Today, however, the company takes things a stage further by making it possible to interact with Cortana above the lock.
Windows 10 has certainly not been short of controversy. Between forced upgrades, telemetry and privacy concerns, and the introduction of increasing numbers of ads, Microsoft has been on the receiving end of a good deal of criticism for the latest version of its operating system. And the trouble is not over.
With the launch of Windows 10 Creators Update just around the corner, Microsoft faces a lawsuit from three people from Illinois who claim that the upgrade not only resulted in data loss, but also damaged their computers. The lawsuit makes reference to the difficulty many users found in declining the offer of upgrading to Windows 10.
Users of Microsoft's Docs.com website took to Twitter to complain after files marked as private were made public by the sites' search function.
In response, Microsoft pulled the search feature from the site, but it is now back up and running. Even during the time it was not possible to search the site directly, Google and Bing searches could still be conducted to reveal social security numbers, job applications, contact details, and other private information.
It’s easy to understand why Microsoft took the decision to take Windows 8 in a new direction. PC sales were falling, and people were transitioning to iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Microsoft felt it needed to do something radical to remain relevant in this changing world, and an operating system that could run on PCs, tablets, and smartphones seemed like a smart move.
The problem, of course, is the Start menu-less Windows 8 was too radical an approach for PC owners -- the bulk of Windows users -- and the OS itself was simply too half baked. There were too few decent non-PC devices around, and Microsoft had to build a Windows Store from scratch -- not easy.
It is only three days since Windows 10 Creators Update Build 15063 arrived on the Fast ring. The same build has already made its way to Insiders on the Slow ring as well, fueling understandable speculation that this could well be the final build.
This does in fact appear to be the case. We already know that Microsoft is due to release Windows 10 Creators Update in April, and a leaked Update Assistant tool shows that Build 15063 is indeed the RTM build number.
Security researchers at Cybellum have revealed details of a zero-day exploit that makes it possible for an attacker to take full control of antivirus software. The technique can be used to take control of just about any application, but by focusing on antivirus tools, the illusion of safety offered to victims means they are likely to be completely unaware of what is happening.
The attack works by exploiting the Microsoft Application Verifier that's built into Windows. It is possible to replace the tool with a custom verifier which can then be used to inject malicious code into any chosen application. A number of well-known antivirus tools -- including Avast, BitDefender, ESET, Kaspersky, and F-Secure -- are vulnerable, while patches have been released for others.
When adverts first started arriving in Windows 10, it wasn’t really a big deal. The operating system was a free upgrade after all, and these weren’t adverts, Microsoft insisted, as no money had changed hands.
Fast forward to 2017 and Windows 10 is now a paid product that’s filled with ads that Microsoft still insists aren’t ads -- they’re "suggestions", "prompted apps" and "tips". You can turn them all off, if you know where to look, but Microsoft hasn’t made it easy. Thankfully there’s a really quick way to disable most of the ads in a couple of mouse clicks.
Microsoft could be on the verge of making greater headway in China after completing a modified version of Windows 10 for the Chinese government. The operating system has been banned for governmental use for some time despite the fact it is already available to consumers in the country.
A joint venture with state-owned China Electronics Technology Group, Microsoft's modifications are now awaiting government approval. While details of the included changes are not being released, China's concerns about other nations implementing surveillance through the software will almost certainly have been a key factor.
The Xbox One S is a fabulous value. If you don't already own one, now is the time to make a purchase -- the Microsoft Store is offering a killer deal. Not only do you get the console, but two free games as well.
Today, Microsoft announces a new special edition of the Xbox One Wireless Controller. As part of its new "Tech Series," the Recon Tech design looks amazing, and should provide a comfortable gaming experience. It is even compatible with the upcoming "Copilot" feature, which lets two controllers control the same thing at once.
Adobe and Microsoft are joining forces to create new solutions for marketing, sales and services. Microsoft Dynamics and Adobe Experience Cloud will work with a shared data format to allow the two systems to work side by side together.
Ahead of today's Adobe Summit, the two companies revealed their plans to collaborate on another project: creating a new industry standard data model. By standardizing data structure, it is hoped that data can be gathered and processed from customers more quickly, and in-depth data analysis can be performed more efficiently.
Unlike the three previous builds, this one is for both PC and Mobile. Here's what's new.
The Xbox One S is probably the best media device on the market from a value perspective. Not only does it play top-quality video games and offer streaming video apps, but it comes with an integrated 4K Blu-ray player too. Quite franky, many standalone UHD disc players cost more than Microsoft's game console, making it a no-brainer.
Today, Microsoft sweetens the deal even further, by bundling two free games when you buy from the company directly. These two games are in addition to the ones that may already be included. In other words, starting at $299, you can get the Xbox One S and at least three games!
Moving from one operating system to another -- be it Windows to Linux, Mac to Windows or whatever -- can be fraught with tension. Microsoft wants to make life easier for anyone who has decided to ditch their Mac, by releasing the Mac to Surface Assistant to help migrate data to a new Surface Pro, Surface Book or Surface Studio.
For some time, Microsoft has featured detailed instructions on the Surface support pages that explain how to backup and transfer different types of data from one computer to another. With the Mac to Surface Assistant, however, all of this is taken care of by a wizard-led interface.
WikiLeaks holds tech companies' feet to the fire before helping with zero days revealed in CIA leaks
The CIA's hacking tools leaked in the WikiLeaks Vault 7 disclosure revealed vulnerabilities in a range of popular software titles. Julian Assange has said that his organization will share details of the zero days revealed in the documents with the respective technology companies, but it now transpires that there are certain conditions to meet first. It’s a situation that has more than a slight air of "ransom" to it.
Microsoft has initially complained that after the initial leak there had been no contact from either WikiLeaks or the CIA, but it seems that contact has now been made with the Windows-maker and other companies. Mozilla is among those to have been contacted and to have responded, and sources suggest that Assange has attached conditions to disclosing details of vulnerabilities.
Microsoft is in the final stages of preparing the Windows 10 Creators Update, and rolling out Insider Builds at an accelerated rate. On Tuesday, it released Build 15058 for PC, followed by Build 15060 yesterday.
And today, barely giving anyone the chance to install the last build, let alone test it, Microsoft rolls out yet another new update. Like the previous two releases, Build 15061 is PC only. Microsoft was hoping to release a Mobile build this week but was prevented from doing so thanks to a pesky blocking bug.