Articles about Microsoft

Microsoft will pester Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10 with pop-up notifications

Windows 10 box

Anyone who is still using Windows 7 doesn't have much longer until the operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft. Come January 14, 2020 only those enterprise customers who are willing to pay for Extended Security Updates will receive any kind of support.

Microsoft has already done a lot to encourage Windows 7 diehards to make the move to Windows 10, and now it is stepping things up a gear. Throughout 2019, the company will show pop-up notifications in Windows 7 about making the switch to the latest version of Windows.

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Windows 10 will automatically uninstall problematic updates

Windows 10 - Do great things

Updates to Windows are supposed to fix problems and improve security, but sometimes they do the opposite. Many Windows 10 users will have experienced startup problems after installing an update to the operating system, and this is something that Microsoft is looking to address.

Rather than leaving it down to users to seek out the problematic update and uninstall it, Windows 10 could start to automatically uninstall updates that have caused issues. If this happens to you, you'll be greeted by the message: "We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure."

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Microsoft to start selling Windows 7 Extended Security Updates from April 1

Windows 7 Professional

While Windows 10 enjoys a significant and growing userbase, there are still many Windows 7 users out there. This includes a large number of enterprise users, and for these customers security is of paramount importance.

Last month we learned about the pricing for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) which will be available when support for the aging operating system ends in 2020. Now we know that ESU will go on sale from the beginning of next month.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 19H1 Build 18353 to the Fast ring, with multiple Sandbox improvements

Windows Insider builds for the next big feature update of Windows 10 are coming thick and fast now, with the focus on fixing bugs and improving performance.

Today Windows 10 19H1 Build 18353 arrives on the Fast ring with quite a long list of fixes -- including many for Windows Sandbox -- and a dwindling amount of known issues.

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Windows 10 is now on more than 800 million devices

Windows 10 box

The install base of Windows 10 has topped the 800 million mark according to the Microsoft Story Labs site. Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi tweeted the news yesterday.

This is an increase of 100 million since September last year and it seems likely that the increase has been partly driven by the impending end of support for Windows 7.

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Microsoft rolls out new Skype for Web, and drops support for Chrome OS and Linux

Skype for Web

Most of the Skype-related news of late has been about Microsoft killing off Skype Classic and moving people to Skype 8 -- but now there's news about the web version of the communication tool. While there are a number of new features to explore -- including hi-def video calling, new notifications and call recording -- Microsoft has taken the decision to reduce the number of supported platforms.

The latest version of Skype for Web only works in Windows 10 and macOS 10.12 or newer, and only in the Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers. Firefox and Opera users are left out in the cold, and anyone running Chrome OS or Linux will be disappointed to learn that their operating systems are no longer supported.

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Microsoft makes Windows Calculator open source on GitHub

Microsoft has long been a champion of closed source ideology -- it made its billions thanks to it. Historically, the company was against open source, publicly bad-mouthing projects like Linux.

Under Satya Nadella's leadership, however, Microsoft is a very different company. Not only does it support open source and Linux, it actually contributes open source code. In fact, Microsoft is one of the top contributors. Today, the Windows-maker announces that it is taking its commitment to open source ideology even further. How? By making its Windows Calculator program an open source project on GitHub. Yes, really.

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Speed up Windows 10 with the Retpoline Spectre fix

Spectre logo on CPU

It's been a while since we heard much about Spectre, the speculative execution exploit that sent the security world into a frenzy. Cast your mind back a little while and you'll probably remember that the various fixes that were produced to mitigate against the exploits all had one thing in common -- they resulted in a performance hit.

To help address the reduced performance experienced on older AMD and Intel systems, a new mitigation technique called Retpoline was developed. This new Spectre patch is currently included in Insider builds of Windows 10, but you can install it and enable it right now -- regardless of whether you are signed up for the Insider program -- and enjoy a speed boost for your computer.

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Confused about what Windows 10 test builds are in which Insider ring? There's an easy way to find out

The Windows Insider program is a mess. It used to be as an Insider you got to test just early versions of the next big OS feature update, but now -- depending on which ring you’re in -- you might be testing versions for the first Windows 10 update of 2020, due out over a year from now.

As if that’s not bad enough, Fast ring Insiders are currently receiving new builds at a rate of two a week -- which hardly provides enough time to install and test them -- while Slow ring Insiders get only very occasional updates. It’s no wonder some of Microsoft’s loyal legion of unpaid testers are confused.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 19H1 Build 18351 to the Fast ring

Not many Windows 10 users have upgraded to the October 2018 Update yet, but Microsoft is still hard at work on finishing the next big feature update, codenamed 19H1, which is due out next month.

New builds are coming out thick and fast, and today sees the release of Build 18351 to Fast ring Insiders.

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Microsoft welcomes new partners as it launches Microsoft Quantum Network

Glowing processor

Quantum computing is not necessarily the future of computing, but it's certainly a future and an important part of technological advancement. All of the big players from the world of technology are understandably eager to be at the forefront of what's happening, and Microsoft is no different.

This week, the company formally launched the Microsoft Quantum Network, a coalition of partners with a shared vision. The goal is "sharing knowledge and collaborating with the best quantum innovators" with a view to helping the progression of quantum computing.

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Microsoft announces it is killing off Microsoft Health Dashboard apps and services -- and giving refunds to Band owners

Microsoft Band

It is a while since Microsoft discontinued its Band fitness tracker, but for the last two years owners have still be able to synchronize data collected through the wearable. But now the company has announced that it plans to close down the Microsoft Band apps and Microsoft Health Dashboard website.

The shutdown date has been set for May 31. On this date, Android, iOS and Windows Phone apps will vanish from their respective stores, and the services will be terminated. Users have a limited time to export their data, and to soften the blow, some Band owners will be eligible for a refund of up to $175.

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Windows 10 loses share as Windows 7 makes significant gains

There are lots of ways to measure Windows share including StatCounter and Steam. Like most other tech sites, BetaNews has always focused on NetMarketShare, and at the start of the year the analyst firm finally reported that Windows 10 had overtaken its main rival, Windows 7 (a move that was a long time coming seeing as others had reported this happening months earlier).

In January, the new OS consolidated its lead, but in February things were far less rosy for Windows 10.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 19H1 Build 18348 to the Fast ring

The idea behind the Windows Insider program is members get to test out preview versions of forthcoming Windows 10 builds.

However, quite how much actual testing can get done when the builds are rolling out thick and fast is a matter for debate. Windows 10 Build 18348 is the second 19H1 build to be rolled out this week, and the fourth build in total, when you factor in Slow and Skip Ahead releases. If it's Microsoft's aim to confuse people, the software giant is doing a bang up job here.

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Red Hat teams up with Microsoft, Google Cloud and AWS to launch, a registry for finding Kubernetes Operators

Red Hat, Microsoft, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services have joined forces to launch, a centralized repository to help the Kubernetes community find and share Operators.

Introduced by CoreOS back in 2016, Operators provide a way of packaging, deploying and managing Kubernetes applications. Until now, it was often difficult to find Operators, and this is the problem aims to address. On top of being a registry, the repository makes it easy to home in on curated Operators that are of a high standard.

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