David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small.  

March 2007 - David Overton's Blog

  • View and Search the Windows Vista Registry from the Windows Shell (Explorer) through this Namespace Extensions

    I came across this due to someone pointing it out internally - talk about awesome. The Windows Registry Shell Namespace Extension allows Windows Explorer to view and interact with the Windows Registry data via Explorer windows. It demonstrates existing Shell extensibility points like IShellFolder2 and SHCreateShellFolderView and also demonstrates new concepts in Vista including the property system, property schema extensibility, and content indexing via Protocol Handlers. This project is implemented using C++ and ATL. This release includes all of the latest deltas and addresses the installation issues for systems without VS2005. This is a temporary fix until James finishes the WIX setup. Installation notes: - Download/open the zip file. - If you have VS2005 installed, just double-click RegNamespace.msi. - If you don't have VS2005, run Setup.exe. This will install the necessary VC Redistrubutable. Source: Windows Vista Registry Shell Namespace Extensions ttfn David Technorati tags: Vista , Windows Vista , Search...
  • Dreamscapes 3D spinning earth background where lighting changes depending on the time of day - for Vista, amazing!

    I just have to share some of the pictures my PC created while running Dreamscapes (free from StarDock at http://dream.wincustomize.com/ ) - this one is of the planet Earth spinning, but the view of the earth changes depending on the time of day, so you get to see the light polution if it is night etc. It also works well, as you might expect with Flip 3D: See the tools to produce this and much more at: http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/03/26/vista-enhancements-and-utilities-changing-the-screen-savers-adding-extra-search-functionality-to-the-start-menu-objectdock-logon-screen-changer-windows-blinds-and-wim-image-modifier.aspx http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/03/26/vista-has-flip-3d-for-changing-applications-well-here-are-some-more-3d-cube-based-virtual-desktop-window-switcher-rotation-based-flip-3d.aspx http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/03/26/changing-vista-boot-screens-and-opening-yourself-up-to-rootkits-or-not.aspx
  • Vista enhancements and utilities (changing the screen savers, adding extra search functionality to the start menu, Objectdock, logon screen changer, Windows Blinds and WIM Image modifier)

    Changing the screen saver settings: http://tweakvista.com/Article39129.aspx (make ribbons fatter, increase the number of them and so on) Start++ - search tools from WDS in Vista: http://brandonlive.com/2007/02/22/new-tool-i-made-for-vista-start/ “clear” aero theme for Winblinds for Vista: http://www.skinbase.org/rate.php?skins=32542 Logon Screen changer (free from StarDock when released, part of Object Dock during beta): See http://www.stardock.com/newsitem.asp?id=942 and skins at http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?libid=65 DreamScenes, Dream Maker and Dynamic Dreams – some free, some charged for, for Ultimate Users: http://dream.wincustomize.com/ and http://www.stardock.com/products/deskscapes/ - these include triggers in the “dreams” vLite – image tweaking tool: http://www.vlite.net/about.html ttfn David Technorati tags: Vista , Dreamscene , Logon Screen Changer , Dynamic Dreams , vLite
  • Changing Vista boot screens and opening yourself up to rootkits (or not)

    I love people who want to customise WIndows Vista and some of my previous posts have covered this, however you can go too far - you can hack the OS. While I understand the desire to "hack" the OS to get customisations, there are better ways. This particular example is where people want to change the boot screen in Vista. The ability to do this will be coming from StarDock soon, but until then people have taken to modifying the existing OS files. THERE IS ALWAYS a change that by downloading someones customised file to your PC and it being loaded so early on in the boot process that it could do nasty things, especially since these files are in now way certified by Microsoft. A classic example of this can be found here when people want to change the boot logo - this could easily be a social engineering attack. The instructions tell someone to remove the access and security permissions from a core system file, overwrite it with one that might make the system look prettier during boot, but who knows what else will...
  • Vista has Flip 3D for changing applications, well here are some more (3d cube based virtual desktop, Window Switcher, Rotation based flip 3d

    3d cube based virtual desktop: http://chsalmon.club.fr/index.php?en/Download Rotation based Flip 3D: http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=529816 Alternative to flip-3d (switcher): http://insentient.net/
  • FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) workshop presentations (IT Management using Microsoft technologies and Sales and Marketing using Microsoft solutions)

