Microsoft Fix it got a boost this week with the introduction of an update designed to make it easier for users to find fixes to their issues with Microsoft software.

Fix it is the Redmond company’s online hub offering a comprehensive collection of automated solutions for problems impacting products such as Windows, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Xbox and Zune, Office, Windows Server etc.

Microsoft Fix it has been steadily growing both in terms of usage (the fixes were used an impressive over 156 million times) and as far as the number of fixes is concerned (in excess of 500), an aspect indicative of the initiative’s success.

The software giant has also put in effort to tailor the Fix it Solution Center to users in no less than 35 countries worldwide, providing help in their native language. More »

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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Even though Windows 7 is essentially the evolution of Windows Vista, as the operating system is available in public Beta, users of the development milestone will inherently come across glitches, including hardware incompatibility problems. Furthermore, some Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 testers are bound to run into incompatibility issues even with Microsoft’s own hardware products, namely the peripherals that the company is building through its hardware division. However, the software giant already has software in place designed to make its hardware products play nice with Windows 7 Beta.

According to Microsoft, the Habu Laser Gaming Mouse and the Reclusa Gaming Keyboard do not have Beta software available for Windows 7 Beta. “Habu Laser Gaming Mouse will continue to have basic functionality without an additional software download. Reclusa Gaming Keyboard will continue to have basic functionality without an additional software download,” the company informed. More »

Microsoft is releasing Windows 7 to 2.5 million beta testers today. Here are ten tips for those who are preparing to take the plunge:

1. Back-up your system

Whilst we’ve been mightily impressed with the stability of Windows 7 ever since the pre-beta launch, this remains a work in progress. If you’re even considering installing Windows 7 on a mission-critical system, make sure you take a full back-up first, so that you’ve got a fall back if it all goes horribly wonky.

2. Take note of your settings and software keys

If you’re making a fresh install of Windows 7, rather than upgrading a previous OS, make a note of all your crucial settings – such as your wireless network key and Outlook configuration – so that you can get online immediately. Also make sure you can lay your hands on keys for any essential software that you’ll need to re-install in Windows 7. More »

Having taken Windows XP to Service Pack 3 in the first half of this year, Microsoft is continuing the evolution of the operating system. In this context, the Redmond company has made available for download the Media Pack update for the N variants of Windows XP SP3. The Media Pack is available through Windows Update, and is designed to integrate exclusively with the Windows XP Home Edition N SP3 and Windows XP Professional N. The other editions of Windows XP SP3 already contain by default the components delivered by the Media Pack.

“Different software programs and Web sites rely on some Windows files that are not included in Windows XP Home Edition N or in Windows XP Professional N. This update makes sure that these software programs and Web sites work correctly,” Microsoft revealed, informing that XP users would have to first install Windows Media Player and Service Pack 3 in order to be able to integrate the Media Pack.

The N versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista have been born as a necessity for Microsoft to comply with an antitrust decision of the European Union. In this regard, the Redmond company is offering in Europe versions of its Windows clients stripped of Windows Media Player. More »