Chrome plated Windows? Microsoft is making like a magpie

Subject: General Tech | December 4, 2018 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: Project Anaheim, microsoft, rumours, chrome, chromium, arm, alphabet

There are two very interesting rumours about Microsoft circulating the intertubes today, both involving Alphabet's Chrome products.  The most shocking is that they have finally internalized the fact that when people refer to Edge as "the one you use to download Chrome with", they are not kidding.  This has lead to the possibility that they may be designing a Chromium-based browser, under the moniker Project Anaheim, to replace Edge as their embedded browser.  They have been trying to get Chrome add-ins to work on Edge with little success, so this would certainly resolve that, unless they intend to focus on making Windows Store apps work with Chrome.

The second rumour signals another big internal change, though in some ways it is less shocking than the previous rumour.  Via Slashdot we have heard more details on Windows Lite, which will replace products like Windows 10 S and RT.  It will be able to run on any processor, up to and including Qualcomm and other ARM based processors and is likely targeting the same market as Chromebooks currently do.  It looks to have a new GUI built off of the mysterious Windows Core OS.  Follow the link for more info on Windows Lite as well as Andromeda, which is not dead yet.

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" As we've previously told you, Microsoft is already working on Chromium in order to help Google port it over to ARM-based Windows machines, such is the power that the world's top browser holds. "

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Source: The Inquirer

Incoming friendly fire! Microsoft is launching more patches!!!

Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: patch, terror, microsoft, windows 10

The seemingly endless barrage of patches attempting to patch the issue the previous patches attempt to patch after needing a patch to patch the patch ... continues ad nauseam.  If you are running Server 2016 or Windows 10 1709 or newer then you are about to receive a gift you probably don't want; though one fix in Server 2016 is worth it as it fixes something that left many technically inclined people, including The Register, scratching their heads.

You should consider a setting a shortcut to "About your PC" to keep tabs on your Windows version as Win10 has made this necessary for the first time.  Case and point, Windows 10 1703 is no longer receiving updates unless you are running Enterprise or Education versions, so unless you install one of the roll ups, you ain't even getting basic security updates!

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"Tucked innocuously among a swathe of fixes ranging from dealing with Russian time zone changes to fixing wobbly Hyper-V servers is the text: "Addresses an issue in File Explorer that sometimes deletes the permissions of a shared parent folder when you delete the shared child folder."

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Source: The Register

Microsoft continues to toss patches against the wall to see what sticks

Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2018 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, oops, october update, windows 10

A new week brings a new Win10 bug from Microsoft to start you on your way.  This one is far less serious than previous ones, merely removing your ability to use the seek bar on Windows Media Player.  While this will not prevent you from getting work done, it is yet another blow to the confidence of anyone who has managed to retain even a slight belief in the success of Windows as a Service.  The Inquirer offers information on this bug as well as one that will interfere with your iTunes as well.

Roll-up your patches to win, eh?

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"This time, its an issue with media playback, and specifically the "seek bar", which we're given to understand is the bit that lets you find the specific bit of a song. This only applies to the default player. That iTunes borkage? Separate bug."

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Source: The Inquirer

Windows 10 someday, maybe update

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2018 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, patch, oops, microsoft

The Windows 10 October Update, now to be referred to as The New ME, has now decided it dislikes the audio portion of a display driver from a tiny little company with little to no market share, known as Intel.  Microsoft have pulled the update, which is degrading audio input on systems with Intel graphics, which they blame on "OEMs that accidentally turned on unsupported features in Windows" according to The Inquirer.

In this case, one might be thankful for not checking for updates for Windows or Office for a while and eating turkey instead.

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"Intel driver users join anyone with a small hard drive, anyone who uses ZIP files, anyone using iCloud, anyone who needs to map a network drive, anyone with an HP machine, and anyone who likes their files to be associated with installed programs."

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Source: The Register

Perhaps John Wharton's ghost will visit Bill this Christmas

Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2018 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: qdos, microsoft, John Wharton, cp/m

The history of computing and the path taken to get where we are today sports a multitude of skeletons and closets.  Some were aired, others continue to lurk, but some were dragged out so they could be immediately buried and forgotten and John Warton, who just passed away last week, was involved at the beginning of one of the latter. 

He was working at Intel when a young man by the name of Bill Gates, who represented a small company called MicroSoft approached the chip maker with an OS he had created, known as MS-DOS or QDOS or 86-DOS depending on who you ask.  Thus started a long chain of events which lead to where we are now; including legal battles on the origins of MS-DOS, thanks to some interesting resemblances to other programming languages being developed at the time. 

Drop by The Register for the Cole's Notes version, and consider following some of the links if this story is new to you.

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"In the autumn of 1980, John had been at Intel to receive a visit from the 24-year-old CEO of a tiny software company called MicroSoft that specialised in programming languages. Wharton headed a technical team conducting an evaluation of the software Bill Gates brought with him to the meeting."

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Source: The Register

Network drives? You don't need no steenking network drives!

Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2018 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, idiots

The latest update for Windows 10 is the gift that just keeps on giving; for those for whom snark is a joy to express.  The October 2018 Update, aka Build 1809, was pulled after users expressed a surprising dislike of having their files deleted without their consent and from the results of those testing the new build, that feature is still present.  That hasn't stopped Microsoft's innovations however as the new build also expresses an extreme dislike of mapped network drives.  As you should obviously be using SharePoint Online, which doesn't function well as a mapped folder or drive by design, this should obviously not be a problem.

Strangely, The Inquirer and various Microsoft users do not appreciate this new feature for some reason and have expressed some disappointment.  There is no fix as of yet, nor will there be for quite some time, apart from avoiding the update like you would a homeopath's office.

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"This borkage isn't quite so bad - but it's enough to be a huge problem for sysadmins, SMBs and in fact, anyone with a NAS drive, because mapping of network drives is still not working properly."

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Source: The Inquirer

Deactivate! Deactivate! Windows 10 will be deactivated!

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2018 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, oops

If you were greeted by a message today indicating that your Win10 Pro is no longer activated or needs to be reactivated as Win10 Home, you are not aloneMicrosoft have acknowledged an issue with their licensing servers which is having a rather noticeable effect on machines in several countries.  The issue seems to arise most often on machines which were upgraded from a previous version of Windows, or installed fresh using a key from a previous version, which Microsoft has supported from the get go.  The problem is unlikely to last for long, so do not start downgrading or reinstalling until we have an update from Microsoft, unless you really get off on reinstalling OSes.

It is a toss up between the link to Slashdot and the one to Microsoft Answers as to which provides the most amusment; the comments in both are everything you would expect and more!

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"If you're having trouble activating your Windows 10 Pro computer today, you're not alone. Forums and social media networks are getting flooded with complaints from users who say their machines have automatically become deactivated. Users say they are having trouble connecting with Microsoft's activation servers, with some saying they are being prompted to downgrade to Windows 10 Home."

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Source: Slashdot

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