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charlesarthur : windows   58

Microsoft removes Huawei laptop from store, remains silent on potential Windows ban • The Verge
Tom Warren:
<p>Huawei’s MateBook X Pro is one of the best Windows laptops available in the US right now, but without a Windows license, it’s no longer a viable alternative to Apple’s MacBook Pro or the HP Spectre x360 and even Microsoft’s own Surface lineup. Microsoft appears to have stopped selling Huawei’s MateBook X Pro at the company’s online store, too.

A listing for the MateBook X Pro mysteriously disappeared over the weekend, and searching for any Huawei hardware brings up no results at the Microsoft Store. You can still find the laptop listing in a Google cache of last week, though. The Verge understands that Microsoft retail stores are still selling existing MateBook X Pro laptops they have in stock.

Microsoft’s potential Windows ban could also affect Huawei’s server solutions. Microsoft and Huawei both operate a hybrid cloud solution for Microsoft’s Azure stack, using Microsoft-certified Huawei servers.</p>

Without Windows they'll have to turn to... Linux? for their servers.
Huawei  windows  microsoft 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Microsoft patches zero-day bug under active attack • Threatpost
Tom Spring:
<p>Microsoft has released a patch for an elevation-of-privileges vulnerability rated important, which is being exploited in the wild.

The bug fix is part of Microsoft’s May Patch Tuesday Security Bulletin. It’s tied to the Windows Error Reporting feature and is being abused by attackers who have gained local access to affected PCs. They are able to trigger arbitrary code-execution in kernel mode — resulting in a complete system compromise.

“They would need to first gain access to run code on a target system, but malware often uses elevations like this one to go from ‘user’ to ‘admin’ code execution,” wrote Dustin Childs, communications manager for Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative, in a blog post on Tuesday. “While details about the use of the exploit are not available, it is likely being used in limited attacks against specific targets.”</p>

It's been quite the week for exploits - WhatsApp, Intel CPUs, now this.
microsoft  windows  hacking 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
The end of the desktop? • Computerworld
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols:
<p>Of course, [Windows] Virtual Desktop is a play for business users — for now. I expect Virtual Desktop to be offered to consumers in 2020. By 2025, Windows as an actual desktop operating system will be a niche product.

Sound crazy? Uh, you do know that Microsoft already really, really wants you to “rent” Office 365 rather than buy Office 2019, don’t you?

But what about games, you say? We’ll always have Windows for games! Will we? Google, with its Google Stadia gaming cloud service, is betting we’re ready to move our games to the cloud as well. It’s no pipe dream. Valve has been doing pretty well for years now with its Steam variation on this theme.

So where is all this taking us?

I see a world where the PC desktop disappears for all but a few. Most of us will be writing our documents, filling out our spreadsheets and doing whatever else we now do on our PCs via cloud-based applications on smart terminals running Chrome OS or Windows Lite.

If you want a “real” PC, your choices are going to be Linux or macOS.

Well, maybe we’ll still have Linux and macOS. None of the major Linux companies — Canonical, Red Hat, SUSE — makes the desktop a priority anymore. The Linux desktop will continue on, but it will keep going in the same way it is now: a platform only for power-using enthusiasts.

MacOS, which also has Unix as its root, is essential in some fields. But Mac sales make up a smaller and smaller percentage of Apple’s bottom line. I know Computerworld’s own Jonny Evans <a href="">hopes 2019 will be the year Macs make serious inroads into the PC market</a>. I can’t see it.</p>
windows  desktop 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Microsoft's 800m claim for Windows 10 signals migration acceleration • Computerworld
Gregg Keizer:
<p>Although Windows 7's support retirement is just 312 days away, the OS stubbornly clings to a position of power, a place it seems to have little desire to relinquish. Using the 12-month average change in user share, Computerworld recently forecast that nearly 41% of all Windows PCs will be running Windows 7 at the moment it falls off Microsoft's support list. That would be about a dozen percentage points higher than Windows XP's spot when it lost support in the spring of 2014.

Microsoft's reporting of 800m Windows 10 devices, however, hints at a quickening uptake of the OS, which in the current environment - where total PC counts are flat at best - also means a faster diminishing of Windows 7.

The latest 100 million increase - from September 25, 2018 to yesterday - took only 163 days, little more than half the time needed to move Windows 10 from 600m to 700m (300 days). It was also a quicker transition than the ones from 500m to 600m (203 days) and from 400m to 500m (226 days).

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

What that graph doesn't show - but should - is that when Windows 10 was launched in July 2015, Satya Nadella's target was to be on a billion devices (with 1.5bn Windows PCs installed) in three years. They got about two-thirds of the way there by that time; the upgrade curve had flattened out almost at once because Windows got crushed on mobile.
microsoft  windows  pc 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
A glimpse into Microsoft history which goes some way to explaining the decline of Windows • Tim Anderson's IT Writing
Tim Anderson:
<p>Why is Windows in decline today? Short answer: because Microsoft lost out and/or gave up on Windows Phone / Mobile.

But how did it get to that point? A significant part of the story is the failure of Longhorn (when two to three years of Windows development was wasted in a big reset), and the failure of Windows 8.

In fact these two things are related. Here’s a <a href="">post from Justin Chase</a>; it is from back in May but only caught my attention when Jose Fajardo <a href="">put it on Twitter</a>. Chase was a software engineer at Microsoft between 2008 and 2014.

Chase notes that Internet Explorer (IE) stagnated because many of the developers working on it switched over to work on Windows Presentation Foundation, one of the “three pillars” of Longhorn. I can corroborate this to the extent that I recall a conversation with a senior Microsoft executive at Tech Ed Europe, in pre-Longhorn days, when I asked why not much was happening with IE. He said that the future lay in rich internet-connected applications rather than browser applications. Insightful perhaps, if you look at mobile apps today, but no doubt Microsoft also had in mind locking people into Windows.</p>

As the post shows, it's odd how you only see how the dominoes are lined up in retrospect.
microsoft  windows 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
What is Windows Lite? It's Microsoft's Chrome OS killer • Petri
Brad Sams:
<p>Microsoft is working on a new version of Windows that may not actually be Windows. It’s currently called Lite, based on documentation found in the latest build, and I can confirm that this version of the OS is targeting Chromebooks. In fact, there are markings all over the latest release of the insider builds and SDK that help us understand where this OS is headed.

If you have heard this before, it should sound a lot like Windows 10 S and RT; Windows 10 Lite only runs PWAs and UWP apps and strips out everything else. This is finally a truly a lightweight version of Windows that isn’t only in the name. This is not a version of the OS that will run in the enterprise or even small business environments and I don’t think you will be able to ‘buy’ the OS either; OEM only may be the way forward.

The reason Microsoft had to kill off Windows10 S was to make way for this iteration of Windows. The goal of Windows Lite is to make it super lightweight, instant on, always connected, and can run on any type of CPU. Knowing that this week Qualcomm will announce a new generation of Snapdragon that can run Windows significantly better than the 835, fully expect to see this new chip powering many of the first devices running the new OS.

And there’s something a bit different about Lite that we haven’t seen from every attempt at launching this type of software in the past; it may not be called Windows.</p>

Anything dubbed a "--killer" won't be - such a name may even doom it - and the problem for Microsoft is that to compete with ChromeOS on that OS's terms would be to lose ignominiously. It can't be done: either you make a browser-based minimal OS, or you don't. A "light Windows" is like being a little pregnant, or crossing the chasm in two hops.
microsoft  windows 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
Microsoft is building a Chromium-powered web browser that will replace Edge on Windows 10 • Windows Central
Zac Bowden:
<p>Microsoft's Edge web browser has seen little success since its debut on Windows 10 in 2015. Built from the ground up with a new rendering engine known as EdgeHTML, Microsoft Edge was designed to be fast, lightweight, and secure, but it launched with a plethora of issues that resulted in users rejecting it early on. Edge has since struggled to gain traction, thanks to its continued instability and lack of mindshare, from users and web developers.

Because of this, I'm told that Microsoft is throwing in the towel with EdgeHTML and is instead building a new web browser powered by Chromium, which uses a similar rendering engine first popularized by Google's Chrome browser known as Blink. Codenamed "Anaheim," this new browser for Windows 10 will replace Edge as the default browser on the platform, according to my sources, who wish to remain anonymous. It's unknown at this time if Anaheim will use the Edge brand or a new brand, or if the user interface (UI) between Edge and Anaheim is different. One thing is for sure, however; EdgeHTML in Windows 10's default browser is dead.

