James O'Neill's Blog

February 8, 2013

Getting SkyDrive to sync the way I want (like Mesh)

Filed under: Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 10:37 pm

A few days ago Geekwire ran a story entitled “Microsoft, Let’s be friends” It began

Dear Microsoft,
Can we just be friends again? Please?
It’s been exactly five years now since I left you. During our time together, I poured all the emotion and energy I had into the products I helped build for you.

Whilst it is only slightly more than two years since I left Microsoft, that grabbed my interest.  The author goes though some of the products in which he invested emotional capital but saw Microsoft kill off.

  • For 14 years, I used Microsoft Money fanatically … And then you killed it
  • [I] fell in love with FrontPage, … But you threw it under the bus for no apparent reason.
  • I bought my wife a Zune for her birthday … you gave up and now Zune is in the graveyard, may it rest in peace. Meanwhile, I feel like a sucker … again.
  • Microsoft Digital Image Suite was the best image editing package ever to have existed for consumers. Yes, better than Photoshop Elements. … I want you to know that you truly broke my heart when you buried this product.

imageI never used MS-Money. FrontPage passed me by. Being in a small area which Redmond calls “rest of the world”,  I never got to buy a Zune. But I felt the heartbreak at the loss of Digital Image suite. It was one of the few non Xbox things I ever bought on staff purchase and I still use it. But my present pain is for Windows Live Mesh. Since I left Microsoft this product has quietly kept half a dozen key folders backed up to the cloud and replicated to all the computers I use.
Microsoft have mailed me twice about their producticidal plans for Mesh. Worryingly, they say 40% of Mesh users are using SkyDrive meaning 60% are not. I never used Mesh’s remote access. But it can sync folders from all over my hard disk and SkyDrive needs folders to share a common root in order to sync them.  I could move some of the folders I sync out of “My Documents” into “SkyDrive” but PowerShell (for example) insists on having its profile folder in a specific location. In short “out of the box” SkyDrive can’t do what Mesh can.

With the the death of Mesh now only a week away, I decided to try something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Create a symbolic link from the Skydrive folder to the “proper” folders where my files reside.


It’s pretty easy. Creating Links requires an Administrative command prompt (unless you change the system policy on the machine), and you need a /d to tell MkLink it is a directory not a file – then it is a question of the name of the link and the place it links to and – cue drum roll – you have a link.

imageThe folder appears under SkyDrive, and right away the SkyDrive client starts syncing in the background. Maybe it is designed not to hog bandwidth or maybe it’s plain slow but on my computer it took a fair while to copy everything.


Repeat for as necessary for the other folders which need to be sync’d


January 6, 2011

Making DVDs on Windows 7

Filed under: Music and Media,Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 2:53 pm

Since I acquired my Windows 7 phone and the Zune software the proportion of my music which has been acquired by download has more than doubled, from almost none to hardly any. It’s probably a generational thing but I like to own the artefacts : CDs and DVDs (and before them I liked to own Albums and VHS tapes).  If one just wants to save money it is easy to record a complete series of a show with Windows Media Center, adding disk space as needed, I can defend bootlegging something that can’t be bought – it preserves something without depriving anyone of income.  But I prefer to have the DVDs if they’re available: as the world shifts to downloading content without artefacts I wonder if one will feel obliged to contribute to the income of others.  I have replaced whole series recordings of  “Doctor Who” with the six-DVD box set – since it can be had for as little as £12.99 it’s not worth making bootlegs into DVDs. I was reminded of this recently…

Just before Christmas I recorded BBC4’s showing of  “Macbeth” with Patrick Stewart in the title role; it runs for just over for 2 1/2 hours and produced a 6.2GB .wtv file. Enough people have looked for it that Amazon UK  suggests “Macbeth Patrick Stewart” in the search box but there isn’t even a pre-announced disk, so I decided to copy it off my hard disk.  My stock of blank DVDs are the 4.7GB single layer variety. This file called for a 8.5GB Dual Layer disk – my new Dell laptop has a PLDS DS-8a4s drive which the maker’s site says supports dual layer, The blank disks are hard to find: Ryman was the only place in central Oxford where I could find them – at £12.99 for a pack of five Imation disks. That’s the same price as the set of Six Doctor Who disks, printed boxed and so on, and it isn’t just high street mark-up, Amazon’s price is the same. Imation’s dual layer disks are more than seven times the price of their single layer cousins. .

I’m left asking Why put myself through the frustration of converting Media Center files to DVD movies? I could have transcoded the file to something smaller than 4.7GB. But instead I bought a pack of disks and set off down the path of making a “proper” DVD. And some of lessons might be worth sharing.

Media Center records a couple of minutes preamble and five of over-run, to cope with transmission times being slightly off. Doing a nice job for a “proper” DVD with nice menus and so on demands that the .WTV files are trimmed (there were no commercials in Macbeth – this being the BBC, but you’d want to cut those out too)- the “Burn CD/DVD” option in Media center can’t trim files, and few editors work with .WTV. The choice is either use Windows Live Movie maker or spend time transcoding into another format before editing. I’ve known sound to go out of sync in transcoding and that’s not the only complication…


On the left is part of file properties displayed by Windows Explorer: 704×480 x 60 fps is “NTSC format”. Since the recording was made in the UK it should be 576 line “PAL format”, and this is not the only place NTSC turns up where it should not. 
On the right is Windows media player showing the same file really is in “PAL format”. I put PAL and NTSC in quotes because they really define analogue colour encoding, but they double as shorthand for 576i/25 fps and 480i/30 fps respectively. Note the aspect ratio on the right says 16:9 but if you multiply 576 by 16/ 9 the image should be 1024 Pixels wide. This is because widescreen video is stored and transmitted anamorphically  – it is compressed horizontally and expanded during playback.

DVD video is MPEG encoded and stored in files less than 1GB in size with .VOB extensions. Windows Live Movie Maker can read .VOB files and in an ideal world it would create them and take care of DVD menus. It doesn’t. It passes a .WMV file to Windows DVD Maker which re-encodes it. That intermediate file is in NTSC format DVD maker can write PAL format, but there’s no benefit scaling back to 576 lines when video has been scaled down to 480.

