Windows 7:

Microsoft sets Oct. 31 as stop date for Windows 7 consumer PC sales

But extends end-of-sales date for business PCs running Windows 7 ProfessionalMicrosoft has set Oct. 31 as the end of sales of new consumer-grade Windows 7 PCs, but for now has left open the do-not-sell-after-this-date for business machines.

On the site where it posts such policies, Microsoft now notes that Oct. 31, 2014, is the end-of-sales date for new PCs equipped with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium or Ultimate. All three are consumer-oriented versions of Windows 7; Home Premium has been the overwhelming choice of OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) for consumer systems.

Microsoft’s practice, first defined in 2010, is to stop selling an older operating system in retail one year after the launch of its successor, and halt delivery of the previous Windows edition to OEMs two years after a new version launches. The company shipped Windows 8, Windows 7’s replacement, in October 2012.

The setting of a deadline for consumer Windows 7 PCs followed a glitch last year when Microsoft named the same Oct. 31 date for all Windows 7 PCs, but then quickly retracted the posting, claiming that the notification had been posted “in error.”

Some OEMs, notably Hewlett-Packard, have made headlines for marketing consumer-grade Windows 7 PCs, a sign of the fragmentation of the once-dominant Windows oligarchy, which always pushed the newest at the expense of older editions.

But while it has established an end-of-sales date for consumer PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed, Microsoft has yet to do the same for business PCs.

Microsoft will give a one-year warning before it demands that OEMs stop selling PCs with Windows 7 Professional, the commercial-quality version. Under that rule, Microsoft will allow computer makers such as Lenovo, HP and Dell to continue selling PCs with Windows 7 Professional until at least February 2015.

It’s likely that the extension will be much longer.

Windows 7 has become the standard version for businesses, which have spurned Windows 8, largely because of its two-user interface (UI) model, which they consider disruptive to productivity and a needless cost that would require employee retraining.

Most analysts believe that Windows 7 will remain the most popular Microsoft operating system deployed by companies for years to come.

“There’s a good chance that enterprises will stay on Windows 7 as long as possible,” said Gartner analyst Michael Silver in an October 2013 interview. If his prediction turns out to be accurate, Windows 7 may reprise the stubborn persistence of Windows XP, the nearly-13-year-old OS that Microsoft will retire in April.

Even after Windows 8’s launch, Windows 7’s user share, a rough measurement of the prevalence of the OS on operational machines, has continued to grow. From October 2012 to January 2014, Windows 7’s user share increased nearly 3 percentage points, representing a 6% gain during that period, according to data from analytics company Net Applications.

Some of Windows 7’s gains certainly came at the expense of Windows XP, which has fallen more than 11 percentage points, a 28% decline, since October 2012 as users abandoned the old OS.

By making Windows 7 available, Microsoft and its OEMs not only continue to serve customers who want the OS, but make sure that new PC sales do not slump even more dramatically than they have already.

Consumer PC sales have plummeted — last month Microsoft said sales of consumer-grade Windows licenses fell 20% in the December quarter compared to the same period the year before — while the Redmond, Wash. company’s business line of operating systems grew 12% year-over-year. In effect, enterprise spending kept PC shipments from tanking even more than the 10% contraction the industry experienced in 2013.

Extending Windows 7 Professional’s availability on new hardware will also give Microsoft breathing room to continue its retreat from Windows 8’s radical shift to a touch-first, tile-based UI, and to roll out a successor that caters even more to customers who rely on keyboard and mouse.

Microsoft is expected to unveil an update to Windows 8.1 this spring, perhaps in April, that will restore several desktop-oriented features and tools. Some reports based on leaked builds of this Windows 8.1 Update 1 have noted that on non-touch devices, the boot-to-desktop option will be enabled by default; if accurate, most users of traditional PCs will skip the colorful, tile-style Start screen. Windows 9 may appear as early as April 2015.

Retail sales of Windows 7 by Microsoft to distributors and customers were officially halted as of Oct. 31, 2013, but that deadline has been meaningless, as online retailers have continued to sell packaged copies, sometimes for years, by restocking through distributors who squirreled away older editions.

As of Saturday, for example, Amazon.com had a plentiful supply of various versions of Windows 7 available, as did technology specialist Newegg.com. The former also listed copies of Windows Vista and even Windows XP for sale through partners.

