How to find your Windows 10 product key
If you upgrade your computer from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10, you probably have no idea what your product key is for the latest version of the operating system. The time may come when you want to perform a clean installation of Windows 10, and this is when you'll need that key.
It is not possible to use your product key for your old version of Windows to activate Windows 10, but during the initial upgrade process this key is converted into a new one. Using a special tool, you can find out the key that has been generated for you so you can make a note of it for future reference.
Upgrade to Windows 10 and your kids may no longer be safe
Parents who are upgrading their computers to Windows 10 are warned that the move from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will obliterate the safety features used to protect children. You may have spent time putting restrictions in place in a bid to keep your offspring safe when using your computer, but Windows 10 will change these child-friendly accounts into standard accounts with no limitations whatsoever.
The upgrade process wipes out website restrictions, game and app age ratings, time limits, and other parental controls and monitoring options. Unless a parent goes to the trouble of reinstating each of these settings individually, their children will have unfettered computer access. The discovery, revealed by The Register, will come as a surprise to many, but the worry is that many parents will simply be unaware that their children are not protected. And this is far from being the first time Windows 10 has been criticized.
Windows 10 doubles its usage share in a couple of days
NetMarketShare has released its monthly desktop operating system usage share figures, showing the fluctuations of the various iterations of Windows. All versions of Microsoft’s operating system registered drops in July, except of course Windows 10 which was launched at the tail end of the month.
Only being available for a few days meant the new OS was never going to shift the needle significantly, but there were enough upgraders (Microsoft says 14 million in the first 24 hours) to double the operating system’s share.
Microsoft releases emergency security patch for all Windows versions
Microsoft has released an off-schedule patch for all currently supported versions of Windows. A serious vulnerability has been discovered in a font driver that could be exploited by a hacker to remotely execute code on a compromised machine.
The problem affects Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows RT, Windows RT 8.1, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012. Windows 10 is not at risk. Microsoft describes the issue as 'critical' and has pushed an emergency patch to Windows Update.
Windows 7 gains significant usage share ahead of Windows 10 launch
Windows 8.x enjoyed a good month in May. The tiled operating system finally overtook Windows XP for the first time in six months -- its gains coming mostly at the expense of Windows 7. But it was all change again in June according to the latest usage stats from web analytics firm NetMarketShare.
The latest figures show Windows 8.x losing share -- or business as usual you might say -- going from 16.63 percent to 16.02 percent. That’s a drop of 0.61 percentage points. Windows 8.1 actually gained 0.24 percentage points, but Windows 8 lost 0.85 percentage points. Still overall it remains comfortably ahead of XP now, so there's that consolation prize.
How to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 via Windows Update
If you like the idea of trying out the next version of Windows before it is officially launched, Microsoft has made the Windows 10 Technical Preview available for everyone to use. There are various ways to get the preview installed on your computer, but since the release of build 9926, it is possible to upgrade your current Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation to Windows 10 using Windows Update.
This is a much simpler option than downloading the ISO image, but it is an upgrade route that almost encourages people to install the preview build on their everyday computer -- don’t forget that this is not a finished product! We've already looked at how to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine, but if you have a spare machine running Windows 7 or 8, using it as a test bed for Windows 10 just got a whole lot easier.
It really is game over for Windows 8.x
Every month NetMarketShare releases usage share figures for all of the major operating systems. In the past these figures tended to paint an interesting picture of how well -- or rather how badly -- Microsoft’s newest operating system was doing. Occasionally the OS grew share, occasionally it lost share -- sometimes quite dramatically.
Now though, the only picture that’s being painted by these monthly figures is an operating system that has no future and will vanish quietly, and with zero fanfare, once Windows 10 arrives.
Fujitsu and Microsoft announce IoT and M2M partnership
Much of the focus of talk about the Internet of Things surrounds what the IoT can do for home users. A clever cooker is great, but move up the scale a little, however, and things start to get really interesting. Now teaming up with Miele, Microsoft today announces that it is also partnering with Fujitsu.
The two companies will work together to create IoT based devices to improve the manufacturing of other products. By harnessing the power of IoT and the M2M (machine to machine) platforms, Microsoft and Fujitsu aim to improve production efficiency and help drive down costs.
