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back to article Vista SP1 kills and maims security apps, utilities

Microsoft has admitted that Windows Vista service pack one (SP1) renders useless a number of well-known third party security products. Redmond said in a knowledge base article yesterday that due to "reliability" issues with Vista SP1, it has been forced to prevent some security products from running after the service pack is …

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Gates Horns

What

A Micro$haft update that screws up your software, never

/sarcasm

I'll stick with XP

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Boffin

Activate smug mode

I knew I was right not to invest in this needless OS upgrade. All my gamer friends, obsessively wanting to use DX10 insist I need to upgrade. I say 'sod it, shiny graphics aren't everything, and I'm not buying vista till at least SP2'. I learned my lesson from XP thanks very much.

And look! SP1 forcibly deactivates Zone Alarm, a product I've relied on for years now, without incident!

Do Microsoft not learn (perhaps a silly question)? Aren't the EU going to pounce all over them for anticompetitive practices? Given that almost all the products that don't work are security products it could be argued I think that M$ are taking the line that Vista comes with its own security apps so you don't need 3rd party ones. I personally have no objection to them bundling their products, it doesn't stop me getting alternative products instead (on XP i use firefox and creative player - but I don't feel hard done by that they gave me I.E. and Media player free at all), but now they're actively STOPPING you using other products you have paid for in order to secure your desktop environment.

Bill, Bill, Bill - haven't you spent enough time in the EU's business courts?

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Anonymous Coward

Kernel API

Security products such as these will use bits of kernel API which userspace programs don't. But this gets to the core of "what constitutes an OS version change?"

At one extreme, you have Solaris, where the kernel API is guaranteed not to change during the life of a major version. There may be additional API added, but the stuff which is already there cannot be changed. So the stuff which interfaced with the S10 kernel at GA (July 2007) is guaranteed to continue to work OK.

At the other extreme, you have the Linux kernel API, where every minor version change may result in a change of API for modules which interface with it. This isn't a problem for the drivers which are bundled, but external stuff which interfaces with the kernel can break at any point. The job of distributors such as RedHat or Novell is to minimise the pain, so only where their update revision flips over do things stop working.

So the reason these 3rd party bits have stopped working is because they need the Sun model, and actually get the Linux model.

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Paris Hilton

Read the MS article

The MS article does state which versions are compatible with SP1. Almost everyone listed has an update.

Mind you, some would say that your computer won't run properly with Vista installed :)

Paris Hilton because... she probably runs OS/2.

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Doesn't this happen with every Service Pack?

I remember XP SP2 breaking compatibility as well. And I haven't heard of any of the software, except Zone Alarm Internet Security - which I don't use.

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Alert

pointing and laughing again

A friend got his hands on a copy of SP1 and it seems to actually fix things that were broken before. I Would know what those are since everything I own has been upgraded to Server 2k3 for games and Slackware for work.

Again

Hahahahahhahahhahahahhah I can hahahhahhahahhahahhahahha no really hahahhahhahahha etc, etc till I pee myself

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Gates Halo

FUD!

More FUD about Vista. If you actually look at the KB article, all bar 3 of the apps have compatible versions already available from the vendors. On top of that, I haven't even heard of most of them, so they're hardly common apps.

/I'll stick with Vista SP1 thanks. :)

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Dead Vulture

@ Jez

The reason it is mostly security software that is affected with updates like this is usually that security software programmers have a habit of using non-supported bits and pieces in the OS, then bitching when they're removed.

Of course, it's easier to blame MS for any problem than lazy third party code.

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Ha, ha!

Seriously, if they don't stop this soon I'm literally going to split my sides. Another reminder as to why I'm a linux 'fanboy'.

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Perfectly reasonable

AV and security products tend to be very tightly wrapped around the internals of a system. It's not surprising than an update breaks them. As the kb article makes clear, there are fixes/upgrades to these systems which work just fine with sp1.

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Bronze badge
Stop

I can understand their rationale, still ...

