Microsoft Windows 10 Hits 270 Million Active Users

Happily for Microsoft, Windows 10 adoption is chugging along quite nicely. In fact, according to Microsoft, Windows 10 has achieved the fastest adoption yet, beating out Windows 7 and 8. Since the last update at the end of 2015, Windows 10 has added an additional 70 million users, bumping the total to 270 million, quite impressive overall. However, the numbers have slowed after the new OS hit 75 million in the first month and 110 million by the second.

The biggest reason Windows 10 has seen such growth is due to the free nature of the OS. Microsoft has allowed users to upgrade for free from Windows 7 and 8.1, driving a lot of the adoption. Microsoft has also pushed hard to get users to upgrade, with controversial methods like forced upgrades, misleading options and even slipping Windows 10 ads into security updates. The unique count of users rather than installed devices is also a difference in how Microsoft is counting installs, with the graphic above being void of labeled axis.

Even with some good numbers to share, Microsoft may be starting to get worried as the June deadline for free upgrades nears. For those users who hold back, they may never move on till Windows 7 and 8.1 finally leave support at the end of the decade. Hopefully, Microsoft will get the message and stop forcing upgrades on those who don’t want them.

EA Origin Dropping Pre-Windows 7 Support

As many users undoubtedly learned the hard way with Windows XP, software support doesn’t last forever. This is doubly true of regular software which can often just drop support without much warning and stop working. Luckily, this is not the case with EA, which has announced plans to drop support for Origin on systems that are using any OS prior to Windows 7, mainly Windows XP and Vista.

Improved the way Origin handles outdated operating systems, and reduced support for Windows XP and Windows Vista.

As part of the transition, EA is already dropping some features when they are updating Origin. After August though, Origin users on Windows XP and Vista will no longer be able to download/install games, not utilize the shop. Luckily, installed games and updates will continue to work, meaning those of you planning to stay on an older OS can pre-download any games you want to keep playing on the old system.The biggest problem will be with older games that aren’t quite compatible with newer operating systems.

This whole issue begs the question as to why EA is dropping support for XP and Vista. Afterall, the whole point of Windows is to run older software and Vista is pretty much the same as 7. Perhaps, EA wants to move Origin to newer development models which XP and Vista don’t support. With the two operating systems having less than 3% marketshare according to Steam, similar to the numbers for OSX, EA probably won’t be losing much sleep over any lost customers. With the numbers Windows 7 has, there is still plenty of breathing room for those of you on that OS, so rest easy for now.

Microsoft Denies Windows 10 Is Self-Installing

For obvious reasons, Microsoft is pushing hard to get their users onto Windows 10. While spamming advertisements and making the upgrade free have done wonders, it seems like that is still not fast enough for Microsoft. According to some users, Microsoft has begun to stealthily self-install Windows 10 onto their Windows 7 and 8/8.1 computers. Of course, Microsoft has denied any such acts, not that they would admit if they were.

Microsoft had this to say in a statement:

We shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. As stated in that post, we have updated the upgrade experience to make it easier for customers to schedule a time for their upgrade to take place. Customers continue to be fully in control of their devices, and can choose to not install the Windows 10 upgrade or remove the upgrade from Windows Update (WU) by changing the WU settings.

Despite Microsoft’s claims, many users have experienced their machines somehow autonomously upgrading to Windows 10. Obviously, the biggest culprit is when Microsoft started pushing Windows 10 as a recommended update. Due to the fact that Windows will by default automatically install all recommended updates, many users are undoubtedly feeling their systems are out of control when it somehow upgrade overnight. While this is not as nefarious as actually forcing an upgrade, this as close as it gets to that, since automatic updates actually hides which updates it will be doing, pretty much ensuring users won’t know they will be upgrading to the new OS.

With such desperate measures like sneaking in Windows 10 advertisements in security updates, Microsoft really has gone too far with their push for Windows 10. As it stands, there are still many issues remaining. Maybe Microsoft should just sit on their already massive install base and let users be. Then again, when has Microsoft truly listened without first being burned?

Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 Review

Introduction


It has been about six months since Synology launched the Beta program for the new DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 and we’re so very close to an official release. Today I’m taking a closer look at just this new operating system and will show you the new improvements and features.

This review is a little special for me as my NAS reviews normally focus a lot more on the hardware side of things as well as the performance. It isn’t that I don’t show the user interface and features, but there isn’t room to dive as deep into the system as there is today where I’m focusing on the operating system and apps alone.

There are a lot of new great enhancements in DSM 6.0 and one of the best is one that you’ll barely notice as a normal user because it’s going on behind the curtains. The new OS has been upgraded to a 64-bit architecture on compatible models. This will not only allow for a better overall performance by utilizing the modern CPUs a lot better, it also supports over 4GB memory allocation for one single process to deploy large scale applications.

Synology also took some of the previous built-in features and modularized them into packages instead. This ensures better system maintenance and update flexibility. The Modularization in DSM 6.0 includes Storage Analyzer, Hyper Backup, PHP, Web Station and Text Editor, Log Center with basic built-in functions in DSM and extensive functions via package download, WebDAV, and Snapshot Replication.

