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  1. Virtual reality is either an important, transformative technology or a niche innovation that’s destined to be subsumed into “mixed reality” — no one’s quite sure yet. But two of the industry’s biggest players are now taking opposing positions on the subject, as executives from Microsoft and Sony have shared thoughts on whether users are actually interested in VR, and fans are weighing in with their own views. The flashpoint was a comment from Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer, who reportedly downplayed VR as an “isolating” experience, and said that “nobody’s asking for VR” — at least, from his customer base. “The vast majority of our customers know if they want a VR experience, there’s places to go get those,” he explained, though he also said “nobody’s selling millions and millions” of VR headsets. For these reasons, the company isn’t planning to support VR on its next Xbox console, codenamed Project Scarlett. Spencer’s take apparently didn’t sit well with Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida, who led the company’s worldwide studios through much of the growth of PlayStation VR — a headset that has, in fact, sold well over 4 million units. This morning, Yoshida tweeted that “we oftentimes work hard to make things that no customers are asking for,” a fairly gentle retort that recalls the supposed quote from car pioneer Henry Ford, “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” On one hand, the companies’ respective positions are hardly a surprise at this point. Microsoft has placed its largest mixed reality bets on AR, releasing two Hololens headsets — solely for enterprise customers — while providing lukewarm support for Windows VR, and killing a nascent VR initiative for the Xbox One X. By contrast, Sony completely embraced VR for both its current- and next-generation PlayStation consoles. The company has promised that the existing PlayStation VR and its software will work on the new console, as well as teasing a next-generation VR headset for release after the PlayStation 5’s 2020 launch window. The easiest way to square Spencer’s comments with reality is a literal but properly in-context interpretation of his words. He wasn’t necessarily saying that no one wanted VR — just not Xbox customers. And although his claim about “millions and millions” of headsets is inaccurate for Sony, it’s true about Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform, which opened PCs to any company interested in creating a VR headset. So many headsets were released as a consequence that consumers didn’t gravitate to just one model, leading virtually every company to fall short of the multi-million mark. Judging by responses on social media, VR fans aren’t pleased with Spencer’s take. Many of the replies to Yoshida’s tweet are praising Sony for having taken risks with virtual reality, and saying that regardless of consumer interest, PSVR “sparked an interest” in VR that will pay off in the next generation. “I’m asking for it and millions of others are,” said @JRPyznar. “VR is going to storm the gates next gen and Sony already has a massive foundation.” Tweets directed at Spencer’s “nobody’s asking” claim express similar sentiments. “How can you look at the data and say that?” asks @Slashim. “Have you not seen Oculus rise over the last decade? It’s the next frontier.” And numerous others are undercutting the suggestion that Xbox fans don’t want VR. “While I’m still getting the Scarlett, this is really frustrating,” says @iN7trepid. “I’m definitely one of those ‘nobodies’ who wants VR on my Xbox.” But not everyone disagrees with the Xbox head’s views. Some Xbox fan tweets have written off VR as unappealing or impractically priced for the console market. Similarly, Redditors on r/Xboxone are generally lining up behind Spencer, though there are some dissenters — and one commenter who reminds us that “Reddit is not a good indication for the mass market.” Regardless, it appears that Sony will have the console VR market largely to itself in the upcoming generation — unless, of course, Nintendo opts to take its VR efforts beyond the experimental (and largely mediocre) Labo VR to a better level in the future. Thus far, the demand for VR hardware has depended considerably on compelling VR games, a point reinforced by the heightened interest in PC VR following the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx, so if Valve’s title gets people to buy VR headsets, perhaps that will be enough to change Microsoft’s mind. Source
