Windows

Windows Mobility Center
4 April 2007 in Microsoft & Tools & Windows | Comments (0)

One of the new additions to Windows Vista is the Windows Mobility Center. This wee guy just makes it all the bit more easy when you’re doing presentations or on the run.

As you can see in the screen shot below, you can manage sound, battery, network, multiple monitors, synchronisation and presentation settings all for this helpful dialog. I didn’t even know it existed until the AV guy in Auckland banged some keys on my keyboard to bring it up. Just hit the Windows Key + X to bring it to life at any point.

Windows Mobility Center

Sure, this isn’t revolutionary but it’s useful to know about when you’re fumbling around up on stage. Often it’s small features that make all the difference in your day to day use. Any other little speed me ups that you guys know about?

- JD

New Dreamscene Content
14 March 2007 in Microsoft & Windows | Comments (1)

Just a heads up to anyone who’s loving Windows Dreamscene (like, err, me) you’ll be excited to know that Microsoft has released some updated content. Some very cool videos:

  • Waterfall (my favourite)
  • Rainfall
  • Wildflowers
  • Flames (fake)

Just do a windows update and you’ll see the additional content pack. Great :)

- JD

Windows Vista Memory Usage
26 February 2007 in Microsoft & Windows | Comments (30)

A while back I made a post about Windows Vista memory requirements and saying I didn’t think it was the issue that some people thought it was. Now I’ve been using Vista RTM for a few months I thought I should do an update on my experience in terms of memory consumption.

First off, I’m using Windows Vista Ultimate Edition. I’d consider myself a bit of a power user, typically I have the following things running at any one time:

  • IIS 7
  • SQL Server 2005
  • Two instances of Visual Studio 2005
  • FeedDemon
  • FireFox (with about 10 tabs open)
  • Internet Explorer 7 (with about 10 tabs open)
  • Live Messenger
  • A smattering of open directories

Until recently I used to always run my taskbar as a 2 row height just to allow me to easily see everything I leave open. The reason I raise this is to say that I’m probably not a normal user in terms of memory usage, the applications and services listed are just those I use constantly, often there is about 30 processes running relating to just applications I’m using.

I’m running Vista on two machines, a home machine with 1GB of memory and my laptop which has 2GB of memory. My home machine gets much less of a workout and is more for browsing, gaming with occassional development (which means it is running VS 2005 and IIS). The following figures are my “under load” figures. It’s important to note I wasn’t especially scientific, I just keep an eye on memory usage and these have been the common figures I’m seeing.

Home Memory Useage: 70%, 720MB
Laptop Memory Usage: 60%, 1.2GB

Personally I don’t think these figures are too high. Sure, I’d love everything to be written in tight assembler and have the entire system to sit there using 100MB of memory but it’s simply more important to me that my environment is performing well.

When I consider these figures I would still recomend 1GB of memory for any home user to ensure a comfortable time with Vista and certainly 2GB for any developers out there. I’ve tried to be balanced and give my figures when I’m actually using the system (rather than after a clean boot which would be unrealistically low) but do take them with a grain of salt – most of my issues, when I experience them, result from some applications just bleeding memory everywhere and this isn’t something Vista can really control.

- JD

Custom HttpHandlers and IIS7
23 February 2007 in .Net & Code & Microsoft & Tools & Windows | Comments (3)

I’ve been developing an ASP.NET solution and was starting to get some odd behavior on my development machine (Vista Ultimate). We’ve written a custom HttpHandler for managing user authorisation and when running the solution up against the ASP.NET Cassini web server (the “built in web server”) everything ran fine however when running against IIS7 authorisation wasn’t working correctly. Some debugging and it became evident that the handler wasn’t even executing when running within IIS7.

IIS7 provides a whole swag of great new functionality so after some hunting around I found that the module wasn’t registered with IIS7.

How do you register a custom module in IIS7?

Fire up IIS Manager

Select your website you want to add the module for (IIS will inspect the Web.config of the site to get the modules)

Open up “Modules”:

IIS7 Modules

You should find that your modules will be of Module Type “Managed” if you’re writing them in .NET, check it’s not already listed

Click “Add Managed Module…” on the Action pane

IIS7 Add Managed Module

Type in the name of your module and select it from the drop down list (IIS will populate this from what it finds in the web site, if the module isn’t listed then you’ve made a mistake somewhere :)

Add IIS7 HttpHandler Module

Click OK and you should now find that your custom HttpModule works :)

Another way

Some of you will already know that IIS7 configuration is now XML and you can configure IIS7 from the web.config. This was recently demonstrated at a local .NET User Group in Wellington by Jeremy. It’s a pretty kick ass change from how things work in IIS6 and earlier and makes explaining some of these things easier. After adding the Module reference I noticed Visual Studio warned me that the Web.config file had changed so I took a look at what it had changed and, sure enough:

<system.webServer>
<validation validateIntegratedModeConfiguration="false" />
<modules>
<add name="CustomAuthModule"
type="Mindscape.ResearchProject.Website.Infrastructure.CustomAuthModule" />
</modules>
</system.webServer>

So you could just drop this block into your Web.config and get the same module registration that I detailed earlier. Fantastic.

