One-hundred and ninety-nine in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 8.x and Windows 10 in the past seven days.
This week saw the release of a first batch of converted win32 applications like Kodi, Tweeten or PhotoScape X Pro in Store.
15 months ago, in an effort to make it as easy as possible to upgrade to its new operating system, Microsoft introduced a Get Windows 10 app for Windows 7 and 8.1 that allowed users to reserve their upgrade.
While this tool was innocuous enough to start with, it soon turned into something much more akin to malware, becoming harder and harder to kill, and employing all manner of scummy methods in an effort to trick users into installing Windows 10 against their wishes.
In May, Microsoft introduced a Convenience Rollup for Windows 7 SP1 that brought the operating system fully up to date. The company also announced that it would be issuing monthly update rollups for Windows 7 and 8.1, as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
Those rollups only contained non-security updates, so you could still choose which security patches to apply, which to avoid, and when to apply them. Not anymore.
In an attempt to get more users to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft announced early this year that it would drop support for Intel Skylake processors on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 after July 17, 2017. The controversial policy was short lived though, as a few months later the software giant gave its customers a one-year reprieve, pushing the deadline to July 18, 2018.
But, as you can see, that is not the end of the story, as Microsoft has changed its mind once again. Today, it announces that Intel's sixth-generation processors will actually be supported for an even longer period of time on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. That is good news for those who are not planning on upgrading to Windows 10 in the foreseeable future.
Microsoft has created a backdoor in Secure Boot, the security feature designed to ensure that a device can only run the operating system that it is meant to. And, to make matters worse, it has just accidentally leaked the "golden keys" needed to bypass it.
The Secure Boot backdoor is there to, for instance, allow a Microsoft developer to install a new build of Windows on a device -- that has the security feature enforced -- without it having to be digitally signed beforehand. It makes their job easy, but it also makes the security system ineffective if -- when -- the golden keys that unlock it make their way into the wrong hands.
When Windows 10 was first offered to users of Windows 7 and 8.1 it was via a pleasant upgrade tool that allowed users to 'reserve' their copy of the new OS. However, as time has gone by, Microsoft has employed more and more insidious methods to get people to upgrade, including tricking them into doing so.
The sneaky behavior has gotten so bad, that growing numbers of users of the older operating systems have taken to disabling critical updates in order to completely avoid Windows 10.
Microsoft brings Windows 7 fully up-to-date with new convenience rollup package, simplifies future updates for Win 7 and 8.1
The software giant today announces it has created a convenience rollup package for Windows 7 that will bring that operating system up to the newest patched version without users having to install all previous updates one by one. It’s also making monthly update rollups available for that OS and Windows 8.1 (as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2).
Never 10 is a new freeware tool which aims to prevent Windows 7 and Windows 8.x systems from automatically updating to Windows 10. Sounds like a host of other recent update-blockers, we thought -- but no. It’s more interesting than that.
First up, it’s written by veteran developer Steve Gibson, the man behind SpinRite, ShieldsUp! and assorted early Windows freeware, and someone who knows what he’s doing. If you need more reassurance, the 81KB download size tells you there’s no adware here, no extra payload.
Microsoft has decided to reverse its position regarding support of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on systems using Intel’s Skylake platform.
In January, the company said that it would only guarantee full extended support for Skylake systems running Windows 7 and 8.1 until 17 July 2017. Microsoft now plans to offer full extended support for these systems for one more year, until 17 July 2018.
Now that Microsoft is forcibly downloading Windows 10 onto unsuspecting Windows 7 and 8.1 users’ PCs there’s going to be a lot of unhappy customers faced with a new OS they never asked for nor wanted.
You can prevent this from happening by making sure the "Recommended Update" setting is unchecked on your PC, but if you fail to do this and accidentally allow the installation to go ahead (or maybe you tried Windows 10 and didn’t like it), the good news is it’s easy to roll things back to your original operating system.
If your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC is set to install recommended updates automatically (because -- more fool you -- you just wanted it to be up to date and safe) then Microsoft will cheerfully download the new OS and start the installation process for you. Don’t want that to happen? Here’s how to stop it.
While I've been running Windows 10 for what seems like forever now, a desktop computer sitting in my office running Windows 8.1 has been crying out for an upgrade for some time. Having had a problem-free upgrade on three other machines, I expected nothing out of the ordinary with this computer. I was wrong.
Initially I left Windows Update to do its thing, but this failed on countless occasions. The error message suggested that a problem with my internet connection had interrupted the download, but this seemed unlikely. After numerous attempts, I decided to opt for a USB-driven installation. This also failed, this time with error 0xc0000017: "There isn't enough memory available to create a ramdisk device". Thankfully, the problem can be fixed -- here's what you need to do.
Microsoft really, really wants people to upgrade to Windows 10. Even though the new OS is free, users of Windows 7 and 8.1 are proving a bit reluctant to switch, so the software giant has rolled out some new updates for the older operating systems which promise to make the upgrade much smoother for those who do decide to take the plunge.
There are two updates available now, one for Windows 7 and one for Windows 8.1, both of which make improvements to the Windows Update Client.
I consider myself a patient person. After more than 25 years in the IT industry you sort of have to be. When I bought my first real hybrid 2-in-1 PC -- an HP Envy x2 -- I learned to put up with the many quirks of the then brand-new Windows 8. And when Windows 8.1 arrived, I tolerated several weeks of display artifacts and other graphical anomalies, confident that they would all get sorted out -- eventually.
Which they did. In fact, for each case a new round of device drivers -- specifically, for the Envy x2’s Atom Z2760 chipset and associated Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) video subsystem -- cured what ailed it. So it’s understandable that I would expect a similar scenario to play out with Windows 10. After all, Microsoft’s new OS is really just a retread of Windows 8 (which was itself a retread of Windows 7, etc.). And my trusty Envy x2 excels at running Windows 8.1.
In the modern workplace there’s increasing demand for people to be able to work remotely or bring their own devices into the office. That presents a problem for IT departments who need to deliver secure access to corporate data and ensure that everyone is using approved applications.
One way of allowing employees and contractors to use their own PCs but still ensure they’re running the approved corporate software is the IronKey Workspace. It’s a bootable USB stick that can be loaded with a corporate Windows image including applications, security controls and access policies. It will work on any reasonably modern PC and on some Macs too.