Even after Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 7, there will be ways to circumvent the shut-down. Windows 8.1 Pro, the more expensive of the two public editions, includes “downgrade” rights that allow PC owners to legally install an older OS. OEMs and system builders can also use downgrade rights to sell a Windows 8.1 Pro-licensed system, but factory-downgrade it to Windows 7 Professional before it ships.

And enterprises with volume license agreements will never be at risk of losing access to Windows 7, as they are granted downgrade rights as part of those agreements, and so will be able to purchase, say, Windows 8.1 or Windows 9 PCs in 2015 or 2016, then re-image the machines with Windows 7.

The end-of-sales dates for Windows 7 are not linked in any way to the support schedule for the 2009 operating system. Microsoft will provide free non-security bug fixes and vulnerability patches for Windows 7 until Jan. 13, 2015 — called “mainstream support” — and follow that with a five-year stretch of “extended support” during which it will ship free security updates until Jan. 14, 2020.


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Windows XP’s user share nose-dives

Start of the last push before Microsoft dumps support?

Maybe people are listening to Microsoft’s demand that they ditch Windows XP.

According to metrics company Net Applications, Windows XP’s user share plunged to 33.7% of all personal computers in August, a record-setting one-month fall of 3.5 percentage points.

When XP’s share of only those PCs that are powered by Windows was calculated, the decline was slightly sharper, from 40.6% of all Windows systems in July to 36.9% in August, a drop of 3.7 percentage points.

However it’s measured, XP’s plummet was dramatic. The decline easily bested XP’s previous record of a one-month slide set in December 2011, the month after “Peak PC,” the industry’s high-water mark and when Windows 7 was quickly gaining ground at the expense of XP.

XP’s loss was made up by other Microsoft operating systems, the one-year-old Windows 8 and the four-year-old Windows 7, with the gains split 2-1 in favor of Windows 8.

Windows 7 grew its user share of Windows PCs to 50% last month, while Windows 8 boosted its share to 8.4%, a record for the struggling operating system.

Microsoft has beaten the dump-XP drum for more than two years. Last month, it did so again when a manager in its security group warned that the aged OS will become a prime target for cyber criminals once security updates end on April 8, 2014.

But those calls by Redmond have gone largely unheeded.

In the 12-month stretch from August 2012 to July 2013, for example, Windows XP lost an average of half a percentage point each month, or one-seventh of what it shed last month alone. More recently, XP’s decline had actually slowed: In the six months from February to July 2013, XP fell just four-tenths of a point per month on average, or about one-ninth its August decline.

It’s impossible to tell whether the XP slide represents actual abandonment of the OS and replacements of older PCs, since Net Applications measures only online activity. The decline, or part of it, could have been caused by fewer XP owners using the Internet, or at least the very small part that Net Applications monitors.

And since Net Applications’ methodology relies on weighting its data by country, a small decline in XP usage in China, where more than 70% of all personal computers run the operating system and the Internet population is enormous, may have had an outsized impact on the results.

Rival analytics vendor StatCounter, for example, showed no corresponding decline in XP’s usage share for August: According to the Irish firm, XP actually gained one-tenth of a percentage point last month.

StatCounter and Net Applications tally shares in different ways. StatCounter counts page views — a metric best described as “usage share” — while Net Applications examines unique visitors, a number Computerworld has often labeled “user share.”

Windows XP’s huge drop last month made shambles of earlier estimates that forecast it would still account for more than a third of the world’s personal computer operating systems at the end of April 2014. After the large decline of last month, revised projections now peg XP’s expected April 2014 user share at a lower range, between 23% and 28%, based on the latest three-month and 12-month averages, respectively.

Overall, Windows slipped by four-tenths of a percentage point to 91.2%. Linux, which gained three-tenths of a point to end August with 1.5%, and Apple’s OS X, which grew by a tenth of a point to 7.3%, took up the slack.

Within the Windows universe, however, there was plenty of movement, as XP’s decline best illustrated.

Windows 7, which has assumed the mantle as the standard in business, boosted its user share by over a percentage point, climbing to 50% of all machines running a Microsoft operating system. Windows Vista continued to lose users, falling to 4.5%.

Most of the share lost by XP, however, ended up in Windows 8’s camp: The newest OS grew by a record 2.5 percentage points to close August with 8.4% of all Windows-powered systems.

