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Windows Vista @ TechnoReality - Part 3

Windows Vista @ TechnoReality

Micorosft Windows Vista & Compatible Items


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It is still a pain in the *&$ but you can do it….

When you first encounter this prompt for your product key, just hit next and proceed with setup.

Choose which version of Windows you have purchased, check the box and click Next.

Once the first install of Vista is completed and you start the second install from within Vista, you’ll need to enter your product key.

Choose “Custom (advanced)” to perform a clean install.

Once the second install of Vista has been completed, you can activtate your installation through Microsoft.

Microsoft internal documentation reveals workaround for Vista Upgrade DVDs with no need for a previous version of Windows

DailyTech reported on Monday that Microsoft no longer performs disc checks during an operating system install. In the past, when performing a clean install, a user could boot from an install CD and insert a disc from a previous version of Windows for upgrade compliance.

However, per Microsoft’s new licensing requirements for Vista, users are required to install a Windows Vista Upgrade from within Windows XP. When this occurs, the Windows XP license is forfeited and the Windows Vista installation process can take place.

DailyTech has confirmed a new workaround proposed by Paul Thurrott (via Microsoft internal documents).

This workaround allows users to perform a “clean install.” The process is a bit tedious, but is not hard at all to complete. Users have to perform these simple steps to perform a clean install of Vista without a previous version of Windows installed with an upgrade DVD:

  1. Boot from the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD and start the setup program.
  2. When prompted to enter your product key, DO NOT enter it. Click “Next” and proceed with setup. This will install Windows Vista as a 30-day trial.
  3. When prompted, select the edition of Vista which you have purchased and continue with setup.
  4. Once setup has been completed and you have been brought to the desktop for the first time, run the install program from within Windows Vista.
  5. This time, type in your product key when prompted.
  6. When asked whether to perform an Upgrade or Custom (advanced) install, choose Custom (advanced) to perform a clean install of Vista. Yes, this means that you will have to install Vista for a second time.
  7. Once setup has completed for the second time, you should be able to activate Windows Vista normally. You can also delete the Windows.old directory which contains information from the first Vista install.

There’s no telling why Microsoft left this loophole wide open with Windows Vista Upgrade DVDs, but this means that any retail upgrade DVD can be used as a fully functioning full retail copy of Vista.

Thanks to dailytech.com for this info

LastMinuteTravel.com


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  • Vista Lauch Video


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    Watch the Bill Gates comments at the Official Vista Lauch

    Video at Microsoft.com

     

    Dell Home Systems


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  • Windows Vista Ultimate Extras


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    Anyone wondering why their Vista Ultimate does’t have any Extras, update online and be prepared for the Ultimate-only version of Texas Hold ‘Em, BitLocker and EFS enhancements, and a few security fixes. Here are some pics

     


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  • Vista givesHD Photo format exposure


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    Source: news.com.com and Microsoft

    Vista to give HD Photo format more exposure Microsoft is looking to supplant the ubiquitous JPEG with an image format of its own–and it’s hoping the debut of Windows Vista will help do the job.

    In 2006, Microsoft began promoting its own image standard, formerly called Windows Media Photo but renamed HD Photo in November. The company makes no bones about its ambitions: “Our ultimate goal is that it does become the de facto standard people are using for digital photos,” said Josh Weisberg, Microsoft’s director of digital imaging evangelism.

    “HD” doesn’t actually stand for “high definition,” but it’s supposed to connote the better image quality that comes with HD TV. Rico Malvar, a Microsoft Research director who helped develop the format, said that compared with JPEG, HD Photo preserves more subtle details, offers richer colors and takes up half the storage space at the same image quality.

    It is tough to get new image formats to catch on, much less to replace prevailing standards, but Microsoft has two strong forces on its side.

    First, Microsoft built HD Photo support into Windows Vista, consumer versions of which go on sale Tuesday. That means camera manufacturers increasingly will be able to count on HD Photo support when customers upload their images to a computer, and software such as Web browsers will be able to display and save HD Photo images.

