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  1. Microsoft Reduces the Amount of Telemetry Data Collected from Windows 10 PCs Other privacy changes implemented for Microsoft users First and foremost, Microsoft is introducing a new privacy dashboard on the web that lets users see and manage privacy data, including search history, location activity, and Cortana’s Notebook - information that the digital assistant requires to provide a more personal experience. In order to access this dashboard, you need to sign in with your Microsoft account and connect to account.microsoft.com/privacy, with Redmond promising to add more functionality and categories over time. Windows 10 changes As far as Windows 10 is concerned, Microsoft is announcing a new setup experience for users who install the new OS. The new option replaces the previous Express settings presented during the Windows 10 install, Microsoft says. Those upgrading from Windows 7, Windows 8 or performing a new clean install should be able to see what Microsoft describes as “simple but important settings,” while those who are already on Windows 10 will be asked to update privacy settings with a notification. These new settings will make their debut with the Creators Update, and will be integrated into an insider build shipping soon. The telemetry settings in Windows 10 will be simplified from three different levels to just two, namely Basic and Full. The Enhanced level will no longer be offered, and users who picked this one will be prompted to switch to Basic or Full after installing the Creators Update. But what’s more important is that the Basic level will collect a reduced amount of telemetry data from Windows 10 computers, according to Microsoft. “This includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows. We use this data to help keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly when you let Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also includes basic error reporting back to Microsoft,” the firm says. Users will be given full control over their privacy settings and will obviously be allowed to change them at a later time from the Settings app in Windows 10. Source
  2. Last year, Microsoft held its second WinHec conference in Shenzhen, China. The event was attended by Microsoft executives like Terry Myerson, Alex Kipman, and more. Microsoft shared their vision for the hardware ecosystem with innovations in mixed reality, gaming, and other opportunities for partners powered by the Windows 10 Creators Update. In one of the sessions, Microsoft spoke about the multiple technologies that Windows 10 supports to enable docking scenarios ranging from USB-C to 802.11ac. Learn about the investments we are making in Windows 10 to enable great wired and wireless docking scenarios. In one of the sessions, Microsoft spoke about the multiple technologies that Windows 10 supports to enable docking scenarios ranging from USB-C to 802.11ac. They also revealed the investments they are making in Windows 10 to enable great wired and wireless docking scenarios. Windows 10 Creators Update will add 802.11d wireless support, WSB Dock Discovery and more. Find more information from the slides embedded here.
  3. No Kidding: Windows XP Has Just as Many Users as Windows 10 in China StatCounter shows Windows XP is shockingly popular in China China is one particular market where Windows XP continues to be one of the most popular desktop operating systems, despite the obvious security risks that increase every new day without patches. Statistics provided by third-party research firm StatCounter provide us with a worrying look at how widely-adopted Windows XP continues to be in China, even though users are strongly recommended to switch to a newer OS version, such as Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10, all of which are still supported. And what’s even worse is that despite the fact that Windows 10 was available free of charge for Windows 7 and 8.1 users, and Microsoft was so aggressive in moving users to its latest OS, Windows XP continues to be super-popular. And StatCounter claims that XP has almost as many users as Windows 10. Windows 7 still number one Specifically, Windows 7 is leading the pack (no surprise here) with 49.36 percent share, followed by the Windows 10 - Windows XP duo with 18.52 percent and 18.36 percent, respectively. Windows 8.1 is so far behind that it’s almost not even worth mentioning in these stats, as it’s powering only 3.35 percent of the desktop computers in the country. MacOS is very close with 3.16 percent, while Windows 8 is installed on only 1.02 percent of the PCs in China. It goes without saying that convincing users to migrate to the latest version of Windows is more difficult in China than anywhere else, and with Windows 7 still powering nearly 1 in 2 PCs in the country, there’s no doubt that in 2020 the software giant will once experience a Windows XP moment. There are voices who claim that old Windows remains particularly popular in China because of pirated versions, but at this point, it’s as easy to find a pirated copy of Windows 10 as it is for Windows XP. In other words, piracy can hardly be considered a reason for sticking with Windows XP, but rather outdated hardware that doesn’t meet the requirements of Windows 10. Source
  4. MSDN

    Update : This Post is Active Now ! No doubt november_ra1n is Awesome and i am also a BIG FAN of HIM but sometimes, it feels that my download links should be directly from the Developer. So, here anyone can request MSDN's Original Downloads Links for almost all Microsoft Products (except some VL Editions) and anyone can provide Download Links only via PM [Private Message] directly to requester. Edit-3 : Time for some more instructions as the thread is GROWING so the headache is. Please Visit the following link and find your desired content then make a request in the given example format only : MSDN Product Download Library Page Example Correct Request Format : ============================================================================= How to find desired M$ product in MSDN Download Library : ================================================================================================================== How to find desired M$ product's #FileID in MSDN Download Library : ========================================================================================================================================= Bonus Tip : Update : Since anyone can Download Most of Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 & 10's editions from Microsoft's Official TechBench program Webpage with a Little Exercise, i ADDED the asf's Thread because this one is also providing Direct Download Links (identical to MSDN) from the Developer itself..Remember !! that was the MAIN PURPOSE behind this thread. It will help some requesters as well as me also (because of Lack of Time, i am unable to reply most of time). CREDITS : @asf PS :
  5. Beyond the marketing glitz and interminable feature lists, there’s actually a lot to like in this Creators Update Credit: Thinkstock With much Insider fanfare and reams of feature lists, Microsoft yesterday released its latest beta of the next version of Windows 10: Redstone 2, Creators Update, build 15002. After last year’s long string of lackluster Creators Update beta builds, I expected to find lots of fluff and little substance when I tore into the build overnight. Much to my delight, I found a few things that deserve your attention. If you’re wowed by being able to put tiny tiles inside of bigger “folder” tiles, or a Win+Shift-S shortcut key for a Snipping Tool workalike, by all means read through the official announcement. Knock yourself out and download a desktop theme while you’re at it. But if you’re looking for something a bit meatier, follow along. For the first time in a long while, there’s actually something there. My jaw dropped when I saw that build 15002 supports metered connection status for both Wi-Fi and plugged-in (ethernet) connections. Sounds esoteric, but it isn’t. If that feature makes it into the final version of the Creators Update (likely in April), then forced updating—one of my biggest complaints about Windows 10, which I’ve been kvetching about for years—will suddenly go away. If Microsoft allows anyone to turn their internet connection into a “metered connection,” there’s suddenly an easy way to block forced Win10 updates. A few clicks (Action Center > Network > connection > Metered connection) will let you flip between blocking all updates and allowing them. And not just Windows updates, mind you, but also Office, .Net, and driver updates – all will have a simple, single on/off switch. Those of you who have avoided Win10 because of the forced updates need to take a new look. With the Creators Update, you no longer have to resign yourself to unpaid beta tester status. You can wait and watch while others test Microsoft’s patches, without going through convoluted patching avoidance schemes. There are other Windows Update improvements worth your perusal. You now can change Active Hours – the block of time where Windows supposedly won’t reboot your PC – to last up to 18 hours (it was 12 hours in build 1607). IDG The press is making a big deal out of two settings on the Windows Update Advanced options screen (screenshot): “Include driver updates when I update Windows” and “Pause Updates for up to 35 days.” Those options are only available in Win10 Creators Update Pro and Enterprise versions. As best I can tell, neither is new – they were both included in the Anniversary Update – but they’ve been relocated from the Group Policy Editor and made part of the Settings applet. “Include driver updates” appears in Win10 Anniversary Update