Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Remote Desktop v.7: Good Gets Better

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Vol. 3, # 75 - Jun 11, 2009 - Issue # 84 
 Remote Desktop v.7: Good Gets Better

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Remote Desktop v.7: Good Gets Better
    • Follow-up: Bing!
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Bing bumps up Microsoft's market share in search and gets a filter tweak
    • China requires filtering software on all new computers
    • Find and delete hidden drivers that are causing conflicts
    • Download Bing rings
  4. How to: Using the New Vista Features
    • How to make Word create hyperlinks automatically
  5. Vista Security
    • Rogue antivirus program removed by Malicious Software Removal Tool
  6. Vista Question Corner
    • Where is all my disk space going?
  7. Vista Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Audio recorded with Sound Recorder is distorted
    • Video performance suddenly decreases when Windows elements cover the window
  8. Windows 7 Preview Corner
    • How much will Windows 7 cost?
  9. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  10. Product of the Week
    • Cucusoft iPhone-iTouch-iPod to Computer Transfer

Kiss Your Antivirus Bloatware Goodbye

We asked users of antivirus products what they didn't like about their AV software. They told us they are resource hogs and slowed their computer down. They told us that scan times took way too long, and that the AV software nagged them. In short, old-style AV software takes too much Memory and CPU. Time to switch to VIPRE! It gives you malware protection that combines antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and other technologies into a seamless, tightly-integrated product. Even if you run "free" antivirus software, it hijacks 20% of your PC, so it's really not free at all! Get VIPRE now and see how fast your PC can really be:

Editor's Corner

Remote Desktop v.7: Good Gets Better

With one glaring exception - Internet Explorer 7 - it seems that recently, all technologies with a 7 in the name are very, very good. I'm thinking of Windows 7 and my Core i7, of course, but here's another version 7 that's impressive: the Remote Desktop client (which happens to be included in Windows 7).

I'm a big fan of Remote Desktop, which is an outgrowth and limited implementation of Microsoft's terminal services, which itself was originally incorporated in a special version of Windows NT and was based on technology licensed from Citrix. Whereas the full-fledged terminal server was designed to allow many users to connect to individual desktops on a single server, often using thin clients (low cost, low powered machines), the Remote Desktop service in XP Pro, Vista Business/Enterprise/Ultimate and Windows 7 Pro/Enterprise/Ultimate allows for one session at a time from a remote computer to the host desktop.

Here's why that's so cool: all the processing takes place on the host computer. The remote system (the one you're physically working at) doesn't have to do any of the work. Thus it needs very little in the way of system resources. And the remote system can be running almost any version of Windows, including the Home editions. That means you can use RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to connect from your low powered netbook or an old, "semi-retired" system with only 512 MB of RAM to your fast new Nehalem desktop that's in another room and it's just like "being there." You can run all your resource hungry programs from that netbook.

You're not limited to connecting to systems on your own local area network, either. You can make an RDP connection over the Internet and access your desktop from your laptop in your hotel room. You'll need to do a little special configuration, and your performance may be limited by the speed of your Internet connection, but it works. My son is preparing to go to Spain for a chess tournament next month and he's set up his computer so he'll be able to "remote in" to it from across the ocean. This article provides some tips for setting up Remote Desktop in Vista to work over the Internet:

Remote Desktop has always been good, but now it's better. Support for the full Aero experience is probably the most noticeable enhancement, but note that you must be using a Vista or Windows 7 client to get it, and some folks have had trouble getting it to work. My favorite improvement is the improvement when you're using multiple monitors. With the Remote Desktop v.6 client in Vista, we were able to "span monitors" but with the Remote Desktop v.7 client in Windows 7, we have what Microsoft calls "true" multi-monitor support and it is a delight to use. I wrote about that feature in detail in a recent blog post and I've added some screenshots:

The Windows 7 RDP client includes support for Direct 2D and 3D 10.1 applications, Media Foundation and DirectShow. Media Foundation is Microsoft's platform for creating robust digital media applications; it was introduced in Vista as a replacement for DirectShow because it has better format support (including MPEG-4) and a simpler programming model. DirectShow is the older multimedia framework that has been a component of Windows since Windows 98, and is still supported in Windows 7. So you can play videos on Media Player and get the complete experience on the client computer - but once again, you need a Vista or Windows 7 client and the proper codecs need to be installed on the client.

The new RDP client also supports bi-directional audio. Previously we only had audio from the host to the client, not the other way around. Now, with audio going both ways, you can use VoIP or dictation applications.

