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Microsoft Updates Multiple Sysinternals Tools

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the might-as-well-make-the-best-of-it dept.

Windows 179

wiedzmin writes "A couple of very useful updates have just been released by Microsoft for the ever so popular Sysinternals tool set. The most notable one is ProcessMonitor v2.0 which will now include 'real-time TCP and UDP monitoring.' Another one, released earlier this year — Desktops 1.0, provides a very unique multi-thread way to get multiple desktops running on your Windows box."

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How about . . . (5, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242317)

How about making it so ProcessMonitor actually fully unloads when you quit. Nothing is more aggravating then having to reboot because a lot of games consider it a hacking tool and refuse to run.

Re:How about . . . (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242343)

Your complaint is fair(unless there is some hardcore Windows internals reason that Russinovich has his reasons for); but I am struck by the fact that sharing a platform with applications that treat you with suspicion and contempt is normal.

Re:How about . . . (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242459)

That sounds to me more like it's a bug in the games than a bug in ProcessMonitor.

I wonder... do you think if you use ProcessMonitor to kill its own process it'll cleanup?

Re:How about . . . (3, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242757)

It's not a BUG at all, it's a deliberate choice. For example Spore's implementation of Securom will NOT allow the game to run if it finds that in the background.

Re:How about . . . (5, Insightful)

fluch (126140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243577)

I consider this a bug in the custommer. They shouldn't buy games which are deliberately bugy and defective by design ... and now, burn, karma, burn... :)

Re:How about . . . (4, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243649)

A bug in software most frequently arises due to bad, or insufficient logic being applied.
I'd say that failing to run because somebody happens to have another (and in this case fully supported by Microsoft) program running in the background.
You can see where the suits (and some knee jerk reactions from developers) are looking; If we put that bit in there, we're safe.

However, the cracks that appear ensure that this is not the case. As has been noted many times on /. DRM does not affect the people who grab the cracked versions and have no intention of ever paying. It only affects someone who has already given the company their money.
This results in a bad customer experience, lowering the credibility of the games house.

In my eyes, this makes the logic applied by the developers (include this, and we'll be safe, and the world will be a better place, and no customer could ever object to this) is inherently flawed. This flaw makes its way into the design.
The design is implemented in the software, which causes an issue with various other applications the end user may wish to run.
So, the logic used in the design results in a piece of software not running. Whether the intent was to have this happen or not, the logic is flawed, thus making it a bug.

Re:How about . . . (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242599)

Process Monitor loads a kernel driver in order to hook in and read everything the system is doing. Making a kernel driver unload while the system is running is hard, and in some cases, impossible to do without risking the stability of the kernel.

If I ever come across software that treats the best damn troubleshooting toolset available for Windows as as being unfit to run alongside, then that software will come across an express ride to the Recycle Bin.

Re:How about . . . (4, Interesting)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243027)

Look to the popular cheating tool CheatEngine for an open source example of a kernel driver that unloads on demand.

Re:How about . . . (4, Insightful)

someone300 (891284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243065)

Making a kernel driver unload while the system is running is hard,

Nearly every Linux kernel module manages it.. (rmmod).

Re:How about . . . (3, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244035)

However, there may be some significant differences between Linux and the NT kernel, both in terms of the design and the implementation. It may be that not everything that's hard to do with one of them is automatically also hard to do with the other.

Re:How about . . . (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242639)

How about boycotting games with Securom and other draconian DRM?

Not that ProcessMonitor should not fully unload, but it's the game developers fault your game won't run afterward.

R U sure that you know what U are talking about? (3, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242697)

(subject line done in illiterate speak to fit)

I didn't get the impression that this was a DRM issue. I took it more as an anti-cheat measure for on-line play. Given that there are huge numbers of players who think it's neat to win by loading up some warez that gives your game an unfair advantage against other on-line players, it's not too unreasonable to have code that detects some of the more common cheats. Unfortunately, when monitoring software starts hooking itself in places where it's not expected, it can look a lot like the cheating software.

Re:R U sure that you know what U are talking about (3, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242803)

I know of at least one piece of anti-copying software which specifically checks for filemon (as it was at the time, this was before process monitor appeared).

Re:How about . . . (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242713)

This is not an issue with process monitor If you have a game that does this uninstall it, complain to the maker and return it as faulty. If you do not vote with your wallet these people will own your machine not the other way around.

