August 2005 - Posts
I have been the IT Director in both small and mid size software development companies, and I think I understand about resources and priorities when it comes to software. So I’m usually fairly patient with and understanding of the resource realities when it comes to supporting another platform. And make no mistake, Windows x64 Editions are a whole new platform! But even though I don’t own any Microsoft keyboards or mice, I’m very much aware of the complaints of those who do, and who had a reasonable expectation that their Microsoft hardware would be supported in their Microsoft operating system. Well, I hate to say this, but it’s time to buy Logitech, because you won’t see support for Intellipoint devices any time soon from Microsoft. The official, formal statement I received was:
“Microsoft mice and keyboards have basic functionality with the new 64-bit operating systems, but the newer features like the Magnifier, Tilt Wheel or My Favorites Keys will not work. At this point, use of 64-bit operating systems is primarily limited to very early adopters. We are looking into full compatibility with the 64-bit operating system for future products and will keep you updated if we have any announcements. “
Now that’s just really sad. But when combined with the second half of what I was told, it means that the best we can hope for is a year after the release of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. And I quote.
“Current plans are for a release in the first half of calendar year 2006”
Colour me seriously disappointed.
Good news for those of you out there with Soundblaster hardware -- additional drivers have been released by Creative Labs that allow full functionality in Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. They also have an x64 specific FAQ for their products.
Among those products getting added to the fully supported list are my Audigy 2 NX USB sound card. Kudos to them, since they don't even sell this unit any more. And the sort of action that I remember when it's time to buy.
I just finished printing several documents to PDF format today on my Ferrari 4000, running x64 Edition. Even though, as we know all too well, Adobe can't seem to manage to support x64 Edition yet. Instead, I used deskPDF Professional, from docuDesk. This little program isn't the equivalent of full Adobe Acrobat, but it is all most of us will ever need. And it's about 10% of the cost, and it runs in x64 Edition without issues.
I've tried several “print to PDF” programs before, and all of them do an acceptable job on normal documents. But most of them have problems with overlaid graphics, such as the Ink annotations from my Tablet PC. And Table of Contents and hyperlinks? Not going to handle those at all. deskPDF Professional took everything I threw at it and never even hiccupped.
So, a company with the resources and the size of Adobe can't manage to handle a new architecture in a reasonable time frame. (Heck, they don't even support the Tablet PC worth a darn after all this time!) But a smaller company, but one with focused and dedicated people, provides a quality product that fully supports x64 Edition in just over 3 months after the release. Yet another reason why I find myself using small, single purpose, focused applications more and more, and avoiding the mega-applications whenever I can. I don't need rampant feature creep, and I don't think anyone else does either. What I need are real applications that do what they say they will, and do it well on my Windows XP Professional x64 Edition machines. deskPDF Professional does that, and does it at a very reasonable price. Can't ask for more than that.
I've had my new Acer Ferrari 4000 for 3 days now, and I'm loving it. Not only is this a fast notebook, and good looking, but it's really well built, with all the little touches that can make a difference. I've not been a big fan of Acer products in recent years, but this one they got right. From the carbon fibre case to the slotless DVD drive that can read and write every format I can think of, to the keyboard that is actually useable, to the 4 USB slots. Even has its very own polishing cloth.
My first step on getting it was to rearrange the partitions on the 100 Gb hard drive. It comes with two partitions, each over 45 Gb. I squeezed the C: drive down to 12 Gb and converted to NTFS, using Acronis Disk Director, since that will be left for the existing 32-bit Windows XP Professional, which I don't expect to use very much. Then, 20 Gb or so for a D: drive that gets the install of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, another 20Gb or so for what will be 64-bit Vista, and finally the rest for data and programs. Pull a full image backup while I'm at it, and burn to DVD, and we're ready to begin.
First, basic configuration of the 32-bit pre-installed Windows XP Professional. Just the basic stuff -- AV and Microsoft AntiSpyware, Dave's Quick Search Deskbar (DQSD), and all the current patches. Good. Pull another image backup to DVD, and we've got a solid fallback position. While we're at it, download all the current x64 Edition drivers from Acer and stick them on the DVD too. we'll need them.
