Author Archives: Richard Hay
Earlier this month, Microsoft made available to mainstream users the third major feature update for Windows 10, known as the Creators Update. Normally the Windows team at Microsoft will take a couple of weeks after releasing the latest feature update to get their new development branch builds in place. It’s a breather for everyone before launching into the next round of work on the next major feature update. However, in the case of the next feature build, Redstone 3, the developers have already released three PC testing builds to Windows Insiders. That is a faster pace than testing build releases following the initial release, November Update, and Anniversary Update of Windows 10. What’s notable: The major feature/under the hood enhancement around which these initial builds have been focused is a new option called Power Throttling. (Note that this may not be the feature’s final name.) Technically, this is not a new thing for Windows 10; in the late development stages of the Creators Update, Microsoft tested a power slider feature that would allow a user to set their system anywhere between “best battery life” or “best performance.” The data collected from that testing shows users wrung out an 11% battery savings. Although … Read More
In the pre-Windows 10 days, the general consensus was that you did not upgrade to a newer edition of Windows until the first Service Pack was being made available. That first year let you listen to other people’s horror stories and evaluate whether or not you really wanted to upgrade. But what do you do with Windows 10, since it is supported with monthly cumulative updates and bi-annual feature updates? The Windows as a Service (WaaS) method of maintaining Windows 10 has been a learning experience for both Microsoft and its users, because it is so different to what we are used to with the normal annual Service Pack. Now that we’ve had nearly two years to assess how Windows as a Service is working, does it still make any sense to avoid upgrading and avoid the WaaS experience? WaaS has hit a few bumps in the road with updates that break things. And yes, one entire month’s Patch Tuesday was postponed for a reason that remains unknown to the general public. And WaaW introduces new glitches: last year, with the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, nobody knew the update would break popular webcams and Kindles until users began installing it. Ten million Windows Insiders … Read More
Last month, for the first time since Microsoft started Patch Tuesdays in the early 2000’s, the software company delayed issuing patches and updates for its software products that were scheduled to be updated on February 14, 2017. While the specific reason was not officially provided by Microsoft, according to some reports, it was either an issue with a particular patch or the system that prepares the monthly collection of updates for distribution. A couple of days later Microsoft officially announced that those patches would be rolled into the March cycle of Patch Tuesday updates and those are scheduled to arrive next Tuesday. Yet this past Tuesday, patches for Office were pushed out to users over Windows Update, so that shows the delivery mechanism itself is working fine. There are no indications from Microsoft that we should not see a normal Patch Tuesday next week. I am sure if I asked many of you about Microsoft, Windows Update, and system patches most of you would not use the word normal to describe that process. In fact, over the years there have been many issues with patches that gets issued each month. This has become an even bigger concern for end users as Microsoft … Read More
Last week, in part one of this two part article, I discussed the current state of affairs when it comes to Microsoft, Windows 10, and Privacy: Microsoft’s recent efforts in the upcoming Creators Update, and the first half of the 16 privacy settings categories in the operating system. Windows 10 and privacy concerns have once again garnered headlines because the European Union is concerned that the new efforts in the Creators Update do not go far enough to give users full control over their data and privacy settings in the operating system. Their biggest concerns are around the user not having more control over the default privacy settings when Windows 10 is installed or the users lack of control relating to the personal data that Microsoft collects and uses. As I explained last week in part one, Microsoft has made changes in response to privacy concerns including a new central privacy portal for everything relating to data collection and privacy plus they have established a new Privacy Dashboard to give users the ability to see what data is being collected and delete it at their discretion. It seems these efforts are not enough according to the EU: “Microsoft should clearly explain … Read More
Even before Windows 10 first became available back in 2015, concerns about privacy and the operating system have gotten play on different tech sites and in forum comments. Initially, it seemed as if Microsoft avoided addressing those concerns and stayed quiet, choosing not to get specific about privacy on their new OS. This, of course, ramped up users’ concerns and it was up to Microsoft to work on addressing those concerns. That resulted in Microsoft creating a new, extensive privacy portal that contained a statement from CEO Satya Nadella, as well as information about the data Microsoft collects. Microsoft’s privacy approach is based on six principles as laid out by Satya Nadella in his letter about privacy: Control – We will put you in control of your privacy with easy-to-use tools and clear choices. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Windows 10 comes with a couple of features built into the operating system that lets you easily install a fresh clean copy of Windows 10 to remove OEM clutter or to simply reset your current installation to resolve ongoing system issues. I previously shared with you details about the Refresh Tool for Windows 10, which downloads clean install media for your Windows 10 system, then installs a clean copy of Windows 10 without the extra OEM software and settings overlays — you know, things that can clutter up a Windows system straight out of the box. This week, I want to tell you about the other option that comes in Windows 10 called Reset this PC. This option is similar to the Refresh Tool, except it uses the installation media provided by your device manufacturer, which is normally stored on a recovery partition on your system, and it will also contain all of those OEM programs and other helper tools that are typical on most OEM systems. Call it clutter, bloatware, or junk but it is integrated into the recovery media so it gets reinstalled each and every time you reset your system back to its original out of the … Read More
Many of you may be building your own computers these days, but just as many computer users buy their next device right off the shelf of their favorite box store or from an online retailer. If you are purchasing a device built by one of the many OEMs, it is very likely that device is going to arrive with a lot of extras pre-installed that come from the company who initially built the device plus some additional overlay style software/controls from the OEM themselves. Of course, as long as you have drivers from the OEM for your device, and most are made available through the products support page, then you could always do a clean install of the operating system and have a pristine image ready for your own software and customizations. Microsoft is also working closely with many manufacturers to include hardware drivers right out of the box to avoid needing to track them down elsewhere. In fact, any OEM devices sold in Microsoft Stores come in this configuration and they call it their Signature Edition PCs. This means they meet all the Windows hardware requirements and contain zero bloat from the manufacturer. If you already have your device or purchased … Read More
A little over seven years ago, Windows 7 was released to the general public. As of January 14, 2017, it’s been in extended support for two full years. That means there are just three years left for the popular operating system to be supported by its creator, Microsoft. It is never too early to plan for that next operating system upgrade. In fact, a Microsoft employee from Germany made that pitch this week as reported by ARS Technica, recommending that users plan their move early rather than later. If you’ll excuse a little inside baseball, here’s why you Windows 7 users should consider it. Microsoft breaks their lifecycle support down for Windows into two key periods – Mainstream and Extended support. Each period runs for five years each for a total of ten years of product support from Microsoft. The biggest difference between the two support periods? Only during the first five years can product design and feature changes be made. Security updates are provided throughout the entire ten year period. Of course, any company willing to pay can contract Microsoft to provide support beyond those ten years, but as the military learned last year, that is a very expensive … Read More
Optimizing your Windows set-up is one of the most useful and productive things you can do. These quick how-tos can help you tweak your daily computing experience so it’s more convenient. Tip #1: Push your Android phone notifications to Windows 10 with Cortana An update to the Cortana app on Android now allows you to only push those notifications to your Windows 10 desktop and tablet based devices, and fully customize them just like Windows 10 Mobile users can. To get started just install the Cortana app for Android on your device from the Google Play store. Once it is installed, you can open the app and it will ask you to sign in with your Microsoft Account. Make sure you use the same one as your other Windows 10 devices if you want to sync notifications from one system to the others. Once you are logged into Cortana she will of course have access to your Notebook on your Android device and be able to set reminders, provide tips and look up other information for you. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.