Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 8 Beta

We have been informed that Internet Explorer 8 is right around the corner, and Microsoft has released the beta of the new browser. Internet Explorer 8 is available from Microsoft’s Beta pages, and is compatible with Windows Vista x64 and x86, Windows XP SP2 and Microsoft Windows Server 2003. The installation appears to overwrite the IE7 install, it can be later removed, and a reboot is required before the installation is complete.

So what novelties does Internet Explorer 8 bring to the table? Microsoft lists a good number of new features, including a new favorites bar, contextual “Activities” menus, “WebSlices” (chunks of content sites can serve to users’ link bars), an improved phishing filter, “domain highlighting”, new developer tools, and functionality to help users transition from other browsers. For instance, IE8 can import Firefox bookmarks and even look for extensions similar to those a user might have installed in Mozilla’s browser.

Change File Associations with Types

Changing file associations in Windows XP and Windows Vista can be a tedious task. You first have to load the Folder Options in the Tools menu, select the File Types tab afterward, wait for the list to load, scroll down until you find the file type that you want to change, click on the change button to change the file association and browse the computer for the new application. You better take a day off if you want to change the associations of several file types.

Types on the other hand is a lightweight portable Open-Source software that runs on Windows XP and Windows Vista that makes it a tad easier to change file associations in both operating systems. It comes with a window that can actually be changed in size which means that it is possible to display virtually all file extensions on
the screen at the same time.

The Windows Start Menu

It took me a little while to adapt, but I soon grew to find the Vista start menu far more useful and productive then XP’s ever was. Granted I’ve read the comments of a lot of people who disagree, but I personally think the integrated search has again made the Windows start menu my main point of access to all my programs.

Previously I had used a whole combination of toolbars and application launchers so it was a welcome change to remove some of this clutter.

One of the notable alternatives to pop up was the Vista Start Menu, a replacement for both the XP and Vista menus. Developer Dennis Nazarenko created it becuase he says:

“I have always found the Start Menu in Windows to be inconvenient to use. In the new Windows Vista it’s been made more attractive but more inconvenient than even before!”

His replacement is definitely a more useful option for XP but I would never recommend using it in Vista, it would be somewhat of a step backwards. …

Microsoft Officially Ceases Windows XP Sales

Yesterday, on June 30 2008, Microsoft officially ceased sales of Windows XP to all major retailers and PC manufactures like Dell, HP, Lenovo etc.

Sadly even the great Save XP movement couldn’t bring about any change in Microsoft’s decision to prolong
Windows XP lifetime so the question now is whether if Windows XP is really going to disappear after June 30?

Microsoft Launches UltimatePC (beta)

Microsoft launched UltimatePC which is their new website where Microsoft will be hosting “blueprints” of the best PCs available and exactly what you can achieve with them.

There is a small section at called “Ultimate Exclusives”. According to Microsoft these are not replacing Ultimate Extras. The reason given for the poor amount of extras is the high amount of testing and quality required for them to ship.

Check your Hard Drives with HD Tune

HD Tune is a hard disk analyzer that offers a wealth of information about the internal hard drives that are connected to the computer. It does display general information like the type of the hard drive, the serial number, capacity, firmware version and buffer size which are nice to know because it allows you to check if that hard drive is the correct one. I remember more than one instance where a friend of mine bought a hard
drive only to find out that the clerk handed him one that had a lower capacity and different model number.

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