MICROSOFT

Latest news about Windows operating systems. This section includes Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008.

Microsoft releases 64 fixes in April

Microsoft’s patching is going from one extreme to the other. While March had just three bulletins fixing four vulnerabilities, next week 17 bulletins are being issued, fixing 64 different vulnerabilties. This ties with December 2010 as the most bulletins, and takes the clear lead for number of flaws fixed.

Nine bulletins are critical, with all carrying the risk of remote code execution. The remaining eight are ranked important; six of these enable remote code execution, one allows privilege escalation, and the last can lead to information disclosure. Seven of the bulletins have mandatory restarts; the remainder “may” do so.

Microsoft’s first Window 8 tablet application spotted

Modern Reader’s AppX layer stripped

Bloggers have uncovered an application for Windows 8 that blurs the line between Windows, the web, and mobile using a new architecture from Microsoft.

The application is called Modern Reader, Microsoft’s own version of PDF Reader. According to bloggers Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott, who’ve been combing through leaked Windows 8 code and screenshots, it will be included with the yet-to-launch Windows 8.

Improving Security Using Attack Surface Analyzer

Attack Surface Analyzer is a Microsoft verification tool designed to catalog changes in system state, runtime parameters, and securable objects on the Windows operating system. This analysis helps identify any increase in the attack surface that is caused by installing applications. Developed by the Security Engineering group team, Attack Surface Analyzer is the first tool of its kind available for public use, and it runs on the Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 operating systems.

Microsoft Complains Against Google Again

Nearly a decade after settling an antitrust case regarding the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows, Microsoft is on the verge of putting the case behind it for good and is pursuing antitrust claims of its own against Google’s dominant search engine.

The United States vs. Microsoft case was settled in 2002 and originally scheduled to expire in 2007. But although the judgment was extended, Microsoft is now just two weeks away from meeting the “final milestones” of the court order.

While Microsoft tries to put its own antitrust problem to rest, the company is piling on to the various complaints about Google, whose search engine is far more widely used than Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo.

Smartphone OS shootout: Android vs. iOS vs. Windows Phone

I compare three top smartphone operating systems

The past year has been a remarkable one for smartphones, with the meteoric rise of Google’s Android OS, the restart of Microsoft’s mobile strategy with its much-ballyhooed release of Windows Phone 7 and the continuing success of Apple’s iPhone, buoyed by its new availability to Verizon subscribers. Never has there been so much choice in the smartphone market. As a result, hype and overstatement have been the order of the day.

Cloud drives speech recognition forward for Microsoft

For years, using voice recognition technology on phones or other devices has been a novelty — something people try once but never again, usually because it works so poorly. But recent developments, including harnessing the computational power of the cloud, have made it more usable and will make it even better in the near future, according to Microsoft.

Of all the services Microsoft hosts, speech recognition uses one of the largest cloud systems the company has, said Zig Serafin, general manager for speech at Microsoft. It includes the voice response systems used by the customer-service phone lines of large companies like Orbitz and American Airlines, as well as the technology that lets mobile Bing users search by voice and Ford Sync users ask for directions.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Arrives: 10 Reasons to Use It

Microsoft has officially launched Internet Explorer 9. Although the browser’s history has been spotty, Internet Explorer 9 is the one new browser that every user should be trying.

The browser, which is being touted by many reviewers already as the best version of the software the company has ever released, follows a long line of predecessors that at times won customers over and at other times failed miserably. But it’s a new day for Microsoft and Internet Explorer. The time has finally come for the company to face Google’s Chrome browser head-on.

Microsoft confirms delay to Windows Phone 7 update

Additions now due in second half of March

Microsoft on Thursday confirmed a delay to the Windows Phone 7 update that includes cut and paste, but the company said it is still on track to deliver an even bigger update by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, the Mobiletechworld blog noticed an entry on an official Microsoft France blog that said the update that contains cut and paste would come in the second half of March. That’s a slight setback, because Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had said the update would come in early March.

In a blog post, Eric Hautala, general manager of customer experience engineering at Microsoft, has now confirmed the delay. He wrote that it was the result of problems with an earlier update, the first one Microsoft has tried to send to Windows Phone 7 devices. Ironically, that update is designed to improve the update process itself. While some phone users have gotten that first update, Microsoft has twice suspended the process due to problems with installing the software, which have primarily plagued users of Samsung phones.

Microsoft releases Visual Studio SP1

New viewer to increase developer support

Microsoft rolls out a local help viewer for Visual Studio 2010 and integrates Project Server with Team Foundation Server (TFS) to enable teams to work more effectively.

In a boost to its IDE, Microsoft this week shipped the final version of Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1, which offers capabilities such as improved help support as well as IntelliTrace capabilities for 64-bit systems and SharePoint.

The new local help viewer featured in the service pack is a client application that enables developers to navigate the table of contents in a fully expanded tree control, look up topics via keywords and use shortcut keys for access to features.