Many will be happy to hear that Microsoft is finally adopting a different rendering engine for the default web browser on Windows 10. Using Chromium means websites should behave just like they do on Google Chrome in Microsoft's new Anaheim browser, meaning users shouldn't suffer from the same instability and performance issues found in Edge today. This is the first step towards revitalizing Windows 10's built-in web browser for users across PCs and phones. Edge on iOS and Android already uses rendering engines native to those platforms, so not much will be changing on that front.</p>

Stunning news; Bowden was the first with it. What a turnaround for the company which was taken to court by the US government because it integrated its browser into the operating system. Google is making <a href="">its branch of WebKit</a> into the operating system of the web. So now there's basically Chrome, Safari, Firefox and.. nothing.
windows  browser  edge  chrome 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
This banking malware just added password and browser history stealing to its playbook • ZDNet
Danny Palmer:
<p>The Trickbot banking malware has added yet another tool to its arsenal, allowing crooks to steal passwords as well as steal browser data including web history and usernames.

The malware first appeared in 2016, initially focused on stealing banking credentials - but Trickbot is highly customisable and has undergone a series of updates since then. The latest trick - picked up by researchers at both Trend Micro and Fortinet - is the addition of a new module designed to steal passwords.

This new Trickbot variant first emerged in October and is delivered to victims via a malicious Excel document.

Like many forms of malware, the malicious package is spread via macros: the user is told their document was created in an older version of Excel and that they must 'enable content' to view the file. This allows macros to run and executes malicious VBS code which kicks off the process of the malware download.</p>

Social engineering is still one of the most reliable ways to hack people.
Hacking  trojan  windows 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Microsoft’s problem isn’t how often it updates Windows—it’s how it develops it • Ars Technica
Peter Bright on Microsoft's new way of looking at Windows:
<p>The problem with Windows as a Service is quality. Previous issues with the feature and security updates have already shaken confidence in Microsoft's updating policy for Windows 10. While data is notably lacking, there is at the very least a popular perception that the quality of the monthly security updates has taken a dive with Windows 10 and that installation of the twice-annual feature updates as soon as they're available is madness. These complaints are long-standing, too. The unreliable updates have been a cause for concern since shortly after Windows 10's release.

The latest problem has brought this to a head, with commentators saying that two feature updates a year is too many and Redmond should cut back to one, and that Microsoft needs to stop developing new features and just fix bugs. Some worry that the company is dangerously close to a serious loss of trust over updates, and for some Windows users, that trust may already have been broken.

These are not the first calls for Microsoft to slow down with its feature updates—there have been concerns that there's too much churn for both IT and consumer audiences alike to handle—but with the obvious problems of the latest update, the calls take on a new urgency.

But saying Microsoft should only produce one update a year instead of two, or criticising the very idea of Windows as a Service, is missing the point. The problem here isn't the release frequency. It's Microsoft's development process.

Why is it the process, and not the timeframe, that's the issue? On the release schedule front, we can look at what other software does to get a feel for what's possible.</p>
microsoft  windows  development  programming 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Windows 10 October 2018 Update no longer deletes your data • Ars Technica
Peter Bright:
<p>Microsoft has figured out why the Windows 10 October 2018 Update deleted data from some systems and produced a fixed version. The severity of the bug caused the company to cease distribution of the update last week; the fixed version is now being distributed to Windows Insiders for testing, ahead of a resumption of the wider rollout…

…The software giant claims that only a small number of users were affected and lost data and has published <a href="">an explanation</a> of the problem.

The storage location of the Known Folders can be changed, a capability called Known Folder Redirection (KFR). This is useful to, for example, move a large Documents folder onto a different disk. Software asking for the Documents Known Folder location will be given the redirected location so it'll seamlessly pick up the redirection and use the correct place. This is why programs shouldn't just hardcode the path; it allows this kind of redirection to work.

Redirecting one or more Known Folders does not, however, remove the original folder. Moreover, if there are still files in the original folder, redirecting doesn't move those files to the new location. Using KFR can thus result in your files being split between two locations; the original folder, and the new redirected folder.

The October 2018 Update tried to tidy up this situation. When KFR is being used, the October 2018 Update will delete the original, default Known Folder locations. Microsoft imagined that this would simply remove some empty, redundant directories from your user profile. No need to have a Documents directory in your profile if you're using a redirected location, after all. The problem is, it neither checked to see if those directories were empty first, nor copied any files to the new redirected location. It just wiped out the old directory, along with anything stored within it. Hence the data loss.</p>

"No longer deletes your data" - sure that the marketing department will go for that.
bug  microsoft  windows 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Microsoft pulls Windows 10 October 2018 update after reports of documents being deleted • The Verge
Tom Warren:
<p>Microsoft is now recommending that affected users contact the company directly, and if you’ve manually downloaded the October update then “please don’t install it and wait until new media is available.” Other Windows 10 users have been complaining that the Microsoft Edge browser and other store apps have been unable to connect to the internet after the October 2018 Update, and the update was even blocked on certain PCs due to Intel driver incompatibilities.

It’s not clear how many Windows 10 users are affected by the problem, but even if it’s a small percentage it’s still surprising this issue was never picked up during Microsoft’s vast testing of the October update. Millions of people help Microsoft test Windows 10, but the company has struggled with the quality of Windows updates recently. Microsoft delayed its Windows 10 April 2018 Update earlier this year over Blue Screen of Death issues, but those problems were picked up before the update reached regular consumers and businesses.

Microsoft was planning to push the latest October update out to all Windows 10 users next Tuesday, but that’s now likely to be put on hold while investigations continue into this major deletion problem.</p>

Warren pointed out on Twitter that Microsoft <a href="">had been warned about this</a> via the Windows Insider program, yet seems to have thought it fixed.
Microsoft  windows 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Microsoft is embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows • The Verge
Tom Warren:
<p>Android app mirroring will be part of Microsoft’s new Your Phone app for Windows 10. This app debuts this week as part of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, but the app mirroring part won’t likely appear until next year. Microsoft briefly demonstrated how it will work, though; You’ll be able to simply mirror your phone screen straight onto Windows 10 through the Your Phone app, which will have a list of your Android apps. You can tap to access them and have them appear in the remote session of your phone.

<img src="" width="100%" />

We’ve seen a variety of ways of bringing Android apps to Windows in recent years, including Bluestacks and even Dell’s Mobile Connect software. This app mirroring is certainly easier to do with Android, as it’s less restricted than iOS. Still, Microsoft’s welcoming embrace of Android in Windows 10 with this app mirroring is just the latest in a number of steps the company has taken recently to really help align Android as the mobile equivalent of Windows.

Microsoft Launcher is designed to replace the default Google experience on Android phones, and bring Microsoft’s own services and Office connectivity to the home screen. It’s a popular launcher that Microsoft keeps updating, and it’s even getting support for the Windows 10 Timeline feature that lets you resume apps and sites across devices.

All of this just reminds me of Windows Phone.</p>

Yeah, Tom, let it go now. But Microsoft trying to ju-jitsu Android by getting Windows connectivity? Seems smart.
android  microsoft  windows 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Microsoft puts its touch-friendly Office apps for Windows 10 on hold • The Verge
Tom Warren:
<p>Microsoft first started work on its touch-friendly Office apps for Windows 8.1 more than five years ago. Designed for tablets or laptops with touchscreens, the apps are lightweight and speedy versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft has updated them regularly for Windows 10, but now that the company has halted work on Windows 10 Mobile, it’s also halting work on these Office apps.

The apps aren’t fully dead yet, but Microsoft is no longer developing new features for them. “We are currently prioritizing development for the iOS and Android versions of our apps; and on Windows, we are prioritizing Win32 and web versions of our apps,” explains a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

The reprioritization isn’t all that surprising given the state of dedicated universal Windows apps on Windows 10 and the Microsoft Store. These touch-friendly versions of Office were once a great example of what developers could achieve if they made universal Windows apps, but Microsoft now lets developers simply package existing desktop apps and list them in the store.</p>

Meanwhile, people are saying "Apple MUST release a touchscreen Mac or it is dead!" Nope. Wasn't true then, still isn't true. (Touch-free version of iOS apps, as in Marzipan ones, are a different matter.)
windows  touch 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
Microsoft is ready for a world beyond Windows • The Verge
Tom Warren:
<p>Windows isn’t dead, but it’s clearly not as important to Microsoft anymore and it will play a very different role in the company’s future. Microsoft needs to follow and provide cloud services and apps to people on the platforms they’re using. The company has seen great success with Office 365 and apps like Outlook for mobile, and Microsoft expects that two-thirds of its Office users will have moved to its subscription cloud service by next year.