    I recently delivered the following workshop at the FSB conference in Belfast and promised to upload these files as promised. Making the management of your IT easier using your Microsoft software and services Understand how standard Microsoft software and online services can solve many common IT headaches, including security, backup and management of your PCs and business policies. File can be downloaded from http://uksbsguy.com/files/FSB%20_%20IT%20Management.pptx Technologies : Windows Vista, Small Business Server 2003 R2, Office Live Improving your sales and marketing using Microsoft Software and Online Services? Many people want to get more from software, but often don’t know where to start. In this session we will go through a process to improve the consistency and look of your documents as well as demonstrate how to use the Office tools and online services to better manage your customer information, improve your marketing efforts both on and offline and close the loop in a marketing campaign to them. File...
    Filed under:
  • iQubed Blog » You gotta love Linux - why, you can do this on Windows too

    I saw this over at Vijay's blog and remember these commands from my *nix days. I then thought, well I do these on Windows, so I had better share how to do it on Windows too. 1st - create DVDs and CDs from ISOs - get the MS utility from the Server 2003 Resource Kit - CDBurn.exe and DVDBurn.exe - from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9d467a69-57ff-4ae7-96ee-b18c4790cffd&DisplayLang=en 2nd - mount ISOs on XP & Vista - use the tool located at Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for Windows XP - note on Vista as it loads a device driver you need to run from an elevated CMD prompt and then you will only be able to access the drive you create from tasks running as admin, such as the elevated cmd prompt. There are 3rd party tools that also do this, such as daemon tools too (and then the non-admin parts of Vista work too) You gotta love Linux March 20th, 2007 by vijay I was loving Linux today because I needed to download an ISO, the IBM ServeRAID 7K bootable CD. I used Linux to download the ISO...
  • Who should test software and service packs - I think vendors,customers and partners - others think it is just Microsoft (vendors)

    I saw this in a forum and got a bit upset by it... it read: “SP2 is not going anywhere near anything we manage until some other people have tried it and seen whether it has any unexpected side effects.” This was followed by “What would happen if everyone took that attitude? I believe that we have to take responsibility for testing these service packs ourselves for the benefit of our customers, not waiting for someone else to try it first.” And then “That's MS's job - not ours.“ And “It's not about whether others can be bothered it's about whose job it is to test these patches. It's not mine, nor my customers. There are far too many Microsoft bashers and there are far too many Microsoft sycophants - the rest of us just get shouted down when we say it like we see it.” The last comment really got my goat, so much so that I posted back to the forum this reply, but I thought I would make it wider as I think the conversation should be discussed broader. Now in defence, I have snipped little bits of the conversations...
  • Symantec "Microsoft Listed as Most Secure OS"

    Wow, you have to wonder whether this hurt them to say this :-) Now I am a believer that any security vulnerability is bad and that the longer it is out there then the more likely it is to exploit it. If "people" only have one way to crack into your system, then they can still get in and the longer it is out there then the more likely it is that it will be used, however always nice to see that MS is trying hard and while not perfect, is doing better than other people who throw stones at MS. Of course, Windows also has more in it, so being better with more features in the box is even nicer and this is across all versions of Windows, not just the latest (Vista) for example. I think it shows that the IT industry has more work to do in this area - as Ed the Fed said - "this is a journey." Surprise, Microsoft Listed as Most Secure OS By Andy Patrizio UPDATED: Microsoft is frequently dinged for having insecure products, with security holes and vulnerabilities. But Symantec ( Quote ), no friend of Microsoft, said in its...
  • I love the press - saying that organisations are "banning" Vista when they are doing normal testing - and then writing another story when they get it wrong!!

    I read with interest the previosu stories about large oganisations banning Vista deployments, wondering if this was anything but normal policy. Then this story broke where NIST in the US "were irked" at suggestions that the ban was in anyway but normal practice until they finish testing Explaining a Vista ban The National Institute of Standards and Technology has put a moratorium on using Windows Vista, but that's business as usual, says agency's CIO. newsmaker The prestigious National Institute of Standards and Technology has put a ban on Windows Vista, but that's standard procedure, according to NIST's chief information officer. NIST, which does research and sets standards for things like cryptography for government use , is among several federal agencies that have put a moratorium on the use of Vista . The agencies are taking some time to make sure that the new Microsoft operating system meets their needs. It is not unusual that large organizations aren't rushing to install major software updates. These organizations...
  • Do you want to trial Exchange Server 2007, perhaps talk to the server? If so, look at the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Hosted Trial

