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  1. By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft After criticism from a known privacy advocate and others, Microsoft is tweaking how its Productivity Score tool for Microsoft 365 looks and operates. Microsoft is making changes to the Microsoft Productivity Score tool in response to recent privacy complaints about the offering. Microsoft outlined some of the tweaks it is planning, while simultaneously pointing out how its productivity telemetry tools already offer some privacy guarantees -- in a December 1 blog post. Productivity Score is one of the key pi
  2. By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft Microsoft has released a version of the Windows Feature Experience Pack, a collection of features that are updated independently of the OS, to testers in the Beta Channel. On November 30, Microsoft released for the first time a test build of the Windows Feature Experience Pack to Insider testers. Version 120.2212.1070.0 of the pack is available to testers in the Beta Channel. Microsoft execs have declined, until today, to talk about what the Windows Feature Experience Pack is. I reported earlier this year that t
  3. Access is sold for $100 to $1500 per account, depending on the company size and exec role. A threat actor is currently selling passwords for the email accounts of hundreds of C-level executives at companies across the world. The data is being sold on a closed-access underground forum for Russian-speaking hackers named Exploit.in, ZDNet has learned this week. The threat actor is selling email and password combinations for Office 365 and Microsoft accounts, which he claims are owned by high-level executives occupying functions such as:
  4. Tool allows managers to use Microsoft 365 to track their employees’ activity Microsoft has been criticised for enabling “workplace surveillance” after privacy campaigners warned that the company’s “productivity score” feature allows managers to use Microsoft 365 to track their employees’ activity at an individual level. The tools, first released in 2019, are designed to “provide you visibility into how your organisation works”, according to a Microsoft blogpost, and aggregate information about everything from email use to network connectivity into a
  5. Microsoft may have just leaked more details on its CloudPC service Microsoft has finally referred to its CloudPC service publicly (Image credit: Shutterstock) Some more details have been revealed concerning Microsoft’s mysterious CloudPC service thanks to a recently posted support document. The document provides further confirmation that the service is in development, although few details remain available regarding how it will function. The document marks the first time that Microsoft has publicly referred to th
  6. You should be able to stream Xbox games to your TV soon Microsoft is in the early phases of rolling out its xCloud streaming service on mobile devices, but TVs are the next logical step. In an interview with The Verge, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has revealed we’ll likely see an Xbox app appear on smart TVs over the next year. “I think you’re going to see that in the next 12 months,” said Spencer, when asked about turning the Xbox into a TV app. “I don’t think anything is going to stop us from doing that.” Spencer previously hinted at TV streaming sticks
  7. Microsoft Weekly: Halo 4 finally on PC, more Fluent icons, and optional updates The last week brought Halo 4 for the first time to PC players the world over, a Fluent Design upgrade for Edge icons showed up – as well as multiple new features -, plus some security fixes for a range of Windows 10 versions. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of November 15 - 21. Halo 4 finally on PC After much anticipation, the final title in the Master Chief Collection, aka Halo 4, has fina
  8. One framework to rule them all? Or yet another one to add to the confusion? Microsoft has released Preview 3 of WinUI 3, its next-generation framework for Windows desktop applications. Those still trying to keep track of Microsoft’s plans with regard to Windows desktop development were given some new insights in the latest preview of WinUI 3 and an associated community standup with Kevin Gallo, corp VP of the Windows Developer Platform. WinUI 3, you might imagine, is the successor to WinUI 2; and in some ways it is, but it is also a new d
  9. Deciphering (and understanding) Microsoft’s patch management options The pandemic this year forced admins to scramble to keep their Windows systems up and running (and properly patched) at a distance. So it's important to understand what options are available and which work best in different situations. GOCMEN / Getty Images If you asked a normal user what they dislike most about Windows 10, the answer would likely be related to patching, rebooting and the generally confusing update process. Entire web sites have sections devoted t
  10. Microsoft has resolved a known issue leading to missing system and user certificates after updating managed Windows 10 systems using outdated installation media. The lost Windows 10 certificates issue impacts client (Windows 10 1903 or later) and server (Windows Server 1903 or later) platforms in managed environments. It occurs on devices upgraded using outdated bundles via update management tools (e.g., Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager), physical media, or ISO images. Computers updated via Windows
  11. (Bloomberg) -- Sales of Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp.’s new gaming consoles fell short of their predecessors during their first week in Japan, suggesting persistent supply bottlenecks will hamper the debut of two of this holiday season’s most hotly anticipated gadgets. Sony sold 118,085 PlayStation 5 consoles from its debut on Nov. 12 to Nov. 15, roughly a third of the PS4’s performance over launch weekend, Famitsu estimated. Microsoft tallied 20,534 units of its Xbox Series X and S during the six days from its start on Nov. 10, also shy of the 23,562 that the Xbox On
  12. Microsoft Is Making a Secure PC Chip—With Intel and AMD's Help The Pluton security processor will give the software giant an even more prominent role in locking down Windows hardware. Eventually the Microsoft Pluton Processor will come standard with mainstream CPUs as part of a system on a chip.Photograph: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg/Getty Images The most sensitive parts of your computer have come to live in a distinct hardware component known
  13. By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft The Linux Systems Group at Microsoft has developed a Linux distribution for internal use and made it available on GitHub. There's a Linux Systems Group at Microsoft which has developed a number of products -- some for customers and partners and others for internal use. One of this group's deliverables is an internal Linux distribution for use within Microsoft's cloud infrastructure and edge products and services, which is known as CBL-Mariner. Microsoft has made CBL-Mariner available on GitHub recently. I