Windows is being adapted for new devices and scenarios, but it’s not the core of Microsoft’s business anymore and hasn’t been for years. Nadella says “the future of Windows is bright,” but in the same sentence he says Microsoft will “more deeply” connect Windows to its Microsoft 365 offering. Microsoft 365 lets companies purchase Office and Windows together in a single subscription.

Consumers don’t care about Windows anymore, and I’ve long argued Microsoft should drop its insistence of branding everything with it. Consumers are no longer interested in purchasing devices for the familiarity or compatibility of Windows, and it’s hard to even list 10 desktop apps I really need on a daily basis. A big exception to this is gaming, but Microsoft hasn’t innovated enough on gaming PCs to really foster that. Gaming PCs simply run Windows because it’s the platform to deliver those games, and we’re starting to see how mobile operating systems are rapidly catching up. Thanks to the web and Chrome, it’s easy to imagine a future where services matter far more than the operating system they run on.

Now that Microsoft has moved the fundamental core of Windows over to the cloud team, it’s easy to see the long-term future of Windows being a cloud subscription service for the people who really need to use it, rather than love using it. Bill Gates figured out how to put a computer on every desk and in every home, and now the company is ready to grow and tackle the future. It’s not the old and trusted Windows operating system that will get Microsoft there.</p>

Ben Thompson <a href="">argues at Stratechery</a> that it was Steve Ballmer's insistence on Windows above all that meant the company fell behind the curve in AI and cloud efforts; but Nadella has refocussed that. (Microsoft was too late to mobile to ever succeed, but Ballmer prolonged the pain - and cost - by buying Nokia.)

This is a terrific article, well worth your time reading in full. The Stratechery one too (it's free).
Microsoft  windows 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Microsoft confirms it’s already cancelling its newest version of Windows • BGR
Mike Wehner:
<p>it appears as though Windows 10 S hasn’t been received as well as Microsoft had hoped. Just 10 months after announcing the new operating system, Microsoft on Tuesday evening confirmed that it is being scrapped next year. In its place, Microsoft will build a new “S Mode” into Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Windows 10 Pro. Administrators in settings like schools will likely be able to lock devices in S Mode, though details are scarce for the time being.

“We use Win10S as an option for schools or businesses that want the ‘low-hassle’/ guaranteed performance version,” Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore wrote in a post on Twitter. “Next year 10S will be a ‘mode’ of existing versions, not a distinct version.” Belfiore’s tweet was posted in response to a user asking why Windows S 10 market share data wasn’t being separated from overall Windows 10 market share figures.</p>

Very hard to downsell people - even schools. A locked-down Windows would have made sense 10 years ago, and might have headed off ChromeOS. But now? Way too late.
schools  microsoft  windows 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
Skype can't fix a nasty security bug without a massive code rewrite • ZDNet
Zack Whittaker:
<p>A security flaw in Skype's updater process can allow an attacker to gain system-level privileges to a vulnerable computer.

The bug, if exploited, can escalate a local unprivileged user to the full "system" level rights -- granting them access to every corner of the operating system.

But Microsoft, which owns the voice- and video-calling service, said it won't immediately fix the flaw, because the bug would require too much work.

Security researcher Stefan Kanthak found that the Skype update installer could be exploited with a DLL hijacking technique, which allows an attacker to trick an application into drawing malicious code instead of the correct library. An attacker can download a malicious DLL into a user-accessible temporary folder and rename it to an existing DLL that can be modified by an unprivileged user, like UXTheme.dll. The bug works because the malicious DLL is found first when the app searches for the DLL it needs.</p>

Not going to fix a deep bug in Skype for Windows?!
Skype  windows  hacking 
february 2018 by charlesarthur
The dawn of solar windows • IEEE Spectrum
Andy Extance:
<p>By 2020, 8.3 billion square meters of flat glass will be installed annually in new buildings worldwide, according to the Freedonia Group. That area, covered in standard solar panels in the ideal orientation, could produce more than a terawatt at peak output, and over one year it could generate some 2,190 terawatt-hours. That’s 9% of what the world’s annual electricity consumption was in 2016. Substituting this source of energy for coal in 2017 would have saved about 1.6% of carbon emissions from fossil fuels, industry, and changes in forestry and land use.

And powerful regulatory forces are now dragging solar windows and their environmental benefits into reality. A European Union directive requires all new buildings to meet a “nearly zero-energy” standard by the end of 2020. Japan, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, has gone further by requiring all new public buildings to be zero energy by 2020.

Solar windows will never be as efficient as conventional solar panels, because windows must of course remain at least partially transparent. But they can create an enormous network of small photovoltaic sources. And developers maintain that the money that the windows save on energy will repay the cost of installing them.

Already, the cost difference is pretty small, says Thomas Brown from the University of Rome, in Italy, who used to develop solar windows. Adding power-generating components to window materials could pay for itself in less than a decade, he says.</p>
Solar  windows  power  electricity 
february 2018 by charlesarthur
Fooling Windows 10 facial authentication with a photo • HOTforSecurity
Graham Cluley:
<p>Maybe you’re one of those people who care enough about the security and privacy of your computer that you enable the facial recognition feature built into versions of Windows 10, but find it too much of a pain to set up a password.

If so, you’re potentially at risk of having your computer unlocked by an attacker holding a modified low resolution laser-printed photograph of you in front of your webcam.

As described on the Full Disclosure mailing list, a team of German penetration testers discovered it was all too easy to trick a locked Windows 10 system into letting them login using a “modified printed photo of an authorised user.”

Windows Hello is a feature currently only shipping in Windows 10, allowing PCs with the necessary hardware to use special imaging techniques to let you sign in with just a look.

The researchers tested the spoofing attack against a Dell Latitude E7470 laptop running Windows 10 Pro (Version 1703) with a Windows Hello compatible webcam, and against a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 device running Windows 10 Pro (Version 1607) with a built-in camera.</p>

Microsoft has included updates to try to stop this in its October update, but you'd ideally set up your facial authentication all over again.

Presently, this does leave Apple's iPhone X as the only one where I haven't seen video of two different non-twin adults unlocking someone else's phone using facial recognition.
windows  facialrecognition  security 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
HP, Asus announce first Windows 10 ARM PCs: 20 hour battery life, gigabit LTE • Ars Technica
Peter Bright:
<p>Just shy of a year after announcing that Windows was once again going to be available on ARM systems, the first two systems were announced today: the Asus NovaGo 2-in-1 laptop, and the HP Envy x2 tablet.

Branded as Always Connected PCs, the new Windows on ARM systems are positioned as bringing together the best of PCs and smartphones. They have PC form factors, with the productivity enabled by a real keyboard, touchpad, and general purpose operating system capable of running regular Windows software, but they bring with them the seamless switching between LTE and Wi-Fi, instant on, multiple working day battery life, and slimline, lightweight packaging that we're accustomed to on our phones.

The Asus laptop boasts 22 hours of battery life or 30 days of standby, along with LTE that can run at gigabit speeds. HP's tablet offers a 12.3 inch, 1920×1280 screen, 20 hours battery life or 29 days of standby, and a removable keyboard-cover and stylus. Both systems use the Snapdragon 835 processor and X16 LTE modem, with HP offering up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage to go with it…

…The emulator runs in a just-in-time basis, converting blocks of x86 code to equivalent blocks of ARM code. This conversion is cached both in memory (so each given part of a program only has to be translated once per run) and on disk (so subsequent uses of the program should be faster, as they can skip the translation). Moreover, system libraries—the various DLLs that applications load to make use of operating system features—are all native ARM code, including the libraries loaded by x86 programs. Calling them "Compiled Hybrid Portable Executables" (or "chippie" for short), these libraries are ARM native code, compiled in such a way as to let them respond to x86 function calls.

While processor-intensive applications are liable to suffer a significant performance hit from this emulation—Photoshop will work in the emulator, but it won't be very fast—applications that spend a substantial amount of time waiting around for the user—such as Word—should perform with adequate performance.</p>

Seems like a better approach than the first time round with ARM. That's quite some battery life, too.
arm  windows 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
Linux champion Munich will switch to Windows 10 in €50m rollout • ZDNet
Nick Heath:
<p>Munich mayor Dieter Reiter said the move to Windows 10 [on 29,000 PCs, beginning in 2020 for two years] is necessary to simplify the management of the city's desktops. By switching the Windows 10, he says the council will no longer have to run two desktop operating systems side-by-side. Reiter was referring to a longstanding practice at Munich of running both LiMux and a minority of Windows machines, which are kept for applications not compatible with Linux and where virtualization is not an option.

