Wayne Williams

There's only a few days left to get Windows 10 for free -- this is why you should upgrade

Thumbs up

I’ve been very critical of the sneaky tricks Microsoft has been pulling to try to get users to upgrade to Windows 10. In my opinion, all that’s done is annoy a lot of customers, and tarnish the name of what is actually a very good operating system.

If you haven’t yet upgraded to Windows 10, and you’re on Windows 7 or 8.1, don’t let Microsoft’s stupid tactics turn you away from the new OS. There’s only a few days remaining to get Windows 10 for free, and you really should seize the opportunity -- even if you intend to stick with your current OS for a while longer. These are the reasons why I think you should upgrade:

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Microsoft patches Windows 10 Anniversary Update Preview Build 14393

Windows-10 key

It’s generally considered that the newly released Windows 10 Build 14393 is the Anniversary Update as Microsoft not only hasn’t rolled out any new builds since that one arrived on Monday (and they were coming thick and fast previously), but it’s just released a patch for that build.

The cumulative update for PC and Mobile mops up some more problems, and bumps the OS preview up to 14393.3.

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Microsoft changes how it reports Windows 10 numbers, no longer chasing a billion devices

Changing target

We know that Windows 10 is on upwards of 350 million systems now, because Microsoft told us three weeks ago.

The last time Microsoft released any numbers before that, was two months previous when the new OS was on 300 million devices. The problem with how Microsoft announces these new milestones, isn’t just that it’s infrequent, but also that it refers to devices, not users -- and includes PCs, tablets, and mobile phones not yet sold. That’s useful when you’re aiming for a particular target -- 1 billion devices -- but not so useful when that target becomes unrealistic and it looks like you’re failing.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14393 for PC and Mobile arrives on the Fast ring

Windows-10 key

Windows 10 Insider builds really are coming thick and fast now. Build 14390 came out just three days ago, and now we have Build 14393 following it on to the Fast ring.

This pattern will continue for a while yet as Microsoft squashes as many bugs as possible as it enters the home stretch for the big Anniversary Update out on August 2.

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Windows 10 will miss Microsoft’s 1bn devices target, and Windows Phones sales (or lack of) are to blame

Face palm

Microsoft famously declared that Windows 10 would be running on 1 billion devices in two to three years’ time -- meaning by late summer 2018.

It was a bold claim, but given the OS was free, and available for PCs, tablets, and smartphones, eminently possible. But despite Microsoft’s efforts -- pulling every dirty trick in the book, and then some, to con users into upgrading -- it seems as if the new OS is going to take a while longer to hit that milestone, and blame is being laid squarely at Windows 10 Mobile’s dreadful performance.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14390 for PC and Mobile arrives in the Fast ring

Windows-10 key

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is due on August 2, and Microsoft is hard at work getting it ready for release.

The software giant has pushed out two new builds to Fast ring insiders in quick succession already, and today we get yet another one -- the third in a week. Microsoft may be sprinting to the finish line now, but there is still work to be done.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update's new Blue Screen QR codes could put your smartphone at serious risk

BSOD

PCs can go wrong in all sorts of ways, and the problems can manifest themselves in the form of slowdowns, freezes, or worse. Occasionally, you might encounter a blue screen of death (BSOD), accompanied by a usually pretty cryptic message outlining the cause of the crash.

In the soon-to-be released Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has given the blue screen a makeover, introducing QR codes to make it easier for anyone to troubleshoot the problems they encounter. It’s a helpful change, but Panda Security warns it could actually be a godsend to cybercriminals, and result in users having personal details stolen, and smartphones getting infected with drive-by malware.

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Anonymous goes to war against police brutality in the US

anonymous police

The hacktivist collective Anonymous has launched a new operation which is designed to fight back against police brutality in the United States.

Inspired by recent events, which have seen innocent civilians murdered by police officers, and police officers murdered in retaliation, #OpBlackFlare is Anonymous’s intriguing -- and peaceful -- response to the situation.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14388 for PC and Mobile arrives on the Fast ring

Windows-10 key

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update edges ever-nearer to release, and the new Insider builds are coming thick and fast. We even had a surprise weekend build last week.

Even though new Insider chief Dona Sarkar is away at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), she still found time to announce a new build, and as you might expect so close to the official release this one mostly focuses on fixing problems and improving reliability.

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Microsoft confirms Windows 10 and Surface subscriptions are on their way

Windows 10 subscriptions

Ever since Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be free "for the first year", and also referred to the new OS "as a service", there has been speculation that the software giant would start charging a monthly fee for Windows 10, much as it does for Office 365.

Two weeks ago, a mention of Windows 10 subscriptions appeared in an Insider Preview build, suggesting that changes to the operating system’s model were on their way. Today, Microsoft reveals all by announcing new subscription service offerings for Windows 10 and its Surface line of tablets.

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US Attorney-Generals actively pursuing cases against Microsoft over 'forced' Windows 10 upgrades

gavel money cash law

In an effort to get as many people as possible to upgrade to Windows 10 before the free period runs out, Microsoft has resorted to all sorts of sneaky and unbecoming tricks, including reversing the meaning of the corner X, so that closing the nag screen actually agrees the upgrade.

Naturally, that and other similar moves (including removing the X from the box), made a lot of people very angry, and could result in Microsoft facing legal action across numerous states.

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[Giveaway] Three ThinCharge iPhone 6/6s battery cases up for grabs, with multiple chances to win

Thincharge case1

The last thing you want to see on your smartphone is a 'low battery warning' when you’re nowhere in range of a charging point. If you’ve had the foresight to bring a battery pack with you, you can juice up your device on the go, but that does mean remembering to carry a charged pack with you at all times, which is far from convenient.

ThinCharge from ChargeTech is a thin, lightweight battery case for iPhone 6/6s that solves the problem of a low battery entirely. I have one on my iPhone 6s, and it’s saved the day more times than I care to remember.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14383 for PC and Mobile arrives on the Fast ring

Windows-10 key

With the Fourth of July out of the way, it’s back to normal for the Windows team who have just rolled out a new build of Windows 10 for Insiders on the Fast ring.

We’re closing in on the release date for the Anniversary Update, so as you’d expect this new release, Build 14383, mostly focuses on fixing a load of bugs, but there are some other bigger changes to be aware of, including the removal of the desktop watermark from this build.

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Avast to acquire antivirus rival AVG for $1.3BN

avg_android_icon

Although Avast and AVG both offer paid security tools, they are best known for their free antivirus software.

Some people confuse the two firms because of the similarity of what they do, and the fact their names begin with the same letters, they were founded at around the same time, and originated in the Czech Republic, but that confusion soon won’t be an issue as today Avast announces it is set to acquire AVG.

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Windows 10 shows steady growth, but Windows 7 users remain loyal to their OS

Windows 7 supporter

June and July are big months for Windows 10 upgrades as this should be when users who have yet to switch to the new OS scramble to do so before the free offer comes to an end on July 29.

The last minute rush, combined with Microsoft’s aggressive push -- including, of course, tricking unwitting users into upgrading -- should have made June a particularly bumper month for Windows 10 growth, but actually it dropped off a little compared with May.

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