Another much-appreciated improvement is the better performance you get with the Windows 7 RDP client. Everything is just much faster and more responsive, so that it really does feel as if you're sitting at the host machine. There's no latency at all in screen draw or mouse/keyboard response. Even when you play high definition videos, they run smoothly and play in high resolution. For some video demonstrations of the new version of RDP, watch this episode of Brian Madden TV recorded at the 2009 MVP Summit:

The big question is whether the Remote Desktop Client v.7 will be available for Vista and XP. Microsoft made the Vista RDP Client (6.x) available for download and installation on Windows XP (the current version, 6.1, requires XP SP2 or above). That could bring at least some of the new features to older client computers. Meanwhile, I love being able to always have the same desktop, regardless of which computer in the house I'm using - and to always be working on the same machine so that I know the default save locations, etc. will be the same.

A feature you don't get with RDP v.7 that I would really like is the ability to have a remote session going on without logging you off at the local console. I'm not asking for multiple remote sessions (although it would be nice if two were allowed), just the ability to switching back and forth between working on the remote and local computers and maintain the connection. We know this is technologically feasible because you can do it with terminal services on Windows Server. Maybe in the next version ... .

Tell us what you think about RDP. Do you use Remote Desktop to connect to other computers on your home or office network? Do you use it to connect to your computer over the Internet instead of paying for a service such as GoToMyPC? What's your favorite thing about using RDP? What's your biggest gripe? What new features would you like to see in the next version? Tell us what you think at

Follow-up: Bing!

Many readers took last week's challenge to give Microsoft's new Search engine, Bing, a test drive - with mixed results. Some folks absolutely loved it and have abandoned Google for it. Others, not so much. I guess your opinions depend on what terms you're searching on and how much you like (or don't) the new features such as the pop-up page summary. Here's what some of you had to say (and this is only a small sampling of a very large number of responses):

Dennis S. wrote, "I have been using Bing (Live Search) since I bought my Quad a couple of months back. I loved the pop ups explaining the Live Page. With the move over to Bing it is even better. I love it and the way it works. I thoroughly enjoyed wasting a couple hours learning and exploring Greece, where the Balloons were."

And Dollyce B. was even more enthusiastic: "I'm in mad love with the BING HOMEPAGE! If you put your cursor around inside the daily photo shot, it will tell you something interesting about it. You can read the pop-up alone, or click through! I love the pop-ups at the end of the individual 'results' on the search page. It is rather like Mozilla's Firefox add-on called Cool Previews, which I couldn't live without now! ... I will be using BING from now on! I love the appearance, but most important, it rendered good results!"

Mark O. said, "I tried to bring up Bing on my corporate laptop. We are restricted to IE 6 and unsigned ActiveX controls give us a warning allowing us to opt out of executing the ActiveX Control. Bing uses an un-signed ActiveX and has Javascript errors. I'll stick with simple Google for my homepage. Why don't these Major Corporations know how to sign their ActiveX Controls? I'll probably leave Bing as the 'Address Line' search engine for IE. I like the web-page preview function as well. It told me the most relevant information when I previewed a Wikipedia page."

Not everyone had the same good experience. Tommy said, "I was excited to try Bing as you were. But I must confess , the third thing I searched for using Bing brought up very little information that I wanted .Clicked on Google , and bang , there in front of me was what I wanted to see exactly. I will still stay with Google for 99% of my searches." And Lara A. agrees: "I did a search on both for an error I was having and Bing didn't return the same comprehensive results as Google. Maybe it doesn't have the crawlers out there yet. I do like the splash page."

And some folks were downright offended by my enthusiasm. Gary L. had this to say: "Unfortunately your editorial sounds just like Microsoft - arrogant. You chide (and ridicule with the 'umm yeah' remark) one user for rejecting Bing because it's not 'strikingly better'. Then you go on to ask whether just 'better' isn't good enough. The answer is 'no, it's not'... the only way I'll waste time trying Bing is if a ground swell occurs that indicates "it's a must". And so far, 'different' is the general opinion, not 'better'. Otherwise, like XP, Google is good enough."

Rick has a similar opinion but puts it much more nicely: "I've looked at Bing, and though I haven't used it extensively, I think it looks pretty good. I'll give it a try for a while and see how it goes. Will I stop using Google? Probably not, but not because I'm a Microsoft basher. Google is just somewhat of a habit. I know it well. I search effectively with it. I have no real need to change. The features you've mentioned are interesting, but not particularly critical to me ... I don't necessarily like Google better than Bing. But from what I've seen so far, Bing doesn't give me a reason to switch."

Chris B., on the other hand, took the opportunity to offer a small anti-Microsoft rant: "I know you like Microsoft products. However, the amount of lost time and information caused by Microsoft over the years is truly mind boggling. The fact that Microsoft wants to know what is on our machines should scare the pants off of you ... I do not trust Microsoft, or their products as a result ... So now we are expected to embrace another Microsoft product touted to be better than Google, which has been proven to be solid and reliable. What worries me about Bing!? Well, I am positive that this may be yet another way that Microsoft spies on users and tracks our every movement."

