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Found 24 results

  1. Last Friday I wrote about problems reported with this month’s Win10 1903/1909 Cumulative Update, KB 4549951. Other than a recurring bug that triggers temporary profiles — a bug we’ve discussed for months that leads to wonky desktops and misplaced files — I couldn’t identify any patterns in the hue and cry. A few hours later, Microsoft officially acknowledged the complaints in a rather odd blanket statement, posted on both the Windows Release Information Status page and the Knowledge Base article Read More @https://www.computerworld.com/article/3540435/cumulative-update-bugs-spur-microsoft-to-call-for-help-wheres-the-telemetry-when-we-need-it.html
  2. Microsoft today issued a new security advisory warning billions of Windows users of two new critical, unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities that could let hackers remotely take complete control over targeted computers. According to Microsoft, both unpatched flaws are being used in limited, targeted attacks and impact all supported versions of the Windows operating system—including Windows 10, 8.1 and Server 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2019 editions, as well as Windows 7 for which Microsoft ended its support on January 14, 2020. Both vulnerabilities reside in the Windows Adobe Type Manager Library, a font parsing software that not only parses content when open with a 3rd-party software but also used by Windows Explorer to display the content of a file in the 'Preview Pane' or 'Details Pane' without having users to open it. https://thehackernews.com/2020/03/windows-adobe-font-vulnerability.html
  3. Microsoft’s head of gaming and Xbox, Phil Spencer, has revealed that the company sees Amazon and Google as its main competition for the future. Speaking in an interview with newly launched technology publication Protocol, Spencer dismisses Sony and Nintendo’s ability to create a cloud infrastructure that will challenge Microsoft, Google, or Amazon. “When you talk about Nintendo and Sony, we have a ton of respect for them, but we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward,” says Spencer. “That’s not to disrespect Nintendo and Sony, but the traditional gaming companies are somewhat out of position. I guess they could try to re-create Azure, but we’ve invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years.” Microsoft has been realigning its gaming efforts for a future far beyond the Xbox console. The software giant’s big effort now involves reaching billions of players around the world with cloud gaming. Google has already launched its Stadia service, and Microsoft is trialing its own xCloud streaming service that is set to launch fully later this year.
  4. Microsoft is launching a new Xbox Bounty Program to reward gamers, security researchers, and anyone else who discovers security vulnerabilities in the Xbox Live network and services. Bounty rewards will range from $500 up to $20,000, and Microsoft notes there could even be higher payouts depending on the quality of the report and the vulnerability impact. The biggest payouts will be handed out for critical remote code execution and elevation of privilege flaws, while security feature bypasses, information disclosure, spoofing, and tampering will all include rewards up to $5,000. As Microsoft is opening this up to gamers and anyone who has the skills to find flaws, it’s expecting high-quality reports with a detailed write-up or video demonstration, and a clear proof of concept. Microsoft isn’t looking for people to perform DDoS testing, social engineering attacks, or going too far on server-side execution issues. https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/31/21114887/microsoft-xbox-bounty-bug-security-rewards
  5. Internet Explorer is dead, but not the mess it left behind.Microsoft earlier today issued an emergency security advisory warning millions of Windows users of a new zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer (IE) browser that attackers are actively exploiting in the wild — and there is no patch yet available for it.The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-0674 and rated moderated, is a remote code execution issue that exists in the way the scripting engine handles objects in memory of Internet Explorer and triggers through JScript.dll library.A remote attacker can execute arbitrary code on targeted computers and take full control over them just by convincing victims into opening a maliciously crafted web page on the vulnerable Microsoft browser. Read more here:  https://thehackernews.com/2020/01/internet-explorer-zero-day-attack.html
  6. Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers, but that it has no immediate plans to fix. In a late-evening tweet, US-CERT, the division of Homeland Security tasked with reporting on major security flaws, tweeted a link to a security advisory detailing the bug, describing it as “being exploited in the wild.” Microsoft said all supported versions of Windows are affected by the flaw, including Windows 7, which after this week no longer receives security updates. The vulnerability was found in how Internet Explorer handles memory. An attacker could use the flaw to remotely run malicious code on an affected computer, such as tricking a user into opening a malicious website from a search query or a link sent by email. It’s believed to be a similar vulnerability as one disclosed by Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser, earlier this week. Both Microsoft and Mozilla credited Qihoo 360, a China-based security research team, with finding flaws under active attack. Earlier in the week, Qihoo 360 reportedly deleted a tweet referencing a similar flaw in Internet Explorer. Neither Qihoo, Microsoft, nor Mozilla said how attackers were exploiting the bug, who the attackers were, or who was being targeted. The U.S. government’s cybersecurity advisory unit also issued a warning about current exploitation. Microsoft told TechCrunch that it was was “aware of limited targeted attacks” and was “working on a fix,” but that it was unlikely to release a patch until its next round of monthly security fixes — scheduled for February 11. Microsoft assigned the bug with a common vulnerability identifier, CVE-2020-0674, but specific details of the bug have yet to be released. When reached, a Microsoft spokesperson did not comment https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/18/internet-explorer-security-flaw/