Generalizing a bit, the way these products work is by hijacking system calls (patching system call table etc.) - basically they are hacking OS (as demonstrated in http://www.amazon.co.uk/Windows-NT-2000-Native-Reference/dp/1578701996/ or http://www.amazon.co.uk/Undocumented-Windows-2000-Secrets-Programmers/dp/0201721872/ )

Microsoft never made promise that these hacks will ever work, futhermore it never documented APIs and data structures exploited by these hacks. No wonder they stopped working after an update. I'd rather have Microsoft secure the OS best they can not paying attention to products that only HAPPEN to work in some version (exploiting low-level undocumented system features) that leave some bugs unpatched.

Still, I wonder if any of these changes are made on other purpose that fixing actual bug(s) in the OS.

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Thumb Up

Great....

... I hear wordpad, calculator and paint are all you need anyway.

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Alert

Activate smug mode part 2

Zone Alarm is horrible so deactivating it will actually give you less problems and a faster system...

I don't see this to be too much of a problem, I hope they or the makers of these products get fixes out quickly - tbh Trend's products still have problems with Vista so that wasn't a surprise.

It wouldn't shock me that the real reason these products stop working is their poor programming considering so many other products now work perfectly with Vista, the security improvements alone have 'broken' lots of bad old products and thats good.

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Joe
Gates Halo

Remember XP SP2?

I remember XP SP2 having a much bigger list of incompatible software. Having looked at the Free Allegiance wiki note it looks like their problems are caused by a 3rd party module in their code which bombs out in the presence of .NET framework v3.5 (which presumably is integrated in to Vista SP1). Given the number of windows applications there are I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the first major service pack for a new OS has caused so few problems.

God I sound like a right fanboi...

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Anonymous Coward

More MS FUD

This is actually more to do with the 3rd party developers not coding in line with the guidelines specified for Vista rather than with Vista itself. You can't blame MS for lazy 3rd party programmers (although I expect the linux lot will be along in a moment to do just that)

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Gates Halo

RAMgrab

It's not unusual for security upgrades to interfere with security packages as all security modules want to be 'first in line' so that they can check over files and instruction sets. They therefore do tend to conflict. Both Tiger and Leopard had problems when they were released so I can cut MS some slack on this one.

Only chance I've ever had to use the halo Bill!

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Dead Vulture

Product failure?

Shouldn't a major OS be sufficiently secure out-of-the-box to not require all these 3rd party security products?

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

Is there any way...

...that posts containing "Micro$haft" can be automatically rejected? Seriously, people. Seriously.

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Gates Horns

SNAFU

"most programs will continue to work as expected after you install Windows Vista SP1."

You mean they'll be screwed? That's what I'd expect...

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Silver badge
Linux

Well I'd laugh at windows...

...except that a kubuntu semi-auto update a couple of days ago broke my newsreader (Pan)...

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Anonymous Coward

I might be wrong here

But arn't the beta and RC programs supposed to catch this type of thing before it goes out the the greater unwashed?

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Jobs Horns

Whoa! Let Take A Look At EVERY Mac OS X Update, Apple Trolls

This is just like the bullshit Apple Mac vs PC adverts, pure one sided fabricated SPIN. EVERY Mac OS X Update is BUGGY (well so is OS X in general) and the updates ALWAYS KILLS Mac apps, even Apple's own! Lots of times it KILLS hardware too!

BUT, you never see the pro Mac magazines, websites or Apple HACKS in the media report this to the public, why? They'd lose their Apple advertising gravy train or the Hacks will stop getting their Apple Freebees.

So here is JUST ONE WEEKS honest reporting on the LATEST OS X Update BUGS thanks to macfixit.com, Lets hear some good denial and spin Apple FUDS -

# Mac OS X 10.5.2: Time Machine problems a'plenty

# Mac OS X 10.5.2: Time Machine broken; system utilities must be updated

# Mac OS X 10.5.2: poor performance; AirPort, device issues; more

# Mac OS X 10.5.2: Problems starting up; ACL messages in Disk Utility; more

# Mac OS X 10.5.2 troubles: AirPort Problems, device issues; more

# MacBook, MacBook Pro update 1.1 doesn't fix first-letter-missing syndrome

# Sporadic missing letters while typing: Not just MacBook Pros; watch for trackpad interference

This goes on with EVERY Mac OS X Update and those of us in Public Education IT see it and know about it all. So, you pius Mac a-hole FUDS, take your one-sided dishonest Windows bashing and boost it up where the sun don't shine - same place your head mostly resides.

