Archive for the ‘Internet Explorer 9’ Category

02.16
13

Internet Explorer only? IE doubt it

by admin ·

Fewer businesses standardizing browser use on Internet Explorer, but the practice isn’t gone yet.

Just as Internet users in general have defected in huge numbers from Microsoft Internet Explorer over the past several years, the business world, as well, is becoming less dependent on the venerable browser.

Companies that used to mandate the use of IE for access to web resources are beginning to embrace a far more heterodox attitude toward web browsers. While it hasn’t gone away, the experience of having to use IE 6 to access some legacy in-house web app is becoming less common.

[BROWSER BATTLE: IE vs. Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Opera]

“Things have changed a lot in the last three years, and I think a lot of it has to do with the emergence of the modern web and the popularity of mobile. They have made it very different for companies to truly standardize on a browser,” says Gartner Research analyst David Mitchell Smith.

One example of the changing face of business browser use is SquareTwo Financial, a Denver-based financial services company that works primarily in distressed asset management. The firm’s 280 employees handle both consumer and commercial business, buying and selling debt, and a franchise program means that there are upwards of 1,500 more people working at SquareTwo affiliates. According to CTO Chris Reigrut, the company takes in roughly $280 million in annual revenue.

“In addition to buying and selling debt, we also provide a software-as-a-service platform that our franchises (and we) use to actually negotiate and litigate the debt,” he tells Network World.

Square Two hasn’t needed to standardize, he says, because keeping their offerings diverse is part of the idea – the company’s various online resources all have differing requirements.

“We do distribute Firefox on Windows systems – however, Safari and IE are both frequently used. Our internal wiki is only officially supported on Firefox and Safari. Our SaaS ‘client’ is a pre-packaged Firefox install so that it looks more like a traditional thick-client application. Most of our employees use their browser for a couple of internal systems, as well as several external services (i.e. HR, training, etc),” says Reigrut (who, like the other IT pros quoted in this story is a member of the CIO Executive Council Pathways program for leadership development).

The Microsoft faithful, however, are still out there. Many businesses have chosen to remain standardized on IE, for several reasons. SickKids, a children’s research hospital in Toronto, sticks with Microsoft’s browser mostly for the ease of applying updates.

“We have more than 7,000 end-point devices. Most of those devices are Windows workstations and Internet Explorer is included as part of the Microsoft Windows operating system. As such, this makes it easier and integrates well with our solution to manage and deploy upgrades, patches and hotfixes to the OS including IE,” says implementations director Peter Parsan.

“Internet Explorer is more than a browser, it is the foundation for Internet functionality in Windows,” he adds.

[MORE INTERNET EXPLORER: Internet Explorer flaws fixed by Microsoft Patch Tuesday updates]

The complexity of managing an ecosystem with more than 100 types of software – running the gamut from productivity applications to clinical programs – requires a heavily controlled approach, according to Parsan.

Smith agrees that IE still has its advantages for business users that want just such a strictly regimented technology infrastructure.

“If you want a managed, traditional IT environment … really, your only option is Internet Explorer,” he says, adding that both Firefox and Chrome lag behind IE in terms of effective centralized management tools.

Some companies, however, have gone a different way – standardizing not on IE, but on a competing browser.

Elliot Tally, senior director of enterprise apps for electronics manufacturer Sanmina, says his company’s employees are highly dependent on browsers for business-critical activities. Everything from ERP to document control (which he notes is “big for a manufacturing company”) to the supply chain is run from a web app.

Tally says Sanmina made the move to standardize on Chrome in 2009, in part because of a simultaneous switch to Gmail and Google Apps from IE and Microsoft products.

“It made sense to go with the browser created and supported by the company that created the apps we rely on. Also, Chrome installs in user space so it doesn’t require admin privileges to auto-update,” he says. “It also silently auto-updates, as opposed to Firefox, which requires a fresh install to update versions, or IE, which is similar. Chrome, over the last year or so, has supported web standards better than any other browser, and (until recently) has offered significantly better performance.”

Plainly, broad diversity exists both in the actual browsers used by workers and the approaches businesses have taken in managing their use.

That diversity, says Smith, is the reason Gartner has been advising clients against standardization from the outset.

“Standardize on standards, not browsers,” he urges. “That was a controversial position for 10 years. People really didn’t agree with it, they didn’t listen to it, and they paid the price.”

Microsoft, as well, has had to pay a price.

“[Standardization] hurts Microsoft’s reputation as an innovator; as a forward-thinker,” he says. “When people’s impression of using Microsoft technology – whether it’s a browser, whether it’s an operating system – is something that is two or three versions old, because they’re dealing with it through what enterprises want.”


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04.3
12

IE’s browser share recovers, Chrome down for third straight month

by admin ·

T

Sign of a Microsoft turnaround, or just a calculation change by metrics company?

Computerworld – Internet Explorer posted another major gain in share last month, the second in the first quarter of the year, perhaps signaling a turnaround in Microsoft’s fortunes, a Web metrics company said Sunday.

