It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if 50% of a battery works out for them

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2018 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Surface Pro, battery

Microsoft have added an interesting feature to their new Surface Pro, the ability to limit the battery charge to a maximum of 50%.  Now, before you start tossing things, this is specifically for scenarios where the Surface Pro will be plugged into mains power all day long.  Limiting the charge should increase the lifespan of the battery, though woe to the user that forgets to change that setting in the UEFI it before heading out on the road.  As The Register points out, Microsoft have had a spotty past with batteries; hopefully they've learned from their mistakes.

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"The setting is only recommended for scenarios where a Surface Pro is constantly connected to a power supply – "all day long" as Microsoft put it, such as in a kiosk situation or perhaps permanently wedged in a desktop dock."

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Source: The Register

You shall not patch! Microsoft has blocked the new Windows 10 update.

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2018 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, oops

It's hard to find users who upgraded to the new Win10 update that enjoyed the experience; so much so that Microsoft has actually pulled it and it is no longer available to install automatically or manually.  They also warn anyone who downloaded it to hold off on installing the update for now.  If you have upgraded and are missing files, stop using the machine and give Microsoft support a ring as they should be able to recover your files; something much harder to do if you have been writing new data to the drive.  If you have a Microsoft store in your neighbourhood you can visit it for a fix as well; perhaps you will be their first actual customer! 

You can see a glorious tweet and more info over at The Inquirer.

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"Microsoft has taken the unprecedented step of pulling a Windows 10 release a mere four days after its arrival amid a clamour of users complaining about files not being where they had left them."

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Source: The Register

Microsoft Responds to October 2018 File Deletion Concerns: Please Don't Install the Update and Wait!

Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2018 - 03:07 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, fail

As Jeremy briefly noted in his news roundup, yesterday, there was some concern that the latest Windows 10 update could be causing some users to lose files. These concerns have not been confirmed by Microsoft. They have started to investigate it, however.

Until they know that there is an issue (and, if so, have developed a fix for it) they are suspending the rollout of the Windows 10 version 1809 update. They are also recommending the users who have acquired the installation media (because ISOs can be used to in-place upgrade a machine) do not install it until the patch exists.

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At this point, there seems to be enough noise to suggest that there is a problem somewhere. Some speculation, as Jeremy mentioned, is that the drive clean-up (“Storage Sense”) process runs if the install process doesn’t have enough free space, versus simply failing the install. Storage Sense has been in Windows 10 for a while now, but the latest update adds the ability to remove local files if they are backed up in the cloud. Knowing the types of mistakes that programmers tend to make, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Storage Sense didn’t have local files flagged properly, because the Windows 10 update hasn’t installed yet to state whether they were correctly migrated to OneDrive or not, so it got rid of them thinking that they were online.

This is complete speculation on my part, though!

You can then go into how sketchy it is to have files automatically removed from a device’s storage given that online storage services do occasionally lose files. The feature can be turned off in the Settings app, however, under the System -> Storage category. I don’t know if that will fix the upgrade problem, however.

For now, stick on the April 2018 update until Microsoft says anything. Personally, I'll install the new version on my new PC anyway (because it will have empty drives and it looks like this bug only affects the update process) but that's a bit of a risk.

Source: Microsoft

Windows 10 Caveat Emptor Update

Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2018 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: windows, update, october update, nvidia, microsoft, Intel

If you are one of those wise souls who held of on installing to the new Windows 10 Update, so that others can act as the canaries in the coal mine we now have some advice.  If you are running an NVIDIA GPU, ensure you have plenty of space on your OS drive.  There have been reports of users losing files from their drives if there is not enough space for the entire 10GB update to download to; if there isn't enough space then the update deletes all non-system files.  The Inqurier is quick to point out that the tool you would use to resolve this problem, Disk Cleanup, no longer exists once you perform this update.