DSM 6.0 brings a lot of enhancements for both home users and enterprises alike. The High Availability Manager server is now able to handle split-brain errors a lot better and it doesn’t require a full data replication anymore to get back up and running. This can save you from valuable downtime and thereby profit loss. It also comes with improved upgrade efficiency and cluster binding, and best of all, it also supports Docker DSM

Backup and replication got new features too and some things got moved around to accommodate the new add-on packages. Any existing setups will automatically be moved to the new locations upon upgrading, so that’s not something you need to worry about. CSP support got added to the security features in order to prevent XSS attacks while TLS and SSL profiles can be adjusted according to your browser capability and settings. Another nifty new security feature is that you can add and manage you most frequently used devices as trusted devices that don’t need a verification code every time you log in.

There are several new and pretty awesome features in DSM 6.0 beta, where on of them is the Docker DSM. Businesses can create a multi-tenant environment with flexible resource control and secure isolation. All Docker DSMs run independently from each other and provide additional features such as live migration. Synology’s multi-version backup provides snapshot and replication to one or more remote sites, up to every 5 minutes, and block-level incremental backup and cross-version deduplication is also included. You’re well covered here.

The SSD cache feature allows you to use up to 12 SSDs now, but that amount is naturally for the big enterprise models and the home-use NAS don’t come that kind of drive-bay amount. When SSD cache is enabled on a volume with advanced iSCSI LUNs, the performance can be improved up to 30%. You can now use different SSD models to create an SSD cache.

This is truly an upgrade that worth the shift from 5.x to 6.0 with the amount of features added, and I’ve only mentioned some of them up until now. The search feature won’t just search file and directory names now, it can also search the files actual content as well as meta tags to find just the thing you’re looking for. You can use 802.1X network authentication for wired networks and organize your firewall rules into different profiles.

There’s also a new Spreadsheet feature with co-editing, historical versions, tag, and file sharing link as part of Note Station. Offline editing, one-click email clipping, and instant table-chart conversion is also part of the deal. Apple Watch users can now enjoy the Note Station even more as it is now compatible with the Watch. Owners of an Apple Watch can now check notes directly on their wrist, or create new notes via voice input.

MailPlus server comes with active-active architecture, load balancing, and content filters and allows you to have a great mail solution running right from your own location. The clients are browser- and mobile-based and feature physical mailbox, virtual labels, auto-filter, and sticker.

Cloud Station Server and Cloud Sync now provide users with flexible synchronization of files within specified subfolders in addition to shared folders. Small file syncing has now become over 8 times faster than before which is great as those small files often come in big groups. Synology also revamped the Video station for this new version. It now supports offline transcoding, on-screen buttons, and Windows 10. DS Audio got Apple Watch support now too, to allow users to select songs, playlists, and broadcasts directly.

Windows 10 Mobile Update Might Finally Arrive This Month

Whether Windows 8 mobile users have waited patiently for the update to Windows 10 or not is something the upgrade numbers will show, but up until now they haven’t had any other choice than wait. At least, if they wanted to keep their current Lumia phones powered by the older operating system. At first the update was promised to arrive in December last year, then it was January before being pushed to February, only to be postponed again.

The newest reports indicate that those were the last delays and that Windows 8 users will get the ability to upgrade to Windows 10 this month, after the monthly service update is completed for the Lumia 950 models. I should, however, point out again, that this isn’t officially confirmed information, at least not yet.

Microsoft plans to roll-out the update as an opt-in upgrade, allowing the users the choice to upgrade or not. At least at first. Once it has been verified that there aren’t any critical bugs or trouble with the upgrade, it will be pushed to compatible phones automatically.

With smartphones being as vital a component in people’s live these days, it is good to see that Microsoft takes its time to polish the operating system and make sure that everyone will get a great experience out of it instead of trying to stick to deadlines and then release a buggy product. It’s not something they can afford to do and the won’t.

It is an update that is well worth waiting for as I can say first hand that Windows 10 is an awesome mobile operating system. It takes a little time to get used to, as any change, but after a day, you won’t be missing any previous system. That is at least if you use your phone for communication where you’ll find all the popular instant messengers and similar things, but you might not find your favourite game on there yet.

WhatsApp to End Support For Older Operating Systems

WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging client which allows users to exchange text messages, images, video content, location details and audio files. As of February 2016, WhatsApp has a user base of up to one billion which makes it the most popular messaging application in the world! Back in February 2014, Facebook acquired the company for an estimated $19.3 billion and clearly sees the application growing at an impressive rate. Recently, Facebook made an announcement regarding its new focus on the latest mobile operating systems to provide a better user experience. The statement reads:

“When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today,”. 

“The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia. Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 percent of sales today – were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold at the time. As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use.

“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,”

“This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.”

By the end of 2016, WhatsApp will no longer be supported on:

  • Blackberry, including Blackberry 10
  • Nokia S40
  • Nokia Symbian S60
  • Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
  • Windows Phone 7

This makes sense because Blackberry’s current smart phone position is very weak, and they are trying to encourage handset sales via the Android operating system. On another note, when WhatsApp was first introduced, around 70 percent of smartphones utilized operating systems by Blackberry and Nokia. In today’s market, iOS and Android account for 99.5 percent of sales. This demonstrates the dramatic shift, and struggles faced by anyone trying to gain a foothold in the smart phone sector.