  2. Microsoft Office ProPlus, ProjectPro, VisioPro 2019 Retail-VL Version 1910 (Build 12130.20184) x86,x64 | Languages:English,German,Greek,French,Spanish,Italian,Portuguese-Portuguese,Portuguese-Brazil,Russian Office 365 ProPlus, the cloud-connected version of Office, delivers the most productive and most secure Office experience-with the lowest total cost of ownership for deployment and management. However, for customers who aren't ready for the cloud, Office 2019 provides new features and updates to the on-premises apps for both users and IT professionals. Like Windows Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) releases, Office 2019 provides a set of valuable enhancements for customers who can't be cloud-connected or receive regular updates. The new enhancements in Office 2019 are a subset of a long list of features that have been added to Office 365 ProPlus over the last three years. Office 2019 is a one-time release and won't receive future feature updates. However, we'll continue to add new features to Office 365 ProPlus monthly, including innovations in collaboration, artificial intelligence (AI), security, and more. Office 2019 delivers features across apps to help users create amazing content in less time. In PowerPoint 2019, you can create cinematic presentations with new features like Morph and Zoom. And improved inking features across the apps in Windows-like the roaming pencil case, pressure sensitivity, and tilt effects-allow you to naturally create documents. Microsoft Office 2019 Select Edition includes: Microsoft Office 2019 Professional Plus Microsoft Access 2019 Microsoft Excel 2019 Microsoft Lync 2019 Microsoft OneNote 2019 Microsoft Outlook 2019 Microsoft PowerPoint 2019 Microsoft Publisher 2019 Microsoft Visio Viewer 2019 Microsoft Word 2019 Skype for business 2019 Office Shared Features Office Tools And many more System Requirements: OS:Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Homepage: https://www.microsoft.com/ Download 32-bit Setup Site: https://gofile.io Sharecode: /?c=OpQPpP Download 64-bit Setup Site: https://gofile.io Sharecode: /?c=8SURnW
  3. Microsoft is back to its regular schedule with Edge Dev builds, after a late release last week, and today's update brings the browser version up to number 80.0.334.2. As with most builds based on Chromium 80 so far, this one is light on new additions, and it mostly brings fixes and smaller improvements to the experience. It also still doesn't include support for ARM64, which debuted in the Canary channel last week. With that being said, there are a couple of new features, which include a setting to force tracking prevention to be set to Strict when the user is browsing in an InPrivate window: Added a right-click option to sort individual favorites folders by name from the Favorites management page. Added a new setting to always use Strict Tracking Prevention inside InPrivate windows. Aside from those additions, this release is all about fixes, and there's a lot of them. As usual, the list is split into fixes for reliability and for behavior. Here's what's new for reliability: Fixed a crash on launch. Fixed an issue where searching from the address bar sometimes crashes the browser. Fixed a SmartScreen crash when downloading certain items. Fixed an issue where selecting context menu items on certain favorites entries causes a browser crash. Fixed an issue where renaming a Collection sometimes crashes the Collections pane. Fixed an issue where Application Guard windows sometimes crash upon startup. Fixed an issue where navigation fails in Application Guard windows. Fixed an issue where closing tabs that contain websites that are blocked by SmartScreen sometimes causes a browser crash. Fixed an issue where deleted or edited favorites aren’t synced properly, causing the edit to be undone when it syncs back down. Fixed an issue where syncing gets stuck in the “Setting up sync” state on browser startup. Fixed an issue where processes that grow too large and stop working aren’t automatically fixed. Fixed an issue where sync sometimes fails after restoring tabs after a browser crash. Fixed an issue where large Collections aren’t properly exported to Word. Fixed an issue where exporting a Collection to Excel sometimes fails. Reduced the number of times a user needs to sign out and sign back into the browser in order to fix sync. There are also a number of behavior changes and fixes, including a change that will prevent macOS users from exporting Collections to Word or Excel. Here's the full list: Temporarily disabled the ability to export Collections to Word and Excel on Mac. Temporarily disabled one form of DRM support on ARM64, which may impact the ability to play certain DRM-protected videos. Fixed an issue where windows that are minimized when the browser is restarted aren’t restored properly. Fixed an issue where Netflix playback fails with error D7356. Fixed an issue where the space bar doesn’t work when typing in the address bar. Fixed an issue where the enter key doesn’t work when typing in the address bar. Fixed an issue where the Windows Hello prompt to log into a website with the user’s OS credentials sometimes shows in an infinite loop. Fixed an issue for users of work and school accounts where websites that try and fail to use the browser profile’s credentials to log in don’t subsequently allow the user to fall back and try the user’s OS credentials. Improved the way Collections export images to Word documents. Fixed an issue where