    I saw this over at Henrik's blog and throught it might be of interest to the SBSC community. I like this. While I discovered that demoing something like this using a free VoIP service was a bad idea, using OK quality phones delivers an amazing experience. Obviously we will not see Exchange 2007 embedded in SBS until Cougar ships, it can still be provided as a hosted service, on a 2nd machine or for a partner internally using the Action Pack copy that should ship next month (fingers crossed). For more information, pop over to Henrik's blog on the subject, including the link to the trial. Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Hosted Trial Like it was the case right after Exchange 2003 RTM, you can also sign up for an Exchange 2007 tempoary account… “Welcome to the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Hosted Trial web site. You can create a temporary account to experience the features of Exchange Server 2007 which will stay active for 5 days. Your account will be pre-populated with sample messages, calendar appointments and a...
  • UK Vista Community Group - First Meeting - March 28th

    Vista Squad The place to discuss Windows Vista and the .NET Framework 3.0. We're excited to announce the inaugural meeting of the Vista Squad! The event will be held between 18:15 and 21:15 on Wednesday 28th March 2007 at Microsoft's HQ, Thames Valley Park, Reading. This will be a great opportunity to meet other members, discuss Vista and see two cracking presentations. If you'd like to come pop your name in a comment and we'll add you to the list. The line-up is as follows: 18:15-18:30: Refreshments 18:30-18:45: Introduction session to introduce the group, the key people involved and finally our aims and goals – (Ray Booysen, Scott Belton, Robert Knapp) 18:45-19:45: Presentation 1 - Are you ready for Vista - Windows hardware assessment tools (Scott Belton) 19:45-20:15: Break - Food, refreshments and networking 20:15-21:15: Presentation 2 - WCF Introduction– (tbc) 21:15: Roundup and close Source: Announcements : First Meeting
  • Help and Support Service not working / there after Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) is applied to a machine

    I had some apps fail on my machine yesterday after I got back from the TechNet event, so off I went to diagnose. It was then that I discovered that the help and support service had gone. Vanished, Vamoosh. I did find this little baby in the event log though: Event Type: Error Event Source: HELPSVC Event Category: None Event ID: 16387 Date: 14/03/2007 Time: 11:44:31 User: N/A Computer: SERVER Description: Service could not be deleted Being of a speedy nature I fired a mail off internally only to be told "yep, we know about and are investigating and we have already blogged about it" - http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2007/03/20/help-and-support-service-missing-after-installing-windows-2003-service-pack-2.aspx There is a fix there, which I used, works and is great, so no harm done, just a small panic.
  • Microsoft Rolling Out ODF Document Converter and participating in Standards processes

    This is not new news, but when I was at the Technet event yesterday it did come up. Someone asked about the what and why of Open XML and Open Document format. Luckily Darren Strange was on hand to answer the question (which he has done before). ODF is a great standard, but does not allow for amny of the things that our customers want, such as charts (to name just one). It is not unusual to have more than one standard way to do things (such as ASCII and EBDIC for character sets), so while ECMA has ratified OpenXML we are now working with a 2 nd standards body (ISO) to also get OpenXML ratified there too. For more information about the ODF converter, have a look at http://sourceforge.net/projects/odftranslator/ for the code and this article for news - Microsoft Rolling Out ODF Document Converter . Ttfn David
  • Running Office 2003 on Windows Vista and running other applications that work on Windows XP on Vista

    [updated 19th March 14:45 - added App Compat fixes KB article] I seem to be being asked this question a lot, so I thought I would blog the answer. The short answer is yes, you can run Office 2003 on Windows Vista . For that matter, you can run many other applications on Windows Vista too. For those who want details on how to do this, go to this page . Lets start from the top - most Windows applications run unmodified under Windows Vista. Some have been designed to, others have been certified to ensure they do. Details of this list can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933305 and includes products like Office 2003 (and 2007) and so on including those by Corel and so on. There is also then community maintained lists, such as http://www.iexbeta.com/wiki/index.php/Windows_Vista_Software_Compatibility_List for software that people believes does or does not work. Microsoft have released patches to Vista to increase the number of applications that run without any changes or user interaction. Details of this...
  • BBC News Online | Technology | Decoys fix quantum key swapping