Microsoft Will Start Releasing Windows 10 Update Notes

While there are undoubtedly many issues and concerns users have with Windows 10, one of them is finally being addressed. After announcing last year that there will be improved documentation for Windows 10 Updates, Microsoft has started releasing Update release notes for the latest updates. Each new update patch will now come with a summary of major fixes along with notes about function and security changes. For now, only security fixes come in more detail while other changes are still only vaguely documented.

Before this release, Windows 10 updates did not come with any release notes, meaning system administrators had no idea what the update was changing, making the patch a crapshoot if compatibility issues arose. The only notes about releases came from the preview beta or Windows Insider branch of the OS where some notes were released. The move to strip away release notes were largely seen as a cost saving measure and due to the move to Windows as a service.

It seems like in this case user and enterprise pushback was enough to force some changes from Microsoft. It didn’t even take up that many resources to create as Microsoft was already creating release notes for internal OEM partner use. Simply releasing these to consumers as well isn’t that much more work. Hopefully, we may yet see Microsoft act on other concerns that users have about Windows 10, like forced automatic updates and various privacy concerns.

Checkout the Windows 10 Redstone 14257 Update and Changelog

The latest update for Windows 10, Redstone 14257, is here at last. Of course, Microsoft will be pushing this update automatically to most of you eventually and the changelog will no doubt fly under the radar for many, but we’ve got all the details right here. The update was released to Windows 10 preview build insiders on the Fast ring, and while I’m sure many of you don’t like updating all the time, it’s great to see Microsoft pushing various fixes much quicker than with past generations of their popular OS.

The most recent update was only released a few days ago, helping to address the game crashing bug that has been plaguing many users. Fortunately, that issues didn’t affect us here at eTeknix, but we have heard reports of it. The new update, however, seems to have a focus on fixing various bugs and setting up a few basic features in preparation for a wave of new features in the near future.

“Teams are still early in their new feature work and changes in this build are mostly about laying the foundation for those features to start coming into builds.”

With Gabe Aul from Microsoft promising a lot of new features in the next few builds, we’re really looking forward to what is yet to come. For now, check out the full changelog of the latest update below.

Windows 10 preview 14257 bug fixes:

  • The issue of periodic app crashes or other memory related app errors due to a memory management change has been resolved. If you were having issues launching the Git client for Windows, you should now be able to launch it in this build.
  • The Connect button now shows up again in Action Center.
  • F12 Developer Tools will now load correctly Microsoft Edge.
  • We fixed an issue where suggested apps were being shown on the Start menu even though “Occasionally show suggestions in Start” was turned off under Settings > Personalization > Start.
  • We fixed an issue where if you try to change the Lock screen picture with “Get fun facts, tips, tricks and more on your lock screen” turned on it will revert back to the default.
  • We fixed an issue where the positions of desktop icons get jumbled up after switching DPI settings from 100% to 150% or 175%.
  • We also fixed an issue where pasting files into a new .zip file (compressed folder) in File Explorer by either right-clicking or Control-V would not work. You should be able to paste tiles into new .zip files just fine now
  • If you choose “Reset This PC” under Settings > Update & Security > Recovery – your PC will be in an unusable state. There is no workaround if your PC gets into this state and you will need to reinstall Windows. This issue will be fixed in the next build. You can still rollback to the previous build if for some reason this build doesn’t work out for you. This bug also existed in Build 14251 so please avoid resetting your PC on these builds.
  • You might see a WSClient.dll error dialog after logging in. We’re working on a fix for this but as a workaround, you can run the following in Command Prompt with administrative rights: schtasks /delete /TN “\Microsoft\Windows\WS\WSRefreshBannedAppsListTask” /F. This issue will be fixed in the next build.
  • The front-facing camera is unusable on PCs with Intel RealSense resulting in being unable to use Windows Hello or any other apps that utilize the front-facing camera.
  • After logging in to your PC, you may hit a UI issue in which Airplane Mode will incorrectly show as “on” even though your PC’s Wi-Fi is powered on. This is due to a timing issue between how the UI communicates and waits for the underlying platform to respond. The UI for Airplane Mode essentially does not wait long enough for the device’s physical radios to power on before reporting the current state. You can toggle the Airplane Mode on and off to get Airplane Mode back to showing the correct state.

Windows Fixes Issues With Games but Still Unclear With Mobile OS

Build 11102 of Windows 10 came to the public attention in a big way recently when it was discovered that the build would crash when running games. Ranging from starting up a game to swapping out from a full-screen application, many were put off updating when they discovered this bug; this has now been fixed as of Microsoft’s latest build.

Build 14251 follows on from build 11102 in fixing the problems that led to crashes when playing games. The significant jump in build numbers doesn’t reflect the level of work or number of features included in the new build. The new number is actually just to synchronise their mobile and PC versioning.

In a blog post, they reaffirm that they want to release builds faster to Windows Insiders, people who will be testing out and using the latest “version” of the operating system, often finding these little bugs in the process. The reminders in the blog post ask that people be aware, faster deployment of code means you will often find these little bugs and they may take several builds to fix.