There have also been reports that systems with certain versions of Intel Display Audio drivers have seen greatly increased CPU usage after the update and this has been draining batteries quickly.  According to The Register, Microsoft is no longer pushing the update to machines that would be affected.  You can check out the driver version here.

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"Usually though, we'd expect it to affect a small number of users. This time however, the problems seem to come from anyone with an Nvidia GPU and anyone… erm… with files."

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Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #516 - ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2080 Ti, AMD 7nm, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2018 - 11:14 AM |
Tagged: podcast, asus, ROG, rtx, 2080 Ti, amd, microsoft, surface, gigabyte, Intel, Thinkpad, yoga, Ampere, Xilinx, Versal, arm, GOG.com, cooler master, C700M

PC Perspective Podcast #516 - 10/04/18

Join us this week for discussion on ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2080 Ti, AMD 7nm, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:20:42

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. 0:33:05 Thanks to RXBAR for supporting PC Perspective. Get 25% off your first order at RXbar.com/pcper promo code pcper
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:14:00 Jeremy: cheap canadian ryzen
    2. 1:17:15 Allyn: Shellshock Live
  5. Closing/outro
 

A Thunderbolt won't even scratch the Surface

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2018 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, ignite, Surface Pro 6, Surface Studio 2, surface laptop 2

Microsoft's Ignite covered a large array of topics, many of which focused on Azure and the new services it offers as well as updates to a vareity of their software suites.  However we are more interested in the hardware reveals, which include the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Studio 2

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The Surface Pro 6 contains an unspecified 8th gen CPU, either an i5 or i7 depending on your preference and up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, with a 12.3", 2736x1824 screen.  It does not have USB-C nor Thunderbolt, Microsoft stuck with USB 3.0, mini DP, and microSD again.

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The Surface Laptop 2 is the same under the hood as the Surface, with a battery rated at 14.5 hours as opposed to the Pro's 13.5.  Aesthetically it matches the previous model, up to an including the lack of Thunderbolt.  If either device interests you, you can opt to sign up for Surface All Access, via Dell, which will get you a device, support, an O365 license and mysterious benefits on the Microsoft Store.  That will cost you $46 a month, or more depending on the model you request, for 24 months as opposed to paying for the Surface up front.  You can get the Surface Go for $25 a month, if you are so inclined.

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Last up is the new Surface Studio all in one PC. If you though the lack of USB-C was an odd choice then meet the Studio, which eschews new silicon for a 7th gen i5 or i7 processor and will contain either a GTX 1060 or 1070.  The screen has been updated as Microsoft claims it is 38% brighter with increased contrast.  As well you now have 4096 levels of pressure on the touchscreen to enhance your artistic flair. 

This generation the change is only surface deep, perhaps next year will see greater changes.

"At a media event in New York City on Tuesday, Microsoft refreshed its Surface hardware with the introduction of the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Studio 2 all-in-one PC."

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Source: The Register

Microsoft Releases Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2018 - 08:13 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

While the April 2018 update barely made it out before May, Microsoft has published the Windows 10 October 2018 update on just October 2nd. From an aesthetics standpoint, this release looks quite like the last one, although Dark Mode has expanded a little further and now overtakes the file explorer. That’s one of the last places that I can think of.

In terms of actual features, however, the big one will probably be improved support for NVIDIA RTX and DirectX 12 Raytracing. It’s not clear to me what exactly the new OS brings to the table in that regard. I know that it was hidden behind an experimental flag in the April 2018 update, but the actual difference is a bit muddled. I heard one developer claim that NVIDIA RTX could not be toggled on and off until the October 2018 update, but I’ve also heard people claim to do that on the April 2018 update. So… I dunno.

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Regardless, it’s here now, and that’s probably sooner than your 2080 Ti.

One area that Microsoft is focusing on is their new Game Bar update. Apparently, at least if you use the Game Bar, Windows Update will delay updating and rebooting during your play sessions. It would be nice to have more direct control, rather than giving us an app that can indirectly influence how our PC receives updates, but it’s still a good tip none-the-less. I can also see where they are coming from, regarding how infrequently people updated previous versions of Windows.