"We always had mixed systems and what we have here is the possibility of going over to a single system. Having two operating systems is completely uneconomic," he said, speaking at the full council meeting yesterday where the move to Windows was approved.

There is disagreement over what proportion of machines run Windows, with critics of the current setup saying it is as high as 40% PCs, while others argue it stands at about 20%. That said, the council has been running both systems side-by-side for more than 10 years, but has only recently highlighted managing twin systems as a problem.

Beyond simplifying the city's desktop estate, Mayor Reiter said a return to Windows was needed to resolve unhappiness with the performance of Munich's IT.

"I've never said I'm an expert in IT procurement. But I'm backed by 6,000 co-workers who also aren't satisfied with the performance of the existing systems," he said.</p>

Didn't want to try Chromebooks?
munich  windows 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Keyboard shortcuts in Windows • Windows Help
I asked, and reader Richard responded. There's a good number of them.
windows  shortcuts  keyboard 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Response to NY Post article • NYPD News
Deputy commissioner of Information & Technology Jessica Tisch:
<p>This Sunday, while a Post reporter was writing her story, NYPD officers used their smartphones to help respond to over 25,000 911 calls; ran 18,000 searches; and viewed 1,080 flyers of missing or wanted persons. Sunday is a slow day.

Three years ago we made the decision to bring mobility to the NYPD. At that time, neither iOS nor Android phones allowed us to cost-effectively utilize prior investment in custom Windows applications.

Moreover, we assessed that the Windows platform would be most effective at achieving our goal of securing 36,000 devices that would be used for sensitive law enforcement operations. This was of paramount importance. The devices were rolled out as tools to help officers fight crime, enhance their safety and improve policing in New York City.

The contract entered provided for the smartphones at no cost. It also allowed for the NYPD to replace the smartphones with devices of our choosing two years later, also at no cost.

We have since continually reviewed the evolution of mobile platforms. A year ago, we learned that improvements in Apple controls would allow NYPD to responsibly and cost effectively move our mobility initiative to the Apple platform. We began plans to make the transition, which will take effect this fall.

Our smartphone initiative is 45% under budget. Based on current rate of spending, we expect to stretch what was initially budgeted at two years of spending to more than four years.</p>

Ah. So the phones were free, and they can be replaced for free. Microsoft took a gamble that it would be stronger by now, but instead it failed. I wrongly thought that Tisch would get fired over this, before knowing the details of the free phones.

Instead, she looks quite smart: for the cost of a few app rewrites, the NYPD doesn't have to gamble on the mobile platform war.
nypd  mobile  iphone  windows  microsoft 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Windows is doomed • The Week
Navneet Alang:
<p>the continually rising tides of Apple and Google's platforms will likely wash Windows away as people shift their work and play habits to opposing platforms. While many are fond of saying that you still need Windows for real work, as analyst Benedict Evans likes to point out, "the connective tissue of work needs to be rebuilt" in light of mobile, AI, and the cloud — and it's hard to see how Windows will be a part of that as new technologies emerge in new places.

It's not that Microsoft is oblivious to this reality. Recognizing a do-or-die scenario, Microsoft has now retrenched when it comes to Windows, putting its efforts into desktop and making Windows work on ARM, the type of chips found in iPhones and Android phones. The new, rumored goal is that using ARM will not only let Microsoft and its partners make thin, light laptops and tablets with great battery life, it will also let them create a phone that runs full Windows and can be used as a complete computer when docked into a keyboard, mouse, and monitor — and in doing so, give Microsoft a complete device to offer its millions of customers.

But this is likely just fantasy. As the deal with Amazon suggests, companies need a platform of their own to build out the vertically integration that has made Apple and Google so wildly successful. Platforms are like networks, and without the core node of mobile in a mobile-first world, Microsoft's Windows cannot last.</p>

I wouldn't hold my breath on this one. COBOL is pretty old, and it's still underpinning banks and transactions around the world.
windows  microsoft 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Windows 10 is making too many PCs obsolete • Computerworld
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols:
<p>Microsoft released its latest Windows 10 update earlier this year. The name, Creators Update, makes it sound bigger than it is; it’s really a minor step forward. But about 10 million Windows 10 customers have to face up to an unpleasant surprise: Their machines can’t update to Creators Update.

That’s how many poor sad sacks bought a Windows 8.x laptop in 2013 or 2014 with an Intel Clover Trail processor. Any of them who have tried to update their PC with the March 2017 Creators Update, version 1703, had no success and were presented with this message: “Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC.” Boy, that must have been fun!

Not the end of the road for your three-year-old machine, though. I mean, you could always keep running the last version of Windows 10 on your PC. It wasn’t as if you went directly to a permanent blue screen of death. And anyway, Microsoft eventually backed off some, announcing that, while you can’t update those machines, you can still get security patches.

Now, that’s one giant corporation with a big heart.</p>

This is a weird story - on a par with "Apple's new software will make your old phone obsolete". Every update is going to leave some machines behind. If the security updates are there, what's the worry?
windows  update 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Ransomware attack puts KQED in low-tech mode • San Francisco Chronicle
Marissa Lang:
<p>The journalists at San Francisco’s public TV and radio station, KQED, have been stuck in a time warp.

All Internet-connected devices, tools and machinery have been cut off in an attempt to isolate and contain a ransomware attack that infected the station’s computers June 15. More than a month later, many remain offline.

Though the stations’ broadcasts have been largely uninterrupted — minus a half-day loss of the online stream on the first day of the attack — KQED journalists said every day has brought new challenges and revealed the immeasurable ways the station, like many businesses today, has become dependent on Internet-connected devices.

“It’s like we’ve been bombed back to 20 years ago, technology-wise,” said Queena Kim, a senior editor at KQED. “You rely on technology for so many things, so when it doesn’t work, everything takes three to five times longer just to do the same job.”</p>

Notable that the only computer being used in the story is a Mac. Externalities of Windows are multifarious.
windows  ransomware 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Windows 10 on Snapdragon 835: a promising demo • Mobile Geeks
Myriam Joire:
<p>Today at Computex 2017, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform to help with Microsoft’s effort to bring Windows 10 to ARM-based devices. In addition, ASUS, HP, and Lenovo have committed to launching Snapdragon 835-based Windows 10 products in the next few months. These will be sleek, fanless, and always connected 2-in-1 mobile PCs with all day battery life aimed squarely at the productivity market.

In case you forgot, Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 now features an emulation layer that lets users seamlessly run x86 apps on ARM devices. With the Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm already offers a powerful, efficient, tiny (10nm process), and always connected (Gigabit LTE) platform for standalone VR/MR headsets and flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Essential Phone, so it’s a no-brainer to extend support to mobile PCs running Windows 10.

In other words, Snapdragon 835 is eating the world.</p>

Interesting little challenge for Apple here. Second time around for Microsoft, but seems to be getting the pieces right this time - and ARM, as an architecture, has come a long way.
microsoft  windows  arm 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Worldwide tablet shipments decline 8.5% in the first quarter as the slow migration from slates to detachables continues • IDC
<p>The tablet market is comprised of two different product categories, which are headed in very different directions as noted by IDC in the past. Devices offering a first-party keyboard, which IDC refers to as detachable tablets, continue to grow for the most part. Many of these devices have quickly grown to resemble products that IDC refers to as traditional notebook PCs or laptops. The other product category is slate tablets (those lacking this keyboard option), which saw shipments peak in 2014 and is now in a steep decline that IDC believes will continue throughout the forecast period…

…Fast forward to 1Q17 and traditional PCs have returned to growth, albeit relatively flat growth, for the first time since 1Q12.

"A long-term threat to the overall PC market lies in how the market ultimately settles on the detachable versus convertible debate," said Linn Huang, research director, Devices & Displays at IDC. "To date, detachable shipments have dwarfed those of convertibles, but growth of the former has slowed a bit. In IDC's 2017 U.S. Consumer PCD Survey, fielded over the previous two months, detachable owners held slightly more favorable attitudes towards their detachables than convertible owners did for their convertibles. However, owners of both were far more likely to recommend a convertible over a detachable."</p>

"Flat growth" is a lovely phrase for "dead". IDC doesn't include "convertibles" in its tablet segment; they're PCs which can be tablet-y (eg Lenovo's Yoga). IDC says Apple, whose share is settling down to about 25% of the whole tablet segment, is top of the "detachable" market with the iPad Pro. (I love the 9.7in version - perfect weight and portability.) Samsung meanwhile is backing into the Windows PC market through the same route.