    “Clearly, the goal there is to help make it pervasive. If you can use it in Windows, a large percentage of the user base already has access to it,” Weisberg said.

    Second, Adobe Systems, the most influential image-editing software maker by virtue of its Photoshop products, is helping support HD Photo, said Kevin Connor, Adobe’s senior director of product management. Though the “timing didn’t work out” to build HD Photo support into Adobe’s upcoming CS3 version of Photoshop, Adobe is working with Microsoft on a plug-in with the goal that both Windows and Mac OS X Photoshop users will be able to open and save HD Photo files.

    “What’s good about HD Photo is that it was designed specifically for digital photography, with a good understanding of how digital photography usage is evolving,” Connor said. “It will certainly take time for HD Photo to be as broadly accessible as JPEG–if it ever is quite that broad–but there can be reasons even today why a consumer might prefer to use HD Photo.”

    ‘Massive’ challenge
    Better image format technology doesn’t necessarily ensure success. JPEG 2000, like JPEG named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group that produced it, offered better compression quality than JPEG but was a dud. Likewise, the PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format fixed issues with GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), but it hasn’t replaced it.

    Camera makers have reason to be cautious before they build support into their products.

    “JPEG is an industry standard with a variety of quality levels within its architecture,” said Sally Smith Clemens, a product manager at Olympus Imaging America. “A replacement format would have to offer very broad support from many developers of both hardware and software to be practical or considered.”

    A further complication is that the enthusiasts dissatisfied with JPEG and most likely to appreciate HD Photo already are embracing an alternative: the raw image formats that provide detailed, unprocessed data straight off the camera’s image sensor. Adobe is trying to standardize the chaotic profusion of raw formats through its Digital Negative (DNG) format.

    But probably the biggest obstacle is JPEG’s momentum. Even if Microsoft gets HD Photo to catch on, supplanting JPEG is another challenge altogether.

    “Replacing JPEG is a massive, massive undertaking, as JPEG really works well for people. JPEG is an open standard that is supported everywhere, on every device and every browser and every workflow,” Connor said.

    But Eddie Tapp, author of several books on digital-image editing, believes ordinary photographers could be interested in HD Photo. Even the point-and-shoot crowd values image quality, especially when it comes to revisiting older photos, he said.

    “The day will come when somebody says, ‘That picture you did at Mount Whatever–I want a big copy of that,’” Tapp said. “People look back at images they’ve done and think, ‘I wish I had a higher-resolution camera or better file.’”

    Microsoft already has sunk more than six years into developing HD Photo and recognizes it has years of work still to come. “The adoption is going to take some time,” Weisberg said.

    Winning allies
    Microsoft is also trying hard to court business partners for the format. It dropped the “Windows Media Photo” moniker not just because HD Photo is more descriptive, but also because of partners’ objections

    “Manufacturers of a product that might compete with something to do with Windows…didn’t like putting something branded ‘Windows’ into some of their products,” he said. “We don’t really care too much for the potential backlash in the industry: ‘Here goes Microsoft again with another Windows thing they want us to use.’”

    Microsoft also lowered licensing barriers to try to speed adoption. “As you can tell from the license terms, this is not something where we said, ‘Let’s make billions of dollars off this,’” Weisberg said. The only licensing obligation is to maintain HD Photo image compatibility.

    Open-source software also can support HD Photo, Weisberg said, even though Microsoft holds patents for the technology. HD Photo technology is covered by the Open Specification Promise, an agreement under which Microsoft pledges not to assert its patent rights. LastMinuteTravel.com

    “We know we don’t live in a world where things don’t travel outside our ecosystem. We wanted to make sure anybody who wants to consume or create HD Photo has the ability to do that without any real encumbrance,” Weisberg said.

    Microsoft has won some support outside the software realm, too. “There are several manufacturers that have begun shipping or who are close to shipping HD Photo-enabled silicon (chips), but that will take time,” Weisberg said, a step that’s necessary for built-in camera support.