To get round this I tried creating 720×576 custom output format in Movie Maker, but there is no anamorphic encoding option: square pixels yield a letterbox picture, 720 wide x 405 tall with 171 lines of black border. I had to create a format of 1024×576 – which DVD maker would convert back to Anamorphic. I found a better way here: Movie Maker’s pre-defined video profiles can be adjusted: I had Media Encoder and its tools installed, so I made a copy of the existing profile with a .BAK extension (if you change the name, Movie Maker can still read the file, and may ignore the modified version). I fired up Windows Media Profile Editor as administrator and changed the settings from NTSC to PAL, 3MBs to 6 and enabled non-square Pixel output. That was one problem solved. I wanted to output the sound track of another recording, but Movie Maker ignores audio-only profiles created in Profile Editor

My recording of Macbeth lasted 157 minutes and Windows Live Movie Maker warned me:


DVDs can use different levels of MPEG compression, even within a single disk but Windows DVD Maker’s compression is fixed. It also seems determined that single or dual layer disks always hold 150 minutes of video.  Live Movie Maker spent over an hour outputting a 151 minute version of Macbeth, DVD Maker spent a similar time re-encoding it, copied it the DVD and failed at the end of the burning process. The same thing happened with a shorter edit. Having wasted an afternoon and two disks, I swore at DVD Maker (and myself for trying to make the DVD which the BBC should be selling) and decided to just copy the .WTV file using Windows Explorer. This failed too, with Windows suggesting I check the drive’s firmware; it is available from Dell, but I already had the current version. Roxio Burn, which Dell supplied with the laptop, gave me error  0x80041024 and a fourth coaster. A quick search revealed Roxio had an update to fix this error with other PLDS drives, but I already had that update thanks to Dell’s update system.

I have a Samsung USB drive for the 3 DVD-less machines I have at home, I plugged that in and explorer copied the .WTV file to my fifth and last Dual Layer disk without problems. For the moment I’m blaming the PLDS DS-8a4s for the burning problems.  My first contact with Dell support got a response that the machine doesn’t have a Dual Layer drive – which is odd considering LiteOn say it is Dual Layer and Roxio and Explorer both see the disk as 8.5GB and try to write to it. I have to see where that ends up.

Keeping .WTV format avoids transcoding issues and saves HOURS, and it will  preserve subtitles transmitted with the programme. Along the way I right clicked the file and chose “Convert to .DVR-MS format”, I couldn’t distinguish between the images in the resulting 3.7GB file, and the 6.2GB original and the conversion was fast (and nearly the same time is saved copying a smaller file to DVD) : I could have avoided the whole business with Dual Layer disks. And I’m more convinced than ever that if I want a nice DVD of something the right thing all round is to buy one.

March 10, 2010

UK techdays Free events in London – including after hours.


You may have seen that registration for UK TechDays events from 12th to 16th April is already open – but you probably won’t have seen this newly announced session, even if you are following @uktechdays on twitter

After Hours @ UK Tech Days 2010 – Wednesday 14th April, 7pm – 9pm. Vue Cinema, Fulham Broadway.

Reviving the critically acclaimed series of mad cap hobbyist technology demonstrations – After Hours reappears at Tech Days 2010. After Hours is all about the fun stuff people are building at home with Microsoft technology, ranging from the useful ‘must haves’ no modern home should be without, too the bleeding edge of science fiction made real! Featuring in this fun filled two hour installment of entertaining projects are: Home Entertainment systems, XNA Augmented Reality, Natural User Interfaces, Robotics and virtual adventures in the real world with a home brew holodeck!

Session 1: Home entertainment.

In this session we demonstrate the integration of e-home technologies to produce the ultimate in media entertainment systems and cyber home services.  We show you how to inspire your children to follow the ‘way of the coder’ by tapping into their Xbox 360 gaming time.

Session 2: Augmented reality.

2010 promises to be the year of the Natural User Interface. In this session we demonstrate and discuss the innovations under development at Microsoft, and take an adventure in the ultimate of geek fantasies – the XNA Holodeck.

Like all other techdays session this one is FREE to attend  – if you hadn’t heard: UK Tech Days 2010 is a week-long series of events run by Microsoft and technical communities to celebrate and inspire developers, IT professionals and IT Managers to get more from Microsoft technology.  Our day events in London will cover the latest technology releases including Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft Office 2010, Virtualisation, Silverlight, Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 plus events focusing on deployment and an IT Manager day. Oh and did I say they were FREE

IT Professional Week – Shepherds Bush

Monday, 12 April 2010   – Virtualization Summit – From the Desktop to the Datacentre

Designed to provide you with an understanding of the key products & technologies enabling seamless physical and virtual management, interoperable tools, and cost-savings & value.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010  – Office 2010 – Experience the Next Wave in Business Productivity

The event will cover how the improvements to Office, SharePoint, Exchange, Project and Visio will provide a practical platform that will allow IT professionals to not only solve problems and deliver business value, but also demonstrate this value to IT’s stakeholders. 

Wednesday, 14 April 2010Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 – Deployment made easy

This event will provide you with an understanding of these tools including the new Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, Windows Deployment services and the Application Compatibility Toolkit. Understanding of these tools including the new Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, Windows Deployment Services. We will also take you through the considerations for deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 and migrating your server roles.

Thursday, 15 April 2010 SQL Server 2008 R2 – The Information Platform
Highlighting the new capabilities of the platform, as well as diving into specific topics, such as consolidating SQL Server databases, and tips and techniques for Performance Monitoring and Tuning as well as looking at our newly released Cloud platform SQL Azure.

Friday, 16 April 2010 (IT Managers)Looking ahead, keeping the boss happy and raising the profile of IT
IT Managers have more and more responsibilities to drive and support the direction of the business. We’ll explore the various trends and technologies that can bring IT to the top table, from score-carding to data governance and cloud computing.

Developer Week – Fulham Broadway

Monday, 12 April 2010 (For Heads of Development and Software Architects) Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Launch – A Path to Big Ideas

This launch event is aimed at development managers, heads of development and software architects who want to hear how Visual Studio 2010 can help build better applications whilst taking advantage of great integration with other key technologies.
NB – Day 2 will cover the technical in-depth sessions aimed at developers

Tuesday, 13 April 2010 Getting started with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 WAITLIST ONLY
Microsoft and industry experts will share their perspectives on the top new and useful features with core programming languages and in the framework and tooling, such as — ASP.NET MVC, Parallel Programming, Entity Framework 4, and the offerings around rich client and web development experiences.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010 The Essential MIX
Join us for the Essential MIX as we continue exploring the art and science of creating great user experiences. Learn about the next generation ASP.NET & Silverlight platforms that make it a rich and reach world.

