Articles about Microsoft

Windows 11's moving Start button messes with muscle memory and more

Windows 11 dark Start menu

In many regards, the move from Windows 10 to Windows 11 is not a massive one. While there are undeniably a lot of changes and additions -- both visible and under the hood -- the operating system still looks, feels and functions much as it has done for years.

But while it may seem that there's not much to learn, there are still elements of friction that gripe in Windows 11. The redesigned context menu is a good case in point, dividing users into those who love it and those who hate it. And then there is the Start menu. Of course, there is a new look here, but that's not the problem.

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Over half of exploits sold on underground forums are for Microsoft products

Dark web hacker

A new study from Atlas VPN shows that 51 percent of exploits sold on underground cybercriminal forums are for Microsoft products.

Microsoft Office exploits make up 23 percent while Windows accounts for 12 percent of exploits sold on hacker forums. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) exploits make up 10 percent, with Internet Explorer and Share Point taking three percent each.

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HiveNightmare: Windows 10 and Windows 11 have a security vulnerability that can be exploited to gain administrative access to the registry

Colorful Microsoft logo

A local privilege escalation vulnerability has been discovered in Windows 10 that can used to gain access to otherwise inaccessible areas of the registry. In turn, this access makes it possible to discover passwords, obtain DPAPI decryption keys and more. The problem also affects Windows 11.

Dubbed HiveNightmare (because of the access it allows to registry hives), the zero-day vulnerability comes hot on the heels of the PrintNightmare security flaw. While no patch is currently available, Microsoft has provided details of a workaround in the meantime.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 Build 19044.1149 (21H2)

Although much of the development focus at Microsoft is understandably on Windows 11 at the moment, work is still underway on polishing up the next feature update for Windows 10 -- 21H2 -- and getting it ready for release.

The latest new flight for this, Build 19044.1149 (KB5004296), is now available in the Release Preview Channel.

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Microsoft brings Teams integration to Windows 11

When Microsoft first announced Windows 11, one of the big new features it talked about was the integration of Chat from Microsoft Teams. The first previews of the new OS for Insiders in the Dev Channel included many of the other promised features and changes, but Teams integration wasn’t among them.

Today that changes as Microsoft begins rolling out the first Preview of Teams Chat to Windows Insiders. This comes in the form of new Chat flyout from taskbar, as well as a Teams desktop experience designed to make the best use of Windows 11.

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Microsoft waxes lyrical about Windows 11's sleek new context menu and share dialog

Laptop running Windows 11

While there are a large number of changes and additions in Windows 11, it is the visual revamp that is what most people will notice first. But Microsoft's redesign of the operating system is about much more than just looks, as the company reveals in an exploration of the updated context menu and share dialog.

Right-click on a file or folder in Windows 11, and you will immediately be struck by the new context menu that appears. In a post on the Windows Developer Blog, Microsoft explains the thinking behind the restyling in terms of aesthetics, user-friendliness and modernization.

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Microsoft is bringing Windows 11's game-enhancing DirectStorage feature to Windows 10

Microsoft headquarters

Microsoft has eliminated one of the reasons for people to upgrade to Windows 11 later in the year. The company has revealed that DirectStorage -- the storage technology behind Xbox’s Velocity Architecture -- will also be available in Windows 10.

The launch of Windows 11 has already been mired in poor communication in relation to hardware requirements, and it's not clear if the apparent change of heart with DirectStorage in Windows 10 is down to continued weak messaging, or if the company has performed a U-turn based on feedback from disgruntled gamers. Either way, anyone choosing to stick with Windows 10 will benefit from DirectStorage, although it will be a lesser experience than in Windows 11.

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Intel document backs up Windows 11 October release date rumors

Windows 11

It is far from uncommon for software companies to be a little vague when it comes to releases dates. By keeping their cards close to their chest, any delays in launches can be overlooked on the basis that if no release date has been announced, it can't be missed.

And so with Windows 11. When Microsoft announced the upcoming operating system we were simply told that it would be ready in time for the holiday season. However, there have been hints, rumors and suggestions that Windows 11 will launch in October, and this has been further hinted at by documentation from Intel.

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Microsoft issues advice after hackers bypass Windows Hello security

Windows Hello

Security researchers have shown that it is possible to bypass the biometric security of Windows Hello. Using a fake web, the CyberArk Labs research team was able to fool the facial recognition component of Windows Hello to send infrared images.

Windows Hello requires a camera with RGB and IR sensors, but the security tool actually only uses IR imagery. Using a custom USB device, hackers can manipulate the stream of data that is sent, injecting IR imagery of an authorized user.

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China accused of large-scale Microsoft Exchange Server hack

Microsoft logo Chinese flag

The US, UK and other allied nations have accused the Chinese Ministry of State Security of engaging in a global hacking campaign. Included in this was an attack on Microsoft Exchange servers earlier in the year, and other activity that has been described as "irresponsible and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace".

China has been called on to "end this systematic cyber sabotage", and a statement issued by the White House said that "an unprecedented group of allies and partners are joining the United States in exposing and criticizing the PRC’s malicious cyber activities".

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Microsoft is shipping Windows 11 in dark mode by default

Windows 11 dark mode

Whether it is because of concern about eye health, or just a general aesthetic preference for more muted colors, dark modes have become prevalent in apps and operating system. Windows is no different in this regard, and with Windows 11 Microsoft is giving dark mode a promotion.

The company has revealed that Windows 11 will have dark mode activated as standard. It will, of course, remain possible to switch to a lighter option, but dark mode will be the default setting out of the box.

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After waking up from PrintNightmare, Microsoft has a workaround for another Windows Print Spooler vulnerability

Gold Microsoft sign

After the PrintNightmare fiasco of recent weeks, Microsoft has shared information about another Windows Print Spooler security vulnerability.

The issue is being tracked as CVE-2021-34481, and is described as a "Windows Print Spooler Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability". For the time being, there is no patch available, but Microsoft has offered details of a workaround that mitigates against potential attack -- but it is far from being an ideal solution.

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Ashampoo Windows 11 Compatibility Check will tell you if your PC can run Microsoft's next operating system -- and if not, why not

The excitement surrounding the unveiling of Windows 11 was tempered slightly when the system requirements were revealed and it turned out a large number of Windows 10 systems would be incompatible with the new OS.

Microsoft’s own system compatibility checker proved to be rather useless -- if your PC failed the check it provided no details on why -- leading the software giant to pull it. Thankfully a number of third parties have stepped up to fill the void, the latest one being German software developer Ashampoo.

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Microsoft releases updated Windows 11 preview with new entertainment widget

Windows 11

Following the grand reveal a few weeks ago, Microsoft has been rolling out new Windows 11 preview builds to Insiders in the Dev Channel on a weekly basis.

Today sees the release of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.71 which comes with a number of changes and improvements, including a new widget and updated looks for the context and other right-click menus.

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Microsoft releases Windows Terminal Preview 1.10

Windows Terminal

It has been a while since there was an update to Windows Terminal, but now Microsoft has released two key releases, both with huge changes and additions. On the stable side of things is Windows Terminal v1.9.1942.0, little changed since it was a preview build, but there is far more of note in version 1.10 (or Windows Terminal Preview v1.10.1933.0 for the completists out there).

In addition to the usual swathe of bug fixes, there is a new system of tray icons for quake mode, a new Command Palette drop down menu, various interface changes and much more. Another key change means that anyone running Windows 11 now needs to be using at least version 1.10 of Terminal.

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