    As some of you might know, my background was in Security for a while and I studied how Quantium keys and security could be used while at University (RHUL for those who want to look it up, although for me it used to be called Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London). Anyway, quantum keys and entanglement were the talk of the days and how bullet proof they were. Well now it appears that they might not be quite so amazing, or at least our ability to use them without leakage. Anyway, I saw this at the BBC technology site and it is nice to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel :-) Decoys fix quantum key swapping British scientists have found a way to fix a vulnerability in quantum cryptographic systems. If left unpatched, the flaw would make it possible to grab information about the keys used to scramble information without being detected. The flaw emerges because of the way that laser diodes emit the photons of light used to carry quantum key data. Using decoy photons, researchers...
  • Peering inside the network with Network Monitor (netmon V3), debuging WMI and other systems problems

    I often spend time debugging systems when things go wrong. Besides the tools at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/default.mspx these are the others I use: Microsoft Network Monitor 3 Network Monitor 3.0 can co-exist with older versions of Network Monitor. NM3 installs in %program files%\Microsoft Network Monitor 3.0, so there is no conflict. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=aa8be06d-4a6a-4b69-b861-2043b665cb53&DisplayLang=en Debug Diagnostic Tool v1.1 The Debug Diagnostic Tool (DebugDiag) is designed to assist in troubleshooting issues such as hangs, slow performance, memory leaks or fragmentation, and crashes in any Win32 user-mode process. The tool includes additional debugging scripts focused on Internet Information Services (IIS) applications, web data access components, COM+ and related Microsoft technologies. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=28bd5941-c458-46f1-b24d-f60151d875a3&DisplayLang=en The WMI Diagnosis Utility -- Version 2.0 WMIDiag...
  • Games for Windows - Live beta announcement and invitation

    Are you interested in being part of a select group that is invited to help beta test a new service that lets PC game players connect with their friends on the Xbox through the LIVE gaming network? If you are, please read on. The registration period for this upcoming beta testing opportunity will only be available for a limited time. To be considered you will need to complete the Games for Windows - Live Beta application survey. Please only submit the survey once. Multiple entries will not improve your chances at being chosen. If you are interested in participating please direct go to https://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=363 ttfn David
    Filed under: ,
  • HD Photo Plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® Software (Beta Release for Windows) - The future after JPEG?

    I'm not really much of a photographer myself - all my cameras are snappers and the pictures I take are just that - snaps. Now Jo in the Office is a Pro and has sold many of her photographs. Every so often I ask her about Office Collaboration, SharePoint, Content Management to understand what can be used in the small biz space and then spend time talking about which camera I should get :-) I heard recently about HD Photo which is "and format for end to end digital photographers" (Press release " Microsoft Announces HD Photo, a New Imaging File Format With Advanced "). It is worth noting that to speed release there is a HD Photo Plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® Software (Beta Release for Windows) too. If you've ever paid close attention to your photos you will know that a "lossy" format means that you loose some of the detail compared to the original, but get much smaller files. Now "HD Photo fully preserves the original image fidelity with high dynamic range while still allowing for significant improvement in compression...
  • Korea sees robotics as a key future area and is pumping in R&D to build on it, Robots learning to walk, Robots helping the elderly and finally the Microsoft

    I really like to see robotics coming ahead leaps and bounds and also a bit of Azimov fear and the requirements of "ethical roles and functions". I have a lego Mindstorm kit that Mel bought me a while back, but somehow I don't think this is quite where they are. Having said that, if you are into robotics, it might be worth you having a look at http://msdn.microsoft.com/robotics/ ttfn David Technorati tags: robotics Robotic ethics Robotic age poses ethical dilemma “The South Korean government has identified robotics as a key economic driver and is pumping millions of dollars into research. “The government plans to set ethical guidelines concerning the roles and functions of robots as robots are expected to develop strong intelligence in the near future,” the ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said.” Learning to walk Walking robot steps up the pace “A humanoid robot is teaching itself to walk and eventually run around a California research lab. Dexter took its first tentative steps only a few days after it...
  • The Small Business Summit is coming - 19th - 23rd March - watch online