build 1607’s GPEdit as Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Do not include drivers with Windows Updates. “Pause updates” is a bit different. In Win10 Anniversary Update build 1607, GPEdit’s Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates > Select when Quality Updates are received has a similar setting, but it’s a variable (not on/off), and is limited to 30 days. The GPEdit structure for updating has gone through many changes since the RTM build of Windows 10. Vestiges of older versions’ settings frequently—and confusingly—have no effect on newer versions. I’m seeing that again with this build. For example, switching the slider in the Settings applet has no effect on the GPEdit settings, and vice versa. Paul Thurrot has a great take on the 35-day delay: So it’s a fact: Windows 10 updates are not reliable. So much so that Microsoft is taking a small step to ensure that technical/educated users can find an option to protect themselves from this problem. Folks, that needs to be the default. Non-security updates should always be delayed by 35 days. And only those users who actually want updates immediately should be forced to find an option to open themselves up to this problem. As I explained in September, that’s exactly how the Insider Preview ring should work. I agree with Paul but look at it from a different angle. And I would argue that you can’t wait 35 days to roll out some patches—particularly some security patches. It’s best to set up the Insider Preview ring as a separate, not-beta-tester activity, and manage it accordingly. Let non-security (and some security) patches percolate through the Insider Preview ring and only release them when they’re ready. In short, Microsoft is treating its Win10 Home users (and Pro users who don’t know any better) as unpaid beta testers. It’s a congenital flaw in the current “as a Service” update model. There’s a minefield here, and I wonder if anybody at Microsoft has thought it through. Win10 cumulative updates come at least every month, on the second Tuesday. What happens when you’ve paused updates for 35 days, and a new cumulative update comes out? Are you still paused for four or more days? (And if so, why doesn’t the option say “Skip the next cumulative update”?) Does installing either cumulative update reset the timer? Or does installing a cumulative update turn off Pause update? I guess we’ll find out in a month or two. Working with a metered connection is much simpler and cleaner. Of course, Microsoft won’t recommend using the metered connection for fear that people will never apply updates—a perfectly reasonable fear, in some cases. Another worthwhile improvement in build 15002 is hard to define but easy to see: The interface works better. Resizing windows is noticeably less laggy. High-definition screens are actually usable with some apps that don’t recognize high res. The improvements are good enough that you may want to think about upgrading your monitor to 4K. Windows Defender is going through some major changes, not the least of which is a transition from an old-fashioned desktop Win32 program into a fancy-schmancy UWP Metro app. Both the old and new versions are available in build 15002. The jury’s still out on whether the new version is better than the old. Edge gains some ground on Chrome and Firefox with build 15002. It includes an interesting method for storing groups of tabs, not unlike Hide Tab, Tab Commander, and a dozen or so longstanding Chrome and Firefox extensions. I have no idea why Microsoft is building the extensions into Edge instead of encouraging experienced extension devs to make their own. Flash gets buried a little deeper, with manual approval required for the first run of Flash on a given site. Microsoft claims Edge won’t crash as often, but it seems like I’ve heard that before. (I’ve gotta admit, the new tab preview bar is pretty slick.) There’s also been a lot of work on the Action Center. Two MSDN articles talk about grouping toast notifications and creating custom timestamps—both of which will, some day, improve the usefulness of those notifications. I’ve seen several reports that the Share pane (click the circle-with-dots icon in Edge) now includes ads—or rather, icons for “shareable” apps that may or may not be of interest to you that may or may not cost you money. PUPs, in other words. You may have already heard about the Green Screens of Death. Microsoft is making BSODs on Insider builds green, to make it easier to answer questions. Don’t worry, your production machines will all go blue. There are promises of other improvements that haven’t arrived yet, including Cortana voice to step users through setup, Defender PC health scans, camera detected Good-bye (“Dynamic lock”), Edge Web Payments, My People on the taskbar, and Hyper-V Quick Create. We’re getting down to the wire, folks. If Microsoft’s going to ship the Creators Update in April, those features need to be nailed down in the next couple of weeks. This build is remarkably stable, but it has its problems. Some users report that they can’t get it to install. If you’ve had issues, run it up the flagpole on Reddit or drop by AskWoody. Source: Windows 10 beta build 15002 brings real improvement (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) Win10 beta build 15002 brings real improvement (AskWoody)
  6. Other problems few and far between for the security-light 14393.693, 10586.753, and 10240.17236 patches Credit: Steve Lacey On Tuesday, Microsoft released its usual second-Tuesday round of patches for Windows 10. Win10 Anniversary Update, version 1607, KB 3213986 brings the build up to 14393.693. Win10 Fall (now "November") Update, version 1511, KB 3210721 brings the build to 10586.753. Win10 RTM (now "1507") KB 3210720 brings the build up to 10240.17236. Reading between the lines, there was only one, minor security fix -- the KB 3214288/MS17-001 patch for Edge that cures an elevation of privilege problem when viewing a web page. Peanuts. The Security Bulletin system goes away next month, so starting in February it will likely be much more difficult to nail down security components of Win10 cumulative updates. All three of the cumulative updates have this acknowledged "known issue": Users may experience delayed or clipped screens while running 3D rendering apps (such as games) on systems with more than one monitor. The official workaround is to disable the second monitor. The unofficial workaround is to simply avoid the patch. In addition, the 1607 patch has this known issue: The Cluster Service may not start automatically on the first reboot after applying the update. The "Workaround is to either start the Cluster Service with the Start-ClusterNode PowerShell cmdlet or to reboot the node." The Reddit thread for this patch has been uncharacteristically quiet, with the usual complaints about the update stalling mid-stream. Microsoft Support Engineer /u/einarmsft has a new diagnosis: I have found a probable root cause where the symptom you describe fits the preliminary results of the log files from other affected users: an incomplete/corrupted class registered with an ATL server from a previous Cumulative Update which has caused a domino-like effect with subsequent Cumulative Updates If you're having trouble getting the 1607 cumulative update installed, please head over to Reddit and add your log files to the collection. Gatanui on Reddit points out that it's strange for Microsoft to release cumulative updates with known problems. Frequent poster oftheterra offers a plausible explanation: Although they don't explain in much detail what behavior the 3D rendering issue describes, I think I know what they are talking about. If that is the case, then it is a problem that has likely been getting tracked for a while, but only presented as a known issue in these notes. I highly doubt they would both introduce a (potentially) major issue, and be tracking it at the same time. Typically when something big comes up they'll release an out-of-cycle cumulative update in response. That means they probably don't have a clear-cut solution the an issue some users are experiencing. I remain impressed by the quantity and quality of support Microsoft is providing on Reddit for Win10 updates. Source: Win10 updates KB 3213986 and KB 3210721 have multi-monitor problems (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) Win10 cumulative updates KB 3213986 and KB 3210721 have multi-monitor problems (AskWoody)
  7. Windows 10 Share “Soon With” Ads Microsoft plans to roll out the upcoming Windows 10 feature update Creators Update with a new Share UI, and will push ads in that UI. Microsoft is working on the next feature update for Windows 10 called the Creators Update. The new version of Windows 10 will be made available in April 2017 according to latest projections, and it will introduce a series of new features and changes to the operating system. The built-in Share functionality of Windows 10 will be updated in the Creators Update as well. We talked about this when the first screenshots of the new user interface leaked. The core change is that the Share user interface will open up in the center of the screen instead of the sidebar. Along with the change come ads. If you take a look at the following screenshot, courtesy of Twitter user Vitor Mikaelson (via Winaero), you see the Box application listed as one of the available share options even though it is not installed on the device (and never was according to Vitor). The suggested app is listed right in the middle of the share interface, and not at the bottom. Microsoft uses the Share UI to promote Windows Store applications. This is one of the ways for Microsoft to increase the visibility of the operating system's built-in Store. The Share UI is not the first, and likely not the last, location to receive ads on Windows 10. Ads are shown on Windows 10's lockscreen, and in the Windows 10 start menu for instance. While it is possible to disable the functionality, it is turned on by default. Ads in the Share UI will likely be powered by the same system which means that you will be able to turn these ads off in the Settings. Microsoft is not the only company that uses recommendations in their products to get users to install other products. I'm not fond of this as I don't like it that these suggestions take away space. While I don't use the Share UI at all, I do use the Start Menu. The recommendations there take away space from programs and applications that I have installed or am using. Yes, it is easy enough to turn these off, and that's what I did as I have no need for them. Should I ever run into a situation where I require functionality, say sharing to Box, I'd search for a solution and find it. I can see these recommendations being useful to inexperienced users however who may appreciate the recommendations. There is a debate going on currently whether to call these promotions advertisement, or recommendations / suggestions. Now You: What's your take on these? How do you call them? Source
