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

Vive la différence! Threadripper 2 on Linux and Windows 10

Subject: Processors | August 21, 2018 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: 2990wx, threadripper 2, linux, windows 10, amd

Windows 10 is much better at dealing with multithreaded tasks but Linux has been optimized for both high core counts and NUMA for quite a while, so looking at the performance difference is quite interesting.  Phoronix tested a variety of Linux flavours as well as Windows 10 Pro and the performance differences are striking, in some cases we see results twice as fast on Linux as Win10.  That does not hold true for all tests as there are some benchmarks which Windows excels at.  Take a look at this full review as well as those under the fold for a fuller picture.

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"Complementing the extensive Linux benchmarks done earlier today of the AMD Threadripper 2990WX in our review (as well as on the Threadripper 2950X), in this article are our first Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks of this 32-core / 64-thread $1799 USD processor. Tests were done from Microsoft Windows 10 against Clear Linux, Ubuntu 18.04, the Arch-based Antergos 18.7-Rolling, and openSUSE Tumbleweed."

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Source: Phoronix

Have a curated Windows 10 experience for only $10 a month

Subject: General Tech | July 30, 2018 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, Microsoft Managed Desktop, DAAS

Redmond is hiring people to work at selling, and in theory supporting, the Microsoft Managed Desktop.  For this fee you can be confident that your device will be set up exactly the way Microsoft intended and perhaps even have someone to talk other than Cortana if things go belly up.  It seems to be part of the Desktop As A Service business model, with this being a monthly lease to keep your hardware, as well as ensuring Bing remains as your main search engine.  It is unclear from The Inquirer or the sites they linked to if you need to bring your own device or if your monthly bill includes a device; though at $10 a month it seems unlikely hardware is included.

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"INQ predicts that "correctly" will involve all analytics possible being sent to Microsoft, Cortana made to interrupt everything to offer an opinion like some Blade Runner-esque version of Clippy, and worst of all, Bing being constantly reset as the default search engine."

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Source: The Inquirer

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