Re:How about . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242897)

Hangon, who's problem is this? ProcessMonitor's or the games that consider it a hacking tool? While I'm not saying either way that it's good or bad to hang around after quitting, but I'm more inclined to blame the game developers for this one.

Re:How about . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242931)

That is annoying. I'm pretty sure that Blizzard shares some of the blame though for stupidly identifying it as a cheating program in the first place, though.

Re:How about . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243325)

How about you not whine so much about free software?

Re:How about . . . (2, Insightful)

Talrinys (888624) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243451)

While that is of course true, do you really think that it's Microsofts problem that game developers are paranoid about useful tools? Of course it's a fault at Microsofts end that it doesn't unload correctly, but there is a much deeper and more interesting question as to why consumers have no control over their own computers.

Re:How about . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243511)

How about making the games work while ProcessMonitor is running? It is an official Microsoft tool after all, would it be acceptable to have to reboot after using Internet Explorer when you want to play a game?
Though it would also be worth a lot if they just gave a useful error message, how am I supposed to know that when a game _demo_ says it can not run because it "has detected a debugger" actually means ProcessExplorer, which I had running by default?

Re:How about . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243643)

How about not supporting games that use defective DRM that tag legitimate programs as hacking tools?

Re:How about . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243755)

Perhaps you should complain to the game companies about their intrusive DRM

Re:How about . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243999)

It already does? At least when I run it, it does.

How quaint (-1, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242347)

A Microsoft press release [live.com] distributed courtesy SlashDot...who would have thought.

Doc drop! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242479)

Jack Thompson
5721 Riviera Dr
Coral Gables FL 33146
305-666-4366
amendmentone@comcast.net

Finally.. (5, Interesting)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242409)

Multiple desktops without annoying flicker. Never understood why multiple desktop managers on windows used window hiding instead of real multiple desktops which were built in into NT family from at least NT4.
Oh well.. Maybe it's too late for me anyway to get used to multiple desktops because now I'm just using 2 lcd panels which provides real multiple desktops and I don't see the point in multiple virtual desktops anymore.
Process monitor looks sweet though.
Mark Russinovich is well known windows system hacker and I always liked his work. Nice to see that after acquisition of sysinternals by MS he still writes software.

Re:Finally.. (3, Interesting)

PsyberS (1356021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242469)

Perhaps some of the limitations are the reason people use the other virtual desktop managers? From TFA:

Desktops reliance on Windows desktop objects means that it cannot provide some of the functionality of other virtual desktop utilities, however. For example, Windows doesn't provide a way to move a window from one desktop object to another, and because a separate Explorer process must run on each desktop to provide a taskbar and start menu, most tray applications are only visible on the first desktop. Further, there is no way to delete a desktop object, so Desktops does not provide a way to close a desktop, because that would result in orphaned windows and processes. The recommended way to exit Desktops is therefore to logoff.

Re:Finally.. (4, Insightful)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242569)

On the upside of that, if an app crashes on one desktop, it won't bring explorer down on the others.

Re: Partial Explorer protection? (0, Redundant)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243747)

Really!?

"IDNHT-4" (I Do Not Have Time To Test This.)

Finally..shelling out. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242777)

Something that can be gotten around by using an alternative shell like Talisman or others.

Re:Finally..shelling out. (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242993)

I didnt check state of things for a while but Talisman and others seem not to use native win32 desktops either - they just hide windows/taskbar items. Under heavy load this becomes annoying as windows take some time to restore from minimized state. Correct me if I'm wrong. Didn't look at alternative shells for about maybe 8 years now.
Indeed moving window from one real win32 desktop to another is not possible, because desktop "owns" the window and there's no way to change parent. This is just a limitation of win32 desktop api.

Re:Finally.. (5, Interesting)

The_Noid (28819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243241)

Maybe it's too late for me anyway to get used to multiple desktops because now I'm just using 2 lcd panels which provides real multiple desktops and I don't see the point in multiple virtual desktops anymore.

I use two screens AND multiple desktops... More screens and more desktops serve different purposes. You use more screens so you have more pixels for the same task. You use more desktops so you can separate tasks by putting all the windows you need for 1 task on 1 desktop.

Re:Finally.. (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243743)

Well, I don't have the time to compare, but certain apps are generating errors when being asked to run on both "pseudo desktops". Firefox and Opera most notably. Safari & IE7 are currently escaping at least a bit.

