Apple’s OS X Passes Windows Vista in Worldwide Usage

A new report about desktop operating shares from analytics firm Net Applications reveals that Microsoft’s Windows Vista fell in August to 6.15 percent of traced web usage. During the same time period, Apple’s latest operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion increased to 1.34 percent of all tracked web usage.

For the first time ever, Apple’s OS X operating system dethroned Microsoft’s Windows Vista. Also, for the first time, Windows 7 has passed Windows XP to become the world’s largest operating system.

Apple’s most popular Mac continues to be OS X 10.7 Lion. OS X Lion 10.7 represents 2.29 percent of computers tracked on the web. Snow Leopard accounted for 2.23 percent of usage and Leopard accounted for 0.65 percent. The total share of OS X was 6.51 percent, which beat the 6.15 percent held by Windows Vista. In addition, Apple’s OS X 10.4 Tiger, which first launched in April of 2005 represent 0.15% of operating systems seen online.

Apple’s share of devices is of course much higher when the iPhone and iPad are included. Net Applications found that the iPad represented for 3.37 percent of web traffic, while the iPhone was 2.42 percent. The smallest share listed in the report was Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which accounted for 0.04 percent of devices.




Windows Vista Leaves Mainstream Support Period

As of today, Windows Vista has left the mainstream support phase and entered the extended support phase of its lifecycle. Office 2007 is also in the extended support phase, entering this stage of its life on Monday.

The support lifecycle for Microsoft products is essentially categorized into two periods: Mainstream support, during which software receives the works — bug patches, security updates, etc. — and extended support, during which only security updates are available, and you will need to be a company with a paid contract with Microsoft to receive security updates.

Windows XP and Office 2003 will be in extended support until 2014, after which users will no longer receive any new support updates, bug fixes, or anything of that nature. Long overdue, considering that the OS launched back in 2001. Incredibly, its marketshare peaked at 76.1% back in January of 2007, and is at 30% as of February of 2012 according to w3schools. Astounding numbers for a nearly 11 year old operating system.

So, for those of you who are still on Vista, or worse, XP, should you upgrade? Microsoft certainly thinks so. To quote Stella Chernyak, who blogged about the lifecycle milestones:

 We don’t recommend waiting. Not only is it important for companies to complete deployment before support runs out, but they should also be aware that by upgrading to Windows 7 and Office 2010 today they can gain substantial results today while laying the foundation for future versions of these products. And with over 525 million Windows 7 licenses sold since its release, many customers are already taking advantage of everything Windows 7 has to offer.

This message is tailored towards business and enterprise of users, but the principle applies to the average consumer. For the best (and most secure) Windows experience, you’re better off updating to Windows 7 (or 8, when it is released.)

Microsoft Extends Support Period For Vista, 7

Ed Bott of ZDNet managed to spot a revision that Microsoft snuck into its support policy sometime this month that ups the support duration ante for Microsoft’s two latest consumer operating systems — Vista and 7 — to 10 years. He initially noticed it on the Microsoft Japan webpage, but shortly after received confirmation from Microsoft U.S. PR that this revision is in fact valid:

Microsoft is updating the Support Lifecycle policy for Windows desktop operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

The update will provide a more consistent and predictable experience for customers using  Microsoft Windows operating systems across OEM, consumer and business editions.

Microsoft still requires that customers have the most current Service Pack installed in order to continue to receive updates.

Through this update, customers who remain on the most current supported service pack will be eligible to receive both Mainstream and Extended Support, for a total of 10 years. 

Bott notes that one must not mistake the support lifecycle of Windows for its sales lifecycle; you can’t purchase a retail copy of XP or Vista today. Once Windows 8 launches later this year, Microsoft will be supporting a total of 4 operating systems at once, until Windows XP reaches the end of its support lifecycle on April 4th, 2014. That’s right; in about two years, the OS that has clung onto the PCs of various users worldwide will finally not be supported. If any of you are reading this on Windows XP, I highly recommend that you upgrade to a modern operating system.

End of the Road for Microsoft Office XP and Vista SP1

Microsoft will be retiring Office XP and Vista Service Pack 1 at the end of the day. They will be reaching the end of their support phase (extended support phase for Office XP), which means that Microsoft will stop releasing hotfixes and security updates for these products.

Office XP was released way back in May, 2001. It introduced SharePoint, Web Services integration, speech recognition and more. However, the thing for which Office XP will probably be remembered fondly by users is not a new feature. Rather it’s the omission of a feature that had characterized earlier Office releases. In 2001, Microsoft finally killed Clippy, for good.