Meanwhile, every rival, including Google’s Chrome, which is usually the one stealing users, lost share.

Internet Explorer (IE) gained 1 percentage point during March, said measurement firm Net Applications, to end the month with a 53.8% share, its highest level since September 2011. Last month’s growth was the second this year of 1 point or more.

Chrome lost a third of a percentage point to close March with 18.6%, while Mozilla’s Firefox slipped by about the same to 20.6%, the open-source browser’s lowest number in more than three years.

Apple’s Safari and Opera Software’s desktop browsers also dipped, falling by two-tenths and one-tenth of a point, respectively, to 5.1% and 1.6%.

Chrome’s decline is especially notable, as March’s slide was the third consecutive month that Google’s once-hard-charging browser lost share. In the first quarter of 2012, Chrome has dropped more than half a percentage point, representing a 3% decline from the browser’s December 2011 number.

Previously, Net Applications has attributed Chrome’s skid to Google’s January demotion of the browser’s search ranking and then last month, to recalculations that eliminated the extra activity generated by Chrome’s pre-rendering feature.

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Google restored Chrome’s search ranking last month.
It was unclear whether the rise of Internet Explorer (IE) and the fall of every rival was due to a rejiggering of Net Applications’ numbers.

Like most Web measurement firms, Net Applications has more data on some nations — the U.S., for instance — and relatively small samples from others, such as China. To produce what it believes is a more accurate representation of global browser usage, Net Applications weights its Chinese data proportionally higher because that country has a greater percentage of the world’s Internet users than the U.S.

Net Applications uses online population numbers provided by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has regularly tracked big jumps in China’s part of the browser-user pie, and corresponding drops in the percentage of the world’s users who hail from the U.S., Europe and other developed countries. Earlier this year, a company spokesman confirmed that it would revamp its calculations with newer CIA numbers at some point.

In February 2011, after Net Applications’ last accounting change, IE’s usage share jumped an eighth of a percentage point, at that time its largest one-month increase ever.

Because Chinese users overwhelmingly rely on IE, or a modified version of Microsoft’s browser, the country can easily skew Net Applications’ share estimates toward IE as more people there access the Web.

Microsoft, not surprisingly, applauds Net Applications’ country-by-country weighting system, going so far last month as to explicitly challenge the accuracy of the data from another metrics company, Ireland’s StatCounter, which also publishes monthly browser share numbers.

Net Applications did not reply Sunday to questions about whether it revised its weighting formula last month, and if so, what impact that had on IE’s share.

Microsoft mentioned the overall gains of IE in passing on Sunday, but as it’s done for months, focused on increases of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9).

“We … see great strides made against our core metric: IE9 against Windows 7,” said Roger Capriotti, director of IE marketing, in a Sunday postto a company blog.

Almost since IE9’s debut, Microsoft has ignored IE’s aggregate performance — which admittedly has been dismal until late — and instead focused on the growth of its newest browser among Windows 7 users, a combination the company has regularly claimed is the only measurement that matters.

By Net Applications’ numbers, IE9 accounts for 34.5% of the world’s browsers used on that operating system, an increase of more than four percentage points from February, and owns a 48.9% share of the Windows 7 browser market in the U.S., a jump of 8.5 points.

The browser’s global share of all operating systems, however, is significantly lower, at 15.2%, but even that was a bump of 2.6 percentage points, the largest single-month gain since IE9’s March 2011 launch.

Other editions of Microsoft’s browser didn’t fare as well: IE8 lost 2.5 percentage points to fall to 25.4%, while IE7 dropped to 4.5%. IE6, the nearly 11-year-old browser that Microsoft has been trying to bury, stayed flat at 6.9%.

StatCounter, however, told a different tale.
The Irish company, which neither adjusts its statistics for each country’s online population nor discards Chrome’s pre-rendered pages, said that IE controlled 34.8% of the browser market, down nine-tenths of a point, while Chrome grew by more than a point to end March at 30.9%. Firefox, said StatCounter, remained stable at 25%.

Net Applications calculates browser usage share with data obtained from more than 160 million unique visitors who browse 40,000 Web sites that the company monitors. More browser share figures can be found on the company’s site.

02.27
12

Does a Mozilla smartphone/tablet OS have a chance against Android and iOS?

by IT Trainer ·

If Mozilla has teamed up with a hardware partner (or partners) then it’s serious about B2G, and if it’s serious about B2G, then it’s also serious about going head-to-head against Apple and Google.

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If rumors are to be believes, not only will Mozilla take the wraps off the Mozilla Marketplace at next week’s Mobile World Congress, but it will also announce that it has teamed up with LG to bring a developer-oriented mobile device to market.

Does Mozilla stand a chance against the likes of Android, Chrome, Windows Phone (and Windows 8) and iOS when it comes to smartphone and tablet operating systems?

Mozilla Marketplace is the company’s plan to bring apps to Firefox, which will make a debut with Firefox 13 in June. However, Mozilla has also hinted as aspirations to enter the OS market with it’s Boot to Gecko (B2G) project, a OS that runs HTML5, JavaScript and CSS directly on device hardware without the need for an intermediate OS layer.