    But the format is still a Microsoft standard, not an industry standard governed by a neutral consortium to represent others’ interests. That can be a problem–for example, Apple has said it would like Adobe’s DNG better if it were an industry standard.

    Weisberg, though loquacious on many HD Photo subjects, is conspicuously quiet on the matter of standardization, saying only, “It’s something we’re always looking at.”

    HD Photo sales pitch
    How exactly is HD Photo better than JPEG? Malvar and Weisberg have a multitude of arguments:

    • For each pixel, HD Photo stores at least 16 bits of data for each color, compared with 8 bits with JPEG. That means subtle tonal variations in shadowy or bright areas can be preserved, even through the editing and printing process. And for the cutting-edge crowd, it can store 32 bits per color, useful for combining multiple photos into a “high dynamic range” image that spans the darkest darks to the brightest brights.

    • HD Photo’s compression algorithm produces images that have twice the quality as JPEG at the same file size or the same quality at half the file size. The algorithm uses simple instructions that can be relatively easily built into cameras’ image-processing chips.

    • HD Photo builds in smaller “thumbnail” images for quick viewing of files at small sizes. In contrast, a computer operating system must generate JPEG thumbnails.

    • The encoding algorithm, set to its highest standard, is “lossless,” meaning that it preserves all the image data with no loss of quality. JPEG is “lossy.” And although JPEG 2000 has a lossless feature, it requires a separate algorithm and therefore, in the case of camera chips, more circuitry.

    • HD Photo uses Microsoft’s scRGB color space, which spans a much wider gamut of possible colors than the universally supported but widely derided sRGB scheme. “HD Photo adds support for a higher range of colors, which is becoming more important,” Connor said.

    And although cameras and computers typically describe colors in RGB terms–varying amounts of red, green and blue–HD Photo also can use CMYK that uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black. That’s useful for sending images to printers, which often use CMYK inks.

    • The algorithm can decode only a selected portion of the HD Photo image that needs to be displayed, rather than the entire image, which reduces memory requirements and speeds up performance. It can also be encoded chunk by chunk without having to store the entire image in memory.

    • HD Photos can be easily rotated in 90-degree increments. JPEG images must be decoded and re-encoded, degrading quality slightly with each change.

    •  HD Photo images can be gargantuan–262 million pixels on an edge, or 68.6 terapixels total, as long as the compressed image doesn’t exceed 32GB in size.

    Microsoft knows it will need a strong pitch to spread HD Photo beyond Windows and into the entire digital photo world.

    “The camera manufacturers will think, ‘If I produce an image, will the neighborhood drugstore print it? Otherwise I’ll keep JPEG,’” Malvar said. “We would like such a transition to happen, but we are realistic that it may take some time until the whole ecosystem is in place.”

     

     

    This comparison shows how well JPEG, JPEG 2000 and Microsoft’s HD Photo (formerly called Windows Media Photo) compress the upper-left image.

    The more colors that show, the more the compressed version varies from the original–so a perfect job would be completely black. Each compressed image is one-eighth the file size of the original.

    Credit: Microsoft


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    Source: Microsoft Press Pass

    NEW YORK — Jan. 29, 2007 — On Jan. 30 the most significant product launch in Microsoft Corp.’s history culminates in the release to consumers of the Windows Vista™ operating system and Microsoft® Office 2007. Starting tomorrow, these two flagship products will be available in more than 70 countries, in 19 languages (with 99 languages anticipated by the end of the year), and at more than 39,000 retail stores and online. The launch marks the achievement of an unprecedented collaboration between Microsoft and its customers and partners, and ushers in an era in which personal computing is easier, safer and more enjoyable than ever before.

    “Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 will transform the way people work and play,” said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. “Personal computers have become a key part of the daily lives of almost a billion people worldwide. Millions of consumers had a hand in helping us design, test and create the most exciting versions of Windows and Office we’ve ever released. Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 squarely address the needs and aspirations of people around the globe.”