Android slates are the low-price, zero-profit (unsustainable) end; Strategy Analytics <a href="">says</a> Windows was 15% of tablet shipments, ie 6.3m units on its larger measure of 42.1m for the market. IDC puts the market at 36.2m units.
idc  tablet  windows  apple 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Google's Android close to surpassing Microsoft as top OS for internet usage • TheStreet
Natalie Walters:
<p>The Android operating system from Alphabet's Google is inching extremely close to passing Microsoft (MSFT) as the most popular operating system (OS) for Internet usage, according to February 2017 data collected by StatCounter from usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.

"This is hugely significant for Microsoft," StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen told TheStreet. "It's coming close to the end of an era with Microsoft no longer having the dominant operating system. It took the lead from Apple in the 80s and has held that title ever since." This new development is coming after Google's Chrome browser has already beat out Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Edge, he added. 

According to last month's data, Windows took 38.6% of the OS market share worldwide, vs. a close 37.4% grabbed by Android. This numbers are significant considering Windows held 82% of the global Internet usage share in 2012, vs. a measly 2.2% held by Android.</p>

Sign o' the times.
android  windows  web 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Linux's Munich crisis: Crunch vote locks city on course for Windows return • ZDNet
David Meyer:
<p>Munich's city council has resolved to draw up a plan for abandoning LiMux, a Linux distribution created especially for its use, which the mayor wants ditched in favor of Microsoft's Windows 10 by the end of 2020…

…At a Wednesday morning council meeting the coalition agreed to produce a draft plan for the migration, including cost estimates, before the council takes a final vote on the subject.

"The city council has not fully approved to change to Windows," confirmed Petra Leimer Kastan, a spokeswoman for the office of mayor Dieter Reiter.

However, Matthias Kirschner, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe said: "They have now stepped back a little bit because so many people were watching, but on the other hand it's very clear what they want."

Little over a decade ago, Munich completed a migration from Windows to LiMux that involved some 15,000 computers, reportedly cost over €30m. Today, most of the local authority's computers run LiMux, although some use Windows to run certain applications.

According to Munich's current administration, council staff members dislike the software they have to use each day, and the city needs to stick to one operating system: Windows.</p>

However it's not clear whether they're dissatisfied with LiMux, or the entire IT system they have to navigate. One suspects it's the combination, but that they might be able to fumble their way through on Windows.
windows  linux  munich 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
I am going to eradicate the inbound Windows Support scam • Jolly Roger Telephone
<p>I’m getting ready for a major initiative to shut down Windows Support. It’s like wack-a-mole, but I’m getting close to going nuclear on them. As fast as you can report fake “you have a virus call this number now” messages to me, I will be able to hit them with thousands of calls from bots. It’s like when the pirate ship turns “broadside” on an enemy in order to attack with all cannons simultaneously. I’ll calling it a “Broadside” campaign against Windows Support and the fake IRS.

There are A LOT of moving pieces to getting this working. One of them is letting you hear the calls as they happen. This is a little post to test the html for the posted recordings. I really need to write a WordPress plugin to do it. For now, I have a script that generates this raw HTML for me to post here. Anyway, please enjoy these experimental calls and we can anticipate the day when these call centers are all gone because of one pirate attacking them safely from off-shore.</p>

He's pretty determined. <a href="">His about page is quite a read</a> too.
windows  scam  support  telephone 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
The woes of Windows 10 • The Economist
The anonymous correspondent points out that 75% of existing PCs have not been updated to Windows 10, despite it having been free for a year (now over):
<p>There is no question that Windows 10 is an impressive piece of software, and quite the most secure operating system ever devised. But it is still very much a work in progress—even the program’s troubleshooter needs a troubleshooter. In its current form, Windows 10 demands serious expertise when it comes to knocking it into shape so ordinary users can work they way they prefer. It is also guilty of trampling far too much on people's privacy, by keeping tabs of all their comings and goings. Given the tales of woe doing the rounds, a number of Windows 7 holdouts who have the choice could jump ship to the user-friendliness of a Macintosh or Chromebook—and no one would blame them for doing so.

For Microsoft, the obvious answer is to focus primarily on getting enterprises to upgrade. Rather than offer incentives, the company has resorted to spreading FUD (fear, uncertainly and doubt) among its corporate customers—as IBM did back in the 1970s whenever customers threatened to desert Big Blue for rival suppliers. Since the start of the year, Microsoft’s corporate users have been warned that, even with security updates, Windows 7 simply does not have the architecture to cope with today’s threats. The remedial work needed to recover from malware attacks can only drive up operating costs. The message to sceptical systems managers: postpone the inevitable upgrade at your peril.

The scaremongering does not stop there. Microsoft researchers cite two recent “zero-day” incidents (exploits that have never been seen before) by the Strontium hacker group—said to be affiliated with Russian intelligence—that broke into various American computer systems during the recent presidential campaign, including those of the Democratic National Committee, the former secretary of state, Colin Powell, and other political groups. Both exploits would have been stopped dead in their tracks by the heavy armour deployed by Windows 10 since its Anniversary Update (effectively Windows 10.1) last August, say the researchers. </p>

What might have been, eh?
microsoft  windows  russia  hacking 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Windows 10 on ARM: Microsoft's key to the Chromebook market • Windows Central
Zac Bowden:
<p>Microsoft has <a href="">announced</a> that the full version of Windows 10 is coming to ARM, with x86 support meaning your Win32 desktop applications won't be missing like they were on Windows RT. This opens up a whole world of new opportunities for OEMs, and indeed Microsoft, to build low-cost and low-powered Windows 10 devices that can directly take on Chromebooks.

If you were to tell me a few years ago that Chromebooks would actually be a big deal and a possible threat to Windows, I'd have probably laughed in your face. I remember thinking "A laptop that's just a browser? There's no way that'll catch on". I know many don't consider the rise of Chromebooks to be a threat to Microsoft or Windows 10, but they very much are. More and more schools and businesses are opting for Chromebooks over Windows 10 laptops, mainly because of price, but also because Chromebooks do what they need them to do, durably, and at a low cost.</p>

There's a lot of hope in the Windows enthusiast market that this latest version of Windows on ARM (WoA) will, unlike 2011's version, be a really amazing implementation, rather than a milquetoast version which can't run x86 apps.

The good news: they will be able to run x86 apps, through virtualisation. The bad news: they'll be doing it on really underpowered CPUs. True, you don't need a lot of power to compete with Chromebooks; but Chromebooks are already getting their market. It feels like another proof-of-concept.

For more, read Wes Miller's 2012 thoughts on "<a href="">architectural escape velocity</a>", which deals with the first attempt at WoA.
windows  arm 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Microsoft says Russia-linked hackers exploiting Windows flaw • Reuters
Jim Finkle and Dustin Volz:
<p>Microsoft said on Tuesday that a hacking group previously linked to the Russian government and U.S. political hacks was behind recent cyber attacks that exploited a newly discovered Windows security flaw.

The software maker said in an advisory on its website there had been a small number of attacks using "spear phishing" emails from a hacking group known Strontium, which is more widely known as "Fancy Bear," or APT 28. Microsoft did not identify any victims.

Microsoft's disclosure of the new attacks and the link to Russia came after Washington accused Moscow of launching an unprecedented hacking campaign aimed at disrupting and discrediting the upcoming U.S. election.</p>
microsoft  windows  hacking 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Worldwide PC shipments declined 5.7% in third quarter of 2016 • Gartner
<p>"There are two fundamental issues that have impacted PC market results: the extension of the lifetime of the PC caused by the excess of consumer devices, and weak PC consumer demand in emerging markets," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "According to our 2016 personal technology survey, the majority of consumers own, and use, at least three different types of devices in mature markets. Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for the majority of consumers, so they do not feel the need to upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. Some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again.