A "Hider" would still be operating in the same App space, right? So all the apps would open, and the visibility would be toggled.

This might have modestly serious implications at a deep level.

/. and Microsoft articles... (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242419)

Hey, this is the third post, and there hasn't been a flame yet! Has /. been redirected to a more Microsoft friendly audience today?

Hands up if you are reading via MSDN! Come on, admit it!

Re:/. and Microsoft articles... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242483)

Team Slashdot may not like Windows very much; but when you have to get your hands dirty with Windows, having the sysinternals tools makes your life less unpleasant.

Plus, Mark was the one who discovered and publicised the Sony rootkit, when all the professional AV guys were too incompetent or traitorous to say anything. That ought to give him enough karma to go unflamed on Slashdot once or twice.

Obligatory (1)

kramer2718 (598033) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242421)

I don't run Windows, you insensitive clod!

Re:Obligatory (2, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244067)

This is interesting to me even though I don't run Windows on my own computer, because sometimes other people use Windows, and since I am an IT professional that means I occasionally encounter it. YMMV.

Desktops (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242431)

With XP home on a machine with 4G of RAM (only 3.something recognized) I got an error saying something about not enough memory to create a new desktop. That was while I was trying to create the fourth desktop. Digging around in the forums that are linked to the app I found that certain apps won't work on anything but the primary desktop. Keystroke bindings tend to get a little wonky. All in all behavior I seem to recall while trying to use that desktop app that NVidia had out for a while. Not worth using.

Re:Desktops (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242565)

With XP home on a machine with 4G of RAM (only 3.something recognized)

That's somewhat expected. The memory space is shared amongst everything in on the bus, in particular the video card. For instance, if your video card has 512 MB of RAM and you only have a 32-bit processor, it will see rather less than 3.5 GB.

32-bit OSes can get around this with stuff like PAE (physical address extensions) that extend the physical address space to 36 bits, but you need to explicitly enable this in Windows because I think it can cause problems with some drivers. I think it also requires a bit of extra effort in the non-server editions because MS is dumb.

Re:Desktops (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243199)

I think it also requires a bit of extra effort in the non-server editions because MS is dumb.

Actually it's impossible to enable in XP SP2 onwards. This is because drivers had no nice way of saying they supported it, so there was no way to avoid serious crashes (of the blue screen kind).

The server OSs still support it because IIRC drivers MUST support it to get Microsoft signed for those OSs.

I don't see the point myself, you might as well use an x64 OS if you want that much memory. I do.

Athiests update world domination time-table. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242451)

This is what it would be like, if the majority of people were athiests.
ATHIEST KID: Mom, I'm going to go fuck a hooker.
ATHIEST MOM: Okay, son.
ATHIEST KID: Afterwards, I'm going to go smoke pot with my friends, since it's "not addictive."
ATHIEST MOM: Okay, come home soon!

The athiest kid leaves the room. The father comes home from work several minutes later.

ATHIEST DAD: Hey!
ATHIEST MOM: Hi, honey! I'm pregnant again. I guess I'll just get another abortion, since "fetuses don't count as human life."
ATHIEST DAD: Okay, get as many abortions as you want!
ATHIEST MOM: Oh, and don't go in the bedroom.
ATHIEST DAD: Why not?
ATHIEST MOM: There are two gay men fucking eachother in there.
ATHIEST DAD: Why are they here?
ATHIEST MOM: I wanted to watch them do it for awhile. They just aren't finished yet.
ATHIEST DAD: Okay, that's fine with me!

Suddenly, their neighbor runs into the house.

ATHIEST NEIGHBOR: Come quick, there's a Christian outside!
ATHIEST MOM: We'll be right there!

The athiest couple quickly put on a pair of black robes and hoods. They then exit the house, and run into the street, where a Christian is nailed to a large, wooden X. He is being burned alive. A crowd of athiests stand around him, all wearing black robes and hoods.

RANDOM ATHIEST: Damn you, Christian! We hate you! We claim to be tolerant of all religions. But we really hate your's! That's because we athiests are hypocritical like that! Die, Christian!

THE END

Scary, isn't it?

Re:Athiests update world domination time-table. (1, Troll)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242635)

(I know... I shouldn't feed the troll, but this shouldn't go unanswered, either.)

