Earlier this week, I traveled up to New York City to attend Microsoft’s October event where, as expected, they revealed updated Surface hardware, the availability of the Windows 10 October Update, and even surprised everyone with a new Surface product line. This was not your typical product launch with a couple hundred media and analysts in attendance. Instead, it was a small group of 50 or so people, in what likely used to be a warehouse. The one-hour briefing was headlined by Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi, the Corporate Vice President for Windows & Devices. However, the bulk of the session was presented by Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay. If you have watched a Surface hardware event or launch in the past, you know that he has a particular style of presentation, interleaving the development behind the Surface’s latest features with the end-user experience of those features. Windows 10 October 2018 Update The first piece of news from the event was that the latest feature update for Windows 10 has been released. The initial release will be for what Microsoft calls seekers. They are users who go looking for an update by manually checking Windows Update or using either the Update Assistant or … Read More
We update monthly on Patch Tuesday, install firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware, and always coach users to use complex, secure passwords. But apparently it is still not enough. A recent poll of 300 hackers conducted at Black Hat finds Windows OS is still a very hot target for attack. Those that answered the survey were a combination of white hat, gray hat and black hat hackers. Nearly 50 percent of those surveyed said they had compromised Windows-based systems more than any other within the past year. Most said they infiltrated Windows 10 most frequently, followed by Windows 8. Microsoft says Windows 10 has been deployed on 700 million devices since its launch in 2015. Microsoft has prioritized security in recent years, recently noting it will continue to invest over $1 billion a year on cybersecurity and research in order to further enhance the defenses of its products. But clearly, Windows is still seen as a sitting duck for hackers seeking a quick win. Why is that? “With more than 80 percent of the desktop OS market share, it is no surprise that Windows is a hot target for hackers,” said Michael Maltsev, a security researcher at Reason Software Company. “Microsoft is well aware of this, and … Read More
Greetings from Central Florida and the land of Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter, and just about any other entertainment venue/company you can imagine. This week I am in Orlando, Florida along with almost 30,000 IT professionals for the five-day Microsoft Ignite conference. Microsoft uses this annual megaconference to share a bevy of new features, products and services announcements with organizations that use and rely on Microsoft’s offerings. After Satya Nadella set the company’s vision for the near term in his keynote Monday morning, other members of the senior leadership of the company did technical keynotes to dive into the products and services that help drive the overall vision laid out by Nadella. Over the course of the conference’s five days, Satya Nadella set the company’s vision for the near term in his keynote Monday morning, then more than 1700 sessions were presented by experts from Microsoft. They range from short 20-minute theater sessions, 45-minute break-out sessions, and 75-minute deep dive sessions. Note: You can watch sessions on-demand and download the slide decks that were used in the presentation at the Microsoft Ignite website. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
This week, with the release of Windows 10 Redstone 5 Build 17763 to Fast Ring Insiders, it seems Microsoft is very close to their final build for the October 2018 Update. That update is expected to become available sometime in October and if form follows history – that will likely be the week after the October Patch Tuesday updates which happen on October 9th. Over the last couple of newsletters, we have covered what new features and enhancements are expected in this sixth feature update for Windows 10. In addition, we talked about what we would like to see added to Windows 10 in a future update and summarized what features have been removed over the last three feature updates. The October 2018 Update is no different than its predecessors, and so there is a documented list of features that are being deprecated from this latest update. Note: Microsoft sifts these items into two categories. Removed – feature has been removed from the OS. Some of these have been replaced by other functionality while others are dropped because they are no longer actively used/supported. Some of these items may have previously been listed under the deprecated category and are finally being removed from … Read More
Q. Microsoft Edge keeps appearing when I select a URL. Any ideas on a fix so that my default browser setting works the way I think it should? A. This week’s question comes from a reader after they saw last week’s newsletter about Microsoft testing out a pop-up when users install an alternative browser on Windows 10. They shared that this system is running the production release of Windows 10 Home and not participating in Windows Insider early build/app releases. I have no doubt our reader knows about setting defaults in Windows 10 but for posterity, I am going to go ahead and document that process here to get us started with the discussion about this error. Note: Your choice of web browsers, such as Chrome or Firefox, must already be installed before you begin this process. Step 1 This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