If the apps that Vista SP1 turns off were risky or poorly written with potential security holes, hey so be it for the good! Notice all that weren't turned off! When it comes to OS security, the Dictionary listing under Mac OS X shows a picture of Swiss Cheese for all the UNIX and BSD holes Apple has never fixed. If it weren't that only 3 percent of the world uses OS X, you stinky Mac would be a festering hole of Viruses, Worms and Trojans.

Have a pleasant day.

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Gates Halo

Whats the fuss ?

Is this really such a big deal ? So SP1 breaks 3 security suites noone uses, and all 3 have updates to fix it (especially considering SP1 has yet to be released) All the other software thats broken are pretty much non-name crap anyway.

I was the first to bash Vista for the past year but SP1 has fixed all my complaints, The list of software breaks is smaller than most linux revisions (and most leopard ones)

I am all for taking a pop at M$ given the chance but this is just a non-story already covered in "I'm sticking with XP till 2012 when skynet will kill us all" posts.

Anyone remember all the "I'm sticking with 98 cause i don't need XP's eyecandy" posts 6 years ago ?

I guess all the xp lovers don't redecorate their house "cause they don't need eye candy" *YAWN* isn't there a new bandwagon for everyone to mount yet ?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Is there any way...

Nope, we just have to sift through them lovingly by hand.

Sigh. It is getting old and your comment's more likely to be junked if you use it. Try putting a blob of Marmite on your '$' key. Unless you like Marmite. Doesn't feel very nice on the fingers, though.

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Non story

This is a blatantly anti-Vista article, a few badly made programs not working after a major service pack is hardly news!

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Alert

I see...

... the Vista haters/XP lovers are out in force today jumping over the article without doing their research. I seem to remember a similar ream of applications broken by SP2 in XP. In fact, in general, a *smart* PC owner would check compatibility in all their startup apps *BEFORE* installing something as big as a service pack.

So in the end, Microsoft were RIGHT to withhold the Service Pack for a month or two, to give the developers time to right their own products. Could you imagine the carnage if we all had SP1 for Vista as soon as they RTM'd it?

If you're a proficient computer user, you will know where to get it regardless anyway (and you know what you're getting yourself into so you can use your sense and prepare beforehand). Delaying it for the non-proficient user (i.e. the general public) is good management.

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PARODY aimed @people blasting the 3rd party developers....

Dear Developer,

We're going to release a new operating system every couple of years, which will handle your memory access and peripherals differently every time. We will release a tiny tiny tiny API and of course nothing in this API will link to anything at all in the core kernel.

Device drivers will all need to be rewritten by you if you want them to work with our new product, otherwise, when they don't, you will go out of business because everyone in the world uses Microsoft products. We will offer next to no help (like procedure calls etc) for your convenience.

In conclusion, stop being so lazy and re-write your perfectly functional code that worked with our previous release, while we work on the next version so you have to do it all again. You owe us at Microsoft your thanks, becuase without us, you'd be out of a job by now.

As sincerely as we get,

Microsoft

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Stop

@ David Simpson

3 security suites that noone uses? You *can't* be including Trend Micro's software in there, they do the security for Hotmail (yes, it's server based not vista based but it's still a largely similar program) and last time I checked it's one of the top 5 most widely used AVs worldwide. And I'll admit I use it myself, because it has yet to slow my laptop down anywhere near anyone else's software has, and because I can install it on all 3 of my computers with one license, but i have absolutely no loyalty to any software brand especially AVs and I wouldn't argue with you if I didn't know I was right.

I'm going anonymous because I don't want to admit I'm bringing myself down to the level of this argument.

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Yo Webster

Windows update break your computer did it?

Can't remember the last time anything I installed from Apple did that. Funny old world really!

