Save XP Petition Grows to Over 200,000 Signatures

This article was written on May 19, 2008 by CyberNet.

xp petition.pngWe’ve mentioned the “SAVE XP” Petition that InfoWorld has put together before and at last count in mid-April, over 164,000 people had signed it. The purpose of the petition is to ask Microsoft to extend the date that XP will be available. InfoWorld has just updated the petition count and at this point, over 200,000 people have signed it. The exact count as of May 15th is 200,805 signatures and that’s the number after they took out those who signed multiple times, as well as the fake sign-ups. Clearly people want XP to stay around a little longer but is it enough?

In the big scheme of things, 200,000 people really isn’t THAT many people when you take into consideration the millions of people still using XP. It is a large enough number though that it should eventually get Microsoft’s attention and may make them stop and reconsider how long they should keep XP around. At this point they aren’t willing to meet with InfoWorld to receive the petition, but they do know that it exists. In their most recent update, InfoWorld says, “through its PR firm, Microsoft has declined to meet with InfoWorld to receive the petition and discuss the concerns of its customers who have signed it.

One of the first thoughts that came to mind when we first heard about this whole petition several months ago was “are we going to be seeing a SAVE VISTA petition several years from now?” So many people are resistant to change because they get comfortable with what they are using and don’t want to have to get used to using something else. People were resisting XP back when it first came out. Technology changes and advances and upgrading to a new operating system allows us to take advantage of it.

So what will come of this? There are a couple of things that could happen. First of all, we’ve seen Microsoft extend the deadline for ULCPC’s (ultra low-cost personal computers) until June 30, 2010. Maybe they’ll decide to extend the date for anybody who wants to run XP and allow Vista and XP to co-exist? Or maybe they will just stick to their original plan?

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ViStart gets an Awesome Upgrade

This article was written on June 09, 2007 by CyberNet.

ViStart Beta 5A few months ago I wrote about a cool application for Windows XP which will emulate the Start Menu in Windows Vista. Then came along another Start Menu emulator from the creator of the Vista Transformation Pack, and this one has received a great update as the final step before Vista Transformation Pack 7 is released.

ViStart Beta 5 is the standalone Start Menu that runs in Windows XP, and perfectly replaces your Start Menu. It does all of the following:

  • Puts your user image in the upper-right corner, and replaces that image with other graphics as you hover over the menu items on the right side.
  • The Programs menu is actually contained within the Start Menu, instead of popping out like it does in XP. This is a big thing that skins alone were never able to emulate.
  • Search! It doesn’t index your files, but the search bar does pull up matching program names as you type.
  • System Tray icon that you can right-click on to shut-down, restart, or log-off of your computer.

The screenshot above is what ViStart looks like in the Vista Transformation Pack, and as you can see there are a lot of similarities to the Vista counterpart. While this program can be run as a standalone program, the font used is what’s specified in your system settings. So from my experience it doesn’t look as spectacular if you don’t have the Vista Transformation Pack installed.

Things are definitely looking up for the Vista Transformation Pack, and when version 7 gets released we’ll be sure to let you know. In the mean time you can play around with ViStart a little more:

ViStart Homepage (English Download Mirror for Beta 5)

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Manage Multiple Connections: Remote Desktop, VNC, Citrix, and More

This article was written on October 20, 2008 by CyberNet.

(Click to Enlarge)

arrow Windows Windows only arrow
Everyday when I’m at work I’m dealing with dozens of different servers that I have to connect to using the Windows Remote Desktop. If you have just one computer that you need to manage the standard Remote Desktop Connection application serves the purpose, but it can become tedious when dealing with numerous machines.

To solve this problem I began looking around for a app that has a nice tabbed interface for handling multiple connections. What I wasn’t expecting was to find something as good as the free Terminals program. This can not only manage Remote Desktop Connections, but also VNC, VMRC, RAS, Telnet, SSH, ICA Citrix, HTTP, and Amazon S3. Plus you can accomplish basic tasks like pinging, trace routes, whois lookups, and more all from within this single program.

I’ve quickly become impressed with everything Terminals can do. Anytime you make a connection to a machine it will be added to the Favorites menu for easy access in the future. You can then go through and rename the entries for easier recognition (especially handy if you’re connecting via IP addresses), or even apply tags.

