Friday, December 30, 2005

OMG 2 more days & other things

LoL Yes, I'm making a post during the day time, believe it or not. Anyways, two more days till New Years 2006, personally this year was particularly boring. NOTHING personal happened, it was like 2005 was a duplicate of 2004. Meh, hopefully that will change next year. Atleast the beta community got some interesting stuff in 2005, and it'll deffinatly be interesting in 2006. A few things will be released in 2006 that most people will be interested in..

Nintendo Revolution
Legend of Zelda The Twilight Princess
Playstation 3
Windows Live Messenger (MSN 8 Rebranding)
Windows Vista Ultimate Edition (And half a dozen of its little brothers)

:D I seriously cannot wait till we are in the thick of 2006...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Changing The Subject Matter

Well, I've decided to change the subject matter of my blog from Vista related crap, to more personal stuff. For those rare few who do read my blog from time to time, I'll have Vista related stuff from time to time.


Firstly though, I've become less and less active in the beta community.. Why you ask? Well, I'm trying to find a good forum to settle into and concentrate on posts there, and IeX was a pretty decent forum. Granted the sluggishness of its active members, the constant banter of its nerdy members, and the over-active mods and admins whome constantly restrict people's opinions.Been considering a few forums actually, JCXP and AeroXP being two of those, aswell as BetaXP, who needs an active news poster. Oh well, I'll figure it out sooner or later.

As for finding a gift for my girlfriend, I have it all ordered and ready to go to send out once I send them the money. Wallscrolls, anime wallscrolls to be exact...fun..-sarcasm-. Oh well, I'm sure my baby will love it.

Windows Vista Year End Round Up

Well, since I've made a number of posts on Windows Vista, I've decided to go and do a year end roundup, since I plan on using this blog for a while, all the Windows Vista posts will begin to disappear. This blog entry, with links to Vista related content will appear in the side panel under a new Archive section. If you don't see it yet, give it time, it'll be there.

Windows Vista Posts Year End Round Up

Windows Live Messenger 8 Running On Vista 5270 - Creds to Hasin
http://xxhiroshi21xx.blogspot.com/2005/12/running-wlm-8-on-vista-5270-without.html

Windows Vista WinSAT Guide
http://xxhiroshi21xx.blogspot.com/2005/12/windows-vista-system-asses_113531828583906933.html

Windows Vista December CTP (5270) Review Part 1 - Information
http://xxhiroshi21xx.blogspot.com/2005/12/december-ctp-review.html

Windows Vista December CTP (5270) Review Part 2 - Screenshots
http://xxhiroshi21xx.blogspot.com/2005/12/december-ctp-screenshots.html

Windows Vista December CTP Blog Post
http://xxhiroshi21xx.blogspot.com/2005/12/windows-vista-december-ctp.html

Friday, December 23, 2005

Running WLM 8 on Vista 5270 Without Problems

Kudos deffinatly go out to Hasin for figureing this thing out. With this little tweak you can get WLM 8 running fine on Vista 5270 without causing conflicts between Explorer and My Shared Folders, which causes it to crash suddenly.

Simply download the A-Patch from here.

Be sure to enable Polygamy and disable the ads. ;)

Once you're done installing it on XP, boot into Vista and go to C:\Program Files\MSN Messenger and double click on the Windows Live Messenger file, it'll start up nicely.

Only side effects is that it appears that ram usage is a little high in Vista, but since it doesnt write anything to explorer on its way to install, it'll work just fine.

Windows Vista System Assessment Tool User Guide

This guide is being posted to show the information from the Windows Assessment Tool Help Guide. All information was taken directly from the help file and is copyrighted to Microsoft Corporation 2005. If this guide is in the violation of anything and should be removed, please let me know and I will remove it ASAP. No binaries are hosted on this server and I will not leak any binary information. So don't ask.


The Windows Assessment Tool is used to run various system tests on Vista and is tied into the system preformance tools, and gives a sneak peak at the stuff MS has in store for Beta 2. In the help guide, which can be located in X:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT for official testers. The WinSAT tool can be used in Windows XP, however you'll have to get that on your own.

Information On The Three Tiers

The three tiers are CONFIRMED as being in Beta 2, since they are posted in the help file, and the help file is dated as being written for 525x and up.

The three tiers are..

Aero-Express - A non glass alternative for low end systems, from the functionality in the December CTP, Aero-Express still has the DWM effects but looks more like an XP .msstyle created by the community.