  8. Windows 7 (Not Windows 10) Wins 2016 Stats show Windows 7 dominated the past year And while Microsoft itself also admitted that it was wrong to become so pushy on Windows 10 upgrades, statistics show that despite all of these, it’s still Windows 7 the desktop operating system that was number one last year. NetMarketShare data for 2016 shows that Windows 7 clearly dominated the year despite Microsoft’s push for Windows 10, despite the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and despite the so many new devices launched with Windows 10. Windows 7 clearly survived the Windows 10 offensive and according to this data, it achieved a market share in 2016 of no less than 49.10 percent, which means that it was running on 1 in 2 PCs across the world. Windows 7 has long powered 50 percent of the world’s PCs, but everyone expected it to collapse following the release of Windows 10. Small impact following free Windows 10 upgrades Windows 7’s performance throughout the year was full of ups and downs, but the lowest market share it dropped to was 47.01 percent in July, so it didn’t actually collapse as so many people projected to happen. The biggest market share was in February when it was at 52.34 percent. Without a doubt, Windows 10 did have an impact on Windows 7’s market share, but its effects were pretty limited. Windows 10 benefitted from the huge adoption boost generated by the free upgrade, but as this promo ended, Windows 7 also started recovering. For example, in July 2016 when Microsoft ended the free upgrade campaign for Windows 10, Windows 7 was running on 47.01 percent of desktop computers across the world, but next month it started increasing by achieving 47.25 percent. The biggest market share post-free Windows 10 upgrades was recorded in October - 48.38 percent. Support for Windows 7 comes to an end in January 2020, and it goes without saying that Microsoft will have a super-difficult job to convince users to upgrade. The next few OS upgrades, such as the Creators Update and the Redstone 3, will be essential for Microsoft’s Windows 10 strategy, as they have the impossible mission of moving users from Windows 7 to the latest OS. Source
  9. I IN NO WAY TAKE ANY CREDIT FOR THIS IT WAS TAKEN FROM MDL FORUM AND SOME POSTS MY MEMBERS ON THIS FORUM! Manual: Tools: Windows 10 Lite v7.1 Destroy Windows Spying v1.6 Build 722 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] Blackbird v6 v0.9.98 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] O&O ShutUp10 v1.4.1386 Spybot Anti-Beacon v1.6.0.42 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] W10Privacy v2.1.4.2 Win.Privacy v1.0.1.4 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] Disable Windows 10 Tracking v3.0.1 iSpy Privacy-X v3.0.0.0
  10. Windows XP Is Growing Bigger Again (No, Seriously) Stats show Windows XP increased its share in December For some users out there, Windows XP seems to be just like a bottle of fine wine: the older it is, the better is gets, and people somehow still find a good reason to install it. Living proof is the latest batch of statistics provided by NetMarketShare for the month of December 2016, which shows that Windows XP actually recovered last month and is again running on more than 9 percent of the world’s desktop computers. Specifically, Windows XP continues to be the world’s third most popular desktop OS, but what’s more worrying is that it’s actually increasing its market share, so instead of giving up on it, some people actually decide to deploy this OS on their computers. Ups and downs (but mostly ups) Windows XP no longer receives support since April 2014, which means that Microsoft is no longer patching vulnerabilities that it finds in the operating system. Instead, users who are still running Windows XP become vulnerable to attacks, as cybercriminals can always attempt to exploit vulnerabilities that they discover in the OS and which are left unfixed. For what it’s worth, Windows XP has been on a declining trend ever since Microsoft pulled support, but there were months when it actually recovered for reasons we can’t actually understand. For example, Windows XP dropped from 10.09 percent in May 2016 to 9.78 percent the next month, before growing to 10.34 percent once again in July. Declines were recorded until November when it recorded a growth from 8.27 percent the month before to 8.63 percent. And this growth continued in December to reach 9.07 percent. This means that in just two months, an operating system that no longer receives updates since 2014 increased from 8.27 percent to 9.07 percent, in a time when Microsoft is pushing for everyone to adopt Windows 10. It goes without saying that everyone on Windows XP should consider updating to newer Windows as soon as possible because the security risks are obvious. And yet, we’re pretty sure that Windows XP will continue to be around for a while. Source
  11. Windows 7 Now Growing Faster than Windows 10 Windows 7 once again heading back to 50 percent market share NetMarketShare data for the month of December 2016 shows that Windows 7 not only that remains the leading operating system for PCs, but it’s also increasing its market share. And what’s worse for Microsoft is that it grows at a faster pace than Windows 10. Last month, Windows7 remained the leading desktop operating system with a market share of 48.34 percent, followed by Windows 10 with 24.36 percent. Windows XP was third with 9.07 percent, while Windows 8.1 was next with 6.90 percent. Specifically, Windows 10 improved its share from 23.72 percent in November to 24.36 percent in December, which means that it posted a growth of 0.64 percent. Windows 7, on the other hand, recorded an increase of 1.17 percent from 47.17 percent to 48.34 percent. Slower upgrade pace The results are particularly worrying for Microsoft especially because these stats were collected in December, a month when new device activations typically increase during Christmas. If Microsoft wants to see the glass half full, then Windows 10 clearly keeps growing, although it’s very obvious that it does it at a slower pace than before. Windows 10 was launched in July 2015 and it experienced a huge boost in adoption trends from the very beginning thanks to the free upgrade offer aimed at Windows 7 and 8.1 users, but also due to what many described as a too aggressive upgrade campaign. Now that Windows 10 is no longer offered free of charge, the pace at which users upgrade to the new OS has clearly slowed down, but the worst news for Microsoft comes from the Windows 7 front. At this point, Windows 7 should become Microsoft’s main concern, as the operating system will reach end of support in 2020 and there’s a good chance that millions of users will still be running it at that point. Source
  12. Update: An earlier version of this story reported that Capossela was interviewed by Softpedia. While Softpedia was reported elsewhere as originating the story, the actual interview was done by Windows Weekly. ExtremeTech regrets the error. From mid-2015 to 2016, Microsoft ran two simultaneous experiments. First, it made Windows 10 free and available to anyone running Windows 7 or Windows 8. Second, it began an aggressive campaign to push people to upgrade. First Windows 10 became a “Recommended” download instead of an optional one. As time passed, reports of people being ‘accidentally’ upgraded to the new OS increased, while Microsoft made various changes to the “Get Windows 10” app that emphasized the need to upgrade and downplayed the idea that customers had a choice. The issue came to a head when Microsoft issued a Get Windows 10 update that completely changed how the program worked. For the previous 10 months, declining an upgrade was as simple as clicking on the red X in the upper right-hand corner of the message box. After Microsoft’s update, clicking the red X did nothing. Users who thought they had dismissed the upgrade option woke up a few hours or days later to find their systems running an operating system they hadn’t intended to install. The people most likely to be affected by the problem were those who had spent 10 months actively avoiding Windows 10, which only added fuel to the fire. This was the GWX.exe screen that got the company attacked for malware-like behavior. An earlier version of the Get Windows 10 application. Clicking the X in this version was treated as notification that the user did not wish to upgrade. Microsoft changed course within a month, but the company