According to ExtremeTech, Mozilla has partnered with LG and is to announce a developer device that could go on sale as early as next week, and that this device will give developers the chance to start developing apps for B2G.

However, at present there’s really no sign of B2G code, so it’s likely that any devices sold now would sit on desks gathering dust until later in the year. This fact alone makes me suspect that there won’t be a device on sale next week, and that at best this is an announcement.

But either way it’s interesting. If Mozilla has teamed up with a hardware partner (or partners) then it’s serious about B2G, and if it’s serious about B2G, then it’s also serious about going head-to-head against Apple and Google.

And that could be a huge problem for Mozilla. Apple and Google are titans of the tech industry, and by comparison Mozilla is, well, nothing. Even Microsoft is having a tough time breaking into the post-PC device market, and that company has billions at its disposal and enormous reach into almost every corner of the consumer and enterprise IT markets. If Microsoft is having a hard time going up against Apple and Google, what’s Mozilla’s secret sauce?

Mozilla might have been able to outmaneuver Microsoft when it came to offering an alternative web browser, but this is an entirely different thing. Giving away a free browser is very different to trying to sell hardware of a platform. Not only that, but Google and Apple are far more on the ball than Microsoft was when it comes to protecting their markets and threat recognition.

I see this playing out in one of three ways:

Fantasy-case scenario: Mozilla becomes a big player in post-PC hardware with B2G and offers hardware OEMs and carriers an alternative to Google, Apple and Microsoft’s walled-garden approach (yeah, right … ).
Best-case scenario: B2G hardware dies on the vine before Mozilla invests too much money and development time in the project.
Worst-case scenario: Google, Apple and Microsoft tag-team Mozilla in the courts, dragging the company into the ongoing litigation mess that the mobile hardware market has evolved into, and Mozilla ends up hemorrhaging cash.

I see what Mozilla is trying to do here. It’s basically trying to turn every copy of Firefox, no matter where it is, into an operating system capable of running apps. That’s a noble idea (although you might wonder just how fragmented the app market is going to get soon, with everyone wanting a piece of it), but B2G takes it a step further to the point where Mozilla wants to become the platform of its own. And it’s that plan that puts Mozilla on a collision course with the Goliaths of the tech industry.

I’m thinking that Mozilla has bitten off more than it can chew here.

11.12
11

Minuscule Mobile Presence Puts IE Market Share Below 50 Percent

by [email protected] ·

If you look at the numbers a certain way, it appears that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has fallen to below 50 percent of the overall browser market, according to figures from Net Applications. That figure, however, takes into account mobile market share, and mobile is area in which Microsoft could soon grow thanks to its ties with Nokia.

Net Applications’ browser market report for October continues to track Internet Explorer’s steady decline, from 60.99 percent in October 2010 to 53.39 percent in September 2011 to 52.63 percent in October 2011.

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Some caveats must be included in these numbers, though. For starters, these figures just refer to desktop use. Some 6 percent of the browser marketplace is now mobile — where Internet Explorer doesn’t have much of a presence at all.

Here, Safari reigns, holding a 62.17 percent share of the mobile market. Android’s browser follows with 18.65 percent.

Add these numbers together and the end figure is not pretty for Microsoft: It holds just under 50 percent of the total browser market.

Two Different Beasts

That is not how Net Applications calculates it though, EVP Vince Vizzaccaro told the E-Commerce Times.

“We track desktop market share versus mobile market share, and on the desktop Internet Explore is still at 52 percent.”

It is not wise to count Internet Explorer out even though its market share is in a decline, Vizzaccaro added, for several reasons, starting with the fact that the mobile market is still very much in play.

“With Windows Phone starting to get out there, especially with the deal with Nokia (NYSE: NOK), I believe there is significant room for growth for Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) IE.”
Business Versus Consumers

Another reason why Internet Explorer has staying power, he added, is that it is a staple of the business community.

“The browser market is still very much a dual-user community, divided between consumers and businesses.”

Oftentimes the same user who wouldn’t think of deploying Internet Explorer at home — preferring instead to use Firefox or Chrome — can’t use anything else but IE at work.

The reason for consumers’ preference for Chrome and Firefox are obvious, Vizzaccaro did acknowledge: Both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Mozilla have taken a rapid upgrade, rapid feature-enhancement approach to their respective products.

“That plays wonderfully at home but in the corporate world it falls flat,” he said.

Businesses want to see a much longer deployment cycle, want to know that there was a lot of testing done, want to make sure that the browser is completely safe for business machines, he said.
Usability on Par

Internet Explorer does suffer from a perception problem, Vizzaccaro added, which is unfortunate because all of the browsers are on par with each other in terms of usability and features.

“Because Chrome is the new kid on block, it is gaining some mind share but I don’t see a big difference in usability in any of the browsers,” he concluded.