Aero-Glass - The pretty and fancy see through Aero glass effects.

Aero-Diamond - Can we say full Desktop Aurora? Completely made out of direct3D, Aero-Diamond will feature completely 3D icons, transition effects like in Aero glass, full Desktop Aurora -see the commercial on "Microsoft 30 Years", to get a slight hint of what it will be like. Also other various goodies. No I do not have a source, but I put 2 and 2 together to get these assumptions. It could very well change in the next CTP, who knows for certain. The Aero-Diamond effects can be seen in the D3D assessment. Although most of the textures are broken.

Now for the guide, this was taken from the Help file, basically an over done copy and paste job so I could be sure the information remained unaltered and as helpfull as possible.



DWM WinSAT "Winsat DWM"

The primary task of the DWM is to composite the texture surfaces of legacy GDI applications, D3D applications, and Avalon applications onto the desktop. From the DWM’s perspective, these are all just textures. It must use the textures to render to the back buffer. The simulator is a parameterized D3D application. Varying the parameters produces an assessment run that stresses different resources based on expected DWM scenarios. For example, GDI windows with alpha channels perform differently than those without alpha channels.

The graphics assessment must be run with parameters: winsat dwm


Here is an example command lines : winsat dwm -normalw 10 -glassw 4 -time 10 -v -fullscreen


The non-instance parameters, ie those parameters that do not define a window constraint, must be constants. The instance parameters are specified as distributions. The available types of distributions are Constant, Uniform, and Gaussian. The list of parameters is:

Width and height of the windows (instance)

Total number of opaque windows in the simulation (non-instance)

Total number of unsafe opaque windows in the simulation (non-instance)

Total number of windows with non-trivial alpha blending (non-instance)

Total number of unsafe windows with non-trivial alpha blending (non-instance)

Total number of glass windows (non-instance)

Back-to-front or front-to-back rendering (non-instance)

Simulated non-client theme-ing (non-instance)

Dirty rect region (non-instance)

No Update (non-instance)

No Lock (non-instance)

Scissor rect or view port clipping (non-instance)

Width/Height of the simulation window (non-instance)

Full-screen or windowed mode (non-instance)

Animation (non-instance)

Total time to run the assessment (non-instance)

Output file (non-instance)

FPS (non-instance)

The graphics assessment uses the following parameters: -WinWidth distribution A distribution specifying the width (in pixels) of the windows in the simulation.
Range: [1, Hardware limit]
Default is 500.

-WinHeight distribution
A distribution specifying the height (in pixels) of the windows in the simulation.
Range: [1, Hardware limit]
Default is 500.

-NormalW uint
Specifies the number of opaque windows in the simulation. These windows are the fastest type to render per pixel.
Range: [0, available memory]
Default is 0.

-UnsafeW uint
When rendering in D3D, state is specified globally. This means that if a D3D app runs, milcore has no way to know what the state of the video card was. It must therefore grab a state block when allowing the other window to draw and must reset it when milcore regains control of the video card. These state blocks are expensive.
Range: [0, available memory]
Default is 0.

-AlphaW uint
Specifies that the alpha channel of these windows may not be 255. This means that D3D will have to check the channel to render properly. This effects performance.
Range: [0, available memory]
Default is 0.

-UnsafeAlphaW uint Combination of alpha and unsafe modes on one window.
Range: [0, available memory]
Default is 0.
-GlassW uint Window that supports back-buffer blur
Range: [0, available memory]
Default is 0.
Note that glass is only supported in Back to Front rendering.

-FrontToBack
Currently, milcore renders from back to front using “painters algorithm”. When there is a lot of overdraw, this burns fill-rate. Drawing front-to-back is faster, but requires a depth buffer. Glass windows are not supported in this mode.
Default is back to front rendering

-dirty int int int int
Specifies that only a particular rect (as four intergers) should be updated in the back buffer.
Range: [0, screen resolution]
Default is the full screen size.

-NoUpdate
Calls lock/unlock on all windows but skips the CPU update of every pixel

-NoDisp
Sets the window to “not visible” so that the assessment effectively draws to an off-screen surface.

-NoLock
Skips the lock/unlock for all windows. This means that there is no window animation and the assessment is all fill bound

-ScissorRect
There are many ways to implement dirty rect management. Milcore seems to use either scissor rects, or view port clipping. This flag enables scissor rect clipped. If it is not available in the hardware, the assessment will fail.
Default is view port clipping.

