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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Microsoft recently released an official statement confirming that Windows XP is also vulnerable to a newly discovered Zero-Day flaw. The security flaw affects users of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The programs that initiate this security flaw are Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Office 2007 on any combination of the aforementioned operating systems.
“Currently, we are only aware of targeted attacks against Office 2007 users, In those attacks, Windows XP was the operating system seen in use.”
Microsoft says users of its new Office 2013 package will not be affected in any way regardless of their operating system, so you can run Office 2013 on Windows XP and still be secure. Microsoft’s statement already includes a DIY fix that users can undertake to secure their system if they are potentially affected by the zero-day flaw. An automatic Windows Update is expected to be released in the coming weeks that will fix the problem without users having to do anything at all.
At Microsoft’s Q&A session for financial analysts and shareholders Steve Ballmer answered a lot of questions about the past and some of his regrets from his time at Microsoft. High on that list was Windows Vista and Ballmer said he regretted that the failed OS had drawn Microsoft’s attention away from Windows mobile.
“If there’s one thing I guess you would say I regret, I regret that there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows, that we weren’t able to redeploy talent to the new device form factor called the phone…That would probably the thing I would tell you I regret the most, because the time we missed was about the time we were working away on what became Vista, and I wish we’d probably had our resources slightly differently deployed, let me say, during the early 2000s. It would have been better for Windows and probably better for our success in other form factors.”
Ballmer refused to comment on the success of Windows 8 despite it mirroring Windows Vista in terms of sales numbers, naturally he wouldn’t want to jeopardise any current products with any stupid statements. Whoever succeeds Ballmer will undoubtedly have to correct Microsoft’s mediocre start in the mobile market if the company is to turn its fortunes around and become the true giant it once was.
A report by Paul Thurrott of WinSuperSite.com has revealed some interesting things. He estimates from his data and calculations that there are approximately 88.5 million Windows 8 users out of 1.5 billion PCs – so roughly 6% of PC users run Windows 8. Based on Microsoft’s claims on what it has shipped and sold in terms of Windows 8 licenses Paul Thurrott calculates that 141 million Windows 8 licenses have been shipped to global buyers. However, with only 88.5 million Windows 8 users that means about 50 million licenses have just vanished.
Where have these gone? Paul Thurrott says that this differential proves that one in three Windows 8 users downgrade to Windows 7 and this is proven he says by the fact that Windows 7 has held a more or less constant market share over the last year. Those that actually use Windows 8 and then stick with it mainly seem to be those that have come from older declining operating systems like Windows Vista and Windows XP.
Have you tested Windows 8 and decided to go back to Windows 7? Or do you use Windows 8 and you’ve come from Windows 7?
About a week back we brought you some early information that suggested Microsoft’s Direct X 11.2 would be a Windows 8.1 and Xbox One exclusive. Now a recent update on the Microsoft website has confirmed this earlier prediction and Direct X 11.2 is listed for Windows 8.1 only. Microsoft’s Direct X 11.2 brings some new features we haven’t seen before with Direct X. You can see these below:
This is hardly a surprising or new tactic from the software giant. Microsoft has long used the “Direct X limiting tactic” as a way of forcing people to upgrade their operating systems. For example Windows XP was capped at Direct X 9.0c, Windows Vista introduced Direct X 10 but does support Direct X 11.0 with a service pack update. Windows 7 introduced native support for Direct X 11.0 but does not support Direct X 11.1 which is a Windows 8 exclusive. Therefore Direct X 11.2 being a Windows 8.1 exclusive isn’t a surprise and just continues a long-running trend. For Windows 8 users this is fine because you can simply update to Windows 8.1 for free, but for Windows 7 users this means you’re going to miss out on some extra graphical features unless you upgrade – a rather cheap tactic from Microsoft.
If you’re one of those people still using Windows XP or Vista (which should be about 37.2% and 4.6% of all desktop PC users respectively according to recent figures) then Microsoft has stated that you will not be able to use an upgrade path to Windows 8.1. This means that OEMs and business will not have an easy time making the upgrade. These “upgrade scenarios” typically allow you to use Microsoft upgrade installation packages to help take you from your current OS to the latest one with minimal effort – and without the need for a long and drawn out clean install. Yet on XP and Vista this upgrade path to Windows 8.1 will not be supported, though on Windows 7 will be.