Stating that they will be releasing builds for the Lumia 950, 950XL and 550, it is then said that they will “release Windows Mobile 10 to other devices”. Windows mobile received bad reviews, with some being fixed in the update to mobile 8.1 and more recently windows 10, although the speed at which handsets have been updated is too slow for some.

Do you use Windows 10, either on mobile or on your PC? How have you found the latest updates and patches? Was your phone or PC originally windows 10 or did you upgrade to it? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

SteamOS Update Lets You Play With Xbox One Elite Controller And More

Some like PC, some like Console. People choose different platforms for different reasons, but the creators behind the ever popular PC gaming platform Steam came up with an idea to bridge the gap. Enter Steam machines, a combination of PC and Console, which meant that you could play games like you were on a console but you could upgrade it like a PC. So why not grab your controllers and play on the latest SteamOS version.

Steam OS is based on the popular operating system Linux. One of the main selling points behind Linux is that it is open source. Open source is when software is freely available in both the finished product and the code that builds it up. This means that you are able to see how it works and add functionality as you wish.

The latest update, 2.60, for SteamOS features not only security patches and updates to the Linux system as a whole but options for an extra controller. The Xbox One Elite controller features a variety of buttons, including some hidden underneath, where your hands naturally rest while holding a controller. If you feel up for giving the controller a spin on SteamOS you now can but sadly only if its wired.

If this wasn’t enough why not check out its new Bluetooth support. Being able to connect a range of devices through Bluetooth you could soon be playing with Playstation 4 controllers and headsets without a wire in sight!

While updates will help the platform, SteamOS recently took a hit when it was revealed that it played games worse than Windows 10 did. We might see that changing soon and with updates coming out more and more it might be worth retesting that comparison soon.

A Look At The Steam Survey Results For November 2015

I will only pick out the most noteworthy Steam Survey Hardware and Software results for November 2015; otherwise, I might be here until New Years day 2017.  So, what do we have? Below are the Steam monthly survey stats, starting with the most common type of OS (Operating System) that is being used amongst Steam gamers.

As you can see below, Windows is the most dominant Operating system with 95.26% usage, Windows 7 64 bit is the most popular with 35.63% usage, this is down slightly (-1.04%). Windows 10 64 bit has risen slightly by 2.39% with current usage at 28.81%.  These stats hide an interesting point, with many reports noting that back in August 2015, only 17% of users were running Windows 10, therefore, this is around a 59% increase in the last three months. Of course, there are many factors including the persistent attempts by Microsoft to push at all costs their latest OS onto consumers.

Unsurprisingly, Steam users are not in favour of Mac or Linux’s operating systems considering only 3.64% and 0.98% of users respectively implement these operating systems when utilizing steam to play games.

When it comes to preferred CPUs for all formats, Intel is unsurprisingly the big winner, 76.31% Windows Steam users own an Intel CPU for November 2015, while Windows users of an AMD CPU is at 23.69%, this is down ever so slightly (- 0.28%) compared to October 2015.

Other noteworthy stats for the CPU section include 47.93% of Steam users owning a dual-core CPU, while 45.12% own a quad-core CPU.

Ram stats are quite interesting, and yes I am a geek, the most popular configuration of Ram is 8GB and is being used by 32.06%, this has risen slightly by 0.36%, although 12GB and higher is at a healthy 16.04%.

By all means check out the full in-depth list of stats, it’s certainly revealing and conveys Steam users preferences and also how well manufacturers are placing their products within the market.

Ian Murdock Founder of Debian Linux Passes Away Age 42

Many users would have come across Ian Murdock’s work, more so if you are a user of Linux-based operating systems. It is with great sadness that we must report that Ian Murdock has passed away at the age of 42.

Ian Murdock’s passing was announced on a blog post via the Docker website, where he was a member of the Docker community. Ian is best known for the Linux Debian distribution, an open source operating system that has formed the basis of many other open source projects, and the very definition of open source has been built upon it. He is also known as a creator of the commonly used command, apt-get, an easy way of finding and install the latest software on Linux-based operating systems.

Both Ian’s family and the community as a whole have requested that the press and the public respect their privacy at this time and that any enquiries be sent through Docker. If you wish to share your condolences with those who knew him you can send them to in-memoriam-ian@debian.org, where they will be kept and archived for viewing and recalling at a future date.

Please see the memorial left at Debian.org here and join us in remembering a man who gave so much to the world.

Windows 10 Hits Impressive 200 Million Installs

Despite a host of glaring issues it seems like Windows 10 is continuing to truck along just fine. After hitting a landmark 75 million installations by the first month and 110 million by the second month, it has hit another milestone. According to WinBeta, the OS managed to hit 200 million installations since it’s launch 5 months ago. While lower than previous months, that’s still an impressive 30 million installs a month on average.

While undoubtedly impressive after the debacle that was Windows 8, it’s important to note that these are installations and not necessary activations. This means this includes unsold devices with Windows 10 installed, which usually get shipped out a month before they are sold. Windows 10 is also a free upgrade for existing Windows users and Microsoft has been using questionable practices to force users to upgrade to the latest OS and will eventually force upgrades.