Another benefit of the Game Bar update is that the audio controls can now be accessed in game. This was one area that kind-of annoyed me in the past, which is finally being addressed. There has been a few times (not many but a few) that I wanted to change output cards but I physically couldn’t reach the control because a game is fullscreen atop it. It’s extra annoying if that game is one of those games that hates to be minimized under the penalty of crash-to-desktop. I’ve needed to shutdown and restart games before just to change the sound device. Now? It’s in the Game Bar, as well as per-application volume controls and so forth.

So if you want the Windows 10 October 2018 update, and you’re on Windows 10 of course, then you can go to Windows Update and check for updates. If not? Well, it’ll come to you soon enough anyway.

Source: Microsoft

An utter lack of availability and an impending deadline may see Win10 match it's predecessor this year

Subject: General Tech | October 1, 2018 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

It wasn't easy, but finally after three years, Windows 10 might see adoption rates as high as Windows 7!  It merely took removing the ability to purchase a machine with Windows 7 installed, or installation media to start the trend.  The lack of non-security updates for the past three years, along with the announced end of any support for Win7 at the beginning of 2020 also seems to have helped.  Like it or not, Microsoft have finally found a way to get people to adopt Win10, with 37.44% of machines using it, a mere 3.44% less than Win7; at least according to the numbers The Inquirer sourced

Also worth noting is Android and its wild array of difference personalities has the top spot globally, running a hair over 40% of all connected devices globally.

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"The monthly numbers from Netmarketshare show 40.88 per cent of desktop users on Windows 7, with Windows 10 at 37.44 per cent, just 3.44 behind as we head into the busy period of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Santa's subsequent annual giveaway."

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Source: The Inquirer

The new and improvable Surface Hub 2

Subject: General Tech | September 25, 2018 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: surface hub, microsoft, amd, Intel, surface hub 2, Hub 2S, Hub 2X

The Inquirer has some interesting news about the unreleased Surface Hub 2, Microsoft's digital whiteboard, collaberation tool and the perfect way to display maps in a pen and paper RPG.  The new device uses a cartridge to hold the CPU, which is removeable and will allow you to upgrade the processor inside, once AMD and Intel release CPUs in that form factor anyway.  The basic idea is to allow you to upgrade your Hub 2S to a Hub 2X, the 2S is designed for in-house Exchange setups while the 2X is for those using Exchange online. 

There are of course other reasons to upgrade the CPU in your Surface Hub 2, which we will see investigated in a few years, assuming these CPUs do hit the market. 

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"The idea is that when 2020 comes around you'll be able to lock and load your Surface Hub 2 with an upgraded CPU once Intel or AMD has got them ready."

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Source: The Inquirer

A glimpse through the new Windows; Edge goes full Clippy

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2018 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, onedrive, edge, Storage Sense

Ars Technica posted a look into some of the new features offered in the upcoming Windows October update.  The first feature Microsoft will offer you is a nag screen when you try to install another browser for the first time, reminding you of the existence of the Edge browser and what Microsoft would like you to think about the program. 

The second feature is every bit as useful as the previous one and will help you with those pesky storage space problems you have been experiencing.  Storage Sense is a feature which will automatically remove various files, from your temp directories, downloads folder and even OneDrive files you haven't recently used, thus ensuring that 1TB drive you have will have a few extra megabytes of free space.   This will replace the current Disk Cleanup tool, though hopefully cleanmgr.exe will still be available for those who would rater choose what files are removed.  They have more details as well as a way to keep your OneDrive files handy and modify your cleaning schedule in this post.

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"Because, of course these users know Edge exists; they're explicitly choosing not to use it. Why is Microsoft being so invasive and telling them something that they already know and don't care about?"

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Source: Ars Technica