-Width
Width of the assessment window. Note that when running full-screen the value is rounded to the nearest full-screen resolution.
Range: [256, 1600]
Default is 1024.

-Height Height of the assessment window. Note that when running full-screen the value is rounded to the nearest full-screen resolution.
Range: [256, 1600]
Default is 768.

-FullScreen
Specifies that the D3D Device should be created in full screen mode.
Default is Windowed mode.

-NoAnimation
Prevents the windows from moving in the simulation.
Default is animation enabled.

-Time Number of seconds to run the assessment.
Range: [5, ∞]

-FPS uint
This limits the assessment to the nearest refresh rate supported by the video card (but not necessarily one supported by the monitor). Zero means no limit on rendering. The refresh rate when in full rendering is 75hz.
Range: 0, [60, max supported]
Default is 0.

-v
Shows all relevant information about the assessment, including the FPS and CPU Idle information.




DWM WinSAT "Winsat Direct3D"

The D3D assessment will run in up to four modes; Batch limited, Fill-rate memory limited, Fill-rate shader limited, and Permutation mode (not explicitly attempting to be limited by a particular known limitation). The first three modes are a sub-set of Permutation mode,

The D3D assessment will create many small batches with simple shaders, small objects, and a low resolution. The D3D assessment will be limited by the driver’s ability to translate the batches down to the hardware level. Driver performance is primarily being assessed.

The D3D assessment will create a few batches with a small number of objects and a high resolution window. The D3D assessment will be limited by the hardware’s ability to read and write memory. Alpha blending is enabled allowing the D3D assessment to assess the hardware’s read-modify-write ability. The D3D assessment will assess direct back buffer rendering, and rendering to 8 and 16 bit textures.

The D3D assessment will create a few batches with a large number of objects and a high resolution. The D3D assessment will be limited by the hardware’s ability to compute shader (mostly pixel shader) results. The D3D assessment will create shaders based on the highest version supported on the card. This means D3D assessment results will clearly distinguish between major shader revisions (they currently are vs/ps1.x, vs/ps2.x, and vs/ps3.x). The D3D assessment will assess direct back buffer rendering, and rendering to 8 and 16 bit textures.

There are two shader limited scenarios. One is texture sampling limited and the other is ALU limited. Both will be assessed separately.

The D3D assessment will run with many different permutations of its parameters. The goal is to assess reliability and usability of the driver and hardware. The D3D assessment performance should smoothly scale with increasingly more difficult parameterizations. winsat d3d


Here is an example command line : winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(1) -alushader -noalpha -fullscreen -v -time 10



The D3D assessment supports the following command line parameters: -objs The primitives used in the assessment are spheres. The parameter specifies the theta and phi quantization. Increasing this number causes more shader processing to occur.
Range: [2, 180/batch size]

-sradius
Specified the radius of the spheres. A smaller radius will reduce the number of pixels drawn for that sphere while keeping the overhead of that sphere constant.
Range: [0.01, 8]

-totalobj
Total number of spheres in the scene. A large number of objects, combined with a small object size, results is an assessment that is batch limited.
Range: [0, 8]

-texw
-texh
Width and height of the textures created by the assessment as a power of 2.
Range: [1, 12]