Windows XP’s last public security update is planned for April 8, 2014.


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Security firms warn of spreading Windows AutoRun malware

Security firms warn of spreading Windows AutoRun malware

Antivirus vendors are warning customers of a spreading malware that can infect computers through a well-known bug in the Windows AutoRun software used to automatically launch programs on a DVD or USB device.

The significant increase in infection is curious because Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs will not launch autorun.inf files, and Microsoft has released two patches for older systems. Therefore, security experts believe infections are happening through a combination of unpatched computers, shared folders and files and social media.

WINDOWS 8 UPDATE: Microsoft Surface Pro tablets start at $899, no keyboard

Someone inserting a USB drive or memory stick carrying the malware can infect unpatched PCs. On other systems, an infection can occur once the malware travels to a network share and someone clicks on an infected file or folder. Trend Micro reported that malware was also spreading on Facebook.

Other vendors tracking the malware include McAfee, Symantec and Sophos. While it is interesting that cybercriminals are still exploiting a four-year-old AutoRun bug, Sophos says most corporate PCs are being infected through network sharing.

Clicking the malware on Facebook would certainly open a quick path to a shared folder on a corporate network, said Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser for Sophos.

[How to: 10 commandments of Windows security]

“I would say the AutoRun part of it is probably not the source of the majority of infections,” Wisniewski said on Friday. “It’s just an interesting note that [criminals] are still using it. I think spreading through the file shares is probably the primary vector to get people in trouble.”

Microsoft released an AutoRun patch in 2009, a month after the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued a warning that Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 did not properly disable the feature. Microsoft had patched AutoRun a year earlier in Vista and Windows Server 2008.

The infamous Stuxnet malware created an autorun.inf file to infect computers via USB drives. Stuxnet, created jointly in 2009 by U.S. and Israel, reportsA’A The New York Times, damaged Iranian nuclear facilities.

The latest malware disguises itself as files and folders in writeable network shares and removable devices, while hiding the originals. The application will also create .exe files named “porn” and “sexy” and a folder called “passwords,” to entice people to click on them, Sophos said.

The malware adds a registry key, so it can start when a PC is booted up. Variants of the application will disable Windows Update to prevent the victim from downloading patches to disable the malware.

Once a PC is infected, the application follows the typical procedure for such malicious software. It contacts a command-and-control server for instructions and to receive other applications. Malware downloaded include Trojans in the Zeus/Zbot family, which steals online banking credentials, Sophos said

To combat the malware, security experts recommend disabling AutoRun on all Windows operating systems and restricting write permissions to file shares. Depending on the AV vendor, the malware has several names, including W32/VBNA-X, W32/Autorun.worm.aaeb, W32.ChangeUp and WORM_VOBFUS.

The latest outbreak arrives about a year and a half after Microsoft reported big declines in AutoRun infection rates. In the first five months of 2011, the number of AutoRun-related malware detected by Microsoft fell 59% on XP computers and 74% on Vista PCs, compared with 2010.


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RTM builds of Windows 8 reveal Microsoft blocked any bypassing of the Metro desktop

You’re going to use the don’t-call-it-Metro UI on Windows 8 whether you like it or not.

The final build of Windows 8 has already leaked to torrent sites, which is giving the propellerheads a chance to dig through the code. One revelation will probably not sit well with enterprise customers: you can’t bypass the don’t-call-it-Metro UI.

Normally, you have to boot Windows 8 and when the tiled desktop UI (formerly known as Metro) came up, you had to click on one of the boxes to launch Explorer. Prior builds of Windows 8 allowed the user to create a shortcut so you bypass Metro and go straight to the Explorer desktop.

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Source confirms Microsoft abandoned Metro due to trademark gaffe

Rafael Rivera, co-author of the forthcoming Windows 8 Secrets, confirmed to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet that Microsoft does indeed block the boot bypass routine from prior builds.

He also believes that Microsoft has blocked the ability for administrators to use Group Policy to allow users to bypass the tiled startup screen. There had been hope that Microsoft would at least relent and let corporate users have a bypass, if only for compatibility’s sake.

I simply can’t get over the string of bad moves with Windows 8. It’s one thing to copy Apple’s we-know-what’s-best-for-you mindset, but you better actually know what’s best for users in order to back it up. The Not-Metro UI might be great for tablets, but the transition on PCs for the next few years is going to be an awful mess.