  7. Microsoft released a new Windows 10 build to the Fast ring a little earlier than usual today, after a week with no builds. Build 18932 includes some new Eye Control improvements and notification settings, but it also comes with a pretty long list of fixes issues. Most notably, Microsoft is seemingly converging settings synchronization engines into a single platform that's more reliable and less complex. For now, that means settings syncing will be disabled in 20H1 builds, but it should be good news for future releases. Here's the full list of improvements: Read More Here https://www.neowin.net/news/here039s-what039s-fixed-improved-and-still-broken-in-windows-10-build-18932
  8. A week ago, Microsoft finally launched its Chromium-based Edge browser for older versions of Windows, including Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. It was only available from the Canary branch though, which is updated daily. Today, Edge Dev is now available for the older operating systems. Edge Dev is updated weekly, and that means that it's less likely to break. There's also an Edge Beta branch that's coming soon; that will be updated every six weeks like the stable channel will be. Of course, the stable channel is still a long way off. You'll get the same builds as users do on Windows 10 and macOS, and they come out on Tuesdays. One feature that you'll find is missing is dark mode, as that automatically matches your system settings. Obviously, there's no native dark mode on Windows 7 or 8.1. Luckily, the Edge team mentioned on the Windows Insider podcast today that it may be adding manual controls. If you want to check out Edge Dev for older versions of Windows, you can find it here. Just pick the platform you're looking for at the bottom.
  9. Roundup While last week the Microsoft headlines were all about bonzer financial results, storage problems and, er, Microsoft Paint, other things were afoot in Redmond. Insiders unblocked thanks to prunes, fibre and a minty fresh Windows 10 BuildIt has been a while – over two weeks by our reckoning – but the Windows Insider gang has finally given its loyal army of volunteer testers something to chew over in the form of build 18885. The build, which arrived on Friday 26 April, follows hot on the heels of a fix for Insiders still running on 19H1 to allow an update to the Windows 10 of 2020. Something lurking within the May 2019 Update, when patched to build 18362.53, left the 20H1 installer with a serious case of indigestion, and Microsoft to throw up a block to stop the OS trying to slither its way onto some Insiders' desktops. With Friday's update, 19H1 users should now be able to make the leap to 20H1, having first patched to 18362.86. However, they are likely to be a little disappointed because, at this point in the development cycle, there just isn’t much to get too excited about. The company is, after all, still a year or so away from release. That said, the team has gotten around to adding more languages to the built-in dictation support in the operating system. Current versions of Windows 10 struggle to accept that there might be a world of people without English (United States) voices. With 20H1, Brits, Canadians and Australians can now get in on the action. The gang has also added support for Germany, Italy, Spain and France among others. The build also includes a fix for that whole pesky external storage thingas well as a wonderful bug whereby Windows Hello would immediately sign a user back into their PC after the unlucky punter had locked the thing (which resulted in some impressive keyboard gymnastics to stay out of the camera's view during the locking process.) However, Microsoft continued to point the finger of blame for PC crashes at game developers who had failed to update their wares to deal with the long-running anti-cheat code issues. The team cheerfully said "most games have released patches" and urged gamers to ensure they are up to date before attempting an operating system upgrade. My phone, Your Phone, anything but iPhoneWindows Insiders (or some of them, at least) were also gifted a Your Phone update, as Microsoft's Director of Program Management for Mobile 'eXperiences', Vishnu Nath, announced some new toys were inbound. For orphaned Windows Phone users, the idea of a Microsoft Mobile Experience is more reminiscent of an David Attenborough nature documentary: "Look at the pretty thing, oh dear – it's dead now." Microsoft's mobile efforts are now focused on the Android and iOS worlds, and to that end the update brings phone notifications to the PC screen. The user can select which notifications they wish to see and when a notification is dismissed on one device, it is also dismissed on the other. Your Phone, which made its debut last year, already synchronises text messages between devices, as well as allowing access to recent photos on a connected device. Back in March the team added the ability to mirror the phone's screen onto a PC, but only for a vanishingly small cross-section of users. You needed a Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ or S9/S9+ and a PC with a Bluetooth radio that supported the low-energy peripheral role. Like, er, a Surface Go. While the Bluetooth requirement remains present, the update has extended the number of phones supported, with the OnePlus 6, OnePlus 6T, Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, Note 8, Note 9 devices added to the list. Alas, iPhone users still cannot get in on the fun. When Nath says "phone" he means "Android". All the text syncing, notification bothering and screen mirroring won't be happening for users of Apple's devices, as Nath observed when asked: While the gang lays claim to 84 issues closed in this release, the most eye-catching is the new Variable Explorer and Data Viewer. This feature allows Visual Studio Code users to take a look at variables in the application via an explorer which shows up when code is