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.

Windows 10 Mobile Will Not Come to All Lumia Phones as Promised

With news that Windows 10 Mobile will be coming to the Lumia line of phones, people were eagerly awaiting the update after what could only be considered a lackluster of support and empty promises for windows 8 mobile. Sadly not everyone will be able to enjoy this as it has now been revealed that windows 10 mobile will not be coming to all the Lumia phones as it was previously promised.

What does this mean? If you are one of the unlucky ones you will end up with a phone that will permanently stuck on Windows Phone 8. If you own one of the following phones, you will be given the option to update to windows 10 sometime soon on your phone:

  • Lumia 1520
  • Lumia 930
  • Lumia 830
  • Lumia 730
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 640XL
  • Lumia 635 1GB
  • Lumia 636 1GB
  • Lumia 638 1GB
  • Lumia 540
  • Lumia 535
  • Lumia 532
  • Lumia 435
  • Lumia 430

While the age of some Lumia phones may seem like a good reason to stop supporting them, the pressure to get their mobile platform correct seems to be building with expectations that Windows 10’s united platform would help save a platform that many consider almost invisible on the modern market.

The real problem people have is the broken promises that seem to be spewing from Microsoft. Firstly there is a long list of phones running Windows Phone 7 which were never upgraded to 8, leaving them with a broken and unsupported mobile OS and doing the same to Windows Phone 8 users question if the mobile system is as dead as it’s been reported.

Microsoft Will Now Support Windows 7 and 8.1 For New Processors

Technology changes, that is an inevitable fact. As we produce more and more powerful designs and techniques we create new pieces of hardware and sometimes this causes trouble for those who aren’t quite ready to move on. Microsoft announced previously that those wanting to use the latest in Intel’s processors, the Skylake series, they would need to use Windows 10. It would appear they’ve changed their tone and are now looking to offer support for Windows 7 and 8.1 for the new processors.

The technical reasons provided was that offering support for the older operating systems would be too much given that the new system would be optimised for windows 10. Some people considered this as a push though for businesses to stop using the older operating systems and instead use Windows 10 if they wanted to get new equipment.

Microsoft has now recanted on that and will offer support for the older operating systems, offering companies the chance to upgrade to windows 10 at their own pace if they use Skylake devices. To help this the security updates for the older operating systems will also be addressed to PC’s running Skylake systems till January 14th, 2020 for Windows 7 users and January 10th 2023 for Windows 8.1 users.

Are you happy to hear about this? Are you looking at Skylake processors but would prefer to keep an older OS for the time being? You can see Microsofts tech blog outlining all the changes here.

Microsoft Slips Ad Generator Into Windows 7/8.1 Security Update

Microsoft has been getting more brazen every day as  they continue to try to get users to upgrade to Windows 10. After making Windows 10 a recommended update for Windows 7 and 8.1 systems, Microsoft may have gone too far with their latest step. If Microsoft’s own documentation is to be believed, the latest Internet Explorer 11 Security update for Windows 7 and 8.1 bundles in an ad generator that urges users to upgrade to Windows 10.

KB 3139929 is the latest cumulative security update for Internet Explorer 11, bundling in a number of security fixes. Digging into the documentation, you find KB 3146449, an update that “adds functionality to Internet Explorer 11 on some computers that lets users learn about Windows 10 or start an upgrade to Windows 10“. According to some users, this pops up a blue banner when a user opens a new IE11 tab with the message, “Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10”.

While it is understandable that Microsoft wants to get as many users as possible on Windows 10 and is trying to spread the message, bundling a non-security update into a security update is simply unacceptable. Is is misleading to users and raises the question as to how trustworthy and legitimate Microsoft’s limited Windows 10 update notes are. Along with moves like the bundling of third-party apps into Windows 10, Microsoft may still reach their Windows 10 install goals, but only at the cost alienating users and undermining trust.