Microsoft has taken away the UI people know, crippled it with the removal of the Start button and minimize/maximize/close buttons, and put in its place a UI that looks like it was designed by a 10-year old. My Amiga 3000 from 20 years ago had a more advanced UI (and in some ways it still does. Boy do I miss that thing), but more important, it’s confusing and people can get easily lost. Don’t forget the survey that found half of Windows 8 beta testers wouldn’t recommend it to a friend.

Windows XP still holds half of the market. Enterprises are still getting around to rolling out Windows 7. Those companies are not going to touch a brand new operating system to begin with, especially one that makes such a radical departure.

I’ve argued that people should be weaned into the UI-formerly-known-as-Metro, but Microsoft has decided to force us. We’ll see who is proven correct.


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Aged Windows XP costs 5x more to manage than Windows 7

As XP’s life wanes, Microsoft talks dollars to get businesses to ditch 11-year-old OS

Computerworld – Microsoft yesterday added ammunition to its increasingly aggressive battle to get users off the nearly-11-year-old Windows XP by citing a company-sponsored report that claims annual support costs for the older OS are more than five times that of Windows 7.

Microsoft has been banging the Windows XP upgrade drum for years, but stepped up the campaign in 2012, including starting a “two-year countdown” to the demise of security support. Last month, Microsoft was blunt, saying “If your organization has not started the migration to a modern PC, you are late.”
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Windows XP exits all support, including monthly security patches, in April 2014.

In a blog post Thursday, Erwin Visser, a senior director for Windows, used data collected by IDC to make Microsoft’s upgrade case.

“The bottom line…[is that] businesses that migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 will see significant return on investment,” said Visser.

Microsoft sponsored the survey (download PDF) conducted by IDC, which in turn interviewed nine enterprises or large organizations to drill into the support costs of XP and Windows 7.

According to IDC, an amazing 42% of the Windows “commercial” installed base, or anything other than consumers’ home machines, was Window XP, making Microsoft’s job of moving everyone off the old OS by its April 2014 retirement nearly impossible.

In fact, IDC projected that if current trends continue, 11% of the enterprise and educational Windows installed base will still be running XP when Microsoft stops patch delivery in 23 months.

And those XP machines costs organizations considerably more to support than comparable PCs running Windows 7.

One reason for the increased costs for supporting Windows XP is that it’s typically running on older hardware that, independent of the OS, is more expensive to simply keep running.

The magic milestone is after the three-year mark, when “costs begin to accelerate” because of additional IT and help desk time, and increased user downtime due to more security woes and time spent rebooting, said IDC.

IT labor costs jump 25% during year four of a PC’s lifespan, and another 29% in year five, IDC noted, while user productivity costs climb 23% in year four and jump 40% during year five. Total year five costs are a whopping 73% higher than support costs of a two-year-old client.

However, the operating system also plays a major role in the cost differences, said IDC, with XP more expensive to support in every category the research company surveyed.

Organizations reported that they spent 82% less time managing patches on Windows 7 systems than they did on Windows XP, 90% less time mitigating malware, and 84% less help desk time.

Benefits were also striking for Windows 7 users’ productivity compared to XP. Windows 7 users wasted 94% less time rebooting their computers and lost 90% less time due to malware attacks.

On the IT side, the savings of Windows 7 mount dramatically, IDC said.

“IT activities account for 11.3 hours of time spent per PC per year when using Windows XP,” the research group said. “Shops that have moved to Windows 7…spend 2.3 hours per PC per year on maintaining those systems.”

IDC did the math, and concluded that for every 230 PCs running Windows 7 rather than XP, an organization could shift one full-time IT person to other work. Or conceivably do without him or her entirely.

The Microsoft-commissioned report also painted a rosy return-on-investment (ROI) picture for companies who do ditch XP for Windows 7. By IDC’s calculations, the acquisition of a new PC — one where Windows 7 is retained as the OS rather than being downgraded to XP — pays for itself in one year and generates almost $1,000 more in savings from reduced IT costs and worker downtime over a three-year span.

“The migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 yields a 137% return on investment over a three-year period,” claimed IDC.

