Windows-Help.NET Newsletter 6 Dec. 2003, Vol 6 No. 41

In this issue:

w   Windows Longhorn: First Look
w   Recent Support BBS Postings
w   Web Site Updates
w   Administrivia

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Windows Longhorn: First Look

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

Windows Longhorn I finally found some time to download & install the "PDC" version of Longhorn (build 4051), the future replacement of Windows XP, which Microsoft made available to MSDN subscribers.


The setup portion in Longhorn has been updated from previous Windows versions, and now sports a slick dark look (Figure). There's not much info to enter in the first screens, but there is a summary screen where options can be changed, such as computer name, installation location and others (right now only these two work, so you can't set the user accounts, regional settings, keyboard and time-zone) (Figure).

The "file-copy" part took some 15 minutes, and then Longhorn "claims" in will detect your hardware in about 10 minutes. Well, that part took nearly 20 minutes, so the total install time took roughly 35 minutes. That is still an improvement over Windows XP, which took around 45 minutes to install on the same hardware.

Getting Started

When you log on (Figure) to Longhorn the first time, you'll get to the desktop first (Figure), and after some time, the Side Bar and Taskbar appear (Figure). In its current form, it all seems to crawl along, but that shouldn't mean much (this isn't even a beta version).

There is an important thing to note when looking at this Longhorn build though: The Luna-like visual style included (called "Slate"), does not resemble the final product in any way. The new user interface (called "Aero") will change things a lot compared to this Longhorn build.

What you'll notice first is the new Longhorn wallpaper on the desktop. Next you'll notice the new Sidebar. This is a new bar that is also seen in the new MSN 8.x (Dashboard). In the current Longhorn build, there isn't much functionality in this Sidebar. There's a "classic" clock showing (which doesn't want to display my 24 hour preference underneath, staying instead with the AM/PM view). It also has a Quick Launch "Tile", and the option to add Classic Tray, Slide Show and Sync Tiles.

Start menu

On first glance the Start menu seems similar to Windows XP, but there are a number of differences. The Start menu (Figure) contains several new "folders" which are libraries of certain file-types on your computer. For example, the new Photos and Videos is a library of all image and movie files on the system. There are also libraries for Documents, Contacts, Games, and Music.

The "Libraries" mentioned above, are "virtual folders". These gather information about files on your system and present them to the users in a collection. This is based on Longhorn's WinFS-based data mining and filtering capabilities. You might have heard WinFS referred to as Longhorns "new File System", however this is not the case. Longhorn's File System is NTFS. WinFS is a database-like storage engine, which is based on technology from SQL Server 2003. What this means is that Longhorn will be able to keep "track" of all your files. For example, the Photos and Videos library will contain all these file locations on your system, so that it doesn't really matter where they are stored on your system, you'll be able to find them in this "folder".


The new Search tool is based on the WinFS system, and seems to work quite nicely. For example, I did a search on the phrase "Longhorn" (Figure), and it located it in the history of my IM (Instant Messaging); I had discussed exploring Longhorn with a friend on Windows Messenger.

The option to search the Internet defaults to (what else?) MSN Search. Let's hope that will be configurable; most users have their own favorite search engine.

Internet Explorer & Outlook Express

In this build, Internet Explorer has version 6.05.4051.0. It has quite a different look from the current Internet Explorer versions (Figure). A lot of users will be pleased that Internet Explorer now includes the ability to block pop-up windows. This can be either switched on from the Tools menu directly (Figure), or by going to the Privacy tab on the Internet Options dialog (Figure), where you can set additional options, such as allowing certain sites to serve pop-up windows, or to have Windows alert you by a sound that a pop-up was blocked. You can then use an icon on the Internet Explorer toolbar to show that pop-up window anyway, or place the site to your "allow" list, so it will be able to show you pop-ups (Figure). This can be particularly helpful on banking Web sites, which sometimes use pop-up windows to show you additional information.

The version of Outlook Express included in this build of Longhorn is called Outlook Express 7 (6.05.4051.0). It looks a bit different from the current Outlook Express versions (Figure), but it doesn't seem to have any additional functionality (such as Spam filtering).


There would be more to tell, but I don't see the use of going into various little details on this build, since it is clear that Microsoft still has a lot of work to do before the first beta (expected next summer) will ship.

First impressions are fine. I sure like the new search feature based on WinFS. I have so much stuff in documents and text files, that I have a real hard time finding what I am looking for. And the ability to just search on a phrase and be able to find what I am looking for makes the Windows search perform more like a Web search.

The ability to block pop-up windows in Internet Explorer is nice, but I would really want to see the ability to open new windows as "tabs". That is something missing from Internet Explorer, and a big drawback in its functionality. I already find myself using the Mozilla Firebird browser just for this functionality.

Use the comment link below to tell me what you think about it, and to ask any questions you may have, I'll try to address them in a future article.

Recent Support BBS Postings

How to tweak folder prefs? - Windows XP
Should I shut down each day? - General Discussions
Adding a unix computer to a windows workgroup - Networking
AMD vs Intel - Hardware

Web Site Updates

These pages were added/updated in the past week. Information on previously updated/added pages is available on the What's New? page for 1 month.


Added: Windows Longhorn: First Look
Added: Update for HighMAT Support in the Windows XP CD Writing Wizard


Update for HighMAT Support in the Windows XP CD Writing Wizard

With the new HighMAT extension, you can create easy-to-use HighMAT CDs of your digital photos, music, and videos. The CDs are optimized for easy viewing and sharing on CD and DVD players that use the HighMAT logo. For more information about this update, read Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 831240.

System Requirements

Windows XP

Download [1.82 MB]

Windows XP Tip: Icon Text not Transparent on Desktop

When the text under the icons on your desktop are not transparent, there are two things to check.

Read Full Article

Microsoft Insider: protecting your PC

In this special edition on protecting your PC, you will learn how Microsoft is working to help keep your PC safe. Get three easy steps to better security from using an Internet firewall to automatic updates and antivirus software.

System Requirements
Windows 2000, NT, XP
Windows Media Player 8 or 9

WMP 8 - 100kbps [55 MB]
WMP 8 - 300kbps [92 MB]
WMP 9 - 100kbps [56 MB]
WMP 9 - 300kbps [95 MB]

Outlook 2003 Add-in: Video E-mail

Use a Web camera to easily send a video e-mail to your friends and family. It takes just two clicks on the Video E-mail for Outlook 2003 add-in.

System Requirements
Windows 2000 SP3, XP
Microsoft Office Outlook 2003

Download [1.97 MB]

DeepBurner - perfect CD/DVD burning solution for FREE

DeepBurner is a new CD/DVD burning software that utilize power and effeciency. With DeepBurner you can create data, bootable, and audio CDs as well as data DVDs. DeepBurner supports all certified formats for burning CDs/DVDs thus allowing you to create audio, video, data, archive, etc., CDs and DVDs with just one program. The technologies allow getting the most of CDR/W DVD/RAM drives by protecting media storages with "Burn proof" and at the same time permitting "Over burning" if supported by the drive.

Download [1.43 MB]
Web site

Report: A third of spam spread by RAT-infested PCs

Nearly one-third of all spam circulating the Web is relayed through PCs that have been compromised by malicious programs known as Remote Access Trojans, according to Sophos, an antispam and antivirus company.

Read C|Net Article

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