Thursday, 15 April 2010 Best of Breed Client Applications on Microsoft Windows 7
Windows 7 adoption is happening at a startling pace. In this demo-driven day, we’ll look at the developer landscape around Windows 7 to get you up to speed on the operating system that’ll your applications will run on through the new decade.

Friday, 16 April 2010 – Registration opening soon! Windows phone Day
Join us for a practical day of detailed Windows Phone development sessions covering the new Windows Phone specification, application standards and services

There will also be some “fringe” events , these won’t all be in London and I’ll post about them separately (James in the Midlands, I’ve heard you :-)  )


This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

March 7, 2010

How to use old drivers with a new OS – more on XP mode

Filed under: Virtualization,Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 5:45 pm

In a post a while back about Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) I wrote “I’ve got a bad track record choosing scanners” and described the most recent one I’ve bought as a  “piece of junk”. Because my experience has been bad I don’t scan much, and because I don’t scan much I won’t spend the money to get a better experience. The scanner I have at home is an HP one and after HP failed to produce Vista drivers for it I said I’d never spend my own money on HP kit again. Eventually they DID release Vista drivers (including 64 bit) and these support Windows 7. The trouble is although they support WIA – rather than using HP’s rather crummy software for XP, they are what HP calls “Basic Feature” drivers. The video below shows what this means, and how I was able to get access to the other features using that crummy software in XP mode.

[For some reason the embedded video doesn’t play in all browsers – here is the link to the video on You tube]

This makes quite a good follow up to a video I did for Edge when XP mode was still in Beta, which showed how some 32bit-only camera software (which would work with vista or Windows 7 – but not in the 64 bit version I’m running) could be used in (32 bit) XP mode.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 24, 2010

End of life planning.

Filed under: Windows 7,Windows Server,Windows Vista,Windows XP — jamesone111 @ 4:57 pm

Click for a full size version No. I’m not talking about sorting out the music for one’s funeral* …

I think every manager I have had in my 10 years at Microsoft has grumbled that I’m not great with planning – it’s a fair criticism and I try to work on it. When the subject comes up a quote from a book by William Gibson comes into my head.  “I try to plan in your sense of the word, but that isn’t my basic mode, really. I improvise. It’s my greatest talent. I prefer situations to plans, you see…. Really, I’ve had to deal with givens.”  the speaker is actually an artificial intelligence, but I think that is how a lot of IT people work: improvise, deal with the situation at hand, then deal with the next situation. It may be what we prefer – but be it training plans or plans for rolling out new software you’ve got to do it.

We do try to help on the software side, by being both transparent and predictable. The rule for core things (like desktop and server operating systems) is at least 10 years of support. (Embedded operating systems have a different support model which runs for longer).
Mainstream support runs for 5 years from release OR until 2 years after the successor product releases whichever is later. Extended support runs for 5 years, or 2 years after the second successor product releases. After that those who can’t move forwards, but have deep pockets have the option on custom support. In order to be supported you have to be running a supported level of service pack, and I’ll cover that in a later post.

So let’s take a worked example.

  *  Windows 2000 professional’s General availability date was March 2000.

  *  The “n+1” release is Windows XP, which had a General availability date of December 2001.

  *  Two years after Windows XP would be December 2003 , less than the 5 year minimum so mainstream support for Windows 2000 runs to March 2005 when extended support begins. (In practice it got a mainstream June – products only go off the support list on particular days and they live on to the next one after the anniversary)

  *  The “n+2” release is Windows Vista with a General Availability date was Jan 2007.

  *  Two years Vista would be Jan 2009, again less than the 5 year minimum, so extended support support runs to June 2010. Again there is a few days extension.

So the cut off date for Windows 2000 professional is July 13th 2010. After that there will be custom support only for 2000 and if you are still running it you should understand that means we stop the routine distribution of security updates for it. 

As it happens the cut off dates for Windows 2000 Server mainstream support was 2 years after the release of Server 2003 – putting it in May 2005  -  so  2000 professional and server sync’d up. The 2 year point after Server 2008 and the 5 years of extended support take it to the same time, June 2010. So the cut off date for Windows 2000 Server is July 13th 2010.

I like to think that no-one reading this blog would still be running Windows 2000, but I know a good many are still running Windows XP. So let’s carve the dates on XPs tombstone:

5 years after XP’s GA date would be December 2006, but Vista had not shipped by then. So Mainstream support for XP ends two years after the GA date of Vista which takes us to Jan 2009 (In practice it was April 2009). Unless you have taken out a contract for extended support, you have only been getting security updates for XP since then.

5 Years after that is April 2014. Windows 7 had a GA date of October 2009, so 2 years on from there would be sooner. Extended support for XP ends on the later of the two dates, so April 2014.

For Vista, five years after GA will be later than 2 years after Windows 7, so Vista goes from mainstream to extended support in or shortly after January 2012. We’ve set the date, April 10th 2012. The end of extended support will depend on when the next version of Window ships, but it won’t be before April 11th 2017. Both dates for Windows 7 depend on future versions of Windows but won’t be sooner than January 13th 2015, and January 14th 2020. Put them in your diary now, with a reminder a long time in advance 🙂

You can get all the dates from the Product lifecycle page

* Strange Angels by Laurie Anderson if you must know.

tweetmeme_style = ‘compact’;
tweetmeme_url = ‘http://blogs.technet.com/jamesone/archive/2010/02/24/end-of-life-planning.aspx’;

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 23, 2010

Desktop virtualization update.

Filed under: Virtualization,Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 4:54 pm

On the MDOP blog there is an announcement  of new releases of both APP-V (which runs applications in a Virtualized “bubble” so they don’t clash with each other) and MED-V (which runs a centrally managed virtualized OS)

The major points App-V 4.6 is now compatible with 64-bit Windows client and server platforms, enabling IT to take advantage of x64 for client hardware refresh AND also deploy App-V to Windows Server 2008 R2 using remote desktop with scale advantages that come from 64 bit. The springboard site has a Q&A on App-V

MED-V adds support for Windows 7 (32bit and 64bit) – this is what large organizations should be using to deliver similar functionality to XP-Mode but with central management.

