Microsoft To Patch 4 Critical Bugs On July 13

Microsoft is planning to patch 4 Critical bugs in various OS as part of their "Patch Tuesday" on July 13, 2010. The critical bugs affect Windows XP, , Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Office 2003 and Outlook 2002 through Outlook 2007.

Most of the patches will fix critical remote code execution in the above listed software and are recommended updates. The critical fixes will be available through Windows Update and may require system restarts.

The Windows 7 patch is for systems running 64 bit version. You can view the entire security bulletin and affected software and vulnerability by visiting this link.

Dangerous Bug in Windows XP Turns Windows Help into Windows Hell

red-x-ico If you haven’t already, you need to fix your Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 machines to protect you against a recently discovered flaw. It’s called the HCP Flaw.

microsoft-hpc

Is it dangerous? Yes, all you have to do is view a specially coded page on the net, and your control over your PC can be stolen right out from under you.

Here’s what the problem is. A flaw in the Windows Help and Support Center (helpctr.exe) was discovered recently, and shortly after that, the information telling people how to take advantage of it was also published. It’s good when Windows flaws are reported, but it’s very bad when the information on how to use those flaws is also broadcast. You can bet that there are some black hats out there already infecting PCs with this new flaw.

There is a fix out from Microsoft. Go to this page and click on the Fixbutton to download the fix (KB2219475).

microsoft-hpc-fix

This fixisn’t a real solution. It disables the Help and Support Center in Windows, but if you are like me, you never use it anyway. Some time after Microsoft offers a real update to solve this problem, I’ll go back and re-enable the help center.

People running running Windows 7, Vista, 2000 or Server 2008 are safe from this bug. The affected operating systems are:

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, when used with:
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2, when used with:
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3, when used with:
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Here’s a good place to find more information on the HCP Flaw if you need it.

Many thanks to Terry’s Computer Tips for this tip.


JBS Wallpaper Switcher – Better than the one in Windows 7

display-ico [Windows Only] Those of you who are using Windows 7 may already be familiar with the awesome built in wallpaper (background) switcher. It allows you to choose a set of wallpapers and set them up so that they change at certain time intervals. You might want the wallpaper to change once a day or once every hour.

Actually, the only reason I call it an awesome feature is that it’s built right into the Windows settings. There have been third-party applications around, long before Win7, that allowed you to switch wallpapers as needed. Keith has written about one of them here.

Sometime after Keith wrote that piece, I saw a comment from one of our readers. Mitchell McKenna wrote: I recommend John’s Background Switcher. Let’s you bring in photos from facebook, picasa, etc. to use in backgrounds as well.

jbs34-backgrounds

I’ve taken a look at John’s Background Switcher (JBS for short), and I have to agree with Mitch. It’s far better than any wallpaper switcher I’ve tried before. Here’s a brief list of the functions in it.

You can choose to display:

  • Individual pictures on your computer.
  • Folders containing pictures on your computer such as My Pictures’.
  • Flickr photo sharing selecting pictures by person, tags, sets or just plain random. You never know what you’re going to get next!
  • Facebook your friends photos on your desktop!
  • Vladstudio wallpapers choose from the coolest wallpapers on the net!
  • Any Media RSS feed choose pictures from sites like DeviantArt, Photobucket,LOLCats and Zooomr amongst many others!
  • Phanfare web albums keep up to date with your friends and family.
  • smugmug photo galleries yours, your friends, anybody’s!
  • Picasa Web Albums choose from specific albums or any search text.
  • Webshots if you’re a Webshots user, you can choose from your online or downloaded photos and collections.
  • Google Image Search get pictures from anywhere across the internet.
  • Bing Image Search not a Google fanboy? Then Bing is for you!
  • Yahoo! image search the internet is your oyster!
  • Runs on 98, ME, XP, 2000, Vista, 7

When JBS is running, it will show as an icon in your system tray. To get to the settings, just right click on the icon. Here’s what the settings applet looks like:

jbs4-settings-dialog

Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’d have to say that JBS is much better than the built in wallpaper switcher in Windows 7.

Check it out for yourself: Download John’s Background Switcher

Techie Buzz Verdict:

If you get tired of seeing the same old wallpapers on your Windows desktop, John’s Background Switcher may be the best solution for you. I have to rate it highly recommended, because I haven’t seen anything that does as much or does it any better.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)


How to Open and Use Windows 7 Themes in Windows XP

monitor-colors-ico I have Windows 7 on one of my computers, however, I spend the majority of my time using Windows XP, both at home and at work. Recently, I saw a very nice Win7 theme and I wanted to use the wallpapers on my WinXP netbook. This made me dig into how Win7 themes are made and how they work.

