Microsoft might actually do something right…

Windows vista I have looked at, and for the most part, considering it the spawn of Windows ME. Vista has its good points, and Microsoft tried with it, but with a moving target, stripped down capabilities compared to what it was supposed to have, and massive delays on getting it to market, Microsoft really messed up.

It wasn’t just that older software would not run on it, but software and hardware companies didn’t buy into it. It took forever for applications to be written for it, let alone all the issues with hardware drivers Vista has had.

Well, it seems that Microsoft can learn from its mistakes. Windows 7 has been in beta for a little while now, and most people call it a big improvement from Vista. The first Release Candidate becomes public on May 5, and yes I’m going to get it. What I am looking forward to seeing how it works is the newest feature announced for Windows 7. XPM the feature is called, and if it works the way it is supposed to , well, there will be very little reason not to move to Windows 7.

The idea behind XPM is basically Windows XP sp3 running in a virtual machine, which allows legacy apps to be run normally. The kicker to XPM is the idea that it runs seamlessly in the background. Apps that require XP still get shortcuts installed to your normal Start menu and when you launch the app, it seamlessly launches in its own window, even though it is on a virtual machine, you don’t see the virtual machine running. You don’t have to start a virtual machine session first. Supposedly, it just works.

We shall find out how well it just works rather soon. This is the one thing that if it works right, could save Microsoft’s reputation.

Patches and Beta

Another Patch Tuesday happened this week, and this time 6 of the patches are for security holes which have exploits out in the wild, including the Office holes that I complained about last month. There are a total of 8 patches out this month and while that is good, you might want to check on the other updates this month due to end of mainstream support for XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003. All three will continue to get security updates for a few years, but all of them will no longer get new features, or non-critical updates.

Also, released today was the Beta for Exchange 2010. I know, most of you are just starting to use Exchange 2007, but if you have a test environment for this new version of Exchange, I would suggest using it and report on bugs to Microsoft so we can get a less buggy release of it.

Finally, SP2 for Office 2007 is on the horizon, and it will give Office native ODF file support. This means that if something is saved in Open Office’s normal formats, Office 2007 should be able to just open it.

Sorry that this blog has been a bit spotty this week. Work has been really busy, and I’ve been learning about some new initiatives and offerings that we are doing at the office. Let see if I can get some time to do some more posts, even if its just the evenings.

More on XP and other End of Cycles software

So, while mainstream support is ending for Windows XP, it seems that Microsoft is going to continue to allow downgrades by manufacturers until sometime next year. Yeah, this is both good and bad, especially considering that warranty support ends on Tuesday, April 14. Are the PC makers going to do warranty support for XP still is the big question. I would love to say yes, but who knows.

Also on the XP front, You will be able to downgrade from the upcoming Windows 7 to XP.  This does by companies some time to upgrade, but how long?

Tuesday, April 14 also marks the end of mainstream support for Office 2003. Same rules apply as with XP.

Now on July 14 of this year Office 2000 is dead to Microsoft. No more security updates, no support, nothing. Same thing happens to Windows 200 on July 13, 2010. Time to start planning accordingly, especially for Office 2000. Make sure you try to get your clients off of it before then for a smooth transition.