Windows 10 makes it out of the Terrible Twos ... hopefully skipping the Me! stage

Subject: General Tech | July 17, 2018 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, anniversary

It seems hard to believe but it is true, but Sunday July 29th marks the third year of Windows 10 being on the market.  The launch was unique, Microsoft decided to offer their new operating system for free to anyone running a valid copy of Windows 7 or 8.x; which you can still take advantage of if you so need.  The launch did not go perfectly and Microsoft's goal of having the device installed on 1 billion devices still has not been reached, though this year saw Win10 finally surpass Win7 in total market share.  The major updates have been somewhat problematic but it is safe to say that Windows 10 has improved somewhat since release; even enterprises are starting to consider adoption.

For more on the checkered past of Microsoft's latest OS, check out the Register.

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"Coming six years after the release of the beloved Windows 7, Windows 10 had a lot to live up to. Once the name got locked down – for a while it was referred to variously as "Windows 9", "Windows Next", "Threshold" and "Oh God, Make The Pain Stop" (at least as far this user was concerned.)"

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Source: The Register

Cortana's feeling vulnerable; that's why she's always eavesdropping on you

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2018 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: security, windows 10, cortana, microsoft, spectre

If your Win10 machine did not go beep in the night, you might want to get on that reboot as there are numerous security patches waiting to install.  One of them is a long standing flaw which effects those who haven't disembowelled the Cortana search assistant on their computer.  For those that have managed to subdue Cortana, rest assured she is not listening to you at all times; those who haven't should be aware that she is always listening, even in her sleep.  As creepy as that already is, it has also been a way to take advantage of long standing security flaw in the assistant.   This, as well as a patch for a Spectre variant and a variety of other patches is waiting your installation. 

You can check out information on Cortana's bad habits over at The Inquirer.

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"Lane Thames, a senior security researcher at Tripwire, spoke out about the long-standing flaw with Cortana, that meant the AI helper was always listening for commands, even when a PC is locked."

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Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft's predictable bug; optional updates no longer being optional

Subject: General Tech | May 29, 2018 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, spring update

Stop us if you've heard this one before; Microsoft's optional Windows update just became mandatory.  In the exact same pattern as the Fall Creators Update, the supposedly optional Spring Update is finding its way onto those who have chosen the delayed upgrade path and is installing whether you like it or not.  On the consumer side this ranges from an annoyance to a machine breaking bug for owners of some SSDs that weren't lucky enough to receive patches in the correct order.  From a business side it is far more than that, as once again Microsoft have proven that SMBs and Enterprise simply can't count on the deferred updates path as safe as Windows 10 has forcibly installed both these updates on machines set to not receive it.

Will Microsoft offer insight into how this bug continues to happen, or will The Inquirer's prediction hold true and we will hear nothing but silence and the occasional POST beep codes?

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"MICROSOFT APPEARS to be making up its own rules regarding Windows updates once again as users report that they are being forced to download Windows 10 version 1803 (Spring Update) - even if they had set the option to defer the update."

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Source: The Inquirer

April software brings May downers; hold off on the Windows 10 April Update for a bit

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2018 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, april update, avast, oops

Some machines are having a wee spot o' trouble with the new April Update from Microsoft, rendering their machines fairly unusable.  It seems that after the update your desktop is replaced by an error message, "C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable" and you are no longer able to use Windows Explorer.  There are numerous ways to recreate the desktop file under your systemprofile directory, however many of these could lead to losing files on your desktop, which is why you are better off following the instructions in this Reddit post.  

So far there have been numerous theories about what is causing this issue but many have proven inaccurate and the remainder are not overly compelling.  Long story short, if you have been holding off on installing this update, you should continue to do so; likely a decision you have already made a while ago.

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"The problem, which first appeared in a posting on a Microsoft support forum on 14 May, has gained a bit of traction over the last two days with users taking to social media as they go through the three stages of installing this update: frustration, fury and despair."

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Source: The Register

What If Windows XP Released in 2018?

Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2018 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: windows xp, windows 10, windows, microsoft

YouTube pushed this video onto my suggested list, and it was a minute and a half well spent. From what I understand, Kamer Kaan Avdan has a YouTube channel where he creates concept videos that look quite professional. This one takes the feel of Windows XP and grafts it to Microsoft’s current design and marketing process, with a few hilarious nods to the weird parts of our favorite candy-coated OS. The “Welcome” fade-in felt perfect to the point that I wasn’t sure if he was doing this as a joke, or as a legitimate suggestion for a Windows 10 theme pack.

