Microsoft's revolutionary positioning of Windows functionality continues with the introduction of native support for ISO and VHD Files in Windows 8. According to the 'Building Windows 8' blog, the next version of the OS billed for launch 2012 will let users open and view ISO and VHD files without the need for  third-party ISO utilities, which prior versions of Windows had required users to burn an ISO file to a CD or DVD before the program stored in that file format can be installed.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) file is a disc image composed of the data contents of the written sector of an optical disc. ISO image includes all the files contained on the archived CD, DVD or Blu-ray Disc. While, VHD files are virtual hard disk files used to store applications or an entire operating system.

These important storage formats (ISO and VHD) makes it relatively easy to store the ever increasing amount of data without the fear running out of capacity. While, the general usage is mostly in media, they are also useful as files within a file system. The facilities are especially handy for portability of system settings or to play back snapshot of a system.

The next version of Microsoft's OS, Windows 8, will allow users to read the contents by automatically creating a virtual disk drive of the file. It works as follows: Simply select 'mount' from the enhanced Explorer ribbon or double click on the file, a new drive is created, indicating that the contents are now readily accessible. And contents can be installed directly by clicking on the drive in Windows Explorer.

The ISO 'mount' feature definitely comes in handy for mobile device users, as data storage remains a critical requirement for tablets and other mobile devices.

Native Support For ISO And VHD Files

Tracking users online activities has taken a new dimension with the latest web tracking technologies, albeit, evading browser privacy add-on. The recent report on 'SuperCookies', extensively employed on MSN homepage to track users activities, had again brought to the fore the incessant concern on online privacy.

Microsoft admittedly employs ETag cookies to track the online behavior of visitors on its homepage; activities especially beneficial to its ads serving campaigns.

A group of researchers had earlier made available a white paper on their findings in relation to the above lines: whereby, many popular websites were circumventing users privacy settings by deliberately restoring previously deleted HTTP cookies using local storage outside the control of the browser.

The findings in part, iterated the porousness of most browser privacy settings, allowing persistent tracking of users, even when such users had taken steps to avoid web profiling.

The tracking vectors assessed in the report included the following: Flash cookies, HTML 5 local storage and Cache Cookies via ETags.

ETags, according to the report, represent tokens by a users browser to a remote web server in order to determine whether a given resource had changed since its last profiling. The Cache cookie method used ETags, and is still capable of unique tracking, even when all cookies are blocked by user and 'Private Browsing Mode' is enabled.

The safe web initiative must above-all call to respect the 'do not track' status of users, and necessary legislation put in place to check its default.

Web Tracking: Next On The Watch List

The Mozilla browser, Firefox, is perhaps notable for extensive add-on features which have greatly enhanced the open-source browser. However, malware programs have taken advantage of the feature to self-install on users PC thereby infiltrating such systems.

Mozilla in response to security threats posed by aggressive add-on that find there way into the browser without  users permission have scheduled two new features for launch in Firefox 8. The new features will serve basically two functions: The first been automatic disabling of add-on added to Firefox by other programs. And secondly, it kicks in at the initial Firefox run after upgrading to Firefox 8, and goes through programs installed and sort them into two categories: Self-installed add-on and user installed. While, on initial Firefox start after an add-on has been installed, a notification window prompts users to either activate or ignore such add-on.

The feature, additionally, will offer a confirmation lists of add-on you have ignored as another level of security. While, all third party add-on will be automatically de-activated unless you choose otherwise.

According to Mozilla blog post, about one and half million add-ons are downloaded daily, whilst some may booster performance and others, on the other hand hampers same.

Mozilla Firefox 8 is currently running on the Firefox nightly channel, but reports has it that its billed to move to the Aurora developer's build next week. And all things been equal, Firefox 8 may reach the stable channel around late September.

Firefox Add-On To Be Checked

The much expected search innovation, Instant Pages, announced by Google mid June is now live on the latest stable version of  Chrome 13, according to the Chrome Blog.  The Instant Search feature in Chrome renders top search results pages on Google even before a user clicks.

Chrome search page-rendering element begins from the top search results, where a user will likely click-on, its predictive-input, albeit not 100% accurate, definitely makes a top choice. The pages under the 'Instant Page' feature appears to load faster than without it, invariably meaning sacrificing accuracy for speed.

But, how much faster? Google had made available a video comparison of Chrome with and without the Instant Page feature on YouTube.

However, users that are worried about bandwidth cost can disable the feature by navigating to the tab settings/advanced and uncheck the 'predict network actions to improve page load performance' box.

Chrome's Omnibox, a combination of search box and address bar feature, is now even more smarter in the latest version. It now allows easier back and forth movement on pages visited.

The fact that Google is highly obsessed with speed remains visible in this search innovation. Also, following on the heels of its recently announced war against slow websites.

Chrome 13 Arrives With Instant Pages