Bonus link:

On the Windows Team blog, Gavriella explains why this important to improving the Total Economic Impact – and Forrester have already published some very positive numbers on TEI for Windows 7

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 16, 2010

Desktop Virtualization Hour

I had a mail earlier telling me about desktop virtualization hour , planned for 4PM (GMT) on March 18th. (That’s 9AM Seattle time, 5PM CET … you can work out the others I’m sure). More information and a downloadable meeting request are Here.

Some effort seems to be going into this one, which makes me think it is more than the average web cast.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 11, 2010

How to deploy Windows 7 – 3 useful posts

Filed under: Deployment,Windows 7,Windows Server 2008-R2 — jamesone111 @ 8:31 pm

I mentioned a few days back that I was going to write some posts about deploying Windows 7, but there is some good material out there already and there is no sense re-inventing the wheel

So I’d like to recommend 3 posts from fellow evangelist and all-round good chap Alan Le Marquand,

Choosing the path to Windows 7

Building Windows 7 images

Deploying Windows 7

These are as useful as collections of links to other subject matter as they for the writing which Alan has done. I expect to be referring people to these via this post (if you see what I mean) for some time to come.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Windows 7 activation update.

Filed under: Security and Malware,Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 6:11 pm

Over on the Windows blog there is a post talking about the update we are about to send out which is designed to catch some of the tricks being used by large scale pirates against Windows 7.  There was a time were an update to this technology would have me reaching for my tin hat and flame-proof underwear but I came read a Post on the subject from Ed Bott who (as I’ve said before) can be assumed to know what he is talking about.

I was a fierce critic of the initial [Windows Genuine Advantage] efforts, primarily because the user experience was so awful and the tools it used were inaccurate. Back in 2008, I gave Microsoft a C+ for its efforts, a significant improvement over the “big fat F” it earned in 2006 and 2007.
Over the past year, I have been visiting the Windows Genuine forums at least once per quarter to survey performance and have found that activation issues have become a non-issue. In every example I have found, the problem could be traced to malware or a major hardware change, or (surprisingly often) to a customer who had unknowingly purchased counterfeit software. Where false positive reports were on
ce a serious problem, they’re now practically nonexistent in my experience.

My experience backs this up. As a percentage the false positives were always small, but if you were affected it didn’t matter. And with an installed base as big as Windows a small percentage is a lot of people. There a story (which is widely told, but may be an urban legend)  of a major retailer whose repair operation always used the same key when reinstalling Windows: customers with licences hit problems later because their licences hadn’t been used and the one  which had was designated “pirated”. Those customers just had to enter their own product keys but the experience made many go ballistic. A repair shop wouldn’t do that today.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 8, 2010

Installing Windows from a phone

Arthur : “You mean you can see into my mind ?”
Marvin: “Yes.”
Arthur: “And … ?”
Marvin: “It amazes me how you manage to live in anything that small”

Looking back down the recent posts you might notice that this is the 8th in a row about my new phone (so it’s obviously made something of an impression), this one brings the series to a close.

I’ve said already that I bought at 16GB memory card for the new phone which is a lot – I had 1GB before, so… what will I do with all that space? I’m not going to use it for video and 16GB is room for something like 250 hours of MP3s or 500 hours of WMAs: I own roughly 200 albums, so it’s a fair bet they’d fit. Photos – well maybe I’d keep a few hundred MB on the phone. In any event, I don’t want to fill the card completely. After a trip out with no card in the my camera I keep a SD-USB card adapter on my key-ring so I always have both a USB stick and a memory card : currently this uses my old micro-SD card in an full size SD adapter. If I need more than 1GB I can whip the card out of the phone, pop it in the adapter and keep shooting 

However the phone has a mass storage device mode so I thought to myself why not copy the Windows installation files to it, and see if I can boot a Machine off it and install Windows from the phone ? That way one could avoid carrying a lot of setup disks.
Here’s how I got on.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

December 8, 2009

Search stories … or “how do people manage on XP”

Filed under: Windows 7,Windows Vista,Windows XP — jamesone111 @ 9:56 pm

I know from experience that the people I meet in this job , and those who read this blog are more likely to be early adopters than the population at large so you, as a reader may well be on Windows 7 by now, and had a better chance than most of running Vista. But we know there is a lot of Windows XP still out there.  So here is something that I’m generally curious about: of those still on XP how many have added Microsoft’s (or a third party’s) search solution ?

This being Christmas time people are thinking about sending cards and in recent days two people have – unknowingly – each asked me for the others address.  Now I have some addresses and phone numbers in my contacts, but as it turns out neither of these two. Both addresses were buried in attachments in my e-mail and in both cases I had a fragment of the address. Tap that fragment into the search bar in outlook (which uses Windows search) and in less time than it took to type it I have the answer. I’ve had a chapter of problems with my car of late. We lease cars through different companies and we have a firm who coordinate everything – normally the extra layer would gets in the way, but throw this lot a problem and they make it a personal mission to get to a solution.  So have I put their number in my contacts ? er. no. Lease company? Yes. Garage? Sure. People who actually sort things out ? No. And the reason – it takes about 2 seconds to type their name into search and get an email with the number in the signature. (if I can persuade them to make that a clickable link things would be perfect).

If this saves me an hour a week [and that’s a low estimate] it would mean Microsoft gets a week of extra work out of me per year. (Actually it’s 6 days) If your organization is still on search-less XP think of that next time you can’t find something you know is on your PC or in your mailbox. And when you hear an excuse for staying on old software try asking “What percentage of the salary bill are we prepared to forego for this reason”. When you take public holidays, vacation allowance, sickness and training off the total there are a little less than 200 days to actually work in a year. So it’s easy – think of features in “days saved per year” , halve it and that’s the percentage of the salary bill. 

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

November 30, 2009

Shouldn’t regular reboots be a thing of the past ?