    [updated 29th March 2007] Now the event has happened you need to go to http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/small-business-summit/FY07/SummitVideo/Watch.aspx to watch the various sessions. The Microsoft Small Business Summit is just around the corner: March 19-23. It's free, it's online, and we don't want you to miss it. To help you get the best value and training for your business, we've identified the top webcasts from the Small Business Summit. With links below, we've also simplified the process of adding your chosen webcasts as appointments on your Outlook calendar. On the date and time of your preferred webcasts, you have two easy options for viewing the live webcasts : Click the linked webcast title below. -Or- Click the linked webcast title in the Outlook appointment text. Note: To view the webcasts, you must have Windows Media Player installed. March 19, Day one (9:00 AM - 2:00 PM, Pacific Time) 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM - Keynote: Solutions for Small Business Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft...
  • Do you want to be able to see PDFs previewed in Outlook 2007 and the preview pane in Vista Explorer? What about C#, VB, SQL and javascript code?

    This has been banded about a lot inside Microsoft, but it is just too good to ignore. Enjoy!! Foxit PDF Preview Handler in my daily work i spend a majority of my 'computing' time in outlook. communicating with peers, team members, customers, etc. is mostly done via communication (sad, i know). a lot of that time it involves sending information attachments back and forth, using office documents, etc. i've said a lot about how much i love the preview functionality within vista and office 2007. i even wrote a code preview handler for .cs, .vb, .sql, .js files. one of the samples in the msdn article was for pdf files...of which i receive a lot. i don't use adobe reader because i think it is overkill for reading pdf's personally. the sample, however, relies on having adobe reader installed...which i didn't like. i started working with the foxit activex sdk , because i love their reader product. after some communication with the team at foxit, we started collaborating. as a result of that collaboration, foxit software...
  • Deploying Vista to many desktops from Small Business Server 2003 with SP2 (R2 or R1) using Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) tools

    A nice man named Zack dropped me a mail asking about the Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) tools and "real" documentation, which led to Matt in the PTS team writing about all the great tools (see below). I then installed SP2 for Windows Server 2003 and realised that my SBS 2003 system now has the capabilities of BDD to deploy Vista desktops (in my case, pre-configured with Office 2007 too). Wow. I went and checked and the Windows Deployment Services admin controls are there on my SBS SP2 system, so you can use this information to enable PXE deployments of Windows if you want. These can include other programs such as Office and anti-virus products and also be pre-configures to join the domain etc. Business Desktop Deployment 2007 - Resources Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 11:43 AM by mattmcspirit For those of you out there who have an interest in the different ways that you can deploy Windows Vista, Office 2007 and your other applications, you may be interested in the Business Desktop Deployment Workbench, or...
  • Small Business Server 2003 (SP1 and R2) upgrading to SP2 and Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) information - including the fact that you do NOT have to uninstall IE7

    [updated 21th March 14:15] This is just a quick note to say that the release notes are WRONG (and will be changed) in stating that IE7 has to be uninstalled. Also, if you have automatic updates turned on, SP2 will still prompt prior to an install as the EULA needs to be accepted, so no discovering that it was installed by the note that the server has rebooted. I did the install today my system is fine and I have had it confirmed that unless you specifically fall into the problem areas listed in http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/932600 : You upgrade from an evaluation copy of Windows Small Business Server 2003 to the full retail version. You upgrade from Windows Server 2003 to the full retail version of Windows Small Business Server 2003. You migrate to Windows Server 2003 from Windows Small Business Server by using the Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Transition Pack. For information on SP2 and what it delivers, please look at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsserver/sp2.mspx . This is a...
  • Microsoft Office 2007 and Windows Vista for Microsoft (UK) Partners' Friends and Family

    [updated 18th March 08:44am] - The links are working now - hurray Now before someone goes and shoots this down, we have managed a small discount for Microsoft UK Partners' friends and family. It is not a half price discount or anything close, but if you know someone who was going to buy our software or wanted too, it is now a more attractive price :-) Microsoft Office 2007 and Windows Vista for your Friends and Family Are you experiencing the 'WOW' of the new Microsoft Office system and Windows Vista yet? If you are you'll probably want your friends and family to feel it too! To help you spread the WOW factor Microsoft Partner DABS is offering a special price to Microsoft Partners' friends and family on the home-use versions of these exciting new releases*. Product Special Friends and Family Price** Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student £85.00 Vista Home Premium £185.00 Vista Home Premium Upgrade £123.50 *Please note: These products are not discounted. The products on offer are legitimate software applications...
1 2 3 Next >

(c)David Overton 2006-17