And Dan apparently feels the same way: "Are you guys nuts?!?!? Everything Microsoft turns out is crap. The biggest software company in the world turns out something like Vista. Give me a break! It's crap and it always will be." Makes me wonder ... why in the world do these folks even read a newsletter called VistaNews?

The vast majority of readers had more thoughtful comments. Lots of you are still using both engines and comparing them. Greg A. said, "Have tried Bing! And been pleasantly surprised, running it side by side with Google and have been going back to Bing! a little more." And Dave M. said, "Looks like Microsoft has really done their homework! I've set up IE8 to have as my second default tab. For the last few days I have been entering identical search terms into both and I find that Bing has been returning more relevant results. It seems to "intuitively" get to things I was really looking for." But he adds: "My search is nowhere near its end! Still waiting for the ability to search visual content by content, rather than keywords!"

And some of you just don't care. Bill L. wrote: "Search engine wars have always baffled me. I mean.... They just search for stuff on the web. As long as they find stuff, how could one possibly be better than another? They're required, but they don't represent value ... I understand the web wouldn't be the web without a way to find things, but search engines are not at the top of anyone's list of wow products. I suspect without them, we'd find some other way to locate/distribute information."

And Justin brought up this issue: "What if Bing starts to show articles from websites which generate revenue from ads shown on their pages? What if WXP or Vista News articles can be read from Bing without ever visiting your sites (and Bing only shows the article without the sponsored links that accompany each issue)?" I guess it's something to think about, but my gut instinct is that this feature is a good thing and will end up driving more traffic to relevant sites, not less.

I thank all of you who wrote on this topic, and may all your searches be successful, regardless of which engine(s) you use.

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

PS: Did you know this newsletter has a sister publication for XP users called WXPnews? You can subscribe here, and tell your friends:

And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at

Look for the VistaNews fan page on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. - Thomas Jefferson

If you don't run your own life, somebody else will. - John Atkinson

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. - Henry Kissinger

Keep The Bad Guys Out With The Sunbelt Personal Firewall

Why do I need a firewall? Together with antivirus and antispyware, a firewall is a "must" to protect your computer. PC Magazine gave the Sunbelt Personal Firewall a "Very Good" rating with 4 Stars and a conclusion of "good protection". Check out the Reviews on the site and it will be clear why you need the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to protect your PC. One good example: Unlike the Windows XP and Vista Firewall, you can tell the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to look carefully at the data leaving your browser, so that sensitive information like your credit card numbers, email address, bank account, social security number and PIN code do not get stolen by hackers!

Cool Tools


WhiteSmoke 2009 is an innovative proofreading and editing tool with a single aim - to help you write better

Backblaze is the no fuss solution to getting all your data backed up online securely, easily, automatically, and for only $5/month for unlimited storage.

Ever use a download manager? You might not know what your missing, try this one!

Rip DVDs for your iPhone, iPod touch, Apple TV, or iPod Video Nano. Bundle includes video converter too! Free Trial:

Advanced Vista Optimizer does a great job tweaking Vista for Max performance.

Eliminate your online traces with CyberScrub. Privacy equals security.

GoodSync is an easy and fast way to backup and synchronize your emails, photos, iTunes, MP3s, and other important files.

Your Uninstaller! 2008 takes the place of the clunky Windows Control Panel "Add/Remove Programs" and offers many other useful functions

Kill the background tasks belonging to (legitimate) software that run all day. Why? To get your speed back!

I need a real program for autofilling my passwords, shipping info not a toolbar widget. Roboform is the real deal!

News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Bing bumps up Microsoft's market share in search and gets a filter tweak

ComScore, a research group, announced this week that Microsoft's launch of the Bing search engine was followed by a two percent increase in their market share, mostly at the expense of Google and Yahoo. Read more here:

Meanwhile, in response to complaints that the search engine allowed you to watch porn videos without visiting the sites, Microsoft has made some changes to its content filters so network administrators or parents can force Bing to use the strictest filtering settings regardless of individual user preferences. You can read about it here:

China requires filtering software on all new computers

China recently decreed that all personal computers sold in that country will be required to come with web filtering software that can block "unhealthy content, including pornography and violence." Many in the U.S. software industry, including Microsoft, have expressed concerns that the technology will be used for much more broad-based censorship. Read more here:

Find and delete hidden drivers that are causing conflicts

Old drivers can be the source of all sorts of problems in Windows. In this video, Bill Detwiler shows you how to find old drivers that may be causing conflicts, and how to get rid of them. You can also vote in the poll and let Bill know which types of drivers have caused you the most trouble in the past.