Atheism != amorality (or hedonism, for that matter).

Richard Dawkins does an excellent job of debunking this myth in The God Delusion [wikipedia.org] . One of the best books I've read this year.

Or just ask any Buddhist. He or she will be happy to explain to you that you don't need any god(s) to tell you the difference between right and wrong. That's what your brain is for.

P.S. For the love of $_DEITY_, please learn how to spell "atheist". :)

Re:Athiests update world domination time-table. (1, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242683)

Athy is a market town situated at the convergence of the River Barrow and the Grand Canal in County Kildare, Ireland.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athy [wikipedia.org]

Athy was a constituency represented in the Irish House of Commons to 1800.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athy [wikipedia.org] (Parliament of Ireland constituency)

I'm more Athy than you. I'm the Athiest.

Re:Athiests update world domination time-table. (1)

inzy (1095415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242779)

cool! can i be an atheist too?!

Re:Athiests update world domination time-table. (4, Funny)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243165)

I put on my wizard robe and hat...

Re:Athiests update world domination time-table. (1, Flamebait)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243359)

No. It sounds good.

Christians are notoriously scary people, who want to kill gays, Jews, witches, people who eat shell fish 1 [godhatescrustaceans.com] , 2 [godhatesshrimp.com] , blacks (that's why he burned 'em), atheists etc. If there was a Christian around my neighbourhood, I would surely want to string 'em up too, just in case that damn god botherer started attacking me (a queer, drug using, shell fish eating, atheist hooker) first!

So yeah, fuck off with the damn Christians. (Also, I never claimed to be tolerant. I hate religion, it has caused far more problems then atheism ever did. Hitler was religious for example. Stalin went to a seminary before he joined the attacks on the Tsar, and when he got into power, he supported the Orthodox Church. It wasn't until after he died that the Church started getting put down again.)

Oh, I'm not afraid of karma. Mod me down and I shall become more powerful then you can imagine (or something...).

Desktop 1.0 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242495)

Sounds like a nice addon.

BUT...

When I install it, and try to switch to another window it just says "Error creating desktop. Not enough Storage is available to process the command". 120GB hard disk and 800MB (of 2GB) not enough for the 60kb application?

And I managed to keep hitting Alt+2, I got ONE desktop working. But Firefox refuses to start in that desktop. Saying "Firefox is already running but not responding".

I want to use this application, but I can't...Like PHYSICALLY can't.

Sweet (2)

Beached (52204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242523)

Finally a free multiple desktop program for x64 Windows XP.

Re:Sweet (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244075)

I haven't run it on XP 64bit, but Virtual Dimension [sourceforge.net] , despite the last version coming from 2005, runs well on my Vista 64bit version. (even I didn't expect that)

Hang on to your old versions... (1, Flamebait)

jginspace (678908) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242555)

Anyone know where we can get the old versions. The pre-Microsoft versions?

One person's 'upgrade' is another's 'hobbled'. Why did the size of so many Sysinternals utilities increase in size from 1-200K to over 1MB for no change in functionality?

For more see posts at: http://www.portablefreeware.com/ [portablefreeware.com]

Re:Hang on to your old versions... (3, Insightful)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242593)

Oh no's, conspiracy! Consider Vista / Win2k8 compatibility was added to a number of these tools, as well new features and functionalities HAVE been added to many of them.

Re:Hang on to your old versions... (1)

ViX44 (893232) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242615)

http://court.shrock.org/sysinternals/ [shrock.org]
http://court.shrock.org/sysinternals-bt/ [shrock.org]

This seems to be a partial mirror. I thought I saw a collection posted to /. back when Mark first announced his assimilation, perhaps someone can dig it up from the /. archive? It is possible the Shrock "bt" collection is that collection.

Re:Hang on to your old versions... (2, Informative)

nevesis (970522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242919)

Why did the size of so many Sysinternals utilities increase in size from 1-200K to over 1MB for no change in functionality?

They added a EULA and a call to iexplore http://www.live.com./ [www.live.com] In Redmond, that's about 800k.

Is Desktops-1.0 any better than powertoy version? (3, Informative)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242577)

I used to used the powertoys multiple desktop thing, but it was always so kludgy.

