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Archive for Microsoft

Microsoft Ordered to Stop Selling Word and Office?

Back in August, a court sided with a small Canadian company named i4i, which holds a patent from 1998. That patent deals with the way the XML language is implemented, and Microsoft was found to be in violation with its Word program. Microsoft was ordered to license the code from the i4i team, or reprogram it. Otherwise… Word would have to be removed from sale in the marketplace.

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360 IT Advice: Real Challenges, Expert Solutions


Microsoft is sponsoring an innovative new site, where top tech sites, along with their experts and readers can partner, and offer advice to your challenging IT questions: What keeps you up at night? Ask for advice. is participating, along with a group of impressive sites that  you’ve likely read, or even received advice from before:,,,,, and

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One Million Xbox Live Users Banned

xbox360Microsoft is tired of piracy – and they’re doing something about it in a very big way. In a statement released by the company, they state: All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and that modifying their Xbox 360 console to play pirated discs violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty, and result in a ban from Xbox Live..

Reactions around the globe are varied… and passionate on both sides of the coin. Teens who have had their accounts cut off are definitely not happy, even when they fully admit to being guilty of piracy and console modifications. One such banned player, who hails from the UK, told a radio station this morning that he is “gutted” and “distraught” by Microsoft’s decision. He was even noted to be seen crying loudly in public. However, this same person also admits to paying a local electronics shop more than $100.00 to mod his Xbox for him – so he can play pirated games.

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Windows 7 Beta – Fix Installer & Windows Update Crashes


Some Windows 7 Beta users are reporting crashes when running Windows Update, or installing third party applications (i.e. Java, Flash, and other MSI-based installers). The third-party Windows .msi installer, or Windows Explorer will crash. Microsoft has identified this may be related to a configuration change in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) client. If you’ve experienced Windows Update or installer crashes with the Windows 7 beta, try the fix below. If you haven’t experienced Windows Update or installer crashes crashes, there’s no need for the fix. Future installations of Windows 7 after the initial beta will not be affected.

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Win32/Conficker.B/Downadup Infection Prevention and Removal

Is there a Windows Update icon in the system tray by your clock that you’ve been ignoring? You know, the one that says, “New updates ready to install”. This would be a good time to stop ignoring it, and make sure your system is fully updated. At a very minimum, install the update appropriate to your version of Windows identified in this Microsoft Security Bulletin. All versions of Windows are affected, from Windows 2000 right through Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (even the Windows 7 beta).

Why the alarm and concern? There are widespread reports of malware infections (Conficker.B or Downadup) that exploit a recently discovered vulnerability in the Windows Server service (SVCHOST.EXE). You can become infected by simply the act of being connected to a network, the internet, or sharing a removable drive. No action required. Scary stuff.

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ERD Commander – Free Trial from Microsoft

ERD Commander is a very useful tool that Microsoft acquired with it’s purchase of Winternals. It’s especially useful for computers that aren’t able to boot into Windows, or even safe mode. ERD (Emergency Repair Disk) allows access to Windows restore points, file recovery, crash analysis, hotfix uninstall, and other low level operating system tasks, all in a very familiar Windows interface. It also provides network and internet access, as well as a web browser.

erd commander

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$6000 HP Magic Giveaway Contest!


To the $6,000 Geeks to Go HP Magic Giveaway contest!


One winner will receive a prize package valued at over $6,000! Including all of the following:

Brought to you by HP, Microsoft, and

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We’re Spreading Holiday Magic

Finding it a little more difficult to find the holiday magic this year? Still need something extra special for under the tree? HP and Microsoft have teamed up with 50 websites this holiday season to give away a total of $300,000 in prizes, in The HP Magic Giveaway. If you’ve done the math correctly, you already know that means we have a $6,000 prize package to award to one lucky winner. While the details of our contest won’t be revealed until later (subscribe to our feed), now we’ll share what’s contained in the prize package, and all 50 sites where you will have an opportunity to win!

If you’re new to this site, we share magical moments every day, by providing free tech help. Our magical moments come from helping someone solve a technology problem. It could be as simple as removing the Language Bar, or as complex as removing the latest rootkit that your antivirus missed. If you have some magic to share, or just want to learn more, please visit our forums.

The Holiday Magic Prize Package:

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Windows Home Server as a Backup Solution

windows_home_serverIn the fourth installment of the home data backup series, we’re going to review Microsoft’s Windows Home Server, the first home server product they’ve offered. While this product offers many features, I’m going to be focusing on its use as a backup/recovery solution. Additional features will be covered in a later review.

Windows Home Server, or WHS, is based on Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 platform, but has been re-packaged to make it much more friendly for the home user. It uses a simple console interface to provide management functions, such as adding users, configuring backups, and managing shared folders. The typical WHS device is a computer that is connected to your home network and managed through another PC on the network. It’s capable of performing a headless boot, meaning there is no requirement for a keyboard, mouse, or monitor. Because it doesn’t require these devices, it can be tucked into a corner and takes up relatively little room. I have mine sitting in my basement, next to my router. Out of sight does not mean out of mind, however; this system is always running, monitoring the health of your network and helping to keep your critical data safe.

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Windows Live Search and Give

While Google may continue to be everyone’s favorite search engine, Windows Live Search has made some recent improvements in their number of results, and relevancy. The Microsoft search engine continues to see updates that make it an attractive alternative.

Today the Live Search blog announced Search and Give.


After you sign in you simply select a charity or school. They will receive a donation of one penny each time you search the web. According to my web history, I’ve totaled 20,039 searches this year. Had my searches been through Search and Give, my charity or school would have received $200. Not bad!