Microsoft is optimizing Windows 7 in order to increase performance, and, in this context, the dispatcher lock is one of the components that has got cut off . According to the Redmond company, fewer hardware locks are synonymous with boosted parallelism, namely a new level of efficiency when it comes down to taking advantage of modern processing architectures. This is valid for Windows Server 2008 R2, namely Windows 7 Server, and, naturally, also for the Windows 7 client, since the two operating systems share the same code base.

“With Windows 7, the dispatcher lock is replaced with several finer-grained synchronization techniques, thus effectively distributing resource contention. The main benefits for applications include increased system performance and more optimal use of available hardware resources,” Phil Pennington, Windows Server Technical Evangelism, revealed.

Evolving from Windows Vista, Windows 7 is embracing the many core CPU world, delivering the promise of enhanced performance through the advantage represented by parallel computing. However, in order for Win7 to be tailored to many core processors, the platform’s kernel had to be freed from past relics such as the dispatcher lock. More »

Despite being different releases associated with the evolution of the Windows client, Windows XP and Windows Vista share not only common elements and components through their architecture, starting with the kernel, but also flaws in the source code.

In this context, the Service Pack 1 and respectively Service Pack 3 refreshes for the two operating systems have done nothing to break the intimate connection between the two products. An illustrative example in this situation are the new Critical updates Microsoft is wrapping up for the 32-bit and 64-bit Vista SP1 and XP SP3, designed to patch security vulnerabilities in the two operating systems.

Next week, on September 9, 2008, Microsoft will make available three security bulletins impacting both the latest service packs for Vista and XP. According to the Redmond giant, the updates will patch vulnerabilities in Windows Media Player 11, Windows Media Encoder 9 Series, and Windows itself. More »

Application incompatibility is one of the aspects that have managed to deliver extensive damage to the adoption rate of Windows Vista. However, as Vista matured throughout 2007 and with Service Pack 1 in 2008, so did the ecosystem of software solutions orbiting around the operating system. Despite this, the actual perception of application incompatibility managed to survive, especially in corporate environments. If one end user can deal with a program that is incompatible with Vista rather easy, the same cannot be said about an enterprise dependent on a specific business application with tens of thousands of machines.

“Part of this is perception based on fact – Windows Vista is built on a new architecture that promises tightened security and reliability. Consequently, the applications that ride on top of Windows Vista need to communicate with the kernel in different ways. So what has helped fuel current perception around application compatibility? Why did many applications ‘break’ in the migration from Windows XP to Windows Vista?” Microsoft asked rhetorically. More »

This tutorial describes how to install Ubuntu by copying the contents of the installation CD to an USB memory stick (aka flash drive) and making the stick bootable. This is handy for machines like ultra portable notebooks that do not have a CD drive but can boot from USB media.

In short here’s what you do:

Prepare the USB flash drive

Boot the computer from your USB flash drive.

Install Ubuntu as you would from a normal boot CD More »

When it comes down to the 32-bit Windows Vista vs. 64-bit Windows Vista, the comparison generally focuses on the added benefits synonymous with handling system memory. Because the address space of 64-bit Vista is not limited to 4GB, users are able to use a maximum of 128 GB of RAM with the Ultimate, Business and Enterprise SKUS. But at the same time, there are added benefits, and one of them is in terms of security. The 64-bit editions of Vista come to the table with PatchGuard (Kernel Patch Protection), Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), Heap and Stack randomization, and even heap corruption detection.

As far as Heap Based Buffer Overruns are concerned, both 32-bit and 64-bit Vista offer protection, but only in the x64 versions of the operating system is the even heap corruption detection enabled by default. Michael Howard, Senior Security Program Manager in the Security Engineering group at Microsoft, explained that, in x86 Vista, software developers have to call the HeapSetInformation API in order to enable heal corruption detection. More »