Now, stick the x64 Edition CD in and reboot. Walk through the install process, and once we get up, the very first thing we need to do is copy over the Ferrari.WAV file from the 32-bit partition and set it as my Windows Startup sound. Good, now for the rest. Insert the DVD with all the drivers. LAN and WLAN first, so I'm connected, then the others. Do the reboot, and now download all the current patches from Microsoft Update. Install the basics -- DQSD again, but a special alpha 64-bit version that we're working on doing a minimal installer for. MSAS. No AV yet -- I'm hoping Trend gets their act together and releases an x64 version shortly. And for a firewall, we're using ISA 2k4 on the network and Windows Firewall on this machine. Then Nero, Office, OE-QuoteFix (yes, it works just fine with 64-bit OE!), HyperSnap (my screen capture utility of choice). And there we are, a working machine.
You can define a printer on one machine, and share it to other computers on your network. And if they're both running the same version of Windows, you're done. But if they are running a different version of Windows(NT4 or Win9x), or especially a different architecutre (x86, x64, ia64), then you need to go a bit further. So if you have a printer attached to your x64 machine, and want to share it with your x86 machines (or vice versa), here's what you need to do:
What you have to do is:
- Log in to the computer that has the printer defined with an administrative level account. (printer may be physically attached or via TCP/IP.)
- Open Printers folder (start, printers and fax)
- Highlight the printer you want to share to other architectures, and select Sharing from the File menu
- If the printer isn't already shared, select Share this printer and type in a share name.
- Click on Additional drivers, and check the box(es) for the architecture(s) you want to support.
- Click OK. You'll be prompted for a printer driver
- Insert your OS cd from the target architecture you want to add support for, and browse to the folder where "ntprint.inf" is. (\i386 on x86, \amd64 on x64)
- Select ntprint.inf, click OK, the driver will load, then click OK as necessary to get out. Your printer will now have a driver for the architecture you just added support for.
- Adding support for Win9x is also possible, but the file isn't ntprint.inf.
- If you're using a printer model which isn't defined in ntprint.inf, then you must be very careful to chose exactly the same model number on the host machine and the additional drivers section or it won't work. The XP print system isn't smart enough to do intelligent substitutions.
Author of >25 books on computers, operating systems and enterprise environments
On 9 August 2005 Microsoft is planning to release:
6 Microsoft Security Bulletins affecting Microsoft Windows. The highest Maximum Severity rating for these is Critical. These updates will require a restart. These updates will be detectable using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA).
Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool
Microsoft will release an updated version of the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services and the Download Center.
Note that this tool will NOT be distributed using Software Update Services (SUS).
Non-security High Priority updates on MU, WU, WSUS and SUS
Microsoft will release one NON-SECURITY High-Priority Update for Microsoft Windows on Windows Update (WU), Microsoft Update (MU), Software Update Services (SUS), and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).
Although we do not anticipate any changes, the number of bulletins, products affected, restart information and severities are subject to change until released.
Microsoft will host a webcast next week to address customer questions on these bulletins. For more information on this webcast please see below:
At this time no additional information on these bulletins such as details regarding severity or details regarding the vulnerability will be made available until August 9, 2005.
We have just discovered new drivers on the nvidia FTP and so far we are getting excellent feedback on them with performance just as good if not better than the 77.76 drivers and better Image Quality. As of yet no bugs have been found, And they are WHQL Certified :)
Just a quicky today. There is a known issue with Outlook 2003 running on Windows XP Professional x64 Edition computers that have 4GB of physical RAM. And there is a hot fix available for it. See MS Knowledge Base article #896253.
While I don't have a machine with 4GB yet, users on the public 64-bit newsgroup have reported success with this patch.
Update: This may be a problem on any machine that has >2GB of RAM, so if you're having problems with Outlook, but other Office applications work fine, and you have >2GB of RAM, contact MS for the fix. It should help.