Tech Tidbits: March 2008

There's a lot going on this week, so rather than focus on a single topic as usual, here are a few developing stories for your consideration.

Windows Vista SP1 Now Broadly Available
Last week, Microsoft began rolling out Windows Vista SP1 to the public, weeks after making the update available to testers, MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers, and volume-license customers. Of interest to UPDATE readers will be the standalone updater, which is available in both 32-bit (x86) and (x64) variants.

Windows Vista SP1 (32-bit)

Windows Vista SP1 (x64) I'm trying to track down whether SP1 deployments are going well for businesses. If you're involved in the rare SP1 rollout, I'd love to hear how it went. ([email protected])

Microsoft Ships Hyper-V Release Candidate
You may not be aware that the shipping version of Windows Server 2008 includes a beta version of Hyper-V (formerly Windows Server Virtualization), Microsoft's new hypervisor-based virtualization platform. Last week, Microsoft provided a release candidate (RC) update to that software, and said it was on track to ship the final version by August 2008. Windows 2008 users can grab the RC from Microsoft's Web site (see the URL below or search the site for KB949219), although the final version will be delivered via Windows Update. (Future versions of Windows 2008 will of course include the final Hyper-V code as well.) So what's new in the RC? Microsoft says it's added support for more guest OSs, although the list is still perilously short: It includes Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Vista with SP1 and Windows XP with SP3. The Hyper-V RC also supports more hardware configurations, more languages, and offers better performance and scalability.

Microsoft Virtualization and Consolidation

Response Point SP1 Due This Summer
We last discussed Microsoft's small business-oriented VoIP solution, Response Point, in November 2007 (in "Microsoft Hits the Response Point" at ), but the company pinged me this week with news that it will ship the first service pack for this product this summer. Response Point SP1 includes a number of updates, but the biggest appears to be VoIP integration for external calling. Like all Microsoft service packs, Response Point SP1 will be free. More info when it's available.

Microsoft Warns about Zero-Day Hack for Word Flaw
And finally, you should at least be made aware of this exploit, even if there's no official fix yet. Basically, hackers have exploited a flaw in certain versions of the Microsoft Jet Database Engine and are distributing maliciously formed Word documents to unsuspecting users via email and IM technologies. The exploit requires you to be running Word 2000 SP3, Word 2002 SP3, Word 2003 SP2, Word 2003 SP3, Word 2007, or Word 2007 SP1on top of Windows 2000, XP, or Windows 2003 SP1. (So if you're using Windows 2003 SP2, Vista, or Vista SP1, you should be OK.) Microsoft is working on a fix, but it's unclear if we'll see it before the next Patch Tuesday. The disturbing aspect of this attack, apparently, is that hackers are targeting specific businesses. So in addition to warning against opening unknown attachments, Microsoft is advising those who have been attacked to contact their national law enforcement agency. That's always a bad sign. More information here:

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