running. Additional variables make an appearance as they get used in the code. While still a bit crude at present (searching values is a bit simplistic), getting at the contents of variables via the new Data Viewer will prove invaluable during debugging, although you'll also need Pandas 0.20 or later to join in the fun. Microsoft has maintained quite the cadence for its Visual Studio Code source wrangler, with an update to the open source editor this month as well as the refreshed Python extension as part of its ongoing efforts to woo developers. Judging by the 2019 Stack Overflow survey, it seems to be succeeding. Azure giveth and Azure taketh awayAs new versions of technologies get flung out at a tremendous pace, old ones must also be gently nudged out to pasture. As Kubernetes 1.13 support became generally available in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) last week, Microsoft announced that it was about to put a bullet into the head of version 1.9 support. AKS only supports four minor versions of Kubernetes, so the 30-day notice for 1.9's demise should not come as too much of a shock. While developers can still create new 1.9.x clusters during the deprecation period, it probably isn't a good idea. When 25 May rolls around, 1.9.x will be removed with little ceremony and support yanked. Azure Blob fans, however, will be happy to note the "General Availability" sticker slapped onto the Azure data migration utility AzCopy 10 last week. We took a look at the preview last month and Microsoft has gone on to tweak things to make life easier for users seeking to get data out of an AWS S3 bucket and into the cloudy world of Azure. The latest release of AzCopy, version 10.0.9, has added AWS S3 as a source and will copy data directly without having to shunt the bits and bytes down to a client first. By stripping out that bottleneck, the Azure gang claimed rates of 50Gbps when copying from a S3 bucket to Azure Storage in the same region. You're in the Army nowWhile all eyes were on Microsoft's financials last week, the US Department of Defense announced it would be tipping $7,269,740 into the software giant's coffers as part of a fixed price, single bid Enterprise Services contract. The work will be performed in Fort Gordon, Georgia and is expected to be complete a year from now, on 2 May 2020. Army funds were obligated at the time of the award. 
  10. Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 20H1 is coming to the Fast ring, rather than 19H2, which is what was expected. 19H2 is the next feature update for the OS, which will arrive later this year. 20H1 is the one coming after that, arriving in the first half of 2020. The Skip Ahead subset of the Fast ring has been testing out 20H1 for some time now, and now it's being merged with the regular Fast ring. While there's limited space in Skip Ahead, anyone can join the Fast ring. That means that for the first time, anyone can test out builds from the 20H1 development branch. That being said, Microsoft today released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18875 to the Fast ring. There's not a whole lot that's new still; we can probably expect to hear more about what's coming around the Build timeframe. Here's the full changelog from build 18875: This build is replacing build 18362 in the Fast ring, and it's worth noting that the old build is the release candidate for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. This is your last chance to jump off of the Windows Insider Program without doing a factory reset. It's also worth noting that this opportunity typically comes every six months, but since we're testing an update that won't be available for another year, this opportunity won't come again until spring 2020. Source: Neowin
  11. While it was announced about three months ago, the Razer Turret mouse and keyboard combo for the Xbox One is only now shipping. Folks interested can buy the peripheral combo for $250. In case you didn’t catch last week’s announcement about this month’s Games with Gold, you are now able to get The Technomancer for the Xbox One, as well as Star Wars Battlefront II for both the 360 and the Xbox One, for free. That is of course, if you have an active Xbox Live Gold subscription. If you’re in the UK, prices for the aforementioned subscription are set to jump rather significantly starting next month. There will be a 25% increase in price, with annual subscriptions costing £49.99 rather than the current £39.99. The three-month plan will be bumped from £15 to £18, and a monthly subscription will set you back £7 instead of £6. Though the change occurs May 8, current subscribers will still pay the current rate for the next three months, thus being affected by the changes post August 7. Folks may remember than Microsoft has something called Xbox All Access, which is basically the console variant of the two-year carrier contracts we see for phones. It allows you to get the Xbox console of your choice (either the S or the X), along with Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass for one monthly fee. As it turns out, the company is also allegedly working on something than doesn’t include the hardware, but rather only the subscription services. Dubbed Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, this would be available for $14.99 a month – or $1 per month for Xbox Insiders during testing -, according to leakster WalkingCat. If the company is planning to unveil this combined offering soon, the most likely ‘big event’ at which this could happen would be E3, which takes place June 11-14. Since we mentioned Xbox Insiders, if you’re running either Windows 10 1809 or higher, you can now take advantage of some features coming to Game Bar. One is Spotify integration, followed by the ability to add text to your screenshots – thus potentially transforming them into memes -, and a new Xbox Social widget. You can also at long last customize Game Bar by choosing where to pin widgets. To access all this, you need the Xbox Insider Hub app, inside of which you need to select Insider Content, and then Windows Gaming. Now, gaming on Windows is a broad subject, but of particular interest is Halo: The Master Chief Collection which 343 Industries hasn’t