Filed under: Windows 7,Windows Vista — jamesone111 @ 8:38 am

A few days ago I linked to a post of Viral’s which showed some of the holes in the hype around Google’s “Chromium OS” or more accurately just-enough-os-to-run-a-browser.   He had an interesting link showing the work from Phoenix to slash the POST time – and you can’t help but be impressed when Windows starts booting within 2 seconds of hitting the Power button, but has booted and loaded a local HTML file into IE in about 15 seconds. I suspect a lot of the speed improvement comes from loading the OS from a solid state disk. But I keep wondering who is it who keeps booting their machines over and over. I often say in my presentations that when I travel by train I notice people starting their laptops up from cold, and shutting them down cold, and under XP up to SP2 I had problems with a machine with loads of memory refusing to sleep, so I can understand that.  I’m a pretty heavy user of my PC, but I don’t reboot for weeks on end. I see it as  like retuning the TV, something you do every few hundred hours of use. When I do, I start outlook, communicator and IE and they remain open pretty much until an update needs me to reboot.

I got to thinking “How long have IE and so on been running”. I’d make excuses for Outlook as I’m running the Beta of 2010.  I put the following command into PowerShell

Get-Process| sort starttime  -ErrorAction silentlycontinue | format-table –auto -property name, starttime, @{name="CPU"; expression={("{0,10:n1}" -f $_.cpu)}}

and it came back with the following

Name                  StartTime                  CPU
----                  ---------                  ---
taskhost              16/11/2009 19:45:24       21.6
dwm                   16/11/2009 19:45:24   10,451.2
explorer              16/11/2009 19:45:25    3,404.1

iexplore              16/11/2009 19:46:25    1,012.0
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:46:33    4,644.0
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:47:44    7,187.0
FOXITR~1              16/11/2009 19:51:33        8.5
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:53:08    3,025.5
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:53:41    2,744.7
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:55:28    4,553.5
mobsync               17/11/2009 10:14:04        2.3
iexplore              17/11/2009 11:14:48    4,331.6
communicator          19/11/2009 11:26:43    2,313.3
OUTLOOK               20/11/2009 11:45:33    4,614.2
FOXITR~1              20/11/2009 13:33:01       32.8

powershell            29/11/2009 13:02:00       22.1

As you can see it’s about two weeks since I logged on, (although the machine has been an out of hibernate and sleep a few dozen times) and I started IE pretty much at once – one of the web pages was PDF which opened in Foxit reader and has remained open (IE 8 spawns multiple instances of itself). Outlook – beta status not withstanding – has been open for 9 days. Some days I wonder if the problem is in the naming of the functions – that we’re somehow conditioned to shutting things down. I should propose to the Windows team they change the labels “Shut-Down” and “Hibernate” and possibly “Sleep”, calling hibernate something like “Save Windows”, so they convey Power-off-and-start-from-nothing-next-time, Power-off-and-resume-next-time and so on.

So I’m curious to know how many people want to see faster boots and how many people see my way of working as one they use now / will use ?

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

November 29, 2009

Windows Deployment information

Filed under: Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 2:39 pm

A couple of posts back I put talked about how easy it is to use Windows Deployment Services with a video to reinforce the point: some roll outs of Windows 7 will need nothing more. Depending on exactly what is needed there are plenty more tools out there.

Looking for something else over the weekend I stumbled upon the deployment section from the Windows 7 resource kit as a free e-book. Going all the way back to Windows for Workgroups in the early 90’s I’ve thought that (a) the resource kits are some of the best books to come out of Microsoft Press (b) If there is a res kit for a product you work with you should have it on your shelf.  The Windows 7 one runs to over 1700 pages – thick enough, as someone said, to stun an Ox. I was one of the small army of people made a small contributions it, so the only thing that keeps me from buying a copy is the complimentary copy which (I’m told) is on its way to me. I like to thumb through a real paper book and pencil the occasional note in, but I also like having a searchable e-book (Manning publishers gave me a complimentary e-copy of Bruce Payette’s Powershell in action and it’s a whole different experience as a searchable text).  So even if you have already bought the hard copy I’d recommend pulling down the PDF.  This is no mere sample chapter . It runs to 330 pages – I haven’t read every word: what strikes me about having skimmed it is it’s completeness.

Bonus Link

Sometimes you don’t want a complete reference but a set of easier to digest pieces, and there are there is a 5 part series in the deployment section of the Springboard blog which covers a lot of useful ground; so that’s an alternative starting point.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

November 26, 2009

How to deploy Windows: Windows deployment services.

Filed under: Windows 7,Windows Server 2008,Windows Server 2008-R2,Windows Vista — jamesone111 @ 12:23 pm

I saw something recently – it must have been in the discussion about Google’s bootable browser new “operating system” which talked about it taking hours to install Windows. I didn’t know whether to get cross or to laugh.Kicking around on youtube is a video I made of putting Windows 7 on a Netbook from a USB key (The technical quality of the video is very poor for the first couple of minutes, the installation starts in the third minute) . It took me 25 minutes from powering on for the first time to getting my first web page up. It was quick because I installed from a USB flash device. It would be quicker still on a higher spec machine, especially one with a fast hard disk. 

Installing from USB is all very well if you are go the machine(s) to do the installation(s). But if you have many machines to install, or you want to have users or other team members install at will then Windows Deployment Services is a tool you really should get to know.  WDS was originally a separate download for server 2003, then it got rolled into the product so it is just and installable component in Server 2008 and 2008-R2. There are other add on which round out deployment capabilities but there are 3 scenarios where WDS alone is all you need.

  1. Deploying the “vanilla” Windows image to machines. This can be Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Server 2008-R2 or Windows 7. I haven’t checked on deploying hyper-V server, it may be a special case because the generic setup process may not create a line that’s needed in the boot configuration database.
  2. Deploying a Windows image, customized with an unattend.xml file – again the same version choices are available , but now if you want to install with particular options turned on or off you can do so (The Windows Automated Installation Kit helps with the creation of this file, among other things)
  3. Creating a “Gold Image” machine with applications pre-installed, and capturing that image and pushing it out to many different machines [There are a few applications which don’t like this, so sometime it is better to run something to install ].

One thing which many people don’t seem to realise is that since Vista arrived one 32 bit can cover all machines, and one 64 bit image can be used on all 64-bit machines. Those images not only handle differences in hardware but can also be multi-lingual.

By itself WDS doesn’t address installing combinations of applications and images, nor does it automate the process of moving users data off an old machine and onto a new machine. I’ll talk about some of these things in future posts: but if you thinking about the skills you’ll need to do a deployment of Windows 7 (for example) understanding WDS is a key first step; the next step is answering the question “What do I need that WDS doesn’t give me ?”

