Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category

Internet Explorer Turns 15!

Posted: Friday, August 13, 2010 by El Guru in Blogs, Firefox, Google, IE, Microsoft, Windows

The summer of 1995 we saw the release of Windows 95, which introduced the paradox of clicking ‘Start’ to turn-off your computer. But more importantly, that summer was also the release of Internet Explorer 1.0 which forever changed the way people accessed the Internet. Yes, there was the Netscape browser but in 1995 the Internet access was still fairly ‘controlled’ by online providers such as AOL which offered a “walled-off version of the Internet.” Internet Explorer was the biggest success for Microsoft, especially when IE4 was released in late 1997. This was the version that Microsoft bundled with Windows 98, a practice that increased IE’s market share from around 20% in late 1997 to a staggering 60% by 1999. But also, introduced the first of what would be countless anti-trust lawsuits both in the US an Europe against Microsoft.

Nick Eaton, author of The Microsoft Blog part of the Seattle PI has an in-depth post about Internet Explorer highlighting it’s rise (and fall) over the past 15-years. But the article is not just about IE, it also goes into the ‘browser wars’ with eventual death of Netscape, the introduction of Firefox and more recently the introduction of Google Chrome into the Browser Market.

The Microsoft Blog: Happy 15th birthday, Internet Explorer

Dell KACE Offers Free Secure Browser

Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 by gareon in Browsers, Firefox, Other, Windows

This is FYI as I am on Linux.


“To help companies increase the safety of their Windows users’ web browsing from malicious code, including restricting direct and cross-site access to dangerous or inappropriate websites, Dell KACE has introduced the Dell KACE Secure Browser, available immediately as a free download.
The Dell KACE Secure Browser consists of a browser — currently, FireFox 3.6 — plus plug-ins — currently, Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader — plus proprietary Dell KACE “Virtual Kontainer” application virtualization technology developed as part of the company’s K1000, all packaged into one download that uses a standard Windows installer. … “

July 19, 2010
Source:  — Security — InformationWeek
 http://www.informationweek.com/news/smb/security/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225900195&cid=RSSfeed_IWK_News

Below is part of an article Gareon had posted on Go Firefox!

Although I live in Windows, I avoid Internet Explorer – its the Defensive Computing thing to do. My approach is the same as Steve Gibson’s, we run IE once a month to install Microsoft patches, then ignore it until next month.

Not too long ago, on his Security Now! podcast, Gibson suggested further protection from IE by setting both the Internet and Intranet zones to “High” security levels. What the heck, I figured, an extra bit of safety can’t hurt. But it did hurt, and thus, this blog posting.

The advice isn’t new, of course, but I implemented it sometime early this year.
Unfortunately, I also upgraded my main XP machine to service pack 3 around the same time. Thus, when Firefox acted up, I first suspected the service pack. False lead.

The problem was that Firefox couldn’t download files. Rather than spend time researching it, I just ran Chrome the few times I needed to download a file from a website. Since the solution was so simple, the problem didn’t rate much time or effort. My email program, Thunderbird, had no problem saving attached files, so I made due.

The Problem:

Windows XP users (this problem does not occur with Windows Vista and 7) who have made changes to the default security Zone settings in IE (7 or 8), may find themselves unable to download .EXE files with Firefox. Changing the security settings from Medium-High to High for the Internet Zone within IE will cause Firefox not to download .EXE files. Which version of Firefox you are using determines what your options are for getting around this issue:

  • Firefox 3.5 – create a new about:config entry for browser.download.manager.skipWinSecurityPolicyChecks

    1. In a new tab type about:config and press enter
    2. If you get a warning about voiding the warranty, click I’ll Be Careful, I Promise
    3. In the list right-click anywhere and select New
    4. Select Boolean
    5. A dialog box will pop-up asking for preference name, type browser.download.manager.skipWinSecurityPolicyChecks
    6. In the next dialog box, select TRUE
    7. Close the tab and the changes will take effect immediately
  • Firefox 3.6 – currently the only options for Firefox 3.6 users are to either drop the security level in IE for the Internet Zone back down to Medium-High or to use another browser such as Chrome for downloading .EXE file
  • Firefox 3.7 – create a new about:config entry for browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone

    1. In a new tab type about:config and press enter
    2. If you get a warning about voiding the warranty, click I’ll Be Careful, I Promise
    3. In the list right-click anywhere and select New
    4. Select Boolean
    5. A dialog box will pop-up asking for preference name, type browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone
    6. In the next dialog box, select FALSE
    7. Close the tab and the changes will take effect immediately


Source: Computerworld Blogs

Important JAVA Update

Posted: Saturday, April 17, 2010 by El Guru in Other, Windows, Windows 7, Yahoo

Oracle has pushed out JAVA Version 6 Update 20 to address a sever security exploit. While I am usually pretty good about keeping my plugins such as JAVA updated I did notice I currently had Update 16 installed :(

This update is for Windows, Linux and Solaris operating systems including Windows XP, Vista, 7 as well as Server 2003 & 2008. Note: This exploit currently affects users running 32-Bit browsers. To install the update simply go to java.com and click the big red Free Java Download button. The site will auto-detect your operating system and present you with the correct download.