exactly revealed a release date for. However, we do know that if all goes to plan, the studio wants to start testing of Halo: Reach / Master Chief Collection flights this month. Rounding off this section is a reason for celebration, especially if you’re into Minecraft. To be more specific, the Java Edition on PC has crossed the 30 million sale threshold, which is quite the achievement. As a reminder, the title was released back in 2011 and became a first-party game after Microsoft outright bought Mojang in 2014. According to number released back in October, Minecrafthad sold in excess of 154 million copies and had more than 91 monthly active players across all platforms. A bunch of builds We kick off this section with a cumulative update for the October 2018 Update, which is KB4490481 and bumps the build up to 17763.404. It includes a long list of fixes related to Edge, IE, information related to various time zones, Microsoft Store applications failing to launch, and much more. There are some known issues to be aware of with the update above, one of which is IE11 – and other applications which use WININET.DLL – having authentication issues. This is solved by creating a different account for each person logging on to a Windows Server machine. Yet another known issue is one centered on MSXML6, which causes applications to stop responding if an exception is thrown during node operations, Custom URL Schemes for Application Protocol handlers may stop working, there may be issues with the Preboot Execution Environment if the Variable Window Extension is in use, and finally, if end-user-defined characters (EUDC) are enabled per font, the system will end up blue screening. It is recommended that you don’t enable EUDC. A tidbit relevant for developers is that SDK preview build 18362 is out, carrying the same number as the one in the Fast and Slow rings. This means 18362 is the most likely release candidate for version 1903. Speaking of Fast and Slow rings, 18362.30 has been pushed out to both and it fixes an issue with AAD users not being able to sign-in after updating to a 19H1 PC on an AAD-joined PC, the users’ inability to enable or disable .NET Framework or other optional features, and a bug which caused PCs to refuse to boot after installing a cumulative update, followed by an optional feature-on-demand. On a related note, if you’re in the Slow ring, you’ll have to install 18356.21 before the build above, because this one removes the block for the 18362 line of builds. As you may remember, this was because of some updating issues in this ring back when 18362 was initially released. Capping off the section is a weird bit of news, as Microsoft has announced that 20H1 builds are headed for the Fast ring. No, this isn’t a typo, and yes, 19H2 does still exist. The latter is promised to be coming later this spring. Apps being discontinued If you happen to still be on Microsoft’s ill-fated Windows 10 Mobile, you’ll be met with a message when you open the Instagram app. This informs you that support for Instagram on the platform is being pulled come April 30. This of course is no surprise in light that Microsoft has abandoned the mobile OS and that support for version 1703 of it ends in June, while that for 1709 ceases in December. Just so the app above doesn’t feel lonely – or more likely due to them being made by the same company -, the official Facebook and Messenger apps are also being killed off on April 30. The singular app that is conspicuously missing is WhatsApp, though presumably the announcement of its discontinuation isn’t far behind. Switching companies and platforms, it’s Microsoft’s turn to discontinue something. On this occasion, we’re talking about the Books section in the Store. The books tab is effective immediately, but those who have either bought or rented titles can read them until the end of the rental period or until July 2019, when they will be removed completely. However, you will get a full refund of the original price of purchase, and any pre-orders will be canceled, with the user not being charged. As you may remember, this feature debuted with the Creators Update, which means it’s been available for less than two years. On a more positive note, while there has been a switch from EdgeHTML to Chromium for the Redmond giant’s browser, a fair few folks have been asking whether features like smooth scrolling and 4K Netflix streaming will still be a thing once the new Edge (or Edgium, or however folks want to call it) is available. As it turns out, it’s been spotted by some folks on Reddit that Edgium has flags for Widevine and PlayReady, the latter being a hardware-based DRM system – Intel Kaby Lake CPU, Nvidia GeForce 1000 series GPU or higher needed - which allows for 4K streaming. Edge has been the only browser to support 4K streaming since 2016, and these flags are apparently not found in any other Chromium-based browsers. The Fast ring Surface Book 2 with 8th-gen Core i5 is now available for purchase. BMW and Microsoft have collaborated on the Open Manufacturing Platform to ‘drive innovation’. Visual Studio 2019 is now generally available. Microsoft has launched an AI-learning program for students in collaboration with OpenClassrooms. Kaizala is now live for Office 365 users around the globe, though it’s coming to Teams soon. If you own either a Surface Pro 6 or Surface Pro (2017), you may want to check for updates, as both devices have gotten a number of driver and firmware-related fixes. Hot corner Hot corner is a section of The Fast ring dedicated to highlighting five Microsoft-related stories that haven't been covered over here, but that might be for interest. Azure deployments are now integrated into Spinnaker (starting with release 1.13). Azure Front Door has reached its GA phase. Web application firewall, as part of Azure Front Door, is now available in preview. Widows Containers in the Azure App service now support Server 2019. There’s now an Azure Functions Premium plan, available in preview. Logging off To end, we take a look at the announcement related to the next feature update for Windows 10, known until recently only as 19H1 or version 1903. Though there’s been speculation that the update would be dubbed after the month