How to Permanently Prevent Forced Windows 10 Download

Microsoft is set to introduce Windows 10 as a recommended update through Windows Update for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 very soon, meaning that millions of users will be inadvertently upgrading their operating system merely by installing recommended updates. Thankfully, there is a way to disable this automatic upgrade which does not require turning off Windows Updates altogether.

The information comes, surprisingly, direct from Microsoft, and does not require installing any additional software. A 30-second registry update is all it takes:

  1. Open Regedit (by typing “regedit” into the Windows Start Menu searchbar and clicking on the icon);
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
    WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade;
  3. Find AllowOSUpgrade (if it doesn’t exist, create it: right-click, new, create DWORD (32-bit) value, rename AllowOSUpgrade) and double-click. Set value to 0;
  4. Then, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade;
  5. Find ReservationsAllowed (again, if it doesn’t exist, create it. Same method as above) and set value to 0;
  6. Restart Windows.

The “Upgrade to Windows 10” pop-up can also be disabled, if you haven’t already:

  1. In Regedit, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\GWX;
  2. Create DWORD (32-bit) value DisableGWX and set the value data to 1.

If you’re not comfortable poking around in Windows Registry, ZDNet has written a guide to creating your own executable file to automate the task.

Save the following text in a Notepad document as DisallowOSUpgrades.reg:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade]

“AllowOSUpgrade”=dword:00000000

“ReservationsAllowed”=dword:00000000

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade\State]

Alternatively, the file can be downloaded here.

Microsoft Calls Sticking With Windows 7 a Security “Risk”

At the end of December, NetMarketShare reported that Windows 7 is the most popular operating system in the world, taking a huge 55% of the market share, compared to Windows 10’s meagre 9.9%, despite being installed over 200 million times since its release in July 2015. Microsoft has been pushing Windows 7 and 8.1 users to take advantage of its free upgrade scheme to graduate to the Windows 10, and its latest tactic seems to be to cast doubt on the security of Windows 7 in an effort to scare that 55% into migrating to the new operating system.

During the latest Windows Weekly podcast (via Forbes), Microsoft’s Marketing Chief Chris Capossela claimed that Windows 7 users should know that they use the old OS “at [their] own risk, at [their] own peril.”

“We do worry when people are running an operating system that’s 10 years old that the next printer they buy isn’t going to work well, or they buy a new game, they buy Fallout 4, a very popular game, and it doesn’t work on a bunch of older machines,” Capossela told hosts Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley, and Paul Thurrott. “And so, as we are pushing our ISV [Independent Software Vendor] and hardware partners to build great new stuff that takes advantage of Windows 10 that obviously makes the old stuff really bad and not to mention viruses and security problems.”

Capossela added that it is “so incredibly important to try to end the fragmentation of the Windows install base” in order to get users to a “safer place”.

I am one of many PC users who upgraded my copy of Windows 7 to Windows 10 before rolling back to my old operating system. I did so safe in the knowledge that Windows 7 is just as secure as 10 – Microsoft will maintain official support for the operating system until 2020, and any security update it develops for 10 will be applied to 7 – and the only compatibility issues I ever encountered were during my one month using Windows 10.

Capossela then intimated that Microsoft could adopt a more aggressive strategy to force Windows 7 and 8.1 users to upgrade, saying, “We think every machine that is capable of running Windows 10 we should be doing everything we possibly can to get people to move to Windows 10…We are going to try to find that right balance, but we just know there’s a lot of people out there who constantly kick the can down the street without a little bit more of a, frankly, a push.”

“And so,” he continued, “there’s no doubt with a base as big as ours, it is hard to move anyone to a new model without angering some people. We don’t want to anger anybody, but we do feel a responsibility to get people to a much better place, and Windows 10 is a much better place than Windows 7. We will always give you a way out, but we’re trying to find the right threat balance.”

 

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.

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

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.

