Thursday, July 16, 2009

Looking Ahead to 2010

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Vol. 3, # 80 - Jul 16, 2009 - Issue # 89 
 Looking Ahead to 2010

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Looking Ahead to 2010
    • Follow-ups and Forum Frenzy
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Support for Office 2000 at an end
    • Windows 7 RC download ends August 15
    • The Google netbook mystery
    • Windows 7 outdoes Vista in pre-release sales - in just eight hours
  4. How to: Using the New Vista Features
    • How to disable Sync Center from running at startup
  5. Vista Security
    • If you use Safari, be sure to get latest update
  6. Vista Question Corner
    • Is there a way to customize the right click menus?
  7. Vista Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Error message: "Unauthorized change was made to your license"
    • Troubleshooting performance issues with standby, hibernate and resume
  8. Windows 7 Preview Corner
    • No in-place upgrade from Windows 7 RC to RTM
  9. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  10. Product of the Week
    • Acoustica CD-DVD Label Maker: Create CD/DVD Labels And Jewel Cases/Boxes With The Ultimate In Ease!

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

Looking Ahead to 2010

Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2009 kicked off Monday in New Orleans, and a big focus of the first day's keynote was the release of the technical preview for Microsoft Office 2010. Due to other obligations, I didn't get to attend the conference, but I did get an invitation on Monday to join the technical preview, which is not open to the public (a public beta of the software will be available later in the year).

So Monday night, I downloaded the new Office and installed it. Since this software is by no means "finished," and not recommended to be installed on a production machine, I create a new VM in Windows Virtual PC (which I had already installed on my main Windows 7 machine in order to install XP Mode). I installed Windows 7 in the VM, and then installed Office 2010 on top of that. The first thing that amazed was how fast the installation went. It took less than five minutes. I remember sitting and waiting for up to an hour for Office 2003 to install, and although Office 2007 went a bit faster, it was nothing like this. Is it just my Nehalem processor, or is the new installation process really that much quicker? I'll find out when I install it on my older and slower machine, later this week.

The technical preview is the Home and Business edition (which replaces the Small Business edition of Office 2007). It includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and OneNote. OneNote will come with all editions of Office 2010, perhaps indicating Microsoft's recognition of the growing use of portable computers, for which OneNote is especially appropriate. Office 2007 came in eight different editions. Office 2010 has pared that down to five: Home and Student, Home and Business, Standard, Professional and Professional Plus. For more info about what's included in each edition, see Ed Bott's blog post at

The first application that I set was the one that's most important to me: Outlook. Most of my business is conducted via email, and that's also the main way that I keep in touch with friends and relatives. That especially matters this week, as my son is in Spain for a chess tournament and his Verizon cell phone doesn't work over there - but he has Internet access so we can communicate that way (and much less expensively). Setting up Outlook 2010 to connect to my Exchange server took only a minute, and all my mail was there, in the proper folders.

The most controversial thing about Office 2007 was the introduction of the Ribbon interface. It was one of those features that people either loved or hated, and even though I was one of those who liked it, I did sometimes get frustrated when I couldn't find all the commands I'd had available in the Office 2003 menus. To work around that in Office 2007, I installed a third party program called Classic Menu, which added back the menus as an additional tab on the Ribbon.

Not only is the Ribbon still there in Office 2010, it's now in all the Office programs, including Outlook and OneNote. But this is a new and improved Ribbon. The most important thing about it is that you can customize it to your liking. You can add those commands that you've been missing to either the quick access toolbar at the top of the window or you can make your own custom tabs on the Ribbon and put your favorite commands there. This may take a little time in the beginning, but it makes for an interface that's much more functional - and tailored to the way you work - than either the Office 2003 menus or the Office 2007 fixed Ribbon.