-totaltex The total number of textures that GenGame will create. If the number of textures is less than the total number of objects that require a texture, then GenGame will re-use the textures in the scene. If there are more textures that are required in the scene then GenGame will iterate over the list using as many as is needed for this frame. This means that all textures will be used eventually.
Range: [0, 8]
-texpobj This is the number of textures each sphere requires to render.
Range: [0, 16]
-batchcnt Having large batches reduces driver time and tends to make the application fill rate limited. Conversely, having many small batches causes more driver overhead.
Range: [1, TotalObjs]
-time Number of seconds to run the assessment.
Range: [5, 8]
-out Specifies a path to a file to save the results along with the arguments to GenGame.
Range: string
-width
-height Width and Height of the window the app is running in. On XP, this is the screen resolution, on Vista it will be similar, but will not run in exclusive mode.
Range: [256, 8] for windowed and card supported screen resolutions for full screen mode.
-vs profile Forces the use of a particular vertex shader profile. The assessment is not guaranteed to run correctly when forced into using a particular shader model.
-ps profile Forces the use of a particular pixel shader profile. The assessment is not guaranteed to run correctly when forced into using a particular shader model.
-fps In full screen mode, the flag limits the refresh rate to the nearest rate supported by the card.
Range: [60, MaxSupported]
-rendertotex
-rendertotex16 Many games create high level effects which require multiple stages to compute the result. These effects are accomplished by rendering to off-screen textures. These textures are the composited onto the back buffer. To assess this scenario, the Render To Texture flag causes GenGame to render its scene to a screen sized off-screen texture and then render that texture to the back buffer.
Some cards support float 16-bit render targets. GenGame can use float 16 render targets for cards that have such a capacity. Specify the number of render targets desired. GenGame will cycle through the rendertargets. GenGame will always use a previous rendertarget as a texture (see /rtdelta switch ).
Range: [2, MaxSupported]
-rtdelta When rendering with render targets set the delta is how far back in the render target circular buffer to go to set a previous render target as a texture.
Example command line snippet :
“/rendertotex 10 /rtdelta 9”
GenGame will create 10 render targets. It will set the 0th render target as the render surface for the scene, and set the 9th render target as a texture in the scene. On the next frame, GenGame will set the 1st render target as the render surface for the scene, and set the 0th render target as a texture. The default value is 1, which should be the most optimal for throughput as the next rendertarget is always the oldest rendertarget in the set.
Range: [1, Number Of RenderTargets – 1]
-fullscreen Specifies that the D3D Device should be created in full screen mode.
-noalpha By default, GenGame enables back buffer alpha blending. Alpha helps with verification because the shades for GenGame permute the alpha channel creating different color output.
-NoDisp Sets the window to “not visible” so that the assessment effectively draws to an off-screen surface.
-texshader
-alushader There are three types of shaders used in GenGame. The Simple Shader is the most minimal shader in GenGame. This is the default shader used. The texture shader can sample up to 16 textures and adds them together. The alu shader can load up to 2 textures and computes an intensive lighting formula.
-fixedseed Seeds rand with a fixed number in order to run the exact same assessment.
-nozwarming Disables the z-buffer warming used to make the results consistent for non-alpha assessment runs.
-ref Forces the software rasterization of the assessment. This is very slow.
-noetw This flag prevents the use of ETW. It should be used if the user intends to do their own ETW logging and so does not want the log stopped by the assessment.
-noclear Disables the call to Clear in the OnFrameRender function. Just an experimental flag.
-v Shows all relevant information about the assessment, including the FPS and CPU Idle information.

MEM WinSAT "winsat mem"


The memory assessment is usually run with a simple command line with no arguments, such as:winsat


The memory assessment supports the following command line arguments:-v This specifies that the assessment should produce verbose output to STDOUT. This output includes progress and status information, and possibly error information. The default is no verbose output.

-up Force memory testing with only one thread. The default is to run one thread per physical CPU or core.

-rn This specifies that the assessment’s threads should run at normal priority. The default is to run at a priority 15.

-nc This specifies that the assessment should allocate memory and flag it as un-cached. This means that the processor’s caches will be bypassed for the copy operations. The default is to run in cached space.

-bs This specifies that the memory copy test should use the specified buffer size. 2X this amount will be allocated per CPU. This will be the amount of memory copied from one buffer to another. The default is 16 mega bytes. This value is rounded to the nearest 4K boundary. Click here too determine how is specified. The maximum allowed is 32 mega bytes. The minimum allowed is 4K. Passing an invalid buffer size causes the memory test to return an error. Negative values for cause an error.

-do This specifies the distance, in bytes between the end of the source buffer and the beginning of the destination buffer. The default is 64 bytes. Click here too determine how is specified. The maximum allowable destination off set is 16MB. Passing a invalid destination offset causes the memory test to return an error. Note, zero is a valid value. Negative values for cause an error.

-mint This specifies the minimum run time for the assessment. The assessment will run for at least this long. The default value for this assessment is 2.0 seconds. The minimum value for this parameter is 1.0. The maximum value for this parameter is 30.0 seconds. Specifying a minimum value greater than the maxt value is an error.

-maxt This specifies the maxt run time for the assessment. The assessment will never run longer than this. The default value for this assessment is 5.0 seconds. The minimum value for this parameter is 1.0. The maximum value for this parameter is 30.0 seconds. The memory assessment will run for at least mint seconds and will never run more than maxt seconds. After the assessment has ran for mint seconds it will begin to do periodic statistical checks of its results. If the statistical checks pass then the assessment will complete. If the assessment runs for maxt without satisfying the statistical checks then the assessment will complete and return the data it has measured.