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

How to Stop Windows 7 and 8 From Spying on You

By now, the internet is saturated with articles advising Windows 10 users how to stop the new operating system from tracking and collecting their data, with many existing Windows 7 and 8.1 users breathing a sigh of relief that they rejected their free Windows 10 update. What many are unaware of, though, is that Microsoft has updated its user agreement to introduced exactly the same spying tools into the previous two Windows iterations.

The following four Windows Updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are responsible for turning your operating system into a user data collection conduit:

KB3068708 This update introduces the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices. By applying this service, you can add benefits from the latest version of Windows to systems that have not yet upgraded. The update also supports applications that are subscribed to Visual Studio Application Insights.

KB3022345 (replaced by KB3068708) This update introduces the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to in-market devices. By applying this service, you can add benefits from the latest version of Windows to systems that have not yet been upgraded. The update also supports applications that are subscribed to Visual Studio Application Insights.

KB3075249 This update adds telemetry points to the User Account Control (UAC) feature to collect information on elevations that come from low integrity levels.

KB3080149 This package updates the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices. This service provides benefits from the latest version of Windows to systems that have not yet upgraded. The update also supports applications that are subscribed to Visual Studio Application Insights.

If you are a Windows 7 or 8.1 user that handles their Windows Updates manually, simply right-click on the offending updates in the list (Control Panel > Windows Update > Select updates to install) and click ‘Hide’. Don’t panic if the updates have already been installed, though, as you can still uninstall them. Navigate to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Installed Updates, find the relevant items under the Microsoft Windows sublist, right-click, and select Uninstall.

Alternatively, you can use an elevated command prompt to execute the following commands:

  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information.

Windows 10 Data Policy is Optionally Coming to Older Operating Systems

The recently revised “Microsoft Services Agreement” has caused a great deal of controversy and could theoretically disable pirated games and unauthorized software. Additionally there are concerns about Microsoft’s data policy in regards to monitoring user activity. It’s still unclear what the true extent of these updated terms are, but some users have reverted back to older operating systems due to privacy concerns. However, Microsoft is now implementing updates in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 which report information back to Microsoft’s servers.  The updates in question are KB3075249 and KB3080149 and designed to:

KB3075249 “Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 ”

KB3080149 “This update aligns down-level devices on the same UTC binary that’s released in Windows 10. This update would enable all the down-level devices to receive the software updates, design updates, and additional power and performance tuning.”

Once updated, your PC will share data in a similar vein to Windows 10. Whether you’re happy with this or not is all down to user-preference. You could argue, that there is no privacy online, and Microsoft requires this information to customizable apps such as Cortana to your needs. On the other hand, other users will feel aggrieved by this intrusive data sharing and decided to dismiss Windows 10 for this very reason. Most importantly, the updates are optional and Windows cannot under any circumstances, apply the updates automatically. Although, this could change in the future.

If Microsoft do make this an integral system update, you can always disable Windows Update.

Are you concerned with the new Microsoft Services Agreement or feel people are being overly paranoid?

Thank you TechWorm for providing us with this information. 

How to Stop Windows 10 From Sharing Your Bandwidth

The Windows 10 upgrade procedure is remarkably simple and easily reversed if you prefer an older operating system. To manage the bandwidth demands, Microsoft uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) system which allows your network to host the data for additional machines. However, a number of Reddit users discovered the P2P update delivery protocol extended to computers outside of your network and across the globe. Subsequently, this can reduce your download and upload bandwidth as you seed the data to other Windows users.

Currently, there’s no substantial evidence which estimates the impact of the worldwide P2P delivery. It’s clear this has caused some concern and can be manually disabled via the following process:

Firstly, click the “Start Menu” and select the “Settings” tab.

This should open a new window and you need to click on the “Update & Security” sub-menu.

Navigate to the “Windows Update” option on the left side panel, and click “Advanced Options”.

This next menu simply involves scrolling down to the bottom and clicking on “Choose how updates are delivered”.