Then I saw the search dog…

I’m not going to lie – I’d want that theme pack. (Edit, May 12th @ 6:50pm: Clarification -- I would want that theme pack, if it existed.) Of course, non-default themes in Windows tend to lead to serious bugs, like some programs failing to hide or correctly align elements in Basic or Classic themes on Windows 7, so it really would be asking for a world of hurt from a “bugs” side of things. But, you know, it looks cool. Check it out -- it's embed above.

Source: avdan

Podcast #498 - Microsoft Surface Book 2, Intel 905P Optane, and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2018 - 09:19 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, video, surface, podcast, Oculus, Nocutua, microsoft, kaby lake-x, Jim Keller, Intel, coolermaster, arm

PC Perspective Podcast #498 - 05/03/18

Join us this week for discussion on Microsoft Surface Book 2, Intel 905P Optane, 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: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:31:26

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. Casper
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:21:20 Ryan: Oculus Go
    2. 1:22:20 Jeremy: Great deal on a B350
    3. 1:26:25 Allyn: Got a Vive? Buy a Gear VR cheap! (and do some modding with these)
  5. Closing/outro
 
Source:

Oh Hey! Windows 10 April Update Is Online!

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2018 - 08:59 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

Microsoft has just released Windows 10 Version 1803 to the general public. This one is called the April Update, and it comes with the build number of 17134. It was a long update for me, clocking in at almost an hour… with a Samsung SSD and a desktop Core i7… but it went smoothly.

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I could immediately notice several changes with this upgrade. First, the Settings screen has been, once again, redesigned. Each button looks smaller and wider, which I think looks a little cleaner than it has been. There is also a highlight effect, called Reveal, around your mouse cursor as you move around, but only if you have Transparency effects turned on in your Colors panel.

If you’re curious about the features, Microsoft has a handful of YouTube videos, such as:

To pick up the latest version, just run a check on Windows Update (if you’re on Windows 10).

Source: Microsoft

Windows 10 Lean for Devices with Small Drives

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2018 - 07:41 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, windows 10 lean, mean

A recent Insider build, from beyond the soon-to-be-released Windows 10 version 1803 feature update, added a new version of the OS: Windows 10 Lean. According to Windows Central, it is 2GB smaller than the typical versions, and is expected to target devices with 16GB of storage.

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That… is quite small for a device to have, especially when you consider patches.

And then there’s the way that they’re apparently doing it: dropping rarely-used applications. Internet Explorer? Gone. Reminds me of when I used to use nLite and vLite to make custom Windows installs back in the early-to-mid aughts. (I got Vista to boot in less than a minute on spinning rust before… whole lot of services to trim out of that one -- who knew? Okay… everyone did.)

What does this mean for us? Probably nothing. I expect that most of us will continue to use Windows 10 Home or Pro, even if Microsoft allows us to choose at install time. Still, I would expect that Microsoft has devices in mind when they created this initiative – God I hope they didn’t just do this on a whim – so we’ll need to see whether those are worthwhile for us.

See spring outside your windows? You might be seeing it on your Windows as well

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2018 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, spring update

The rumours are flying that the Windows 10 April Update might start arriving on machines today.  The root of this rumour is a large update released today for those running the last major update and it is not alone.  The Inquirer also spotted some information suggesting the Surface Phone may be launching soon as well as Windows Lean, a slimmed down OS for hybrid tablets which will hopefully be better than Windows 10 S.  The last bit of speculation has to do with how Windows will update.  This could be the last large update Microsoft pushes out and we may start to learn more about how they intend to move their OS into a service model instead of a product. 

None of this has been confirmed, so keep your eyes peeled for official announcements. 

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"A cumulative update (KB4093105) for the previous Fall Creators' Update (1709) was pushed through this morning and we'd bet it probably readies the ground for the big update."

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Microsoft Takes a Mulligan with Windows 10 Build 17134

Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2018 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

We were supposed to get Windows 10 build 17133 last week – but we didn’t.

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As it turns out, Microsoft says that they noticed their reliability metrics fall below their comfortable threshold, so they pulled the build. They could have fixed the issues with a Cumulative Update, but they didn't. While I’m sure Microsoft doesn’t want you to avoid Windows Updates, cough cough, the feature updates are kind-of the blank slates that get updated, so it’s probably for the best that they meet a certain level of stability. I mean, it would suck to not be able to install an update because your machine crashes before it installs the update that fixes the crash, right?

Fast forward a week, though, and we now have a new build, 17134, which is being pushed to Insiders. This means that it will probably be a bit of time before the public gets their hands on it. It would seem kind-of odd to push a build to Insiders and then YOLO it to the world at large the very next day.

Maybe next week? Maybe the week after? No idea. It's coming, though.