Windows XP have a shortening upgrade window — no pun intended — and not only because of the April 2014 end to all support. Microsoft is expected to launch Windows 8 this fall, a time when most new PCs will then also be pre-loaded with the OS by computer makers, or OEMs.

That will not immediately strike Windows 7 from the rolls, but it does start a couple of clocks ticking: OEMs can continue to sell Windows 7-powered PCs as long as two years after Windows 8’s launch, but the older operating system will disappear from most retail outlets one year earlier, or in the fall of 2013.

Organizations that have Software Assurance (SA) agreements — the Microsoft-sold software insurance policy that lets firms upgrade to every new version of a specific product released during the life of the deal — can downgrade any Windows 8 PC to Windows 7. But SA is almost exclusively an enterprise program.

Smaller firms that buy Windows licenses at retail, likely in the form of a new PC, can also downgrade from Windows 8 to 7, but only if the new system is pre-installed with Windows 8 Pro, the higher-end edition. They will also need media — a DVD or flash drive — containing Windows 7 Professional to complete the downgrade. If smaller shops wait too long, they may find it difficult to locate a seller for the latter after late 2013.

Likewise, while Windows XP Professional can be upgraded to Windows 7 Professional, companies sans SA also require a copy of the newer OS. The same end-of-retail caveat for Windows 7 applies to them as well.

Microsoft has been dissing Windows XP for some time, but the ROI report was its first argument that stressed dollars and cents.

In June 2011, a Microsoft manager said it was “time to move on” from Windows XP; earlier that year an executive on the Internet Explorer team belittled XP as “lowest common denominator” when he explained why the OS wouldn’t run the then-new IE9.

The company has not yet turned on Windows XP like it has on the 11-year-old Internet Explorer 6 (IE6). For more than two and a half years, Microsoft has urged users to give up IE6, going so far in March 2011 to launch a deathwatch website that tracks IE6’s shrinking share.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Microsoft followed suit with Windows XP once the OS drops to a more manageable share mark: According to Web metrics company Net Applications, XP accounted for 46.1% of all operating systems used to go online in April.

If XP continues to shed share at its last-12-months’ pace, it will still own a 17.6% share in April 2014, when it drops off support.
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Black Duck refines its code search engine

Black Duck Code Sight 2.0 code search tool includes LDAP connectivity and the ability to filter results, and it can run on Linux and Windows servers

Black Duck Software has revamped its software code engine so that it indexes more quickly and filters the results, the company announced Wednesday.

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Black Duck Code Sight 2.0, out now, is also the first version of the software to run on Linux servers, in addition to being able to run on Microsoft Windows servers.

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Using Code Sight “is like searching on a regular search engine, but the content and indexing is specialized to code. We parse and index the raw source in code-specific ways to identify things like method definitions and classes,” said Jim Berets, Black Duck vice president of product management.

Code Sight indexes all the code that is embedded in version control systems or that is otherwise available on an organization’s network. It offers an interface for developers to search for chunks of code that they could consult or reuse in their own projects. The company is marketing the software to organizations with code reuse initiatives put in place to save money and time.

Code Sight can index code within many different types of version control systems, including Git, CVS (Concurrent Versions System), Mercurial, Subversion, AccuRev, IBM’s ClearCase, and Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server. It can be accessed through the Eclipse or the Microsoft Visual Studio integrated developer environments, or with a browser.

This version of the software can index code bases four to six times as quickly as the old version did, according to the company. The improvement came about due to a number of reasons, Berets explained. When the company’s developers ported the software from Microsoft Windows to Linux, they optimized the code in a number of places in a way that should make the program run more efficiently. They also migrated to the latest versions of the underlying search software, Apache Lucene and Solr.

The new version also includes filtering technologies. It can filter results by the programming language, file names, method names, fields, or a number of other attributes.

The software’s ability to manage user roles has also been augmented. The software can now interface with user directories that can be accessed though the LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). Users can be assigned roles, and administrators can then set the permission levels to the roles. One member of a group could be designated as the indexer, for instance, and would have greater access to code from other parts of an organization.

The new version comes in three editions. A Free Personal Edition can index up to 500,000 lines of code. The Free Team Edition can index up to 5 million lines of code. The Enterprise Edition, which has no limit on the lines of code it can index, starts at $9,500. The software is also a component of Black Duck Suite of development management tools.