For instance, popups for an application on another desktop would show up on another desktop, even with application sharing off. I would get modal dialog boxes that would pop up, lose focus and fall under my current window. Then when I'd go to check on that application, I couldn't interact with it until I found which desktop an orphaned dialog box was hidden on (it wouldn't get a taskbar slot since it was the child of a process on another desktop). Thunderbird was one of the worst offenders when I'd have to re-enter my password.

Also, firefox would some times 'shift' when I'd change windows too many times, and I found that the CPU bug would trip off easier. The deal breaker, for me, was that switching desktops would screw up Office 2000 applications (shifting the internal frames, some times leaving an app unresponsive, etc.), and at work I have to deal with an internal Access application.

Nothing like starting up the editor on one desktop, documentation on another, firefox with google at the ready on another, and the application/database window on the fourth desktop. Access or the application would crash/move itself if I switched back and fourth too quickly too often, and I was constantly waiting on Firefox to restart after causing the CPU bug to trip and take so many cycles that I couldn't switch desktops to the one with the task manager open. The net gain was a complete loss in productivity, as compared to compiz where I find myself about twice as productive.

At home on my 'doze box, I've got dual screens, but it would be nice to have dual screens with a functioning multiple desktop setup. Does anyone have any hints for this, or think Desktops-1.0 will improve upon the situation?

If I could afford it (broke software development major - my rig is always a generation behind what is 'standard', and two behind bleeding edge), I'd probably just get a third screen and be done with it, but multiple desktops is my only viable solution until I have some cash that isn't earmarked for more important hardware.

Re:Is Desktops-1.0 any better than powertoy versio (1)

FromWithin (627720) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243581)

Had nobody here seen Dexpot [dexpot.de] ?

Re:Is Desktops-1.0 any better than powertoy versio (2, Interesting)

AMindLost (967567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244047)

Yes, I've used Dexpot on my office, home and laptop PCs. Home and Office have dual monitors and Dexpot allows me to have multiple, dual-screen desktops with almost no problems at all. I have one application which will put it's progress bars on the current desktop instead of the one the application is on and there are a couple of graphical glitches here and there but on the whole I'd thoroughly recommend it.

Re:Is Desktops-1.0 any better than powertoy versio (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244113)

Another possibilty: Virtual Dimension [sourceforge.net] . (works fine on my XP 32bit and Vista 64bit)

Re:Is Desktops-1.0 any better than powertoy versio (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243855)

See my comment http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=984089&cid=25242409 [slashdot.org]
These are indeed "real" desktop switching with win32 isolated desktops, not some window hiding/unhiding like most if not all windows desktop managers do. You can't move windows around desktops as result, but it's not actually very major annoyance compared to sluggishness of all desktop switchers I tried.
Funny thing that "real" desktop switcher app was even included in platform sdk but it never worked since w2k - some problems with permissions.

Mark Russinovic is GOD. (1)

killmofasta (460565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242597)

I have and use all the Systernals stuff, especially Process Monitor.

I just dont agree with him on the Ram Manager issue, but then, I dont have a superdome with 2GB of ram.

Re:Mark Russinovic is GOD. (2, Funny)

Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242711)

Highly unlikely. God doesn't use MS products, just look at the Bible, completely open source... every sect has it's own way of reading and writing the thing.

Re:Mark Russinovic is GOD. (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243181)

I dunno?

If we're going to use the Bible than God created us. It has been said that humans are the ultimate open source. I cry "Bullshit." Every time I see that it makes me cringe. If we were open source why the hell are we still attempting to decrypt it and reverse engineer it after all these years? Where can we go to actually get the code???

Re:Mark Russinovic is GOD. (1)

rukcus (1261492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243541)

Just because the source is open, doesn't mean you understand what it's doing. Picture this cliche: a million monkeys typing on a million typewriters will eventually write a work of human literature. Replace monkey with man, and human with G-d, and a million with many billions. Some imperfections along the way seem readable to us, but it's hardly past beta.

Re:Mark Russinovic is GOD. (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243815)

As humans we have the compiled copy, not the source. Explain exactly *why* biology works or show me the source code. We're really reverse engineering and thinking we're elite hackers.

Re:Mark Russinovic is GOD. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243625)

And here is de 'evidence': http://xkcd.com/224/ [xkcd.com]

:-)

Re:Mark Russinovic is GOD. (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242729)

Ram Manager issue?

Are you one of these people that thinks mallocing a whole bunch of RAM and then freeing it actually has some benefit?

