Windows 8 RTM is not ready yet, but lots of things have been updated already with regard to the new version of the OS. Among them the download page for Debugging Tools for Windows.

Here a screenshot from the page.

Notice the following paragraph:

There are certain rare circumstances in which you might need to download the Windows 7 version of Debugging Tools for Windows.

So working on Windows 7 and wishing to install the Windows 7 SDK is nowadays a “certain rare circumstance”. You wish, Microsoft!

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Windows 7 Quotes Problem

For several months, after I installed Windows 7 at home I had a very annoying problem: whenever I was writing double quotes (“) or single quotes (‘) in some text editors and all browsers, the quotes did not appear. Only after I was typing another character, then both the opening and the closing quotes were shown, followed by the character (like “”X or ”X, instead of “X” or ‘X’). And when pressing some characters, like A or I, instead of getting “”A or “”I what was showing up was an Ä or Ï with two points on top. To get “X”, I had to type quote followed by space followed by X and then quote again. Really annoying.

The curious thing was that my environment was similar to the one I had at the office: Windows 7 Ultimate, Visual Studio 2008 SP1, Office 2007, same browsers, etc. So I had to rule out a problem with Visual Studio. It must have been some weird setting in Windows 7, though I had done identical installations at home and at the office. Well, it turned out I didn’t have identical setups: at home I had both Romanian and English keyboard layouts, and for English I had both “US” and “United States-International”, the later being the default input language for the English layout.

Keyboard input

Changing the default input language to English (United States) – US (as shown in the image above) solved this problem (without restarting Windows, only the applications where the problem occurred).

You can find this from Control Panel > Change Keyboard or other input methods > Keyboard and Languages > Change keyboards.

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In my previous post I wrote about a feature called “god mode” available in Windows 7 and Vista. By creating a folder with a specific name you get one entry point to all the commands available in Control Panel. It was reported that several such shortcuts exits. Below is an image with the 16 folders that are god modes.

All 16 god modes

You can create them all by making and running (from the desired parent folder) a .cmd or .bat file with the following content:

(You can get the GUIDs of the folders from the above listing).

You can read more about this here.

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Playing God in Windows 7

There has been some buzz in the last few days about a feature in Windows 7 called “God mode”. Well, it doesn’t empower you as a God but allows you to access all the nested features available in Control Panel from a single entry point. All you have to do is creating a folder (or renaming an existing one) with the name GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Create a folder with the name GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

After the folder was created/renamed its icon changes to the icon used for Control Panel.

Same icon as Control Panel

When you enter the folder you find all the commands that are available in Control Panel, but in a single list with no nesting. So this could be a good place to access quick commands.

Commands available in GodMode folder

On the other hand you can get the same from the Start menu by searching for the name. Here is an example of the commands made available when searching for “defrag”.

Start menu results for "defrag"

Of course, in this later case, one needs to know what to search for, but in general that should not be a problem.

This feature also works in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, but it is reported that is crashes with Vista 64 bit.

This feature only works from Windows Explorer. It is not available from tools like Total Commander or FreeCommander.

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I have updated my Visual Studio addin that displays the status of a build/clean/deploy action. If you get the latest version, 1.2, and are running Visual Studio 2005, 2008 or 2010 (they are all supported) on Windows 7, the progress of the build is also displayed on the Taskbar, on the item corresponding to the Visual Studio instance.

The following images show no progress, different progress steps, and an error during the build/clean/deploy, both for Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010 (Beta 2).

No progress

Build progress

Build progress

Error during build

Build progress

Error during build

This was possible by using the Windows 7 Taskbar interop library available on MSDN Code Gallery here.

You can get the latest version of the addin from the Visual Studio Gallery at this link.

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Windows 7 RTM and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM are now available for download on MSDN for MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Currently, the only available bits are in English. The other languages will become available on October 1st. Volume License customers with an existing Software Assurance license will be able to download the bits starting tomorrow.

For more information on these releases check the Windows Team Blog.

Update: Windows Server 2008 R2 is not yet available.

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MSDN Code Gallery made available an update for the Windows API Code Pack for .NET Framework 3.5 (or above), a library that provides access to some Window 7 features and some existing features in previous operating systems. It includes:

  • Windows 7 Taskbar Jump Lists, Icon Overlay, Progress Bar, Tabbed Thumbnails, and Thumbnail Toolbars.
  • Known Folders, Windows 7 Libraries, non-file system containers, and a hierarchy of Shell Namespace entities.
  • Windows 7 Explorer Browser Control.
  • Shell property system.
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 Common File Dialogs, including custom controls.
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 Task Dialogs.
  • Direct3D 11.0, Direct3D 10.1/10.0, DXGI 1.0/1.1, Direct2D 1.0, DirectWrite, Windows Imaging Component (WIC) APIs. (DirectWrite and WIC have partial support)
  • Sensor Platform APIs
  • Extended Linguistic Services APIs
  • Power Management APIs
  • Application Restart and Recovery APIs
  • Network List Manager APIs
  • ommand Link control and System defined Shell icons.

The requirements for using this library are:

  • .NET Framework 3.5
  • Windows 7 RC (some features work on previous operating systems too)
  • DirectX features have dependency on Windows SDK for Windows 7 RC and March 2009 release of DirectX SDK

You can download the Code Pack library from here.

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