Category Archives: Windows

Learning from history

Or not.

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Nobody cares about Windows anymore

Can you guess what the biggest problem facing Windows is? Here’s a clue: It’s probably not what you think it is.

It’s not the lackluster response to Windows 8. Yes, pundits, analysts, and apparently even the general public were routinely antagonistic about Windows 8, a system that was force-fed to an unwitting audience in 2012 so that Microsoft could quickly make up lost ground in the new market for mobile personal computing devices. But while most of these critics begrudgingly admit that 2013’s release of Windows 8.1 fixed most of the issues they had with the original Windows 8 release, it’s fair to say that even this improved update doesn’t go far enough.

It’s not Linux, which never emerged as a force on the PC desktop.

It’s not Mac OS X, which despite strong sales growth over the past decade never hit double-digit market share worldwide, though Mac PCs sell strongly in very rich nations like the United States.

It’s not tablets, though I’d pinpoint this latest move to simpler personal computing to be a major contributing factor: People realize that they don’t just not need the complexity of Windows, they don’t even need most of the power of Windows.

Windows is in trouble because people simply don’t care about it anymore. It’s not outright hostility; there’s far less of that than the anti-Microsoft crowd would like to believe. It’s ambivalence. It’s ambivalence driven by the nature of “good enough” mobile and web apps. It’s ambivalence driven by the allure of anytime/anywhere computing on tiny devices that are more cool to use and even cooler to be seen using.

And make no mistake, this is a serious issue. With businesses keeping Windows on life support and users spacing out their PC purchases for so long that there might never in fact be another PC purchase, Windows is in trouble. This ambivalence is worse for the platform than outright defeat. In its current state, Windows can limp along for years to come. And that’s just long enough for the platform to wither and effectively disappear.

Source

Steve Ballmer gone, Project F.A.R.T. Started

We will miss Steve, sure, but a new Microsoft development overshadows the news: Project F.A.R.T. (Fixing A Retarded Technology). The goal of Project F.A.R.T. is to make Windows 9 as fast and reliable as the competition.

Thanks to a leak within the MS organization I got hold of the official Developer T-shirt. I wonder if I have to wash it first.

 

Fart Loading

IE always unsafer? Sometimes not.

Let’s assume you want to prank your friend on a forum or on another website by using his/her identity. You could, of course, try to guess their username and password. You try using the name of the dog, mother, or anything else coming to mind. Sometimes this approach works, but more often it won’t. Well, there’s an easier way to do it.

The hole in ‘safe’ browsers
We all know that using Firefox or Chrome is generally safer than using the much-targeted Internet Explorer. However, IE does something right the other two browsers don’t – the amount of effort it takes to reveal saved passwords. Here is how it works. The example below assumes the use of Firefox.

Go to your friend’s house and ask if you can access the Internet from his computer. I never got “No” for an answer, and probably you won’t either. Surf to your favorite webmail application, and ask for a drink. While your friend is on his way to the kitchen, quickly do the following:

1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Edit menu and select Preferences
2. Click the Security panel.
3. Click Saved Passwords (the Password Manager will open)
4. To see the passwords which were saved, click Show Passwords.
5. Copy what you’re looking for and mail it to yourself.

passwords

Done!

You can do the same when using Chrome (just google for it). To get all saved passwords out of IE is a bit more difficult and requires extra software. In a sense, that makes IE safer on at least one count.

Windows 8 ‘Secure Boot’ not that secure

At least booting Windows 8 was secure – or so we thought.

Windows 8 TrashWindows 8 Secure Boot is based on UEFI 2.3.1. Secure Boot is considered to be an important step towards securing platforms from malware compromising the boot sequence before the OS starts.

However, there are certain mistakes platform vendors could make which can completely undermine protections offered by Secure Boot. And, of course, hardware vendors make these.

At Black Hat USA2013 Yuriy Bulygin will demonstrate an example of full software bypass of Windows 8 Secure Boot due to such mistakes on some of the latest platforms and explain how those mistakes can be avoided.