Windows Vista will RTM at build 6.0.6000

A source close to Microsoft has confirmed that Windows Vista will in fact carry the build number 6.0.6000. He found this out by receiving a mail with the build stamp „Microsoft Windows Mail 6.0.6000.16384“ so that ends that speculation.
Also the MSDN subscription page has been updated with the following information

Windows Vista and Office 2007: Availability on MSDN Subscriber Downloads
Windows Vista and Office 2007 will be available through MSDN Subscriber downloads within 7 days of release to manufacture (RTM). MSDN Subscriptions is committed to making new content available to our subscribers as soon as is practical.

Looks like we’ll be seeing this appear soon.
Update: Several key Microsoft employees has firmly stated that Vista has not been released to manufacturing. The day might be soon, but is certainly not today, or tomorrow. There’s still a bit more work to do. Build 6000.16384 is real, but it also doesn’t mean RTM. These days, Microsoft doesn’t have to increase the major version number when building, so theoretically, any sub-set of build 6000 (6000.16385, 16386, etc…) can be RTM.

Microsoft SyncToy v1.4

SyncToy 1.4 for Windows Vista is available as a free download from the Microsoft Download Center. The easy to use, customizable application helps you copy, move, rename, and delete files between folders and computers.

There are files from all kinds of sources that we want to store and manage. Files are created by our digital cameras, e-mail, cell phones, portable media players, camcorders, PDAs, and laptops. Increasingly, computer users are using different folders, drives, and even different computers (such as a laptop and a desktop) to store, manage, retrieve and view files. Yet managing hundreds or thousands of files is still largely a manual operation. In some cases it is necessary to regularly get copies of files from another location to add to primary location; in other cases there is a need to keep two storage locations exactly in sync. Some users manage files manually, dragging and dropping from one place to another and keeping track of whether the locations are synchronized in their heads. Other users may use two or more applications to provide this functionality.

Now there is an easier way. SyncToy, a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows Vista, is an easy to use, highly customizable program that helps users to do the heavy lifting involved with the copying, moving, and synchronization of different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without additional complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of folders at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another case. Unlike other applications, SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.

We listened to your feedback. SyncToy was released as a beta in early August 2005 for Windows XP. We collected feedback from the discussion forum on the Windows XP Professional Photography web site, from customer feedback surveys, from a large number of professional and hobbyist photographers at Microsoft, and from various world-wide forums, sites, reviews and blogs on the web. Most of you (55%) asked for the ability to type in a UNC path to select a folder. We added this feature between the beta release and the v1.0 release. Features we added in response to customer feedback include:

  • The ability to type in a UNC path;
  • Support for longer folder pair names and ability to widen the left pane to see those longer names;
  • The ability to support the maximum length for folder paths, and documentation was added to the help file about how to set up a share to be able to sync deep folder pairs;
  • Better handling of the difference in precision between NTFS and FAT timestamps;
  • More discoverable link to the help file for information on how to schedule SyncToy using the Windows XP Task Scheduler;
  • Support for 800×600 screen resolution;
  • Added a warning for users if the selected action will take some time to complete;
  • Added brief explanations of the actions in the user interface;
  • Improved behavior when choosing folders to include or exclude when there are large numbers of folders involved;
  • Improved support for accessibility modes.

In March 2006 we again listened to feedback and release v1.2, which fixes a bug caused by Daylight Saving Time changes, and also added some documentation updates.

In October 2006, in response to customer demand, we released SyncToy 1.4 for Windows Vista. This version has all the features and functionality of the previous version. It requires the .NET Framework 2.0 (and takes advantage of the improvements available in the 2.0 version of the Framework) and it has been improved to run on Windows Vista.

Please continue to send us feedback about our tool, using the Professional Photography forum or the online feedback survey available from the SyncToy Help menu.

Note: We’ve taken great care to ensure that this tool operates as it should, but it is not part of Windows and is not supported by Microsoft Technical Support. For this reason, Microsoft Technical Support is unable to answer questions about SyncToy. To speak to other users and contribute feedback about your experiences with SyncToy, please use the forums accessible from the Professional Photography web site at

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Royale Noir: secret XP theme uncovered

Sometime after the launch of XP, somewhere in Redmond, someone on the Microsoft design team was in the progress of developing something for Media Center. It was believed to be too powerful for public consumption and forever archived in the servers at 1 Microsoft Way.

