would know Steve Ballmer to be quite a character although both the book and the movie are unauthorised documentaries. Under the leadership of Ballmer, Microsoft plans to start a US $300 million-worth campaign aimed to demystify Windows Vista and encourage users to adopt the new operating system.

These are good times for Apple. The lack of success for Windows Vista means growth in the sales of Apple Mac for first-time buyers. And it is true- numerous reports and surveys point out to the fact that Apple Mac is seeing a growth in sales of late. Add to that, Apple won’t spare any chance to take pot-shots at the software giant, its ‘bloated’ operating system (as if Apple OS X isn’t) in its series of TV and web-cast commercials around the ‘cool Mac guy and uncool PC guy’.

Bloomfield 2.93 GHz Performance Data Disclosed

Benchmarks of Nehalem derivatives are on a roll. We had seen the Bloomfield 2.66 GHz scores and thought it was great. A couple of days ago, Tom's Hardware showed off their newest toys to the world in which was a 2.93 GHz Bloomfield we covered here. Interestingly, they had then stated that Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) prevented them from releasing any benchmark data, though following ChipHell's publication, they thought they would disclose theirs as well.

They carried out their tests on the Foxconn Renaissance X58 motherboard with dual-channel Crucial Ballistix 2x 1GB DDR3 1600 MHz, ATI Radeon HD 4850, Windows Vista SP1 and hotfix_vista32-64_dd_ccc_hd4800series_64906 patch. A 750GB Seagate SATA II hard drive was used.

In 3DMark 06, it secured a CPU score of 5183. In PCMark 05, a CPU score of 9583 with a memory score of 9010 was noted. In 3DMark Vantage, the CPU score was 17966 (CPU Test1: 2515.1 Plans/S, Test2: 23.08 Steps/S). 2.93 GHz Bloomfield had a Mere 11% performance advantage over a QX6800 (that clocks at 2.93 GHz). It is also said that this 2.93 GHz chip is 23% faster than a Phenom X4 9950.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Intel Skips Windows Vista

Now that Microsoft officially confirmed support for Windows XP until year 2014, Intel has decided to skip upgrading to Windows Vista. The chip giant won't upgrade the computers of its own 80,000 employees to Microsoft’s Vista operating system, according to a person close to Intel's IT department. "This isn’t a matter of dissing Microsoft, but Intel information technology staff just found no compelling case for adopting Vista," the person said. There's no official reason for this decision, but it's quite obvious that Vista is still not mature enough to succeed Windows XP. Sad but true. Meanwhile, the next version of Windows codenamed Windows 7 is scheduled to go on sale in January 2010. By skipping Vista, Intel dooms its workers to Windows XP for at least two more years.Source: New York Times

Microsoft Releases Reliability and Performance update for Windows Vista SP1-based PCs

Microsoft has issued some fresh code for Windows Vista SP1 users in the form of a performance and reliability update. This specific release targets all Windows Vista editions, and promises to resolve various issues that have been submited by customers using the Error Reporting service or Microsoft Customer Support Services. It's also said to help improve the performance and reliability of Windows Vista. The update is available for both Windows Vista SP1 32-bit and 64-bit here.

Vista Successor in H2 2009?

According to TG Daily, the next version of Windows (codenamed Blackcomb Vienna) could be scheduled for release as early as the second half of next year. The operating system was originally slated to be launched in 2010, but the latest roadmap from Microsoft gives Windows 7 a release-to-manufacturer (RTM) date of H2 2009. The site is also reporting that an early version of the software, being dubbed “Milestone 1” (M1), has already been shipped to key Microsoft partners. If true, this would mean that Windows Vista will only last as the company’s flagship operating system for about three years – compared to the five years of Windows XP.Source: TG Daily

NVIDIA ForceWare 169.25 WHQL Released

NVIDIA has updated its WHQL ForceWare driver for Windows Vista to version 169.25, which supports just about all GeForce FX, 6, 7 and 8 series graphics cards. The changes in this release are added support for 3-way SLI, added support for the new 512MB 8800 GTS and numerous game and compatibility fixes. Download locations are as follows:
  • Windows Vista 32-bit – here
  • Windows Vista 64-bit – here
Source: NVIDIA

Crypto 'backdoor' in Vista SP1

Microsoft is to implement a random number generator in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 which has a known flaw, described by security researchers as a 'back door'. The weakness could, at worst, allow an unknown attacker to decrypt EFS-protected data and SSL sessions such as used for internet banking and World of Warcraft logons. It's not all doom and gloom, however: the flawed RNG will be bundled with a second, more reliable version which will be selected by default. It does make you wonder why Microsoft have bothered implementing the flawed version, known as Dual_EC_DRBG, at all. The algorithm, approved by the American National Institute of Standards and Technology (which, for you paranoiacs out there, works closely with the No Such Agency), is based on elliptic-curve mathematics and uses a set of constants to 'seed' the generation. It has been determined by security researchers Dan Shumow and Niels Ferguson that these constants have a special relationship to a second, secret set of numbers. In theory, anyone who has the second set can determine what 'random' number the algorithm will pop out at any given time. Which has cryptologists such as Bruce Schneier suitably worried. By default Vista SP1 will use the CTR_DBG algorithm (based on the Advanced Encryption Standard) which is thought to be more secure than the possibly-backdoored Dual_EC_DRBG. As a result, a developer would actually have to make a concious effort to use the possibly-insecure algorithm and thus put the security of encrypted data at risk. Still, it's a disquieting thought that the heart of any system designed to offer users privacy could have such a major flaw and still get shipped to end-users.Source: bit-tech