items sometimes fail to be added to Collections. Fixed an issue where webpage contents sometimes render all black if Collections is enabled. Fixed an issue where adding certain images to Collections results in a card with a broken image. Fixed an issue where PWAs installed for one user on a machine sometimes can’t be launched by other users on the machine. Fixed an issue on Mac where feedback screenshots can’t be included when submitting feedback. Fixed an issue where link context menus don’t show all the options if they’re opened via the keyboard instead of the mouse. Fixed an issue where some websites that are pinned to the Task Bar launch new tabs instead of activating existing tabs when tabs with those websites already exist. Fixed an issue where open tabs aren’t properly imported from Chrome. Fixed an issue where the wrong icon appears on web notifications. Recently, Microsoft has started including a list of known issues with its release notes, and there's a few in this release, despite the lengthy lists of fixes. Here's what you need to be aware of: There are some issues where users with multiple audio output devices sometimes don’t get any sound from Edge. In one case, Edge becomes muted in the Windows Volume Mixer and unmuting it fixes it. In another, restarting the browser fixes it. At certain zoom levels, there is a noticeable line between the browser UI and the web contents. Last month, some users got a “Work” account automatically added to the browser that wasn’t removable. Although we recently enabled the ability for some users to remove this account, there’s still an issue where users who are signed into Windows with a work or school account may not be able to remove that account from the browser. Clicking a link on one virtual desktop currently opens a new tab in a window on a different virtual desktop if there’s no window open on the current desktop but there is on another. This is a regression from past behavior, which opened a new window on the current desktop. Jumplist entries are not consistent between the Start Menu and the Task Bar for some users. We believe this is due to the shortcut on the Start Menu not getting migrated properly after an Edge update and are working on a fix. Additionally, after getting the update for the new icon, there are still places on the Start Menu, for example when searching, that still show the old icon. Other places like the Task Bar may be able to be fixed by un-pinning and then re-pinning any Edge shortcuts that already exist there. Sometimes the browser will appear to not respond to any user input (clicking or scrolling in webpages doesn’t do anything, hovering over UI doesn’t make it change), but clicking on certain buttons still works (like the … menu). The cause of this is due to an error in the GPU process, and opening the browser task manager (right-click near the window minimize/maximize/close buttons or hit shift+esc on the keyboard) will open a window that will allow you to end the GPU process, which will fix the issue. This issue was inherited from upstream Chromium, and a fix for it just went in upstream, so the next Dev update should have it. The latest build should now be showing up if you check for updates from within Edge Dev, and these improvements should help make the Beta channel more stable when the update makes its way there. That should happen shortly before the current Beta release is promoted to the stable channel on January 15, marking the official launch of the new Chromium-based Edge. Source: This week's Edge Dev build is 80.0.334.2 and it focuses on fixes (via Neowin)
  4. The $249 wireless earbuds were originally expected to be out in time for the holidays. Microsoft has apparently decided to delay the launch of its Surface Earbuds. The $249 wireless earbuds, which the tech giant unveiled in October, won't be coming out until sometime in spring next year, said Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay in a tweet Thursday. The earbuds were originally expected to launch this year. "Product-making is about the relentless pursuit to get all the details right, which takes time...sometimes more than we planned on," Panay wrote. "To ensure we deliver the best possible experience for you, our fans & customers, Surface Earbuds will now launch worldwide in Spring 2020." Product-making is about the relentless pursuit to get all the details right, which takes time…sometimes more than we planned on. To ensure we deliver the best possible experience for you, our fans & customers, Surface Earbuds will now launch worldwide in Spring 2020 #Surface — Panos Panay (@panos_panay) November 21, 2019 Microsoft unveiled the Surface Earbuds at an event in October alongside its Surface Duo dual-screen Android phone and new Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7 tablets. The company said the earbuds have a comfortable fit, tap-and-swipe controls that allow you to access Spotify playlists without touching your phone (for Android users), and on-the-fly translation capabilities, with support for 60 languages. Microsoft said they'll also deliver 8 hours of battery life from a single charge and that the charging case (with USB-C charging) provides an additional three charges. Microsoft confirmed the Surface Earbuds won't launch until 2020 and said it'll have more specifics to share on timing in the coming months. Source