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Bronze badge

short memories

When vista was first designed it got rid of lot of hacks , but the the AV complained that it would not hook into the kernel. SO making the kernel more secure meant AV soft didnt work, well at least norton but thats crap any ways.

you could make vista more secure but then alot of crappy apps would break.

If I was MS is would say hey you got three years to stop crappy coding cause the next release of the OS wont let you do that.

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@ Bronek Kozicki

"Microsoft never made promise that these hacks will ever work, futhermore it never documented APIs and data structures exploited by these hacks."

It would be more accurate to say, "Microsoft never made promise that these hacks will ever work, furthermore it never documented APIs and data structures."

Full stop.

Which is why Microsoft continues to get into trouble with the EU (and will do so in the US again, post-Bush) for abusing their monopoly position.

Yes, I know they've promised to do so. GWB promised to focus on the CO2 problem, too, in 2000, when he wanted votes. I'm a skeptic.

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Uh guys

I do some web development but mostly I use my computer to surf and play video. Some document creation. I'd say 90% of my time is spent in a browser. Seeing Web 2.0 apps like Buzzword strongly suggest to me that that 90% is only going to go up. Firefox by any measure is far better that IE.

Given all that, why should I even care about Vista? I've seen in on a friend's laptop and it seems slow, overly glossy. IE 7 seems to be a marvel in ugly UI design.

So what the hell is MS doing with Vista other than trying to generate a product to sell that no one really needs?

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J
Linux

That's what you get...

That's what you get with the closed source model: third party devs have to "hack" to get their apps working. Now, sure stuff breaks in the free software camp too, obviously -- but then people can know why and change things if they want. I'm glad Solaris joined the pack (although I haven't used the newer, free software version one).

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Jobs Horns

Yo "Anonymous Coward" ..... (Mac Troll dork no doubt)

Sorry, I've never had a "Windows update break (my) computer", but I'll bet you've had your Mac broken repeatedly by Apple; probably in for repair at Apple right now! You Apple Trolls are all alike, NEVER can debate the stated facts with facts, only toss around anomalous dribble backed with nothing from reality, which is why everyone knows that Apple Kool Aid Drinkers live in a the Fantasy-land of Denial.

Debate the stated facts ... or just shut up. It's not surprising that recent surveys showed that Mac users are huge liberals, that's how their campaigns go too. Right, like the Obama's, Clinton's and Gore's? Empty platitudes and no substance.

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Don't really think your outburst was called for...

To webster freaky

MAC OSX is 8% world marketshare actually but don't let that get in the way of a good story huh ?

Never had a single problem with Leopard or 10.5.2

Guess you lament the days when Microsoft were 97% and on the verge of total dominance...perhaps you'd like a communist state as well?

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Heart

re: Whoa! Let Take A Look At EVERY Mac OS X Update, Apple Trolls

To whom are you referring to? I do not see anyone mentioning OS X here. There was a Linux comment. Clam down, take Hatha yoga.

BTW, as an IT support staffer for a school district I much prefer our staff to use the simpler and friendlier OS X though I personally enjoy tinkering with Windows.

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Gates Halo

XP until it is of no use!

I am not touching Vista until XP becomes less usefull. In the old days of 98 and ME (cough) there was plenty of reasons to upgrade to XP (Actually Windows 2000 then XP but that's a different story).

All that Vista has is some new bells and whistles. Some of them a hinderance. DX10 is of no interest to me. Plus nearly all hardware and software (New and legacy) works on XP. Vista may not support all your old hardware and software.

I'll take a mature version of XP over Vista anyday.

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IT Angle

@Paul Donnelly

Dear Linux Users and Developers

We're going to release a new operating system every 6 months, which will handle your memory access and peripherals differently every time. The changes we make will require developers to update w x y and z. For users the changes will stop a b c d e and f from working until the developers or amateur coders release new versions of x y and z. Once these updates are available, they will of course be downloadable from our repository, assuming you have a broadband connection capable of downloading a few hundred megabytes of updates in a reasonable time frame. After that everything will be fine until 6 months later when you will have to go through the whole procedure again. You are of course used to this as every program you install already informs you that in order to run it requires x y and z, followed by prompts from x y and z that they require you to install l m and o before they will run. Please don't expect us to help you in anyway should you choose to install something that is not in our repository. We are sure you can eventually find someone in the community who will not flame you for not instantly knowing the solution and give you an easy to understand answer to your problem. Should you require a feature that we don't currently provide, it will be in the next version or possibly the one after that. Of course, to gain these features you will have to replace your OS again. Unless we decide we can't be bothered anymore, in which case we are sure that somebody in the community will bother to add to and repair the code that we can no longer be bothered with.