    A New Era of Personal Computing

    Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates introduces the company’s new Windows Vista operating system at a celebration in New York., N.Y. Jan. 29, 2007

    Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates introduces the company’s new Windows Vista operating system at a celebration in New York., N.Y. Jan. 29, 2007

    Click for high-res vesion.

    Windows Vista and the latest release of Microsoft Office feature dramatic graphic enhancements to the interface that make the desktop more visually exciting and significantly easier to use. With simple and intuitive tools, consumers can easily create and share digital documents, photos, music and videos, participate in digital communities, and play online and offline games.

    With Windows Vista, consumers will be able to experience all kinds of entertainment — from television to video games to music and movies — how and when they want. Keeping in touch with family, friends and colleagues using e-mail, voice recording or video will be richer and more convenient. Redesigned user interfaces will increase productivity and ease of use, helping consumers and small businesses produce documents — from a marketing plan to a child’s birthday invitation — that look better and are more professional in less time. Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 will continue to improve access to information with new tools that make it easy to find the right piece of information — be it an e-mail message, image, note or media clip — no matter where it is stored.

    The new versions of Windows and Microsoft Office also deliver advances in family safety by empowering parents to better manage and monitor their children’s PC and Internet activities. With a few simple clicks in the new Windows Vista Parental Controls center, parents can manage and monitor PC and Internet access, and decide what kinds of TV, music and games are appropriate for their children. Security is also more robust in the new releases. Features such as Windows Defender help protect consumers against attacks from spyware and malicious Web sites, while other enhancements help safeguard personal information. In Microsoft Office 2007, Document Inspector helps clean personal information, comments and hidden text from documents, so families can share their documents with confidence.

    “These are the most amazing versions of Windows and Office ever,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “The visual effects are spectacular; the navigation is streamlined and intuitive. They make it much easier to protect your PC, yourself and your children online. And they work together to help you accomplish more throughout the day.”

    New Opportunities

    The consumer launch of Windows Vista is also expected to unleash a flood of new next-generation hardware, software and entertainment devices and services. Currently, more than 1.5 million devices and peripherals are on the market that work with Windows Vista, including more than 2,500 that are Certified for Windows Vista. In addition, thousands of PC manufacturers and system builders around the globe will deliver the Windows Vista operating system and Microsoft Office 2007 on new PCs.

    “We designed Windows Vista and Office 2007 as springboards for our partners, for realizing the next generation of computing, for a whole new wave of innovation in devices and software that offer better graphics, better connectivity and communications, and a more productive, more enjoyable experience all around,” Ballmer said. “Tomorrow’s launch will have a dramatic impact on computing long-term.”


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    Here are the first ten go to

    Microsoft.com for the other 90

    1. It makes using your PC a breeze

    Windows Vista features a breakthrough design and easy-to-use organizational tools that make it simpler to get things done and get on with life! Find what you need instantly, on your PC or on the web, with Instant Search. Bring more clarity to your tasks with the spectacular Windows Aero user experience and Windows Flip 3DA, allowing you to see everything you’re working on at a glance.

    2. Because all of your music is just a remote control click away

    Navigate and play your music collection with just the click of a remote control! Windows Media Center and a compatible remote controlM let you quickly search and select tracks visually by album art, or by artist, album title, song, year, or genre. Share your Media Center screen and remoteM and give everyone the chance to mix and play their favorites.

    3. It’s the safest version of Windows ever

    Windows Vista provides better protection for your PC, your personal information, and your family than any previous version of Windows—with new security tools like Windows Defender, anti-spam and phishing filters, and Parental Controls. Automatic backups, Performance Self-Tuning, and built-in diagnostics help you keep your data protected and your PC running smoothly.

    4. See your world in a whole new light

    The breakthrough design of the Windows AeroA user interface brings new clarity to your PC experience. With spectacular visual effects, like translucent glass-like menu bars that let you see behind your application window, you’re one click away from everything you’re working with.