New features in Outlook 2010 include a couple that I think are going to prove invaluable. After using them for just a few days, I already am wondering how I ever got along without them. A surprisingly handy tool is the "Ignore" button, which will delete all the messages in a particular thread (conversation) and that includes both messages you've already received and those that come in later. I love this for cutting down the mail from discussion lists, where certain topics of conversation are of no interest to me. Another great addition is Quick Steps, which lets you set up your own buttons to perform multi-step tasks with just one click. You can see screenshots of the new Outlook in my blog post at

But it's not just Outlook that's gotten a makeover. Although more subtle, Word is improved, too. The Ribbon functions are mostly the same, but there are a few new buttons. For example, on the Insert button you now have the option to insert a screenshot, and the Arrange group on the Page Layout tab includes a selection pane. But again, the biggest change is that now you can customize the Ribbon however you like it. There's now a Save to SharePoint button on the Share menu (accessed via the newly redesigned Office logo button), and there's also a Convert button for compatibility when working with older versions of Office. To view a brief video showcasing the new features in Word 2010, see

The next application I played with was PowerPoint 2010. I use PowerPoint a lot, to create slideshows for others and for my own presentations. In the past, I often had to edit pictures in a photo editing program to make them look like I wanted for a slideshow. Now PowerPoint includes more sophisticated photo editing built right in, so that you can not only adjust the brightness, contrast and sharpness or compress the photo, but you can also apply artistic effects to make the photo look like glass, a sketch, a photocopy, etc. - the same types of effects that you can get with PhotoShop or other high end photo editing programs - without leaving PowerPoint. And you see a preview of the effects on the photos themselves when you hover over each effect option. There's also a background removal button with which you can remove unwanted parts of the picture's background. Did you go a little too far with all the effects and mess up the picture? Not to worry; just click the Reset Picture button and the original is back. You can similarly edit videos that you insert in your presentation. See the video about what's new with PowerPoint here:

I also took a look at the new OneNote. I have OneNote installed on my little Sony Vaio ultracompact computer and I love it for taking notes at conferences and in meetings. The most immediately noticeable difference between OneNote 2007 and OneNote 2010 is - you guessed it - the Ribbon. OneNote now supports multi-level subpages and collapsing subpages, and search has been improved to make it quicker to find things across multiple notebooks. Oh, and your old notebooks will still work with OneNote 2010, too, although notebooks in the older format may not support all of the new features. You'll find that hyperlinking has been improved and there's better integration with IE and Outlook, as well as Quick Styles for headings and new math support. See the OneNote video at

I haven't delved into Excel much yet, but it appears there is much more focus on Business Intelligence and analysis of data, as opposed to just crunching numbers. The big new feature here is called Slicers. These are small windows that make it easier to drill down through the data in a spreadsheet. Also new are "sparklines," which are tiny charts that fit in a cell and show a visual representation of data trends. Here's the video where you can see how these work:

Something you'll see in all the new Office programs is more integration with SharePoint, for sharing and collaborating on your documents. If you don't have access to a SharePoint server, this won't matter much to you, but if you do, you'll appreciate the new ability for two people to work simultaneously on a document and see each other's changes in real time.

Although not included in my technical preview, two products I'm looking forward to trying out are Microsoft Web Applications 2010 and Office Mobile 2010. Web Apps extend Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote to the web browser (watch out, Google Apps). If IE isn't your favorite browser, don't worry; it works with Firefox and Safari, too. The Web Apps interface looks very much like the full fledged applications, including the Ribbon. You can see a demo of Web Apps 2010 here:

Office Mobile 2010 brings conversation view to mobile Outlook, and makes viewing and editing Excel and Word documents on a smart phone much easier and faster. With the mobile version of Office Communicator, you can have IM or voice conversations with colleagues without using your cell phone minutes. See the short overview of Office Mobile 2010 at

I know many people are still using Office 2003, just as many are still using Windows XP as their OS. Like Vista, Office 2007 had plenty of fans but also was not able to attract those computer users who felt that what they had was good enough, and who didn't like some of the inflexibility of the new software. Office 2010 provides some compelling reasons to upgrade this time around, and so far this beta-level software is proving to be pretty stable, too. I wrote this week's VistaNews editorial in Word 2010, and am using Outlook 2010 all the time for my email now. Home users will enjoy many benefits from the new features, but it's in businesses, especially those with Exchange and SharePoint server, where Office 2010 will really shine. I'll be posting more about it on my blog as I use it more, so check back there often.