Critically, Microsoft still hasn’t addressed the fundamental privacy questions for their latest OS. Core tracking telemetry cannot be disabled and the few settings users have been able to tweak are getting changed back to the way Microsoft wants it through uncontrollable updates. With such aggressive measures, it’s not surprising that Windows 10 is doing so well. Whether or not Microsoft will hit their 1 billion installations in 3 years goal remains to be seen.

The Underbelly of Red Star OS Reveals Tracking Features

Red Star OS was revealed in early 2015 as North Korea’s operating system after it was snuck back to the states by ex-google employee Will Scott. Since then the operating system has been under investigation and most recently a pair of german researchers have released their information regarding the operating system.

While the operating system may look like a copy of Mac OS X this seems to just be a fancy skin that does nothing more than conceal the Fedora Linux base that the system is built upon. While an open source operating system at heart, Fedora has been modified with several pieces of technology that are made to help track potential security risks from the country.

Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess of the German IT security company ERNW GmbH revealed some interesting information regarding their “marking” tactics. The specifics of this watermarking tactic means that every document located within the computer is watermarked, including devices that are temporarily connected to the system, such as by a USB stick. While this may seem like a good idea this applies to all files and is “done stealthily and touches files you haven’t even opened”.

The operating system also includes heavily locked down settings, meaning that even trying to alter things such as virus checkers or firewalls results in either an error message or an instant reboot.

Microsoft Will Not “Force” Consumers to Upgrade to Windows 10… Or Will They?

Microsoft has been somewhat pushy concerning the adoption of Windows 10, from the many “forced upgrade” attempts, relentless hidden updates to the secretive file downloading system which launches an installer without explicit user acceptance, the tech giant has clearly overstepped its remit. Well, apparently no, no it has not, if a statement from the corporation is anything to go by.

“Windows Update is trusted for important updates through an official channel, while Windows 10 has been added in order to facilitate an easier way to find an upgrade to your system, you will receive a significant prompt before you choose to continue” said Microsoft.

Sounds reassuring, unfortunately, many users have found their systems being upgraded to Windows 10 without permission.  Microsoft has also found workarounds regarding third-party tools which aim to disable pop-up ads through the system tray, by automatically re-enabling any upgrade prompts. Furthermore, reports have been circulating concerning changes to the update system that will classify Windows 10 as a “recommended Update” from early 2016; this means users who think they will be installing a regular update will, in fact, be downloading the latest OS.

Then there is the latest scenario concerning the “Upgrade Now or Upgrade Tonight” prompt within Windows update for Win 7 and 8 users, but there does not seem to be an option to refuse the upgrade altogether.

I do think Microsoft have overstepped the mark concerning its relentless pursuit of upgrading every system to its latest OS, consumers have a right to decline any major updates if they wish to through a clear and transparent scheme.  Sticking by an older OS is perfectly legitimate for a variety of reasons, hopefully, I say that word without expectation, Microsoft will see sense and leave consumers be, if not, I can see a backlash to the point where many consumers have no other option but to ditch the brand before migrating to a different OS altogether, whether that be Mac or a variety of Linux distributions.

On a sidenote, I do think it seems slightly odd concerning Microsoft’s current upgrade policy, there seems to be an unprecedented push for all users to install the latest OS, Why? Is it purely marketing or is there something else, such as tracking, privacy, etc.

OneDrive Placeholders May Be Replaced Back in Windows 10 ‘Redstone’

Windows 10 has so far received a mixed reception since its release, the many positive aspects which have included the return of a usable start menu has somewhat been outweighed by an operating system thin on privacy, and also a lack of communication to users concerning the update schedule. Now, Microsoft hopes to win back consumers by adding improvements within the “Redstone” update and includes a rumour that a feature by the name of “Placeholders” may return.

If you’re not familiar with this feature, Placeholders had been a handy space-saving feature within Windows 8.1 that allowed any file to be accessed from a OneDrive account by simply double clicking on an icon within file explorer, the difference was the file wouldn’t actually be downloaded to your machine until the user specified. Sounds good, well many users thought so until Microsoft took a crowbar and removed this feature from Windows 10 OS.

According to persistent rumours, this feature is set to be repackaged in time for Windows 10 Redstone release, which is due to be offered to consumers around Spring time of next year (2016).  Why had this feature been removed in the first place? It seems not everyone was able to understand how this handy tool functioned, this included consumers wondering why they were unable to update their files from the cloud when they had no internet connection to their data that was stored online, indeed.

It will be interesting to see the path with which Microsoft treads concerning the development of Windows 10.

Steam Controller and Workshop Support Added to Warframe on PC

Earlier this week we saw the launch of Steam Machines (at last!) and that means that Steam OS, the Steam Controller and more are all now fully out in the world and ready for people to use. To celebrate this, Warframe developer Digital Extremes have update their AAA Free-to-Play title to support it.

Warframe now supports the official Steam Controller, which is great news for those using it on PC or those who are using a Steam OS powered Steam Machine. Even cooler than that, the game now supports Steam Workshop, opening up the doors for a huge range of user-created content. Meanwhile, the developer is promising to tweak and update both of these new features based on player feedback.