Well it doesnt.

Just wow. (5, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242625)

I actually clicked through and read about he virtual desktops. Just wow. I haven't followed Windows closely since 98SE and NT4 and it is amazing how little has changed. They still haven't caught up to things us Linux folk have had since FVWM in 1996. Virtual desktops should not be rocket science folks, the fact Windows is still struggling with them is shocking. More cash on hand than the Pope in Rome, as close to unlimited development resources as any mortal entity and they can't do easy stuff. No wonder they worked years and finally (still) birthed the horror called Vista.

They truly are kept alive by fear and ignorance. Ignorance in the mass consumer public that anything else even exists, and that 'all computers' are as unreliable as Windows and fear amongst those who DO know that their hard earned Windows Power User secret lore would be useless in a world without Windows.

Re:Just wow. (1)

Wilk4 (632760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242873)

heh, I used to use a little virtual desktops utility that was free from the utilities column of PC Magazine... worked great... and probably 10+ years ago... probably still works. What's so hard about virtual desktops?

Re:Just wow. (1)

nevesis (970522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242913)

You're right -- they have plenty of money, can afford good developers, and yet are still far behind on features.

Ignorance, however, is not what keeps them in business.

Re:Just wow. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242957)

They keep creating weird architectural constraints. A windows application at my site needs to spend an hour or so generating a report. Recently it stopped working and the cause turned out to be an IT policy mandating automatic screen lock after 10 minutes of inactivity. Integration between our application and Microsoft office seems to go through the UI and this isn't allowed to work when the screen is locked.

Re:Just wow. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243129)

They keep creating weird architectural constraints. A windows application at my site needs to spend an hour or so generating a report. Recently it stopped working and the cause turned out to be an IT policy mandating automatic screen lock after 10 minutes of inactivity. Integration between our application and Microsoft office seems to go through the UI and this isn't allowed to work when the screen is locked.

That's just plain laziness on the part of the app developers - Office has a perfectly well documented API which you can follow and totally ignore the UI.

Mind you, IME those developers are in very good company. It's remarkable how many companies have built a business around flogging some cheap & nasty VB monstrosity hacked up by the work experience kid over the course of a few afternoons.

Re:Just wow. (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243055)

If you look around, I think you will find that most people don't care about virtual desktops. And I don't mean just Windows users. Mac users generally don't care, and Linux users generally don't care, either. Perhaps, if more people had been crying to have the feature, Microsoft would have implemented it sooner. Because you are right: it isn't rocket science. Still, I think Microsoft made the right choice in playing catch up in other races, first: stability, support for Internet protocols and standard, security, multi-user support, etc. etc. I'd say these are all more important than virtual desktops.

Re:Just wow. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243145)

You're completely wrong. It's a standard feature of Ubuntu and Vista, and everyone under 25 uses it.

Re:Just wow. (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243413)

You're completely wrong. It's a standard feature of Ubuntu and Vista, and everyone under 25 uses it.

But that's because everyone over 25 (who cares) buys multiple monitors. Why use virtual desktops when you can afford to make your real desktop big enough to hold everything?

Re:Just wow. (1)

ir (104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243539)

I have 2 monitors and 10 virtual desktops (6 of which are in use at the moment). They're not mutually exclusive. I laugh at people who "close programs" like they are still in the MS-DOS era.

Re:Just wow. (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243899)

Wow.. ru lady with such a low slashdot id. Pretty fascinating. Kudos.

Re:Just wow. (1)

AMindLost (967567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244117)

I have dual 19" monitors but have three desktops setup using Dexpot. One is a finance desktop for excel, banking and other finance apps. Next is a development desktop for IDE, web development and database management. Finally, I have a general desktop for email, web browsing and anything else. All three desktops use both monitors. It helps to keep common groups of applications in separate workspaces. So, multiple monitors and virtual desktops are not mutually exclusive!

Re:Just wow. (2, Insightful)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243385)

Windows has always been about multi-monitor support rather than virtual desktops. However, I doubt most users care about or use either.

Re:Monitors and/or Desktops (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244139)

(Desperately avoids the $implications)

I'll settle for the space issues. I hunkered down to get a new monitor, and upgraded from a 19" to a 28" monitor. It feels proportionally right for my desk, so I really cannot imagine any further monitor necessary for a long time.

Re:Just wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25244057)

Troll.

