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Category Archives: Microsoft

I noticed Stalker – the game is finally finished. It looks pretty fun and exciting. Supposedly it has a DirectX 9 feature complete engine. The game takes place in Chernobyl, however in this world its made up of mutants.

Here’s a fun video:

If you like the security that User Account Control provides, and you are a user that is also in the Administrators group, but don’t like the constant elevation prompts here is how you can change that behavior.

Click start run and type in secpol.msc into the search window and hit enter. In the security policy editor browse to:

Local Policies > Security Options.

At the bottom you’ll see several entries for User Account Control.

Most of them are self explanatory. The entry you’ll want to change is"User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode". Change it from "Prompt for consent" to "Elevate without prompting".

I should mention though – realistically no-one should be using Vista as a user in the Administrators group. The reason why you shouldn’t is because it is insecure. One of the reasons Windows makes all the news when it comes to malware, viruses and other undesirable applications is because users run as Administrators all the time. This is actually the only thing that keeps OSX out of the headlines – by default users on OSX are not administrators, and applications don’t have full run of the machine.

Microsoft kind of dropped the ball on this by making your new user in setup part of the Administrators group. UAC prompt for elevation was put in place because some engineer thought well if they are going to do this (bad behavior) lets let people know when its happening. I think what will happen ultimately is users will disable UAC, or click continue blindly even when its a piece of malware while those of us who care about security will use our computers as users and only elevate ourselves to Administrator when we need to do administrative tasks.

With that I promise to get back to World of Warcraft stuff and Catgirl stuff next time.

I’m sure most people have seen the Apple advertisement making fun of the Vista Cancel or Allow dialogue. It turns out there’s more here than Apple is revealing (shocking I know). It also turns out that Microsoft’s UAC is more similar to Apple’s security model than I’m sure they would like to admit.

To start with the Cancel/Allow dialogue only appears when the application manifest or the application settings are set to only run the application as Administrator and the application is not signed. You pretty much won’t see this dialogue anywhere else. Any application designed for XP or 2000 Windows logo certification won’t require settings like this. Any well designed application made in the last 10 years won’t require this either. I suspect most of the apps that will require administrator settings are games and vertical market apps (GlasPac?).

I suspect Apple is making fun of the far more common Continue/Cancel dialogue. These only occur when you are a regular user that is also in in the Administrators group and the application can or wants to be elevated to administrator. The warning pops up because Windows is changing security tokens from User to Administrator – the so called split token warning.

What happens if you even the playing field and try this same operation as a regular user? This after all would be just like the Macintosh/OSX right?

Installing Reader as a regular user on OSX:

Installing Reader as a regular user on Vista:

Whoa – its exactly the same! Its also worth noting that while using Vista as a regular user you won’t get those split token warnings – applications will run with normal user permissions.

Next time I’ll tell you how to disable the Continue/Cancel warning without disabling UAC for those of you who want to live on the edge.

According to this article Microsoft lobbied the State of Massachusetts to shore up support for a bill that would limit the power of the state
Information Technology Division.

For most engineering firms – like Microsoft, implementing ODF (Open Document Format) support for a really big customer like the State of Massachusetts isn’t a matter of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire lobbyist to create laws to prevent the state IT organization from switching to a different word processor effectively locking them into the Microsoft Word format (key thing to take away from Microsoft Word – it can import over 30 different formats, but only saves .doc files…). It’s a matter of sitting down and saying something like – how about a version of Word that opens as well as saves ODF files? In fact that’s what they tried to do – long before they declared ODF a state standard Microsoft engineers said incorperating ODF support into Word would be "trivial" – however Microsoft instead played hardball.

The article is somewhat unclear as to why they stopped, but I suspect it is because of negative press.

Is Microsoft a monopoly? Apparently the answer is yes.