Once complete, change the highlighted option to “PCs on my local network”. Doing so will disable network sharing across the internet and restrict your bandwidth to a local connection.

In real terms, I’m not entirely convinced the network sharing will have a major impact on the average user’s internet connection. Although, some people may oppose the idea of using their own network to manage traffic instead of Microsoft building a greater networking infrastructure.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Windows 10 Market Share Rises to 3.55 Percent

Despite some of the negative press surrounding Windows 10’s hidden snooping tools, the operating system appears to be roaring success and has extended its market share to 3.55 percent. The latest data comes from the weekly Statcounter report and shows a distinct shift from Windows 8.1 to Microsoft’s latest operating system. More specifically, Windows 8.1 dipped from 16.45 percent to 14.93 and Windows 7’s share reduced from 54.41 percent to 53.8.

These numbers are extremely impressive considering how new the operating system is and users are taking full advantage of the free upgrade incentive. Transferring customers from Windows 7 will be a more difficult task for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s a more desktop-orientated environment and doesn’t use the Metro interface. Secondly, Windows 7 is stable, fast and adopts a familiar user-interface most people are accustomed to. While Windows 10 implements the Metro style in a more desktop-friendly manner, it’s still integrated into the Start Menu.

Thankfully, users have a full year to initiate the upgrade process and within a few months, most of the glaring issues should have been resolved. Also, it will be fascinating to see how Microsoft responds to concerns about privacy and their data policy. Whatever the case, Windows 10 continues to expand its market share at a rather impressive pace.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information.

OneDrive Can Finally Sync Shared Folders

The long-awaited option to synch shared folders on OneDrive is finally here. Microsoft finally started to roll out an update that allows users to sync content in shared folders and have it pushed to other users as soon as the files get synced.

Up until now, Google Drive and Dropbox took the lead in sharing folders and making it easier to collaborate with other people on the same projects. I personally preferred Dropbox so far due to the fact that it synced files and delivered the updated files to colleagues almost instantly (depending on the internet speed, of course). However, as Microsoft wants to integrate OneDrive in its upcoming Office 2016 suite, changes needed to be made.

Besides, synching folders in OneDrive was one of the top upvoted features in Microsoft’s feedback forum, so it was bound to be implemented sooner or later. You may not have the feature yet, but Microsoft is said to have started gradually rolling out the update to users. Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Mac OS X will get the aforementioned update, and yes, it seems that Windows 8.1 will be skipped. OneDrive Director of Product Management, Angus Logan, tells that Microsoft is focusing on Windows 10 and this might be a way to ‘force’ users to update to the latest Microsoft OS.

It seems that Microsoft is moving one step closer to helping businesses collaborate and make it easier to share and sync files, but is it enough to get you to switch to OneDrive? We like to know what software you are using to share folders. Is it Dropbox, Google Drive, or will you switch to OneDrive in the end? Let us know!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of macitynet.it

How to Rollback From Windows 10 in a few Clicks

Windows 10 has finally arrived and already accounts for an estimated market share of 0.375%. Microsoft’s figures suggest a staggering 14 million devices were activated within 24 hours of launch. However, Microsoft’s latest and probably last operating system has come under fire due to privacy concerns and users have reported some unnerving bugs. The procedure to revert from Windows 10 is relatively simple, but it must be done within 30 days of your initial upgrade date.

If you decided to perform an upgrade without transferring any files, make sure to back up any data on an external flash drive or optical media. Operating systems are prone to anomalies when using a system restore or reformat so it’s important to have a contingency plan. Once your data has been successful backed up, it’s now time to instigate the rollback from Windows 10.

Firstly, navigate to the Start Menu and click on the Setting tab. This will bring up the traditional Control Panel which contains a number of categorized options.

Click on the Update and security icon to access a new screen with installation commands.