DISK WinSAT "winsat disk"

The disk assessment must be run with parameters: winsat disk


The disk assessment supports the following command line parameters: -seq
-ran Only one should be specified at a time. Controls whether or not the sequential or random IO performance will be assessed. This parameter is required.
-read
-write Only one should be specified at a time. Controls whether or not the read or write performance will be assessed. This parameter is required.

-n x Defines what physical disk should be assessed where ‘x’ is the physical disk number. This parameter is required.
-count Defines the number of iterations that will be performed, default is 1, the max is 50. This parameter is optional.
-iocount Defines the number of IOs that will be issued for the assessment, default is 256, the max is 5000. This parameter is optional.

-seqsize Defines the size of the IOs that will be issued for a sequential IO assessment in bytes, default is 65536. Values greater than 1 MB will use 1 MB. Values that are not sector aligned will be rounded down to be sector aligned unless it is smaller than a sector in which case it will be rounded up to the sector size. This parameter is optional.
-ransize Defines the size of the IOs that will be issued for a random IO assessment in bytes, default is 16384. Values greater than 1 MB will use 1 MB. Values that are not sector aligned will be rounded down to be sector aligned unless it is smaller than a sector in which case it will be rounded up to the sector size. This parameter is optional.



CPU WinSAT "winsat cpu"

The computation assessment (CPU assessment) is usually run with a simple command line with no arguments, such as:winsat cpu


The memory assessment supports the following command line arguments:-encryption Runs the encryption and decryption sub-assessment.
-compression Runs the compression and de-compression sub-assessment.

-buffersize Sets the buffer size for the assessment. The minimum allowable buffer size is 4K. The maximum is 2MB. The default buffer size is 16KB.

-mint This specifies the minimum run time for the assessment. The assessment will run for at least this long. The default value for this assessment is 5.0 seconds. The minimum value for this parameter is 1.0. The maximum value for this parameter is 30.0 seconds. Specifying a minimum value greater than the maxt value is an error.

-maxt This specifies the maxt run time for the assessment. The assessment will never run longer than this. The default value for this assessment is 10.0 seconds. The minimum value for this parameter is 1.0. The maximum value for this parameter is 30.0 seconds.



The CPU assessments will run for at least mint seconds and will never run more than maxt seconds. After the assessment as run for mint seconds it will begin to do periodic statistical checks of its results. If the statistical checks pass then the assessment will complete. If the assessment runs for maxt without satisfying the statistical checks then the assessment will complete and return the data it has measured.



Media WinSAT "winsat media"

The following command line switches are common to both decode and encode scenarios: -v Determines if verbose reporting should be performed, listing detailed information about the assessment itself and the statistics gathered by the assessment. By default, verbose reporting is off. This parameter is optional.

-input
Specifies the decode scenario and the input file to be played. The input file can be of any format that is renderable by DirectShow. It must exist at the start of the assessment. This parameter is required.

-dumpgraph filename Specifies that the filter graph should be saved to a GraphEdit-compatible file before the assessment starts. This parameter is optional.
-ns Determines that the filter graph should be run at the normal playback speed of the input file. If supplied, the filter graph honors the presentation times in the input file; by default, the filter graph runs as fast as possible, ignoring presentation times. This parameter is optional.


The following command line switches trigger and tune the decode scenario: -show Determines if there should be visual feedback to the user. If supplied, the video content of the file is displayed to the user in a window. By default, the assessment does not display any visible windows. This parameter is optional.

-play
Determines if there should be auditory feedback to the user. If supplied, the audio content of the file is played on the default DirectSound device. By default, audio playback is disabled. This parameter is optional.



A warning will be outputed in verbose mode if –play is specified and–ns is not specified, but the filter graph should be allowed to run.

The following command line switches trigger and tune the encode scenario: -encode prx Specifies that the decoded content should be re-encoded using the Windows Media codecs. The argument is the filename of a PRX profile that configures the encoder. It must exist at the start of the assessment. This profile is created using the Windows Media Profile Editor app in the WM Encoder tool set. This parameter is optional.

