Once again, Microsoft has a large number of security vulnerabilities to be addressed, and today is the last Patch Tuesday of 2010. This update will address 40 vulnerabilities contained in 17 security bulletins.
Five of the 17 security updates, fixed long-standing flaws that could be used by attackers to plant malware on a PC by tricking Windows into thinking a malicious DLL (dynamic link library) was actually a legitimate part of the OS.
Only two of the 17 updates were judged critical, Microsoft's top-most threat ranking in its four-step scoring system. Another 14 were marked "important," the second-highest rating, while the remaining update was labeled "moderate."
The patches apply to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 as well as Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The software giant is also patching Office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007 and Office 2010.
In October the company patched a massive 49 vulnerabilities and released 16 bulletins to address those flaws. Today's is just shy of that record with 40 vulnerabilities, but 17 bulletins.
To read the full details about the latest Patch Tuesday updates, you can visit the Microsoft Security Bulletin. To make sure your machine is updated, you can run the Windows Update from the Control Panel. Please be advised, if you are running Windows XP and haven’t installed the latest Service Pack this will be included in the update. If you wish to not install the Service Pack, simply uncheck the box next to Service Pack 3. If you need any further assistance or have any questions, feel free to contact River Run at 414-228-7474.
Make XP and Vista boot as fast as Windows 7
After all the complaints about Vista's slow start up times, Microsoft paid attention and addressed the issue in Windows 7, which in the experience of beta testers and RTM reviewers can be faster than XP. But if you aren't ready to trade up to the new OS when it comes out next month, there are things you can do to tweak your current operating systems and make it boot faster. Find out by clicking the link below.
Faster Start Up
For those of you who decided to continue on with Windows XP rather than install Vista when it came out, chances are good that you are now seriously considering updating your Operating System with Windows 7 when it is officially released to the public on October 22nd. If you are planning on upgrading to Windows 7, there are some very important items you should be aware of. Not only should you begin planning for your operating system migration, but you should also begin learning as much about Windows 7 as you can. Here are 10 things you can do now to prepare yourself for the switch:
1. Check your system hardware - Windows 7 is designed to be lean in terms of hardware, allowing sub-powered netbooks to also run the OS. If you are running Windows XP on a computer manufactured within the last 3 years, chances are good that Windows 7 will run fine on your system. However, you can make sure that your hardware is compatible by running Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
2. Understand the custom install - If you're running Windows XP on your computer and you want to use Windows 7 on that same computer, you will purchase a Windows 7 Upgrade license. However, you won't be able to perform an in-place upgrade. In other words, you won't be able to upgrade to Windows 7 on top of XP and keep all your applications and settings "in place." Instead, you will have to perform a Custom Install, which Microsoft describes as follows:
"A custom (clean) installation gives you the option to either completely replace your current operating system or install Windows on a specific drive or partition that you select. You can also perform a custom installation if your computer does not have an operating system, or if you want to set up a multiboot system on your computer."
When you completely replace Windows XP, the installation procedure will not totally obliterate it. In fact, the installation procedure will create a folder on the hard disk called Windows.old and will place the Windows, Documents And Settings, and Program Files folders from your Windows XP installation in it. Your data files will be safe and accessible, but your applications will not.
Regardless of whether you choose to completely replace Windows XP or set up a multiboot system, you are going to have to back up and transfer all of your data, reinstall all of your applications, and reconfigure all of your settings.
3. Explore the multi-boot configuration - When exploring the Custom Install options, you should consider setting up a multiboot configuration. That will place both Windows XP and Windows 7 on your machine, which will be a big advantage as you begin migrating your settings, documents, and applications. More specifically, you can boot into Windows XP to verify settings in XP and then boot into Windows 7 to re-create the same configuration. Once you have everything in Windows 7 exactly the way you had it in Windows XP, you can remove the multiboot configuration, set Windows 7 as the primary OS and remove Windows XP.
4. Plan your backup and restore strategy - Before you move from one operating system to another, you'll want to back up all your data - at least once and maybe twice, on a flash drive or other media, just in case. While it may sound like overkill, having an extra backup will give you peace of mind.
5. Plan your data transfer strategy - To move data from one operating system to another, you will want to use a transfer program that will scan your XP system, pull out all your data and settings, and then transfer them to Windows 7. Fortunately, the Windows 7 Easy Transfer utility can provide this service for you. However, before you perform this transfer operation, it will be in your best interest to have a separate back up copy of your data just in case.
The new operating system will come with two copies of the Windows 7 Easy Transfer. One copy will be on the DVD and the other will be installed with the operating system. Before you install Windows 7, you will run Windows 7 Easy Transfer from the DVD and back up all your files and settings. Then, once you have Windows 7 installed, you'll use it to move all your files and settings to the new operating system. You can learn more about the Windows 7 Easy Transfer by reading the article Step-by-Step: Windows 7 Upgrade and Migration on the Microsoft TechNet site.
6. Inventory your applications and gather your CD's - Since you won't be able to perform an in-place upgrade when you move from Windows XP to Windows 7, you'll have to reinstall all your applications that passed the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor compatibility tests (see #1). It will be helpful to have an inventory of all the installed applications so that you can track down all your CDs or compile a list of Web sites for those applications you downloaded.
7. Become familiar with the User Interface (UI) - The UI in Windows 7 is quite different from the UI in Windows XP, and it offers a lot of new features. As a result, you may be a bit lost on how to complete your basic tasks.
To ease the level of uneasiness with the new interface, you'll want to become as familiar as possible with the new features. One starting point is Microsoft's Windows 7 page. While a lot of the content there is essentially marketing related, it will give you a good idea of what to look for when you actually move into the Windows 7 operating system.
