Archive for Microsoft

#Fail: 17 Year Old Bug In Windows Stops Identification Of Malware By AV Software

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 8, 2017 by itnerd

If this isn’t a #fail, I am not sure what qualifies. Bleeping Computer is reporting that Omri Misgav who is Security Researcher at enSilo discovered a bug in every version of Windows that has been released in the last 17 years that if properly exploited by malware creators, will stop security software from detecting said malware:

The bug affects PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine, one of the low-level mechanisms some security solutions use to identify when code has been loaded into the kernel or user space.

The problem is that an attacker can exploit this bug in a way that PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine returns an invalid module name, allowing an attacker to disguise malware as a legitimate operation.

What’s worse is this response from Microsoft:

“We [also] contacted MSRC [Microsoft Security Response Center] about this issue at the beginning of this year,” Misgav told Bleeping. “They did not deem it as a security issue.”

Well, that’s not cool. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that now that this is public, their tune may change. Though, knowing Microsoft, it may not change because something that doesn’t allow third party anti virus software to detect malware is a feature to them. Hopefully that’s not the case, but it wouldn’t shock me if it was.

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#PSA: Microsoft Office For Mac Users May Have Issues With macOS High Sierra

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 5, 2017 by itnerd

If you run either Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 or 2016, I have news for you in terms of your ability to use either while running macOS High Sierra which ships sometime this month:

  • If you’re running Office for Mac 2011, it’s likely not going to work. You should upgrade to Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 for that reason and the fact that support ends for Office for Mac 2011 in October. That means no security or other updates for you.
  • If however you are running Office for Mac 2016, you’re still in trouble. First, you need to be running Office for Mac 2016 version 15.35 to be compatible with macOS High Sierra. You can get that through Microsoft’s update utility or from here. But even then, you may discover that not all functionality will work.

All of this is documented here. But this is a pretty clear message that Mac users don’t matter to Microsoft. That sounds pretty harsh, but here’s why I say that:

  1. Microsoft offers 10 years of of support to PC users of Office. Meanwhile Office 2011 got six years at most.
  2. Features that pop up in the Windows version of Office often take ages to appear on the Mac.
  3. This is not the first time that Microsoft has dropped the ball on day one support for the Mac version of office. As I noted in my El Capitan review from 2 years ago, Office 2016 had major stability issues that took them a long time to fix. Clearly, Microsoft doesn’t put any effort into testing Office on the Mac. Otherwise you’d think that a company of their size would be in front of this sort of stuff.

Now I get that Microsoft would much rather have Mac users switch to Windows. But doing this frankly half-assed support of the Mac platform isn’t going to make any Mac user switch to Windows. In my opinion Microsoft should either kill the Mac product, or step up and support it to the same standard as the Windows version.

Now if you need an Office compatible suite of apps that will work when High Sierra ships, might I suggest the Apple iWork suite? It brings to the table Keynote (their version of Power Point), Numbers (their version of Excel) and Pages (their version of Word). Is it a 1:1 match for what Microsoft serves up? No. But it’s 85% as good. Which is good enough for most of us. Plus it’s free which is hard to beat. Given the above, I’d suggest test driving iWork before High Sierra makes its debut.

The Next Big Windows 10 Update Is Coming On October 17th

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 5, 2017 by itnerd

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update which has also been codenamed “Redstone 3” now has a release date. It’s going to be released on October 17 which is something that Microsoft announced last week, and the feature list can be found here. But the number one feature will be that it opens up support for virtual reality headsets with what Microsoft calls its Mixed Reality platform. Headsets that support this feature will be shipping on the same day or shortly thereafter. Other key features will include a new version of the Photos Application, OneDrive files on-demand, and a smarter Windows Defender.

I’ll be covering what’s in this update when it hits the streets. And as always, before doing a major Windows 10 Update, always do a backup first.

 

Microsoft Stops Forcing OS Updates Down Users Throats…. In Germany

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 25, 2017 by itnerd

A frequent reader pointed me towards this article on Betanews where after a lengthy legal battle, Microsoft will stop their rather craptastic practice of force downloading an OS onto a users computer:

After a lengthy battle with Germany’s Baden-Würtenberg consumer rights center, Microsoft made the announcement to avoid the continuation of legal action. A press release on the Baden-Würtenberg website reveals that Microsoft has announced it will no longer download operating system files to users’ computers without their permission

That’s great for German users. And I hope this is something that sparks other countries to force Microsoft to do the same thing. I say that because Since Windows 10 came out, I’ve gotten call after call to fix a computer that was upgraded without their permission. Not to mention the fact that this practice likely sent a lot of Windows users running to the Apple Store to buy a Mac because they were that ticked off. In my opinion, Microsoft would be best served by stopping this practice worldwide ASAP. They’d be better off by doing so.

