With Service Pack 1 still in the distance, customers need to turn to Windows Update for refreshes designed to improve their experience with the latest Windows client and server platforms. Although Microsoft is not emphasizing the relevancy of WU over that of major service pack upgrades for Windows 7 to the same level it did for Windows Vista, the company is indeed relying on its update mechanism for the evolution of the operating system ahead of the delivery of the first service pack. Since the RTM of Windows 7, the software giant has made two stability and reliability updates available, via WU and as standalone packages on the Microsoft Download Center. Refreshed versions of both were offered to customers on March 8.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 users are free to download revised versions of “The January 2010 stability and reliability update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is available” and the “The October 2009 stability and reliability update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is available.” This is the third time that the company tweaked the two updates and offered them to users running the successors of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 R2.
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Microsoft is making use of the time it still has ahead of the October 22nd general availability deadline of Windows 7 to deliver some last-minute finishing touches to the operating system. The latest iterations of the Windows client and server platforms were released to manufacturing on July 22nd, 2009, and, since August, have been available to specific customer segments including MSDN and TechNet subscribers. On October 13th, the Redmond company made available for download updates for both Windows 7 RTM and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM designed to boost the stability and reliability of the two platforms.

“An update is available to resolve issues that affect some computers that are running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. These issues are reported by customers who use the Error Reporting service or Microsoft Customer Support Services,” Microsoft revealed. “This update improves the stability and reliability of Windows 7 and of Windows Server 2008 R2 in various scenarios.”

This is not an uncommon practice with Microsoft. In fact, ahead of Windows Vista’s GA in January 2007, Jim Allchin, the then Windows boss, told customers that the first thing they would have to do after installing Vista and running the operating system for the first time was to update the brand-new platform. More »

While Microsoft is still hammering away at Internet Explore 8 in order to produce the second Beta, currently planned for August 2008, Mozilla is gearing up to release the first update to Firefox 3.0. The successor of Firefox 2.0 was released to the general public on June 17, 2008, and climbed to a record 8 million downloads in just the first day. Firefox 3.0.1 is the first security and stability update for Firefox 3.0, and Mozilla is targeting July 16 for the release date. Firefox 3.0.1 code freeze status was available at the end of June, and the Beta versions of the first update to version 3.0 are already live and up for grabs.

“Candidate builds of Firefox 3.0.1 are now available for testing. You can get the builds here. If you have previously downloaded a beta version of Firefox 3.0 or have manually set your copy to be using the ‘beta’ release channel for updates, you can update yourself to Firefox 3.0.1 by selecting ‘Help > Check for Updates’,” revealed Samuel Sidler, Quality Assurance Engineer at Mozilla. More »

This is it! The wait is now over! Firefox 3.0 Final is available for download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Mozilla announced since last week, following the release of the Release Candidate 3 Build, that the gold bits for Firefox 3.0 would be made available on June 17, 2008, and managed to meet the deadline. Although the official release of Firefox 3.0 is still a few hours away, the downloads for the next iteration of the Firefox open source browser are live. So, make sure that you grab your copy; the links for the English binaries of Firefox 3.0 Final for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux are also at the bottom of this article.

The Gecko 1.9 web rendering platform is the foundation for Firefox 3.0. Mozilla spent the last 34 months hammering away at Gecko 1.9. With the next version of Firefox, Mozilla will in fact move onward with the evolution of Gecko. But for now, Firefox 3.0 users will be able to enjoy the benefits of in excess of 15,000 updates introduced to the rendering engine. In this context, Firefox 3.0 delivers “improved performance, stability, rendering correctness, and code simplification and sustainability,” according to Mozilla. More »

AutoPlay or AutoRun dialog window will pop up when an removable drive, portable device such as digital camera and media player or CD/DVD disc been inserted into computer or placed into optical drive, with plenty of action choices in a list of options for users to choose to perform on the just connected drive and drive contents. Each item in the AutoPlay list is a handler installed by various applications to show as an option for a particular events or content types such as Pictures, Videos, and Mixed.

Windows by default has several AutoPlay handlers, and other third-party programs, especially media player such as MusicMatch Jukebox and RealPlayer, and image burning software such as Nero will add their own AutoPlay handlers and shortcuts into the list. Over the time, the AutoPlay list can get longer and longer, and some entries can become invalid or orphaned when the program has been uninstalled by the AutoPlay handlers are not removed. More »