We’ve already looked at how IFTTT can be used to automate your life, so let’s look at another web application that has impressive powers of automation, these ones generally more suited to workplace functions — including email. I’m talking about Zapier. Zapier describes itself as a glue that holds more than 1,000 different web applications together. The service creates zaps, which are workflows that connect your apps and allow for the background automation of different tasks. Overall, Zapier also allows for more fine-tuning, really allowing you to automate things in the ways that work best for you, your professional needs, and your workflow. “Zapier is a really incredible app. It helps you easily connect up the apps you use without needing to write a single line of code,” said Siobhan O’Rorke, marketing manager at Zenkit. About a thousand apps are currently supported by Zapier, including popular ones like Gmail, MailChimp, and Outlook 365. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Microsoft released 61 security patches for September, including 17 listed as Critical. Several flaws were publicly disclosed before the release and one is already being actively exploited in the wild. The patches and advisories cover Internet Explorer (IE), Edge, ChakraCore, Azure, Hyper-V, Windows components, .NET Framework, SQL Server, and Microsoft Office and Office Services. You can find all of the updates at the Microsoft portal. Here are the highlights from this month’s release, with the information you need to prioritize your patching efforts. CVE-2018-8440 – Windows ALPC Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability The patch to prioritize this month is CVE-2018-8440, a local privilege escalation vulnerability that arises when Windows incorrectly handles calls to the Advanced Local Procedure Call (ALPC) interface. The flaw was first made public last month via a tweet (which was later deleted) and attackers are already taking advantage of it. At the time it was disclosed, Will Dormann, a Vulnerability Analyst at the CERT/CC noted “I’ve confirmed that this works well in a fully-patched 64-bit Windows 10 system.” This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Tweaking is a way to fine-tune something, and Windows 10 gives us plenty of capabilities to fine-tune the OS to our particular work methods and thus optimize our productivity. I’m sharing some of the tweaks which I have come to rely on, mined from the inner workings of Windows 10, to feed my need for speed. Turn Off Windows Visual Effects, Turn On CPU Speed You can speed up your CPU by turning off CPU-hungry visual effects. Sure, animations and shadows make the user interface look great, but they can consume significant CPU power and eat memory. Follow these steps to turn off different visual effects. Open File Explorer and from the left column, right-click This PC. From the drop-down menu, click Properties. Click Advanced system settings in the left column. Now click the Settings box under Performance. The Visual Effects tab reveals all the visual features Windows loads by default. Click the Custom button and proceed to uncheck the ones you can live without (most of them, actually). I left on only Enable Peek and Save taskbar thumbnail previews but you can adjust accordingly to see how CPU speed and memory improves on your systems. Use Built-in Windows 10 URIs to … Read More
The reality of personal computing in 2018 — and likely beyond — is that nobody exists in a silo’d tech ecosystem. We’re all switching between different cloud services, operating systems and software packages; what these companies want from us (our total engagement) is not a priority for users. What is a priority is being able to do what you want on your mobile and desktop devices. While Microsoft’s still a great one-stop shop if you want a set of office-work apps on an operating system, Google’s apps have made tremendous inroads. It helps that they’re tied into some really compelling tools (like a search engine …) and based in the cloud, not on a desktop. So how do you get the best of both worlds? We’ve examined this question periodically and in today’s special issue, pulled together some of our answers. How to Sync Your Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendars How to Work with Microsoft Word and Google Docs To-Do, Google Tasks, Wunderlist, and Todoist: Which One Works for You? Here’s to cross-platform productivity.
Automation is the new name of the game in personal organization, but one of the most powerful automation tools, If This Then That (IFTTT) has actually been around for years — and can automate everything from saving your Instagram photos to Dropbox to making sure your lights are already on when you walk through your front door. IFTTT works by identifying an action with one cloud-based service or smart device, then assigning a follow-up action to it. For example, “If you post to Twitter, then save each individual tweet to OneNote.” The interface is easy to use — it’s a website with bright icons for each device or service that you can connect via your personal IFTTT account. From the lighthearted to the lifesaving, IFTTT recipes can (nearly) do it all. IFTTT could always do a ton of useful things, like push emails you star in Gmail to Evernote or send you a daily weather report. But as smart assistants get more powerful, so does IFTTT. The spread of the Internet of Things and the quickly increasing ubiquity of digital and voice-activated assistants means a whole new level of personal automation is available. These deceptively simple “recipes” — many of … Read More