Not that Net Applications is reflective of that. Besides Internet Explorer’s decline, the research firm’s monthly stats also chronicles Google’s Chrome Web browser ascending star. It has cracked 17.6 percent market share after jumping 1.4 percent month-over-month from September and is closely gaining on Firefox’s 22.5 percent. Indeed, Chrome could well pass Firefox by early 2012.

10.4
11

Internet Explorer Loses Market Share to Chrome, Safari

by admin ·

Microsoft’s share of the global browser market fell 0.92 percent in September in comparison with the prior month. What’s more, Internet Explorer’s market share has declined 7.5 percentage points since the same time last year, according to the latest data from Net Applications.

 


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On the other hand, 22.1 percent of all Windows 7 machines accessing the Internet worldwide were running Microsoft’s latestIE9 browser at the end of September, the web metrics firm said Saturday. The other top browsers running on Windows 7 machines were IE8 (31.6 percent), Firefox 6 (13.7 percent), Chrome 13 (13.1 percent) and Chrome 14 (5.9 percent).

Microsoft specifically designed IE9 to take advantage of the advanced graphics capabilities of the latest desktop PCs, laptops, netbooks and media tablets running Windows 7. As a result, IE9 on Windows 7 machines accounted for a 31 percent market share of the browser market in the United States last month.

“Microsoft has been pushing IE9 and Windows 7 as the best browsing experience on Windows 7 because of IE9’s use of hardware acceleration and its integration with the Windows 7 user interface,” said Net Applications, which is based in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Leveraging Windows 7 Machines
Given that most people never change the browser that ships with their new machines, IE9’s market share will inevitably continue to rise as more people upgrade to new hardware. According to Net Applications, machines running Windows 7 accounted for 30.4 percent of all browser users worldwide at the end of September.
However, IE9’s emphasis on advanced hardware characteristics made it impossible for Microsoft to offer IE9 support on older machines running Windows XP, which was introduced in August 2001. Microsoft reports that IE6 still held a 9 percent share of the global browser market in September.

In China, for example, IE6 held a 28.7 percent market share and also continues to post significant numbers in South Korea (11.9 percent), Japan (7.1 percent), India (7.1 percent) and Taiwan (6.6 percent). Asia as a whole currently accounts for more than 42 percent of the world’s Internet usage, according to Internet World Stats.
Elsewhere in the world, however, IE6 is tottering on the edge of extinction. In the United States last month, for example, IE6 held a mere 1.4 percent share of the browser market and also posted similar low share numbers throughout Europe, Africa and South America.

Chrome Uptake Climbs
Mozilla notified its browser developer community last April that Firefox would be moving to a shorter development cycle with respect to future releases. Under the new system, Mozilla can in theory issue a Firefox browser refresh at six-week intervals from now on. Nevertheless, Firefox’s 22.5 percent share of the global market at the end of September was slightly down from where the browser stood in April.

The shorter development cycles are great for individual users, but corporations take a while to accept and implement a new browser throughout their workforce, said Net Applications Executive Vice President Vincent Vizzaccaro.
“This factor alone can put a ceiling on what non-IE browsers can hope to achieve in terms of usage market share,” Vizzaccaro said. “Mozilla may be backing off of a rapid development cycle and [I] would guess that the reason [would be] to bring corporations back into their mix of users.”

By contrast, Chrome’s share of the global browser market leaped from 12.5 percent in April to 16.2 percent in September. Apple’s Safari browser uptake also rose in September as is generally the case at the start of the annual back-to-school shopping season.

“This year, Mac share rose 0.42 percent to reach 6.45 percent of worldwide desktop usage and 13.7 percent in the United States,” Net Applications said.

08.12
11

Fix common PC problems

by IT Trainer ·

Having trouble with your computer? You’ve come to the right place. Even if you don’t know a computer language (or want to), you can solve several common PC problems on your own.


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In this article, we offer many ways to do what you need to do in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Often, there may not be a Help topic for Windows XP, but the process is often the same as in Windows 7 or Windows Vista. The only difference is usually where to find the link in Control Panel. Most often, it’s just a matter of slightly different wording in the heading or the text describing the task. Don’t worry. If you search in Control Panel, you’ll usually find the link you need.
F1 is magic: Get help on your PC
Fix common PC problems

If you can’t figure out how to complete a particular task in your software program—and you’re using a PC—the most important shortcut to know is the F1 key. Just push it while the program—Word, Excel, or whichever program you’re using—is open and active, wait a moment, and the Help window specific to your active program will appear. See an F1 key demonstration. The F1 key works with almost all Microsoft products, so it’s a helpful starting point for a wide variety of problems.

The basics

If you’re encountering a different kind of obstacle – your new device won’t appear on your desktop, an application you added won’t run, you see an error message, or your computer is refusing to start up – here are a few preliminary steps:

Before adding any major hardware or software to your system, make sure you’ve recently backed up your Windows 7-based PC or your Windows Vista-based PC as a safeguard. By using the automatic backup functions, you can schedule regular upkeep for maximum convenience.