There's nothing shocking here. Only ubergeeks use multiple desktops since it's a broken metaphor that only ubergeeks would think of wanting to use. All those people are on Linux already, right? Because no geek would ever use Windows, right?

Lame Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242675)

Four desktops? No moving windows from one to the next? Need to logout to get rid of any?

Call me when they have FVWM running...

pr0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242687)

Hooray! Now we can have 4 times the porn!

A quick and easy way to hide your activities from your boss when he comes walking by. ;)

Re:pr0n (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243201)

If you are searching for porn at work, never mind in an area where a boss (or anyone) can walk by, you probably have a problem and they have counseling for that though it may be court ordered in your case.

Re: Hooray! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244071)

Don't you mean Slashdot?

Desktops 1.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242911)

Desktops 1.0 looks very similar to the PowerTools multiple desktop tool -- Klunky. For a multiple desktop tool to work well, it has to be fast (no slow zooming effects please), has to allow applications to be moved across desktops easily and ideally should allow applications to exist on multiple/all desktops. Also, 4 desktops max is, in my experience, insufficient. I typically use 6-8 when I really get going with my work. Sorry, but it's still behind whats been available on most X-Windows based desktops and many Windows shell replacements for years, at least from a usability standpoint.

Paul Smith

Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242967)

Goatse. [twofo.co.uk]

You nerds love it.

Some of the same limitations as the PowerToy forXP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243009)

From there description here [microsoft.com] ,
The Virtual Desktop implementation doesn't seem much more useful than the one in their PowerToys for XP.

Unlike other virtual desktop utilities that implement their desktops by showing the windows that are active on a desktop and hiding the rest, Sysinternals Desktops uses a Windows desktop object for each desktop. Application windows are bound to a desktop object when they are created, so Windows maintains the connection between windows and desktops and knows which ones to show when you switch a desktop. That making Sysinternals Desktops very lightweight and free from bugs that the other approach is prone to where their view of active windows becomes inconsistent with the visible windows.

I'm glad to hear that it is supposed to be more lightweight. That wasn't something I felt with the virtual workspace implementation for PowerToys. However, at least under GNOME, I haven't experienced the described inconsistency. Has that been an issue for anyone else here, perhaps in KDE or Mac OS X? Or in GNOME?

However, if you've used the PowerToys one, you might be wondering: can I now move a window between virtual desktops? And you might be thinking, from the description above, that the answer is no.

Desktops reliance on Windows desktop objects means that it cannot provide some of the functionality of other virtual desktop utilities, however. For example, Windows doesn't provide a way to move a window from one desktop object to another, and because a separate Explorer process must run on each desktop to provide a taskbar and start menu, most tray applications are only visible on the first desktop. Further, there is no way to delete a desktop object, so Desktops does not provide a way to close a desktop, because that would result in orphaned windows and processes. The recommended way to exit Desktops is therefore to logoff.

So, you cannot move windows between workspaces; you need to run an explorer process for each workspace; and you have to log off to close desktops.

I wonder how having a separate explorer process for each desktop impacts performance, if at all, seeing as they claim it is a more lightweight approach.

Anyway, without those features, then, like the PowerToys one, it cannot easily fit into my usual workflow, which I miss while at work (Windows XP).

Lame (2, Interesting)

Farenji (1306493) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243021)

From TFA:

Desktops reliance on Windows desktop objects means that it cannot provide some of the functionality of other virtual desktop utilities, however. For example, Windows doesn't provide a way to move a window from one desktop object to another, and because a separate Explorer process must run on each desktop to provide a taskbar and start menu, most tray applications are only visible on the first desktop. Further, there is no way to delete a desktop object, so Desktops does not provide a way to close a desktop, because that would result in orphaned windows and processes. The recommended way to exit Desktops is therefore to logoff.

About every other OS has had multiple desktops for ages, nicely implemented, now *finally* MS gives it a try, and they fail miserably. Sad.

Re:Lame (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243099)

<list of misfeatures of Desktops 1.0>

Remember, folks. This is what "1.0" means in the world of proprietary software. Remember that, next time you're using apt version 0.6.46.4, detach 0.2.3, or QEMU 0.9.1.

Re:Lame (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243227)

They have tried before with their PowerToys. I have to wonder if they sometimes cripple things these days intentionally so as to avoid being sued for anti-competitive behavior. It would be STUPID of them to do but that's not saying much, they've done some really fricken' stupid stuff before.