of April, Microsoft has finally revealed that 19H1 is the May 2019 Update, and that it will be coming to the Release Preview next week. It will be made available near the end of May, meaning it’ll spend at least a month in Release Preview testing, unlike its predecessor which skipped the last ring before production entirely. But there’s more, as the Redmond giant will be adding a download and install option specifically for feature updates. This way, you’ll be able to install cumulative updates normally, without the fear of the next version of Windows 10 being also installed and potentially breaking something. The only time this automatic push will happen though is if your current version of Windows 10 is nearing its end of support. Although 1903 is the first to get the option described in the paragraph above, by the end of next month, this feature will be available to folks on 1803 and 1809 too. Two more things to touch on are the period for which you’ll be able to pause updates, which is up to 35 days. You’ll be able to do this one week at a time for up to five times, and it applies to all flavors of Windows 10 (yes, Windows 10 Home included). Lastly, there will also be a so-called Windows release heath dashboard in order for users to check out the update’s rollout status and known issues. The changes above are certainly welcome, and should alleviate the more pressing issues that contributed to the kerfuffle around 1809 and its rather low share. source: neowin.net
  12. Over the last few weeks, there have been lots of leaks around Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge browser. First, we reported on screenshots that were leaked, then there were support documents, an extensions page, and even an installer that didn't work. But now, the full browser has leaked for anyone to try out. Spotted by Aggiornamenti Lumia, the PCBeta forum has a link to a ZIP file with the browser. If you run the Setup.exe file that's included, the browser will install. Naturally, we've installed it, and we'll have a hands-on video later on today. The browsing experience is exactly the same as in Chrome, but with a layer of Microsoft on top of it. You can choose to install extensions from either the Microsoft Store or the Google Store, and you'll want to sign in with your Microsoft account. Note that if you install this app, you're doing it at your own risk. Obviously, it's coming from a third-party, so you should always be skeptical of executable files from untrusted sources. There are still bits of Edge that are missing, such as the ability to write on webpages. Clearly, this isn't done, and Microsoft still has a long way to do. A public preview should be coming soon though.
  13. Microsoft has released a new Insider extension for the Edge Chromium browser that anyone can install from the app store using the leaked Chromium-based version of the browser that became available over the weekend. The extension appears to be a way for Microsoft to remotely set tasks for Insiders to try out known issues or other features that the company wants to test. The store page states that the extension is available to Insider build channels "canary", "dev", and "beta" only, which at least confirms it will have a similar development roadmap to Google's Chrome browser, of which anyone can opt in or out of each channel. The extension even installs on the 'old Edge', although doing that won't display the current version number, allow you to change channel, or obviously test any of the tasks that appear within it in relation to the Chromium version. It's possible that a future version of the extension will be blocked from installing in the older version of Edge, but that's just a reasoned guess. For those that haven't checked out Edgium Chrodge Edge on Chromium, you can get the download link here, or check out our hands-on video. Although Microsoft has not yet commented when the browser will become widely available, the leaks and Insider extension seem to suggest it isn't far off.
  14. By now, you might be familiar with Nintendo's Direct and Nindies Showcase streams, where the company highlights some of the games which are making their way to the Switch, with the latter of the two being focused on games from independent developers. Now, both Sony and Microsoft seem to be taking some inspiration from the Japanese rival, as both companies have announced their own streams dedicated to highlighting new and upcoming titles. Hot on the heels of this week's presentation from Nintendo, Microsoft has announced its own indie-focused presentation called ID@Xbox Game Pass. As you can probably infer from the name, this stream isn't just focused on indie games for Microsoft's console; it's specifically for those that are coming to Xbox Game Pass, the company's subscription service for games. It's also clearly a part of Microsoft's ID@Xbox program, which has been helping indie developers get their games on the platform for quite some time now. The first episode of ID@Xbox Game Pass will air on March 26 at 9AM Pacific Time, and it will focus on titles including Afterparty, Void Bastards, Supermarket Shriek, and more. Many of these were previously showcased at events like E3 or X018, so the presentation isn't as focused on new announcements as Nintendo's variant. Instead, it will offer more of a deep dive into those games, and it will also feature talks with the studios behind the games, including a visit to the studio behind Afterparty. Sony, on the other hand, is starting a more broad gaming series called State of Play, which will highlight upcoming titles for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR. The company didn't reveal details about what will be in its own presentation, but it will be taking place on Monday, March 25, at 2PM Pacific Time. State of Play will be the stage for new trailer and gameplay footage, as well as announcements for new games, according to Sony. Nintendo has been using its Direct presentations - and with the Switch, variants such as the Nindies Showcase - since 2011, when it hosted the first stream dedicated to Nintendo 3DS software. After almost eight years, it's certainly interesting to see its rivals take a similar approach to game announcements.
