Microsoft has released an off-schedule patch for all currently supported versions of Windows. A serious vulnerability has been discovered in a font driver that could be exploited by a hacker to remotely execute code on a compromised machine.
The problem affects Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows RT, Windows RT 8.1, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012. Windows 10 is not at risk. Microsoft describes the issue as 'critical' and has pushed an emergency patch to Windows Update.
Tests carried out by independent security labs AV-Test show that Microsoft is at the bottom of the league when it comes to enterprise security and virus protection. The tests pitted 11 security solutions against each other, and Microsoft's Endpoint Protection 2012 from the Microsoft Management Suite System Center 2012 was found to offer the weakest protection.
In both enterprise network security tests and virus detection tests, Microsoft trailed behind the competition in eleventh place. What's particularly concerning is that as the tool tested is bundled software, it's likely that it is precisely what many businesses are relying on for protection.
It's not long since Microsoft revealed the various editions of Windows 10 that will be available. We're now in the launch month and the preview builds are rolling out thick and fast to Windows Insiders. But when the big day rolls out, which version should you opt for?
If you're upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8, it's a fairly simple process that can be taken care of by Windows Update. For those who have decided to make the upgrade, Microsoft will automatically migrate you to the equivalent version of Windows 10. But if you're running the Home version of Windows, what are you missing out on? Is it worth thinking about going Pro? Microsoft has a handy guide to help you decide.
Windows 8.x enjoyed a good month in May. The tiled operating system finally overtook Windows XP for the first time in six months -- its gains coming mostly at the expense of Windows 7. But it was all change again in June according to the latest usage stats from web analytics firm NetMarketShare.
The latest figures show Windows 8.x losing share -- or business as usual you might say -- going from 16.63 percent to 16.02 percent. That’s a drop of 0.61 percentage points. Windows 8.1 actually gained 0.24 percentage points, but Windows 8 lost 0.85 percentage points. Still overall it remains comfortably ahead of XP now, so there's that consolation prize.
If you like the idea of trying out the next version of Windows before it is officially launched, Microsoft has made the Windows 10 Technical Preview available for everyone to use. There are various ways to get the preview installed on your computer, but since the release of build 9926, it is possible to upgrade your current Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation to Windows 10 using Windows Update.
This is a much simpler option than downloading the ISO image, but it is an upgrade route that almost encourages people to install the preview build on their everyday computer -- don’t forget that this is not a finished product! We've already looked at how to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine, but if you have a spare machine running Windows 7 or 8, using it as a test bed for Windows 10 just got a whole lot easier.
If you want to install Windows from scratch, you have two choices -- you can install the OS from a CD/DVD or from a USB flash drive. The latter is the better option, especially as optical drives are becoming something of a rarity these days.
The process of creating a bootable USB flash drive for Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it.
Over the years Microsoft has managed to break computers with updates, though not intentionally of course. However, it's generally wise to wait just a bit after Patch Tuesday and keep an eye out for reports of any problems that other customers are experiencing. It's generally safe, but you can never be too cautious.
Now those who have stayed behind, clinging to Windows 7, seem to be on the receiving end of just such an incident. If users of the TechNet forums are to be believed, and there's no reason to suspect otherwise, then KB3033929 could wreak a bit of havoc with Windows 7 systems.
It’s fair to say, Windows 8.x has enjoyed something of a rollercoaster ride when it comes to usage share. While it’s never been a popular operating system (quite the opposite in fact), share has gone up and down, with gains one month being wiped out by losses the following month.
NetMarketShare’s monthly usage share figures provide a decent guide as to how Microsoft’s tiled OS is doing, and it’s usually pretty interesting, although February was a fairly unexciting month.
Can’t find your Windows 7 disc but need it to do a fresh install or run a copy of Windows in a virtualized environment? The obvious solution is to download a copy of the operating system in ISO format.
Oddly though, Microsoft has avoided offering Windows 7 ISOs for download -- the only solution previously was to grab a copy from Digital River, Microsoft’s official content delivery partner for Windows 7. That’s all changed now though, as a new Microsoft Software Recovery center lets you download Windows 7 directly from the software giant itself.
