Happy Holidays & Happy Birthday

The end of the year is upon us.  It seems as though 2007 went by in a blur.  It has definitely been a busy year for us though – and not just on the Performance team.  We’ve had some tremendous product launches across Microsoft as a whole in 2007 including: Windows Vista Microsoft Exchange Server… Read more

Understanding Bugchecks

Almost everyone that has ever used Windows has either heard of or experienced a bugcheck – the infamous “Blue Screen of Death.”  A system may bugcheck for different reasons, but the bottom line is that the operating system has experienced a catastrophic fault that prevents the system from continuing to run.  We’re going to cover… Read more

What is the Page File for anyway?

The page file is one of those pieces of the operating system that administrators know that they need to have – but they can’t always explain why they need it, or how to accurately size it.  Since Windows 95, Windows-based operating systems have used a special file that acts as a sort of "scratch pad"… Read more

BHO’s, Security and Shell Extensions

Today we’re going to wrap up our overview of Browser Helper Objects with a look at BHO’s and Security as well as similarities between BHO’s and Shell Extensions.  If you recall from our first post on BHO’s, a BHO is an extension to Internet Explorer that adds customization and functionality.  The API’s used by Browser… Read more

The Basics of Browser Helper Objects

In our last few posts on Internet Explorer, we’ve looked at ActiveX Controls.  Today we’re going to take a look at the Basics of Browser Helper Objects (BHO’s).  We’re not going to cover BHO’s and Security in this post, that will be covered in our next post on BHO’s. First off, what is a BHO? … Read more

Introduction to ActiveX – Part Three: Security and Security Zones

One of the most common calls that we get relates to the warning dialogs, the "gold bar" message or even the infamous "Red X" image being displayed where the ActiveX control should be loaded.  In some instances, the problem is caused by a failure of the control itself.  However, the more common cause is due… Read more

Introduction to ActiveX – Part Two: Managing ActiveX controls

In Part One of our Introduction to ActiveX, we covered the basics of ActiveX controls.  Today we’re going to go over some ActiveX specifics as they relate to the Internet Explorer environment and the management of ActiveX controls.  The default installation location for ActiveX controls is %windir%\Downloaded Program Files.  You will normally see the control… Read more

Managing the "Launching Applications and Unsafe Files" Setting

We are often asked about the centralized management of Internet Explorer configuration options for which there are no Group Policy settings included with the default IE GPO templates.  One of the settings that we are asked about the most is the “Launching Applications and Unsafe Files” setting, since that setting is not defined in the… Read more

Introduction to ActiveX – Part One

On Tuesday, we wrote about the upcoming changes in behavior for how Internet Explorer handles embedded controls.  Today we’re going to discuss the basics of ActiveX controls themselves – what they are and why they are important.  We’re not going to go into how to create and code ActiveX controls, but we will briefly cover… Read more

IE Automatic Component Activation

Back in April 2006, Microsoft made a change in how IE handled embedded controls used on some web pages.  These changes resulted in some sites requiring users to “Click to Activate” before they could interact with the control.  Microsoft has now licensed the technologies from Eolas, removing the “Click to Activate” requirement in Internet Explorer…. Read more