  5. It's been three weeks since Microsoft released Windows Server Insider Preview build 19008, so we're due for a new one. Today's build is number 19023, coinciding with the build number for the Windows 10 client build that was released last Tuesday. As usual, Microsoft has released the build, but it hasn't published a blog post to say what's new. It's unclear why the company is unable to publish blog posts at the same time as the build itself, but it's safe to say that it will announce something later on today. In the meantime, you can probably assume that there isn't anything new, or at least anything meaningful. Windows 10 20H1 isn't really getting new features at this point, and we're expecting it to RTM some time next month. This build likely only contains some bug fixes. While Microsoft has been testing Windows Server 20H1 with Insiders, 19H2 has pretty much flown under the radar. It was released last week though, alongside of Windows 10 version 1909. Like Windows 10 client, it doesn't contain much in the way of new features, focusing on reliability instead. If you want to download the new Windows Server build, you can find it here. Update: Microsoft has now published a blog post for Windows Server build 19023. There is still nothing new. Source: Microsoft releases Windows Server Insider Preview build 19023 (via Neowin)
  6. Last Tuesday, Microsoft released the Windows 10 November 2019 Update to seekers, meaning it's available for those people that choose the optional "download & install" link that shows up in Windows Update. Today, the company is broadening the rollout a bit, as you can now get it via the Update Assistant tool that's available for download alongside of the Media Creation Tool. The news comes via a support document, and this method should work for anyone that's on Windows 10 version 1903. The November 2019 Update, or version 1909, is just an enablement package that flips on some new features in the OS. It's a very small update, much smaller than your average feature update, and even smaller than cumulative updates. Once you install it, the build number will increase by one, to 18363, but the build revision number will remain the same. Moving forward, you'll get the exact same cumulative updates that version 1903 gets, because again, 1909 is just 1903 but with an enablement package installed on top of it. The next feature update will be 20H1, and when that's released, we'll be back to getting a full build as a feature update. Source: The Windows 10 November 2019 Update is now available via the Update Assistant (via Neowin)
  7. Microsoft has released a set of driver updates to a few of its older Surface devices, including the Surface Pro, Laptop, and Book lineups. The updates are actually dated for November 5, but they were only added to the update history today, and Microsoft has interestingly labeled them as a gradual roll-out, so you may not have received them just yet. The updates are available on machines running Windows 10 version 1903 or newer, and mostly target issues with wireless connectivity. The Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro (2017), Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 1 and 2, and Surface Book are all getting these two updates: Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Bluetooth – 15.68.17015.112 Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter - Bluetooth 15.68.17015.112 improves Bluetooth connectivity. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Net – 15.68.17015.112 Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller – Network adapters 15.68.17015.112 resolves Wi-Fi connectivity issue. In addition to those two, the 2017 Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 6 are both getting another update: Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name Surface - HIDClass - 1.1.136.0 Surface Tcon Device – Human Interface Devices 1.1.136.0 improves system bugcheck performance. Finally, the Surface Pro 6 is getting an additional firmware update: Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name Surface - Firmware – 241.6.139.0 Surface System Aggregator 241.6.139.0 resolves an issue where the CPU will throttle down to .4GHz, and improves battery stability. If you have one of the devices above, you may want to check for updates to get the latest improvements. Since they're rolling out gradually, they may not be available for you just yet. Source: Older Surface devices get driver updates to address connectivity issues (via Neowin)
