Archive for Microsoft

Microsoft Protects Windows 7 & 8.1 Users From Man In The Middle Attacks

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 9, 2015 by itnerd

Today is Patch Tuesday and if you have Windows 7 or 8.1, you need to make sure you get one particular update. A new security feature called HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is now available to those users. This security protocol protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and is being delivered to users of older version of Windows through an update in the form of KB 3058515. What’s important about this is that this was a feature that was only available to those running the Windows 10 preview in the Microsoft Edge Browser, but it’s now been back ported to users of older Microsoft OSes. That’s outstanding and I applaud Microsoft for doing that. At least they take care of users of older products, unlike a certain fruit themed company that doesn’t treat users of older products nearly as well.

Windows 10: Here’s The 7 Versions That You Will Be Able To Choose From

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 2, 2015 by itnerd

For those of you who are going to move to Windows 10 when it comes out in late July, you’ll have seven versions to choose from, Here’s a quick overview of your choices starting with home and mobile users:

Windows 10 Home:
This is the “consumer-focused desktop edition” that will replace Windows 7 & 8 Consumer and the one most users will see on their PCs, laptops, tablets and “hybrid” 2-in-1 devices starting July 29th using MS free upgrade program. You can upgrade Windows 7 and 8 (genuine copies) for free till July 29th 2016. Windows 10 Home will ship with Cortana (Microsoft’s version of Siri) and Microsoft’s Edge browser (light browser like Chrome) and have Continuum capabilities

Windows 10 Mobile:
Formerly Windows Phone 8.1, this edition will run on smartphones and tablets with smaller displays. It will run universal Windows 10 apps and the new Office apps optimized for smaller touchscreen devices.

For companies, Microsoft is offering two business-focused desktop editions, depending on the size of the organization.

Windows 10 Pro:
Meant to replace Windows 8.1 Pro, it’s designed for small businesses, with extra features to allow companies to manage apps and data across devices. Windows 10 Pro users can also take advantage of Microsoft’s new Windows Update for Business program, which makes it easier for organizations to control how they get security and other updates from Microsoft.

Windows 10 Enterprise:
This edition replaces Windows 8.1 Enterprise and is designed for larger companies. It has more robust security features and also supports the Windows Update for Business program. Enterprise customers aren’t able to take advantage of Microsoft’s free Windows 10 update as it’s only available to volume licensing customers.

Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise:
Formerly Windows Phone for Business, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise is the enterprise edition for smartphones and smaller tablets. Also available to volume licensing customers, It gives companies more control over security features and how updates are installed.

Finally, Microsoft is adding new editions for schools and connected devices.

Windows 10 Education:
The academic edition’s feature set is similar to the enterprise edition in that it gives admins more control over how updates and security features are managed and is available through academic volume licensing. Microsoft also says there will be “paths for schools and students using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to upgrade to Windows 10 Education.”

Windows 10 IoT Core:
This edition appears to be the replacement for Windows Embedded and will power smaller connected devices, like gateways. (Larger-scale devices like ATMs and retail point-of-sale devices will run versions of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise).

That’s a lot of choice. Choose wisely.   :)

Windows 10 Has A Release Date: July 29

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 1, 2015 by itnerd

If you’ve been wanting to get the latest and greatest version of Windows, circle July 29th on your Calendar. That’s the date that it will hit the streets. Windows 10 will be free for users who have bought a computer in the past six years or so, powered by Windows 7 or later, or tablets running Windows 8.1. If you’ve got all the latest updates installed, you can reserve the upgrade, which is available until July 29, 2016, starting today as your OS will prompt you to reserve the upgrade. For those of you who are running a Windows Mobile product, Windows 10 Mobile, the company’s companion software designed to power smartphones is expected to arrive later this year.

So, are you excited for Windows 10, or are you giving this a pass? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Microsoft Announces Cortana Assistant For Windows 10, iOS, and Android

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 26, 2015 by itnerd

I have to admit that I didn’t see this one coming.

Microsoft has revealed a new Phone Companion app for Windows 10 today, designed to help users connect their PC to whatever smartphone they use — Windows Phone, Android, or iOS. On top of that, they also announced app will arrive for Android and iOS, having previously only been available for Windows devices. All of these platforms will get the same feature set as Windows Phone users.

So, why would Microsoft do this? Simple, the focus is on software and services. To make that work, they have to be on the devices that people use. Otherwise, they will become irrelevant. It’s a smart move on the part of Microsoft. Whether it will work or not remains to be seen.

Microsoft Outs Brand New Edge Browser

Posted in Products with tags on April 29, 2015 by itnerd

In case you didn’t hear the news, Internet Explorer is dead. Mostly. Coming soon is Microsoft Edge to replace IE as their browser. The Edge name refers to being on the edge of consuming and creating. Microsoft is calling Edge “a browser built for doing,” with a simple, no-frills design and access to tools for enhancing the browsing experience.

Key features include:

  • Built-in note taking capabilities which let users annotate, draw, and take notes right within the browser, and then share those website notes with friends.
  • “Blazing fast core technology” which we’ll find out whatever that means in the near future.
  • A distraction-free reading mode and a tab page for getting to frequently-used apps quickly.
  • Support for Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana

The Microsoft Edge browser will be built into Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10. Expect that later this year. If you can’t wait for that, here’s a video that shows the browser in action:

Windows 10 Coming To 190 Countries This Summer

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 18, 2015 by itnerd

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 will launch this summer. Though no specific date was announced. Here’s what was said by Windows chief Terry Myerson in a blog post:

We continue to make great development progress and shared today that Windows 10 will be available this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages. Windows has always been global with more than 1.5 billion users around the world and here in China hundreds of millions of PCs operate Windows today. That’s why it was particularly fun to show our latest global innovation, Windows Hello, on stage for the first time, and to feature a number of Windows 10 customizations for the China market, such as Cortana in Mandarin.

One other thing was revealed in the same blog post. Biometrics will be included in Windows 10:

One of the predominant goals of WinHEC is to showcase opportunities Windows 10 presents to hardware and device manufacturers. Windows Hello is one of the new innovations that I was excited to show onstage for the first time.

Windows Hello* will make Windows 10 more personal by providing instant access to your devices through biometric authentication – using your face, iris or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is significantly safer than traditional passwords. We’re working closely with our hardware partners to deliver Windows Hello-capable devices that will ship with Windows 10.

That’s an interesting development. Perhaps it will make computers more secure as that’s a huge issue the moment. Finally, there’s this:

For the first time, a new version of Windows for small footprint IoT devices will be available – for free – when Windows 10 launches. Windows 10 will offer versions of Windows for a diverse set of IoT devices, ranging from powerful devices like ATMs and ultrasound machines, to resource constrained devices like gateways. Through key partnerships with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Intel, Qualcomm and others, we will provide great options for commercial devices builders, hobbyists and students.

Clearly Microsoft wants to be all things to all users. Whether they actually can do that is an open question that will only be answered I suspect when Windows 10 actually ships.

Internet Explorer Is Dead…. Mostly

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 18, 2015 by itnerd

Microsoft has declared that Internet Explorer is no more. Sort of. So says Chris Capossela who is Microsoft’s marketing chief at Microsoft Convergence yesterday. The Verge has the details:

“We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10,” said Capossela. “We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we’ll also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is codenamed Project Spartan. We have to name the thing.”

You’ll notice in that statement Internet Explorer will continue to exist. That’s mostly for enterprise customers. But Project Spartan will be the main way users connect to the Internet and consume Internet content. I’m betting that the software giant will be looking to find ways to move those users over to Project Spartan too. We’ll see what the plan is when Windows 10 ships later this year.


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