  14. The classic Control Panel, which allows users to customize their system configurations, is no longer the most important feature for Microsoft. Rumors have suggested that Microsoft wants to retire Control Panel, but it won't happen immediately. Microsoft currently wants to reduce duplication of settings by redirecting Control Panel pages to appropriate Settings pages. More recently, the software giant has added a new modern disk management tool to the Settings, and the feature is already live for Insiders. The modern solution is called "Manage Disks and Volu
  15. Microsoft Weekly: An Xbox launch like no other, assorted patches, and Insider builds The last seven days saw the release of the Xbox Series X|S consoles, the end of support for Home and Pro versions of Windows 10 v1809, as well as the arrival of updated end of support dates for a number of Surface devices. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of November 8 - 14. An Xbox launch like no other On Tuesday, Microsoft at long last launched its next-generation of consoles
  16. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hackers working for the Russian and North Korean governments have targeted more than half a dozen organizations involved in COVID-19 treatment and vaccine research around the globe, Microsoft said on Friday. FILE PHOTO: A hacker, who asked not to have his name revealed, works on his laptop in his office in Taipei The software company said a Russian hacking group commonly nicknamed “Fancy Bear” - along with a pair of North Korean actors dubbed “Zinc” and “Cerium” by Microsoft - were implicated in recent attempts to break into the networks of
  17. Microsoft updates the support lifecycle dates for a bunch of Surface PCs Microsoft has updated the Surface driver and firmware support lifecycle document (spotted by ZDNet) to reflect details of the support timeframe for a host of Surface devices. These include recently launched devices like the Surface Laptop Go, Surface Go 2, and updates to older devices like the Surface Book 2, Laptop and more. The updated dates note that the company is supporting devices as old as the Pro 4 and the original Surface Book – launched in 2015 – till November 2021. Interestingly, th
  18. By Paul Thurrott Microsoft this week made the case for moving away from SMS-based authentication in Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) schemes, citing its insecurity. “It’s time to start your move away from the SMS and voice Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) mechanisms,” Microsoft’s Alex Weinert writes. “These mechanisms are based on publicly-switched telephone networks (PSTN), and I believe they’re the least secure of the MFA methods available today. That gap will only widen as MFA adoption increases attackers’ interest in breaking these methods and purpose
  19. Android, Adobe, SAP, Red Hat join the bug-busting party Patch Tuesday Microsoft published fixes for 112 software vulnerabilities for its November Patch Tuesday, 17 of which have been rated critical. Of the remainder, 93 are rated important, and two are rated low severity. Fifteen Microsoft products are affected, including: Microsoft Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Edge (EdgeHTML and Chromium), ChakraCore, Exchange Server, Dynamics, Windows Codecs Library, Azure Sphere, Windows Defender, Teams, Azure SDK, Azure DevOps, and Visual Studi
  20. Microsoft Weekly: 60FPS Xbox gaming, Windows 10 upgrades, and Surface updates This past week brought in a review for Microsoft’s next-gen tower of power, a bunch of Windows 10 upgrades and a healthy dose of Surface updates. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of November 1 - 7. 60FPS Xbox gaming As we’re mere days away from the launch of Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox systems, the Series S and X, more and more info about the consoles and related games has started surfacing.
  21. Microsoft has flung numerous accusations at a reseller based in Florida in the US ranging from copyright infringement to the use of some decidedly iffy licence codes. Miami-based Office Solutions USA was on the receiving end of the Windows giant's complaint [PDF], filed 2 November in a United States federal district court in southern Florida. The complaint claims a litany of sins against Nadella's crew including: "1) contributory copyright infringement; 2) trademark infringement; 3) false designation of origin and false and misleading representations and de
  22. Microsoft's forthcoming Cloud PC remote Windows experience for Windows 10, macOS, iOS and Android takes shape. A fresh leak has revealed more details about what Microsoft may offer customers when it launches 'Cloud PC', a forthcoming Azure desktop service built on top of Windows Virtual Desktop. As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reported in July, Microsoft is gearing up to release a virtualized Windows PC experience under the Cloud PC brand, offering customers a way to use their own machine as a type of thin client that can access a remote Windows desktop and use software
  23. Slump in corporate PC demand takes a toll, though cloud business continues to shine Microsoft has come a very long way from depending on Windows. But the ubiquitous operating system can still brighten—or darken—the company’s results. Both effects were actually apparent in the company’s fiscal first-quarter results posted late Tuesday. The cloud business remains the star, and performance there was strong with commercial cloud revenue growing 31% year over year to $15.2 billion, even showing a bit of acceleration from the prior quarter that ended in J
  24. Microsoft is investigating a known issue leading to missing system and user certificates after updating certain managed Windows 10 systems using outdated installation media through update management tools, physical media, or ISO images. Computers updated via Windows Update or Windows Update for Business are not impacted by this issue as they always receive the latest feature updates. Working on a fix Affected platforms include both client (Windows 10 1903 or later) and server (Windows Server 1903 or later) releases in managed environments. "System
  25. Microsoft Weekly: Xbox and chill, billions to spare, and distinguished driver updates The week brought us not only the revenue figures for Microsoft’s first quarter of its 2021 fiscal year, but also an Xbox fridge, and even vertical tabs in Edge. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of October 25 - 31. Xbox and chill With the next generation of Xbox consoles mere days away, Microsoft has announced that there will be a live-stream event for the Series X|S launch on November
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