Vista Made to Work on Eee PC

Despite the limited hard drive space and relatively low system specs, a user over at the MoDaCo forums has managed to get Windows Vista working on one of ASUS’ 4GB Eee PCs. All you need is an Eee PC, a Windows Vista disk, an SD card (at least 2GB, preferably more) and a 1GB USB flash drive. The process, which can be seen here, basically involves using vLite to create a streamlined Vista installation without features you don’t need, copying that to the USB drive and installing the OS onto the Eee PC from there. After that you need to move the Side-by-Side (WinSXS) directory to the SD card in order to free up some disk space, and from there you should have a working Windows Vista installation. So any Eee PC owners desperate to run Microsoft’s latest operating system can now do so, albeit a bit sluggishly.

Source: MoDaCo Forums via Engadget

Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate Publicly Available

A day after it released Windows XP SP3 RC1 to the public, Microsoft has done the same with the release candidate of Vista’s first service pack. You can now download the standalone package from here, or alternatively you can download an applet which allows you to install the service pack via Windows Update from this site. As with XP SP3, this is not a final version, so it is recommended that you do not install this on your primary operating system.

Microsoft Releases Tool to Block Upcoming Service Packs

With the company putting the finishing touches to no less than three major service packs at the moment, Microsoft has released a tool which will allow users to prevent them from being automatically downloaded. The Windows Service Pack Blocker Toolkit lets users block XP SP3 and Vista SP1 for up to one year, and Server 2003 SP2 until March next year. There are three versions - an executable, a script and a group policy template - so take your pick. This is recommended for any users worried about potential security and stability issues that may result from installing the service packs.Source: PC World

Microsoft to Release Vista SP1 for Public Testing Next Week

It seems work on Windows Vista’s first service pack is almost complete, with Microsoft planning to make the Release Candidate (RC) version publicly available next week via Microsoft’s Download Center. Microsoft commented that “the code has attained a significant level of performance and stability” and listed the following changes which have been made since the beta release:
  • The size of the standalone installers have decreased significantly. For example, the standalone installer packages consisting of all 36 languages (x86 and x64 chip architectures) are smaller by over 50%. The standalone installer packages consisting of just the 5 languages (again, x86 and x64) slated for initial release are more than 30% smaller in size.
  • The required amount of disc space for SP1 installation has also decreased significantly. Furthermore, with the RC, if more space is required to install SP1, an error message will now display exactly how much space is needed to complete the installation.
  • Previous SP1 versions left behind a directory of files that wasn't needed after installation and occupied about 1GB of space; the RC includes automatic disk clean-up to remove this directory.
  • Installation reliability has been improved based on bug reports and error codes reported from Windows Update (thanks, Beta testers!). Testing shows that these improvements have significantly increased the proportion of successful installations of the RC.
  • We've improved the user experience of installing SP1 via Windows Update. During the Beta release, users installed without much guidance from Windows Update. The RC now contains a series of screens with detailed information on SP1.
The final version of Vista SP1 is on target to be released during the first quarter of 2008 – roughly a year after the operating system was publicly launched.Source: Windows Vista Team Blog

Microsoft Windows Vista Nears 8% Market Share

Despite of widespread critics among certain groups of end-users, Microsoft Windows Vista operating system (OS) captured additional part of the market in October, whereas other operating systems from Microsoft reduced their installed base. At the same time, platforms from Apple reduced the shares of the market they command. In September the share of Windows Vista-based personal computers used to browse the Internet was close to 8%, 7.91% to be precise, up insignificantly, according to data collected by Net Applications, a provider of Web tools. The shares of Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems decreased to 3.16% and 79.07%. The share of systems based on Mac OS decreased to 6.55% in October, down from 6.61% a month before. Other operating systems, namely outdated Windows versions, Linux OSes and so on, which have been losing market share for many months now, are now used in 3.31% of devices that are browsing online.Source: X-bit labs

Vista Continues to Gain Market Share

Despite its criticisms, Microsoft’s latest operating system is gradually becoming more popular, with XP’s market share now falling below 80%. In September the market share of Vista-based computers being used to browse the net rose to 7.38%, up by over one percent from the previous month, with Windows XP’s market share falling by 1.16% to 79.32%. If Vista use continues to grow at this rate then it should account for over 10% of the market by December. Use of Mac operating systems also saw a rise, although it was less substantial than that of Vista, increasing from 6.15% to 6.61%.Source: Net Applications via X-bit labs

Microsoft Auto-Updates Components of Windows Without User Permission

The average Windows XP or Vista user has Windows Update turned on, so that they will ideally be more secure. However, quite a few businesses elect not to have automatic updates, as the version that they are running is stable, and moving to a new version might cause instability in a mission critical environment. Lately, however, Microsoft has been thinking that they know better than their users. Regardless of whether or not a user has automatic updates turned off, Windows XP and Vista automatically update roughly nine files in Windows Update. While it is not a big deal for people that don't mind having the most up-to-date version of Windows, this is a very large breach of security, privacy, and possible stability for anyone who elected to turn Windows Update off.Source: Windows Secrets
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