  15. Updated Windows 7 holdouts have been warned to expect a notification suggesting that perhaps an upgrade might be in order. Matt Barlow, corporate veep for Windows, has promised Windows 7 users are to receive a "courtesy reminder" that support is running out for the venerable OS as 14 January 2020 looms large. Barlow also noted that Office 2010 ends its support run shortly thereafter, but for now the focus is on Windows 7. The helpful notifications will doubtless send a shiver of déjà vu down the spines of users who found themselves on the receiving end of Microsoft's increasingly shrill exhortations to switch to Windows 10 for free during the operating system's first year. The "free upgrade" notification back in the day was a bit confusing, and some users reported Windows 10 sidling up to their systems without permission. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/03/13/windows_10_update_windows_7/
  16. A funny thing has happened on the way to 19H1: an Azure OS kernel engineer tweaked Windows 10 to make the operating system considerably more KVM-friendly. Reg reader Waseem drew our attention to a GitHub thread, which consisted mostly of FOSS fans working on the drivers needed to get the Arm version of Windows 10 up and running on a variety of hardware (including Android phones). This, in itself, is nothing too new. Since Windows 10 on Arm first appeared, an army of tinkerers have been attempting to run the thing on hardware other than the first wave of Snapdragon-based notebooks. A lot of effort has been focused on the Quick EMUlator (QEMU), the Linux incarnation of which has seen some success in getting the OS running. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/03/11/windows_10_on_kvm/
  17. Microsoft started rolling out a new software update for Windows 10 systems to apply mitigations against the Spectre attacks. Over the weekend, Microsoft started distributing software updates for Windows 10 systems to enable the Retpoline mitigations. https://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/category/security
  18. Microsoft's Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service is now available for PCs running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The decision to add devices powered by those operating systems was first announced a year ago. At the time, Microsoft said ATP's Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) functionality would be available for the older OSes by summer 2018. https://www.itworld.com/article/3342215/microsoft-windows/microsoft-opens-top-tier-defender-atp-security-to-windows-7-pcs.html
  19. Microsoft first launched its Windows 10 Timeline feature a year ago, allowing users to sync browsing and app history between Windows 10, iOS, and Android devices. Unfortunately, it was limited to Microsoft’s Edge browser on the browsing history side, but now Microsoft has released its own official Chrome extension for Windows Timeline. Dubbed Web Activities, the extension will sync and show your Chrome browsing history across Windows 10 devices so you can use the built-in Timeline viewer. That does mean a copy of your browsing history will be sent to Microsoft’s servers, opening up potential privacy concerns. Google does have its own way to sync browsing history between Chrome sessions, including the ability to view tabs on other devices. Microsoft’s Chrome extension simplifies this by building it directly into the Task View feature of Windows 10 that’s accessible from the taskbar or by using winkey + tab. https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/19/18231226/microsoft-google-chrome-extension-timeline-support
  20. Microsoft on Friday took the unprecedented step of skipping one of its Windows 10 feature upgrades when it began distributing a preview of the first 2020 update to the most daring testing volunteers. Usually, as one feature upgrade nears release, Microsoft starts giving some Windows Insider participants - those who opted for the "Skip Ahead" channel - a look at the following feature upgrade. Currently, Microsoft is getting close to wrapping up 2019's first upgrade, which will almost certainly be labeled "Windows 10 April 2019 Update" and carry the numeric tag of 1903. In its now-standard practice, https://www.itworld.com/article/3340825/microsoft-windows/microsoft-shoves-some-windows-10-testers-into-next-year-with-early-look-at-2020-feature-upgrade.html
  21. Oddly enough, for the second time this week, Microsoft has been spotted telling the world that its software is, er, not very good. While Redmond's marketing orifice suggested Office 2019 was old and busted compared to its 365 brother, deep within Microsoft's Experiences and Devices Group, principal program manager Chris Jackson dropped the bombshell that Internet Explorer is just a big old pile of "technical debt". A pile of something, for sure. Jackson went further, pointing out that IE isn't really a browser any more. Instead, he described it as little more than a "compatibility solution". Microsoft has, after all, been trying to kill it stone dead for some time by skipping the implementation of new web standards and directing users to a more modern browser. Like Edge. But even with the love and