Welcome to EasyBCD 2.0!

Hello and welcome to EasyBCD 2.0!

It’s rather hard to believe, but EasyBCD 1.7.2 has been out for over 2 years now, and we’ve been working on Version 2.0 ever since. In that time, a lot has happened. Windows 7 has shipped, ext4fs is the new cool kid on the Linux block, GRUB2 is finally seeing some adoption, VHDs are the new wow, and everyone and their grandmother want a dual-boot between Windows 7 and Windows XP.

Worry not, we haven’t been sitting on our (not-so-proverbial) behinds this whole time. In fact, the entire NeoSmart team – developers, supporters, testers, and all – have been working around the clock to make EasyBCD 2.0 the biggest, coolest, greatest, and awesomest thing ever since the invention of the MBR. And now, over a 150 beta builds later and 2 years in the making, we’re super-pleased to introduce you to EasyBCD 2.0. It’s so incredibly overhauled and improved, so stuffed-to-the-brim with features, so much of a true one-click dual-boot experince, so customizable, so powerful, and so EASY that it took a lot of self-restraint to keep from calling it EasyBCD 10.0!

What’s new, you ask? We’ll get to it. But let’s just first give you the download link, because we know you just can’t wait to get your grubby, geeky paws on it ASAP:

Download EasyBCD 2.0.1 (1337 KiB)

(Yes, it really is 1337 kibibytes in size. And, no, we didn’t do it on purpose. We’re just übercool that way!)

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The Woes of Windows Vista/7 Mapped Network Drives

One of the biggest, bestest, and most-hyped features of Windows Vista (according to Microsoft, that is) was the brand spanking new TCP/IP networking stack. Ask us, it sucks. Network performance hasn’t improved any over the ancient stack used in XP (nor should it – it’s not like there’s anything new in IPv4) though it does add better IPv6 support out-of-the-box and ships with some even more functionality in Windows 7. But more importantly, Microsoft threw out decades of testing and quality assurance work on the existing Networking Stack and replaced it with something rather questionable.

We’ll be following up some more on this topic from a technical side later in another article, but for now, an example that most of you are sure to have come across if you’ve ever tried to map network drives before:

This popup is shown at system startup if you have any mapped network drives to UNC shares which are not protected with a username and password. If you map a network destination that does require authentication, Windows will map the drive OK. To further complicate matters: this message is shown only when you startup from a cold boot! If you restart your PC (vs shutdown and powerup), it won’t appear.

Resolving the issue is straight-forward enough: just double-click on the network drive in My Computer and it’ll automatically, instantly, and silently connect. Which makes one wonder why Windows couldn’t connect in the first place.

Good question.

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Windows 7 Discontinues Ultimate Extras

Users attempting to upgrade from Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Edition to Windows 7 Build 7100 (the unofficial RC1 release leak), are greeted with the following "compatibility warning" dialog:

Windows 7 has discontinued Vista's "Ultimate Extras"

Windows Vista Ultimate Edition’s "Ultimate Extras" have been a constant source of derision and anger from Vista users ever since its release 3 years ago. If the blog posts are to be believed, millions of users purchased Windows Vista Ultimate Edition in the hope that the added-value "Ultimate Extras" package – which was left un-described and of unknown worth at the time – would turn out to be a good investment.

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Don’t Forget About the Dual-Booters!

InfoWorld has an article out today wherein Randall Kenney of the “Windows Sentinel” team (a program used to monitor system settings and performance to provide aggregate data for analysis) trashes end-user uptake of Windows Vista by revealing that 35% of surveyed PCs that ship with Vista have downgraded to Windows XP.

While that’s a stunning number of Vista-only OEM machines running Windows XP, Mr. Kenney seems to have forgotten about those of us that dual-boot. As champions of dual-booters everywhere, we’ve got to put our two cents in here.

If you keep in mind the type of people who would install the Windows Sentinel tool and take part in such a geeky program you’ll realize that it’s not too out there for a good number of these people to be the kind that run multiple operating systems on their machines.

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Halo 2 Release Date: May 8, 2007!!

Microsoft has just announced two birds with one press bulletin: Halo 2 will be coming to Windows Vista on a PC near you on May 8, 2007 — at the same time as Games for Windows LIVE goes public!

As the official press release states, Halo 2 for Windows Vista will have superior graphics compared to the Xbox version, and it’ll come with a Map Editor too (that we’ve known for a while now). It’s good to finally have a concrete date set for one of the most anticipated games in PC history.

Halo 2 was the most popular game for the Xbox, taking up where the original Halo for Xbox left off. Halo 2 and Microsoft/Epic’s Gears of War currently top the popular list for Xbox 360. Gears of War is another game PC gamers are looking forward to playing on the PC.

Following the May 8th release of Halo 2 for PC, another FPS game for Windows Vista will be released come June: Shadowrun. Shadowrun will PCs and Xbox 360s at the same time, making it the first true multi-platform experience on Games for Windows LIVE.