"In emerging markets, PC penetration is low, but consumers are not keen to own PCs. Consumers in emerging markets primarily use smartphones or phablets for their computing needs, and they don't find the need to use a PC as much as consumers in mature markets."</p>

<a href="">IDC's results say much the same</a> (with not quite such a big decline). That point about "consumers not being keen to own PCs" is pretty telling. PC sales for the third quarter were the lowest they've been since 2006; concentration of production (80% by the top six) was at its greatest ever, and is going to increase once Lenovo takes over Fujitsu. I do wonder how long Samsung will persist.

Neither set of numbers, however, includes Chromebooks or 2-in-1s. Chromebooks in particular are zooming ahead. It's about time that one of these groups included them: they're becoming important in education, from where they could break out. They're a slow low-end disruption playing out over a decade, as children graduate from school.
pc  decline  windows 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
This must be the biggest Windows Blue Screen of Death ever seen •
Lee Mathews:
<p>The Blue Screen of Death has been around for more than 20 years. You’ve probably seen one or two before, but you’ve never seen one quite this big.

That massive video wall (probably around 50 feet tall) you see below graces the entrance to CentralFestival, a shopping mall in Pattaya, Thailand. Blake Sibbit happened to be outside when the Windows-powered signage tripped over itself and captured this awesome image.

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

That is superb.
windows  bluescreen 
august 2016 by charlesarthur
PC shipments beat expectations in Q2 2016 as US market returned to growth while other regions continued to decline • IDC
<p>"The PC market continues to struggle as we wait for replacements to accelerate, along with some return of spending from phones, tablets, and other IT," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide PC Trackers & Forecasting. "Our long-term outlook remains cautions. However, the strong results in the U.S. offer a glimpse of what the market could look like with pockets of growth and a stronger overall environment. It's not dramatic growth, but it could push the market into positive territory slightly ahead of our forecast for 2018."

"As expected, the start of the peak education buying season helped generate large Chromebook shipment volumes in the U.S.," stated Linn Huang, research director, Devices & Displays. "A somewhat unexpected boost came from intensified inventory pull-in as cautious channel players, who had been working to pare down inventory over the last several quarters, opened up inventory constraints a bit. This was likely a one-time shipment boost to bring aggregate inventory levels back to market equilibrium. The larger story remains whether an early wave of enterprise transition to Windows 10 could help close out a 2016 that is increasingly looking stronger in the U.S."</p>

The US market was 17.03m units including those Chromebooks, according to IDC, while Gartner - which doesn't count Chromebooks (don't ask me why), <a href="">puts the US market</a> at 15.22m. Suggests that Chromebooks were 1.81m - just behind Apple's figure of 1.87m (Gartner) or 1.91m (IDC).

If Chromebooks are over 10% of the US market, that's beginning to be important. (By that calculation, Chromebook shipments in 2Q15 were 1.2m in a total market of 16.2m. Strong growth.)

The Windows PC market, meanwhile, isn't healing.
windows  pc  chromebook 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
HP announces $189 Chromebook 11 G5 with ability to run Android apps, 12.5 hours of battery life, and optional touchscreen • Android Police
Jacob Long:
<p>Today HP announced its latest Chromebook model update, this time with a budget focus. The Chromebook 11 G5 will, most notably, run Android apps and will cost just $189. Another headlining feature of the new laptop is its claimed 12.5 hours of battery life, which is top shelf in general and quite good for a laptop that costs considerably less than most of the phones our readers have. An optional touchscreen, which will increase the price by an unspecified amount, will make Android apps even more usable at the cost of just one hour of battery life.

For those who are reluctant to make the jump to Chrome OS, both Google and HP hope that Android app compatibility will ease your fears. If you aren't a huge fan of web apps or there just isn't a Chrome or browser-based equivalent of the software you need, then the use of Android apps can be a huge value-added feature.</p>

To say the least. Cheaper than most phones, and with a battery life to match. Weighs 1.1kg. Anyone who isn't much invested in Windows could easily switch to this when it goes on sale in October.
hp  chromebook  windows 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Microsoft wants Windows Holographic to power all VR devices, not just HoloLens • PCWorld
Mark Hachman:
<p>Think of virtual reality devices as PCs and you’ll better understand what Microsoft wants to do with Windows Holographic: establish it as the de facto operating system for augmented reality and virtual reality devices.

At Computex on Tuesday night, Microsoft executives said the company had opened up Windows Holographic to all devices, and had begun working with HTC’s Vive team to port the Windows Holographic Windows 10 interface to it. According to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Device Group at Microsoft, “Windows is the only mixed reality platform.”

Myerson showed off a video (below) where a HoloLens user was able to “see” the avatar of an Oculus Rift user, and vice versa. The two, plus an additional HoloLens user, were all able to collaborate on a shared project, passing holographic assets back and forth. Two employees did the same on stage, digitally painting a virtual motorcycle that was seen by both a HoloLens as well as an HTC Vive. 

“Many of today’s devices and experiences do not work with each other, provide different user interfaces, interaction models, input methods, peripherals, and content,” Myerson said. Microsoft intends to solve that problem with Windows 10 and Windows Holographic.

Microsoft’s announcement shouldn’t be too surprising, given that the Rift and the Vive are tethered to a Windows 10 PC anyway. Microsoft boasts that more than 300m devices today run Windows 10, but an additional 80m VR devices could be sold by 2020, all of which Microsoft covets as potential Windows 10 devices.</p>

Who's missing? Oculus - owned by Facebook, in which Microsoft owns a chunk of stock. So that could still happen.
holographic  windows  vr  ar 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Malware is getting nastier, but that shouldn’t matter » Computerworld
Steven Vaughan-Nichols:
<p>Another thing to keep in mind is that there are overwhelming odds that you would have to be running Windows for the malware to pose any sort of threat to you. Sure, it’s possible to hack Linux and Mac OS X, but the vast majority of attacks are almost always on Windows PCs. That’s not because Windows users are dumber than Linux and Mac users (well, I’m not going to say that, anyway); it’s just that there are a whole lot more of them.

But let’s say that you are running Windows. That hardly means you’re doomed. For the malware to get a toehold, you need to open a Windows format file — from a stranger. And why would you do that? Opening a Windows format file sent by someone you don’t know has been a mug’s move since the late ’90s, when Word macro Trojans, such as Melissa, were the last word in malware attacks.

Let me remind you of some security commandments that many of you seem to have forgotten…</p>

Vaughan-Nichols then launches into a four-point list of mansplaining, or maybe virusplaining or Trojansplaining. Whichever, he completely misses the point. Users aren't "stupid" for doing things that <em>they have been trained by software companies to do</em> for years - such as clicking "update" or "open" and ignoring warnings, because the warnings are too frequent and the explanations of why doing them is bad are too obscure.

As for "the vast majority of attacks are almost always on Windows PCs" - this is hardly a surprise.
windows  virus 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Tim Sweeney is missing the point; the PC platform needs fixing » Ars Technica
Peter Bright responds to a (slightly puzzling) <a href="">piece by Tim Sweeney of Epic Games in The Guardian</a>, and says that for a lot of people smartphones and tablets feel a lot more secure, by design:
<p>Beyond the API-level checking to get in the store, the sandboxing means that apps simply can't access things they shouldn't.

This combination of security, isolation, compatibility, reliability, and predictability has given consoles, smartphones, tablets, and even Chromebooks substantial appeal when compared to the PC. Smartphones, consoles, and Chromebooks are all growing, expanding markets. Windows PCs aren't, and the perceived failings in these areas are among the reasons that many users say they prefer their iPhone or their iPad to their PC. Their iPads are safe and consistent, and users just know that they'll work in the right way.

The traditional PC has none of that, which is why Microsoft is trying to build it. The Store is central to this. UWP provides big parts of the infrastructure, in particular, sandboxed security and clean installation and uninstallation. The Store provides other parts. It provides infrastructure such as app updating and in-app purchasing, and it also allows Microsoft to enforce various technical rules, such as prohibiting the use of some APIs, mandating adequate performance in certain scenarios, and informing developers if their apps are crashing too much. Microsoft needs both the Store and UWPs together to deliver the kind of platform that consumers have shown they want. Take away the Store, and the platform concept as a whole is compromised.</p>

Strong arguments.
microsoft  windows 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
How to disable ads on your Windows 10 lock screen » How-To Geek
Chris Stobling:
<p>If you’re like me, you might have opened up your Windows 10 laptop today only to see a giant ad for Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider plastered across your login screen. This is the work of the “Windows Spotlight” feature in your Personalization settings, and thankfully, you can turn it off for good.</p>

adblocking  advertising  windows 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Unlock your Windows 10 phone remotely » Windows Help
<p>Try unlocking your Windows 10 phone remotely if you get this message: "This device has been locked for security reasons. Connect your device to a power source for at least two hours and then try again." The key is to reset your PIN through

Go to

Sign in with the same Microsoft account you use on the phone.

