Archive of "Microsoft"

Archive for the "Microsoft" Category

IM Interoperability

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Jabber is the ineroperable-IM protocol… but only geeks even know it exists! With the advent of Google Talk there are more people using it — but many of them don’t even know it. So while Google has federated with the Jabber/XMPP universe, most IM users are still stuck in the MSN, Yahoo, AOL world unable to read out.

The big guys may only be in it for the money, but they’re not stupid. They know that having an account on every major IM network is a huge pain. They just haven’t figured out yet how to work together without losing their precious revenue. They seem to be moving in the right direction, however. The MSN Messenger (soon to be Windows Live Messenger) team has affirmed and re-announced their intention to federation with Yahoo Messenger.

It seems to be unclear whether this will be an actual network federation or a multi-client style feature. What I mean is, will only users of the newest versions of WLM be able to talk to Y!IM? What about older clients? What about Jabber transports? Obviously the transports should be able to evolve to support this (yay!) but whether they themselves allow for full network federation, I think, will be an indication of how ready the big guys are for interoperability.

Windows XP Recovery Console

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Well this is a bit of a different-style post for me, but this discovery struck me as extremely useful and so I thought I’d share it with any of my readers who may not have seen it yet.

On the transition to Windows XP I was horrified to discover that the ’emergency boot disk’ that XP creates cannot read NTFS partitions. It boots to MSDOS7.0 and then if your computer is NTFS you can do nothing. This essentially destroyed any chance of accessing your data if you could not boot to Windows. Many times during computer repair this was a hindrance and either elaborate workarounds had to be devised, or I fell back to the cure-all ‘reformat and reinstall’.

Yesterday I tried to get cheap Excel, but discovered an incredibly useful tool from Microsoft in an incredibly obvious place: the Windows XP install CD. If you boot from the CD and press ‘R’ at the ‘Welcome to Setup’ screen you are taken to the Windows XP Recovery Console. This is exactly what I had been looking for for so long: a reformulation of MSDOS that can access NTFS partitions! I was able to use it to run CHKDSK (scandisk seems to be out) and fix the minor problem the drive had — saving potentially hours of work to fix the problem any other way. There are even some XP-centric commands for dealing with user accounts etc.

What this does not help is users of many preinstalled systems, especially laptops. Most (if not all) of the ‘restore disks’ sent with such systems do not have the Recovery Console. However, techies who have a copy of the install disks can use their copy to run the Recovery Console on another person’s system. No activation procedure 😉 Even XP Professional install disks’ Console will work just fine with XP Home systems 🙂