Devoted Channel9 member W3bbo spotted an interesting theme on one of the “people_ready” television commercials airing in the States. After some dedicated searching, he finally uncovered this mystery XP theme by Microsoft. W3bbo writes,
„During Royale’s development (the XP Media Center theme), the graphic artists also produced a black version of the skin, sans the overused “glass” effect. The result is an aesthetic black skin named “Royale Noir”, it even works with Office 2003.
Since the skin was never released (or reached final adjustments) there are a few issues with it: some of the colors don’t meet the overall “feel” (they’re too purple-ish compared to the greys of the bitmaps) and the inactive titlebars are a little too dark.
You’ll find it’s been signed by Microsoft and doesn’t require a custom UxTheme.dll in case there are any doubts as to its authenticity.
If you already have Royale installed, you’ll need to remove it as both of these skins share the same name.
This skin has not been released to anyone outside Microsoft, until now.“

Without a doubt, XP Media Center’s Royale theme was a huge improvement over Luna. It updated the cliché beveled look-and-feel of XP to a contemporary glossy style, whilst keeping similar color schemes and layouts. In my opinion, it was the most usable non-standard XP theme available.
Royale Noir is an almost exact copy of Royale except with a dark purplish tint. If Royale was day, Royale Noir is night. No doubt about it, this is a ‘dark’ theme. If you’re the sort of person who likes bright and vivid colors, stay away from this theme.
As W3bbo pointed out, there are quite definitely issues with this theme due to its incompleteness. The most obvious being, the “Start” button’s hover and active states are unchanged from Royale, inconsistent with the purple tint surrounding. However, there is even a color scheme for Office 2003 so it will not default to the blue Luna colors.
Looking at it from the big picture, Royale Noir is a welcomed alternative to the extremely small collection of verified-by-Microsoft XP themes. However being incomplete, it is not recommended for the general consumers. Enthusiasts are welcomed to try it to stand out from the crowd, but even still, you’ll feel right at home with the familiar Luna/Royale style.
Download Royale Noir
Extract files to “c:\windows\resources\themes\royale noir” and double click on “luna.msstyles”. Select “Noir” from color scheme. Code-signed by Microsoft. No UXTheme hack required.
As I emphasize again, I take no credit for this amazing find. W3bbo did an amazing job uncovering this mystery XP theme, hats off to him!

NOD32 2.7 beta available for testing

ESET is proud to present a new beta version of NOD32 2.7 that brings full Windows Vista compatibility as well as significant improvements in terms of detection and cleaning of malware.
New features:
– full Microsoft Windows Vista 32/64-bit compatibility
– new Anti-Stealth technology against active rootkits
– new category for unwanted applications
– improved cleaning of already infected systems
The beta is available to trial users as well, for this purpose it has a temporary username and password embedded.
Paying users, who have already NOD32 installed, can install the beta over the existing installation of NOD32 in order to preserve current username and password for update.
The beta is downloadable from:
Windows 9x/ME:
Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista (32/64-bit)
Please report any issues found to, any positive or negative opinions are welcome in this thread.

Apple quietly deploys new WiFi standard

New model Core 2 Duo MacBook Pros and iMacs appear to be the first Macs to deploy the new wireless 802.11n standard.

While the machines recognise the wireless card as only being an 802.11g device, MacRumors reckons the cards are actually built to support the standard.

802.11n hasn’t yet been ratified, but it appears likely it will be agreed soon, leading many manufacturers to begin to make products that implement the current pre-ratified version of it.

With Apple set to launch its iTV product next year, a device which wirelessly streams music and video content from Macs to a TV set, it makes sense for the company to begin moving its architectures to the new standard.

802.11n offers numerous advantages over the current 802.11g standard – most importantly, it enables you to stream video wirelessly without suffering dropped frames. It also lets you surf the web and send email without impacting the performance of the streamed asset.

According to the report, the wireless card inside MacBook Pros has been identified as using an Atheros AR5008 802.11n chipset. The new iMacs use a similar chipset, this time from Broadcom.