You can find the official Windows 7 themes at Microsoft:

themepack-downloads

There are plenty of other places to get Windows 7 Themes, and we’ve written about some of them. As an example, let’s take a look at a theme we posted about recently.

Here’s the FIFA 2010 World Cup Windows 7 Theme by EA Sports.

When you download the theme in Windows XP, you’ll see that there is no program associated with it to open the file. So how can you open it up?

themepack-file

There are at least two ways, first lets try the easy method. Rename the file and add the extension .CAB to the end of it.

image

Now you’ll see that Windows XP recognizes this file type (hopefully). Double click it and the CAB file will open in an Explorer window.

themepack-opened-as-cab

Copy the JPG files into your My Pictures folder or some other place and you can use them as wallpapers. Sometimes, there are also cursor and sound files that you can use if you wish. As far as I know, there isn’t much you can do with the THEME file you’ll find in a Windows 7 themepack.

If you can’t open up the CAB file because Windows doesn’t recognize it, you can use a third party program to open it. I recommend 7zip. Once it’s installed, you can right click on any themepack file and extract it to a local folder.

Now you know about as much as I do about Windows 7 themepack files. Be sure to tell me if you know a little bit more about these files that you think is useful. (comment below)


Great Windows Search Replacement – Agent Ransack

search-doc2-ico [Windows Only] A little over two months ago, Mythicsoft released a new version of their well known freeware search tool, Agent Ransack. Agent Ransack is a lite version of FileLocator Pro, and is free for both personal and commercial use.

Even though I normally use the Everything Search tool to find files, I like to keep Agent Ransack installed on my Windows XP machines, because it integrates with Windows and provides a much faster file search and content search when you need it. It will also work in Vista and Windows 7.

Here’s what it looks like when you launch it normally:

agent-ransack-normal-mode

As you can see above, I searched for all files containing the text techie buzzand it returned the results within a few minutes. There’s a nice preview pane that lets you see inside the files you pick from the results. That’s not all the features it has, here’s a list from the web site:

• Boolean expressions
Combine search terms using the familiar Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT.

• Office formats
Support for popular Office formats including Office 2007 and OpenOffice.

• Updated UI
Brings Agent Ransack’s user interface into the modern day.

• Perl regex
Support for Perl compatible regular expressions.

• 64-bit Version
Natively compiled 64-bit version for improved compatibility.

I think the best feature is the Windows integration. You have to enable it using the Tools / Shell Integrationmenu.

agent-ransack-shell-integration

When you have a file folder open, all you have to do is hit the F3 (search) key to fire up the integrated Agent Ransack. In that mode, it doesn’t look much different than the normal Windows file search.

agent-ransack-in-explorer-f3

Using it to search folders in this manner will end up saving you lots of time, and in addition, it will eliminate the Windows XP doggie spy.

Agent Ransack isn’t the fastest search tool around. The search tools that use an indexed search are faster, but an indexed search tool usually runs in the background, continuously watching your hard drive for changes. Often the index databases can be large, sometimes very large (hundreds of megabytes).

• Download Agent Ransack

Techie Buzz Verdict:

If you’d like a good, light weight replacement for the slow Windows file search, you won’t find many tools better than Agent Ransack. I have no problem giving it a highly recommended.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Royale Remixed – Is it the Best Microsoft Theme for XP?

display-ico One of my online buddies, Andrew Fox, recently commented on my Google Buzz about the article concerning 4 Free Microsoft Themes for XP. Andrew mentioned that he thought the best Microsoft theme was one called Royale. I quickly located a copy of it and tried it out. It is a very nice theme, but I found out that someone has taken the Royale theme and tweaked it to make it even better. The tweaked version is called Royale Remixed.

Here’s what the Royale Remixed theme looks like on my netbook.

royal-remixed-the-look

There are three color schemes included in this theme. The color schemes can be accessed by right clicking on your desktop and selecting Properties, then the Appearance tab.

windows-xp-color-schemes

The Noir color scheme is shown above while Royale and Zune are shown below.

royal-remixed-blue

royal-remix-zune

The only difference I noticed between Noir and Zune was that Zune is a little darker. I like the Zune color scheme the best. Which one do you like?