Yours Sincerely

Whateverlinuxflavourisfavouritethismonth

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Paris Hilton

Somebody, please kindly tell me

just ONE OS that doesn't suck? Personally, I can't think of any, myself. With the exception of maybe my old TI pocket calculator, I can't think of any OS, written for any system, that doesn't have a problem or deficiency somewhere or at some level, when the computer is turned on.

After looking at one of the more thorough vulnerability documentation sites, there isn't any major OS and damn few commercial applications that aren't listed on that site for some reason or another.

<anti-MS rant> Honestly, is anybody really surprised? I mean seriously? And based on the overwhelming rejection of Vista, I'm going to use XP until my Windows machine, until they die... I'm not a gamer, so I'm not vulnerable to OS blackmail, there. And most of the apps I use, save one, are all open source. So F-U to Microsoft on that issue. </anti-MS rant>

As for my work machines, I'll stick with the versions of *nix I installed on them at the time of putting them into operation, and since I'm somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to apps/toys on those boxes, then I should be fine for a good long time (providing I patch when necessary).

As for the crack about Paris and her OS of choice... I figured she was more of a Network Engineer and was somewhat of a routing queen... Think I read one of her articles on routergods.com

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@Anonymous Coward

"Can't remember the last time anything I installed from Apple did that. Funny old world really!" err? is this the first time you've worshiped at the church of st jobbie for a few years? (fekin god squadders) Still think there are no security issues? have you got a fixed IP ad..? would you like to post it? (god the good old days with 95 and eary 98) how much will your ipone cost this year? build a high speed mac for a few hundred squid? I think all cults should be banned, they take all your cash, make you delusional and try and convert/preach to the innocent

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Coat

It's going to take balls ..

errr .. forget the title ..

Still .. to really get on a par we will need software companies to

put on their trousers and start selling linux/mac versiions of their

software that are only available at the moment on windows.

As long as the applications are not available for Linux/Mac

for ex .. AutoCad .. you know .. the big appilcations , we can keep

chanting the Linux song .. but in practice we will always need

windows cause we got no choice but to use it ..

It's going to take more than good will ..

Once we got the apps .. then there's a chance noone will have to suffer

the kind of torture Vista is making users endure anymore ..

Have a good weekend .. time for a pint ..

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Paris Hilton

Something is wrong

If Vista SP1 is supposed to break Trend Micro Internet Security, somebody better tell my computer because I have BOTH those products and both worked from day 1. Vista SP1 did not disable or mess up my Trend Micro program.

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Coat

It's all about documenting the kernel

Or, as Dr. Strangelove put it: "When you build a doomsday bomb you have to TELL people about it!"

Since MS is loathe to "open the kimono" on their internal API, it's not surprising that third-party vendors have to write through "holes" that they reverse-engineer. And, it is the third-party's responsibility to fix the problem - NOT Microsoft's - as the third party is the one exploiting the hidden API.

This all boils down to "you get what you pay for". If you want more aggressive system protection that that offered by a vendor, you take the risk of future failure. That's the trade-off, and the third party vendor AS WELL AS THEIR CUSTOMER needs to understand this. Alas, most technology users don't do their homework, or at least, are likely to complain when these issues occur.

Sun's approach is in many ways admirable; however, I'd be willing to bet that there are "undocumented" APIs in Solaris that, while not frequently employed, may still "break" with intermediate updates.