-saveas filename
Specifies a filename to output the re-encoded stream to. By default, the stream is thrown away. If the file exists at the start of the assessment, it is overwritten with the new contents. This parameter is optional.



It is considered an error if –saveas is present but –encode is not, or if –encode is present at the same time as –show or –play.



Aurora WinSAT "winsat aurora"

Aurora is not really an assessment. It is a simply a set of consumer suitable visuals that display while other assessments are progressing off-screen during the assessment process. The Aurora will run at a low frame rate. It will be a separate process with a separate D3D device.


The Aurora assessment supports the following command line arguments:-time Number of seconds to run the assessment.
Range: [5, ∞]

-fps In full screen mode, the flag limits the refresh rate to the nearest rate supported by the card.
Range: [60, MaxSupported]

-width
-height Width and Height of the window the app is running in. On XP, this is the screen resolution, on Vista it will be similar, but will not run in exclusive mode.
Range: [256, ∞] for windowed and card supported screen resolutions for full screen mode.

-fullscreen Specifies that the D3D Device should be created in full screen mode.

-aa
Anti-aliases the Aurora by jitter sample.
Range: [1, 10]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

December CTP Review

Another part to the two post thing is my review on Windows Vista Build 5270.

Well, first impressions were mixed, I've had some pretty bad experiences with the Beta 1 and 5219 and only 5231 sat well on my system thus far, and I was afraid that 5270 would follow suit and be a bad experience. Those fears were confirmed when I made the mistake of installing Windows Live Messenger 8 onto Vista, BIG MISTAKE. It totally broke the operating system, forcing me to reinstall.

Frustrations aside I was pleased with the enhancements to the OS, especially in the user interface. It featured all the bells and whistles one would expect from a next generation OS, the glass, the transition effects, enhanced usability and security, as well as a few added bonus', such as Windows Media Player 11, sporting its fully glassed skin.

First Steps - Installation

First thing is first, since I do not have a DVD burner and certainly can't afford one at the present moment, I used a DVD emulator (daemon Tools V4) to mount the Vista DVD in Windows XP. Once this was accomplished I browsed to the virtual DVD drive and copied its contents over to a folder on my desktop. Ran setup to find a blue splash screen with a mis-formed Windows flag. After entering setup however I was greeted with a new installation de-similar to 5231. Sporting the newly rebuilt, but still graphically buggy setup engine, I continued with installation, first part went without a hitch, chose the 10GB partition created for testing Vista on a dual boot environment and continued on my way. After the initial setup phase it forces reboot into the second part of the setup, which took roughly about 20 minutes on this configuration. Rebooted again and I met the third part of setup, the hardware configuration part of setup, which roughly took about another 30 to 40 minutes to complete. After the third part I was greeted with something I didn't expect to see, a setup wizard. I input my name, chose my avatar, my wallpaper, and several other goodies.

Second Steps - Desktop and Customization

After long and drawn out installation, I was greeted with the Windows Vista desktop. The features were extensive and the eye candy was plentifull. It would appear as though the Vista team took the time from not releasing the November CTP to Tech Beta Testers, to add optimizations and functionality. The bugs were there of course, as with any beta, however they were fewer and took some real digging to find.

A totall revamp of the Control Panel left me stumbling through options much the same as I did when I first installed Windows XP, but I slowly found my way through the OS. They opted for a more grouped and task oriented Control Panel, as well as an organized way of dealing with desktop customization, having a separate right click menu option +for wallpapers and another separate right click menu option for the themes, and color variations. The icons have also been revamped and now allow for larger icons on the desktop, which look completely beautiful, with the exception of the unofficial icons, which were surrounded by a glossy box.

Explorer sported newer icons and a revamped look, which appear more bluish then before, aswell as the maximize, minimize, and close buttons remaining unchanged with the exception of the close button, which remains constantly red when the window is focused.

Win+tab and Alt+Tab has been completely revamped. Win+Tab is more functional in all, with all of the windows appearing on the screen regardless of weither or not their minimized. Alt+Tab has been redone as well, instead of cycling through the windows, you cycle a cursor over a larger and still menu of windows.

performance Issues

One thing that caught my eye was the hit to performance, the OS was considerably slower then 5231 on my configuration. The reason behind this was more services running under the hood and the Windows Search Engine, which for some reason likes to use more system resources then it should. Upon bootup the DWM animations appear sluggish and unresponsive until the system warms up a bit, I've often found myself shift+F9ing through the load times to make it go faster. Once the system's start up finished the responsiveness returned, with faster DWM and better animation effects.