took a PR beating. Now, even Microsoft executives are agreeing that their update was more than a bridge too far. In an interview with Windows Weekly, Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer, called the weeks between Microsoft’s initial patch update and the eventual decision to reverse course on the malware-like installer “very painful.” He continues: We know we want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective, but finding the right balance where you’re not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried and for a lot of the year I think we got it right, but there was one particular moment in particular where, you know, the red X in the dialog box which typically means you cancel didn’t mean cancel. And within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, with the listening systems we have we knew that we had gone too far and then, of course, it takes some time to roll out the update that changes that behavior. And those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us. We learned a lot from it obviously. I think Capossela might be surprised at how many people viewed the previous iterations of Get Windows 10 as ‘going too far,’ but that’s beside the point. The larger question is why Microsoft ever thought it would be ok to switch how the application functioned after 10 months. Either Capossela is lying about Microsoft’s internal discussion of the topic or Microsoft doesn’t allow criticism of its decisions to percolate high enough in the company to inform its executive teams. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that changing how the “Do not install Windows 10 on my computer” process would inevitably result in a great many unwanted upgrades. The claim that it takes weeks to test an update to Windows Update is disingenuous as well. First, Microsoft could’ve fallen back to the old, previously-approved update and pulled the malware-style version of Windows 10 immediately. The company allowed the situation to go on for several weeks because it wanted to push as many people as possible on to Windows 10. Second, there’s the idea that Microsoft “learned a lot from it.” Microsoft has been writing software literally longer than I’ve been alive. Throughout the past year, we’ve seen repeated problems with the Windows 10 patch cycle. When Redmond launched Windows 10, it initially planned to kill patch notes altogether until pushback from enterprise customers forced the company to change its plans. It beggars belief that Microsoft just realized that people actually find patch notes useful given that the company has decades of experience writing software for large enterprises. It’s all well and good for a corporation to promise that its learning from mistakes, but it’s awful hard to believe such promises when the mistakes in question violate basic principles of software design and customer service. It’s not hard to realize that changing how a program works without fully informing the end user will lead said users to be unhappy with your product. Source: Microsoft finally admits that its malware-style Get Windows 10 upgrade campaign went too far (ExtremeTech) Poster note: Changed Windows Weekly link at top of article to actually point to Windows Weekly. Original link was to a Carry Fisher heart attack story on Gizmodo
  13. The hotfix, disguised as a manual download-only cumulative update, addresses the VMM bug in this month’s cumulative update for Windows 10 Microsoft hasn’t updated its master Windows 10 update list yet, but if you were bitten by the VMM bug in KB 3206632, this month’s cumulative update for Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you can now download and install the fix. Microsoft says the newly released cumulative update for Windows 10 Version 1607, KB 3213522, "fixes an issue that was introduced in the December 13, 2016 release (KB 3206632) in which the Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) installation takes more time than expected, and the installation may fail on the initial attempt." KB 3213522 is an odd bird. The cumulative update advances the build number for Win10 version 1607 from 14393.576 to 14393.577. But it doesn’t appear to have been sent out through normal Automatic Update channels. Instead, users must download it from the Microsoft Update Catalog and install it manually. We saw a similar patch on Aug. 19, although it didn’t advance the build number. KB 3186987, which I talked about at the time, was only available by manual download and remains undocumented on the official Win10 update history site. These two little patches are neither fish nor fowl. They aren’t listed on the Windows 10 update history site and they weren’t pushed out via Automatic Update (so far, anyway). In many ways, they resemble old-fashioned hotfixes—although they’re cumulative. Perhaps Microsoft has found a way to distribute hotfixes without calling them "Hotfixes" much as it’s found a way to distribute service packs (uh, version changes) without calling them "Service Packs." Everything old is new again. Happy holidays, everybody. Be sure to patch safely. Source: Microsoft sneaks out undocumented hotfix for Windows 10, build 14393.577 (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) Microsoft sneaks out largely undocumented hotfix for Windows 10, build 14393.577 (AskWoody)
  14. How to Fix: Disable Windows 10 Password Reminder There are a few ways you can disable (and re-enable) the 'your password will expire' notifications - either using the command prompt, or through "Local Users and Groups" (lusrmgr.msc). Both options require Administrator access. Note that Option #2 (Local Users and Groups) may not be available to Windows 10 Home users, as previous editions of Windows only made this feature available in Pro editions only. If that is the case, the Windows 10 Home users will have to follow Option #1 below. Option #1: Disable Password Expiration Notification for ALL Users If you are the only one that uses the PC, OR if you share the PC but don't want passwords to expire for all user accounts on the machine, the easiest way to disable the 'your password is about to expire' notifications is through an elevated command prompt. Doing it this way will apply to most home PC users, as the only time passwords are ever set to expire is in a corporate environment (most of the time). To disable the 'your password is about to expire' notification for all users on the PC: 1.Click Start, then type in "CMD.EXE" (no quotes); wait for CMD.EXE or Command Prompt to appear in the list, then right click it and select "Run as Administrator". 2.Highlight the text below using your mouse: wmic UserAccount set PasswordExpires=False rem ! optional: to disable on a per user name, where 'username' = user name to modify, use: wmic UserAccount where Name='username' set PasswordExpires=False rem ! optional: to re-enable notifications, use: wmic UserAccount set PasswordExpires=True echo this is a dummy line 3.Right click over top of the highlighted text above, then select "Copy" from the dialogue menu. 4.Next, right click in the middle of the command prompt window and select "Paste" from the dialogue menu. The text you copied in Step #2 should now be output to the command line, and the expired password notification should be disabled. You'll notice in Step #2 there are lines that begin with "rem", also known as "remark" statements. The command line will ignore any line with a remark statement - I've put those lines there for your reference as they are self explanatory. If you wish to execute those lines, only copy and paste the bold part onto the command line, and don't forget to press Enter on the keyboard to execute the command. Option #2: Disable Password Expiration Notification using the GUI If you want to disable or re-enable the 'your password is about to expire' notification on a per user basis, you can also manage this through the Local Users and Groups Manager, which does not use the command prompt. I am however not 100% certain if the lusrmgr.msc command (below) is available with Windows 10 Home; if not, you will have to use Option #1 above. To do so: 1.Click Start, then type in "lusrmgr.msc" (no quotes); wait for "lusrmgr" or "Local Users and Groups Manager" to appear in the list, then click it. 2.The Local Users and Groups Manager window should appear. Click the "Users" folder near the top left of the window. 3.In the middle of the window you will see a list of user names. Double click a user name to edit it. 4.Check mark the "Password never expires" to disable the "your password is about to expire" notification. Un-check mark it to re-enable the notifications. 5.Click Apply, then OK, then close all the Local Users and Groups Manager windows. Source
  15. Want to REALLY squash Cortana? Open the Task Manager. Open C:\Windows\SystemApps Rename the folder “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy.” You have to stop the Cortana process in the Task Manager, b/c it’s using the folder. You have to be FAST FAST b/c the process restarts quickly. Reboot. The Cortana “O” still shows in the search box, but the search box is DEAD – you can’t type anything in it. Cortana still shows in the taskbar context menu, but the Cortana icon is also DEAD. Install Classic Shell and type in the search box. You get a “Microsoft Windows Search Indexer” process that shows activity. Don’t know what other effects this might have, but it does the job of killing the Cortana processes and removing them from the Task Manager apparently. Excerpt from Does “killing” Cortana really kill Cortana? (AskWoody) Posters note: This is an excerpt from a long article (linked above) where PKCano documents various attempts at stopping Cortana, including the above which seems successful.
