Microsoft is inviting early adopters to test the next version of a Solution Accelerator designed to streamline migrations to the latest of the company’s technologies.

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 Beta was initially made available for download in November 2010, but the testing Build is still live on Microsoft Connect, and the software giant appears to be welcoming new testers with open arms, still.

After all, it’s the testing data along with feedback from customers that will help the Redmond company wrap up version 5.5 of the MAP Toolkit, and make it available as soon as possible.

Now at v5.5, the MAP Toolkit simplifies the work that IT professionals have to put in when it comes down to upgrade scenarios involving such products as Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server R2, Internet Explorer 8 and 9, but also Windows Azure and SQL Azure. More »

Just as it was the case with past upgrades to its Windows client and server platform, following the RTM and GA of Service Pack 1, Microsoft will start to automatically push the bits to Windows 7 RTM and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM computers.

Customers with Automatic Updates enabled will be automatically upgraded to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

Still, the Redmond company is also offering customers the possibility to block the delivery of Service Pack 1 and continue to have AU enabled.

This can be done with help from the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit. In fact, a new version of the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit went live on the Microsoft Download Center on November 11, 2010. More »

For those of you new to Windows, and with apologies to old hands, you may be interested to know that Windows stores the address of every web site you’ve ever visited, from the day you first switched on your machine.

This information is stored in a hidden and protected file that you can’t delete by any normal means. Some say this secret file, one of several called index.dat, was put there at the behest of the FBI but whatever its origins, the fact is your PC is spying on you.

There are ways to rid yourself of this unwelcome snooper and for the past few years I’ve been recommending a freeware program called CCleaner (CC originally stood for Crap Cleaner…), and that’s not about to change as the latest version 3 is released. More »

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2. Top 10 – August 2010 Popular Tips

3. Fix – Windows 7 Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.6

4. Troubleshooting and Repairing for You in Windows 7

5. IE 9 puts Microsoft back into the browser game

6. Windows 7 SP1 Beta Taskbar Thumbnail Controls Fix

7. Unused External SATA Ports for Windows 7

8. Windows 7 and IE9 Advice from Microsoft

9. Office 2010 Update Center

10. Make Gameplay and User Interface Faster On Windows

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Microsoft is allowing customers of its latest iteration of Windows Embedded to take advantage of the platform in more languages than before. The Redmond company has released the second wave of Multilingual User Interface packs for Windows Embedded Standard 7. However, the software giant has also released two Language Interface Packs (LIPs) in addition to the latest MUI packs downloads.

Back in early July 2010, the first set of nine Multilingual User Interface (MUI) Packs were made available to customers already running the embedded flavor of Windows 7. At that time, Microsoft offered support for the following languages: Dutch, Brazilian, Turkish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Greek. Now the software giant has added more MUI packs to the list. More »