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ReadyBoost Update Coming With Support For Bigger SD Cards

Microsoft is pushing out through Windows Update a final compatibility update for Windows Vista’s ReadyBoost Feature, according to Nick White at the Vista team blog. The update will give ReadyBoost, which uses USB drives for caching to improve system performance, the ability to use 8-gigabyte and larger SD cards improves support for SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) and SDIO (Secure Digital Input-Output) cards and improves support for SDHC and SDIO cards.

New features that are enabled in this package
The following new features are enabled in this package:

  • Support for SD High Capacity (SDHC) cards that are 8 gigabytes (GB) or larger in Windows Vista.
  • Support for dual voltage (1.8-volt and 3.3-volt) Secure Digital/MultiMediaCards (SD/MMC) cards in Windows Vista.
  • Support for Secure Digital Input Output (SDIO) cards in Windows Vista.

SDIO cards use an interface that adds functionality for a range of devices, such as GPS devices, Ethernet adapters, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth adapters, modems, scanners, fingerprint readers, bar-code readers, IrDA adapters, FM radio tuners, TV tuners, digital cameras, hard drives, and so on.

Note Specific hardware is required to take advantage of these new features. For example, the computer must have a supported SD Controller to use SDHC, SDIO SD, or MMC cards.

Issue that is fixed in this package
In addition to the new features that are enabled, this package fixes a problem in which the SD card may occasionally stop responding after a Windows Vista-based computer resumes from sleep (S3) or from hibernation (S4).

You can wait for Tuesday, June 22 for it to come through Windows Update, or just download it now after reading this KB article.

June 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | no comments

New MSN Mobile Launches

MSN has launched a new MSN mobile portal, located at You get a single column page, automatically sized to your phone’s screen, that shows from top to bottom lots of information. Just scroll all the way down, and you get a search box, links to popular services, top news from MSNBC, weather, FOX Sports news, stock quotes and entertainment news. Nothing as cool as the Windows Live Search application for mobile devices, but a solid homepage with a lot of useful information.

See more about it here.

June 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows Mobile, MSN | no comments

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Microsoft IPTV Re-Branded Mediaroom

mediaroom-logo.pngMicrosoft announced that its IPTV (television delivered over an internet connection) platform is getting a real brand name: Microsoft Mediaroom. They also announced several new features, including music and photo sharing around the house, dynamic picture-in-picture, digital terrestrial TV support, and a dev kit so third parties can create TV-based applications to run under Mediaroom. Now they just need to get the damn thing in an area where I can use it, and I’ll be happy.

Well, I am happy about the brand change. Some Microsoft products have been getting cool brand names lately, and it’s a trend you can’t argue with. Google is sticking to the old literal product name formula, while Microsoft came up with Silverlight and others like it. Good for them, trying to be just a little bit less stodgy.

Todd Bishop has some background on the name change, which is designed to say more than just “Microsoft TV”, and the logo, which is supposed to be incorporated into future remote control designs.

June 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

How To Reduce svchost.exe Taking Over Your System

I keep Task Manager open all day, so as to better keep track of what programs are slowing down my computer and my work efficiency. The most common offenders are Windows Sidebar, MsMpEng.exe (Windows Live OneCare) and svchost.exe. In Windows Vista, you can right-click on svchost and click Go To Service(s) to see which Windows service is behind the slowdown. Often, it’s the service that powers Windows Update and BITS (Background Intelligence Transfer Service).

How to reduce this problem? CSMonkey has some suggestions from the OneCare forum, including making sure the services are starting properly, making sure they aren’t allowed to interact with the desktop, re-registering DLLs, and clearing a possibly corrupted Windows\Software Distribution temp folder. None of these seem to dangerous, so if Windows Update is causing you problems, it’s worth trying out.

What about other things that slow down your system? I’m frequently shutting Windows Sidebar to get back control of my computer. It’d be far more useful if Microsoft provided an application that showed which Sidebar Gadgets eat the most system resources so users could manage their Sidebar and actually afford to run it. I already spoke to one Sidebar developer about creating a Gadget to monitor other Gadgets, and he explained that it would be extraordinarily difficult for a third-party developer to implement.

I also close Windows Live OneCare all the time to get it to shut up. It jumps in usage all the time and grinds my system to a halt, and killing it via Task Manager is usually only temporary, so it doesn’t really make the computer less secure. I’d really like a way to make Plug and Play and DCOM Server Process Launcher calm down as well.
(via Digg)

June 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows | one comment