Vista SP1 is a much more recent offering. It was released in a phased manner during the first quarter of 2008. However, it has since been superseded by Service Pack 2 and Windows 7. Vista Service Pack 1 fixed many of the annoying bugs that Vista had originally shipped with, in addition to adding support for exFAT file system, 802.11n wireless networking, IPv6 over VPN connections.

Windows Vista SP2 will lose its mainstream support on April 10, 2012, but extended life support will last till April 11, 2017. Extended life support as well as Mainstream support entitles users to free security updates, however the former doesn’t include non-security related miscellaneous updates. Microsoft is yet to announce the support lifecycle for Windows 7.

How to Create a Hard Disk Partition in Windows 7

hard-diskDo you have plenty of free space on your C: drive? If so, one of best things you can do is to create another drive on your hard disk by creating a new partition (also known as a volume). Fortunately, Windows Vista and Windows 7 both allow you to do this easily.

You might be wondering why this is such a good idea. The safest place to store important information would be on a different machine, a backup drive or DVD. These aren’t always immediately available. It’s convenient to have an extra drive always there when needed. Another reason is that your operating system may some day need to be re-installed. If your personal information is on the same drive as the OS, you might lose it if it’s not backed up somewhere else.

Now that I’ve told you why, I’ll show you how. First, we’ll open the disk management console. An easy way to do this is the hit the Start button and type in the word partition, then select the result labeled Create and format hard disk partitions.


Right click on the C: drive and choose Shrink Volume. This is the first step in creating the space you need for your new partition.


Now you’ll see the system checking to see how much space you can borrow from your C: drive.


After the query process, you’ll see the size before and size available. Type in the number of megabytes you want for your new partition. Keep in mind that 1024 megabytes is equal to one gigabyte. Also make the size smaller than the availableby a one or two thousand megabytes, just to allow a safety margin.


After the Shrink process finishes, you’ll see the new partition as Unallocated. The next step is to turn it into a simple volume. Right click on the unallocated space and chose New Simple Volume.


Now you’ll see the New Simple Volume Wizard.


After clicking Next, you’ll be asked to specify a size for the new volume. The default is what you’d normally want, so click Nextonce again.


You’ll be prompted to assign a new drive letter. I usually choose a higher letter so that the DVD or other devices on your system won’t have to be assigned new letters when they are detected. Click Nextwhen you are done.


Now you’ll be asked if you want to format the new volume. The best choice is typically NTFS. After making your choice here, click Next.


You’ll be given one more look at the settings before you launch the formatting process. Review the info and click Finishwhen ready.


Before it starts, you may get a warning about Dynamic disk’s. If you aren’t dual booting another operating system, you can ignore this and click Yes. If you are using more than one OS, you might lose any special boot managers at this point. You should research your best options if that’s the case.


Your new disk will appear in the Disk Management console now.


That’s all there is to it. When you return to Windows, you’ll be able to use the new disk to store your personal information.

See also:

Create Extra Partitions From Unused Space In Windows Vista

New 0-day Vulnerability in Windows Circumvents UAC

When Microsoft added UAC (User Account Control), the promise was that it will make Windows more secure. Pardon me if I come across as a cynic, but all it seems to be capable of doing is annoying users. Yes, Windows 7 makes UAC a lot more bearable, but it’s still annoying. On top of that, it doesn’t actually do a lot to prevent malware attacks or malicious program execution. To make things even worse, a new flaw has been uncovered that can be used to completely bypass UAC in Windows Vista and 7.

The developers of popular security software Pervx spotted a new 0-day vulnerability being discussed in a Chinese forum. According to them, “This is a serious flaw because it resides in win32k.sys, the kernel mode part of the Windows subsystem. It is a privilege escalation exploit which allows even limited user accounts to execute arbitrary code in kernel mode.”

This flaw basically enables an attacker to execute applications with system (full) privileges. Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to keep yourself safe at this point of time. Sophos has suggested a workaround; however, it is not known how effective the proposed safety measure is.

Add New Items to the Sendto Menu in Win7 and Vista

Sometimes a file won’t open in the application you want for it. Normally, you might use the Open withcommand in the file right click menu when you click on a file.


However, if the action you want isn’t in that list, there’s always the Sendto menu.   It’s also in the right click menu for files.


The Sendto menu in Windows is a handy place to store links to all sorts of applications or actions that you rarely use. It used to be easy to add items to the Sendto menu in Windows 9x and Windows XP. Since the arrival of Vista and Win7, it’s gotten a little trickier. I’ll show you one way to do it.

The items in the Sendto menu, are actually links stored in a folder labeled Sendto. The Sendto folder used to be located in the Documents and Settingsfolder under each user name. In Vista and Win7, it’s buried deeply in the Users\Yourname\AppDatafolder, which is normally a hidden folder.

One way to get to AppData quickly is to use the Runmenu, by holding down your Start button and tap the Rkey. Then type in %appdata% and click OK.


