I have to admit I look forward to seeing NetMarketShare’s monthly breakdown of desktop OS market share. The figures always provide a great talking point. You can pretty much guarantee that Windows 8’s share will decline, Windows 8.1’s share will increase, and combined the tiled OS’s growth will be outpaced by one of the older versions of Windows.
Usually it’s Windows 7 that’s showing the top growth. Sometimes besting Windows 8.x by a tiny amount, other times absolutely trouncing its newer sibling. But this time around, there’s a brand new leader in the growth stakes, and it’s a 13 year old OS that’s set to reach its end of life in April.
January's Patch Tuesday has seen only four bulletins, with no Critical ones (hooray!) and no patches for Internet Explorer. However, the four bulletins are rated Important and users should apply the related patches as soon as possible.
According to security specialist Trustwave two of the vulnerabilities result in a privilege elevation and a third involves remote code execution utilizing an Office document.
Great news for fans of Windows 8 and 8.1, Microsoft’s divisive operating system has finally claimed 10 percent of the desktop market. According to NetMarketShare, which monitors such things, in December Windows 8 lost 0.01 percent share, but Windows 8.1 grew by 0.86 percent. Windows 8 now has 6.65 percent of the market and Windows 8.1 is sitting on 3.5 percent, bringing the OS’s combined share to 10.15 percent. Great job Windows 8.x.
However, as seems to regularly be the case, the new operating system’s gain was dwarfed by that of its elder sibling. Windows 7 put on a growth spurt that’s nothing short of stunning.
Following Windows market share on NetApplications, as I do every month, it’s clear to me that Windows 8.x isn’t the hit Microsoft hoped for. There are several reasons for this, all of which I’ve discussed previously -- dwindling PC sales, users dislike of touch and the Modern UI, and so on.
Last month Windows 7’s growth outpaced that of Windows 8.x by four fold, and it’s not the first time the older OS has proven the more popular choice either. It’s becoming something of a regular occurrence. Adoption of the tiled OS is slow, very slow. Especially compared with the strong pick up Windows 7 enjoyed from the start.
November was not a good month for Microsoft’s tiled operating system. While Windows 8.1’s market share grew, Windows 8’s share dropped (to be expected as users upgrade). But the real kicker for Microsoft was Windows 7’s growth which saw the older OS easily besting Windows 8.x’s gains.
I really like Windows 8.1 and when people ask me if they should upgrade to the new operating system I say yes, and reel off a list of reasons. But I feel deep down like I’m championing a presidential candidate who no one is ever going to vote for.
Microsoft shows no signs of slowing down. After unveiling a major update to Office Web Apps, today the software giant releases the stable version of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7. The latest iteration of the popular browser debuted alongside Windows 8.1 in mid-October and like its predecessor it forgoes supporting older versions of the operating system.
And because Windows 8.1 is being offered as a free upgrade to Windows 8 users, and Microsoft expects everyone to take this step, Internet Explorer 11 is not officially available for the latter OS either. It is a Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 affair only, which speaks volumes of Microsoft's ongoing efforts to drastically reduce Windows XP's market share and push the two Internet Explorer 11-supported operating systems to the forefront.
So… you don’t want Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 7, eh? What are you going to do? Block it! Ahead of the release of the completed version of IE11, Microsoft is giving Windows 7 users the chance to avoid automatically updating. The Internet Explorer 11 Blocker Toolkit can be used to prevent the web browser from being pushed as an "important" update when it is released.
IE11 comes as an integral part of Windows 8.1 (Windows 8 users can currently only get it by upgrading) and a Release Preview of the browser was made available for Windows 7 three weeks ago. There's no official word on when the finished version of IE11 for Windows 7 will see the light of day, but it's likely to be fairly soon.
There’s not long to go now until Microsoft unleashes Windows 8.1 upon the world. In my view the operating system refresh is Windows 8 done properly, but whether it does enough to win over the masses remains to be seen.
Certainly Microsoft will be hoping for a change in fortunes because the tiled operating system's market share is currently pretty poor -- at least when you factor in how much of a push the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has put behind it.
Internet Explorer 11 is a big improvement over previous versions of Microsoft’s browser, but it’s only available on Windows 8.1. Or rather that was the case. Following on from the early Developer Preview put out in late July, Microsoft has announced a Release Preview of its new browser for Windows 7.
Building on IE10, Internet Explorer 11 is speedier -- Microsoft says the performance improvements make it 30 percent faster than other browsers -- and introduces support for the latest web standards, such as WebGL.
Almost a month after launching Internet Explorer as a key part of the Windows 8.1 preview, Microsoft has today launched a stand-alone Internet Explorer 11 Developer Preview for Windows 7.
The "Microsoft's dead" meme is one of the most popular among tech bloggers and arm-chair pundit commenters. Posts are everywhere the last 30 days or so, fed this month by reports of record-weak PC shipments. After market close yesterday, with fiscal Q3 results, Microsoft proved critics wrong and showed just how much strength remains in the Windows franchise. More significantly, a dramatic change is underway, regarding which buyers generate more revenues.
IDC says that PC shipments fell 13.9 percent during calendar first quarter (Microsoft's fiscal third), and there was reasonable expectation Windows license sales would see similar fall off. Instead, when removing a one-time $1.085 billion deferral, Windows & Windows Live division revenue was flat ($4.62 billion) year over year. Given the sorry state of the PC market, flat isn't just good but great.
For the most part Microsoft's Windows updates, known as Patch Tuesday, aim to fix problems as opposed to causing them. That is not always the case, and the most recent update, which took place this week, is a shining example of what happens when good intentions go bad.
On April 9th Microsoft released two "critical" security updates and seven others rated as "important" for both Windows and Internet Explorer as part of its latest round of updates, collectively covering 14 issues. However one of those fixes, labeled KB2823324 and aimed at the Windows 7 file system kernel-mode driver, went badly for some customers. The result was reports of blue screens of death (BSOD) and also infinite reboots.
For those people who haven't moved on to Windows 8, don't worry -- you will still get something new. Microsoft has announced that Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 will automatically push through the Windows Update tomorrow.
This is not entirely new, though. In fact, Service Pack 1 released way back on Feb. 9, 2011, but has remained optional. Users could previously install SP1 from Windows Update, but the task required manually adding it to the installation list. The difference now is that Microsoft will no longer give users a choice in this matter. That is not a bad thing, because SP1 rolls together a number of security updates for your computer.
With release of OS X 10.8.3, the latest update for Mountain Lion, Apple upgraded the Boot Camp utility, which allows users to dual-boot Windows and OS X on a supported Mac, to version 5. Boot Camp 5 allows users to install either 64-bit editions of Windows 7 or 8 alongside their copy of OS X -- by downloading Boot Camp Support Software 5, you’ll have all the drivers you need to run Windows on your Mac.
One consequence of upgrading to Boot Camp 5 is that support for 32-bit versions of Windows – including XP and Vista as well as 32-bit iterations of Windows 7 and 8 – is no longer supported.
Getting easier access to a Windows 7 shortcut is extremely easy: right-click, select "Pin to taskbar", and an icon will pop up on your taskbar, ready for immediate use.
Right-click a file, though -- or a folder, a drive, a Control Panel applet or just about anything else -- and you’ll find no "Pin" option. There are various manual workarounds you can apply, but your life will be much simpler if you grab a copy of Taskbar Pinner, which allows you to fill the taskbar with just about anything you like.