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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While we don’t know what these will do this time around (Microsoft’s description is giving little away), in the past they triggered a snooping Windows task called DoScheduledTelemetryRun, and were linked to the infamous GWX (Get Windows 10) campaign that forced OS upgrades on unwilling Windows 7 and 8.1 users.
Microsoft has kept its promise and delivered a vulnerability patch for its Windows operating system, for a flaw, revealed by Google, which allowed attackers to gain full control of a targeted system.
Releasing the details in a security bulletin, Microsoft says the flaw in the Windows kernel "could allow elevation of privilege if an attack logs onto an affected system and runs a specially crafted application that could exploit the vulnerabilities".
One-hundred and ninety-nine in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 8.x and Windows 10 in the past seven days.
This week saw the release of a first batch of converted win32 applications like Kodi, Tweeten or PhotoScape X Pro in Store.
15 months ago, in an effort to make it as easy as possible to upgrade to its new operating system, Microsoft introduced a Get Windows 10 app for Windows 7 and 8.1 that allowed users to reserve their upgrade.
While this tool was innocuous enough to start with, it soon turned into something much more akin to malware, becoming harder and harder to kill, and employing all manner of scummy methods in an effort to trick users into installing Windows 10 against their wishes.
In May, Microsoft introduced a Convenience Rollup for Windows 7 SP1 that brought the operating system fully up to date. The company also announced that it would be issuing monthly update rollups for Windows 7 and 8.1, as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
Those rollups only contained non-security updates, so you could still choose which security patches to apply, which to avoid, and when to apply them. Not anymore.
In an attempt to get more users to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft announced early this year that it would drop support for Intel Skylake processors on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 after July 17, 2017. The controversial policy was short lived though, as a few months later the software giant gave its customers a one-year reprieve, pushing the deadline to July 18, 2018.
But, as you can see, that is not the end of the story, as Microsoft has changed its mind once again. Today, it announces that Intel's sixth-generation processors will actually be supported for an even longer period of time on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. That is good news for those who are not planning on upgrading to Windows 10 in the foreseeable future.
Microsoft has created a backdoor in Secure Boot, the security feature designed to ensure that a device can only run the operating system that it is meant to. And, to make matters worse, it has just accidentally leaked the "golden keys" needed to bypass it.
The Secure Boot backdoor is there to, for instance, allow a Microsoft developer to install a new build of Windows on a device -- that has the security feature enforced -- without it having to be digitally signed beforehand. It makes their job easy, but it also makes the security system ineffective if -- when -- the golden keys that unlock it make their way into the wrong hands.