Because I have to deploy a lot of servers. I put together a video showing WDS being used to deploy Windows server (server core is also the smallest OS and so the quickest to install as a demo). Because my Servers are most virtualized I have another video in the pipeline showing System Virtual Machine manager doing deployments of built VMs.
You get an idea of the power of WDS, but the fact the video is only 6 minutes long also gives you an idea of its simplicity.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

November 21, 2009

A Windows 7 trick for multiple sound cards

Filed under: Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 8:27 pm

imageI’ve mentioned here before background noise drives me nuts (it’s one of boxes that gets ticked doing Asperger’s questionnaires). Some noise in the office is unavoidable, but it’s long been my view that filling other peoples workspace with noise from your computer is plain rude :  I have been known to ask people “Do you need to borrow some headphones”.

I still have not replaced the headphones which were stolen along with my laptop bag a few weeks ago, but I have another, quite bulky, set of headphones with a boom Mic: they plug into the USB port and show up as a second sound device.  This gives me a problem. How do I now if sound is going to come out the speakers in my laptop or out of the headphones ? Given my attitude to other people when they fail to keep their computers silent I’m going to deserve some flack if I start a broadcast to the whole office.

Quite by chance I discovered that Windows 7 can display volume controls for each of the sound devices (right click the volume control, and go to volume control options to decide what is displayed.)  So, I can mute one device and have sound coming out of the other. That’s perfect. It turns out that the headset becomes the default audio device when it is plugged in, but if I come back to my desk, don’t plug it in the on board sound stays muted – so I don’t disturb the office, but if I plug the headset back in, it is not muted. Perfect.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

November 18, 2009

Saving the world, and your sanity, one gadget at a time.

Filed under: Real Time Collaboration,Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 7:42 am


For as long as we have been talking about “Green IT” I’ve thought the opportunity to save carbon emissions by using IT to reduce travel was far greater than the opportunity to reduce the carbon emissions of IT itself. That’s not an excuse for leaving your monitor on or not using the Power saving features of Windows 7 (and Vista) or Server 2008-R2, but a recognition that the savings that be made by reducing the amount we fly or drive to where we do business – and maintaining less office space when we get there are greater than the savings that would be made if we turned all the IT off.

As a high tech company you’d expect Microsoft to be further down the track of using this technology than most doubly so as we produce some of the technology which makes it possible. While I was at tech-ed in Berlin we had an “environment day” where web-cams were handed out for all who wanted them. We already try encourage flexible working – in my old role in consulting things couldn’t be all that flexible, but in evangelism I work from home a day or two most weeks. I’m more productive without the hubbub of the office, and cutting out the journey doesn’t just save carbon. I get between 40 minutes and an hour back at each end of the day when it is of most value to me.

We have a web page about what Microsoft UK is doing environmentally , everything setting a ceiling on the C02 emissions allowed for new company cars and lowering it each year, to a “proximity printing” system which cuts down the amount left unclaimed on printers and which is credited with saving us 50,000 sheets of paper per month  Think of it as a tree a week.

I picked up the web cam on when I got back from Berlin. I don’t do many video calls – I find our RoundTable video conferencing useful because I can see a group (and it seems rude not to let them see me), but 40 odd years of using the phone has proved to me that 1:1 doesn’t need video calling, so I don’t now how much use it will get It’s a Life-Cam show , and it has a clever way mounting on a stand, laptop lid or monitor. Both front and back have the socket part of a ball and socket joint and then the stand and clip provided have the ball part, which is magnetic. The joint means the camera angle can be adjusted easily, and if you need to attach to anything else the “ball” part of the is provided separately with a self adhesive backing. Image quality seems pretty decent even in low light– it has a 2MP sensor which it samples down to 800×600 for moving pictures, and up to 8MP for stills. Sadly it doesn’t seem to support WIA, and given what I’ve just said about the environment, our packaging police could find ways to reduce the packaging. Fortunately the packing includes a case so the lens doesn’t get scratched to bits in a laptop bag. It comes with a CD and it tells says install the software first. This is where Windows 7 gets clever. 


Oh darn – it knows this software won’t work – quite rare for Vista software not to work on 7 and knowing what will fail is quite clever in itself, but not new – Vista did that. But I don’t remember Vista ever offering the next step – knowing the signature of things which don’t work you can check in a database and see if a fix has been logged and guide the user to it. Like this.



And Hey presto everything is installed. Since I don’t use Windows Live messenger – only office communicator, I dug out the details of how to make the button on the camera activate communicator. Now lets see how much use it gets….

 Update. I pasted in the wrong link for “how to activate communicator”  – thanks to David for pointing that out.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

November 6, 2009

The point of Windows 7 libraries and search

Filed under: How to,Windows 7,Windows Vista — jamesone111 @ 10:06 am

In my previous post I mentioned a correspondent – his name is Andy – who’d written asking the question “What the hell is the point of libraries and if you have the name of the person whose idea they were please post it for summary flaming” He made another comment which I think goes to the heart of it.

…  as with the advice to people to avoid Vista unless buying with a new machine and then only a powerful one which one then customises to remove things like pointless indexing, I am now launching the ‘destroy or develop libraries’ campaign!

I’d like to drill into that.  I just checked my home machine’s asset tag with Dell and it will be 6 years old next week. I wanted to replace it but I spent £30 on upgrading the memory to 2GB and although the graphics card can’t do glass effects,  it runs Vista well enough on its 2.2GHz Celeron (single core) processor that the replacement has been postponed indefinitely. It works as a media center and streams stuff to the TV via the Xbox. Memory is critical though: I’ve been saying since Windows 3.0 “don’t worry about CPU , throw memory at systems.”   a 256MB XP system isn’t going to make a happy upgrade, on that we can certainly agree.