If business and enterprise Windows XP users weren’t reluctant enough already to make a Windows upgrade then I doubt this is going to help anything. So the bottom line is if you want to get going with Windows 8.1 then your only way is to upgrade to Windows 8 first as you can use the Windows 8 upgrade tool from XP and Vista, then when Windows 8.1 comes out you have to install that through the Windows store or a dedicated ISO which will be freely available if you’re a Windows 8 license holder.
For those of you who don’t use Nvidia’s GeForce experience software, but like to keep on top of the latest driver updates, you might want to take note that Nvidia has just released the GeForce 320.49 WHQL certified drivers. These bring “official” support for the new GTX 760 graphics card, and 32/64 bit support for all major Windows operating systems. The official WHQL certified version follows six days after the beta version was released. Nvidia also recently released the 326.01 WHQL certified driver for the Windows 8.1 Preview, but if you aren’t using Windows 8.1 then this is the latest and greatest driver to grab.
Nvidia has published detailed release notes for you to check here if you are worried about bugs or compatibility issues (thought these refer to the beta drivers of the same version). If you get any trouble with the latest drivers then be sure to pass your feedback onto Nvidia at the official forum thread here.
Despite all the bad press Microsoft has had this year, and the bashing that Windows 8 has faced (rightly or wrongly so), Microsoft still dominates the desktop PC market and this shows absolutely no sign of slowing. According to the latest figures by Market Research firm Net Applications Microsoft still boasts 91.5% of the market share. The above figures show a relatively stable percentage for Microsoft but if we look at bit further back we can see a very slight long term decline:
July 2010 – 93.83%
July 2011 – 92.90%
July 2012 – 92.01%
June 2013 – 91.51%
Furthermore their figures reveal that Microsoft’s main rivals are Mac OS X with 7.2% and Linux with 1.28%. Windows 7 is the world’s number one operating system with 44.37% and Windows XP follows behind with 37.17%. The figures also reveal that Windows 8 now has 5.10% of market share which is rising fairly slowly but has overtaken Vista which has just 4.62%.
So the figures are certainly interesting but Microsoft shows no sign of slowing down on the PC platform. Despite all the talk of switching to different operating systems after “the disappointment” that Windows 8 was we can see very few users are actually opting for desktop alternatives (Mac OS X and Linux) and most simply move around within Windows operating system, mainly to Windows 7 or Windows XP.
Microsoft has been praising its Windows 8 operating system lately and using the fact it has sold 100 million licenses to justify this self-praise. However, analysts aren’t so supportive of Microsoft’s evidence. Patrick Moorhead, a principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, suggests that out of those 100 million sold Windows 8 licenses only 59 million are being used.
This is according to the most recent data by Net Applications that shows Windows 8 is only being used 59 million, that is still less than Windows Vista. For reference those same figures also showed Windows 7 runs on 682.2 million PC systems and Windows XP on 584.4 million.
(Data: Net Applications)
These unused operating systems probably represent people who have purchased pre-built systems and notebooks yet have chosen not to use the pre-installed Windows 8 OS. I know I have seen a lot of reviewers do the trophic “this PC has Windows 8 installed, but we aren’t going to use that” before wiping the OS drive and installing Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate.
Either way this figures are potentially worrying if only 59% of users that acquire Windows 8 actually choose to install it and use it.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you got an unused Windows 8 key laying around somewhere that you have chosen not to use? If the statistics are right then quite a lot of you will have.
There are still a lot of supports of Windows XP out there, maybe not so many out there for Vista but I’m sure there will be some people on the OS that simply won’t, can’t or don’t want to upgrade for what ever reason and if your one of these people, and your also someone who was looking at investing in Kabini… then I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.
AMD are dropping support for these two old Microsoft OS’s when the launch of Kabini and that may come as a shock to some, but keep in mind that Windows XP alone is now over 11 years old! But for those hoping for at the very least, some kind of legacy support, word has it that Kabini doesn’t even have that.
It’s just too much to ensure the latest technology has the support for older software such as XP and while Vista isn’t exactly old these days, it isn’t exactly Mr Popular either and personally it’s an OS were all best forgetting about, pretending it never happened and never mention its name at parties.
Of course Kabini is still looking forward and Windows 7 and 8 will be fully supported in every way, with updates, feature support, bug fixes and technical support and you can bet this will carry over to Windows 8.1 / Windows Blue as well.