Next, you should be able to see the Update and security menu which contains a host of system tools. On the left, there is a tab entitled, “Recovery”. Click this and the right hand section will display 3 key options. Ensure you select the “Get Started button” underneath the label “Go back to Windows 7/8/8.1”.

Once pressed, Microsoft allows you to cancel the process or offer feedback on the decision to drop Windows 10 from your system. To proceed, you must tick one of the boxes and click next.

After choosing a reason for the rollback, Microsoft asks you to confirm the decision to prevent customers from making any rash decision.

Then, your PC will begin to automatically downgrade from Windows 10 and doesn’t require any user-input. This could take 10-30 minutes depending if you have an SSD or mechanical hard drive. When the procedure is finished, you should be able to log into your previous operating system without any problems.

Please let us know if this guide helped you and your overriding opinions of Windows 10 so far.

Windows 10 Hits 14 Million Upgrades in Just 24 Hours

Many Windows users look like they’re jumping right onto the Windows 10 bandwagon right away. According to Microsoft, more than 14 million devices have upgraded to and are using Windows 10. Given that many users on Windows 7 and 8/8.1 that are eligible for upgrading but have not yet gotten their prompt, that number is likely to balloon for the near future.

These early adopters are sure to face a whole slew of issues though. Microsoft’s touted personal assistant Cortana is currently limited to a select few countries and even then, sometimes it has trouble activating. Other bugs like the app store and other Metro apps crashing have also popped up. For instance, I was unable to install any of the Universal apps and have multiple app store crashes. Along with some other issues and privacy concerns, it’s probably not quite that time for an upgrade yet.

For those that are eager to try out Microsoft’s new OS but have not yet gotten their upgrade option, you can find our guide to download Windows 10 here. Having tried Windows 10 myself yesterday, Microsoft really should have spent a bit more time fine tuning the OS in improving the UI and bug fixes before launch. Overall though the OS is largely fine but still feels rough around the edges. It will take a while yet till we know how the public at large responds to Windows 10.

Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to Windows 10 Today

Introduction


The launch date of Windows 10 has finally arrived after an extensive Beta testing period for users in the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft’s latest operating system is designed to be light on system resources and implement the Metro user-interface in a less obnoxious way. Windows 8 was heavily criticized by Microsoft customers, game developers and even Valve who became so concerned, they pushed their own Linux-based operating system. Microsoft’s strategic direction was too focused on mobile devices and tried to implement touch functionality at the expense of Desktop PCs.

Microsoft made a catastrophic error in trying to enforce full-screen applications through the Metro user-interface. As a result, it was extremely awkward to arrange multiple Windows and the OS felt pretty cluttered. Furthermore, navigating to newly installed programs, the Control Panel or advanced settings seemed counter-intuitive and hidden behind too many sub-menus. The end result was a terrible operating system for power users or customers opting for a traditional keyboard and mouse control scheme.

Windows 8.1 alleviated some of these concerns but kept the garish Metro system and Microsoft were unwilling to admit defeat. Many users derogatorily refer to Windows 8 as “the next Vista” and refuse to upgrade from the highly acclaimed Windows 7 operating system. Given the amount of disdain Windows 8 received, you might be a little perplexed about not upgrading today. However, there are a number of factors which you should take into consideration before upgrading.

Slow Download Servers


As with any digital product launch, the download servers are being hammered and resulting in extremely slow download speeds. This can create a rather frustrating experience as the queues grow and Microsoft struggles to keep up with demand. Perhaps waiting a few days is a more cogent option so you can download the update when the servers aren’t overpopulated. Also, the free download only applies to existing customers. Subsequently, you cannot legitimately acquire an ISO from a fast mirror and apply the update yourself. Personally, I would perform a re-format of my existing operating system, then install Windows 10; unless you have a boot SSD and few programs, this may take a while.