But  “Pointless indexing ?” Indexing is a low priority task and only consumes resources when files change, so removing it saves very little and costs a lot. The big thing , the HUGE thing for me as a user in Vista is search, and clearly no index: no search. Anyone who has got into the Vista or Windows 7 way of working will understand that, just as internet search engines mean we don’t try to remember many complex URLs any more, so on Vista and 7 we don’t remember complex paths to find files.
When I first  first worked on Sharepoint (it was still called Tahoe at the time!) it became clear to me that file hierarchies work poorly.  Do you organize files by date, by subject, by type? If you write thousands of letters how do you name them so you can find all the letters for a given customer ? Or all the letters for customers interested in the WidgetMaster 2000 ? Bluntly, if you can’t find the stuff, is there any benefit in keeping it ? And it’s not just in office automation settings that this matters. I had over 30,000 photos on my PC at the last count. How do I quickly get to the Vulcan Collage I used in this post – did I put it in folder of “pictures for blogging” or did I make a folder for the vulcan shots and put the collage with the source pictures, or did I save the collage with other collages. To find it I just press the “Windows key” and start typing “vulcan” in the box on the start menu. Starting programs which are not on quick launch bar… life is too short to remember folder hierarchies on the start menu: I hit the same key and start typing the program name. Want to remove a program? Why bother to remember where that is in control panel? I hit the same key and start typing “remove” and the correct link to control panel appears. And Windows search is the search for Outlook. With my recent car problems I found I hadn’t got the number for the fleet management people in my contacts. So I typed “Fleet” in the search box and a second later there was a mail with the number I needed. I am totally dependent on search now.

image Indexing has a beneficial side-effect. You can create virtual folders based on metadata. I know a couple of people who flinch when I use the term meta-data but it is simply data about the data: its author, creation date, subject, tags and so on. Office Documents have “document properties”, MP3 and Windows Media files embed information about the song title, artist, composer, length and so on. JPEG and TIF images contain embedded EXIF data which contains camera information as well as artist, tags, title etc.  On the left you can see this being put to use in Windows 7. I’ve ringed the “arrange by” option; and here “tag” has been selected. In some places Tags are known as “keywords”, but as you can see in the screen shot (click for a full size version), a tag can contain multiple words. “Arrange by tag” tells windows “Select all the files in this folder and its subfolders, grouped by their tags" (a file can appear in multiple places if it carries more than one tag). Since each group is treated as a “search folder” I can search arrange results by metadata, so I can have “Infra Red-tagged Pictures also tagged Oxfordshire” Or “Pictures of Aircraft taken in July 2009” and so on.  I can drag the search folder to favorites or the desktop or my task/quick launch bar to call it up again.


But wait – there’s more ! In the second picture you can see I’ve typed something in the search box (ringed). Normally this would be something for a free text search over all the metadata fields. But I’ve typed FocalLength: so this will search in a specific metadata field. I haven’t specified an exact match but typed >280 so it only returns pictures where I was using my longest lens zoomed to the maximum length. Also notice on the menu bar that the search can be saved: that keeps a search folder to apply the same search criteria to my files in the future.

If you’ve opened up a the picture on the left you’ll have seen it contains some shots of the wild rabbits which come into my garden – and I seem to have gone down a bit of a rabbit hole here because the question was about libraries  – and I’m talking about Search folders. You can’t save files to a search folder – it isn’t a “place” – and a search narrows the selection to just some of the items in a branch of the file system…


Libraries use the index beneath the surface, but work in the opposite way to search folders. They bring together multiple file system branches. That’s it. I think Andy thought they were more sophisticated, but there’s only filtering if you do a search: the 4 default libraries which link together 4 of the “MY” folders with their “Public” counterparts. So now it doesn’t matter if something is in “My Music” or “Public Music”, I can find it in the “music” Library. And this isn’t limited to folders on my computer -  You can see on the left that my computer belongs to a Windows 7 HomeGroup and I’ve added the music folder from another member my Music library – this wasn’t the best staged demo because the netbook I’m connecting to only has the Windows sample music on it – which I’ve removed from my laptop, that’s the one non-blurred item .

Adding a folder to a library is a simple matter of going to the library’s properties, and clicking “include”. Any of the folders which comprise the library  can be set as the default location for saving. In effect, the Documents folder is “My Documents” with the extra ability to find public documents. You can change  the name of library so you could call it “All Documents” or even “My documents”. If you neither use the public folders anything there would be no harm in deleting the default libraries. Conversely if you’ve built up a complicated hierarchy of folders, so you might have “letters 2008”, “Letters 2007”, “Letters 2006”, “Invoices 2008”, “Invoices 2007” and so on, you could create new libraries for letters and Invoices.

Now, Andy’s complaint was essentially that he knew users for whom any change is bad. And my previous post I owned up to the fact that my first reaction to any change is “What did they do that for”  He says

unless totally new to computers, the addition and forcing users to default to libraries adds another level of confusion to non-tech savvy people. My mother… has been using PC’s since the 8086 days and had got to grips with DOS/File Manager/Explorer/My Computer/Computer for years before you introduced ‘My’ documents, pictures etc. I then had to spend time explaining the concept of a virtual pointer to a set of folders held elsewhere. We got there in the end although the desire to navigate to them via the C: drive remained for a while.

When we do make these changes we spend thousands of hours in usability labs to makes sure different categories of users can pick them up easily, and if we made everything exactly the same as it always has been it would be a brake on progress. Although Andy emphasised “forcing users to default to” when I did a quick check, everything I tried remembers the last folder things were opened from or saved to. I also have a vague memory that the pre-release versions of Windows 7 opened explorer at the libraries folder but the release version on machine opens at Computer – of course you can have shortcuts to open any folder you want. For some people’s’ machines “MY” in front of documents isn’t needed, you can rename the “MY” away. All the “My” folders are actually pointers so if you have always used C:\Documents, you can navigate via the Hierarchical path in the file system as before, if you can re-point the default location, any program which calls the Windows API to say “where is the default location for Documents will go to there and not keep trying to take you back to somewhere under users

Now, following that, some bright spark decided to demonstrate to logical human beings that had spent years learning how a hard disk could be navigated that logic and common sense is not required for using computers and in fact is detrimental to their use. I write of making the hard disk subordinate to the desktop in explorer when Vista was launched.

Andy’s point actually applied prior to Vista. On the Desktop you have a computer Icon, if you open computer it contains drives, if you open a drive and navigate to your user folder it contains the desktop. Where once we had a tree structure with the some root which contained all the drives, now we have a loop. I understand what he means though, having spent years with learning ways to impose a logic to cope strict hierarchies we’ve now said “you don’t need to force yourself into thinking that way any more”. No one forced to change how they organize their files: that’s important.  Personally I navigate to my documents via libraries, the “my documents” link in my home folder (which I have as a favorite) via the C: drive, and from Cmd and PowerShell prompts.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 22, 2009

A uniquely good day to be at Microsoft

Filed under: Windows 7,Working at Microsoft — jamesone111 @ 10:35 pm

I don’t think you can have missed that today was the day Windows 7 became generally available. I’ve been trying to come up with some unique angle on this for a blog post and not getting anywhere. Two thoughts related thoughts I will share.