There is also some historical precedence for this kind of updating by MS. Back in the 1970's IBM had a serious problem with customers using "undocumented" features of their mainframe OS to support various business functions. Since major updates were infrequent, the use of these features could become business-critical before an update would come along and break them. IBM decided to address this in the early 1980's by doing two things: IBM increased the frequency of updates to "discourage" customers from having time to find the "holes", and it simplified the update patching procedure (which until then required assembly language programming skills from "Systems Programmers" to implement on a custom basis) to become more automated and less "open" to hacking. The result was an increase in the stability of the mainframe OS, and, after an initial screaming from customers that had to modify all their non-compliant software, better reliability and simplified maintenance of their applications.

I'm not a Microsoft "fanboy" - indeed, I'm an unrepentant Linux user - but, MS DOES own the product, and they can change it as they see fit. Customers have the options of either not upgrading (see all the XP reversions after Vista) and living with the "reduced" functionality, or dealing with the changes.

If anything has occurred since Microsoft introduced Vista, it is that MS has taught Jill Consumer to start acting like Fortune 100 data centers: don't upgrade Windows until the NEXT revision is introduced - about a year.

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Happy

Big fuss / nothing

Got a notice to update Zonealarm a few weeks ago. Did it well in advance of SP1 becoming available. Vista still works, Zonealarm works. Considering the size of the update, it is remarkable how short the list is and how narrow in scope. I hope to see a similar article for the next OSX service pack to show how the reg isn't biased against MS.

Big fuss / nothing

N.B. Vista is still crap and bloated compared to XP.

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Pirate

Re: Perfectly reasonable

It is also perfectlyreasonable to either tell AV companies who make your OS fit for at least temporary residency on the internet how to get their products working with their OS (since they are the only ones who can possibly know).

It would be perfectly reasonable that a change to kernel structures or API calls that are used by these AV products be tested so that they still work.

It would be perfectly reasonable that MS test and give gold code to AV companies so that they can roll out fixes BEFORE you send out the changes.

But hiding everything to people who are now competitors (because you bought an AV company), changing them so that only YOUR AV product works and keeping these competitors in the dark is NOT perfectly reasonable.

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IT Angle

Well, we didn't see that coming, did we?

M$ seem to have entirely lost the plot with Vista which was broken from day one.

IT? What IT? There's none to be seen here. Move along please.

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@ what's the fuss ?

"Anyone remember all the "I'm sticking with 98 cause i don't need XP's eyecandy" posts 6 years ago ?"

running Win98SE fine on this machine thank you, same stable install for 6 years, PIII 667 ... and it plays and burns DVDs just fine

no one's much writing malware for it anymore either

finally got a WinXP SP2 machine for some newer games and apps no longer written for Win9x, about a year ago ..

'classic' mode, still don't need the desktop eyecandy slowing things down

so while I have to admit I'll be dropping regular use of this PIII Win98SE sys soon, it will go up on the shelf with my 200MMX Win95 osr2 sys that I boot up about every 6 months to show off that Win95 is stable too

Vista ? .. maybe never, Linux might be ready for prime time in a couple of years

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Thumb Up

The bitter truth of being a Mac user

Let's see - bought my first Mac back in 1991, been using them ever since.

Number of hardware failures = none.

Number of times computers returned to dealer for repair = none.

Number of virus infections = none.

Number of spyware infections = none.

Number of adware infections = none.

Amount of AV software installed = none.

Number of support calls to Apple = none.

Reasons to use Windows = none.

Reasons to mock Webster = many.

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Borrowing From Britney

"Oops !...we did it again

I patched your PC, broke some things on the way

Oh baby, baby

Oops, you think you're secure

That I sent you a cure

But I'm not that competent."

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Unhappy

might as well add my two penn'orth

As soon as my games work with Linux, I'll be installing it. Until then, XP works fine.

Re : classic mode - I used it originally but when I switched to Fisher Price mode, I quickly got used to it and have not noticed any impact on performance.

Microsoft's problem with selling Vista is that they've already built something (XP-SP2) which most people find sufficient for their needs. I'm sure Vista is perfectly okay, but why would anybody want to pay through the nose (twice as much in the UK as in the US) for something which offers very little extra compared to what they already have?

It ain't broke, so I ain't fixin' it.

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