- JD

Get Windows Vista Ultimate for $199
16 February 2007 in .Net & Events & Microsoft & Windows | Comments (7)

Many of you will be starting to see more and more people talking about Windows Vista now it’s come out in the retail market. I’ve been using it for quite some time and it has really grown on me, I strongly suggest you grab a copy and start using it today :)

Anyway, that aside, you may be questioning which version you need? Given the audience of my blog, I’d suggest Ultimate. It has some kick ass features that make doing development work a lot more enjoyable as well as things such as Windows Ultimate Extras. However, ultimate also comes with the biggest price tag so how can you get it a bit cheaper? You can come along to the Microsoft 2007 Technical Briefing event in Auckland/Wellington/Christchurch.

The cost is $199 to attend and you get to select either a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate or Office 2007 for yourself. Great sessions and software, what more could you want? :)

One of the coolest Ultimate Extras is DreamScene which allows a video to play as your desktop “image”. It’s really cool, Jeremy and Andrew have been loving it too.

- JD

P.S. Disclaimer, I’m speaking at this event so I’m taking the opportunity to pimp it as well as show it’s a great offer to get software :)

Access admin shares on a Vista machine
17 December 2006 in Windows | Comments (0)

I’ve been setting up a new machine at home this weekend and one thing I needed to do was access the files on my main desktop machine that’s running Windows Vista RTM. I enabled file sharing and then hit the box and tried to access the admin shares (c$, d$ etc) and got prompted for a login. That’s fine. Bang in my username and password on the box and get denied. Try again. Denied.

Wee bit of digging and I found that accessing admin shares as a local admin remotely is now disabled for security reasons. You can access the shares if you’re a domain administrator and you can still remote into the machine as a local admin but you cannot access admin shares as a local admin account remotely.

The workaround is a small registry tweak:

  1. Open regedit
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft\ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ system
  3. Create a new key (Right click -> New, DWORD Value (32bit))
  4. Name the key “LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy” and give it the value “1″
  5. Click OK

Once you have done this you should be able to access the admin shares remotely under a local admin account.

- JD

PowerShell RTM
16 November 2006 in .Net & Code & Microsoft & Tools & Windows | Comments (0)

I was going to blog quickly about the other fifty Microsoft products that have gone gold but it seems nearly every blog on the planet is talking about it. So I thought I’d just mention that PowerShell 1.0 has been released :)

PowerShell is a fantastic replacement for your command prompt of old and has a wealth of new functionality. I’m still trying to get used to it but those who grok it completely rave about it so I’m sure the more I learn the more I’ll love it.

So if you haven’t played with it or are using the beta then go and grab it. Oh, and F7 still works in PowerShell ;)

Download PowerShell RTM

 - JD

Vista RC1 Thoughts
3 October 2006 in Microsoft & Windows | Comments (3)

I’ve been playing with Vista for more than a year and finally upgraded to RC1 and am trying to use it as my full desktop replacement now (James is loving it so I thought I should make a real go at it too). So far these are my thoughts:

  • The overall user experience is better which is great considering I’m still finding my way around it
  • It picked up all the hardware in my machine and installed all the drivers. This is better than what XP or 2003 does for me which misses some things.
  • Seem stable, I haven’t had a single crash yet and the number of reboots required is noticeably lower when first setting up the machine.
  • Performance monitoring is greatly improved – I’m a sucker for stats
  • IIS 7 is cool :)
  • I keep finding neat little things all over the place, I love playing with new stuff

I could go on for quite a while and perhaps I will post again with anything cool I find – I’ve been avoiding this on earlier builds with the risk of features being dropped.

The only problem I have had so far is frustrating and keeps me going back to Windows 2003, I use an nVidia 6800 and my TV is only detected as being able to display at 30Hz interlaced mode (it can support 1024×768 @ 75Hz) so video looks awful. I can’t seem to find a work around yet which is annoying- I’ve even upgraded the graphics drivers only to find they offer almost no value at all (thanks nVidia :P ). If anyone else has this issue I’d be forever greatful – Google hasn’t been helpful so far either. However I don’t believe this is a Vista issue but more that nVidia need to get their act together.

All up though, I’m impressed with the quality of RC1 and would recomended it to anyone :)

 - JD