Increasing concern over Windows "spying" technologies has brought a host of free tools claiming to disable them, but are they safe to use? It’s often hard to tell, as developers don’t clearly explain what they’re doing.
Ancile is easier to evaluate, at least for experienced users, because it’s just a Windows script -- open the files in your text editor of choice and it’s all there.
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.
Whatever version of Windows you're running, the time will probably come when you want to reinstall. You might be lucky and can have recovery media on hand, or your recovery partition may be intact. If not, what can you do? You can download ISOs for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 direct from Microsoft.
It's always best to be prepared, so rather than waiting until you find yourself in desperate need, why not spend a few minutes grabbing the ISO (or ISOs) you need in readiness. There's no need to head off to a torrent site to download an illicit copy of Windows along with a crack, everything is available from Microsoft. Here's what you need to do.
Windows 10 is doing great. Despite various problems, security and privacy issues people have had with its virtual assistant Cortana, the adoption rate of Microsoft’s latest operating system has been quite impressive.
According to the latest studies done by Spiceworks, 18 percent of businesses are currently using Windows 10. The predictions are saying that 40 percent of businesses are expected to upgrade by July this year, when Windows 10 celebrates its first birthday. The operating system seems to be on good course, as the penetration has increased seven percent since October last year.
A new survey of IT professionals from large organizations reveals higher than anticipated momentum for the adoption of Windows 10, with 63 percent of respondents expecting to run Windows 10 on a significant number of systems this year. The study from systems management specialist Adaptiva shows that of those IT departments that piloted Windows 10, nearly half (40 percent) have now deployed it on 50 percent or more of their systems, indicating strong confidence levels and unprecedented adoption of the new operating system.
The large scale movement to Windows 10 is fueling high demand for the new version of Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr), software used to distribute and update operating systems and other software. Roughly two-thirds (65 percent) of those moving to the new ConfigMgr released in December cited deployment, updating, and management of Windows 10 as their biggest motivators for upgrading. The announcement earlier this month that Windows 8 will no longer receive security patches is also thought to be accelerating the drive to Windows 10.
If you’re still using Windows 8 it’s now time to upgrade because that operating system is about to get a whole lot less secure.
From today, January 12 2016, Microsoft will stop issuing security patches for its 3-year-old tiled OS, which will mean users will no longer be safe from newer threats.
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 managed to piss off a lot of people with Windows 10. Some people love it, but certainly nowhere near 100 percent of the install base (whatever size Microsoft claims this may be). It's possible for any operating system to be disappointing, but what Microsoft has managed to get wrong with Windows 10 -- time and time and time again -- is the way upgrades have been delivered.
We've had stories of installation files being downloaded without permission. There are the privacy concerns. There is the confusing installation process that has misled some into upgrading to Windows 10. But even after weeks and months of complaints, the forced Windows 10 upgrades are still happening. If anything, the problem is getting worse. Microsoft is making it harder and harder for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to avoid Windows 10. A coerced user is not a happy user, yet Microsoft continues to force Windows 10 down people's throats in a number of ways. WT actual F?
Enterprise users are always looking for ways to protect their systems, and Microsoft recently unveiled a new opt-in feature to protect against Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA). PUA is a broad term that covers everything from adware to browser extensions, and users of Windows 8 and Windows 10 can enable the feature to block such nasties at a download level.
PUAs are described by Microsoft as "a threat classification based on reputation and research-driven identification", and includes unwanted components bundled with legitimate software. Venture into the registry, and a tweak can be used to enable protection against such unwanted elements.
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.
The adoption of Windows 10 is slowing, and that trend is set to continue -- largely thanks to Microsoft. In an unusual move, the company has extended the availability of Windows 7 so it will be possible to buy computers with the operating system pre-installed until the end of October next year.
What's particularly interesting about this is that it means that Windows 7 will be available to buy for longer than Windows 8. Many would take this as an admission of the widespread dislike for Windows 8, but it also offers a lifeline to anyone who wants a new computer without Windows 10.
Microsoft has reportedly been downloading Windows 10 installation files on to computers running Windows 7 and 8.x, regardless of whether the users plan to upgrade to the new OS or not.
If you’re thinking of making the switch, and have requested an upgrade, that is fair enough. But if you’re more than happy to stick with your older OS for now, you might not be too happy about Microsoft cluttering up your hard drive with junk install files you don’t want. Fortunately, removing these files is easy enough.
Windows gadgets made their first appearance in Vista as a convenient way to install tiny desktop tools like clocks, system monitors or weather applets.
The technology was retired in 2012 due to security vulnerabilities, but these days any danger is minimal, and if you were a fan then 8GadgetPack provides an easy way to run more than 50 gadgets on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 PCs.
Amid Windows 10 controversy, Microsoft quietly releases privacy botching features to Windows 7 and 8
It's been roughly a month since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft's newest desktop operating system. It packs in several enticing features including the digital assistant Cortana. But despite all the interesting offerings, Windows 10 isn't sitting well with many. Privacy advocates have criticized Microsoft for introducing several features that are seemingly concerning to those who care about their privacy. To make things worse, the company has now rolled out some of these annoying features to Windows 7 and Windows 8.
First spotted by Ghacks, some of the recent updates that Microsoft rolled out to Windows 8 and Windows 7 set a computer to regularly send reports of a machine's activities to Microsoft. The update dubbed 3068708, for instance, introduces the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service on the computers it is installed on. "By applying this service, you can add benefits from the latest version of Windows to systems that have not yet upgraded. The update also supports applications that are subscribed to Visual Studio Application Insights", Microsoft describes the purpose of the update.
The last lot of desktop OS figures released by NetMarketShare showed that Windows 10 had doubled its usage shared in a matter of days, but it wasn’t exactly an exciting number. Upon release the new OS managed to go from 0.16 percent to 0.39 percent.
But now that Windows 10 has had a month to settle in, we can finally see exactly how well it’s doing. Microsoft has said that there have been over 75 million installs, but what does that equate to in terms of usage share? NetMarketShare’s figures for August always promised to be exciting, and they definitely don’t disappoint now that they’re here.