ASUS Republic Of Gamers Teams Up With Microsoft for Weekly League Of Legends Tournaments

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 23, 2017 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced a collaboration with Microsoft Store to host weekly League of Legends tournaments throughout Microsoft Store locations across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia. Gaming is open to the public, and players will have the opportunity to experience high-powered gameplay on the award-winning ROG G752VS gaming laptop and ROG peripherals. Register online starting today. The tournaments begin on Saturday, August 26th, and will continue every following Saturday.

ROG

Players will experience League of Legends on the ROG G752VS, powered by Windows 10. The ROG G752VS features the 7th Generation Intel Core processors and features NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series graphics, and up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. In addition, the ROG G752VS cooling system – consisting of dual copper heat pipes and the ROG 3D Vapor Chamber– ensures that players experience superior cooling and improved reliability. The backlit anti-ghosting gaming keyboard with 30-key rollover provides precise command and control in battle, and the wide-viewing- angle panel delivers superb image quality and contrast, even when viewed from extreme positions. Lastly, a super-fast native 120Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA G-SYNC display technology ensure ultra-smooth gameplay.

Players will also be equipped with leading ROG peripherals; the ROG Gladius mouse and Whetstone mouse pad. The ROG Gladius is a 6400dpi professional gaming mouse with customizable click resistance that delivers 2000Hz USB polling rate support. The ergonomic design accommodates all right handed grip types, and includes separate left and right buttons, with two specially-engineered programmable ‘slide-to-press’ buttons. An exclusive ROG Armoury interface allows for programmable buttons, performance settings, lighting effects, and surface calibration. Paired with the Whetstone mouse pad, a durable, silicon-based mouse pad, players will experience smooth, precise and silent control. The rollable design is easily portable for gaming on-the-go.

Contenders taking part in the ASUS ROG Arena tournament at Microsoft Store will enjoy access to League Unlocked, a premium experience made available for official League of Legends partners and live events. Tournament participants will have access to over 100 unlocked skins for the duration of the event and players can earn an extra 20 percent IP and 50 percent XP for their personal accounts. In addition, winning individuals or teams will receive prizes for winning gameplay, like mystery icons, RP, character skins, and ASUS ROG swag.

Gamers can register as teams or sign up individually to battle against one another. Register online starting today. Tournament entry is first-come, first-serve with an eight team (5v5) maximum. Individuals and teams must check-in at the store to guarantee a spot. The tournaments are open to anyone, no matter their skill level. The only prerequisite necessary is an active League of Legends account.

On Saturday, August 26th, Microsoft Store at Westfield Century City and ASUS will be hosting a special launch event with celebrity gamers from 3 to 9 PM PDT. Twitch Streamer, Pokimane, and members of Echo Fox’s League of Legends team, Froggen and Brandini, will be in attendance to interact with tournament players and gaming enthusiasts. The event is open to the public and attendees will be treated to a photo experience, raffle prizes, and ROG giveaways.

Microsoft Says That It’s Not Killing Microsoft Paint Due To Public Pressure

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 25, 2017 by itnerd

Yesterday I posted that Microsoft was going to kill Microsoft Paint after being part of Windows 10 for just over 3 decades. Well, there was a plot twist that I didn’t see coming. Apparently people like Microsoft Paint and told Microsoft so. Thus the software said late Monday that it will not be killing off its Paint app in the next update of Windows 10. It will be made available via the Windows Store for free and will not be completely removed:

The U.S. technology company recently released a list which labeled Paint “deprecated,” meaning it was considering removing the app when the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update gets released later this year. Fans on social media decried the potential death of Paint, which has been in existence for 32 years. But Microsoft released a blog post shortly after to clarify that Paint would not be completely removed, but instead made available via the Windows Store for free. “Today, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint. If there’s anything we learned, it’s that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans. It’s been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app,” Megan Saunders, a general manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post on Monday. “Amidst today’s commentary around MS Paint we wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight, clear up some confusion and share some good news: MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free.”

This is an interesting reaction and one that I would not have expected. Who knew that so many people loved Microsoft Paint? But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. It hasn’t changed all that much over the years, so people are comfortable with how it works. Plus it’s kind of handy to have as a quick and dirty file conversion tool for different graphics formats. That might explain what happened in the last 24 hours or so.

Long live Microsoft Paint!

Microsoft Paint To Be Axed In Fall Windows 10 Update

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 24, 2017 by itnerd

If you’re really attached to Microsoft paint, I have bad news for you. If you go to this link, you’ll see that Microsoft Paint is among the features to be deprecated by Microsoft in what is called the “Fall Creators Update” to Windows 10.

That sounds like a big deal, but I don’t think so. Here’s why:

  1. Microsoft Paint hasn’t been updated in a very long time. Thus most people end up using a more feature rich app.
  2. The Creators Update that popped up in April brought Paint3D to the table.

With those in mind, I think that it’s safe to say that after a 32 year run, it’s time for Microsoft Paint to ride off into the sunset.

Now before I go, I would suggest that anyone who administers PCs for a living take a look at the link above to see what other features are being axed. The removal of Microsoft Paint may be trivial, but some of the other features that are being removed may not be for your use case.