resources lavished upon it, Edge has failed to set the world alight. A quick look at Statcounter shows it still trails Internet Explorer at 4.4 per cent desktop share compared to the mighty 5.7 per cent of IE (a share that actually grew last month). In a mea culpa, Jackson accepted that Microsoft's obsession with backwards compatibility led to a situation where many enterprises simply found it easier to run IE with compatibility mode as a default for corporate intranets. Jackson used the example of IE8, where the browser would fall back to IE7 standards for intranet sites unless told otherwise – handy for those creaking corporate intranets, but not so good for future admins shovelling their way through piles of technical debt. 2014's IE11 introduced the concept of legacy by exception, meaning admins had to think a bit harder about their old intranets, and consider bringing legacy web apps up to date for more modern browsers rather than simply flinging a wildcard at the compatibility list. One wag pointed out to Jackson that if defaults are the problem, perhaps Microsoft might consider stopping the likes of Windows 10 using the browser as a default for a number of file types. As for Jackson himself, he didn't make any recommendations on what to use instead. In fact, he said Microsoft was happy for customers to keep using IE for sites that absolutely must have it. But only for those sites. Just please, please, please stop using the thing as an easy default for everything, because that way lies madness. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/08/internet_explorer/
  22. Through a series of missteps and outright neglect, Microsoft essentially handed over the fate of its web browser – and its ability to shape the online world – to rival Chrome. The white flag of surrender was raised this month. https://www.computerworld.com/article/3330239/web-browsers/how-microsoft-lost-the-web.html
  23. Still reeling from The Great Azure Outage Of September 2018? Fear not – new builds, new apps and some slightly flaky Android integration were the order of week. Windows 10 October 2018 Update creeps ever closerWhile developers relying on Visual Studio Team Services (aka Azure DevOps) enjoyed an unexpected day off, the army of engineers working on Windows prepared to fling out a selection of builds to the delight of Insiders. Still missing the build number watermark and thus keeping the fanboys fevered up with "is this the final one?" speculation, there was little of note in build 17754 as it arrived in the Windows Update of those brave souls on the fast ring. Insiders would not have long to wait until the next build, 17755, arrived in time for the weekend. While the list of known issues remained unchanged, with just two seemingly innocuous ease-of-access problems still hanging around, Microsoft dropped in a surprise update to the Your Phone app and added the promised SMS functionality. SMS arrives on Your PhoneThe much-vaunted Your Phone app finally made an appearance on Windows 10 after months of speculation to a collective "meh" a few weeks ago. The promised integration of SMS was conspicuously absent and users willing to do battle with the setup were rewarded with, er, just their last few photos taken on their Android phone popping up in Windows 10. A cynic might point out that the same could have been achieved by plugging in a USB cable. The app appeared first for Windows Insiders and later became available for users of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. With the latest fast ring Windows Insider build, 17755, Android users willing to spray their phones with Microsoft's wares can, in theory, now receive and send messages thanks to a refresh of the application. Your Phone or mine?The Register took the update out for a spin to see how well it works. The answer is... OK. Kind of. The setup experience remains a little touch and go, and of course you need to go all-in with Microsoft on your Android device (version 7 and onwards only). The Windows 10 interface for messaging is familiar and, as long the phone is on the same Wi-Fi network as the PC, the integration is stable (once the thing starts up). Microsoft is quick to proclaim that as well as boring old keyboard entry, inking is also possible. For our part, we found the experience quite similar to a very early version of iMessage on macOS. This is no bad thing, and even in preview form, the functionality is a welcome addition to Windows 10. Assuming a user can live with the requirements. Users in China are sadly blocked from using the functionality for the time being and, of course, this all remains Android-only. Microsoft promises that iOS devices will see similar toys in the future, but don't hold your breath. Perhaps next week's Apple event will see an announcement on the matter (spoiler: it won't). Skipping Ahead into a glorious 19H1 future after three-week snoozeIt has been a while (around three weeks to be exact) but after some teasing, the team at Redmond dropped a fresh build of next year's Windows, codenamed 19H1. As over-eager fanboys clamoured for a refresh, the team urged restraint while they took some time to ensure nothing too nasty and crashy was lurking within the preview code.