Click the Find my phone link.

Press Lock.

Enter a new PIN. Now you'll be able to unlock your phone with your new PIN.</p>

You can't do this with an iPhone - you need to enter the existing PIN first. Clearly, the answer is for the FBI to issue would-be terrorists with Windows Phones running Windows Mobile 10 (it doesn't work on 8) to simplify subsequent investigations. (Thanks <a href="">Tero Alhonen</a> for the link.)
windows  security 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
HP exits low-cost tablet market in product shakeup » PCWorld
Agam Shah:
<p>If you're looking for a low-priced tablet from HP, you soon will not be able to find one.

HP is exiting the low-end tablet market amid declining prices and slowing demand. Instead, the company will focus on detachables, hybrids and business tablets at the higher end of the market.

"We are going to focus where there is profitability and growth and will not chase the low-end tablet market. We are focusing on business mobility to deliver tablets built for field service, education, retail and healthcare," said Ron Coughlin, president for personal systems at HP.

HP has already stopped listing many low-end Android tablets on its website. The remaining lower-end products -- the US$99 HP 7 G2 tablet and $149 HP 8 G2 tablet -- have been out of stock for months, and it's likely they won't be available again. They are however still available through some online retailers at cut-rate prices.

The least expensive tablet on HP's site is now the $329.99 HP Envy 8 Note tablet with Windows 10. HP has Windows on most tablets now, with only a handful running Android.</p>

Wonder if this will become a trend. Obviously it will for enterprise sales - but might it also be the way to lure back disaffected Windows PC customers?
hp  tablet  windows 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Microsoft pulled the Windows 10 November Update due to privacy setting bug » Winbeta
Zac Bowden:
<p>Microsoft has today detailed why they chose to pull the Windows 10 November Update from Windows Update and the Media Creation Tool over the weekend. Their initial comment regarding the situation claimed the company decided that all users needed to update via Windows Update, but it appears that was not the entire story.

Microsoft told WinBeta the update was pulled due to issues with privacy concerns. More specifically, upon installing the update, Windows would not remember the users set privacy settings, meaning Windows would simply default them. While not a huge bug, it did raise a few privacy concerns amongst those upgrading.</p>
microsoft  windows 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Microsoft fails to deliver tool to bring Android apps to Windows » Re/code
Ina Fried:
<p>The Android tool [called Project Astoria] was seen as the riskiest of the four bridges as it amounted to essentially porting over apps written for Android without really taking advantage of Windows itself. BlackBerry employed a similar strategy, allowing Android apps to run on BlackBerry 10 devices via Amazon’s app store. In the end, that proved largely unsatisfying and the company opted to build the Priv, a true Android-based smartphone.

Microsoft’s options for iOS and Web developers require more work on the part of app creators, but they also end up with something that was more of a true Windows app versus just an Android hand-me-down.

With the demise or delay of Astoria, the stakes are even higher for Microsoft to convince mobile developers to put some effort into making a Windows version of their apps. While Microsoft has struggled to lure mobile developers because of Windows’ low share of the phone market, it has a bit more compelling story with Windows 10, where developers can write a universal application that can run on Windows-based phones, tablets, PCs and even on the Xbox game console.</p>

Still don't see why you'd make a Windows desktop version of any mobile-intended app.
android  windows 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10: Yes, it shares your passkeys; no, you shouldn’t be scared » Ars Technica
Sebastian Anthony:
For a start, when a Wi-Fi passkey is shared with your PC via Wi-Fi Sense, you never actually see the password: it comes down from a Microsoft server in encrypted form, and is decrypted behind the scenes. There might be a way to see the decrypted passkeys if you go hunting through the registry, or something along those lines, but it's certainly not something that most people are likely to do.

Perhaps more importantly, though, just how sacred is your Wi-Fi password anyway? Corporate networks notwithstanding (and you shouldn't share those networks with Wi-Fi Sense anyway), most people give out their Wi-Fi keys freely. You could even argue that Wi-Fi Sense is more secure: if I ask Adam for his Wi-Fi password, I am free to give it away to anyone. If I receive the password via Wi-Fi Sense, I can still connect to Adam's network, but I can't tell anyone else the password.

And it only goes to immediate-circle friends, not friends of friends of.. So probably not such a big thing to worry about.
windows  wifisense 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Microsoft, capitulation and the end of Windows Everywhere » Benedict Evans
Benedict Evans:
A new CEO is acknowledging the end of 'Windows Everywhere' as the driving strategic engine for Microsoft, and also acknowledging the decline of Microsoft Office as the monolithic, universal experience for productivity. Microsoft is also suggesting that Xbox is not strategically core either, reflecting the reality that it will be the smartphone, not the TV or a box plugged into it, that will be the hub of the digital experience for most people. The smartphone is the sun and everything else orbits it. 

This is a little like Google's transition away from the plain-text web search as the centre of everything, and indeed Facebook's tentative shifts away from the Newsfeed. Microsoft has two huge, profitable businesses in Windows and Office: they will slowly go away, so how do you use them to create something new? Instead of every new project having in some way to support Office and Windows, how do you use Office and Windows to support the future? You must distinguish between things that prop up the legacy Office and Windows businesses (and Microsoft is doing plenty to do that), while using them to drive the new things.

But you also need to work out was that 'new' would look like.
microsoft  windows 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Microsoft has finalized Windows 10 » The Verge
Tom Warren:
Microsoft has now finalized Windows 10, ready for its release later this month. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge that the software giant has selected build 10240 as the final release to manufacturing (RTM) copy, allowing PC makers to start loading the software onto new machines ready for release. We understand that Microsoft is signing off on the build internally today, and may announce the RTM publicly by the end of the week or choose to ignore the milestone and focus on the launch.

Goes live on 29 July, in case you'd forgotten.
microsoft  windows 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
UH OH: Windows 10 will share your WiFi key with your friends' friends » The Register
Simon Rockman:
A Windows 10 feature, Wi-Fi Sense, smells like a security risk: it shares WiFi passwords with the user's contacts.

Those contacts include their (nee Hotmail) contacts, Skype contacts and, with an opt-in, their Facebook friends. There is method in the Microsoft madness – it saves having to shout across the office or house “what’s the Wi-Fi password?” – but ease of use has to be teamed with security. If you wander close to a wireless network, and your friend knows the password, and you both have Wi-Fi Sense, you can now log into that network.

Wi-Fi Sense doesn’t reveal the plaintext password to your family, friends, acquaintances, and the chap at the takeaway who's an contact, but it does allow them, if they are also running Wi-Fi Sense, to log in to your Wi-Fi. The password must be stored centrally by Microsoft, and is copied to a device for it to work; Microsoft just tries to stop you looking at it. How successful that will be isn't yet known.

"For networks you choose to share access to, the password is sent over an encrypted connection and stored in an encrypted file on a Microsoft server, and then sent over a secure connection to your contacts' phone if they use Wi-Fi Sense and they're in range of the Wi-Fi network you shared," the <a href="">Wi-Fi Sense FAQ</a> states.

Has been on Windows Phone for ages, yes, but most WP users don't know any significant number of other WP users (because they're so few). Not so with Windows. Microsoft says it only allows internet access and not LAN access - via port restrictions? That's going to get hacked for sure.

Or, of course, people might maliciously spread their Wi-Fi details to try to sniff people..
windows  wifisense 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Debugging and reverse engineering: Samsung deliberately disabling Windows Update » BSOD Analysis
Patrick Barker, who is a Microsoft MVP:
On my home forum Sysnative, a user (wavly) was being assisted with a Windows Update (WU) issue, which was going well, aside from the fact that wavly's WU kept getting disabled randomly. It was figured out eventually after using auditpol.exe and registry security auditing (shown below later) that the program that was responsible for disabling WU was Disable_Windowsupdate.exe, which is part of Samsung's SW Update software.

SW Update is your typical OEM updating software that will update your Samsung drivers, the bloatware that came on your Samsung machine, etc. The only difference between other OEM updating software is Samsung's disables WU.

Terrible move by Samsung. It said it did this to prevent WU screwing with Samsung's drivers.

