Month: June 2016

Windows 10 tip: Stay organized using virtual desktops

  By Ed Bott You no longer need third-party software to use virtual desktops, now that this feature is included in Windows 10 as part of Task View. Here’s how to create extra desktops and move open apps and windows between them.   Virtual desktops are nothing new for Windows, but earlier versions required third-party software (such as the free Sysinternals Desktops utility). In Windows 10, this feature is built in, as part of Task View. You can have multiple virtual desktops, organizing open apps into different desktops to minimize clutter and distraction. To create a new, empty virtual desktop, click the taskbar’s Task View button (just to the right of search) or use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + Tab, and then click New Desktop. Each virtual desktop is numbered. To see which apps and open windows are associated with a given desktop, let the mouse pointer hover over the thumbnail of that desktop. To move an app from one desktop to another, just drag the app from the rows of thumbnail in Task View and drop it on the desktop you want to use. To close a virtual desktop, click the X in the upper right corner of its thumbnail in Task View. You can use Task View to switch virtual desktops, but it’s faster to move between them using the keyboard shortcut: Windows key + Ctrl...

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Why Microsoft just bought LinkedIn: It’s all about the data

  By Mary Jo Foley Microsoft and LinkedIn have been building largely non-overlapping graphs of various kinds of data pertaining to business professionals. That’s the real key to Microsoft’s $26.2 billion LinkedIn acquisition. In its biggest acquisition in its corporate history, Microsoft bought social-network vendor LinkedIn. But why? Credit: Microsoft The tl;dr reason: It’s all about the data. The slightly longer version: For the potential synergies involving Microsoft’s Office 365, Dynamics CRM/ERP and advertising products and services. Microsoft’s slide deck that outlines potential scenarios involving the two companies emphasizes that management view the deal as connecting the “world’s leading professional cloud” and “the professional network.” Microsoft and LinkedIn have both been building out their respective graphs. Microsoft’s graph is a collection of information pertaining to entities like contacts, messages, calendar entries and documents. LinkedIn’s graph centers around entity information regarding jobs, coworkers, learning, prospects and recruiting/hiring. The contention is there’s relatively little overlap between these two graphs, which makes the acquisition make more sense than, say, a Microsoft acquisition of Slack — where capabilities and technologies overlap quite a bit. Connecting these two graphs is where Microsoft execs are betting the magic will happen. The emphasis of Microsoft’s LinkedIn unit, going forward, will be on ways “to make professionals more productive.” Microsoft is counting on LinkedIn to help with the consolidation of business users’ profile data across apps and...

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5 tricks to improve poor TCP performance

By Phil Hippensteel   Transmission Control Protocol carries the vast majority of the data transmitted across both the public Internet and private intranets. Web sessions using HTTP, file transfers, file sharing and system backups typically use TCP. Windows desktop configurations loaded at start-up are TCP based. However, if your system back-up is to a remote site that is a considerable distance away, you might be using only a small percentage of the bandwidth that you’re paying for. When your security cameras are transferring video to recorders that are remote or are using a wireless connection, the delivery could be slow or interrupted. There are two primary reasons for poor TCP performance: significant delay (network latency) and network loss. Yes, TCP is designed to retransmit lost data segments, but they will probably be delayed. In the scenario of a long circuit, the resulting higher delay tells TCP that it must limit its rate of transmission so it won’t overwhelming the receiver’s buffer. This problem is aggravated because most network analysis tools tell us that we have a TCP performance problem, but don’t tell us why it is happening. And we aren’t given suggestions for possible corrective actions. Before digging deeper in this problem, let’s look at some things that may help improve TCP performance. We must keep in mind that TCP has a specific algorithm that controls its conduct. We...

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ASP.NET GridView: Implementing Cascading DropDownList on Edit Mode

by Vincent Maverick Durano This article demonstrates how to implement a horizontal-wise cascading DropDownlist in ASP.NET GridView control on edit mode. Download – 4.2 MB Introduction This question has been asked many times in various technical forums (such as in and there definitely are already many solutions available. Most of the examples from the web use DataSource controls (for example SqlDataSource, ObjectDataSource, and so on) to implement a cascading DropDownList in a GridView and I can’t seem to find a formal example that shows how to implement it without using DataSource controls.   Using the code Note Before you proceed, make sure you already understand the basics of using the GridView control and how to bind it with data since I will not include the details of doing edit, update or delete scenarios for this exercise. Scenario As a recap, a Cascading DropDownList enables a common scenario in which the contents of one list depends on the selection of another list. In this demo we will show a list of Product orders in a GridView and when the user edits the row, we will present the user with a DropDownList containing the list of available makes of products. Once they have made their selection, we will populate the second DropDownList in the next column with the available Models for the specific make they’ve chosen. And once they...

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Microsoft’s BITS file transfer tool fooled into malware distribution

Tool running secret jobs and deleting the evidence as it goes by Richard Chirgwin Researchers at Dell SecureWorks have spotted a new and dangerous way to misuse of Microsoft’s Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). While working on a customer clean-up project, SecureWorks staff found that attackers had created self-contained BITS tasks that didn’t appear in the registries of affected machines, and their footprints were limited to entries on the BITS database. The attack was spotted on a Windows 7 machine in an academic administration environment. The scripts ran the usual gamut of malicious activity: pulling malware from a remote server, running an installation script, and running a clean-up script after the payload was installed. Once a transfer was complete, BITS launched a notification program which: Created and launched a Windows batch script to finalise and clean up the BITS job entry, and check the download; Launched the downloaded program (with checks in case it got left behind in the tmp directory); Deleted itself on completion. SecureWorks’ advice for sysadmins: if you’ve remediated a host, but it continues to generate network or host alerts, find out whether there are poisoned BITS tasks still pending. “One way to enumerate these tasks is to execute the bitsadmin client from a cmd.exe session with elevated privileges (bitsadmin /list /allusers /verbose)”, the post notes, producing the output below. The post also lists the malware-hosting...

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