Windows & Netbooks and Hiding File Types

Note: This blog weas originally posted on my web site on November 24, 2009. Since it is a bit of old news, I’ve decided to disable comments.

It was interesting to read an article in the Computer Dealer News magazine where Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was talking to one of their reporters about various things. One of the first questions in the [edited] interview was his thoughts on netbooks. He is quoted as saying that “The thing I think is silly right now is that some people think if you get long battery life and lightweight you also have to be under-powered.” He then goes on to say that Microsoft released Windows 7 Starter Edition for that reason.
It was Microsoft who imposed restrictions on the details of netbooks in order to get the cheaper versions of Windows. It was said that the license for Windows XP Home cost just $15 if on a netbook. If you recall, the vast majority of netbooks were using Windows XP Home with a few Linux and Vista Basic models.
Anything stronger than an Atom processor [or equivalent] couldn’t get the reduced licensing for Windows. The same goes if there was more than 1GB of RAM or a 160GB hard disk or a 12″ screen [but some adjustments have been made for Windows 7 but no huge difference]. Interesting to note that once you bought the netbook, you could add extra memory or switch to a larger hard disk without violating the license as the license only applies at the time of the original purchase.
The Atom processor uses quite less amount of power. The same goes in a smaller screen. Because of the small screen, no CD/DVD drives are included to keep the size small [there is no room for the drive]. These two factors also reduce the power consumption.
Interesting to note that at one point 80% of netbooks were returned, were done so because the buy had bought a Linux version. Even at just maybe $30 cheaper, they thought they could user a Linux version without [probably] ever using Linux before.
Speaking of Windows 7, most security experts have long wondered why the infamous “Hide extensions for known file types” still defaults in Windows 7 as checked. This “feature” has been the default settings when you first use Windows since Windows 95. Just about every security expert says this feature should be set for all extensions to be viewed or even better, kill the feature completely.
Virus makes at one point [and even sometimes now] try to trick users by sending an Email attachment with something as simple as newrelease.txt. Now of course you can’t get a virus from a text file. But What the virus makers do is actually have a virus created in a file called newrelease.txt.exe. If that famous line is checked, you don’t see the “exe” part which is the actual extension. They generally even use the same icon that’s used by Notepad [the application that is generally associated with text files in Windows]. Very few novice users would notice that the fake “txt” extension is shown, yet they never see any other extensions.
So it’s been quite a few versions of Windows with this security risk set to not show directions. Even then, I don’t think there is any way of disabling it through the registry for all users or in active directory for networks. I tend to uncheck the option so that extensions do show up when I build a new system for others and myself.

About ebraiter
computer guy

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