Monthly Archives: May 2006

Windows Vista: Beware Protected Mode

One of the new features in Windows Vista is the ability insulate your machine from potentially malicious web-sites. The insulation extends all the way to creating a fake file system for components that you may have authorised to play in.

I saw this feature demonstrated last year, but it wasn’t until now that I realised how complete it was. I was actually navigating to a SharePoint site that happened to use a self signed certificate and wanted to upload a document. When I clicked the upload button I was presented with an empty directory.


After being confused for a few minutes (and double checking that I hadn’t finally flipped) I looked under the security settings for Internet Explorer 7.0 (installed by default in Windows Vista). Basically its the “protected mode” feature that causes this behaviour. It gives Internet Explorer 7.0 a fake registry and file system for any malicious components to run in without them really realising that they are restricted.


You can turn this feature off it is causing you problems (it was for me). Just go to the security tab in Internet Explorer 7.0.

Windows Vista: My favorite Sidebar gadget . . .

Hey Darren – here is my first Vista Vision! I was really happy to see the sidebar come back after it was initially dropped. And one of the reasons is that it helps complete the desktop metaphor around having things that are easily within reach that you can either use or look at.

One of my favourite gadgets is the out of the box Notes gadget that allows me to quickly scratch something temporary onto a piece of “virtual” paper. In the case below I had a problem using Groove and I didn’t have time to submit a formal bug report right there and then so just put it into a note so that I didn’t forget.

Notes Sidebar Gadget

The first of the two notes was the key that I had to keep typing in to the various Office 12 setup programs, but I decided not to take a screenshot of that . . .

Windows Vista: Locked and loaded!

It’s 4:10am in the morning, Bella came through to our bedroom in the middle of the night so I thought that I would take the opportunity after Nicola put her back in her room to come and check where my Windows Vista installation was at. The machine had gone to sleep, but when I woke it up it was ready at the final configuration steps where I set up where I am and create the default user account. I’m not getting Aero on this machine which will probably prompt me to ask for an upgraded laptop sooner rather than later (in fact, it already has).

There are a few things that aren’t working at the moment (like audio), but I already know what my first two Vista visions are going to be. Caio!

Windows Vista: My journey begins . . .

The rest of the world started installing Windows Vista BETA 2 earlier this week, but I had to hold off until today so that I could get my MSDN web-cast out of the way. I did that at about 7am this morning and now I have just over a week before I need to use my laptop for demonstrations. Right now I am backing up my “sandbox” directory which is where I put any source files I am working on, this is really just a precaution because most of the stuff that I really want to keep is either safely tucked away in SharePoint or Team Foundation Server.


I’ll be installing Vista on a Dell Inspiron 6000 with two gigabytes of RAM, and while it has a 128MB video card I believe it uses shared memory, so glass isn’t supported. On top of Vista I’ll be installing Office 12 BETA 2, although I’ve been running Office 12 BETA 2 on Windows XP for over two weeks now and I’ve been very impressed with its stability so far and I’m really starting to like the usability enhancements (the ribbon bar is a huge leap forward).

Dogfooding the latest Microsoft operating system is something that I’ve been doing ever since Windows NT 3.5 and Windows 95. I’ve been keenly interested in Darren’s (and his home blog), Rocky’s and Grant’s first impressions to see if there were any gotchas that I needed to watch out for, but mostly I’ve just been lusting over the UI that their laptops are spitting up.

My next blog post to you will be coming from within Windows Vista!

P.S. This has been a long road to get to this point, I first remember trying out Vista in 2003 after the Professional Developers Conference where they released a very early build of Longhorn.

Reminder: Nicola wants an ice-cream maker for Christmas

Every now and then my wife turns to me and says “I want an X for Christmas”. Me being me, I completely forget what she wants when it comes time to getting that special present that shows that I was both listening in the first place, and thoughtful enough to remember to get her what she wanted.

Well – no more! From now on, whenever Nicola tells me something like this I’m just going to blog it, then at the appropriate time I’ll just mearch for it (thats my new Microsoft-centric search term – Google is so vendor specific :P).