And we can’t forget about security. Naturally you won’t want a program like this to save all of your passwords because a lot could be lost should it ever fall into the wrong hands. At the same time it can be tough to remember all of those different passwords for the various machines. Terminals, much like any browser, will let you establish a master password that is used to protect all of your saved passwords. That means you’ll have just one password to remember from now on!

This probably isn’t a program that will be handy for everyone, but it can definitely save some time and frustration for those of you who work with dozens of different connections day in and day out. It’s completely free, and doesn’t require any installation for you to start using it. Just download the ZIP file, extract the contents, and run the executable.

Get Terminals for Windows

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Windows XP turns 10, enjoys its golden years and slow transition into retirement

Windows XP

It’s hard to believe that it was ten years ago today that Windows XP first hit retail shelves. It’s even more astonishing when you realize that it was still the most popular operating system in the world until the beginning of this month. The sun may finally be setting on the stalwart OS that has powered countless home and business PCs (it crossed the 400 million mark way back in 2006), but it’s still number two — right behind it’s youngest brother Windows 7 and well ahead of the black sheep, Vista. Sure, our relationship with Microsoft’s OS has had its ups and downs, but it’s clear we’ve developed an attachment to the ol’ bird. After all, consumer demand kept it shipping on PCs until late 2010 and Redmond has pledged to support it until April 8th of 2014. If nothing else, XP will be remembered for its incredible resilience.

[Thanks, Jacob]

Windows XP turns 10, enjoys its golden years and slow transition into retirement originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Oct 2011 20:33:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hide the Start Button in Windows XP

This article was written on August 27, 2008 by CyberNet.

arrow Windows Windows only (not Vista) arrow
When you’re working with a small screen space it’s nice to try and squeeze everything you can out of it. That’s especially true when you’ve got a device like the Eee PC who’s 7″ screen has an 800×480 maximum resolution. As you can imagine you’re Taskbar would fill up after opening just a few applications at a resolution like that.

One thing that you can do is hide the oversized Start button that appears in Windows. This is done with a simple and free application called Start Killer. When the program is running the Start button will disappear, but have no fear because it can still be accessed by pressing either the Windows Key on the keyboard, or by pressing Control+Esc.

Start Killer doesn’t work on Windows Vista, but Microsoft already did a decent job of shrinking down the size of the Start button there. On Windows XP, however, it can give you some extra breathing room on your Taskbar:

start killer.jpg

How do you get your Start button back? Simple, just close the program. When the program is running you’ll see an icon in your System Tray similar to the one in the screenshot above. You can use the icon to close the program or adjust a handful of settings (like auto-starting with Windows).

Get Start Killer for Windows XP and earlier

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Windows 7 overtakes XP globally, Vista found weeping in a corner

According to StatCounter, it’s taken roughly two years for Redmond’s latest to surpass XP and become the world’s most popular operating system. October 2011 marks the first time that Windows 7 has overtaken XP globally, with a 40 percent share of the market versus the latter’s 38. As for Vista, it’s been holding steady at around 11. Not that it’s much of a surprise, as in North America, Windows 7 took the crown back in April of this year. Rounding out the top five, are OS X (though it’s not clear whether that captures all of Cupertino’s beasts) and Linux, which come in at 7 and 0.82 percent respectively. But don’t take our word for it, hop on over to the source links and get your interactive chart on.

[Thanks, Pipera]

Windows 7 overtakes XP globally, Vista found weeping in a corner originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 15 Oct 2011 13:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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CyberNotes: Reset a Windows Password

This article was written on September 06, 2007 by CyberNet.

Tutorial Thursday

Post-it Note on Monitor with PasswordHow many times have you seen someone take a post-it note, write their password on it, and slap it to their monitor? Unfortunately this type of thing is more of a common occurrence than it should be, but the problem is that people can never remember their darn passwords!

Windows has a built-in feature that is made for situations just like this. It lets a user create a password reset "disk" that can be used to change the password in the event that they forget it. The "disk" can be a floppy, USB drive, iPod, or any external drive. It takes less than a minute to create, and believe me…this can save you a ton of time!