Many issues can be resolved by simply checking to be sure that all of your plugs are connected properly. After you are sure of that, try restarting (“rebooting”) your system. Turn your computer off, and then back on a few seconds later. If the problem continues, follow the steps below.

Write down the contact information for Microsoft Customer Service and Support, should you need to consult an expert. Take a second to print the below instructions as well, and keep them handy as you walk through the troubleshooting process.

Locating the problem

Microsoft provides a couple of free options to help you locate and fix the PC issue you’re encountering:

Online: Is your PC showing an error message? If so, write down the exact number and wording of the error message, and search for it on the Microsoft Fix it Solution Center. In many cases, the Fix it center provides a “hot fix,” which is an automated solution you can run on your PC with just one click! Even if you don’t see an error message, you may be able to find the solution in the Fix it center, either by topic or by searching. You can also check Microsoft Answers and Office Answers.

Download: You can try out the new Microsoft Fix it Beta. Just download it to your machine, follow the instructions to set it up, and then it will tell you if you have any updates to run. Note: Once you run it, the system will ask you to set up an account, or you can sign in with your Windows Live ID. Also, the Fix it Center will ask you to send information about your computer.

Walk through your system yourself: If you’d like to understand more about the issue you’re seeing, walk through the steps below to help you figure out if the problem is related to hardware, software, or the operating system (such as Windows 7, Windows XP, or Windows Vista). The following are some common indicators that can help you decide which is the right answer.

We recommend you start at the top by determining if your software is working, using the Software errors section that follows. If the issue persists, proceed to the Hardware trouble section and then to the System failure section. The lists on the right side of this page may also help you narrow down the type of trouble you are experiencing.

Software errors

If programs refuse to install, won’t appear on your desktop, can’t seem to run without freezing, don’t load at a decent speed or function properly, or Internet access is unavailable, here’s how to troubleshoot:

General issues

Confirm that your PC meets the software’s minimum system requirements. If it doesn’t, you’ll be unable to run the program without upgrading your computer’s hardware. Note that PCs which barely meet or just slightly exceed these minimums may run the software more slowly and can be less reliable. Windows 7 and Windows Vista users can reference the Windows Experience Index to quickly gauge their PC’s general capabilities.

Check for compatibility with Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

Close open programs and windows that you’re not currently using. These can eat up system memory and processing power, slowing your PC or preventing additional software from running. Try running the program again.

Check available hard drive space. Roughly 5 to 10 percent of your hard drive’s total storage allotment should be left free to ensure optimum system performance in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, prevent crashes, and keep Windows running at top speed.

Note Use Disk Cleanup to free more space:

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP

Check for program updates and information on frequently encountered issues at the software manufacturer’s website. For Microsoft products, you can also load Windows Update for Windows 7, Windows Update for Windows Vista, or visit the Microsoft Download Center. If you install an update, restart your computer, and attempt to run the program again.

Uninstall or delete unwanted programs in Windows 7 or Windows Vista to cut down on clutter and remove any drain on your system’s resources.

Disable programs you don’t use to in Windows 7 or Windows Vista by preventing them from automatically loading when Windows starts. If you’re running Windows 7, restart your computer, and try the program again.

Defragment your hard drive in Windows 7 or Windows Vista to improve performance.

Scan for viruses and spyware. Windows Defender in Windows 7 and Windows Vista can help detect and prevent threats, along with preventing annoying pop-up notices and unauthorized home network intrusions. You can scan your PC for free.

Reboot your computer and try loading the program again. If it still won’t load or work correctly, you may need to uninstall the software and then reinstall it from scratch and reboot again. Advanced users can also try these advanced troubleshooting tricks in Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

Consult Microsoft Help and Support and the Windows Community. If live assistance is required, first contact the software manufacturer’s customer support department. For additional assistance, try Microsoft Customer Service and Support.

Internet Connectivity

Whether you have a modem or a Windows 7 or Windows Vista home network, answers to common Internet access and online networking problems can be found at Microsoft Help and Support. Quick references include:
Dropped signals
Finding wireless networks
Internet connection problems
Network connection issues
Slow speeds

Using Internet Explorer

Download IE8 if you have Windows XP

Download IE9

Hardware trouble

Should equipment fail to turn on, be recognized by your system, or function properly, follow these steps to address some of the most common hardware issues:

Determine that equipment has been assembled correctly, by consulting your product manual or referencing the manufacturer’s website.

Confirm that your device is securely plugged in and receiving power. For equipment that relies on an A/C (wall outlet plug) power adapter, you can double-check that the outlet is functioning correctly by plugging in another device and observing if it starts up or begins charging.

Check to see whether equipment is properly connected to your PC by making sure all cables are securely plugged into the correct ports.

Verify that hardware is turned on.

Look for error messages displayed on either the equipment itself (commonly found on a small LCD screen) or on your desktop. Solutions for many of these can be found in your product manual or by checking this comprehensive database.

