BootVis and bithead

Whether this is the whole truth behind its removal is hard to judge. It’s possible that a tool such as BootVis could occasionally get things so wrong you’d end up with an unbootable system, in which case putting it in the hands of the public wouldn’t be terribly wise. Nevertheless, you’re all seasoned IT professionals who shrug your shoulders at the prospect of an unbootable machine – that’s what your tried-and-tested disaster-recovery solution is for, isn’t it? Obviously then, I have no compunction about recommending that the power users among you ignore Microsoft’s warnings and take an interesting poke around the innards of XP using BootVis. A quick web search will locate a download site holding the file, even if you can no longer get it from Microsoft.

BootVis and bithead

As for whether XP really does the work of BootVis all by itself, and silently too, is something I find hard to believe. I don’t recall XP ever telling me it was reorganising things on the disk and to wait several minutes.

AV integration with Security Center

I’ve been looking at some anti-virus applications recently, and I’m a little concerned that several of them have an unhealthy desire to shut down the XP Security Center and take over its workload themselves, replacing Security Center with their own application. While I’d have no problem with a vendor writing a better Security Center for their own application support needs, I can’t help feeling that this might be two steps forward and one step backwards. I think I’d be happier leaving the Security Center in place and making the AV/Firewall application work properly within the new security framework that Microsoft has provided. How can I be sure that some third-party vendor has implemented everything I need? I can’t, and it’s hard to tell by poking them with a pointy stick.

This reminds me a little of the early days of Windows printing, when some vendors decided to ignore the new printing subsystem and install their own attempts. Some of these were reasonable, but some were so dire it didn’t take long for them to realise the folly of their ways and fall into line by using the then-new Microsoft frameworks. I wonder if the same is happening today – they tell you to use their application because they haven’t got around to working cleanly with the XP SP 2 frameworks yet. Given that SP 2 is now nearly two years old, at least from a beta tester and coder’s point of view, I wonder if sheer laziness is at work?

Sony Rootkit Rant

It’s rare that I get really angry, but it happened this week over the controversy about Sony BMG putting a rootkit application onto a music CD. The news came to me from the excellent website, where Mark Russinovich pontificates on the very advanced, deep and dirty parts of Windows. I’ve recommended this site many times before for its excellent utilities and tools, many of which are clearly best of breed.

So it was with some shock that I read how Sony BMG had stooped to unimaginable levels of irresponsibility when putting a new type of copy protection onto a music CD to prevent you from ripping it. If you attempt to play this disc on a Windows machine, it will insist you install a special Sony media player that lets you listen to pre-ripped tracks, which also enforces DRM (digital rights management) and won’t let you copy the disc. I don’t have any problem with properly thought-out DRM, provided it doesn’t get in the way of my day-to-day work and pleasure – iTunes Music Store works very well for me, although I’d be less happy if I used, for example, the most excellent Roku media extenders because these can’t play ITMS-encrypted material.

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