Download the Royale Remixed theme (also known as Royale Noir Theme)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Is Royale Remixed the best theme for Microsoft XP? I’d have to say noto that question. There are so many themes available to an XP user, especially if they are willing to use the UxTheme patch to unlock all the great themes that are available.

Techie Buzz Verdict: 3/5 (Good)

Say Goodbye to Windows XP SP2 on July 13th

Microsoft has finally announced that it will end support for Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000 this July the 13th. Windows XP SP2 and Windows 200 are currently running on extended support. This is a standard Microsoft support policy according to which it supports a product for the first five years on regular basis and for the next five years on extended support.

windows-logo
The announcement is available at this page on windows.microsoft.com. It says,

Support is ending for some versions of  Windows

  • Support for  Windows  Vista  without any service packs ended on April 13, 2010.
  • Support for  Windows  XP  with Service Pack 2 (SP2) will end on July 13, 2010.*

If you’re running one of these versions after support ends, you won’t get security updates forWindows.

Existing users of Windows 2000 need to get hold of a new version of Windows whereas, Windows XP SP2 users can simply upgrade to Windows XP SP3 which will be supported for longer.

Windows Vista suers on the other hand, can upgrade to Vista SP2 for free and continue using their product.

4 Free Themes for XP from Microsoft

Even though Windows 7 is becoming more popular every day, most people are still using Windows XP. Since you’ve had XP for so long, isn’t it time you gave it a fresh facelift?

Check out these four free Windows XP themes from Microsoft.

Ontario

download page

ontario_theme

Nunavut

download page

nunavut_theme

Ree Ree Khao Sarn

download page

ree-ree-khao-san-theme

Nile

download page

nile-theme

The only thing you may not like about these themes is that you will have to pass the Windows Validation test to download them. It’s not a big deal, unless you have a pirated copy of Windows.

Here are several other themes and mods for XP that we’ve shown off in the past:

Download Windows 7 Theme For Windows XP

Christmas Themes for Windows XP | Christmas Theme Pack

Transform Windows XP to look like Windows Seven aka Windows Vienna

Make Windows XP look like Windows Vista

Windows 7 Theme For Windows XP

Google Chrome OS Theme For Windows

How To Backup Your Current Theme In Windows XP and Vista

Download AeroFlame, Awesome Black Windows Vista Theme

Replace Windows XP Start Button with Windows Vista Orb

I hope you enjoy trying some of these themes out. If you have a theme you’d like to tell us about, be sure to comment below.

More Than 100 Million Windows 7 Licences Sold in 6 Months

Windows-7-Touch-Pack We all know that Windows 7 has been selling like hot cakes since its release. However, the exact volume was up for debate. Now, Microsoft has revealed that so far more than 100 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold.

“To put that in context, more than 10% of all PCs worldwide are already running Windows 7 today. That’s amazing!”, wrote Brandon LeBlanc, in the Windows 7 Team blog.

Nevertheless, Windows XP is still proving to be immensely sticky. According to Net Applications, 64.5% PCs are still on the decade old operating system, while only about ten percent are on Windows Vista.

Riding on the back of strong Windows 7 sales, Microsoft’s net profit for the previous quarter soared to $4.01 billion.

Microsoft Drops Windows XP Support From Windows Live Essentials

Windows XP was one of the most successful operating systems in Microsoft’s history. However, now it is starting to become a thorn in its side, as millions of Windows XP users around the world are refusing to let go. Nevertheless, Microsoft is making it clear that it is ready to move on.

Windows-Live-Wave-4

After Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft has decided to drop Windows XP support from the next generation of Windows Live Essential applications. Microsoft confirmed this through a comment posted on the WindowsTeamBlog:

We know many customers use Windows XP and are happy with their experience, and of course we will continue to support our current release of Windows Live Essentials on XP and the new versions all of our web-based services (including Hotmail and SkyDrive) will run on XP. As some have noted on this blog, Windows XP is nearly 10 years old and simply doesn’t provide the same level of platform support for graphics, and we recognized early in our work on Wave 4 that we could do much more in our software on a modern graphics platform. As a result our new version of Essentials will require the new graphics platform and controls that are only available on Windows 7 or Windows Vista and therefore will only run on these platforms. So if you are happy with XP, you can keep running the current version of Windows Live and our new services. When you move to Windows 7 and Windows Vista, we will have a new version that will let you do more on a modern platform.

Windows Live Essential bundles various Microsoft utilities for home users including Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Photo Gallery. Microsoft is currently getting ready to begin the public beta phase of Windows Live Wave 4. However, an early version has already been leaked on torrent websites.