Windows 10 Could Suffer From Undocumented Compatibility Problems


Despite undergoing a thorough Beta testing phase, Windows 10 hasn’t been adopted on such a widespread scale. This means various third-party programs, games or hardware could experience teething problems. For example, older printers using a Parallel to USB converter might no longer work until the manufacturer releases a fix. Of course, this is a very small percentage of people but emphasizes what kind of problems you might run into. More commonly, many older games could become unstable or fail to detect the platform being used. It shouldn’t be a major issue due to Windows’ compatibility mode, but it’s something to be wary of.

Additionally, mods or unofficial game patches are untested and it’s sensible to let others be the guinea pig. Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of old games like Wing Commander which already struggle on modern operating systems. Windows 10 is brand new, so the amount of threads with information to get the game running will be minimal. Hopefully, the Windows 8.1 fixes work on Windows 10, but this is still an unknown entity.

DirectX 12 is Here, the Games are not


In terms of potential, DirectX 12 is one of the most revolutionary changes to PC Gaming in over a decade. This new low-level API reduces CPU overheads and theoretically increases the performance of games by an estimated 20%. However, there are no games on the market able to leverage this extra performance and it’s up to developers to begin supporting the new API. Realistically, this could take at least a year before modern games are reworked to use DirectX 12.

A large quantity of older games were produced by defunct studios and unable to implement DirectX 12 functionality. I highly doubt this could be done by a modder since the engine needs to be reworked. The data on DirectX 12 is quite new and we need to wait until the API has matured before analyzing its significance. Make no mistake, DirectX 12 will be a monumental change, but gamers shouldn’t expect to see this anytime soon.

Windows 10 Will be Free for a Year


It’s remarkably easy to get into the hullabaloo of a product launch and be disappointed by the final result. There’s no need to rush if you want to upgrade because Windows 10 will remain free for an entire year. As such, you could wait a month to see how well the operating system has been received and until the launch bugs are patched. Perhaps Windows 10 doesn’t offer enough of an improvement from Windows 7 and isn’t worth the hassle of learning a new visual style. This will be fairly prominent with those who aren’t technically minded and struggle to navigate around an operating system.

The Metro UI Still Exists


For all Windows 10’s posturing about returning to its Desktop roots, the Metro UI is still an integral component, albeit in a less obtrusive manner. In Windows 10, clicking the Start icon brings up the familiar Start menu. Unfortunately, this takes up a lot more space as the Metro icons are positioned adjacent to the Start menu. Once pressed, the menu can take up to 50% of your screen space instead of the narrow 20% seen in Windows 7. Microsoft’s ideology revolves and integrating all their services together including mobile, PC and Xbox. This sounds like a good idea, but I strongly believe Microsoft should release two versions of Windows 10; a Metro-based tablet edition and PC version which drops the Metro UI completely.

Windows 8 or 8.1 users can download an invaluable tool called Classic Shell which removes the Metro UI and replaces it with a simple, yet customizable Start menu. I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t take greater notice of this software which creates a much better experience than Windows’ 10 default setup. While the tool should work on Windows 10, this is just another example of how previous operating systems can be made more intuitive than Microsoft’s latest effort.

Final Thoughts


Windows 10 is shaping up to be a highly successful release, as Microsoft attempts to transfer individuals from older operating systems through the free upgrade incentive. Despite this, launch dates are always marred with a wide array of problems. In this case, the servers are almost at breaking point and I wouldn’t recommend downloading the update right now. Furthermore, DirectX 12 games could be some time off, and the Metro user-interface is still an integral part of the user-experience.

There’s no need to rush out and instantly download the update either as the average user will not majorly benefit from upgrading today. This doesn’t apply to technology enthusiasts or tweakers who want to play with the latest operating system. I’m still wary about the lack of mature drivers for unusual peripherals and wonder if they will work without any complications.

Microsoft has hinted that this could be the last version of Windows formally released. After that, Windows could possibly become a service platform which evolves without reselling the operating system as a product revision. Windows 10 is here and you should definitely upgrade, but now is probably not the best time for everyone.