To help you get right to the good stuff, check out:
8. Check for XP Mode Support - If you discover that some of the applications you are currently running in Windows XP are not compatible with Windows 7 (see #1) or you just want to keep Windows XP accessible, don't forget about Windows XP Mode. This virtual environment includes a free, fully licensed, ready-to-run copy of Windows XP with SP3 that runs under Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7.
As you consider the Windows XP Mode, keep these things in mind:
- Windows XP Mode is available only in Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.
- Your computer must support processor-based virtualization.
9. Ask Questions - You are not the only one making the move from Windows XP to Windows 7, so ask questions and share information you pick up along the way. Contact your River Run Computers representative for their input and assistance on your specific situation.
10. Subscribe to or research Windows 7 newsletters and websites - There are many different sites and newsletters containing information on Windows 7 both from Microsoft and non-Microsoft sites. A simple web search of "Windows 7 News" will provide multiple information websites and user forums. I've done the first step for you. After a quick search I ran across this article from TechRepublic titled "10 Cool Tools In Windows 7".
When it comes to making any kind of significant IT related move, whether its an Operating System upgrade or simply a hardware upgrade, please consult with your River Run Computers representative first. Feel free to contact Eric Torres for more information at 414-228-7474.
With all the excitement surrounding the release of Windows 7, do not feel as though you have to have the latest and greatest when it comes to Operating Systems. I personally like the new Windows 7 OS, and have been running it for quite a while now, but that doesn't mean it's necessary for everybody to upgrade as soon as it is released. Many XP users are doing just fine with what they have, and if XP does what you need it to do, why spend the money? For instance, many organizations plan on delaying the deployment of Windows 7 until the first service pack is released, or slowly as new hardware is purchased. Here are 5 reasons for XP users to hold off on Windows 7, as well as 10 reasons why XP will be around for a while.
5 Reasons To Hold Off On Win7
10 Reason XP Will Be Here For A While
Maybe you're one of those cutting-edge types who are eagerly awaiting the official release of Windows 7, or maybe you're already using the release candidate and want to know what win7 logoyou should do when the final version comes out. Maybe you're planning to purchase a new computer for Christmas and anticipate buying one with Windows 7 installed on it. Maybe you're perfectly happy with your XP or Vista machine but want to know what, if anything, you should be doing in the event you plan on making the switch to Windows 7.
If you plan on keeping your current hardware, the first thing to do is make sure it has the specs to run Windows 7. If it's running Vista, you can be pretty certain that it will. If it's running XP, check out the system requirements checklist on the Microsoft website by clicking here: System Requirements
If you plan to use Windows Virtual PC with XP Mode on Windows 7 (which allows you to run XP applications that aren't compatible with Windows 7), be aware that you'll have to have a processor with hardware virtualization capabilities. That means Intel VT or AMD-V. Even if the processor itself is capable, some hardware vendors ship some of their lower end computers with virtualization turned off and they don't provide any way to turn it on. And if your computer does support VT/AMD-V, it will probably be turned off by default and you'll need to turn it on in the BIOS (Setup) settings.
As with Vista, if you want to use the Aero glass GUI, you'll need a video card that's capable of it. That means a card that supports DirectX 9 or above with a WDDM driver.
If your hardware passes the test, next you need to consider what operating system you are currently running. If you are using Vista with SP1 or SP2 installed, you have the option to do a direct in-place upgrade, installing Windows 7 over the current OS so you don't have to reinstall your applications. Even though it is the fastest and easiest way to upgrade to Windows 7. We have experienced less than perfect results when performing an in-place upgrade in the past, and in general River Run Computers does not recommend an in-place upgrade. A clean install is preferred.
If you're running XP, an even older version of Windows or a non-Windows OS, you will need to do a clean installation of Windows 7. The good news is that, in our experience, the Windows 7 installation goes quite a bit faster than that of Vista or XP. The bad news is that you'll have to reinstall your applications. But you can use the free User State Migration Tool to migrate application settings (along with your data) so you don't have to reconfigure everything from scratch. Here is a walk-through on how to use it: User State Migration Tool
If you buy a new computer with Windows 7 installed, you can transfer the files and your operating system settings from your old computer by using the Windows Easy Transfer feature. You can also use this to transfer your files and settings when you migrate from the Windows RC to the retail version. Easy Transfer is built into Windows 7. Read here about how it works: Windows Easy Transfer
Speaking of the RC, exactly when do you need to be prepared to switch over to the "real thing"? Although the release candidate won't expire until June 2010, you're probably going to want to upgrade to the final version before that. Beginning March 1, 2010, the computer will start "reminding" you - by shutting down every two hours. That could be pretty annoying, so make plans to make the change prior to that date.
Another element in preparing for Windows 7 is to determine which edition you will want or need. With Vista, the only way to get both the common business features (EFS encryption, ability to join a domain) and desirable consumer features such as Windows Media Center was to buy the Ultimate edition. With Windows 7, you may not need to go that far. Now every edition contains all the features of the ones below it on the price scale, so Windows 7 Professional (which replaces Vista Business) has both the business and consumer features mentioned above.
The only reason to spend the extra dollars for Windows 7 Ultimate is a need for BitLocker full disk encryption (which is a very nice feature for protecting the data on laptops that get lost or stolen), DirectAccess (a replacement for the traditional VPN, but which works only with Windows Server 2008 R2), the UNIX based applications subsystem and other enterprise level features like BranchCache and Applocker. For the vast majority of individual users, the Pro edition will do everything you want and more. For a detailed comparison of the features in each edition, see Windows 7 Edition Features
How are you preparing for the release of Windows 7? If you would like more information on Windows 7, or would like to talk to a River Run Computers representative about your exact situation, feel free to call us at 414.228.7474 or email Eric Torres at email@example.com.