Easter Eggs Abound

With the inclusion of the Winsat (Windows Assessment Tools), you can take a peek at many of the features that the Vista Team plans in implementing into Vista. Below I will list a set of commands to try and what not to try.

winsat aurora -aa 10 ~ This tool showcase the Windows Desktop Aurora, a feature the Vista team plans in implementing in their next CTP. I was quite impressed by it, however even with Anti-Aliasing on 10, it appeared jagged and overly bright.

winsat dwm ~ This tool appears to showcase a darker Windows Desktop Aurora, with very little effects showcased.

winsat d3d ~ This showcases a milky Direct3D demo, not totally sure what else it does aside from show a bumpy watery effect, worth a look though.

winsat moobe ~ This interesting little command did a lot of things but in the end only disabled DWM, its worth a try though, just be sure to reset Vista in order to get the DWM effects back.

Final Impression

As with other Vista betas, this build is not without its bugs and there is a greater chance of breaking Vista with applications that are not compatible with it. (Windows Live Messenger 8). However knowing this, its definitely a step in the right direction. The overall usability has increased in leaps and bounds and will definitely not disappoint the avid beta tester once they install it to their system.



December CTP Screenshots

Well since Imageshack doesn't know what their doing, I'll post alternate mirrors to the more important pictures, like the Desktop Aurora and the Aurora wallpaper. About 10% of the screenshots don't work. Go figure.. :(


Two parts to todays posts, screenshots and reviews.. First with the screenies. :D

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us






Ah, and who could forget Windows Vista Desktop Aurora, it was displayed in an included Windows Assesment Demo, here are the shots below.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Vista Desktop Aurora Alternate Link

I've made it into a wallpaper in 1280x1024 desktop proportions.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Vista Desktop Aurora Wallpaper Alternate Link

Monday, December 19, 2005

Windows Vista December CTP

Well it looks like we are finally getting a CTP, the December CTP should be released within the next 24 hours to testers who are eager to get ahold of it and see what progress has been made. I've heard scattered reports that the last CTP's reason for being awol was the fact that the boot loader had a critical error once Vista 5259 was installed, I've never been able to confirm this but with supposdly nince test builds since they started the December CTP build, Im comfortable and confident we'll get a great build.

We are also getting a feature complete build sometime in January/Febuary, internally however the feature complete build will be out at the end of this month.

With new builds coming out this week, I'm personally excited to see the progress of the build so far. I'll keep you posted and post some nice screenshots once the build is up. :)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

John's November Summary

Yup, here it is, December, In the geek world it meant closure to one of the crappiest months in the Windows Vista Beta. We had nothing going on, little communication from Microsoft and it was overrun with speculation about when the November CTP (Which was canceled for a more feature complete and stable December CTP) would come out. December will hopefully be much better as we are getting ready to do more feature focus work, as well as a really GOOD December CTP.

Paul "Self-Proclaimed Uber Caster" Thourrott At It Again

If I miss-spelt your name, oh well, cry. First of all, Microsoft has issued a warning saying that anyone who uses this leaked build, while in the Tech Beta, MVP or not, will be banned from current and future beta programs. I particularly don't blame them, considering that the build is broken and should not be out in the public, yet here he is, using it, most pathetically posting as many screenshots as he possibly can. I think its safe to say he shot himself in the foot on this one. His news tactics are less then desirable, fluffing his story up with the words.."Rumor" and "See it here first", and my absolute favorite "Yes, -Insert product name here-, will be released on -insert date here, usually a year later then the news post-."

Paul, some tips, and I'm certainly no news expert, but please watch what you post, considering that your posting an illegally leaked OS on a widely public news website, under your own name, since your an MVP, take a peak at the forums.. while you still can, because Microsoft isn't too pleased.

ZOMG I LEAKED BUILD FOR TEH UBER-LEETNESS I PWN

JCXP, or Jack(Ass ;p) leaked the build to the public, how nice. I just happen to know how it happened aswell, would you like to listen to the story? :)

Jack, whome is a self-proclaimed antagonist, had the build from another friend who got it from a Microsoft employee, whome probably isnt working at Redmond anymore. His plans to leak the build in a broader scale also spelt doom for his tech beta experiance. He originally hosted it on an FTP, and thus distro'd it to several other various friends in a valient, yet half-assed, attempt to torrent it. He eventually got it down though, posting a torrent on Piratebay.org, with 1 seeder with a 2.5MBps upstream, and then decided to fling the crap about the net.