Of course by the time you come across this article it will probably be too late, and you’ll want to reset the Windows password without a disk. If that’s the case then I’ve put together a small section at the end of this article dedicated to "cracking" the Windows password.

–Creating a Password Reset Disk–

Instructions on creating a password reset disk in Windows XP can be found here. Here’s what you have to do if you’re running Vista:

  1. Open the start menu and start to type "User Accounts" in the search box.
    Reset a Windows Password
  2. In the window that pops up choose the "Create a password reset disk" under the Tasks heading in the left pane.
    Reset a Windows Password - User Accounts
  3. A wizard will now walk you through creating a password reset disk. After you get by the first screen you’ll be presented with a drop-down menu that lists the available devices that can successfully be used. It has to be some sort of removable media, such as a floppy disk, USB drive, or even your iPod.
    Reset a Windows Password Wizard Reset a Windows Password Device
  4. Next just enter in your current Windows password, and then you’ll be done. If you check the device that you used for the reset disk there should be a hidden file called userkey.psw.
    Reset a Windows Password File

–Using a Password Reset Disk–

Like most things in life, the advanced preparations you made by creating a password reset disk can really pay off. To use the disk just insert it into your computer, and then try to login as if you knew the password. Windows will tell you that the password is incorrect, and when you return to the login screen there will be a "Reset password" option located under the password field. That will initiate a wizard that will guide you through the steps needed to create a new password.

Note: Your current password reset disk is still valid even after changing your password.

Reset a Windows Password
Click to Enlarge

–Don’t Have a Password Reset Disk?–

Unfortunately by the time you realize that you can create a password reset disk it’s normally too late. There are some solutions, which I’ll outline here, but for obvious reasons none of them are going to be very easy.

  • Using a Windows XP loophole – You can launch the user account management while performing a repair on the operating system since you can access the command prompt. This is definitely the route I would go if I was running XP, but make sure you follow the instructions closely.
  • Cracking a Vista or XP password using Ophcrack – This is an application that you burn to CD, and it will boot up with your computer. You’ll need to give your computer some "alone time" depending on the strength of your password.
  • Login Recovery for NT, 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista – This is actually a service, and it requires that you download an application to put on a floppy that will retrieve your password file. You then send your password file to them, and they will decode it. There’s a 98.5% chance that it can be done in less than 10-minutes, but you’ll have to pay some money if you want it that soon. Otherwise they have a free service available, and with that you’ll get the password within 48-hours.


I highly recommend that you create a password reset disk if you haven’t done so already. I did it for all of my computers since I can just use a USB drive as the storage medium. You’re probably pretty confident that you won’t forget your password, but who knows, it could happen.

This might also be useful to backup passwords for friends and family who may often forget these types of things. I might start doing that because then they don’t have to worry about putting a darn post-it note on the desk with their password! Maybe they would also create a password that is more secure, too.

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Browse the Web Through Windows Help in XP & Vista

This article was written on January 04, 2008 by CyberNet.

Over in the CyberNet Forum, Richard pointed out a post from Download Squad that explained how you could surf the web on a Windows XP Computer by accessing a help file in a Windows application like the calculator. This would be useful for times when you’re in a public place and the administrator disabled the web browser so that you couldn’t surf the web.  The only problem is that the trick (which I’ll explain below) only works if you’re on a computer running Windows XP. I figured there had to be a way to do the same thing in Vista and sure enough, there is!

First, here’s how it will work in XP.   Open a Windows application like the calculator then click Help > Help Topics.  From there you’ll right-click on the title bar (next to the minimize or maximize buttons) and then click “Jump to URL.” From there you can enter in any address that you please!

Next, here’s how it would work in Windows Vista.

  • Open the Run Command (windows key + r)
    Vista Help Run
  • Type the following: %systemroot%\Help\
  • Doing the above will take you to the Help Folder in the Windows Directory
  • You’ll be looking for a .chm file and once you find it, double click it
    Vista Help CHM
  • Right click in the task bar or the title bar and then click “jump to URL”
    Vista Help Jump to URL
  • From there you can enter in any address!
    Vista Help Enter URL

Whether you’re using Windows XP or Windows Vista, you’ll have a solution for those times when you’re on a public computer and you need to browse the Internet but the browser has been disabled.  Cool, huh?