  16. Hi, I have a few OEM AIO PCs (a mix of Acer and HP) with Windows 10 Home pre-installed. I need to get these on to the domain but since Windows 10 Home does not support joining a domain, I thought of converting their licenses to Windows 10 Pro and activating with Ratiborus' KMSAuto Lite or Net but haven't been successful in this endeavor so far. Can anyone please guide me if this is even possible and if so, how to go about accomplishing this? Thanks a lot!
  17. KB 3201845 isn't listed on the Win10 update history page, but the cumulative update can still be downloaded from the Microsoft Update Catalog Credit: Kate Ter Haar This past week has seen a bizarre turn of events for those who are using the most recent version of Windows 10, the Anniversary Update, version 1607. On Friday, Dec. 9, Microsoft released a cumulative update for version 1607. As I described last Friday, cumulative update KB 3201845 brings Windows 10 version 1607 up to build 14393.479. I installed it through Windows Update on two Win10 1607 machines (see screenshot). But for reasons unknown, Microsoft didn't update its official Windows 10 update history page to mention the new version. KB 3201845 was, and is, available for download from the Microsoft Update Catalog. But the associated KB article was pulled down last night. Going to the KB location brings up a "This page doesn't exist" notification. When KB 3201845 was first released, many of us wondered why Microsoft would push out a cumulative update just a few days before Patch Tuesday (or the "B Week Tuesday" in Microsoft-speak). It doesn't make any sense, even though KB 3201845 has been around in the Windows Insider Preview Release ring since Nov. 30. Now, it appears references to the patch have simply been swept away. KB 3201845 has a bad rap. Many "news" sites report that it causes the "Wi-Fi doesn't have a valid IP configuration" internet disconnect bug when, in fact, the patch has nothing to do with the bug. I see reports even today that the patch caused IP addresses to be reassigned to 196.x.x.x, but that isn't the case. What happened to KB 3201845? I doubt that we'll ever know. But tomorrow expect a Patch Tuesday cumulative update for version 1607 that will obviate the need for KB 3201845. Let's see how history is re-written. As for the internet disconnect bug -- I still don't have any idea what caused it, or why Win10 1607 machines suddenly started spontaneously disconnecting on Dec. 7. Microsoft has posted a banner on every support.microsoft.com page saying "If you are experiencing issues connecting to the internet we recommend you restart your PC," but there's been no mention of why or how the problem started, and when or if it will be fixed. Source: Microsoft pulls KB article 3201845 for Windows 10 14393.479 (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) Microsoft pulls the KB article for last week’s Win10 1607 cumulative update, KB 3201845, version 14393.479 (AskWoody) UPDATE: The article is back up again! It’s been down all day, but suddenly re-appeared late Monday afternoon. It still isn’t listed on the Win10 update page. Does anybody know what’s going on???
  18. Microsoft releases a fix for last week’s mysterious 'Wi-Fi doesn’t have a valid IP configuration' bug, but other problems persist Credit: Thinkstock If you’ve been concerned about—or bitten by—the dropped internet connection bug that flared up a week ago, take solace: The latest Windows 10 version 1607 (Anniversary Update) cumulative update appears to fix the problem. If you install KB 3206632, the Dec. 13 cumulative update for Windows 10 1607 that was released yesterday, and bring your build number up to 14393.576, that bug disappears. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, a few niggling problems remain. First, the bug heard round the world: There’s been an enormous amount of fake news floating around about this bug. Feel free to pepper your favorite mistaken blogger with these facts: Dropped internet connections are nothing new in Windows. This particular problem suddenly, spontaneously, turned Win10 1607 systems’ IP addresses to 169.x.x.x, thus breaking internet and all other network connections. Reports of the bug started pouring in on Dec. 7. In spite of what you may have read, the bug was not brought on by the KB 3201845 cumulative update, which was released on Dec. 9. Quite the contrary, Microsoft’s John Wink says: We had an issue where some users were losing IP connectivity (getting APIPA addresses) and Friday’s (Dec. 9) release was a mitigation step to help with that problem. Wink goes on to explain the source of the problem: [A] service crash that broke DHCP. The correct mitigation was/is a restart (not shutdown/reboot, but start - power - restart). Friday’s (Dec. 9) update mitigated by triggering such a restart, but today’s update (Dec. 13) has the actual fix. The aberrant, fixed component of Win10 is called the Connected Devices Platform Service (CDPSvc). Microsoft issued a statement about the patch, but it’s confusing—at least to me: We released an update on December 13 that will automatically install and resolve connectivity difficulties reported by some customers. To receive the update, customers may need to first restart their PCs by selecting Start on the taskbar, clicking the Power button, and choosing Restart (not Shut down). Additional guidance can be found on our support forum here. Not surprising, that link takes you to a nearly identical message in a locked thread, where you couldn’t ask a question if you had to. Here’s what the statement should say: If you aren’t connected to the internet, you can get reconnected temporarily by clicking Start > Power > Restart. To permanently fix the problem, install KB 3206632. Now, those niggling problems. KB 3206632 reintroduces (or at least it doesn’t fix) the absurd 3.99TB Windows Update Cleanup file bug. It looks like the 3.99TB cleanup file appears on 64-bit Win10 installations, but not on 32-bit. Go figure. It also doesn’t fix the long-standing version 1607 problem where creating a new folder or renaming a folder triggers a completely bogus message, “An unexpected error is keeping you from renaming the folder [...] Error 0x8007003B: An unexpected network error occurred.” The current version 1607 still won’t generate a valid windowsupdate.log—follow the instructions and you get a windowsupdate.log file full of gibberish. The 100 percent system disk usage bug introduced in last Friday’s cumulative update, KB 3201845, is gone. The Win10 DiagTrack service got a bit pushy, but it’s been tamed. My test machines took an extraordinarily long time to install the KB 3206632 update. I have no idea why, but KB 3206632 is definitely a two-latte patch. If you have problems installing KB 3206632, do yourself (and the rest of us!) a favor and post a description of the problem on the Reddit forum. Microsoft now has three employees monitoring that forum. They not only provide help “from the horse’s mouth,” they log and follow up on any sufficiently well-described problem. That’s good for you and for everybody else who uses Windows 10. One tantalizing prospect: On the Reddit forum, theziofede commented: It would be ok with me if they allowed to schedule downloads and install like you can currently do with restarts... And ‘Softie johnwinkmsft responded with this: Some improvements coming in the future for this. We heard you. :-) Hope springs eternal. I’m seeing some reports of problems with KB 3206632, so don’t be in any rush to install it. As usual, I suggest you wait a week or two to allow time for the problems to shake out. The discussion continues on AskWoody.com. Source: Windows 10 1607 patch KB 3206632 solves ‘dropped internet connection’ bug (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard)
  19. Return of the bogus 3.99 TB Windows Update Cleanup files The unacknowledged Win10 cumulative update KB 3201845 brings with it another annoying bug. ch100 reports: Following the installation of KB3201845 on 3 machines, 2 with Windows 10 1607 and the other with Windows Server 2016 and running Disk Cleanup, this comes up consistently on all 3 machines. It cannot be right as I don’t even have that amount of storage. After running Disk Cleanup with that option selected, it does not come back at next run. I am wondering if it breaks anything though. It ends up that we saw the same bug in October with both the Win10 1607 patch, KB 3194798, and the Win10 1511 patch, KB 3192441. When people talk about “bug regression,” this is exactly what they’re describing – a bug that was wiped out previously, but returns to haunt another cumulative update. “Deleting” the non-existent files seems to do the trick. I haven’t heard of any complications. Source: Return of the bogus 3.99 TB Windows Update Cleanup files (AskWoody)
