Articles about Microsoft

Start menu ads are rolling out to all Windows 11 users -- here's how to turn them off

Frustrated laptop users

Windows 11's Start menu will soon advertise applications in the recommended section.

Microsoft released a new optional preview update for Windows 11 this week that introduces the feature. The changes it includes will roll out to all Windows 11 devices as part of the May 2024 cumulative security update.

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From Windows XP to Windows 10 -- How Microsoft's end-of-life nag screens have changed

Microsoft has evolved its approach to warning users about the end of life (EOL) of its Windows operating systems over the years. The methods and techniques used, from Windows XP onwards, have varied, ranging from the polite to the downright aggressive (we're looking at you, Windows 7).

This journey, revealed in a new video, highlights how Microsoft's strategy has shifted to ensure users are aware of when their operating system will no longer receive support, emphasizing the importance of security and system updates and, in some cases, upgrading you against your will without warning (we're still looking at you, Windows 7).

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Phishing attacks up 60 percent driven by AI

A new report reveals a year-on-year increase of nearly 60 percent in global phishing attacks, fueled in part by the proliferation of generative AI-driven schemes such as voice phishing (vishing) and deepfake phishing.

The report from Zscaler ThreatLabz shows that in 2023 the US (55.9 percent), UK (5.6 percent) and India (3.9 percent) are the top countries targeted by phishing scams. The high level of phishing in the US is attributable to its advanced digital infrastructure, large population of internet-connected users and extensive use of online financial transactions.

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Updated, lightweight Microsoft Store offers faster downloads and multi-app parallel installations

Microsoft Store update

In response to user feedback, Microsoft has launched Microsoft Store installers for web with refined workflow and faster app downloads.

The changes only apply to Store apps installed directly from apps.microsoft.com, but for anyone using this approach rather than the Microsoft Store app, there are great improvements to the UX. Fewer clicks are now needed to locate and install an app, individual installations are faster, and parallel installation of multiple apps are possible.

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How writing zip support for Windows almost cost its creator his job at Microsoft

These days, we take Windows' built-in zip support for granted, even if we prefer to use an alternative tool like 7-Zip. The story of how Microsoft added zip functionality to its operating system is an interesting one, and the guy responsible for it reveals how its creation nearly got him fired from his job at the tech giant.

Dave Plummer is a retired operating system engineer for Microsoft who worked on MS-DOS and Windows 95, among other things. He wrote the zip file support for Microsoft’s Windows 95 Plus pack, a feature which became an integral part of Windows 98 onwards and which, in his own words, "hasn’t really changed all that much in the 30 years since."

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Best Windows apps this week

Five-hundred-and-ninety-one in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 and 11 on the Microsoft Store and elsewhere in the past seven days.

Microsoft claims that it has improved the performance of the Microsoft Store significantly. Product pages, for instance, load 40% faster now than before, according to Microsoft.

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Microsoft releases preview version of Office 2024 for Windows and macOS -- download it now!

Microsoft Office logo on laptop

Having just issued a reminder to users of the non-subscription Office 2016 and 2019 about the impending end of support, Microsoft has now released the first preview of Office LTSC 2024.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using the long-term serving channel edition of Office, not least of which is that it is available for a one-time payment. While users miss out on some of the features of Microsoft 365 and the suite receives far fewer updates, this version remains a great option for businesses and organizations who want to avoid the disruption of unwanted changes from more frequent updates. Here's how to get hold of the Microsoft Office 2024 preview right now.

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The stunning Windows 13 -- yes, 13! -- is the Microsoft operating system we want

Microsoft plans to phase out support for Windows 10 soon (unless you pay, of course), leaving users with the option to either upgrade to Windows 11 or wait for the anticipated successor, likely to be Windows 12.

Although Microsoft hasn't officially announced that next-gen operating system yet, it has dropped plenty of hints, and there’s a good chance it will come jam-packed with AI functionality, as that is clearly where the operating system -- and the company -- is headed.

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Microsoft tries to calm fears after Edge update also appeared to install Copilot in Windows Server

Copilot

Microsoft caused concern when it released an update to its Edge browser. Despite having decided not to add its AI-powered assistant Copilot to Windows Server 2025 because of complaints from admins, users were upset to find that Copilot suddenly appeared in the list of installed apps for Windows Server 2022.

What's going on? Nothing sinister, insists Microsoft. The company has scrabbled to calm the fears of administrators saying that while a package called "Microsoft chat provider for Copilot in Windows" may well show up, Copilot has not actually been installed and it is not collecting any data.

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Microsoft issues reminder about end of support for Office 2016 and Office 2019

Word 2019

For anyone who is using Office 2016 or Office 2019, there is just 18 months of support remaining. Microsoft has reminded users about the October 2025 date for end of support and warned that this could leave individuals and organizations exposed to security issues. Also affected are Exchange Server and Skype for Business Server.

Microsoft says that as of mid-October next year it will no longer provide security fixes, bug fixes, or technical support. The advice -- it will not surprise you -- is to upgrade to Microsoft 365 to access the likes of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams.

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Microsoft is modernizing the workplace -- but where does Copilot fit in?

Microsoft and Copilot logos

 Whether it’s the company’s commitment to the cloud, to developing its Office suite or being a lead player in the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, Microsoft remains the top provider of enterprise workplace tools. Despite no shortage of competition, Microsoft passed Apple earlier this year as the largest company in the world with a market capitalization of more than three trillion dollars.

Over the last few years, much has been made of Microsoft’s investment in AI. It is the lead investor in ChatGPT and has now rolled out Copilot, its own AI offering for the workforce. Copilot is an awesome tool, which leverages and trains publicly available code to provide users with suggestions and solutions to work challenges. Used properly, Copilot offers enhanced productivity and streamlined software development processes to users.

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New, higher pricing for Microsoft Dynamics 365 kicks in in October

Microsoft building logo

Users of Microsoft Dynamics 365 have larger bills on the horizon. Microsoft has just announced the first price increase in over half a decade, with leaps of between 10 and 16 percent.

As well as pointing to the period of time that has elapsed since the last increase, Microsoft justifies the upcoming hike by stressing how Dynamics 365 has transformed CRM and ERP . New pricing comes into effect in October.

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More people can now upgrade to Windows 11 after Microsoft lifts Intel Smart Sound Technology compatibility block

Hand holding a Windows 11 logo

After almost two-and-a-half years, an issue that prevented some people with Intel 11th Gen Core processors from upgrading to Windows 11 has finally been addressed.

Microsoft has quietly announced that compatibility issues with Intel Smart Sound Technology drivers and Windows 11 have been "resolved externally". Until now, there has been a compatibility hold in place for devices with both an Intel 11th Gen Core processor and certain versions of the Intel SST driver, but now this has been lifted, it is possible for owners of such systems to upgrade to Windows 11.

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Microsoft 'improves' Windows 11 by bringing ads to the Start menu in the US

Windows 11 Start menu ads

In a move which is likely to be greeted with a hostile reception, Microsoft is continuing its obsession with injecting advertising into Windows. The company is using Windows Insiders signed up for Beta Channel to test the controversial addition of ads in the Windows 11 Start menu.

For now, this is a trial which is limited to beta testers in the US, but even if the most negative feedback is forthcoming, it is hard to imagine that Microsoft will back down and not roll out Start menu ads to all Windows 11 users.

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Best Windows apps this week

Five-hundred-and-ninety in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 and 11 on the Microsoft Store and elsewhere in the past seven days.

The Moment Update 5 for Windows 11 is finally here for most users. It is included in the April 2024 cumulative security update for the operating system.

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