Next you’ll have to dig down even further. Go into the following folders under AppData.

Roaming \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Sendto


Now you can see the shortcuts in the Sendto folder. It’s a simple matter of copying or creating shortcuts in this folder in order to see new items listed in your Sendto menu.

The first shortcut I normally add to the Sendto folder is Notepad. Some other apps that you might use there are Paint and WordPad. For the webmasters among you, I’ve also written up a tutorial on adding a Sendto FTPlink.


Not only can you add shortcuts to applications, you can also add shortcuts to folders, drives and network locations. You can even add shortcuts to batch files that will perform specific actions on files.

Sendto is a flexible feature that can serve you well, once you learn it’s secrets.

Manage Windows Services with Portable Services Suite

win[Windows Only]

If you need a fast, functional and easy way to manage the services that run on your PC, take a look at Services Suite, a portable application from Below are some screenshots and a brief description of how it works.

To use it, you’ll have to download and extract it to a folder somewhere on your PC or on a flash drive. It’s offered as a RAR file download, so if you aren’t familiar with RAR archives, you we’ll show you how to open a RAR file.

Once you have it unpacked, all you have to do is double click the file ServicesSuite.exe to start the program.


When it’s first started, you may have to select your language in order to read the menus. Right now, it’s only available in German and English.

The program interface will list all of the registered services on a PC in a three column format. The three columns are automatic, manual and deactivated, as shown next.


In order to change the status of any service, you can click on it and drag it from one list to another. When you are finished making changes, you’ll have to write these changes to the registry by clicking on the check mark icon in the top right of the application window.


That’s all there is to it. The only problem you might have is if you aren’t a system administrator on the PC you are using. Some services can only be changed if you are the administrator.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Services Suite (requires .NET Framework 2.0)

[via WebDomination]

Other ways to work with Windows Services:

How To Delete/Remove Services In Windows XP and Vista

Tweak Windows 7 Services With SMART | Windows 7 Services Optimiser

Advanced Windows Service Manager Plus

ServicesEditor Makes Tweaking and Restoring Windows Services Easy

Techie Buzz Verdict:

For experienced users, this may not be a huge help. After all, you can easily access the system services using the services.msc applet. However, it’s nice for quick changes and it’s so simple to use. The fact that this app is very small, portable and free, makes it a win on my score card.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

HTC Home: HTC Weather and Clock Widget for Windows

One of the most distinctive aspects of HTC’s Sense UI is the combined weather and clock widget. It has been replicated on multiple platforms by numerous applications. For example, all Android users can get enjoy a similar home screen widget thanks to the Beautiful Widget application. However, there was nothing quite as good for Windows. The good news is that a free app called HTC Home has stepped in to fill the void.

HTC Home is an open source application for Windows Vista/7 that accurately emulates the HTC weather widget. Everything from the icons and styling to weather animations have been replicated. Here’s a screenshot demonstrating the default appearance.


The widget is fairly configurable. You can toggle animations, change the update interval and configure z-ordering. I am not confident about this, but the source of the weather information appears to be AccuWeather.

Techie Buzz Verdict

HTC Home is simply gorgeous. There is no doubt about that. However, its system resource usage might be of concern to users on slightly older rigs. It consistently consumed about 30 megabytes of memory. However, CPU usage was negligible. It also crashed on me on first launch, but has behaved well since. Of course, it is unfair to be too harsh on an alpha build. They are expected to behave unpredictably.

In the end, if having a beautiful desktop matters to you, you will probably appreciate HTC Home. Others, might be put off by the high memory consumption.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3.5/5 (Very Good)

[ Download HTC Home ]

via Addictive Tips

Windows Shell Shortcut Vulnerability Is Being Actively Exploited

Earlier this week the exploit code for a highly critical Windows vulnerability affecting all versions of Windows from XP to 7 was made public. The bad news is that malware developers are already actively exploiting this bug. Symantec has identified that the W32.Stuxnet worm, which spreads using this vulnerability, has already affected thousands of systems.

The Shell Shortcut Parsing vulnerability is a particularly worrisome bug because there aren’t a lot of things a user can do to protect himself. Even if autorun and autoplay is disabled, users can still get infected. All that the user is required to do is to open the compromised device, network share or WebDav. The only preventive measure is to disable icon rendering. However, doing so will basically cripple the Windows environment. To make matters worse, Steve Gibson from GRC research is claiming that a security researcher has already figured out a way to exploit this vulnerability through favicons.

Microsoft is obviously working hard to patch this severe vulnerability. However, an official patch may take weeks to come. Until then, ensure that your system has up-to-date malware protection, and avoid using Internet Explorer (other browsers can also be exploited, but possibly to a lesser degree).