“We’re always looking for new and exciting ways to support and encourage players’ interests in becoming more involved with Warframe,” said Rebecca Ford, Community Manager at Digital Extremes. “The quality level of this first round of beautifully created user-generated content from our Community is beyond impressive and is the beginning of what we hope will grow into a thriving resource for both creators and players. TennoGen truly delivers content made by Tenno, for Tenno.”

Gamers not as artistically inclined but interested in participating in the process are encouraged to vote on early submissions they’d like to see in Warframe on the official TennoGen Steam Workshop website.

For more details on the submission process for user-made TennoGen content, please visit the Steam Workshop FAQ on the officialWarframe forums.

Warframe is available for free download on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. To find out more about Warframe here.

New Xbox One Experience Now Available – What to Expect

If you’re an Xbox One gamer, then you’ll no doubt have heard that there is a major update for the consoles OS today. The new update, known as vaguely as “New Xbox One Experience” will bring a lot of changes to the dashboard, as well as some cool features that I’m sure many of you have been waiting for.

“NXOE starts rolling out after 3:01am ET/ 12:01am PT November 12th. Back Compat titles will be playable or start to appear in your collection (for digital purchases) after 3:01pm /12:01 pm (Noon) PT on Thursday” said Xbox Spokesman, Major Nelson.

The entire rollout will begin for everyone globally, so there’s no sitting around waiting for your time slot on a download. Of course, what this does to Microsoft’s servers at that time, remains to be seen, but I’d expect some slower downloads and advice that some people wait before updating just to be sure things are going smoothly.

Here’s what Major Nelson had to say on how to get the update.

HOW TO GET THE NEW XBOX ONE EXPERIENCE?

If you use the Instant-on power mode (available via Settings – Power & startup), your Xbox One will take the update in the background when you put your console into Connected Standby mode.  As this is a global rolling launch, consoles in Connected Standby will be updated at various times throughout the day based on your time zone.

If your console is in Energy-saving mode, your Xbox One will not automatically download and install the update. To initiate the download and update process, you can go to Settings – System to manually check if an update is available and choose “Update Now”.

Note that all Xbox One consoles will receive a prompt for a mandatory update on November 23rd if they have not yet updated to the New Xbox One Experience.

  • Learn more about system updates on Xbox One here
  • Learn more about the New Xbox One Experience system update and build here.
  • Starting 3:01am ET/ 12:01am PT November 12th, access the Xbox.com support team’s knowledge base regarding known concerns here.

WHEN WILL YOU GET IT?

Team Xbox will begin the rollout of the New Xbox One Experience after3:01am ET/ 12:01am PT November 12th.

Not everyone is going to get it at the same time.  Depending on the time zone you are in, as well your Xbox One console settings, you may get the New Xbox One Experience at a different time than your friends.

Regardless of when you receive the New Xbox One Experience system update, the Xbox One Backward Compatibility feature will begin rolling out starting at 3:01pm/12:01 PM (noon) PT on November 12th.  To start playing your Xbox 360 games on Xbox One after this time, refresh your Game Collection to see your pre-purchased, digital Xbox 360 titles from theBackward Compatible title list in your ready to install queue or simply insert the disc for a supported Xbox 360 title and download the game to start playing it on Xbox One.

What can I expect in this new update?

The new OS for Xbox One will integrate more with Windows 10, bringing a completely redesigned interface, faster navigation, the ability to join parties, add friends, check messages and more without leaving your game and so much more.

  • Faster performance
  • Improved game experience
  • Vertical scrolling allows faster access to activities and content
  • Expanded social content and engagement

The Guide, game hubs, social interactions and more have been improved, as well as a new community area which has been added. There’s a new and improved store, One Guide and updated apps too.

The biggest update, however, is that Xbox 360 backwards compatibility is rolling out with this update too.

“Now you can play a growing number of your Xbox 360 games on Xbox One at no additional cost. With over 100 titles slated for this fall, and hundreds more in the months to come, Xbox One is now the best place to play your Xbox 360 games.”

  • Keep your game saves, game add-ons, achievements, and Gamerscore
  • Enjoy the advanced features of your Xbox One like Game DVR, Screenshots and Windows 10 streaming
  • Play multiplayer with your friends no matter which console they’re on
  • Xbox One Backward Compatibility works with disc-based and digital games

If you’ve downloaded and tried the update today, feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think about this major update.

Google Dropping Chrome Support for XP, Vista and OSX 10.8

Even when Microsoft dropped public support for Windows XP last year, many large organizations continued to pay for extended support. Not surprisingly, Google also continued to support Windows XP for their popular Chrome browser. That’s set to finally end though next year in April 2016; that marks the 2 year anniversary since Microsoft officially dropped XP support.

Originally set to end at the same time as Microsoft’s support, the cut-off date ended up getting extended twice. First, it was extended for 1 year till this April. When that deadline neared, Google ended up relenting and continued to support the aging OS till the end of the year. Now finally and for real this time, the support will end after an additional 5 months have been tacked on.

In other news, Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 will all lose support in April as well. This is also long after Apple has given up on these systems. Ironically, Vista will also lose support the same day as XP will, despite being released a full 5 years later than the venerable OS. This also comes despite that fact that Windows Vista will be supported by Microsoft till April 2017. This speaks to the lack of popularity of the much-maligned OS that was eventually patched to near Windows 7 levels of usability.