  20. Scammers Can Use Microsoft Edge Security Feature to Display Fake Warnings Security researcher finds way to abuse SmartScreen Manuel Caballero explains in a blog post that Microsoft Edge has a vulnerability that allows ms-appx: and ms-appx-web: commands to generate fake alerts very similar to the one issued by SmartScreen and which could be used in more complex schemes. For example, the attackers can use these warnings to convince unsuspecting victims to call a phone number, where phone scammers would attempt to steal users’ information. “As a bonus, when we place a telephone-like number, a link is automatically created so the user can call us with a single click. Very convenient for these scammers,” the researcher notes. Microsoft’s SmartScreen SmartScreen is a feature that’s available in both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, but this bug has been demonstrated only in the default Windows 10 browser. In essence, SmartScreen is a super helpful feature that keeps users protected from websites that could be used to spread malware. “SmartScreen checks the sites you visit against a dynamic list of reported phishing sites and malicious software sites. If it finds a match, SmartScreen will show you a warning letting you know that the site has been blocked for your safety,” Microsoft explains. Microsoft is working hard to improve browser security in Edge, so it goes without saying that this is going to be fixed for sure in the coming updates. Edge receives updates on a regular basis and large OS updates, such as the upcoming Creators Update, bring a plethora of improvements for the browser, including features and fixes that are specifically supposed to make the app faster, more reliable and secure. Source Dear $h*t MS & Sh*tya Nudella, Don't ever tell Win 10 is secure than older or other OS'.
  21. Disc Soft reWASD - Full Version Promo by GOTD Overview: Want to have more freedom while connecting Xbox One controller or Xbox Elite to PC? It’s easy. Remap Xbox One controller with reWASD and choose how to play by yourself. Our brand-new gamepad mapper allows reassigning not only buttons, but also works with Xbox Elite paddles that no other app can do. Please note, the programs runs only on Windows 10! Requires Xbox One/One S/ Elite Controller! The best improvement idea will be rewarded with the DAEMON Tools Lite license with advanced features enabled. Please use the IdeaInformer widget to provide your ideas! More Info: Product Homepage Links: Offer: https://www.daemon-tools.cc/cart/buy_check?abbr=rewasd&coupon_code=giveawayoftheday Note: Limited Period Offer. Offer ends in 24 hours. Win 10 Only! The program is available for $6.00, but it will be free as a time-limited offer. Current Status: Open. Downloads: http://www.rewasd.com/download
  22. The problem doesn't seem to be caused by today's KB 3201845, which brings version 1607 up to 14393.479 Credit: Pixabay If your Windows 10 Anniversary Update PCs (version 1607) are suddenly dropping their Wi-Fi connections and the Network Diagnostics troubleshooter is spouting "Wi-Fi doesn't have a valid IP configuration" nonsense, you're not alone. I've heard from many people who blame the Wi-Fi disconnect on today's KB 3201845, the patch (which still isn't documented on the Win10 update history site) that brings version 1607 up to build 14393.479. It's unlikely that the new patch brought on the bug because the large influx of complaints started on Dec. 7 -- two days before the patch. Although the vast majority of Wi-Fi problem reports come from Win10 version 1607 systems, there are other reports of the same problem on Win 7 and 8.1 PCs using domain-connected and not-connected systems with a wide array of ISPs, routers, and network cards. Speculation at this point says the disconnect results when a machine performs a fast startup, setting the machine's IP address to 169.x.x.x. It's an old problem, but somehow it's come back in spades in the past two days. I have no idea what triggered the sudden outbreak, as there were no Win10 1607 patches issued on Dec. 6, 7 or 8. Microsoft acknowledged the problem on Dec. 8, with moderator and 'Softie Lonnie_L posting on the Microsoft Answers forum: We are looking into reports that some customers are experiencing difficulty connecting to the Internet. We recommend customers restart their PCs, and if needed, visit https://support.microsoft.com/help/10741/windows-10-fix-network-connection-issues. To restart, select the Start button from the taskbar, click the Power button and choose Restart (not Shut down). You can also perform a clean restart by holding down the Shift key, then clicking Start, the power icon, then Shut Down. Don't let go of the Shift key until the machine's completely gone. Looks like KB 3201845 didn't cause the bug. But the patch didn't fix it, either. Source: Windows 10 Anniversary Update bug drops Wi-Fi connections (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) Mysterious “Wi-Fi doesn’t have a valid IP configuration” bug in Win10 1607 wasn’t caused by today’s cumulative update (AskWoody)
  23. If you don’t want to be one of Microsoft's unpaid beta testers, it's easy to wait until new versions are ready for prime time Credit: Pixabay Back in the not-so-good old days, many Windows cognoscenti followed a general rule of thumb for new Windows versions: "Wait for Service Pack 1." That was good advice for more than a decade. There aren't any Service Packs any more but based on two rounds of experience, it now looks like prudent Win10 users should "Wait for the Current Branch for Business." That may sound like a voodoo-techie white coat admonition, but it's actually pretty simple, even for those who take care of their own updating. When Win10 launched, Microsoft predicted that it would have two or three "feature updates" per year. But now it appears as if we're settling into a pace of two new versions per year -- and 2016 only got one. Here are the versions of Windows 10 to date: 1507 -- the original version of Windows 10, codenamed Threshold 1, OS build 10240 1511 -- the "Fall Update" later renamed "November Update," codenamed Threshold 2, OS build 10586 1607 -- the "Anniversary Update," codenamed Redstone 1, OS build 14393 And the widely expected (and already named, internally): 1703 -- the "Creators Update," codenamed Redstone 2, OS build not yet determined Some folks at Microsoft have talked about another new version in 2017, presumably in October or so, but it's entirely vaporware at this point. We don't have Service Packs anymore in Win10, but we do have something that's analogous. It's called the Current Branch for Business. You can read the official definition on TechNet, but for individual patching purposes you only need to realize that Microsoft releases new versions for general consumption, and waits until the major problems are ironed out before it declares a particular version is fit for businesses -- which is to say, ready for the Current Branch for Business. If you're hooked up to a corporate server that controls updates to your Win10 machine, chances are good that your admin holds off on updating your machine to a new version until it's anointed "Current Branch for Business." If you're in charge of your own updates, it would behoove you to wait for the "Current Branch for Business" designation until you upgrade your system. Cynics say that Microsoft is using individual Win10 users (both Home and Pro) to test upgrades on millions of machines before certifying them fresh for businesses. I would have a hard time arguing with that characterization. We've seen the cycle twice to date, in the transition from 1507 to 1511, and in the move from 1511 to 1607. Here's how the dates have gone: Version 1507, released July 29, 2015, was immediately declared Current Branch