Install or reinstall drivers for the device in Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Windows automatically searches for drivers when new devices are connected and notifies you of any available updates. It may be necessary to manually install them yourself, if these files are contained directly on the device, on a CD/DVD sold with the equipment, or on the manufacturer’s website. To activate setup, just double-click on the driver installation program. You may need advice for Windows 7 or Windows Vista if the installation program fails to run.

Confirm that you’re using the latest drivers for your hardware. Manufacturers routinely issue patches to correct errors and inconsistencies that users encounter. To do so, simply use Windows Update, visit the Microsoft Download Center, or check the Download or Support section of the manufacturer’s website.

Reboot your system and test the device again.

Consult Microsoft Help and Support, the Windows Community, or the manufacturer’s website for assistance. The following resources also offer solutions to common problems with popular devices, including:

Audio and sound cards
CD or DVD drives

Digital cameras

Speech recognition

Keyboards

Mice

Monitors and video cards

Network adapters
Printers

Recordable media

Scanners
TV tuners
USB Devices

Webcams

If all else fails, contact the hardware manufacturer’s customer support department. You can also try your computer manufacturer’s customer support group or Microsoft Customer Service and Support for additional assistance.

System failure

Can’t get your PC to start up or shut down? Is Windows stalling out, randomly turning your computer off, or rebooting without warning? Follow these step-by-step instructions to restore system health.

Confirm that your PC is plugged into an electrical outlet and receiving power. If so, reboot and see whether the problem persists.

Try restoring your system.
Check to see if you have a memory problem.
Scan your hard drive for errors.
Look for driver problems.

Try advanced boot options and working in safe mode.

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Did you just install a new hardware device or driver in Windows 7 or Windows Vista before Windows stopped working? Determine the cause and address the problem.

Repair your PC using the Startup Repair function.
Reinstall Windows.

If troubles remain, consult Microsoft Help and Support or the Windows Community. If you still need help, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support.

Hard drive failure

In a worst-case scenario, system failure may be caused by a damaged or corrupted hard drive. There are many warning signs that may indicate this problem:

Your system won’t boot.

No operating system is detected.

The computer hangs during startup.

Your PC is making strange noises.

If you are concerned about the safety of your files, try the following options before paying to send it to a data recovery specialist:

Resurrect your hard drive.

Retrieve files using a boot CD.

Employ free system recovery tools.

06.7
11

My Fav Free Forensic Analysis Tools

by admin ·

I was talking about colleges with my son the other day to see what he is interested in for a possible major. I was hoping and praying he wouldn’t say English since my guidance there would be like trying to divide by zero or philosophy because that meant he’d be living here until his late 30’s. He told me he was interested in being a detective. Well! I must say my ears perked right up! I have always thought the two best careers in IT are forensics and data center. But no…he wants to be a actual detective…like you know the ones that carry a badge and stuff. I’m not sure were that even came from to be honest. He doesn’t watch detective shows or read detective novels. Heck the closest I was to ever being a detective was looking for my pants and wondering why I was wearing moose antler horns and a eye patch after a blackout. Well I guess it could been worse. He could have wanted to go to Auburn…

 


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But that got me thinking about forensics itself and some of the tools I use. I believe that if someone is just getting into IT and they want a solid career path, it’s hard to beat forensic science or data center engineering. Understand to be good in forensics you really need to understand HOW data actually works and moves though a system. Forensics is a top level discipline that you work towards after you master PCs, servers, networking (especially networking) and coding. Sounds tough but man alive is it a lot of fun. I would not say I am a forensics expert. Not even close. I am more of a hobbyist in this area. Now some of the tools out there in forensics are VERY expensive due to their incredible speed and “court room” validation.

However, if you just wanting to mess around and practice on a few machines to see if this is a career path for you, here are a few of the freebie tools I use and have had a ton of success with.

Are your pants on fire yet? Web Browsers analysis
This most common use I see for forensic hobbyist is getting to a history file when the history has been erased. This is a browser specific function so the tools must use the browser API’s to accomplish this. Here are a few of my favs:
– From across the pond the folks at Forensics-software http://forensic-software.co.uk have two most excellent tools. Fox Analysis and Chrome Analysis
– If it’s IE your looking for then its really hard to beat Nirsoft http://www.nirsoft.net/ I absolutely love their IECookieViewer They have a bunch of other tools as well for you to mess around with but their IE stuff is really second to none. Honorable mention to their Skype Log View as well. Very cool tool!

Email Fun
Email is more difficult to find a freeware tool on the forensics side of the house. Email is really a database with a bunch of insane tables and procedures that can lead you down a path more dangerous then walking around Olongopo drunk with money falling out of your pockets. And before you ask No wasn’t me on the don’t do this poster… Email Detective is a proggy we used back in the AOL/Compuserv days to rebuild email. About the only game on the freeware side of the track is from MiTec http://www.mitec.cz/mailview.html out of the Czech Republic called Mail Viewer It’s lightweight and works good on Outlook Express, T-Bird and Windows Live email. See the commonality here? All of the email is cached or stored local and not on a server. For Outlook and other server based DB style systems, I just have not found a good freeware email tool I really like too much.