Download Bing rings

If you really love Bing, you can download these "Bing ringtones" from Microsoft for your cell phone. They're in MP3 format so you can use them on most mobile phones. Or just play them on your computer and annoy the person in the cubicle next to you.

How to: Using the New Vista Features

How to make Word create hyperlinks automatically

I've installed Office 2007 many times, but in a recent installation, I found that Word no longer created links when I typed in a URL beginning with "www" or "http." I also found that Word wasn't automatically making numbered lists as I was used to it doing. For some reason, automatic hyperlinks and auto formatting of numbered and bulleted lists weren't turned on by default (as they had been when I installed Office on other computers), and finding out where to enable them isn't exactly an intuitive process. Here's how to fix those problems:
  1. Click the Office logo button in the top left corner of the Word window.
  2. Click the Word Options button at the bottom of the menu.
  3. Click Proofing in the left pane.
  4. Click the AutoCorrect Options button.
  5. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  6. Under "Replace as you type," check the box that says "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks.
  7. To enable automatic numbered lists, under "Apply as you type," check "Automatic numbered lists."
  8. Click OK twice to close the dialog boxes.
You might want to check out the other options here as there are a number of handy autoformatting choices that you can enable if you wish.

Vista Security

Rogue antivirus program removed by Malicious Software Removal Tool

When is installing an anti-virus not a good thing? When it's a fake AV program that actually steals your passwords. That's what's happening with a program called Internet Antivirus, which tries to trick you into installing it by running a fake virus scan and popping up a fake Windows Security Center. If you get the latest update for Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), it will detect and remove this "anti-virus" program. Find out more here:

Vista Question Corner

Where is all my disk space going?

I like Vista but it seems to use a lot of disk space and I'm not sure why. I have a 200 GB disk and not that many applications installed, basically just Office and a graphics program. I keep my data on another external disk drive so that's not the problem. I have an anti-virus installed and it says the computer is clean. The thing is, the drive keeps filling up and I'm not installing anything new. Any ideas? - Julie K.

You say you don't save any user data to that drive. Check your applications to be sure you have the default save location changed to a partition on the external drive. Apps may be saving data there unbeknownst to you. Another common culprit when the drive fills up for no apparent reason is System Restore. Vista creates restore points that are like "snapshots" of your system at a given time. New restore points are created automatically before you install new drivers or updates. These images can take up a lot of space after a while. This article tells you how to use the VSSAdmin tool to find out how much space can be used for this purpose and set a maximum amount of space to be used:

Vista Configuration and Troubleshooting

Audio recorded with Sound Recorder is distorted

If you use the Sound Recorder in Windows Vista to record audio, you might find that the sound is distorted or contains pops and clicks like an old-time vinyl record. What's up with that? This can happen when the recording volume is too high; the workaround is to decrease the volume, either at the output device or within the Control Panel settings. To find out exactly how to do this, see KB article 936693 at

Video performance suddenly decreases when Windows elements cover the window

If you notice that the performance of video is suddenly degraded when the sidebar, a tooltip or part of a window overlaps the video window in Vista, it's probably happening because the computer doesn't have sufficient hardware specs to support Aero, which results in the Desktop Windows Manager being disabled. To find out how to work around the problem, see KB article 932782 at

Windows 7 Preview Corner

How much will Windows 7 cost?

Microsoft hasn't released the official pricing for Windows 7 yet, but an internal Best Buy memo that was leaked to the web last week indicates that company plans to sell the upgrade version of the software for $50 (Home Premium) to $100 (Professional). No price was given for the Ultimate edition, but it's likely that most users will be happy with Pro since - unlike the Business edition of Vista - it includes Windows Media Center and all other features of Home Premium in addition to the ability to join a domain and use EFS, Remote Desktop as a host, and other business-oriented features. See more about the memo here:

Fav Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: VistaNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

Product of the Week

Cucusoft iPhone-iTouch-iPod to Computer Transfer

The new IPhone launches on June 17th. Apple says the new iPhone will depend on Wi-Fi to transfer files greater than 10MB. Also, there lots of new downloadable content coming. Are you ready to start downloading and transferring content to your PC? Cucusoft iPhone/iTouch/iPod to Computer Transfer is just the answer. It's an easy to use iPod/iPhone utility designed to help you backup all your files from your iPod/iPhone/iTouch. Recover lost or missing music or backup and restore all of your iPod/iPhone/iTouch content; including your favorite songs, videos, photos, Play Lists and more. If you have any iPod/iPhone device, this software is a 'must have' utility to keep your iPod/iPhone safe. Download the full evaluation now.

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