Articles about Microsoft

Best Windows 10 apps this week

topboat

Two-hundred-and-thirty-two in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 on the Windows Store in the past seven days.

The roll out of the Windows 10 Creators Update is still ongoing. Wayne notes that it is at 15.2 percent of users in the US right now, which means that it will take a while longer before the new version is on the majority of Windows 10 PCs out there.

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NTFS bug allows any website to crash Windows 7, 8.1

AngryLady

Users of older versions of Windows aren’t having the best time of it lately. Last week it was discovered that over 98 percent of those affected by the WannaCry ransomware were running Windows 7, and now a new bug has been found which can slow down and crash systems running that OS and Windows 8.1.

The new bug is trivially easy to exploit, making just browsing the web potentially hazardous, and there’s currently no fix available.

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Microsoft buys cybersecurity startup Hexadite

microsoft-cloud

Microsoft is rumored to have acquired Israeli cybersecurity startup Hexadite in a deal worth around $100 million.

The startup was founded in 2014 and its primary focus is identifying cyberattacks through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). By connecting a number of cybersecurity detection systems that are already in place, Hexadite then uses AI to analyze threats automatically as they present themselves.

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Microsoft renames Beam live-streaming platform to 'Mixer' and adds new features

mixer3

Live-streaming of video is continually gaining in popularity, but it isn't just for gaming. While platforms like the Amazon-owned Twitch were designed for video games, they have evolved to the streaming of almost anything. Popular YouTuber Barnacules has a daily Twitch show where he drinks coffee with fans, for instance. With that said, gaming is definitely still the bread and butter.

In an effort to compete with Twitch, Microsoft bought the Beam platform in August 2016. Today, the Windows-maker announces that it is giving the platform a rebrand -- it is now called "Mixer." It is not merely a name-change, however, as Microsoft is also adding some new features. Not to mention, Mixer will get a dedicated page on the Xbox One Dashboard.

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Microsoft will pay you $25 to use Groove

SoundMusicDolby

Steaming music is all the rage nowadays, and there is certainly no shortage of services. Quite frankly, you really can't go wrong when selecting one, as many of them are great. With that said, for an optimal experience, Apple Music is probably best for iOS and macOS users, while Google Play Music and Spotify are great for Android and Linux desktop users.

If you spend a lot of time on Windows 10, the Groove Music Pass service is an excellent choice, as is the associated Groove app. While Microsoft's service may not be the most popular, it provides great selection and quality. There are even apps for iOS and Android. Now, for a limited time, the Windows-maker will pay you $25 for using its service!

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Microsoft releases YouTube video of Panos Panay unveiling the new Surface Pro in China

Surface Pro (1)

On May 23, Microsoft did something very curious -- it announced a new product in Shanghai. No, there is nothing wrong with having a press event in China, but the time difference meant Americans would have to wake up very early to watch it, right?

No. Actually, even more odd, Microsoft chose not to live stream the event. While there was a Chinese-dubbed stream found on the web, English-speakers were left to read live-blogging instead. This is unfortunate, as Panos Panay is quite the masterful presenter -- his unveiling of products can be downright magical. Thankfully, today, the Windows-maker makes the new Surface Pro announcement video available on YouTube -- no Chinese dub.

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Windows 10 Creators Update rollout 'on track', but only 15.2 percent of US users have it

bored waiting

Microsoft officially began the Windows 10 Creators Update rollout on April 11. I cautioned about rushing to upgrade to it at the time, and then Microsoft said much the same thing shortly afterwards, recommending users didn’t install it until the upgrade was offered to them.

Six weeks since the rollout began, and still the Creators Update isn’t available to the vast majority of Windows 10 users.

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It's on: Xbox Game Pass sets a new stage in console wars

Xbox Game Pass

The big news out of Microsoft's video game division today is the launch of a new service called Xbox Game Pass. For a $9.99 monthly fee, players will be able to access a wide library of Xbox One titles on demand, making it less and less necessary to dole out dozens of dollars every time you want to play a new game.

This represents not only a milestone moment in the evolution of the Xbox One platform and the way people play games on it, but also for the console wars as a whole. Sony has a competing service -- similar in some ways and starkly different in others -- which means it's officially time to clear the stage for a new chapter in the perennial battle for gaming dominance.