Re:Lame (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243665)

And they still do. :-)

Yeah, yeah, -10 redundant.

Re:Lame (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243793)

I'm not sure... I'm going with a +5 "Truthiness" for you. Don't forget that I'm *often* mistaken for a Microsoft fan (even an MVP) but really I think I'm pretty open and clear about how I feel about their choices sometimes. UAC - good choice that missed that humans aren't that bright. WGA? Shit stupid. The first has the user in mind, the second has a profit in mind. I don't mind profit at all and even own Microsoft stock. As a Microsoft "supporter" (which I'm not, hell I even use Linux see my homepage if you are curious) (hell they even KNOW I'm a Linux supporter but I have had the award for years now) I stand up for logic and understanding and even go off on them at a higher level when they screw up.

except Desktops is shite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243113)

From TFA: No moving of windows across desktops, taskbar etc. only on 1st desktop, 4x the memory usage of one desktop etc. etc. etc.

Great, but what about Protection Manager? (5, Informative)

myxiplx (906307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243503)

They may be updating the Sysinternals tools (after changing the EULA's on them all), but what about Protection Manager? That looked like a great product (and one we were planning to buy), but was conveniently buried the second Microsoft acquired Winternals & Sysinternals.

Protection Manager was launched in March 2006, and removed from the market by Microsoft in November that same year. It was the first thing I looked for when Microsoft acquired Winternals and while I wasn't surprised to see it removed, I've been waiting ever since in the hope that it would be re-launched. That has never happened, and my belief now is that Microsoft deliberately buried it, thinking it would hurt Vista sales.

Protection Manager was a program that gave system administrators a simple and effective way to whitelist the applications that could be run on their network. The idea was that you ran it for a few weeks to generate a baseline list of allowed applications, then turned on protection, after which non authorised programs would be stopped until approved by an administrator. It also allowed you to run individual applications with admin rights, making the management of legacy software far simpler.

Most of the literature regarding the program has gone now, but this is a handy guide:
http://www.inuit.se/?page=130 [inuit.se]

A few choice quotes from MS:
"the decision was made to withdrawal Winternals Recovery Manager, Defrag Manager and Protection Manager in their current form from the market effective November 17th 2006"

Q. What is the future of Protection Manager?
A. Winternals Protection Manager has been withdrawn from the product line. Many Protection Manager usage scenarios are addressed by the new User Account Control feature of Windows Vista."
source: http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/wifaq.mspx [microsoft.com]

Personally, I don't see that UAC offerse half the features Protection Manager did, and we have no desire to move over to Vista anyway. To me, it looks like Microsoft removed from the market a program that would have been genuinely useful to many of their customers, once again putting sales & marketing ahead of security and their customers.

Re:Great, but what about Protection Manager? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25244143)

Huh, removing programs for "duplicating functionality" (when they are less full-featured)? Now, who else has done that recently?

smelly triglycerides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243639)

smart trucks are going to be a a ayyyfdrh melonesdsdsaaaaa

Almost as good as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243669)

Almost as good as the desktop switcher (in X windows since 1984), and ntop (although it might be more like tcpd). In any event, at long last, they might have some tools nearing functionality of unix circa 1985.

Desktops 1.0 == waste of space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243683)

"doesn't provide a way to move a window from one desktop object to another"

"most tray applications are only visible on the first desktop"

What a piece of junk.

party like it's 1989! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243713)

Multiple desktops? woooweee that's amazing!

Pro tip: If you're playing catch up with your competitors from 20 years ago, don't advertise it as a new groundbreaking feature.

Virtual desktops still needs VirtuaWin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243843)

Not having virtual desktops makes me crazy! I use Linux at home but am forced to wrestle Windows XP at work.

"Windows doesn't provide a way to move a window from one desktop object to another,... , most tray applications are only visible on the first desktop."

How is this supposed to be useful? This is very half-arsed. I'll be sticking with VirtuaWin thanks.
http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net/

Welcome to the 1980s, Windows. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243875)

We've had decent process monitors on virtually all variants of UNIX since the 1970s. We've had X virtual desktops since the late 1980s. It has always baffled me why these essential features were never implemented for Windows, and why it's only recently that they've become available as add-ons.

planet/population rescue kode updated instantly (-1, Troll)

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