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Firefox 3 to Include Separate Vista & XP Themes

This article was written on October 18, 2007 by CyberNet.

Firefox 3 Places Mockup Mozilla has started to to post some more information regarding how Firefox 3 will adapt itself to the look of multiple operating systems. One of the big changes that Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s User Experience Leader, mentioned in an article was the two different icon sets that will be created for Windows alone. There will be one for Vista and one for XP. Each set will contain 120 different icons, which means they have 240 icons that they need to make for the two different Windows Operating Systems.

An inventory of the necessary icons have already been posted, but none of them have been updated to reflect the changes that are yet to come. As of right now they are looking for a contributor or a contractor that is willing to produce the icons in the time frame that they have. Here’s what they would like to have done at each milestone:

  • 10 icons done in XP and Vista styles as an initial proof-of-concept by the end of the month
  • the most frequently viewed icons delivered as a first draft in time for Beta 2
  • the full set of icons delivered as a second draft in time for Beta 3
  • the ability to make small revisions before the release candidates

The icon inventory site says that the due date for the second milestone (Beta 2?) is in early December, and the third milestone (Beta 3?) isn’t until February 15th! I thought that Firefox 3 would be out by January of next year, but that doesn’t appear to be the case at all.

There are also some lower priority items for Vista that will probably not make it into Firefox 3, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed:

A Windows Vista theme which can be installed by Vista users to include Vista-like widgets and control layouts, tabstrip and other changes for Vista look and feel (to be shipped alongside, not with, Firefox 3)

That almost sounds like a theme utilizing the Aero effects available in Vista, much like what Internet Explorer 7 does. That would be truly awesome if that’s the case.

Beltzner has also begun discussions about the new theme for Linux which has got to be a tough cookie to crack. Think about all of the different Linux distributions available and how many of them look different. It’s probably going to be pretty strenuous to develop something that looks good on them all, and lets not forget that they are also working on a Mac-specific theme. There’s no doubt that they have their hands full.

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Monitor Program Updates with UpdateStar

This article was written on October 02, 2007 by CyberNet.

UpdateStar Homepage 

There have been tools in the past that monitor programs on your computer for updates, but none is like the new UpdateStar. This free app claims to check for updates on upwards of 80,000 titles including freeware, shareware and commercial software products. That’s quite a database it has got built up!

Here’s a quick list of some features it offers:

  • Once program updates are available, UpdateStar lets you know and offers you information and download options as well as licensing links in the case of a commercial product or update.
  • Acts as a replacement for the well known “Add or Remove Programs” within your Windows Control Panel.
  • You can let it deliver information regarding your complete software setup, or you may also choose to just let UpdateStar look for available update information regarding pre-selected programs you consider important.
  • The database is maintained by the users, for the users. Thousands of voluntary users help us to keep our database with tens of thousand of software products up-to-date. If you find an update that UpdateStar does not recognize, you can help updating the database by using the “Send Update” link in the product’s details section within the program.
  • Informs you about available upgrades for your installed programs. By default an icon will appear in your system tray and inform you, when an update for you is available. Simply click on the icon to learn more about the available update(s). To change the settings, please open the “Preferences” tab in your UpdateStar.

I would undoubtedly say that this is the best application available for providing update information, but there was still a large majority of my applications that it couldn’t retrieve info for. Here are some of the more prominent ones that I was shocked to not see included:

  • It didn’t have version information for some common programs like Live Writer, GIMP, Notepad++, and 7-Zip.
  • Reported DriverMax 2.5 as the most current version, but as we already know DriverMax 3 has been released.

The screenshot at the beginning of the article is what it looks like when you first run UpdateStar. It gives you an overview of how many programs you have installed on your computer (not how many it is able to actually track), and how many program updates are available. There is also a more detailed product list available where you can see what the current version is for each of the applications it does have info for. The ones that can’t be tracked will say “Unknown” in the current version column:

UpdateStar Product List 

Another great way to stay up-to-date on your programs is to follow our Daily Downloads that are posted each weekday. ;) Did you not expect us to do any shameless self promotion?

UpdateStar Homepage
Thanks for the tip Radu!

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