for Business, as the first of its kind. Version 1511 released Nov. 12, 2015, was promoted to CBB on April 8, 2016. It spent 148 days in consumer-level testing. Version 1607 released Aug. 2, 2016, promoted to CBB on Nov. 29, 2016. It took 119 days before reaching the higher level. Gregg Keizer in his Computerworld column points out how quickly companies have to upgrade before the Current Branch for Business disappears -- goes end-of-life. Folks who take care of their own upgrades should heed the lesson. Microsoft maintains two versions at Current Branch for Business levels. When a third version appears on the Volume Licensing Service Center and Windows Server Update Services servers (typically, two months after it's declared CBB), all users have just 60 days to move to one of the newer CBB versions. Right now we have three versions in CBB: 1507, 1511 and 1607. In this case, version 1607 hit CBB on Nov. 29, 2016. It's supposed to be available on the Windows Update servers in January. That means sometime in March, 2017, version 1507 drops off the radar. If you're doing your own upgrades, you'll need to move to 1511 or 1607, because 1507 won't get any more security patches. (Unless there's a reprieve for the Win10 Long Term Servicing Branch, which is a different kettle of worms. You should only rely on 1507 getting more security patches until March 2017.) It seems like a good procedure to wait for the unpaid beta testers to complete their jobs before upgrading to the next version of Windows 10. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to hold off on upgrading. Win10 Pro users on 1607 can "Defer feature updates" like so: Start > Settings > Update & security > under Update settings click the link to Advanced options. Check the box marked Defer feature updates. (Yes, Microsoft confuses the terms "upgrade" and "update" fairly frequently.) So far -- and Microsoft may change the definition -- checking the "Defer feature updates" box ensures that you won't be offered a version upgrade until it's been approved at the Current Branch for Business level. It's not clear how long Win10 waits until after the CBB imprimatur has been granted. Win10 Home users who are on Wi-Fi internet connections can simply set the connection to "metered," wait for the upgrade to appear in Windows Update, then use wushowhide to block the upgrade, as I explained last August. The next time we have an upgrade, I'll run similar, specific instructions in Woody on Windows. Win10 Home users who are on wired internet connections don't have it so easy. There are several ways to block an upgrade, but they involve stopping the Windows Update service, and that's more than most Home users would like to take on. Chances are good that the easiest way to wait for Current Branch for Business status is to simply let the upgrade install, then uninstall it and use wushowhide to keep it from re-installing. Again, I'll run specific instructions in Woody on Windows. Keep watching Woody on Windows for notification when new versions become available and, crucially, when they hit the Current Branch for Business level. The gray hair you save may be your own. A blog within a blog, Woody's Win10Tips focus on useful techniques and tools. They're in the usual "Woody" style -- to the point, no bull, no marketing fluff. They (intentionally!) aren't long enough to discuss all of the nuances, but they point in the right direction. There's a full list of tips on the AskWoody.com site. Looking for a tip or tool? Have a tip about a tip? Email me: [email protected] Like what you see? Pick up a copy of my 986-page "Windows 10 All-in-One for Dummies 2nd Edition" at Amazon US or Powell's Bookstore. Woody Leonhard is a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld and author of dozens of Windows books, including Windows 10 All-in-One for Dummies. Source: How to ensure you're running a stable Windows 10 version (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) Win10Tip: Wait for a stable version (AskWoody)
  24. As momentous news goes, this one’s a biggie. Qualcomm and Microsoft just announced a joint effort (“Project Evo”) to put Windows 10 on the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Terry Myerson has a similar take. Chris Williams at the Register puts it succinctly: What the hell is happening? Look out, WinTel, here comes Win, er, WinDragon? There’s an excellent overview of the history and placement of the product from Matt Humrick and Brett Howse on AnandTech. Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet summarizes: Microsoft will bring a natively compiled version of Windows 10 to Qualcomm’s ARM processors next year, plus an x86 emulation layer, designed to run on a new class of Windows 10 mobile PCs. Note that there’s no mention of 64-bit programs. Looks like 32-bit (x86) programs will run in an emulation layer, which is always tricky and usually slow. My guess is that only UWP apps will run native. That’s a moving target, given how much UWP is changing from version to version. Peter Bright at Ars Technica has some additional details: Microsoft also plans to bring the kind of always-on connectivity that’s more familiar to smartphones and desktop PCs. The devices will offer cellular connectivity using a virtual/embedded SIM, with data plans sold directly within the Windows Store. Offering this kind of near-permanent connectivity even in a highly portable device will further blur the lines between a PC and a smartphone, simultaneously offering the portability and power efficiency of a phone, with the application compatibility, peripheral support, and enterprise manageability of a PC. Will the effort amount to more than a flash in the pan – or a rehashing of Windows RT? Hard to tell. But it’s certainly going to be interesting. Nobody knows how well it’ll work, how quickly it’ll run (in spite of the demo), and whether Qualcomm can put together enough drivers to make it feasible. Look for a barrage of “analysis” this morning, much of which will be regurgitation of the press release. UPDATE: The WinHEC keynote speech is up, if you want to see the original introduction. Source: Windows coming to Qualcomm “mobile” ARM chips (AskWoody)
  25. How Windows 10 Data Collection Trades Privacy For Security Here's what data each telemetry level collects and the price you pay to send the least telemetry to Microsoft Windows 10’s aggressive data-collection capabilities may concern users about corporate spying, but enterprises have control that consumer-edition Windows users do not: Administrators can decide how much information gets sent back to Microsoft. But enterprises need to think twice before turning off Windows telemetry to increase corporate privacy. That’s because doing so can decrease the effectiveness of Windows 10’s security features. Microsoft isn’t merely hoovering up large amounts of data because it can. The company has repeatedly reiterated its stance that Windows 10 does not collect the user’s personal data, but rather anonymized file data that is then used to improve overall user experience and Windows functionality. With the current shift to Windows-as-a-service, Microsoft plans to release more updates to the operating system more frequently, and it will use telemetry data to understand how people are actually using Windows and applications. Microsoft can use the information to figure out what new features are needed or to prioritize changes to existing components. For Microsoft, more data means more security But the telemetry data is used for more than how to improve or evolve Windows. There is an actual security impact, too. Knowledge is power, and in the case of Windows 10, that usage data lets Microsoft beef up threat protection, says Rob Lefferts, Microsoft’s director of program management for Windows Enterprise and Security. The information collected is used to improve various components in Windows Defender, such as Application Guard and Advanced Threat Detection (these two features are available only to customers with Windows 10 Enterprise with Anniversary Update and Enterprise E5 subscriptions). As Windows 10’s built-in security tool, Windows Defender uses real-time protection to scan everything downloaded or run on the PC. The information from these scans is sent back to Microsoft and used to