May 2009 Blog Posts

There were a number of announcements at TechEd US last week with many status updates on forthcoming products. Bruce Kyle has written up the list on the US ISV DE blog. It’s interesting to see the ramp-up for Windows Mobile 6.5 beginning with the launch of registration for the Windows Marketplace for Mobile and an announcement of support for the latest draft of the W3C Widgets spec. In fact, there is a Windows Mobile Ramp-Up track on MSDN to facilitate learning about mobile development.

One aspect I’m particularly interested in exploring is the Windows 7 native support for the ribbon UI. This is something I’ve been investigating for a while for a side project and so I’m considering limiting myself to Windows 7 for now so I can take advantage of this control. As I understand it, the plan is to provide support for Windows Vista around the time of Windows 7 RTM.

The release of a beta of Virtual PC for Windows 7 allows Windows XP applications to run in a way that integrates them into the usual Windows desktop without it being obvious that an entire second copy of Windows is running. Virtual PC on Windows 7 requires hardware virtualisation and I was looking for a quick way to determine whether that is supported on any given PC.

SecurAble by Gibson Research Corp supports both Intel and AMD CPUs and tells you simply whether the processor is 64-bit capable, whether it supports Data Execution Prevention technology, and whether it supports hardware-assisted virtualisation.

I have an old printer. Very old. It’s an Epson EPL-5500 and I got it in about 1995/6 and it has served me well ever since. Soon I might need a new printer – soon I won’t be able to get toner cartridges for this one – but for now it is fine. It worked fine in Vista but now that I’ve decided to enter the 64-bit world with Windows 7, I need 64-bit drivers and they don’t come with Win7. After all, who still uses a printer that is more than a decade old?

My printer is connected to my Windows Home Server and I know that server operating systems have the ability to host drivers for the printers they share so that when you connect to the printer, the driver is downloaded. Using Remote Desktop to connect to WHS, there is an Additional Drivers button on the Sharing tab of the printer properties.

AdditionalDrivers

WHS is based on Windows Server 2003 so it doesn’t intrinsically know anything about Windows Vista or Windows 7. It does know about 64-bit Windows XP, though. By default the x64 checkbox is unchecked and the driver isn’t installed. When you check the box, you’re prompted to enter the DVD containing the driver. Unfortunately, WHS is 32-bit only so inserting the WHS DVD doesn’t help. I found a copy of Windows Server 2003 64-bit on an old MSDN DVD and used that to provide a copy of the 64-bit driver. This gives me a ‘Yes’ in the Additional Drivers dialog and now I can connect to the printer from Windows 7. When I do, Windows prompts me to elevate permissions so that the driver can be installed and all is well.

Windows Home Server to the rescue again (sort of) and now all my Windows 7 PC’s will be able to print again.

posted @ Thursday, May 7, 2009 10:10 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Windows ]

Yesterday, a note was posted on the IE blog about the “hang recovery” feature in IE8 on Windows 7. During testing, it was found that the timer used to determine if a tab in IE is not being responsive was found to be a little too sensitive on some people’s computers, especially while using the built-in developer tools.

A webpage is not responding on the following website

Today, two updates for IE8 on Win7 RC are available through Windows Update. The first is the expected “compatibility list”. Since IE8 (and Windows 7) ship with an empty compatibility list, one needs to be downloaded after first install. The second update is one to mitigate the issue of seeing the “webpage is not responding” dialog too frequently. The updates are both rated “Important” and it’s recommended that you install both updates.

posted @ Tuesday, May 5, 2009 5:17 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ IE8 ]

Yesterday, I started experimenting with building a simple application using the .NET Compact Framework v3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. It was pretty simple to get running using the emulator after downloading and installing the Windows Mobile 6 SDKs (make sure you get the Refresh).

As part of the SDK install, you are reminded that you will need to install the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) application in order to connect to a real device. Since I am running Win7 RC, I was a little nervous about this. I remember trying to install ActiveSync on Vista and getting in a mess before discovering you needed WMDC instead. I assumed that Win7 would come with WMDC but since the SDK couldn’t see it I gambled and installed anyway.

After getting a simple application running with the emulator, I decided to try it on a real device. Connecting my phone with a USB cable, I ended up with Win7 detecting and then losing the connection and then re-detecting over and over every few seconds. I am not sure what went wrong but I guessed that maybe installing WMDC had been a mistake so I tried uninstalling and then reconnecting the phone. This time the driver for the phone downloading from Windows Update stalled.

I found a post on the TechNet forums from someone at Microsoft describing a driver install issue with Windows Mobile and the Win7 Beta. Although I would have expected this issue to be resolved by now, following the instructions to remove the RNDIS driver and then re-installing WMDC did the trick and on the third attempt the phone was detected and the drivers correctly downloaded and installed.

I’m not sure exactly what the problem was and I hope that either I was just unlucky or that this issue is resolved before Win7 ships. Now that I can connect to the phone from Visual Studio, the next step is to deploy my test app and ensure it works on the device.

Update 8 May: Today, I just plugged my phone into a different Win7 machine and it automatically went off and downloaded everything it needed including Windows Mobile Device Center and everything just worked. I guess I went wrong before by trying to preempt what software I needed to install based on the SDK messages. Just plugging in the phone would have given me what I needed.

posted @ Tuesday, May 5, 2009 5:16 AM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ Windows ]