Lookin’ for a file in a haystack
There are so many attributes to look at with files. The good news here is there is no shortage of really good freebie tools that allow you dissect a file with the precision of a kid removing the vegetables out of Kung Pow Chicken. For stuff like reconstructing images to see if folks have been taking pictures of you eating a salad at a steakhouse (I was watching for my wife!) it’s hard to beat Forensic Image Viewer from Sanderson Forensics http://www.sandersonforensics.com also check out MFTview while your there. He requires you to register to download, but it is totally worth it!
– A tool I really love to mess around with is Memoryze from Mandiant http://www.mandiant.com/products/free_software/memoryze/ This digital bundle of awesomeness allows you to analyze live memory and even page files on a running system. It works great even on memory images. Oh man this tools digital foot must be hurtin’ from the ass it kicks!

But, isn’t there a ISO we can use like BackTrack instead of messin’ round and piece mailing all of these tools?
ISO are really awesome. Just like there are many different fishing lures to catch Bass, there’s also multiple ISO for different forensics needs. Of course you can just use the forensics mode on BT and it works good also. Here are a couple others I keep close at hand.
– Caine Live CD http://www.caine-live.net/ is one of my favs. Full featured with a ton of useful scripts built right in, this is a great general propose ISO with great support and really does Italy proud!
– Deft Linuxhttp://www.deftlinux.net/ another great ISO from Italy this is also another full featured ISO. It is very well documented and man alive is it fast! When I need speed, I turn to Deft!
– Plain Sight http://www.plainsight.info/ is a great ISO to get started on messing around with forensics and it has a lot horsepower too! The volatile memory examination tools are really the stuff!

Websites baby!
Some of my RSS locked forensics favs are:
– http://www.forensicfocus.com/ hardcore folks, news and training here!
– http://www.forensicswiki.org/wiki/Tools Nice up to date tool wiki
– http://www.ciscoworkshops.com Great free geek workshops that cover all things computer geeks dig!

Forensics is a huge field and I believe folks can really make there mark here. It really overlays nearly every single piece of IT out there today and oh man are these folks in demand. Plus it a fun hobby to get into just to really improve your troubleshooting skills. Well, time for me to head off to a customer call. I just glad he likes to talk networking on a Bass boat….

Jimmy Ray Purser

Trivia File Transfer Protocol
Soon after the site was established MGM/UA set up a website for Hackers it was hacked! A group calling itself the Internet Liberation Front managed to draw all over the photo of Hackers stars Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller, and replaced verbiage, ‘this is going to be an entertaining, fun promotional site for a movie,’ with ‘this is going to be a lame, cheesy promotional site for a movie!’ The studio decided to maintain the site during the theatrical run of the movie in its altered form. At least their not Sony….

04.21
11

Six Apple Stores to Visit Before You Die

by admin ·

Apple opened its first retail store in 2001. Since then the number of brick-and-mortar Apple stores has soared to more than 320 worldwide.

In fact, there’s even a Web site, ifoAppleStore that exists for the sole purpose of reporting Apple store news. A recent report from the site suggest that Apple will soon further expand its sphere of retail influence when it adds a store in Moscow. The rumored shop would be located in the historic Hotel Moskva at the north end of the Red Square, just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin. In fact, the façade of the hotel is the same image printed on the label of Stolichnaya Vodka. It’s a high-trafficked, must-see area for Moscow visitors, and it would no doubt be a slick location for an Apple retail store.

 

 

 

 

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Apple has not confirmed that it’s setting up shop in Moscow, but if it did, it would be the company’s easternmost European location, both the first in a former Soviet republic and the first in a former communist state.

Apple hasn’t expanded to a new region since 2007, when it opened a store in Rome. It also lacks a presence in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.

Shopping in an Apple Store is a unique retail experience. Customers can spend hands-on time with a product and seek advice from knowledgeable Apple Geniuses. Beyond that, the stores themselves are often inspired examples of modern design.

Among the hundreds of existing Apple stores, there are some very unique locations, and Apple has even won architectural awards for some of them. In 2003, its store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood won a BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Award.

If you’re traveling, there are some cities where the Apple store is definitely worth adding to your sightseeing list. Here are the top six.

04.17
11

Harris: Why Apple Isn’t The Top Tech Brand

by admin ·

Why isn’t Apple a top tech brand? Essentially, the company’s products are too expensive, the executive vice president responsible for Harris Interactive’s brand consulting division said late Wednesday.

A Harris poll of 25,000 U.S. consumers raised eyebrows Tuesday when the survey revealed that Apple’s brand didn’t win out in either the mobile phone category or the PC category. Harris didn’t include the company in its list of top brands in the consumer-electronics market.

 

 

 

 

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But, surprisingly or not, PCMag.com readers agreed with the Harris mobile-phone poll.

Apple, of course, enjoys a stellar reputation as a manufacturer of hardware products. But Jeni Chapman, executive vice president of brand and communications consulting for Harris, said in an email interview that Apple’s premium prices put the company’s brand at a lower position relative to its competitors.

