Archive for Microsoft

PSA: Windows Vista Goes EOL Today… And The Windows 10 Creators Update Ships Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 11, 2017 by itnerd

If you’re running Windows Vista, well…. you should really be running some other Microsoft operating system. I say that because Windows Vista goes into end of life status as of today. That means that Microsoft will not offer any kind of security updates or patches for the operating system. So for the roughly 11 million of you who still run Vista for whatever reason, it’s time to switch as every l337 h4x0r (elite hacker) or l337 h4x0r in their own mind is going target Windows Vista users. Besides, Vista wasn’t really that great of an OS anyway.

Ironically, Microsoft picked today to ship out the Windows 10 Creators Update. According to Microsoft, it will roll out in phases starting with newer computers. But those who want it for whatever reason right now can get it using the Update Assistant. Just make sure you have a current backup first. Now I’ll be doing the latter and I’ll let you know what I think of the update in a post later this week.

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Windows 10 Creators Update… Here’s What To Expect

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 29, 2017 by itnerd

Microsoft is in the process of rolling out the Windows 10 Creators Update, the latest major update to its current desktop operating system. Here’s what you can expect from the Creators Update:

  • Visual previews of tabs in Microsoft Edge.
  • Edge now has built-in support for ebooks.
  • Microsoft Paint now lets people create models in 3D.
  • Picture-in-Picture mode for videos. Essentially you can now have a small window with video playing on it placed on top of any other application.
  • Night Light: A baked in feature in Windows that will allow you to change the color and tone of display so that it doesn’t pain your eyes to look at the screen at night.
  • Dynamic Lock: The feature first requires you to pair your phone or tablet with the computer. Once done, it will automatically log you out everytime you’re away from desk (or technically speaking, the device is out of the computer’s proximity).
  • Native support for surround sound.
  • Ability to scribble and make notes on Microsoft’s Maps app.
  • Game mode: It “ensures” your computer is always maximizing its resources for an optimal gaming experience.
  • Built-in support for mixed reality handsets.

It should hit Windows Update on April 11th, but if you know where to look, you can get it today. Not that I would if I were you as there is the remote possibility that a critical bug will be found and addressed between now and April 11th. Plus, hardware and software vendors may need the additional time to do updates of their own to make sure that they can play nice with this update. The update will be free to all. More info can be found here.

 

Class Action Lawsuit Over Windows 10 Updates Served Up

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 27, 2017 by itnerd

The Register is reporting on a class action lawsuit related to people being “forced” to update to Windows 10:

The complaint [PDF], filed in Chicago’s US District Court on Thursday, charges that Microsoft Windows 10 is a defective product and that its maker failed to provide adequate warning about the potential risks posed by Windows 10 installation – specifically system stability and data loss.

Microsoft “failed to exercise reasonable care in designing, formulating, and manufacturing the Windows 10 upgrade and placing it into the stream of commerce,” the complaint claims. “As a result of its failure to exercise reasonable care, [the company] distributed an operating system that was liable to cause loss of data or damage to hardware.”

The attorneys representing the trio are seeking to have the case certified as a class action that includes every person in the US who upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and suffered data loss or damage to software or hardware within 30 days of installation. They claim there are hundreds or thousands of affected individuals.

The complaint enumerates a number of alleged problems with the way the Windows 10 update presents itself to Windows users, noting that it “often installs itself without any action being taken by the consumer.”

While I question the “system stability and data loss” part as that seems a bit over the top, there were a ton of reports of people going to sleep with Windows 7 or 8.1 and waking up with Windows 10. Thus if this lawsuit does have legs, this might be a problem for the folks in Redmond. This might be worth keeping an eye on.

Outlook.Com Is Down…. World Freaks

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 21, 2017 by itnerd

If you’re trying to log into Outlook.com aka Hotmail right now to check your e-mail and can’t, it’s not you. It appears that it’s them because Isitdownrightnow.com is reporting that the online e-mail provider is currently down:

Capture

So far there’s no word from Microsoft what’s going on or when it will be fixed. I’m working on getting those details at present. In the meantime, you’ll need to do something other than checking your e-mail.

UPDATE: The Xbox service status page shows that they have issues in terms of being able to log into their services. The reason why this is important is that the same services power Outlook.com. Thus this is a good place to look if you have an issue with Outlook.com.