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Take a peek at Windows 8 today

Did you know that you can install Windows 8, now, for free! It’s no lie, but don’t get overly excited, it’s just the pre-beta developers version freely available to you and me. As with all things of this nature, you can’t rely on this as stable or complete operating system, but hey, the PC enthusiasts that we are makes us want to tinker with this just for the larks.

 

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Pick up issue 259 (on sale 24th October) and we’ll show you how to get Windows 8 up and running in no time. You’ll want to arm yourself with some of the software we’re running through today for preparing your drive and protecting your current installed operating system in case of an accident. You’ll also be wanting a blank DVD or 4 gig USB flash drive handy too.

Follow these links for our other ‘issue 259’ web packs:
The gamers guide to online communications!
Take a peek at Windows 8 today!
Release the full potential of your broadband and Wi-Fi! (coming soon)
Issue 259 game demo roundup! (coming soon)

Windows 8 developers edition
We expect you’ve picked up on few stories on Windows 8 already and examined some of the radical changes, not withstanding it’s remarkable one size fits all from tablet to desktop approach; be prepared for some interesting changes 7 users should be ready for. Our friends at techradar have an interesting hands on review here, and now it’s time for yours! The Windows 8 developers edition is downloadable without fuss and no form to fill in, just grab the ISO. (free pre beta)
Download from here

Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool
Ignore the ambiguous title, this essential utility from Microsoft automates the process of writing the Windows 8 ISO to a DVD or flash drive, and takes care of the tricky stuff to make them bootable for the install process. (free version)
Download from here

VirtualBox
If you’d rather not commit Windows 8 to a dedicated drive or partition, you can still run the OS through virtualization. Download the Windows 8 ISO as already mentioned, and get yourself VirtualBox. OS installation is easy enough, just make sure that virtualization has been enabled in your bios before you begin otherwise it will throw out errors and halt during the Windows 8 install process. Couple of other tips: Within VirtualBox, select Windows 7 as the OS to be installed and 20 Gigs of virtual storage for the OS to live on. (free version)
Download from here

EaseUS Partition Master Home Edition
Unless you have a spare drive you don’t mind sacrificing the data, create a separate partition for Windows 8 to live on. This free partitioning tool will do the job for you and it’s non destructive, so you can create or change a partition size without deleting data. (free version)
Download from here

MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition
Another excellent free disk partitioning suite. Two versions are available here, an installer and live disc edition. (free version)
Download from here

Easeus Disk Copy
For complete piece of mind you may want to backup up your current version of Windows. Easeus Disk Copy is able to clone your system partition for backup purposes. (free version)
Download from here

Easeus Todo Backup Free
A more advanced and also free for home users step-up from Easeus Disk Copy, supporting drives up to 2 TB and functions for migrating operating systems from one drive to another. Includes a bootable disaster recovery disc creator. (free version)
Download from here

Macrium Reflect Free
Left sophisticated than Todo Backup, nevertheless an excellent user friendly approach to drive/partition backups and recovery.


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Make any Surface TouchScreen

We’ve seen how you can use your hand as TouchScreen. However, with the hack finally being mastered with Kinect technology, you can make just any surface touch screen, no matter what.

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Microsoft researchers have come up with a way to make devices sensitive to touch input through fabric — for silencing a phone or even entering text without taking the device out of a pocket or bag.

PocketTouch uses a custom sensor on the back of a smartphone that can detect multitouch gestures even through heavy fleece or a jacket pocket. The The first prototype is complete and we would see a demonstration sometime soon.

Microsoft uses “orientation-defining unlock gesture” that essentially tells the device which way is up, thereby removing the problem where device can be in a different orientation inside pockets. Grid of touch sensors can detect finger strokes through cloth and hence make it possible to have a specific unlock gesture that reorientates the screen each time you use it – avoiding the need to flip your phone upside down before using the interface.

OmniTouch

OmniTouch makes any surface touch compatible. OmniTouch uses a a pico projector and a depth camera (like Kinect) to let people interact with programs projected onto their skin or other surfaces. Users can define the size and location of their own interfaces, or let the system decide the best choice of display.

The researcher calls it a “mega Kinect hack” and an extension of his previous device which could only work on skin. While the prototype device is quite bulky, soon it would be possible to reduce the size of the equipment to the size of matchbox.

Both systems are being presented this week at the User Interface Software and Technology symposium in Santa Barbara, California.


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