Important Tips:

  • Be sure to pay attention to the install prompts. The installer by default is going to install the Yahoo! Toolbar. Be sure to uncheck the box next to Install the Yahoo! Toolbar.
  • You will need to close Firefox (and any other browsers) in order to complete the install.
  • The installer should remove the older version of JAVA, but some user may need to remove multiple old installs manually. For Windows users this can be done through the (Add/Remove) Programs interface in the control panel.
  • The version is suppose to have an-updater as well, I would strongly suggest leaving this enabled as JAVA is one of those plugins that many people don’t think about updating.

For more info see eSecuirty Planet

After my earlier Firefox Lorentz Beta Released post, I noticed something didn’t seem quite right with my Firefox nightly build. For one thing I had not seen the Mozilla Runtime Environment (mozilla-runtime.exe) kicking in for Flash sites. I also kept noticing that every time I would get an update offer I was being informed Chrome Edit Plus add-on was not compatible and would be disabled. Also each time thought I had updated when Firefox restarted I would get an updated noticed for 3.6.4pre but when I went to install I would get an error about not being able to find the license. Checking in Help and About Namoroka still showed the 3.6.3pre nightly from around March 24th.

No matter how many times I tried to apply the update to 3.6.4pre and restarted Firefox, it would not apply. At first I thought may be Comodo Firewall was blocking the installation but my Shredder (Thunderbird 3 developmental) updates were being installed just fine. Okay, crossed the firewall off the list of suspects. Next thought was may be the Chrome Edit Plus extension was not getting disabled and this somehow was preventing the update from installing. From within the add-ons manager, went ahead and disabled the extension then restarted Firefox. Once again tried to apply the update without success.

Okay at this point it must have had something to do with that particular nightly build (the joys of nightly builds). I really didn’t want spend a bunch of time looking through old posts in the mozillaZine Firefox Builds forum so I would try one more thing. I downloaded Firefox 3.6.3 then closed Firefox. Went into the Windows Control Panel to uninstall, but this install was not listed. So into Windows Explorer and manually removed this Firefox 3.6 nightly install. Installed Firefox 3.6.3 and then did a check for updates. Since my profile was still intact and my update channel is ‘nightly’, got offered the latest nightly for 3.6.4pre. After installing the update then restarting, I saw a screen I have not seen in a long time, ‘updates are being installed’ screen. Well, that was a good sign. Further Comodo was throwing an alert firefox.exe has changed, another good sign. Once Firefox restarted, I knew things were good when I saw in the title bar Lorentz and About Lorentz shows in the Help Menu.

Upon entering my WordPress Dashboard which has a flash applet for blog traffic, mozilla-runtime.exe kicked in (with a warning from Comodo Firewall). Also, the title bar and the border around the Firefox application have turned blue. I took a look in System Explorer and saw underneath firefox.exe was the mozilla-runtime.exe and like Percy mentioned on average it is using about an additional 10% of the memory Firefox is using.

Still have no idea why I was stuck on that old nightly. I did take brief look around in the mozillaZine Firefox Builds forum to see if this was a common problem. Apparently not. Did find an interesting thread with an explanation for name change from Namoroka to Lorentz.

From The Microsoft Blog:

In one short year, Google’s Chrome Web browser tripled its market share. In December, it overtook Apple Safari as the third-place browser as the reigning leader, Microsoft Internet Explorer, continued slipping during 2009.

According to Net Applications, Chrome ended 2009 with a claim on 4.63 percent of the market, after starting out at just 1.52 percent. During the same period, Safari and Mozilla Firefox also each gained market share, chipping away at IE’s still-dominant hold on the browser market.

In January 2009, Internet Explorer had a 69.72 percent share. By the end of December, its market share dropped to 62.69 percent, according to Net Applications. That’s a seven-point drop in just one year.

The only time I use IE (7) is because I have to for work to run our main CRM application. For everything else I do at work it is Firefox. We even encourage our customers (especially those who are using our website builder application) to use Firefox. Even our web based email works better in Firefox (and Firefox is more user friendly with its security settings, that is not burred in a long list of settings like IE).

At home it is a split between Firefox and Chrome. I use Chrome for Flash based browser games such as those on Facebook as I find it is more stable than Firefox. With Chrome even if the Flash Plug-in crashes it is contained to that tab and doesn’t crash the entire browser. That is something Firefox needs to (and should be later this year) improve uopn.

There was one comment in this article that I can really relate and was along the lines on who Microsoft is trying to force or sneak the update to IE8 as an (Important) Windows Vista update. They even make is sound like going to IE8 is a good thing:

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Microsoft would be more wrong here, Internet Explorer is NOT the Web browser that I am “most comfortable using”!


Part of the big improvements for Firefox 3.5 was it is suppose to be faster. Unless you have started using Firefox 3.5 with a clean profile, you are going to notice that the initial startup of Firefox can be a bit (or for some user painfully) slow at times. This is especially true for those on Windows. There are a couple quick fixes to improve the startup time of your Firefox. These involve cleaning up temporary files (Windows users) and vacuuming your databases. Both tips come courtesy of Percy at Mozilla Links.

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