improve protection for everyone else. For example, Windows Defender Application Guard for Microsoft Edge will put the Edge browser into a lightweight virtual machine to make it harder to break out of the browser and attack the operating system. With telemetry, Microsoft can see when infections get past Application Guard defenses and improve the security controls to reduce recurrences. Microsoft also pulls signals from other areas of the Windows ecosystem, such as Active Directory, with information from the Windows 10 device to look for patterns that can indicate a problem like ransomware infections and other attacks. To detect those patterns, Microsoft needs access to technical data, such as what processes are consuming system resources, hardware diagnostics, and file-level information like which applications had which files open, Lefferts says. Taken together, the hardware information, application details, and device driver data can be used to identify parts of the operating system are exposed and should be isolated into virtual containers. How Windows 10 telemetry levels affect security and administration IT admins can control what telemetry is sent back to Microsoft using group policy objects—if they are using an enterprise version of Windows 10 and a Microsoft administration tool, of course. (Consumer versions of Windows don’t provide this capability, which is why there are now third-party telemetry blockers on the market, though not all telemetry can be blocked.) The Privacy option in Settings lets administrators choose one of three telemetry levels: Basic, Enhanced, and Full. Windows 10 Home and Pro are set by default to Full. Windows 10 Enterprise and Education are set by default to Enhanced. But there’s a fourth level called Security available only in Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions, and only through group policies (not via Settings). Available to admins only, Security level sends the least data. The Security level sends less telemetry to Microsoft than the Basic level does. And it collects enough technical data about Windows’s Connected User Experience and Telemetry component settings, the MSRT (Malicious Software Removal Tool), and Windows Defender to keep Windows, Windows Server, and System Center secure. At the Security level, only OS information, device ID, and device class (server, desktop, mobile device) are sent to Microsoft, along with the MSRT report that contains information about the infection and IP address. Windows Defender and System Center Endpoint Protection provide diagnostic information, user account control settings, UEFI (Unifieid Extensible Firmware Interface) settings, and IP addresses. (If this latter information shouldn’t be sent, then turn off Windows Defender and use a third-party tool instead.) If the goal is to not have any data go to Microsoft, using the Security level is the best option. But it has one big drawback: Windows Update won’t work, because Windows Update information—such as whether the update installation succeeded or failed—does not get collected at the Security level. MSRT also won’t run if Windows Update is not working. Thus, it requires a lot of IT involvement to keep the systems updated and secure if the telemetry level is set to Security. Basic level is the least a user can choose within Windows. For most users focused on privacy, the Basic level is probably the best option for limiting what gets sent to Microsoft. The Basic level sends device information like application compatibility and usage information in addition to the information sent from the Security level. This can include the number of crashes and the amount of processor time and memory an application used at a time. System data can help Microsoft know whether a device meets the minimum requirements to upgrade to the next version. Data from the Basic level helps identify problems that can occur on a particular hardware or software configuration. The types of data collected include device attributes, such as camera resolution, display type, and battery capacity; application and operating system versions; networking devices, such as the number of network adapters; IMEI number (for mobile devices) and mobile operator network; architecture details, such as processor, memory type, and firmware versions; storage data, such as number of drives, type, and size; and virtualization support. The Basic level also collects and transmits compatibility details, such as how add-ons work with the browser, how applications work with the operating system, and whether peripherals like printers and storage devices would work with the next version of the operating system. Enhanced level aids user-experience improvements. The Enhanced level, the default setting for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education, also sends data on how Windows, Windows Server, System Center, and applications are used; how they perform; and their reliability. This includes operating system events, such as those from networking, Hyper-V, Cortana, storage, and file system; operating system application events, such as those from Server Manager, Mail, and Microsoft Edge; device-specific events such as data from Microsoft HoloLens; and all crash dumps. Data collected from the Enhanced level helps Microsoft improve user experience because the company can use the detailed information to find patterns and trends in how the applications are being used. Enhanced is the minimum level needed for Microsoft to identify and address Windows 10, Windows Server, and System Center quality issues. The Full level makes your PC an open book. The Full level—the default for consumer versions of Windows—is the free-for-all level that has privacy folks worried, because it includes significant technical data, which Microsoft claims is “necessary to identify and help to fix problems.” At the Full level, devices send information related to reliability, application responsiveness, and usage along with all crash dumps. Data collection has changed in Windows Telemetry data is not new to Windows 10. Microsoft used telemetry in previous versions of Windows and Windows Server to check for updated or new Windows Defender signatures, verify Windows Update installations, and gather reliability information through the RAC (Reliability Analysis Component) and Windows CEIP (Customer Experience Improvement Program). What’s changed is that Windows 10 has expanded the scope to better understand the type of hardware being used, basic system diagnostics, logs of how frequently features are being used, what applications have been installed, how users are using those applications, and the reliability data from device drivers. Microsoft says it tries to avoid collecting personal information, but it can happen. For example, crash dumps can contain the contents of a document that was in memory at the time of the crash. The news that Microsoft would include threat intelligence content such as indicators and reports of past attacks from FireEye’s iSight Intelligence product into Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, there were concerns that FireEye would gain access to some of the telemetry data. But Microsoft says that is not part of the FireEye deal. Microsoft’s plan to put advertising on users’ lock screens and Start screens—and block IT admins from disabling them—has also fanned the flames of security fear. After all, similar advertising from the likes of Google ad Facebook relies heavily on the intense collection of personal data to target the ads. It’s worth noting that Windows is not intentionally collecting functional data, such as the user’s location when the user is looking at local weather or news. The application may collect such data, but not the Windows 10 operating system—and thus not the Windows 10 telemetry. Of course, Microsoft collects personal information from its own applications. Cortana is such an example, but users can turn off Cortana completely. Overall, IT organizations should be able to find a telemetry level they’re comfortable with in terms of privacy, while not sacrificing the core security of Windows. They may have to pay the price of higher admin costs if they use the lowest telemetry level (Security), but only if they choose to do so. Source AskWoody's Word On This Article