Microsoft to End OEM Windows 7 Pro Sales Oct 31st 2016

With the successful launch of Windows 10 behind them, Microsoft is closing up their Windows 7 and 8.1 business. According to Microsoft’s Windows lifecycle factsheet, we’re getting confirmation that Windows 7 Professional will no longer be available to OEMs come October 31st 2016. With that, the era of Windows 7 will finally end as Microsoft will no longer make Windows 7 available in any form to OEMs and OEMs can’t sell Windows 7 devices.

While the Professional SKU of Windows 7 will continue for the next year, the other variants were already cut off from OEMs a year ago. The retail versions of the OS also ended sales two years ago back in 2013. Windows 7 gained popularity as it came after the bungled Vista release and the lacklustre Windows 8 failed to supplant it in a significant way. The extension for the Professional version of Windows 7 largely came about due to the less than positive reception Windows 8 faced. As a business oriented SKU, letting OEMs continue to offer it as an upgrade path was more palpable than having them stay on XP.

Windows 8.1 will also become depreciated on that same date. This means in a years time, the only Microsoft Windows computers on shelves should be Windows 10 based. Security updates will continue till 2020 and 2023 for 7 and 8.1 respectively. Interestingly, despite Windows 10 being the “last Windows”, support for the new OS ends in 2025. Whether or not that will change remains to be seen.

Twitch Will Install Arch Linux Later Today

Despite being a video streaming service, Twitch has gained fame through a series of “Twitch Plays” events. While those have all revolved around games like Metal Gear and Pokémona more ambitious project will start in about 12 hours. Using the same chat-based collaboration, Twitch will attempt to install Arch Linux on a virtual machine. Anyone who connects to the stream will be able to command and control the installation process.

While installing a Linux installation is pretty straightforward these days, we can expect a lot of trolls in the first while. After all, that’s what happened with Pokémon and Dark Souls when they first started out. With the large range of options available to trolls, expect the start to be really bloody. It would not be surprising to see commands to wipe the disk or put the VM into a perpetual reboot cycle to occur.

There a few milestones set so far for the installation which are to

  • Boot Arch Linux from the hard disk
  • Write a python ‘Hello World!’ script
  • Configure a fully working X server
  • Pull up the Twitch screen in the virtual machine

If the install goes relatively well, it will be interesting to control via Twitch the machine that itself is logged into Twitch and ends up controlling itself. That is, of course if the VM doesn’t get recruited into a botnet or becomes a spambot.

Windows 10 Upgrades Will Start Installing Automatically Next Year

When Microsoft released Windows 10 early this year, the new operating system was meant to unify the Windows/Microsoft ecosystem. In an effort to achieve homogeneity among its desktop user base, Microsoft is taking extreme measures to push Windows 10 onto Windows 7/8.1 users. Starting next year, the Windows 10 update will be made “recommended” and set to automatically install. For the next few months, an intermediary step of making Windows 10 an “optional” update for all users will take place.

By making the update recommended, it means that any users who are set to have automatic updates will have Windows 10 automatically start installing. Microsoft is saying that before the OS fully changes over, there will be a user prompt though it looks like the update will download automatically. In these times, having automatic updates is critical for maintaining security and keeping up to date so it’s a hard choice between remaining secure or using the OS of your choice.

In the interim, Windows 10 will be set as an optional update for all users. Previously, only those that reserved a Windows 10 update would have Windows 10 show up as an optional update. Given previous debacles with optional updates, it remains to be seen if Microsoft is up to the task. The major reason for this shift is that the #1 service issues with Windows right now is about where to get the Windows 10 update.

With the many unanswered questions that Microsoft has not dealt with for Windows 10, there are likely going to be many users who are going to be unhappy with the way Windows 10 is being pushed. While Windows 10 has been working on over 110 million devices so far, those who have not chosen to upgrade probably have issues with incompatible hardware and software or plain just don’t want to use it. By being so forceful with Windows 10, Microsoft risks creating a public backlash though then again, where can users go?

Windows 10 Upgrade May Automatically Install on Windows 7/8.1 Systems

Microsoft has been pushing their new Windows 10 OS pretty heavily since launch a little over two months ago. Due to those efforts, the Windows 8.1 replacement managed to hit 75 million installs in just 1 month, with the 2nd month reporting in at over 110 million installed devices. We’re now getting word though that some of these installs may have been done by unsuspecting users who had the Windows 10 upgrade automatically install.

With Windows 10, Microsoft broke new ground by allowing free upgrades to Windows 7 and 8.1. However, things started looking a bit sketchy when Microsoft started making the Windows 10 upgrade download itself whether the user requested it or not. It looks like Microsoft has made a greater mistake by automatically having the Windows 10 upgrade checked, leading users who aren’t careful with their updates automatically being forced to upgrade.

While Microsoft has claimed this issue was caused by a soon to be fixed error, this is the first time that an optional update has been checked off. Combined with other buggy issues, either Microsoft is playing with the truth or their quality control has slipped up. Either way, though, needs to ensure that they respect users choice, something Windows 10 has not been doing a good job about.

