Although Microsoft doesn’t normally deliver support for pre-release software, there are exceptions to this rule, and an update designed to resolve issues related to Taskbar functionality in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 is an illustrative example in this regard.

The Redmond company also offers support for pre-RTM products when it comes down to patching Critical security vulnerabilities that would put users at risk from attacks and exploits.

However, the update released in the second half of August 2010 is not intended to patch a security flaw.

Instead “this update addresses an issue in which the thumbnail controls for some applications are not displayed on the taskbar. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system,” Microsoft stated.

According to the little information provided by the software giant, the refresh is capable of enabling “the thumbnail controls of certain applications to be displayed correctly on the taskbar in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2.”

And although the company doesn’t mention Windows 7 SP1 Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta in the Knowledge Base article, the releases on the Microsoft Download Center reveal that early adopters running the public Beta of the first upgrade for the two platforms should also deploy the update.

Windows 7 SP1 Beta was released to testers in the first half of July 2010, and continues to be available for download to the public.

As it released Windows 7 SP1 Beta, Microsoft made it clear that it planned to wrap up and deliver the RTM bits of the service pack in the first half of 2011, most probably in the first quarter of next year, rather than by the end of 2010, as previously speculated.

Following the release of Windows 7 Service Pack (SP1) Beta Build 7601.16562.100603-1800, work on the upgrade continued, with Microsoft having reportedly released a new interim version of the service pack to TAP and OEMs.

The software giant confirmed that Windows 7 SP1 Beta Refresh Build 7601.17077 indeed shipped to a select pool of testers.

Windows 7 Service Pack (SP1) Beta Build 7601.16562.100603-1800 is available for download here.

Here are the download links for KB2259539:

All supported x86-based versions of Windows 7

All supported x64-based versions of Windows 7

All supported x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

All supported IA-64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

Here are five quick tips to enhance your Firefox 3.6 experience.

1. Open links in the tab bar far right

In Firefox 3.6, links opened from a web page (middle-clicking on them or from the context menu) open to the right of the current page to keep related content closer by default. To restore the previous behavior, access the advanced preferences by visiting about:config, then look for preference browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent and set it to false.

2. Enable tab previews

If you prefer to see tabs thumbnails when switching tabs with Ctrl + Tab, set browser.ctrlTab.previews to true via about:config.

3. Enable tab previews menu button

Convert the list all tabs button (far right in the tab bar), set browser.allTabs.previews to true via about:config.

4. Tab previews hotkey

To quickly access the all tabs preview panel (once enabled) and search press Shift + Ctrl + Tab.
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An update is available that will help improve the performance and reliability of Windows Vista SP1.

This update includes the following improvements on a Windows Vista SP1-based computer:

1. The stability of Windows Vista SP1-based computers by addressing some crashes that may occur when you try to check e-mail by using a POP3 e-mail client such as Windows Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.

2. The reliability of the Windows Vista SP1 based-computers by addressing some problems that occur when you delete user accounts by using the User Accounts item in Control Panel. When this problem occurs, the system may stop responding (hang). More »

Windows Vista is without a doubt the most user experience oriented operating system ever to come out of Redmond. Windows Aero, although not as revolutionary and innovative as Microsoft is applauding it to be, is a new design in terms of graphical user interface and a divergent visual perspective in comparison to Vista’s successor, Windows XP, for that matter. And in addition to the graphical UI, Microsoft has also revamped the logon process. Microsoft failed to deliver the same volume of eye candy to the logon visuals as it did to Windows Aero, but in terms of small details, it really hits the spot.

And speaking of small details, there are a couple of visual tweaks delivered by Andreas Verhoeven, that will really serve to pimp up your desktop. In the screenshots included at the bottom you will be able to observe the details added through the deployment of Glass Toasts, Thumbnail Sizer and 3D User Picture. Trust me, it’s the little things that count, and Verhoeven simply took a few basic elements of Vista and tweaked them. More »

Windows Vista generates a preview thumbnail for nearly every file when viewed in Windows Explorer. Yes thumbnails can be really useful for quick photo viewing, but disabling these thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer can really speed things up.

Disabling Vista’s thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer is really easy to do and should really improve response time when browsing around your drives.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Disabling thumbnail previews in Windows Vista Explorer usually takes less than a few minutes
Here’s How: More »