UPDATE #2: Service has been restored.

 

Microsoft To Once Again Force Windows 10 Updates Upon You

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 20, 2017 by itnerd

Those who are brave enough to be part of the Windows 10 Insiders Program which gives you access to the latest versions of Windows 10, one of which is due in April, have spotted something that is sure to upset a lot of Windows users. The details first popped up on Windows Supersite where people noticed in the updates section of the control panel, it says this:

“We’ll automatically download and install updates, except on metered connection (where charges may apply). In that case, we’ll only download those updates required to keep Windows running smoothly,”

So… What that means is I get force fed some updates that Microsoft feels are required, or I get force fed everything. Lovely. When Windows Supersite asked the folks in Redmond about this, here’s what they said:

“We don’t plan to send large updates over metered connections, but could use this for critical fixes if needed in the future.”

Clear as mud. No?

Here’s the thing. I have said that users should be installing updates to whatever OS they use. Mac, Windows, Linux, whatever. The thing is users should be in control of that. This model has Microsoft in control. That has led to me making a fair amount of money from people who have had automatic updates on Windows 10 go horribly sideways. There’s something fundamentally wrong with that as frankly, I should not be making money in that scenario because users should have the choice to install updates when and how they choose to. Simply force feeding updates down people’s throats in whole or in part is just an #EpicFail waiting to happen. In fact, I can think of this occasion where it already has happened.

 

Microsoft Flips The Bird To Snapdragon, Kaby Lake & Ryzen Users On Windows 7 and 8.1

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 17, 2017 by itnerd

It seems that Microsoft is back to their old tricks of doing anything possible to get people to use Windows 10. Even if it means infuriating their user base. A case in point are people who have the new cool processors on the block which are the AMD Ryzen, Qualcomm 8996, and Intel Kaby Lake series. For those users, Windows 7 and 8.1 is not an option. This came to light on this past Patch Tuesday when KB4012982 got pushed out to the wild and users of those processors noticed this:

Unsupported Hardware
Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows and you won’t receive updates.

Windows could not search for new updates
An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
Error(s) found:
Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

Their official resolution to this is to update to Windows 10. Or live with an unpatachable system that is open to getting pwned by anything and everyone.

#EpicFail

Here’s why I have a problem with this. No support to me means this:

“You are running on unsupported hardware. Do you want to continue anyway? y/n”

In other words, it may work. But if things go sideways, it’s on you. Thus you choose to run this configuration, don’t call us if you need help because you were warned that it might not work. That I would be fine with and so would most people. What Microsoft is doing is this:

“Your hardware is unsupported. Upgrade to Windows 10 OR ELSE”

I call that a cynical attempt to force users to Windows 10. If you take into account that there is no technical reason why Microsoft could not support these processors on Windows 7 or 8.1, that theory makes even more sense. The fact is that they only are interested in shoving Windows 10 down your throat. Though to be fair to Microsoft, they have said for a while now that they were going to do this.

Users are already finding ways around this though. The two most popular methods that are being floated about are to get updates via WSUS Offline or Autopatcher. Now these methods will work until Microsoft starts making their installers check to see what processor they’re running on, and then you’re back to having to potentially run an OS that you may not want to run.

Clearly Microsoft has jumped the shark.

PSA: Windows Vista Has Four Weeks Before It Goes EOL

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 14, 2017 by itnerd

The mistake from Redmond known as Windows Vista goes End of Life (EoL) four weeks today. If you’re running it for whatever reason, it really is time you bought a new computer. Or at least a new operating system. But you’ll likely be doing the former as the computer you’re running Vista on is likely not powerful enough for Windows 10.

So, why should you care? Let me list the reasons:

  • It will be a security nightmare as no more security related patches will come out for the OS or for Internet Explorer 9 which is the last version of IE that runs on the OS. That will leave you open to being pwned by hackers.
  • Applications are no longer being written or updated for the OS. So forget about running everything from Firefox to the latest copy of Office on Vista.

But if you don’t believe me, here’s the official Microsoft party line on the subject for your reading pleasure. I suggest that you take heed of these warnings and plan to update before April 11 which is the date the good times stop for Vista.