Author Archives: Richard Hay
We just wrapped up our multi-week walkthrough of features in the April 2018 Update for Windows 10, so naturally, it’s already time for the next feature update to arrive. This semi-annual Windows as a Service (WaaS) release cycle is relentless: As one cycle wraps up another begins, and you are at the next public update before you know it. This is exactly why, just last week, Microsoft extended the lifecycle support period from 18 months to 30 months for the feature updates they release moving from September forward. However, this change is only for Enterprise and Education customers. Consumers running Windows 10 Home or Pro — i.e. most of you reading this — will still be expected to adopt each new feature update shortly after they’re generally available. That means it is better to be prepared and aware of what is coming rather than just be surprised on the day your system installs the latest feature update. The best way to stay up to speed on what is coming in each new feature update for Windows 10 is through the Windows Insider Program. This early-access process allows you to install development builds of the next feature update for Windows 10, experience the … Read More
As data breaches and loss of user information becomes an unfortunate norm these days, more end users are starting to adopt the Two Factor Authentication (2FA) method to add an extra layer of security to their various online accounts that support 2FA. First, let’s do a quick review of 2FA and what it provides from a security perspective. When a new account is created at any website/service, you typically select a username and password to access that account in the future. You then validate that account through email with a unique link that validates your reception of that email. At this point the account is active and you can access it with your username and password. If the service supports it, you may be offered to set up 2FA once your account is ready or you may need to go into advanced security settings to begin the process of establishing 2FA on the account. 2FA is established when the second factor of authentication is validated and added to the account. The vast majority of services/websites utilize your wireless phone number and an SMS text message. In this test message, a code is sent to that phone and you then enter … Read More
In our final piece about the April 2018 Update for Windows 10, we are going to talk about the improvements in Microsoft Edge. As a reminder, we’ve looked at the following elements already: Accessibility, Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense, Focus Assist, the Microsoft Store and the security tools. Microsoft’s new browser was released as part of the initial Windows 10 release in July 2015. Since then it has received new capabilities when new feature updates are released for Windows 10. That schedule is also its Achilles heel. Unlike competitors such as Chrome and Firefox, which gets updates and new features at least once per month, Microsoft Edge lags behind due to this semi-annual update schedule. Edge does get security updates each month as part of the normal cumulative update process for Windows 10, but these patches do not introduce new enhancements. Note: There are some indications that work is underway to separate Edge’s update schedule from the release of Windows 10 feature updates twice a year. If this happens then Edge will be able to iterate new features much quicker and that could also help it gain market share. When a feature update is released for Windows 10, Edge has had a long list of improvements and … Read More
Our journey through the new features in Windows 10 Version 1803, which was released this past April, is nearly complete. Over the course of this series of articles, we have been working to make you aware of the enhancements that were added for the fifth feature update to Windows 10. As a reminder, we’ve looked at the following elements already: Accessibility, Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense, Focus Assist and the Microsoft Store. This week we are taking a closer look at the security improvements that were made as part of this release. I am going to focus on the consumer-related security changes that were made. Windows Hello This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
No operating system is perfect — and one of the most persistent questions for any operating system may be, “Something is broken — how can I figure out what?” Windows has built-in troubleshooters — but the experience of using them in Windows 10 is much different than in prior operating systems. To understand how, let’s look at the way things worked in pre-Windows 10 operating systems. One of the things Microsoft included in the Control Panel of Windows 7 and its two successors is a collection of built-in troubleshooters. Troubleshooters in Windows 7 The idea behind these troubleshooting tools was to help end users solve basic problems with their systems. As you can see in the screenshot above, different categories helped users find the right tool. The various groups had some crossover because some items for troubleshooting involved both hardware and networking such as printers. In Windows 7 and 8.1, there were a total of 25 troubleshooters in the Control Panel’s Troubleshoot Computer Problems listing. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Here’s why you’ll be seeing 19H1 mentioned a lot: Microsoft confirmed that 19H1 is a new code name for the seventh feature update for Windows 10. Microsoft is a big fan of code names and they have been using them for years on various software/hardware projects. A code name helps, well at least sometimes it does, to keep the identity of a new product under wraps while it is being worked on internally at the Redmond company. You might even remember some of them from over the years: Windows 3.1: Janus Windows 95: Chicago Windows 98: Memphis Windows ME: Millennium Windows 10 RTM and November Update: Threshold (TH1 & TH2) Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update and April 2018 Update: Redstone (RS1, RS2, RS3, & RS4) Of course, the sixth update as already mentioned will be Redstone 5 (RS5). It is the final update to use the Redstone code name. The new code name, 19H1, breaks down into two elements. The 19 represents the year of the update’s release – in this case, 2019. The H1 indicates the update was released in the first half of that year. Although that makes for a possible 6-month window the update … Read More
The next stop on our tour of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, aka Windows 10 Version 1803, is to look at two elements of the operating system that are now delivered through the Microsoft Store app. As a reminder, we’ve looked at the following elements already: Accessibility; Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense and Focus Assist. These updates are important in this latest feature update to Windows 10 because they are a likely precursor to future changes. I believe we can expect more elements of the operating system to move in the same direction in future updates. Microsoft is well on their way to converting the legacy Control Panel we all know from Windows 7/8.1 into the modern Windows Settings app and this is another step in that migration. By adding local experience packs and fonts to the Microsoft Store in the April 2018 feature update, these items can be updated separate from the operating system itself. Now fonts are not changed all that often, but local experience packs are tweaked regularly to keep them accurate. Including these in the Microsoft Store means they can be updated like any app installed on your device. Maximum convenience for the end user once they are installed. … Read More
With the steady flow of feature updates about every six months now, operating system changes are measured in increments versus leaps. That is why we’re running through a series of articles and highlight the specific changes that are part of each feature update. This week we are looking at accessibility updates in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. (Editor’s note: Prior updates have covered Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense and Focus Assist.) The first thing that has been done for accessibility in this update is a consolidation of most of the Accessibility options under the Ease of Access area of Windows Settings. Users no longer have to hunt across different menus. Ease of Access Settings in Windows Settings – April 2018 Update Beyond centralizing many of the accessibility options here, you will also notice that the various features have been organized in related areas such as Vision, Hearing and Interaction. You can now go directly into the subset of settings in each of those categories to quickly find the feature you are looking to configure/setup. Hardware Keyboard Suggestions/Auto-Correct Settings – April 2018 Update The on-screen keyboard for Windows 10 has had text prediction for a while however, that capability has never been available for your physical … Read More
I recently wrote about how to protect important folders using new features in the OneDrive sync client. That story prompted an email from one of our readers who asked me about the encryption of OneDrive files. There are two answers depending on your version of OneDrive. If you are a consumer OneDrive user, i.e. you have the free version of OneDrive and Office 365 Personal and Home subscribers, then your OneDrive files are only encrypted as they move between your system and Microsoft’s data center. They are also encrypted if that storage is moved between their data centers. In other words, anytime those files you place on OneDrive are transmitted or received, they are encrypted. This encryption occurs whether you are sending and receiving OneDrive files through your web browser, the sync client or the mobile OneDrive apps on iOS and Android. Once that file is stored in one of Microsoft’s data centers it is not encrypted any further. This is commonly referred to as data being encrypted at rest. If you are a commercial Office 365 customer, then your OneDrive data is also encrypted during its transit to and from your devices like it is for consumers. However, commercial … Read More