Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Microsoft News and Hotfix Mow-down

CC photo credit "mower" by todbaker on flickr

Just cutting a quick swath of links down from some Microsoft related areas.

The Wheat

Vista's Mythical Cut Features - article attempts to clear up some myths and misconceptions about features that did not arrive in Vista as were expected. Touches on WinFS, PowerShell, Next-Generation Secure Computing Base, XPS support, UEFI support, and SecurID. I'm guessing most folks are still coming to terms with all the features (good and bad) they GOT with Vista rather than the few that they were rumored to be getting but were not delivered.

First 3rd party application for Vista Mobility Center: Turn off internal display - Download Squad Interesting word from the D-Squad on how a programmer was able to craft a custom Mobility Center tile element in Vista. Long Zheng made the challenge. Rafael Rivera Jr responded. The tile (which turns off the internal display) might not be useful for most folks, but it is worth a look at how the concept started and the solution executed.

The Windows Experience Blog : Generate a System Health Report in Windows Vista - This is definitely a helpful link. When done, it will display errors and warnings that apply to your system along with performance and system checks. Information provided is quite detailed. Reports can be saved. I was able to identify a few buggy drivers on my Vista laptop by running and exploring this report. Not the easiest thing (amount of clicking required high) to reach, but technically not difficult to reach. Probably a good idea to add this to your monthly list of Vista system elements to review.

TechBlog reader Dan provides a method in Vista to enable recording devices. These are disabled by default, and pretty well hidden from being able to enable. Dan's walkthrough is pitch-on perfect if you wish to enable these things to record sound using your on-board sound cards. Note: different boards may be supported what you are actually able to accomplish by enabling one still depends on your system particulars. Still, Dan's tip is very good information to know for Vista users.

Julie's Back Room Tech reminds us that Microsoft has released a Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit for all those folks who actually aren't looking forward to seeing the final releases of XP SP3 and Vista SP1 come rolling down the Redmond inter-tubes. Additionally, it can block Server 2003 SP2. More info in this Technet article.

The Chaff

I've really been finding the new Microsoft Hotfix and Hot Issue Center blog interesting.

Seems like they are still working on getting organized, but they promise to seed their fairly dry posts with actual "real-live cases" describing particular situations that caused the need for Hotfix patches.

Currently they plan on categorizing hot-fixes into the following categories for easy sorting:

  • Windows Client Product: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 6/7, others;
  • Windows Server Product: Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, SMS, MOM, others;
  • Exchange Server Product: Exchange Server 2003, Exchange Server 2007;
  • SQL Server Product: SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008;
  • Internet Product: IIS, HIS, BizTalk Server, others;
  • Visual Studio Product: To be determined.

Post schedule is planned as follows:

  • Every Monday, we post the list of published hot-fix related KB articles for Windows Client products in the past 7 days;
  • Every Tuesday, we post the list of published hot-fix related KB articles for Windows Server products in the past 7 days;
  • Every Wednesday, we post the list of published hot-fix related KB articles for Internet and Developer related products in the past 7 days;
  • Every Thursday, we post the list of published hot-fix related KB articles for Exchange Server products in the past 7 days;
  • Every Friday, we post the list of published hot-fix related KB articles for SQL Server products in the past 7 days;

My interest lies in the Windows XP/Vista and IE side of patches and fixes.

Here are the Dec. 8 - Dec. 14 Hot-Fix Weekly Release - Windows Client offerings

Windows XP

  • 945342 The "Serial number" attribute of a certificate may be a negative value when you create a self-signed certificate in Windows XP
  • 944781 When you use a drag-and-drop operation to move or to copy an Outlook e-mail message on a Windows XP SP2-based computer, the operation fails without any notification
  • 884882 A Windows XP-based computer stops responding when you try to shut down the computer

Windows Vista

  • 945577 Windows Vista that is using an external USB camera device may restart unexpectedly with a 0x000000E4 or 0x0000000A Stop error after the Windows Vista operating system resumes from long suspend time
  • 945533 When you try to shut down a Windows Vista-based computer on which a Bluetooth device is installed, the computer stops responding
  • 944515 An application returns incorrect values for the conversion mode and for the sentence mode of an Input Method Editor (IME) on a Windows Vista-based computer
  • 943974 The "chkdsk /r" command and the "chkdsk /f" command take a long time to run on a Windows Vista-based computer
  • 943302 December 2007 Windows Vista Application Compatibility Update
  • 943242 MIDI notes are played in the wrong order when you perform a capture operation on a MIDI audio device in Windows Vista
  • 942392 On a Windows Vista-based computer, you cannot access certain directories on a Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) server
  • 939214 You cannot use the Connection Manager tool to update the phone book on a Windows Vista-based computer

Internet Explorer

  • 945007 An Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation (IE ACA) update is available to disable the "Click to activate" behavior
  • 944435 Internet Explorer 6 may crash under certain circumstances, such as when you open and close a Web page modal dialog box several times
  • 943141 Some customized security settings for the Trusted sites zone in Internet Explorer 7 are reset to the default values on a Windows Vista-based computer
  • 942202 After you install and uninstall some toolbar items in Internet Explorer 6, toolbar names may become blank, or unrelated toolbar items may appear
  • 941938 After you use the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard to remove the default elements of some features in Internet Explorer 7, these elements still exist in Internet Explorer 7
  • 939944 The text size setting that you specify is not applied to all Internet Explorer 7 windows that you open on a Windows Vista-based computer

If your tastes run for Server for SMS 2003, here you go: Dec. 9 - Dec. 15 Hot-Fix Weekly Release - Windows Server.

Note: Most folks don't need to concern themselves with dropping hotfixes on their systems. Just because a hotfix is released, doesn't mean that you need it. I generally advise users NOT to put a hotfix on a system UNLESS you are experiencing the issue reported. Sometimes they can cause unexpected side-effects.

Also, most hotfixes are not available for direct-download. In the past you had to call up Microsoft and discuss the issue with a technician before they would email you a download link.

Hotfixes now can be obtained a bit more simply: Microsoft Hotfixes (Now no Dime Required!)

  1. Enter the Knowledge Base (KB) article number.
  2. Pick you OS platform and language.
  3. Provide your email address.

And you will get a link via email to download the hotfix.

Happy mowing.


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