    5. It can find your stuff

    All-new search and organization tools in Windows Vista will help you quickly find what you need on your hard drive or on the web. Instantly find and launch a document, photo, e-mail, song, video, file, or program on your PC with Instant Search.

    6. Because you’re always on the run

    Windows Vista offers new mobility features that let you stay productive and entertained on the go. Windows Mobility Center, Network and Sharing Center, and Sync Center help you stay connected and keep your PC and portable devices up to date with your latest calendar, contacts, and music. Choose an ultra-light Tablet PCA and use a digital pen to handwrite notes or make sketches on the run. Take a break and enjoy your favorite TV shows, movies, music, and games wherever you find yourself, with Windows Media CenterM on your notebook PC.

    7. Because you can freeze time

    Organize a lifetime of photos and home movies with ease using Windows Photo Gallery. Tag your photos by date, keyword, star rating, or any identifying label you choose—so you can find them when you want them.

    8. Your PC can take care of itself

    Performance Self Tuning, Self-Healing technologies, Built-in Diagnostics, and repair tools keep your computer running at its best and provide automatic fixes, so you can spend less time dealing with problems and enjoy a more reliable PC experience.

    9. Unchain your mobile PC

    Network and Sharing Center lets you set up a wireless networkN at home so you can experience the freedom of working from your living room, backyard, or anywhere in your home.

    10. Surf more safely

    Dynamic Security Protection in Windows Internet Explorer 7 helps protect your PC and your personal information when you’re online. Internet Explorer 7 also includes many new features designed to help protect you against malware.

    Cingular Wireless, LLC


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    via arstechnica.com

    Ever since PayPal burst on to the scene, the Nostradamus types have been predicting one PayPal killer after another. First it was “e-gold,” then Western Union, then C2IT (by Citibank), then Google. None of these players have put a dent in PayPal, and in fact more than a few of them have gone the way of the dodo. Even Google Checkout is having problems these days.

    The space is about to get much more competitive now that Microsoft has announced their plans to build a micropayment service with a twist. The killer feature? The Redmond giant apparently wants to take on Visa and MasterCard, among others.

    Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gates indicated that Microsoft was looking into finding a way to make so-called micropayments a reality online. And to make it a reality, Gates noted that traditional credit card fees would need to be undercut, and severely. See, the credit industry makes money not only off interest, but they also scoop up 2.75% + $0.35 in fees for most transactions (on average). As you can see, this makes charging for inexpensive items quite unattractive; a $0.25 charge would be instantly doubled on account of fees. For people who have fantasies of selling web content by the page, this is unworkable.

    The question is, how can Microsoft pull this off? The DOW Jones newswire quotes Gates as saying, “If you want to charge somebody $0.10 or $1 a month, that will just be a click… you won’t have to manage some funny thing or pay some big credit charge, where half of it goes to the clearing.”

    Microsoft has two options. First, Microsoft could expand its “Points” system, which earned notoriety with the Xbox Live Marketplace (and was later tapped for the the Zune Marketplace). Such a scheme would see users buying points in bulk and then paying for items with said points. It’s a virtual currency ecosystem of sorts based on a fixed “exchange rate” between real currency and the points system. This is not Microsoft’s only option, of course. Instead of points, Microsoft could simply borrow a page from PayPal and deal in real currency. I’d recommend that the company do the latter, because “points” are not popular with the early-adopter crowd. They obfuscate the real cost of things, and many users have reservations about buying large amounts of “points” that then sit somewhere, unused.

    What will Microsoft do? That remains unclear, although Gates’ comments make it clear that the system will be open to third parties for integration, meaning that retailers and site operators should be able to plug into the payment system via an API—a must-have feature for any payment system. Gates’ plans would also mean that Microsoft’s system will undercut PayPal as well. PayPal charges between 1.9% and 2.9% plus $0.30 on transactions, and thus is unsuitable for micropayments. Microsoft’s cut of any such system would need to be considerably less than that to make micropayments work. The upside to this, of course, is that small transaction fees could also apply to larger purchases, which could eventually see Microsoft encroaching on the turf of existing regular transaction processors, including PayPal and the credit card guys.