Earlier in the week, Google managed to raise the ire of Microsoft by publishing details of a vulnerability in Windows before a patch had been published. Now the same thing has happened again, but this time it's a double whammy. Google Security Research has revealed two more security holes that Microsoft is yet to fix.
Just as was the case a few days ago, Microsoft had been warned about the security problems and Google agreed to keep details private for a period of 90 days. Now the three months is up, details of the security issues have been automatically published, running the risk that users could be targeted.
Windows 7 is by far and away the most popular operating system, and likely to remain so for many years to come. Windows 8.1 did nothing to dent the older OS’s popularity -- in fact, it helped propel it to even greater heights -- and Windows 10 will have its work cut out to unseat Windows 7 from the top of the pile.
Every Microsoft operating system comes with five years of mainstream support in which the software giant provides security and non-security updates and complimentary online and telephone support, and today, Windows 7 Service Pack 1’s mainstream support comes to an end. So what does that mean for the legions of Windows 7 users?
Last month Windows 8.x's usage share did something very surprising -- it went up. Massively, according to figures from web analytics firm NetMarketShare. The tiled OS had been losing share for months, but in October it suddenly took off like a rocket, packing on 4.54 percentage points share in a single month, mostly at the expense of Windows XP.
It wouldn’t have been a total surprise to see Windows 8.x's growth stop, or go back into reverse gear in November, but actually, both Windows 8 and 8.1 showed positive gains once again.
Hands up if you saw that coming? We’ve been so used to Windows 8 and 8.1 losing usage share month on month, that any kind of move in the right direction -- i.e. growth -- seems almost an anomaly. And when Windows 8.x does gain usage share, it’s usually pretty minimal.
Not in October. According to the latest usage share figures from web analytics firm NetMarketShare, Windows 8 use grew in that month, and Windows 8.1 (finally) took off like a rocket. In fact, Windows 8.1’s growth in that month is so impressive you’ve got to imagine the number crunchers at NetMarketShare spent a long time checking and re-checking their findings to make sure there wasn’t a mistake at their end.
Windows 10 really can’t come soon enough for Microsoft as its predecessor is continuing to tank. In August the tiled OS actually gained usage share -- according to web analytics firm NetMarketShare -- which was unusual as 8.x had lost users in the previous two months. But any suggestions of a recovery are swiftly crushed looking at September’s figures. Both Windows 8 and 8.x lost a load of usage share last month, while Windows 7 reached an all-time high. It’s Windows 7 users Microsoft really needs to be aiming for with Windows 10 (and if it can tempt XP users too, so much the better). In August, Windows 8 managed a 6.28 percent share of the desktop operating system market, but lost 0.69 percent in September. Windows 8.1, an OS which really should be growing, went from an all-time high of 7.09 percent to 6.67 percent, a drop of 0.42 percent. In total, Windows 8.x lost 1.11 percent share. Windows 7 on the other hand went from 51.21 percent in August to 52.71 percent in September, a gain of 1.5 percent. That’s its highest point ever. Windows XP, which should be losing share, dropped just 0.02 percent, going from 23.89 percent to 23.87 percent. So September was another dreadful month for Windows 8.x. It’s no wonder Microsoft decided to skip ahead to Windows 10 in an attempt to really distance its future OS from the current one.
Most of us have hopefully managed to get off the sinking ship that was Windows XP. As much of a recent memory as that has become, a new end of life is rearing its head, and it's approaching fervently for those who haven't started planning for it. Microsoft's Windows Server 2003, a solid server operating system that's now about eleven and a half years old, is heading for complete extinction in just under 300 days. Microsoft has a fashionable countdown timer already ticking.
Seeing as we just finished our second server migration in a single week (a personal record so far), sharing some of the finer aspects of how we are streamlining these transitions seems like a timely fit. This braindump of sorts is a collection of best practices that we are routinely following for our own customers, and they seem to be serving us well so far.