Microsoft’s Responce to "2nd IE7 bug"

Follow up on „Secunia: Internet Explorer 7 Popup Address Bar Spoofing Weakness“

MSRC BLOG: This is Christopher Budd. I wanted to take a moment and let people know some information about a new public report about a possible vulnerability in Internet Explorer we’ve received today. As soon as we learned of the report we started an investigation into the issue and we have some information we can share on this.

First, this is an issue with how URLs are displayed in the address bar. Specifically, we’ve seen that this occurs in a pop-up window after a user clicks a specially formed link on an untrusted website or in an untrusted e-mail.

Now, while the full URL is actually present in the address bar, the left part of the URL is not initially displayed. But, you can see the full URL if you either click in the browser window or in the address bar and then scroll within the address bar.

We’re not aware of any attacks that are attempting to use this, but as always we will continue to monitor the situation throughout our investigation.

We do have this issue under investigation and as always, once we complete our investigation we’ll take appropriate steps to protect our customers.

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Microsoft XPS Released, download to create and view XPS documents

Microsoft makes it easy to view and generate XPS documents. Select the best method for you from the following table. Windows Vista natively supports XPS

Operating System Download Description

Windows Vista

None Required

XPS documents open within Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher. Any application can generate XPS documents using the Microsoft XPS Document Writer.

Windows XP
Windows Server 2003

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0

XPS document viewing and generation capabilities are included in Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0.

Windows XP
Windows Server 2003
Windows 2000*

Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack and
Microsoft Core XML Services 6.0**

XPS documents open in a stand-alone viewer application. Any application can generate XPS documents using the Microsoft XPS Document Writer.

* The Microsoft XPS Document Writer is supported on Microsoft Windows XP SP2 and later.

** The Microsoft XPS Document Writer requires Microsoft Core XML Services 6.0 to be installed on your system.

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Microsoft Looks Within to Design and Test Chips

For more than two decades, Microsoft’s software and Intel’s processors were so wedded that the pairing came to be known as Wintel. But as that computing era wanes, Microsoft is turning to a new source of chip design: its own labs.

The design effort will initially be split between research labs at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., and its Silicon Valley campus here. Tentatively named the Computer Architecture Group, the project underscores sweeping changes in the industry.

One reason for the effort is that Microsoft needs to begin thinking about the next-generation design of its Xbox game console, said Charles P. Thacker, a veteran engineer and Microsoft engineer who will head the Silicon Valley group. Voice recognition may also be an area where the research could play a significant role.

“Voice is big,” Mr. Thacker said. “You can throw as much technology at it as you want to.”

Microsoft is exploring hardware design now in part because of a new set of tools that will make it possible to test ideas quickly, he said. The researchers will employ a system designed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, that makes it possible to reconfigure computer designs without the cost of making finished chips.

“We are at an inflection point in the industry,” he said. “Our friends say computers are not going to get faster, we’re just going to get more of them.”

As shrinking transistor sizes make it possible for designers to put multiple processors on a single chip, and computing functions are increasingly hidden in consumer devices, Microsoft faces new challenges and opportunities.

In recent years, the computing model centered on the desktop PC has increasingly given way to new, more specialized markets like video games and cellphones. As Microsoft has moved to enter these markets, it has increasingly designed hardware, software and packaging that are made by independent contractors but marketed under the Microsoft or Windows brand.

At the same time, new coalitions have emerged, like Apple’s decision to use Intel microprocessors, or Microsoft’s switch two years ago from Intel chips to PowerPC microprocessors designed and manufactured by I.B.M. in its Xbox system.

The explosion of chips with an increasing number of “cores,” or multiple processors, is bringing parallel computing — the ability to divide tasks for faster processing — into the consumer electronics market. That could give companies like Microsoft a competitive advantage by controlling both hardware and software and the way they interact.

“This is a historic time in the computer industry,” said David A. Patterson, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. “We’re in the middle of a revolutionary change toward parallel computing that will absolutely involve both hardware and software.”

Mr. Thacker, 63, has been at the forefront of technology advances in the past, having been part of the group at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center that designed the Alto, the first modern personal computer, and the Ethernet office network during the 1970’s.

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