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information

University of Cambridge Study Shows 87% of Android Devices Insecure

For those watching the Android ecosystem, it is plain to see that mobile OS suffers heavily from a casual security policy. However, the number of devices that are actually vulnerable to known security flaws can be hard to pinpoint. A University of Cambridge Study has found that 87.7% of active Android devices are vulnerable to at least 1 of 11  serious known exploits.

Starting from 2011, the University conducted a survey using Device Analyzer of over 20,400 Android devices and scanned them for version and build information. By comparing the versioning and when vulnerabilities were discovered, it turns out that only a small portion of the ecosystem were secure or maybe secure (specialised fix).

Much of the blame for this situation appears to rest with the OEMs. By considering the number of devices without vulnerabilities (Free), running the latest version (Update), and the average number of vulnerabilities on unpatched devices (Mean), the researchers came up with a FUM score out of 10. Given the lackluster effort OEMs put into their updates, it’s not surprising that all scored below 5. Even the famed Nexus phones fared little better at a measly 5.3 with the closest OEM, LG coming in at 4.

With OEMs generally only patching flagship devices and not even for that long, it looks like the Android ecosystem need an overhaul to address security. With Google only offering 3 years of patches from launch, even the Nexuses can stand to do much better. As the devices last longer and longer, the Android ecosystem should consider security updates for at least 3 years since the devices was last sold officially. Until Android changes to allow security patches to be made easier, it’s unlikely OEMs will put in the effort to ensure long-term security.

Windows 10 Hits 110 Million Mark by Second Month

Earlier in the month, we got word that Windows 10 had surpassed the 100 million install mark. While that was an unofficial source, we now getting word directly from Microsoft that their new operating system managed to hit 110 million installs in the first 2 months. By this point of the month, Windows 10 is sure to have already surpassed that point, with well over 110 million installs.

Windows 10 managed to hit 75 million installs in the first month which was much better than what previous Microsoft OS’s have managed to do. Despite a drop in the adoption rate, Windows 10 still managed a quite respectable 35 million in the second month, putting it above what Windows 7 managed, if only barely. Compared to Windows 8, Windows 10 has managed to nearly double the number in 2 months.

For Microsoft, the free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users look to be paying off. With update rates trailing off though, Microsoft’s lofty goal of a billion Windows 10 devices in 3 years still seems a fair bit away. Even with all of the privacy concerns and other bugs, Windows 10 is still looking really strong. With DX12 and the promise of further fixes to both bugs and maybe even privacy, Microsoft will be sure to attract more users to upgrade eventually.

Possible Fix Found For Windows 10 Error With Taskbar and Cortana.

The release of Windows 10 has been rather odd in many respects, yes it’s an improvement over the much maligned previous OS in terms of user interface, but privacy concerns coupled with a monitoring tool that allows parents to effectively spy on their children’s browsing habits by default has led to a rather mixed reception. Among the many errors and glitches that have befallen consumers is the rather annoying bug that has led to the failure of both Cortana and the taskbar for many individuals, who have been subsequently privileged to a “Critical Error” when attempting to launch both applications. So much so that the official Microsoft answers board has seen consumers vent their frustrations concerning the problem.

Well, this error might have been in part clarified by a redditor that goes by the moniker “Xeasar”, who has seemingly found a fix when this individual attempted to uninstall Avast Anti-Virus. It was found that as soon as this software had been removed, both Cortana and the Taskbar returned to full functionality, leading to the conclusion of compatibility issues with this particular program. Whether this is the sole cause of the problem or down to a variety of incompatible applications remains to be seen.

According to “Xeasar”, Microsoft is aware of the problem and as a result is working on a patch for the issue. On occasions software developers view consumers with suspicion even though in many cases it’s those same people who find a way to fix issues with certain products. It will be interesting to note how and when Microsoft patches this issue and it also conveys the unstable nature of a new OS in its first year.

Thank you Reddit and answers.microsoft for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of techworm

Microsoft Accidentally Releases Buggy Windows Update

Those who set Windows 7 to automatic update may have experienced an unpleasant surprise yesterday. According to multiple reports, the update would cause the system-wide error, with Windows Explorer and other programs frequently crashing, corrupting even system restore, rendering the system useless. While many suspected that Windows Update had been compromised by malicious actors, the source was more mundane.

According to Microsoft, a test update was inadvertently released through the Windows Update service. Despite normal practice dictating that test updates be signed by a test certificate, this update was signed by a real one, leading to Windows 7 trusting and installing it. Luckily, the update was discovered relatively quickly and taken down. Due to the large number of Windows 7 installs, the number was users impacted could still be pretty significant.

With a gaffe such as this, it’s no wonder that Windows 10 forcing updates is so widely panned. Luckily for Microsoft, this update was only pushed out to Windows 7, where the number of  systems set to automatic updates is lower. If this error had happened for Windows 10, many more users would have borked systems, as the aggressive update system would have meant many users would have been forced to install this buggy update. Given that Windows 10 updates also are a black box, troubleshooting the issue would also be problematic. With some Windows 10 updates already causing issues, maybe it’s time for Microsoft rethink their update strategy.

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information