The first: sometimes on these occasions the press turn up and try to interview employees: since I am press-trained I can talk to them, and as I was driving to the office this morning I wondered what sound bite I’d come out with. “This place is always on a high when we release new products and seeing reaction Windows 7 has been getting we’re on a higher high than usual”. I wondered how I could bring in Server 2008 R2, or the upcoming “2010” releases apart from ending with “and we ain’t done yet.”

The last thing I did before leaving the office was to read a mail from our director: it doesn’t deserve to be broken up for quotes, but it would be rude to publish it all. He called out the story that Amazon said pre-orders were its biggest ever outstripping the last Harry Potter , and 500 people queued up outside PC world’s flagship store to get their copy at midnight. He called out the positive press that the Register has given 7, they’re not known for being pro Microsoft. And he called out the groundswell of positive customer feeling which 7 has (My personal favourite is the Vox-pop of twitter comments running on the Microsoft.com home page). And he said “It’s easy for old lags like me to become cynical and start believing the [Negative press we get]”  ,before talking about the how he felt re-energized by the arrival of 7. I’m staring down the barrel of a 10 year service award so I’m an “old lag” myself and know exactly what he means.  His final words were “There is no better place to be today”, and from a director that’s a sentence which should usually be treated with the same cynicism as , let’s say, “People are our greatest asset”. But this time … I’ve never agreed with him more.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 17, 2009

More on VHD files

Filed under: Virtualization,Windows 7,Windows Server 2008-R2 — jamesone111 @ 2:42 pm

I’ve had plenty to say about the uses of VHD files on different occasions. They get used anywhere we need to have a file which contains an image of a disk. So from Vista onwards we have had complete image backup to VHD, we use VHD for holding the virtual disk to be used by a Virtual Machine (be it hyper-V , Virtual PC or Virtual Server – the disks are portable although the OS on them might be configured to be bootable on one form of virtualization and not another), and so on.

Most interesting of all with Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 the OS can be boot from a VHD file – if you try to do this with an older OS it will begin to boot and then when it discovers it is not on a native hard disk it all goes the way of the pear. However an older OS can be installed on the “native” disk with a newer OS in a VHD, provided that the boot loader is new enough to understand boot from VHD. I’ve done this with my two cluster node laptops – I can boot into Server 2008 “classic” or into 2008 R2: the latter is contained in a VHD and so I don’t have to worry about re-partitioning the disk or having different OSes in different folders. The principles are the same but the process is a bit complicated for XP and for Server 2003 – but Mark has a guest post on his blog which gives a step by step guide. In theory it should work on any OS which uses NTLDR and Boot.ini all the way back to NT3.1 – though I will admit I’ve only run XP and Server 2003 in virtual machines since Hyper-V went into beta,

Of course being able to mount VHDs inside Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 gives you an alternative way of getting files back from a backup, and I’ve got a video on technet edge showing that and some of the other uses. My attempts to modify a backup VHD into a Virtual Machine VHD have failed – I can access the disk in a VM, but my attempts to find the right set of incantations to make it bootable have left me feeling like one of the less able students at Hogwarts. Into this mix comes a new Disk2VHD  tool from Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell – Mark is the more famous member of the team, but if you do a search on Bryce’s name you’ll see his background with sysinternals  so Disk2VHD comes with an instant provenance. There are multiple places where this tool has a use, lifting an existing Machine to make a boot-from-VHD image or a virtual machine, or as a way of doing an image backup which can be used in a VM.

tweetmeme_style = ‘compact’;
tweetmeme_url = ‘http://blogs.technet.com/jamesone/archive/2009/10/17/more-on-vhd-files.aspx’;

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 16, 2009

Microsoft Security Essentials

Filed under: Security and Malware,Windows 7,Windows Vista,Windows XP — jamesone111 @ 4:02 pm

Somehow, in all the other activities of the last couple of weeks I missed the release of Microsoft Security Essentials which is our FREE* anti-virus / anti-malware product aimed at home users. (We have the more business oriented Forefront Client Security as well). My experience with it has been too limited to date to offer much commentary on it: however – since this blog is read mostly by people who work around computers the reason for writing about it is to say this: we all have a friend or family member who doesn’t protect their PC. The availability of  software from Microsoft which plugs the gap and is FREE* gives you a chance help them.

Over on the Malware protection center blog  Joe has posted an analysis of what it unearthed in its first live week. We’ve had 1.5million downloads, and found 4 million infections on 0.5 million computers. That’s right the average infected computer has eight different infections. I’ve seen numbers like that before and find it a bit unnerving , because there is a long tail effect: lots of machines are clean, some have one or two infections, the average for an infected machine is 8 and beyond that – there are some out there with dozens upon dozens.

Joe breaks down the reports by country: US has the most reports at 25%, then Brazil and China at 17% each the UK only has 2% of the reports. I don’t know if it is because we have fewer installations here or if our PCs are better protected. Unfortunately it is only infection reports which are broken down by country, not downloads or installations. But Joe does break installations down by OS. 44% is Windows 7, 23% Vista and 33% XP. We haven’t even launched 7 properly and it is 44% of the downloads. My guess is that people who are trying out a new OS are keener than the population at large to try new anti-malware from the same source. The final chart Joe has put up shows the ratio of infections per OS – when he says normalized, I’m assuming that means Vista numbers are scaled up and Windows 7 scaled down so they both represent infection rates on a equal number of computers. XP is more than 3 times more likely to have an infection than 7. This isn’t entirely because 7 is better – it will be a newer installation so XP will have had more chances to get infected. XP infections rates are 60% higher than Vista’s. But 7 is running at about half Vista’s rate. As time passes it will be interesting to see how close 7 and Vista end up and how far behind XP lags. I’ve got a hunch that the numbers will change as they move away from people installing the software because they think their PC might be infected and finding something on the first run.


*As it says on the web site Your PC must run genuine Windows to install Microsoft Security Essentials  or put another way, if you stole the OS, you’re going to have to figure out how to steal software to protect it.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.