And tell us what you think. Did you skip Office 2007? Is it finally time to upgrade? Do the new features in Office 2010 catch your interest? Are there features not mentioned that you would like to see? If you're part of the technical preview testing, has your experience been as good as mine? Have you installed the new Office on older hardware to see how it performs with fewer resources? We encourage you to discuss this topic with other readers in our forums at

Follow-ups and Forum Frenzy

I've received several messages from readers who are unhappy about being asked to provide their feedback through the forums now instead of via email. There are several reasons that using the web forums for these discussions makes sense. First, it's a more interactive venue that allows readers to respond directly to one another's points. And everybody's opinion gets posted - I was limited by the length of the newsletter in how many of your messages I could print, and I usually had to pick out short excerpts rather than printing the entire response.

For those who are concerned about privacy, please note that you don't have to use your real name on the forums, and your email address is not made public with your posts (but for extra privacy, you can always use a Hotmail or Gmail account to sign up for the forum).

Some of you have noted that you like seeing the follow-up in the newsletter, and I'll continue to include a follow-up section. But instead of quoting lots of reader responses, I'll just summarize the general trends and then provide any responses that I might have to those points you bring up.

In regard to last week's forum posts about "Driver Education," I have to answer the reader who wrote: "Like everything else it's not Microsoft's fault. Wrong they released a new OS without giving venders time to get drivers out there to support it. They released Vista in a hurry to make more money." To say Vista was released in a hurry is simply silly. Vista was in testing longer than any other Microsoft operating system before or since and was developed over a span of five and half years. The first beta was made available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers in July 2005, a year and half before the final release of the OS, and Microsoft made the APIs available to hardware vendors long before the beta. Lack of availability of drivers didn't benefit Microsoft (and in fact, hurt Vista sales). It did benefit hardware vendors, though, because those people who did buy Vista had to buy new hardware devices if theirs didn't work with the new OS. Microsoft may bear some blame for not forcing hardware makers to be more forthcoming about the capabilities of their computers and allowing them to label computers "Vista ready" when those systems would not run Aero, but they certainly can't be accused of not giving vendors time to create drivers for their hardware - if the vendors had wanted to do so.

Thanks to all of you who weighed in on this topic!

'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

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. - Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop. - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1832 - 1898)

If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score? - Vince Lombardi (1913 - 1970)

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.

Backups? Why back up when you can sync? Simply replicate every piece of data to another drive in real-time. Set it and forget it.

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

Support for Office 2000 at an end

Speaking of Microsoft Office, if you're still using Office 2000, you might want to consider upgrading. Microsoft ended extended support for the ten year old productivity suite earlier this week. There have been a great many improvements to the Office programs since that version, so it's probably time for a change anyway.

Windows 7 RC download ends August 15

If you've been intending to download the release candidate of Windows 7 but haven't gotten around to it yet, don't put it off too long. You still have about a month left to get it, but mark your calendar: the RC download program ends on August 15th. If you've already downloaded the RC by then, you'll still be able to get a product key later on. The RC itself won't expire (stop working) until June 2010. Read more here:

The Google netbook mystery

Rumors are a'swirling around the possibilities of Google-based netbooks, running either the Android OS that's already being used for some smart phones or the newly announced Chrome OS, that might hit the market before the end of summer. But nothing is certain and there's a lot of confusion over just how separate the two operating systems are and will be in the future. And in recognition of the fact that many users want more than just a web browser, it appears the first such netbooks are likely to be dual boot machines, offering users the choice of booting into either Chrome or Windows. For more info, see

Windows 7 outdoes Vista in pre-release sales - in just eight hours

A measure of the demand for Windows 7, at least in the U.K., is the number of pre-orders it's gotten on their Amazon site in the first eight hours of availability: more than Vista got in seventeen weeks! Of course, the big discount for pre-order copies undoubtedly has a lot to do with it. Read more here:

How to: Using the New Vista Features

How to disable Sync Center from running at startup

You can use Vista's Sync Center to synchronize the files on your PC with those on your mobile device, or with other computers on the network. However, many people use it once and then stop using it. Maybe you got rid of that mobile device or started syncing it with an Exchange server instead of your desktop machine. Maybe you just don't like the program. But Sync Center still loads at startup and unnecessarily uses your computer's resources. Here's how to disable it.
  1. Click Start | Control Panel
  2. Click Network and Internet
  3. Select Offline Files
  4. On the General tab, click Disable Offline Files
  5. Click OK
  6. Reboot the computer
You should no longer see the Sync Center icon in the taskbar and mobsync.exe should not running in the Task Manager processes list.

