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.
It’s been a week since the WannaCrypt/WannaCry ransomware cyber attacks began, and the repercussions are still being felt. It became clear quite early on that the ransomware was hitting older Windows systems hard (Windows 10 wasn’t affected), with a lot of talk focusing on the number of at-risk Windows XP systems still in service.
But here’s the interesting thing. Most of the affected systems -- over 98 percent -- were actually running Windows 7.
The WannaCry ransomware has made a huge mess across the globe, affecting hundreds of thousands of PCs, including critical devices in the healthcare sector. It is so dangerous that Microsoft released a public patch for Windows XP, after it dropped support three years ago.
Of course, the patch did not stop Windows XP users from getting infected, but, thankfully, a decryption tool, called WannaKey, is now available and should help recover your locked files. And the good news is that it works on other operating systems too, including Windows 7 (the x86 version, anyway) and Windows Server 2008!
With Windows 10 Creators Update rolling out in April -- even if Microsoft warns users against manually updating to it -- we were always likely to see the OS returning to growth, as users spend more time on it, finding out what’s new.
As you probably know by now, Microsoft is blocking Windows Updates on Windows 7 and 8.1 systems powered by next-generation processors like Kaby Lake and Ryzen.
It’s yet another of Microsoft’s desperate efforts to get users to switch to Windows 10, and one that -- understandably -- hasn’t gone down well with users who don’t want to upgrade to the new operating system. Thankfully, there is now a workaround.
When Microsoft introduced Windows 7 back in 2009, the software giant didn’t need to persuade customers to upgrade -- they leapt at the chance. Back then, upgrading to the latest and greatest version of Windows was a no brainer.
Fast forward to today, and Microsoft is in a very different position. Windows 10 is a huge improvement over its predecessor, Windows 8.x, and yet it’s struggling to gain market share. Figures from NetMarketShare, and Microsoft itself show adoption of the new OS has stalled. That’s got to be hugely frustrating for Microsoft, especially when you consider the number of tricks it has pulled to force users to upgrade.
Windows 10's growth has completely stalled -- can the Creators Update jump start interest in the new OS?
It’s no April Fool -- Windows 10 is struggling. The new operating system enjoyed solid -- and rapid -- growth when it was free (and being forced on to users' computers), but in recent months, it’s seeing little to no increase in usage, according to NetMarketShare.
The OS hit the 25 percent mark in January, but since then it lost a little share in February, and made only very minor gains in March. Windows 7, in comparison, remains the operating system of choice for most people, with its share continuing to rise.
A year ago, Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 would be the only Windows platform to support nextgen processors like Intel's Kaby Lake, AMD's Bristol Ridge, and Qualcomm’s 8996. The message then -- as now -- was clear: If you want to run a nextgen processor, you'll need Windows 10.
Last week, Microsoft published KB 4012982, with the title "'Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows' error when you scan or download Windows updates", suggesting that the restriction was now being enforced.
Windows Vista is probably the least-liked version of Windows that Microsoft has ever released, but, fact of the matter is, the 10 year old operating system has its fans, as it still runs on many PCs today. And that's a problem if you're part of the crowd, because next month it will stop receiving any kind of official support, leaving you exposed.
Mainstream support for Windows Vista actually ended on April 10, 2012, but Microsoft has since continued to offer support options and updates as part of its extended support phase. That will come to an end in less than 30 days from now -- on April 11. Here's what happens after that.
Microsoft pushed out a mysterious driver to Windows users on Wednesday that caused big problems for some.
The driver, listed as "Microsoft -- WPD -- 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM -- 5.2.5326.4762," wasn’t accompanied by any details, although we knew from the name that it related to Windows Portable Devices and affected users who had phones and tablets connected to the OS.
If you’ve been experiencing weird problems with Windows over the past couple of days, the problem could be down to a mysterious driver that Microsoft has pushed out for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
The driver, called "Microsoft -- WPD -- 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM -- 5.2.5326.4762" is causing a couple of problems for users, including failed installations, and Windows Phones and Android devices failing to connect to the target PC.
It’s good to keep Windows up to date, as it ensures you’re safe from the latest security threats, and you might benefit from other improvements. However, you shouldn’t always blindly install every patch that comes along.
Yesterday, I reported on how Windows 10 usage had fallen in February according to the latest figures from NetMarketShare.
Today, Steam releases its hardware survey for February, and that shows that Windows 10 usage has fallen on the gaming platform too, and not for the first time. Usage in January was also down from the month before. Is it the start of a downward trend?
However, in February, Windows 10 went back into reverse gear, losing share, and not for the first time.
There are all sorts of reasons why you might need to locate your Windows product key. Perhaps you’re thinking of upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 (doing so is still free, despite what Microsoft has said), or you might want to perform a clean install.
In the past, tracking down the key usually involved finding your installation media, but the more modern approach is to simply pull it directly from your Windows installation.