Here Is Why Windows 8.1 Gained a Big Lead Over XP and Why It Matters

I know most people who loved Windows XP still stuck with it, even if Microsoft dropped support for it back in April 2014. The people who upgraded went to Windows 7, which now has the majority shares between all OS’. But why does Windows 8.1 need to be in front of XP?

Ok, the main reason XP needs to be something of the past is linked to its legacy security flaws. Since there is no more support, the remaining security issues can be exploited by everyone out there and you are pretty much using something you know you shouldn’t. But still, people are using it and it may pose a high security threat to anyone on the same network as an XP user (not to mention the user himself).

However, statistics show that Windows 8.1 now has a big lead ahead of XP. Statcounter shows that Windows 8.1 is roughly 5% ahead of XP and Netmarketshare shows only a 1.14% increase in usage. The big gap between the two services is due to their methods of analysing different OS’ and browsers out there, but it still shows promise.

While people are adopting real quick the 60.98% market share is still dominated by Windows 7 users. This is a big thing and the reason this matters is that it shows a view of how many people will adopt Windows 10 once it gets released. While we see a lot of XP users moving towards the newest Windows 8.1 release, the same cannot be said for Windows 7 users.

In my opinion, Windows 10 would bring a lot of features and restructure the user interface to something more familiar that is now found in Windows 7. However, the number of users upgrading to Windows 10 will be quite interesting to view as will mark a big turning point. Windows 10 is designed with a lot of new cloud services and business-oriented software in mind, as well as a lot of new and interesting features for the users themselves. The question is, will it be enough to change people’s minds about new software upgrades?

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Testers Get Windows 10 For Free With a Catch

After making a pigs ear of it over the last week, Microsoft has finally, definitively, clarified whether or not testers of the beta version of Windows 10 are eligible for a free upgrade to the release version of the new operating system upon its release on 29th July.

Members of the Windows Insider Program who have Windows 10 Technical Preview installed will be entitled to a free upgrade to Windows 10, but only if they remain signed up for beta updates to maintain the build’s activation status. Anyone who decides not to receive beta updates any longer will have their licence expire and will have to pay in order to continue running the full version of Windows 10.

Even Gabriel Aul, Head of the Windows Insider Program, admitted that Microsoft’s communiqués on the matter were unclear, posting a link to a new blog post which aims to illuminate the matter:

As Aul phrases it in the blog post:

As part of the program we’ll upgrade Insiders to what is for all intents and purposes the same build as what other customers will get on 7/29, but that will be just another build for Insiders, and those who stay in the program will simply get the next build after as well.

So, if you want a free version of Windows 10, and don’t already own Windows 7 and above, you must submit to being a full-time tester of the OS. Is that a fair trade-off?

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Windows 7 Update for Windows 10 Upgrade Could Be Spying on You

A Windows 7 update, meant to prepare the operating system for a Windows 10 upgrade, could be secretly triggering daily telemetry and sending that information back to Microsoft. The update, KB 2952664, is advertised as a “compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7” that helps Microsoft make improvements to the current operating system in order to ease the upgrade experience to the latest version of Windows,” the update could be spiking a red-line of one CPU core each time Windows 7 is initialised, InfoWorld has revealed.

After a tipoff from a reader, staff at InfoWorld began investigating KB 2952664. The update was installed on a fresh Windows 7 SP1 x64 computer, after which a new program was found in the Windows Task Scheduler named DoScheduledTelemetryRun. You can look for it yourself in Task Scheduler Library>Microsoft>Windows>Application Experience, listed to run at 3:00am every day. The task it runs is %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe appraiser.dll,DoScheduledTelemetryRun, which is described as “Collects program telemetry information if opted-in to the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program.” The program runs independent of whether opts in or out of Microsoft’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).