Vista Security

If you use Safari, be sure to get latest update

A pair of dangerous security vulnerabilities in the Safari web browser (for XP/Vista as well as OS X) can leave you open to a cross scripting attack, unexpected application termination and/or arbitrary code execution. None of those is a good thing. Apple has released a new version of Safari to plug these holes, so if you use the Safari browser on your Windows computer, be sure to get the update. Read more here:

Vista Question Corner

Is there a way to customize the right click menus?

I like my Vista computer but I'm wondering, is there a way to customize the right click menus. When I right click a file, there are a bunch of options there that I never, ever use but I have to wade through all that to get to the one I want. Can I remove some of them? Thanks! - Jerry J.

Many applications install their own items in the right context menu when you install them. After a while, if you install lots of these apps, your context menu can get pretty cluttered up, and some of these menu items may be unused and unwanted. Even if you uninstall the programs, the items may stay in the context menu.

You can remove items from the context menu by editing the registry. The items are contained in the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ * \ shellex \ ContextMenuHandlers

Delete the keys for the items you don't want. Be sure to back up the registry before editing it.

If you're not comfortable with editing the registry, there are free third party tools you can use to remove and add context menu items. One is FileMenu Tools, which you can download at

Vista Configuration and Troubleshooting

Error message: "Unauthorized change was made to your license"

If you're using your Vista computer and you get an error message that says "An unauthorized change was made to your license," there are several possible reasons. It could be a hard disk error or a program that's incompatible with Vista. For troubleshooting instructions, see KB article 931699 at

Troubleshooting performance issues with standby, hibernate and resume

If you have performance or other issues related to putting your Vista computer into standby or hibernate mode (for example, errors when the computer resumes, taking a long time to resume, or not resuming in the same state as when it entered standby or hibernate), you need to check out KB article 950686 at

Windows 7 Preview Corner

No in-place upgrade from Windows 7 RC to RTM

The Windows 7 Release To Manufacturing (RTM) is expected to become available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers this month. It's been hard to get any definitive information on whether those folks currently running the Windows 7 Release Candidate would be able to do an in-place upgrade to the final code, but last Wednesday Harold Wong (a Microsoft employee) answered that question in his blog. Unfortunately, the answer is "no." And he gives some good reasons for this decision, but that's unlikely to console those who were hoping for a "yes." Read his blog post 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

Acoustica CD-DVD Label Maker: Create CD/DVD Labels And Jewel Cases/Boxes With The Ultimate In Ease!

Why let the artists have all the fun? Create your own CD/DVD labels and CD jewel cases with the ultimate in ease and flexibility! If you're sick of guessing which songs are on which CD, get the CD label software that automatically puts your track list on your CD/DVD label! Chock full of custom art for holidays and special occasions like Christmas, Valentines, birthdays, vacations, weddings and more! Automatically imports your track information from Acoustica MP3 CD Burner, iTunes, WinAmp, Easy CD Creator or any other popular playlist or previously burnt CD! Print on standard paper, stock sticker labels, CD jewel case templates or print directly on a CD or DVD*! Automatically import your iTunes play lists! Version 3 now supports HP LightScribe direct labeling drives! VistaNews readers can read the complete feature list and download the free evaluation version here. Get an exclusive 10% discount with purchases now.

 About VistaNews

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These documents are provided for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Sunbelt Software on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Sunbelt must respond to changes in market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Sunbelt and Sunbelt cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


This newsletter and website and may contain links to other websites with whom we have a business relationship. Sunbelt Software does not review or screen these sites, and we are not responsible or liable for their privacy or data security practices, or the content of these sites. Additionally, if you register with any of these sites, any information that you provide in the process of registration, such as your email address, credit card number or other personally identifiable information, will be transferred to these sites. For these reasons, you should be careful to review any privacy and data security policies posted on any of these sites before providing information to them.

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