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Microsoft brings Fluent Design System's acrylic material to the Windows Store in Windows 10

windows-store-acrylic

When Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is released later in the year, it will be the first glimpse many users get of Microsoft's new Fluent Design System. But Windows Insiders can already enjoy the new look, and an update to the Windows Store sees the app getting an acrylic makeover.

Formally known as Project NEON (when we were still talking about Redstone 3 builds), the Fluent Design System sees Microsoft bringing elements of Glass and Aero back to life. The acrylic material, specifically, refers to the blurring of backgrounds, and if you're an Insider on the Fast Ring, you can grab an update to check it out for yourself.

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Microsoft working on DNA-based data storage

DNA

Quantum computing is not the only large leap in computing the human race is currently working on, there's also the crazy and amazing research in storing data in DNA.

According to media reports, Microsoft is now planning on building, "an operational storage system based on DNA working inside a data center," by the next decade.

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Windows 10 China Government Edition allows China to control encryption and telemetry

microsoft-china

Microsoft's event in Shanghai today may have been mainly about the Surface Pro, but there was also news of a new version of Windows 10. The new version -- which we reported about a couple of months ago -- is called Windows 10 China Government Edition and it makes a number of concessions to keep Chinese officials happy.

It’s a release that raises a lot of questions. The Windows 10 China Government Edition allows the country to not only use its own encryption, but also to control updates, remove unwanted apps, and manage telemetry. Users around the world will almost certainly be asking why control over telemetry is not an option for them, and what the implications of making changes for the Chinese government could be.

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Microsoft announces the thinner, faster new Surface Pro

Surface Pro (3)

At today’s launch event in Shanghai, Microsoft officially took the wraps of its new Surface Pro tablet. There was no official live stream, and the software giant’s live blog was hit by technical difficulties which meant it wasn’t updated as intended, but we finally have the information on the new device, which Microsoft describes as "the most versatile laptop."

Called simply Surface Pro, the tablet is a beautifully crafted device that’s the thinnest and fastest produced so far. It’s powered by the Core i7 7th Gen Kaby Lake processor, and promises 13.5 hours of battery life -- that's a big 50 percent improvement over the Surface Pro 4.

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My nerdy pilgrimage to the Microsoft campus in Seattle

Microsoft-Campus-Tour-40

I was recently in Seattle for Microsoft's Build 2017 developer conference. It was a monumental trip for me, as I had never been to the west coast before. Being a New Yorker, the furthest west I'd ever been was Colorado. Getting there was an interesting experience in itself, as I had a layover in Minnesota -- yet another place I had never been.

On the final day of Build 2017, some journalists -- including yours truly -- were invited to a tour of the Microsoft campus. This was an invitation I couldn't pass up. As a self-proclaimed computer nerd, visiting such a historic place -- a nerdy pilgrimage, if you will -- was on my bucket list, so I jumped at the opportunity.

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Microsoft shows new Type Covers ahead of Surface Pro event

Microsoft Surface Pro 2017 new Type Cover keyboards

Microsoft is expected to unveil the successor to the Surface Pro 4 tomorrow at a special event in Shanghai. There is not much that we know about the new hybrid device at this stage, other than it will look very similar to the current model, but the software giant hints that there will be four new Type Covers available for it.

Microsoft's corporate VP of Devices, Panos Panay, has posted a photo on Twitter which shows the keyboard in what appears to be red, gold, gray and blue colors. That would match the keyboard colors of the Surface Laptop, which was introduced early this month.

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Amazon Video app for Microsoft Xbox One S gets 4K UHD support

AmazonVideo4KXboxOneS

Amazon Video is one of the best deals in entertainment, as it comes included with a Prime account. As many consumers sign up for the retailer's Prime membership scheme to get free two-day shipping, the streaming video service is often viewed as an added bonus. True, its selection isn't the best, but it is passable. Not to mention, Amazon's original programming is rather solid.

Another great deal is Microsoft's Xbox One S. Not only does it play games, but it includes a 4K Ultra-high-definition Blu-ray disc player. In fact, the console is often less expensive than many such standalone disc players, making it in an insane value. The Xbox One S doesn't just handle 4K from discs, however -- it can output the resolution from video apps too. Now, the Amazon Video Xbox app gets updated with 4K support, meaning an excellent service on wonderful hardware just got even better.

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