Is this scheduled telemetry run secretly snooping on Windows 7 users, or is this suspicious-looking process more innocent than it seem? Until Microsoft clarifies the situation, we can’t be sure.

Thank you InfoWorld for providing us with this information.

Windows 7 and 8.1 Users Can Now Reserve Windows 10 Upgrade

Microsoft has confirmed the release of Windows 10 as 29th July, and certain Windows 7 and 8.1 users are able to reserve their free upgrade to the new operating system, thanks to a handy little icon in their Windows taskbar notifications area:

If you are a Windows 7 or 8.1 user and you don’t have the icon on your desktop, you need to make sure that you have installed the KB3035583 Windows Update from March. Without it, you will not be able to reserve your automatic Windows 10 update. After the update is installed, the icon should appear instantly. Once clicked, it offers a load of information about the new OS, and at the click of a button signs the user up to the free update.

The update window will even warn you about drivers and programs that either might become incompatible or will need to be reinstalled after the update, though an option titled “Check your PC”.

Windows 7 and 8.1 users have one year from Windows 10’s release date to take advantage of the free upgrade “for the supported lifetime of your device,” as Microsoft puts it, stressing that it is a permanent upgrade, not a free trial or limited version. Sadly, Windows RT and RT 8.1 users are not eligible for the offer.

Thank you CNet for providing us with this information.

Windows 10 Upgrade Could Free up 14.6GB Hard Drive Space

The forthcoming Windows 10 operating system boasts a myriad of improvements on previous versions, and the latest to be announced is that it will take up less hard drive space than its two most immediate predecessors. In a post on Windows Blog, Microsoft revealed that the new OS could use up to 14.6GB less space than Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Windows 10 uses enhanced compression, using a new algorithm that assesses the computer’s memory to compress files without impeding performance. The new compression system could free up 1.5GB on a 32-bit system and up to 2.6GB on a 64-bit system.

Most of the space, though, will be freed up by the removal of a separate recovery image to reset the OS to factory settings. Previously, these files could take up 12GB of hard disk space.

“Through the capacity savings of system compression and recovery enhancements, Windows devices can be lightweight and highly mobile, yet, when you need it, have the full capabilities of the Windows OS,” the Windows Blog post reads.

Source: TechRadar

Microsoft To Punish Windows XP Holdouts With Doubled Support Costs

Microsoft is so keen to persuade Windows XP users to finally upgrade that it is doubling the support costs for the aging operating system. Despite XP being followed by three different iterations – Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 – many home and business users continue to rely on the 14-year-old software.

The per-PC price of Microsoft custom support agreements for enterprise users will rise to $400 (£249), double the previous fee. Though official Microsoft support for the OS ended on 8th April 2014, 15.17% of the world’s PCs still run Windows XP.

Though Windows XP is still preferred by a significant number of users, the operating system is vulnerable to memory injection attacks, a problem that is not solvent for Microsoft to patch, considering its understandable focus on supporting its more current operating systems, especially with the release of Windows 10 on the horizon. Since there’s no practical way of making XP safe, Microsoft is making it as unattractive as possible not to upgrade.

Source: Daily Tech

Windows 10 Install Will Work via Update Function

Microsoft unveiled in a media event that their latest build of Windows 10 will make updating from older versions of the Operating System as easy as installing an update. It is actually just that.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will be able to update to the new version directly through Windows Update, effectively removing the need for a DVD to be burned of flash drive to be created – including possible changing BIOS boot order and more.

At launch, this upgrade should be delivered straight through Microsoft Update, but for now you’ll need to go to the Windows 10 Technical Preview Page and select Upgrade now. This will download a file to your PC which after you will run it you will reboot and then be able to “upgrade to Windows 10 technical preview” as an option on Window update.

It’s nice to see Microsoft making it easier to update the OS, now they just need to learn that one doesn’t need to reboot the entire system when upgrading single software components; they can be restarted.

Thanks to Overclock3d for providing us with this information