  24. “Microsoft Monday" is a weekly column that focuses on all things Microsoft. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about an update about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, new features coming to Windows 10, the return of Bitcoin payment support and much more! Microsoft Is Testing An Improved Quiet Hours Feature In Windows 10 According to eWeek, Microsoft is now testing a feature that is similar to Do Not Disturb on mobile devices. The already existing Quiet Hours feature silences notifications currently just supports on or off. But in the preview build 17074, there is an improvement in the Quiet Hours feature. In Windows 10 Insider preview build 17074, there is a setting that automatically enables Quiet Hours when users mirror a display. This feature is especially useful for users that are giving a presentation in front of a group of colleagues. And the Quiet Hours feature will automatically be enabled if a full-screen DirectX game is running to prevent gaming sessions from being interrupted. Users can also designate a schedule for Quiet Hours. And Cortana can be used to turn the Quiet Hours feature on or off when the user arrives at home. The Windows 10 Insider preview build also contains several Microsoft Edge improvements as well as a redesigned Hub interface. The Hub pane highlights your reading list, bookmarks, history, downloads and e-books. And Edge can automatically fill out credit card information since it can store the information (except for the CVV number for security purposes). Updates About The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation At the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Microsoft Co-Founder and Technology Advisor Bill Gates gave a candid interview about his philanthropic initiatives with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested billions of dollars in vaccinations to cure deadly diseases around the world like malaria and HIV. Investments made by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation helped cut child mortality rates and prevented people living in poverty from dying out of hunger. According to Business Insider, Gates said that his investments in philanthropy tend to be based on “low-hanging fruit” that few others have addressed. "If you're smart," said Gates in a discussion with moderator Dr. Sanjay Gupta about how he finds potential philanthropic investments via Business Insider. “You find the thing that is risky and hopefully before you do a phase I or phase II test.” One of the biggest examples for this is malaria. Gates told Dr. Gupta that the current process for finding malaria treatments is by conducting in-house human challenge trials. People volunteer to take a pill for alleviating malaria and then allow themselves to get bitten by an infected mosquito. "If we can get the latest tools involved we can have a good chance at success,"  Gates pointed out via Business Insider. To handle malaria around the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is working with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Medicines for Malaria Venture. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also invested in several companies that are focused on eradicating malaria and other diseases that are prevalent in developing companies such as CureVac and Moderna. The good news is that malaria death rates in Africa have dropped by 57% since 2000. Gates said that this was “one of the greatest success stories in the history of global health.” In the keynote, Gates also said that he is confident the world will develop cancer therapies that can “control all infectious diseases.” Gates pointed out that this would be a “huge victory for humanity.” Immunocore, a company that developed technology which can stimulate the immune system of a patient, is an example of a company focused on this initiative that received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Immunocore’s technology utilizes the immune cells within the bodies of every patient (known as T-cells). The T-cells are essentially reprogrammed and personalized to fight cancer within each patient. “Initially, Immunocore's 'T-cell receptor' technology targeted cancers, but it could also be applied against infectious diseases,” added Gates via Business Insider. In related news, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is paying off a $76 million loan that Nigeria borrowed from Japan to help fight against polio. Nigeria took the loan in 2014 and the repayments were due to begin this year. A spokesperson with the Gates Foundation confirmed the arrangement to Quartz. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it agreed to repay the loan after Nigeria met the condition of achieving over 80% vaccination coverage in at least one round each year in high risk areas across 80% of local government areas. The loan will be repaid over a period of 20 years. Fortunately, there were no new polio cases recorded in 2017. Back in 2012, Nigeria accounted for over half of all polio cases worldwide. Microsoft Rolls Out Xbox One Update For Insiders With A Do Not Disturb Mode And Several Other Features Microsoft has released an update for Xbox One testers that has several new exciting features. For example, there is an option that allows users to mute notifications while they are playing a game or watching TV shows/movies (known as Do Not Disturb mode) — which will also show an away status so your friends will know you are not available for messages or party chat invites. Plus Microsoft is adding mini-game hubs to the Xbox One dashboard. This makes it easier to access content within a game, see who else is currently playing and check out achievements. There is also a "next achievements" feature that shows an organized list of upcoming achievements. And Microsoft added display customization options. You can make the dashboard white during the day and darker in the evening. And there are new automatic shutdown options that can be expanded to have consoles automatically turned off after two, three, four and five hours instead of only one or six. Currently, these features will show up for alpha ring testers first and it should be rolled out to all console owners after that. And additional experimental features are being provided to a group of testers. Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Becomes Fastest Windows 10 Version To Hit 100 Million Devices Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709) was the fastest Windows 10 version to hit 100 million devices. The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is the fourth update to Windows 10 after the November Update, Anniversary Update and the Creators Update. Microsoft plans to release two major versions of Windows 10 per year as of right now. It’s also worth pointing out that the Fall Creators Update is “fully available for all compatible devices running Windows 10 worldwide.” The Fall Creators Update had launched on October 17, but it took about three months of testing and bug fixing to ensure it works well on compatible devices. “When a new feature update is released, we begin by targeting a select set of devices that we believe will have the best update experience based on device characteristics and testing done by us and our device partners,” said Microsoft’s Director of Program Management of the Windows Servicing and Delivery in the blog post. “We then monitor feedback for issues around application and device compatibility and make adjustments along the way, if necessary.  Actively listening for and responding to issues as they emerge helps us confidently expand the release to additional devices while maintaining a quality experience.” Later this week, devices with Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise editions installed are expected to be automatically updated to the Fall Creators Update via Windows Update as well.
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