Others have suggested that while Apple’s reputation as a manufacturer of products remains virtually unparalleled, Apple’s actions in the industry – with regards to its approval and rejection of apps within its apps store, for example – may have nicked the Apple brand a bit.

Harris polled over 25,000 U.S. consumers to assemble the results, which measures the connection the brands have with consumers, commitment, the brand’s behavior, advocacy, trust, and brand equity. The latter, the most important metric, is considered the brand’s overall strength and is measured by familiarity, quality, and how it factors into a purchase, or “purchase intent”.

In other words, the poll went beyond just asking the question, “What’s the best mobile-phone brand?”

Specifically, a Harris representative said, respondents were asked 14 questions per brand. She said that the exact questions were confidential, but consumers were asked about the familiarity a user had with each brand; if the user was familiar with it, the consumer was then asked about its quality, and how likely a consumer would be to purchase its products. Harris then applied statistical analysis to come up with its scores.

So why isn’t Apple on top?

Apple was included in both the list of computer manufacturers and phone manufacturers, but not as a generic consumer-electronics company. That reflects Harris’ decision on which categories to include them in. (LG and Samsung, the top seller of mobile phones in the U.S., were left out of the mobile-phone branding list because Harris perceived both as generic CE vendors, rather than companies whose brands identified them with mobile phones.)

Apple ranked second in the category of computer manufacturers, behind Hewlett-Packard; in mobile phones, the Harris poll put it a distant fifth.

“For this year as in previous years, we have put Apple into the list of brands for computers; admittedly this reflects their legacy business as opposed to their current product focus,” Chapman said. “We will be looking to re-organize these categories in future waves; with the rise of smart phones and multi-functional devices, there is a definite blurring on how to define some of these categories.”

For computers, Hewlett-Packard ranked higher, due to “due to higher levels of familiarity with the brand and purchase intent,” Chapman said. “Essentially, Apple lags in purchase content compared to HP.”

And that’s essentially why Apple fell behind some of the other brands in the survey, Chapman said.

“Overall, the question, which is a good one, is why is Apple not higher? This is a brand with a market cap that now exceeds that of Microsoft. The answer lays with the brand’s positioning and price point,” Chapman said. “It is a close ended system in many ways; you need to be somewhat engaged in the Apple ecosystem for many of its devices. It is also a ‘mass niche’ brand if you will – and so ultimately it lags on purchase intent compared to other big brands in the study and in the categories where it competes.”

04.17
11

The Roots of Piracy

by admin ·

There was an interesting article in Information Week regarding the state of piracy and whether piracy represents a market failure.

In the piece, the various remedies for software companies are outlined and various pundits chime in with opinions about the cause of piracy, missing many points. Understanding why piracy exists as a phenomenon needs to be better understood, but it should be up to academics, not me and other pundits, to determine the causes. Where is the great sociological study of piracy and the mentality behind it?

 

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Let me outline some things I’ve observed over the years and maybe it will trigger an academic to look at the situation objectively. It’s important because piracy is considered normal and ethical in some settings—where low-income or folks with no income have access to technology, but simply cannot afford the software.

Here is my outline of the roots of piracy.

1. Price
Some software is simply too expensive and users sense that they are being ripped off. The record companies would never lower their prices for a CD that only had one good song. I think this was part of the reason that music piracy became a cultural phenomenon. Often when a good album with many good songs was discovered by people, they would buy the album, rather than pirate it. Windows is at risk of this phenomenon, as it has become very expensive, while Linux, by comparison, is free.

2. Distribution
In the early days of piracy, you could travel to some parts of the world where there was no distribution, so people openly copied the software. They had no choice.

3. Marketing
Software is pirated in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge manner to open up a market, so people can use or play with the software, get used to it, and then buy it later. WordStar became a market leader because of this phenomenon. Microsoft Windows is still more popular in China for the same reason. I once asked an Asian audience about the popularity of Linux, and they all said it will never be popular in Asia as long as Windows is free.

There is not much beyond these three reasons for piracy. There are political rationales and other questionable reasons, but for the most part, it boils down to price and availability. Most content and code in today’s world is over-priced, and everyone, except Steve Ballmer, knows this.

The real problem with piracy, again, is sociological. If an entire generation becomes acculturated to the free exchange of content and code, then the industry is doomed or it will have to cut back on its First Class Travel and rethink its models. Moaning and groaning about piracy will not stop it.

This is all exacerbated by the ease in which piracy can take place. The digital world of high speed connections and peer-to-peer sharing make it an effortless process with very little risk. They talk a big game about cracking down, and then a few old women are busted for having Kazaa running on their machines because they don’t know any better. But there is no real crackdown.

Microsoft and other software companies do their best with registration codes and “calling home” features to maintain the integrity of their products, but these are cracked overnight in the back alleys of Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. I’m sure I can openly buy a copy of CS5 at a store in Asia for $1 on disk.

I’m not sure what can be done about all this, but it does need careful study, not more columns.