The bigger puzzle to me is why Samsung continues with PCs. It sells a tiny number (perhaps a couple of million a quarter?) and can't be making any profit worth writing home about.
samsung  windows 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
NHS browser statistics » LinkedIn
Mark Reynolds:
Have you wondered what technology the NHS uses? We gather anonymous statistics on those using NHSmail and so have a good picture of technology across healthcare in England and Scotland.

88% of users access the service via Windows, with 8% on Macs and 3% on Linux. Amazingly we have a user browsing NHSmail using their Wii, which suggests dedication to the cause or spoofing the browser data. 65% of users are on Windows 7, followed by XP (20%) and Vista (3%). Windows 8 usage is too low to register. 

Microsoft Internet Explorer dominates browser statistics at 73%, followed by Chrome (13%), Safari (7%), Mozilla (5%) and Firefox (2%). 0.9% of traffic comes from Netscape! Internet Explorer 7 and 8 account for 61% of the traffic, with IE 11 too low to register.

Two things: Netscape > Windows 8. Also: XP > Vista + Windows 8. That's inertia.

Worth comparing with <a href=""> stats for web browsing</a>.
nhs  browser  netscape  windows 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Few business takers yet, but ​Chromebook sales grow to 7.3 million this year | ZDNet
Liam Tung:
The number of the low-cost Google-powered laptops sold this year is on track to grow 27m, up from 5.7m units in 2014 to 7.3m in 2015, research from analyst house Gartner shows.

The Chromebook's growth contrasts markedly with the shrinking global PC market. However, sales of the devices remain heavily skewed towards the US and within that market, they're largely used in schools, despite growing interest from consumers in the country.

In 2014, the US accounted for 84% of all Chromebooks sold, with 60 percent of sales coming from education, 39 percent from consumers, and one percent from business.
Last year, noting signs of growing interest among businesses for Chromebooks, Gartner forecast that by 2017 sales to the education sector could rise to over 6m units, driving total sales for the year to 14 million laptops sold.

Its outlook for the next two years is more conservative, with the analyst predicting shipments to rise to 7.9m by 2016, suggesting growth of under 10% for next year.

This in a market of about 300m PCs per year. Not the dramatic displacement that had been expected. Chromebooks began in 2009. Do they really offer too little utility, or are people too wedded to Windows even though cloud services would serve them fine?
windows  chromebook 
may 2015 by charlesarthur
Energy companies around the world infected by newly discovered malware » Ars Technica
Dan Goodin:
The United Arab Emirates was the country most targeted by the attackers, followed by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Kuwait.

Computers are initially infected with Laziok through spam e-mails coming from the moneytrans[.]eu domain. The e-mails contain a malicious attachment that exploits a Microsoft Windows vulnerability that was patched in 2012. The same vulnerability has been exploited in other attack espionage campaigns, including one that used the Red October malware platform to infect diplomatic, governmental, and scientific organizations in at least 39 countries. The Laziok exploit typically came in the form of an Excel file.

Patched in 2012, but not patched. The state of security today.
malware  windows 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Upgrading to Windows 10 on pirated versions won't get you a valid license » Neowin
Vlad Dudau:
Yesterday Microsoft announced plans to allow pirated versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 once the new operating system launches. Now the company has clarified some of its statements and the picture is a bit less rosy.

Yesterday’s good news may have been a bit too good to be true. Microsoft’s Terry Myerson announced that the upcoming free upgrade to Windows 10 would be available to pirates as well, in an effort to bolsters adoption numbers and “re-engage” the hundreds of millions of users that are running non-genuine software.

Unfortunately, the company had scaled back a bit on its plans saying that the free upgrade, though available, won’t actually change the license state of a user’s OS. In plain speak this means that if you were running a pirated copy of Windows, you’ll still be running a pirated copy even after upgrading to Windows 10.

Microsoft hurried this "clarifying" statement out after Reuters correctly quoted what was said at a Microsoft press conference (which then spread ALL OVER THE INTERWEBS).

The problem is with Microsoft's language. It's chronically incapable of expressing an idea simply; this is multiplied 10-fold when it comes to anything about licensing. It confused people about what it meant on upgrades by not being clear (and it's still being unclear about what happens a year after release). Now it's trying to herd the cats of blogging back into line. Good luck with that.
microsoft  windows  licence 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Could the HoloLens be Microsoft’s iMoment? » Gigaom
Ross Rubin:
The HoloLens, unlike the iPod, is an independent device, albeit one that extends Microsoft’s Windows franchise.

So, perhaps the HoloLens is more akin to the iPhone, which shrunk down the capabilities of not the user interface of the PC. Indeed, Microsoft has positioned the HoloLens as “the next PC” although the smartphone has already claimed that mantle and Windows 8 showed that the company can get a little overzealous in labelling things “PCs.”

windows  microsoft  hololens 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
The opposite of Apple: A Mac user's weird experience buying a PC laptop >> Macworld
The inimitable Jon Moltz found the PC pretty good (and cheap), until you turned it on:
Since this was a laptop for my son, I did like Microsoft’s Family Safety feature, which allowed me to set up his computer with a child’s account and track the websites he visited and how many hours he was using each application. OS X has a similar feature that lets you access parental controls on your child’s computer from your own, but Microsoft provides a web interface and sends a weekly email summary. Family Safety actually helped me realize that some kind of adware was installed on the machine, forcing every bit of web traffic to make a call to an ad site. This either came installed on the machine or my son broke the record for getting infected, as the report indicated it was accessed from day one.

And that’s the thing about the standard PC user experience. Between the adware and crapware that’s preinstalled it’s hard to figure out what’s actually malware. Microsoft has tried to help by selling computers through its own stores that are bloatware-free and by <a href="">allowing OEM customers to make clean Windows installs</a> for a nominal fee.

As he says, it's puzzling there's no Windows OEM focussing on having a "Nexus"-style clean experience. (Then again, there aren't that many Android OEMs doing it are there?)
windows  oem 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
How much does Microsoft make from PC makers with Windows 8.1? | ZDNet
Mary Jo Foley on how much OEMs pay to have Windows on Intel-based tablets:
According to Microsoft OEM pricing information - a <a href="">screen capture of which is embedded</a> above in this post - Windows 8.1 with Bing is listed at $10 per copy for Intel-based tablets under 9in in screen size. But after a "configuration discount," of $10, OEMs get that SKU for those tablets for free. For tablets with screen sizes of greater than or equal to 10.1in, the Windows 8.1 with Bing SKU is listed at $25 per copy, with the same $10 "configuration discount," resulting in a $15 per copy cost for OEMs.

There's another related SKU that is also meant to help stimulate the market for mobile devices running Windows. The "Windows 8.1 with Bing and Office 365 Personal" is another low-price SKU available to OEMs. Like the Windows with Bing SKU, this one also requires OEMs to set Bing search and as the defaults (changeable by users) on new PCs. This SKU also includes a free, 12-month subscription to Office 365 Personal.

Still not cheaper than Android, and Intel chips are going to be pricier (because Intel is dropping its subsidies), which continues to make small Windows tablets a very hard sell.
intel  microsoft  oem  tablets  windows 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Outlook grim for US consumer tablet market as holidays draw near >> LA Times
The US tablet market posted an 8% decline in revenue during the back-to-school season, leaving the once-thriving product category in a tough spot as the holidays draw near. 

The number of tablets sold during that period rose 3.5% compared to last year, suggesting shoppers were more interested in cheaper tablets, according to market research company The NPD Group.  

The bad news has continued into the fall. Over the last eight weeks, tablet unit sales declined 16% and revenue dropped 18%.

Tablet unit sales declined across operating systems – both Android and iOS unit sales sank 16%. While Windows’ unit sales dropped 23%, revenue increased 11% compared to this period in 2013, due to the success of the $799 Surface Pro 3, one of the most expensive tablets on the market. 

“The slowdown has been pervasive, and even the launch of the new iPads at the end of this period has not served to reignite sales growth,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group. “With the holidays fast approaching, the potential for a positive tablet sales season appears grim.”

Android tablet sales took the hardest hit during the last eight weeks as the market for small-screen products waned. Android’s 7in tablet saw unit sales decline 40%. The figures reflect what analysts have expected as the number of large smartphones, such as the iPhone 6 Plus, increases.

iPad sales in total (worldwide) fell 13%, and revenue by 15% (ie, the average selling price declined slightly). The drop in Windows tablet sales won't please those who reckon the Surface Pro 3 is setting the world alight; the problem is that last year, tehre was a fire sale on Surface RTs.
tablet  windows  android  ipad 
november 2014 by charlesarthur

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