    I’m cautiously optimistic for Microsoft’s solution, but when you think back to Passport or even Microsoft Wallet, you know that there are plenty of opportunities for the project to go awry. Still, I can’t help but think that anything that puts pressure on credit card fees is a good thing.

     

    Dell Home Systems


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    via arstechnicaMicrosoft’s quest to closely control the way Windows Vista can be used on PCs has taken a turn for the worse as new information indicates that the company is breaking tradition when it comes to Windows Vista upgrades. With Windows Vista, users will not be able to use upgrade keys to initiate completely new installations. It is a change that will affect few users, but enthusiasts will certainly be amongst those pinched.

    Upgrade versions of Windows Vista Home Basic, Premium, and Starter Edition will not install on any PC unless Windows XP or Windows 2000 is already on the machine in question. In years previous, upgrade versions of Windows could be installed on any PC. If a PC did not have an older version of Windows installed, users could provide an older installation CD of Windows for verification. After dropping a qualifying CD in the CD-ROM drive, the installation routine would verify the disc and you’d be on your way. With this approach, one could use an “upgrade” copy of Windows to lay a new Windows install on a computer.

    One again, Microsoft appears to have made licensing decisions without considering how people actually use their products. Last fall the company trotted out changes to its retail licensing that would have punished users who frequently upgrade their PC hardware had the company not relented. Now Microsoft seeks to complicate our ability to start a crisp, new install with an upgrade version. Why?

    A ‘per device’ obsession

    Microsoft has been adamant in recent years that Windows is licensed per device and not per person. One practical ramification of this viewpoint is that the company typically does not allow users to install one copy of Windows across multiple machines, even if only one machine is in use at a time. According to Microsoft, only the full retail license of Windows Vista can be transferred to new devices (retail pricing here). OEM versions are ostensibly tied to motherboards, and upgrade versions are now technically tied to previous installations.

    What does all of this mean on a practical level? Users who purchase upgrade copies of the aforementioned versions of Vista will find that they can only upgrade PCs that already have Windows installed. KB930985 clearly states: “you cannot use an upgrade key to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.” According to Microsoft, this happens because Windows Vista does not check for upgrade compliance. If you do not have a previous installation of Windows available, Microsoft recommends that you “purchase a license that lets you perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.”

    For its part, Microsoft seems to be confident that the Vista repair process should be sufficient to solve any problems with the OS, since otherwise the only option for disaster recovery in the absence of backups would be to wipe a machine, install XP, and then upgrade to Vista. This will certainly make disaster recovery a more irritating experience.

    Fortunately, the change will not mean that users cannot install Windows Vista to a new directory. Windows Vista’s upgrade process includes the option of backing up previous installations, and in fact, in some scenarios a “clean” upgrade is required. “Clean” or not, the requirement that the previous OS be installed puts a bit of a damper on those of us that like the do periodic system refreshes.

    What does Microsoft hope to gain out of all of this? I can only speculate. First, the change prevents a dual-license situation with all of the free Vista upgrade coupons out there. If things worked according to the old scheme, people with upgrade coupons would essentially get a “free” OS because they could install the Vista upgrade anywhere, and continue to use the version of Windows XP that came with their computer. Did Microsoft fear that this would happen quite a bit? It seems like an unlikely scenario.

    Second, and likely more important to Microsoft, this should make it difficult for users to use a single upgrade copy of Vista throughout the years. I’m quite sure many of you in readerland have done exactly that in years past: build a computer, use your Windows upgrade disc. Build a new box three years later, use that same upgrade disc. Microsoft’s preference would be for users in such situations to either purchase OEM copies for each new machine, or pay for a full version of the retail product.

    InstantCert.com, LLC


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