Windows 8.x still nowhere near as popular as Windows XP
It’s fair to say, Windows 8.x has enjoyed something of a rollercoaster ride when it comes to usage share. While it’s never been a popular operating system (quite the opposite in fact), share has gone up and down, with gains one month being wiped out by losses the following month.
NetMarketShare’s monthly usage share figures provide a decent guide as to how Microsoft’s tiled OS is doing, and it’s usually pretty interesting, although February was a fairly unexciting month.
Windows 8.1's market share remains utter rubbish
Last month, web analytics firm NetMarketShare released its usual batch of monthly desktop operating system usage share figures, and it showed Windows 8.x tumbling dramatically. The figure made little sense, and a day later the firm released revised data which showed the tiled OS still shedding a large chunk of share, but not quite as badly.
In December’s revised figures NetMarketShare had the OS falling 5.13 percentage points for a total share of 13.52 percent, placing it back way below Windows XP. This meant January’s figures were always going to be interesting. Surely the tiled OS would rally wouldn’t it? But of course this is Windows 8.x, Microsoft’s least successful operating system in recent memory, so no. Its usage share remains utterly rubbish.
Microsoft's decision to ditch Surface is a long-overdue mercy killing for Windows RT
For too long it was the metaphorical unwanted litter of kittens tied in a sack just waiting for someone to ditch it in the river. Windows RT is dead, having enjoyed a cancer-ridden 'life' for longer than many people expected. Microsoft announced that it is no longer going to manufacture Surface devices, all but signing the death warrant for Windows RT.
Hear that sound? No? That's the sound of everyone caring about it. To be fair, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Windows RT was always the sickly twin sibling of Windows 8 and now Microsoft has done the decent thing. It might not quite have delivered the lethal shot to the brain yet, but the gun has been cocked. And not before time.
Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9926 hands on -- making good on earlier promises
Windows 10 has been something of a tease so far. There have been hints that it could be a good operating system, protestations that it will be great, but a series of preview builds that have been a little uninspiring. With the release of build 9926, it appears that Microsoft is starting to deliver on its promises. From this release we can see that Windows 10 is actually starting to take shape.
Microsoft is clearly pleased with the progress that has been made because it has simplified the process of upgrading from Windows 7 and Windows 8 -- Windows Update can be used to install the Technical Preview. It might not quite be ready for prime time just yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic even though I've been far from impressed with previous builds. Oh, and before you ask, there's no sign of Spartan just yet. So… what's new and what's improved? Let's take a look.
Google reveals two more unpatched Windows security bugs
Earlier in the week, Google managed to raise the ire of Microsoft by publishing details of a vulnerability in Windows before a patch had been published. Now the same thing has happened again, but this time it's a double whammy. Google Security Research has revealed two more security holes that Microsoft is yet to fix.
Just as was the case a few days ago, Microsoft had been warned about the security problems and Google agreed to keep details private for a period of 90 days. Now the three months is up, details of the security issues have been automatically published, running the risk that users could be targeted.
NetMarketShare adjusts its figures -- still has Windows 8.x losing major usage share
Yesterday, web analytics firm NetMarketShare released its monthly breakdown of desktop operating system usage share, and it contained a huge shock. According to the figures, Windows 8.x had dropped to its lowest usage share since March 2014, putting it back below XP.
It was a surprise because Windows 8 and 8.1 had both shown solid growth in the previous two months, but suddenly, according to NetMarketShare, 8.x had dropped a whopping 7.07 percentage points in a single month, most of that going to Windows NT. As I observed when reporting, something not quite right there. Late yesterday, the figures were pulled, and new ones have appeared today that show the tiled OS still doing badly, just not quite as badly.
Windows 8.x is no longer a huge embarrassment to Microsoft
Last month Windows 8.x's usage share did something very surprising -- it went up. Massively, according to figures from web analytics firm NetMarketShare. The tiled OS had been losing share for months, but in October it suddenly took off like a rocket, packing on 4.54 percentage points share in a single month, mostly at the expense of Windows XP.
It wouldn’t have been a total surprise to see Windows 8.x's growth stop, or go back into reverse gear in November, but actually, both Windows 8 and 8.1 showed positive gains once again.