Microsoft took a big gamble with Windows 8. Back in 2012 the tech giant believed that touchscreens were the way we’d all be interacting with our devices, and so overhauled Windows to give it a touch-first design and a Start screen in place of the traditional Start menu -- which didn’t go down at all well with the Windows faithful.
Although the company relented and eventually added a Start menu and made various other user-requested tweaks, Windows 8 is viewed by many as one of the worst versions of Windows, which is a little unfair as it had much to recommend it.
If you start to see the error message "Windows can't verify the publisher of this driver software" in Windows 10, it is because of a change Microsoft is making to driver validation.
The change has been introduced with the latest cumulative update for Windows 10 as Microsoft starts to block some third-party drivers from being installed. It also means that when you try to view driver signature properties you may see the error message "No signature was present in the subject".
But what if you want an older version of Windows 10, or one of the many Windows Insider builds? Or what if you want a copy of Windows 7 or 8.1, or a copy of Microsoft Office? We have the answer.
Formerly a Windows 10 exclusive, Microsoft today announced that Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is coming to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
That's not to say that the older operating systems are set to gain the full benefit of ATP, however. Microsoft says that it is the Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) functionality that will make its way to Windows 7 and 8.1 at some point this summer. This cloud-driven feature will be made available as a preview in the spring.
While the notorious Meltdown and Spectre chip bugs are still yet to pose a real threat in their own right, it's rather a different story when it comes to the patches designed to fix the problems. Microsoft had to pause the rollout of patches after reports that they were leaving some AMD systems unbootable.
Now the software giant has released two new updates -- one for Windows 7 (KB4073578) and one for Windows 8.1 (KB4073576) -- to fix the "Unbootable state for AMD devices" issue. But it's not all good news. These are updates that have to be manually downloaded and installed, and Microsoft has provided no instructions about how to use them.
Microsoft has ended mainstream support for Windows 8.1, more than five years after its debut. The operating system, which was offered as a free upgrade to Windows 8 users, has moved to the extended support phase, in which it will continue to receive updates, albeit in a more limited fashion.
During mainstream support, which ended January 9, Microsoft provided security and non-security updates and accepted requests for product changes. Extended support means that the average Windows 8.1 user will only receive security updates.
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.