Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Windows 7 Ultimate cracked via OEM master key

ccording to a report from My Digital Life, Windows 7 Ultimate has already been cracked with the aid of leaked OEM DVD ISO from Lenovo. The crack provides permanent instant offline activation and passes WGA with flying colors. The leaked ISO was posted and snagged off a Chinese forum, which allowed hackers to retrieve the OEM-SLP and certificate for Windows 7 Ultimate.

Redmond has updated the System-Locked Pre-installation (SLP) to version 2.1, which supports Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 – and provides backward-compatibility for Vista and Server 2008. The SLP procedure is used to pre-activate Windows for mass distribution by OEMs. Its latest version requires the BIOS SLIC table be updated, as it contains a new Windows marker. The trick is to mod a system's BIOS to include SLIC 2.1 – which can be done via hard (physical) or soft (emulation) mods.

The original post gets more in-depth, and contains much more information. Naturally, the crack can already be found on various torrent sites. I’m not about to preach right from wrong here, as you won’t listen anyway. That said, if you’re going to download Windows 7 from an unofficial source, at least verify your copy.


Microsoft Bing to power Yahoo under 10-year search deal

fter a failed merger attempt last year and following months of back and forth negotiations, Microsoft and Yahoo have officially announced a 10-year search deal to better compete with leader Google. Under the agreement, Microsoft’s Bing search engine would now be the exclusive search provider for Yahoo’s sites and in exchange the latter will sell both its own and Microsoft’s search ads using the AdCenter platform.

Yahoo will still own the user experience on its properties and should get 88 percent of search revenue created by its sites during the first five years. For its part, Microsoft will guarantee a certain level of search revenue for 18 months. Although no upfront payment will be made, Yahoo estimates the agreement will provide about $500 million in annual operating income and capital expenditure savings of about $200 million after the first two years. In addition, the deal is expected to generate annual operating cash flow of about $275 million.

The road to a deal has been a long one and full implementation is still not expected to occur until at least 24 months following regulatory approval. Together the companies would have nearly 30 percent of the search market compared with Google’s estimated 60 percent share.


Should You Install Windows 7 32-bit or 64-bit?

ith the upcoming release of Windows 7, the question is raised again on whether you should install the 32-bit version (x86) of the operating system or move up to 64-bit (x64).

This is something that's been asked since the introduction of consumer-level processors bearing the “x64” nomenclature. It feels like just yesterday that Intel and AMD fanboys were at odds over the Athlon 64. At that time and even as recently as the introduction of Windows Vista, software and drivers for 64-bit setups were slim-pickings.

Analogous to the shift from 16 to 32-bit computing, the jump to 64-bit has been a slow one. Windows XP x64 never took off, though 64-bit versions of Vista did, thankfully. The ride was a bumpy one, but hardware manufacturers and software developers alike have finally widely adopted the 64-bit architecture - and there’s no turning back now.

At this point in time, nearly everyone is on the same page about the transition. If your old video card and printer have yet to receive 64-bit compatible drivers, odds are they won’t be getting any. A boatload of legacy hardware support was dropped with Windows Vista, and Windows 7 certainly won’t pick it back up, regardless of which version you install.

Now, you’re probably wondering why 64-bit operating systems are being phased in and what benefits they deliver over their 32-bit predecessors – both legitimate questions. One of the most commonly cited differences is that the 32-bit architecture has a memory access limit of 4GB (2^32 bytes). This permits you to use about 2.75-3.5GB of RAM after IO reservations are factored in.

On paper, the 64-bit architecture can address 16 exabytes of memory (2^64), or more than 4 billion times that of its precursor. Consumer editions of Windows Vista permit from 8GB to 128GB of physical memory to be accessed, depending on the version. Windows 7 bumps that up to 192GB with the Professional version and above.

Other benefits of running a 64-bit OS include enhanced security with hardware-backed DEP, Kernel Patch Protection and mandatory driver signing.

This is all just scratching the surface, but I suppose the real question should be:

Why shouldn’t you install Windows x64?

The short answer is that you should go with Windows 7 64-bit unless you’re running a system well into its antiquity where driver support is going to become an issue.

Microsoft has useful online tools that can scan your system and external peripherals and give you an outlook of what's currently supported and what's not. A few useful links:

- Windows Vista Compatibility Center
- Windows 7 Compatibility Center (not yet available)
- Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor


Monday, July 27, 2009

Verify Windows's ISo File..........

ith Windows 7 on the brink of completion, the RTM phase is expected to come before the end of the month - possibly even less than a week from now. Already proving to be both popular and successful, you can bet your bottom dollar that the RTM copy of Windows 7 will hit torrent sites instantaneously.

Now, we’re not encouraging you to go and pirate the software, and we don’t have to. A majority of the enthusiast community will download Windows 7 illegitimately. Some will have already pre-ordered Microsoft’s latest OS, others will undoubtedly come into a legal copy at one point or another, and many will flat out steal 7 – you know who you are.

That out of the way, the bottom line is, nobody wants to wait until October 22 to get their hands on the final build of Windows 7. Unfortunately, by jumping the gun, you’re going to have to trust an unofficial source. This certainly has its risks, as we’ve seen with past reports of infected torrents of Windows 7 creating botnets.

Recognizing this fact, Long Zheng and Sven Groot developed a handy application which generates and verifies the hash of your Windows 7 ISO. The program is very small at 253KB, and beyond easy to use. To check the validity of your ISO, download the free utility here. Run the program (Windows7IsoVerifier.exe) and you can browse to your ISO file (or just drag and drop it onto the executable).

The process of downloading the program and verifying your copy of Windows 7 should take less than a minute if you have quick fingers and a modern system. At the time of writing, it only works with the English versions of Windows 7.


Approval nears for 802.11n wireless standard

Although already seeing widespread use, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced this week that the IEEE 802.11n standard will finally be ready for a ratification vote this September, making the high-speed wireless LAN technology official after several years of refinement. The more than 600 products that have been certified to the 2.0 draft version of 802.11n will be backwards and forwards compatible with the final version.

The technology promises a much higher theoretical peak speed of 300Mbps – significantly up from the 54Mbps offered by 802.11g – and supports MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) antennas to improve range and throughput. In real-world conditions, though, speeds are typically between 80Mbps and 100Mbps.

The 802.11 committee, meanwhile, has reportedly already begun work on the next standard, 802.11ac, which hopes to push wireless speeds into gigabit territory.


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