Now we know this guy from before, He's the dipshit who leaked the sidebar out and got barely a slap on the wrist. Now the sidebar is pretty much everywhere, 1 of 5 users are currently sporting sidebars on their Vista builds, and with a lil hack, on their xp machines.

To be perfectly honest, this kind of crap does not belong in the Tech beta community, hopefully Microsoft will implement tagged builds in future releases somehow. Kudos to them if they are on it already.


Well that pretty much sums up the most of it for the month of November, and while I recover from a car accident (don't ask). I'll continue to keep this space updated with better postings as I get them. :)



Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Best Racing Game EVER

Well, I recently came accross some money.. (thank god) and got work lined up within the next couple of weeks, which Im seriously glad for that, and I picked up NFS Most Wanted.. OMG.. best racing game ever.. and Im not usually a racing fan. Had to run over to Target for my sister to return a few randomized things and got back to find out that MS doesn't plan on releasing November CTP .. or December CTP.. or any CTP to testers. (unconfirmed, dont castrate, or qoute me)

Anyways, here is a pick of my craptastic starter car from the pc version of NFSMW.. :)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Scammers and Hackers

Well, it appears I got some interesting spam in the mail today, especially the spoofed email from the FBI, thats rich. :) I used a test machine to open the attachment and the hilarious after effects, a totally crippled PC. It looks like idiots are turning towards spoofing the people that are hunting them. The test machine has since then been scraped and deleted.

Its really pathetic how people will pull the lowest tricks to get browny points in the spam department, are people that desperate for money that they will risk putting themselves in prison for a good 20 years to accomplish their deeds?

Ah here we go, I did some googling and found this... News:FBI warns of mass emails.

As stated earlier this confirms my theory about the virtual machine being trashed. One thing to remember is if you get any email from the FBI it is likely a virus, do NOT open it.

Weird Dreams & Other Randomness

Well its been an interesting night.. Woke up after having 6 consecutive dreams about the same subject. (Woke up 5 times from them) Odd, it must mean something but Im not into trying to translate dreams and their meanings. Anyways, I decided to throw my blog url to some buddies and make my own little blog link list on my page. It'll continue to grow of course if I decide to "add" more friends. :)

Oh yeah, I decided to take moderation off of my comments, so anyone is free to comment, you don't need an account to view and post in my blog which is exactly what I had wanted from a blog from the begining. :)

Hahaha, I left it on but I lied about it being moderated, I got some interesting crap in the comments. :P

Comments and Posts are subject to moderation BEFORE they are posted online, if they don't appear appropriate, they are deleted.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Windows Vista Build 5259 Screenshots

Well this has deffinatly been one of the more heated betas I've ever seen. Although I havn't been in them long, I'm in ALOT of them. Alot being about 8 current and upcoming betas. Hopefully Microsoft will release a new build to beta testers Monday November 28th, or the following tuesday. Anyways, here is a few screenshots from the build in question. Unfortunatly, since this blog doesnt have a picture system, I'll have to host them elsewhere. :/


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Wow! That was a pain in the arse, hopefully blogspot adds some built in picture support.

Thanksgiving & Blog Changing

Well, I decided to create and update a new blog seperate from myspace (Dead ....don't ask), and MyWallop, which is locked to MyWallop users commenting and I really welcome and enjoy reading other's comments. Thanksgiving was seriously uneventfull, like usuall. Im stuck in that spot between college and work and getting a job, getting things squared away for college, like the 800 USD bill I have to pay...blah..

Other then that it was nice, I seriously hope those whome visit my blog from the various forums through the link in my comment will find themselves regular viewers. (LOL yeah right ;P)



Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Saturday, January 01, 2005

OpenSearch Provider Listings

OpenSearch Provider Listenings for Windows 7.

Simply download and double click to install.

Wikipedia

Geeksmack

Arstechnica

Activewin

Neowin

Teching It Easy

CNN

Rant-Space


If you don’t have Windows 7, no big deal, Microsoft is planning a public beta sometime in the first half of 2009.


Please Note: False date placed to throw the post further down on the page, disregard the date of the post.

Disclaimer: These searches are not endorsed by the websites that are featured in these searches, they are created for everyone to enjoy.