  8. Microsoft has announced that it will update its privacy provisions for commercial cloud contracts. It comes after the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) investigated Microsoft’s contracts with the European Commission and other EU bodies; it found that Microsoft had failed to protect data according to EU law. In its announcement, Microsoft said that the new Online Services Terms (OST) will “reflect contractual changes” that were developed with one of its customers, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security. The changes will give customers more transparency with regards to how their data is processed in the Microsoft cloud. Expressing the firm’s willingness to work with customers, Julie Brill, Corporate Vice President for Global Privacy and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft, said: Microsoft said it will be ready to roll out the contract provisions to all public sector and enterprise customers globally by the beginning of 2020. Source: 1. Microsoft updates privacy rules for commercial cloud contracts after EU investigation (via Neowin) - main article 2. Introducing more privacy transparency for our commercial cloud customers (via Microsoft) - reference to the main article
  9. Microsoft has announced a vague intention to launch its xCloud game streaming service sometime in 2020, and dropped a double handful of new titles that will arrive on it and the existing Game Pass subscription. It seems that next year will indeed be the opening battle in the streaming wars to come. The announcements came at XO19, the company’s Xbox-focused event, which is taking place in London. They seem calculated to take the wind out of Google’s sails; the opening lineup of Stadia, Google’s entry in the game streaming world, was finalized earlier this week and is rather bare bones. Microsoft is hoping Google’s first-mover advantage will be nullified by the expected confusion around payments, features, titles and other issues Stadia is still working out. Game Pass is currently in a preview period on PC. Although Microsoft did not supply a hard release date, saying only that 2020 is the plan. That year will also bring Windows 10 support, PC game streaming and potentially an expansion beyond Android for mobile streaming. The price, too, is TBA — Google’s proposition is remarkably complicated, and it will take time for consumers to figure out what they’re willing to pay for, what the real costs are, and so on. So Microsoft is probably going to wait and see here. But what is known about xCloud is that gamers will get access to all the games currently available on Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription — well over a hundred PC and console titles right now, with more being added regularly. That makes it easier to commit to for a lot of gamers. New controllers will be supported soon, including Sony’s DualShock 4, which comes with the PlayStation 4; that’s a real olive branch to Microsoft’s arch-rival. And new countries will be brought into the fold soon, as well: Canada, India, Japan and “Western Europe.” Game Pass will also be receiving dozens of titles old and new throughout 2020, including Final Fantasy 7 through 15, Darksiders 3, Flight Simulator and a bunch of newly announced games such as Obsidian’s new “Honey, I Shrunk the Survival Game” title, “Grounded.” Several brand new properties and gameplay for known but unreleased games were also teased at XO19. Check them out below: Everwild is a new IP from Rare that appears to involve a lot of sneaking around a lush forest and either avoiding or interacting with fantastical animals. It’s still early days, but the team wants to create “new ways to play in a natural and magical world.” I’m just here for the solar-powered dino-deer. Tell Me Why is a new one from Dontnod, makers of Life Is Strange starring a pair of twins with some kind of paranormal connection. Notably one of the twins is transgender, not common among game protagonists, and the company worked with GLAAD to make sure the representation of the character is genuine. Age of Empires IV got an only slightly satisfying gameplay reveal. Real-time strategy buffs will want more than this, but no doubt they’re excited to see this venerable franchise getting a modern sequel. You can catch up on the rest over at the Xbox official blog post. Source
  10. By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft Amazon has filed officially to protest Microsoft's win of the $10 billion U.S. Department of Defense JEDI cloud contract. It's not surprising, but as of today, November 14, it is official: Amazon AWS is protesting the U.S. Department of Defense's award of its $10 billion cloud contract to Microsoft. AWS made the company's decision to file paperwork to challenge the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) public inside the company during an all-hands meeting on November 14, as reported by the Federal Times. According to a video the Federal Times said it had seen, AWS filed the required paperwork on Friday last week. Fedscoop confirmed this, saying the paperwork was filed with the Court of Federal Claims on November 8. The Federal Times said that Amazon planned to try to get the government to reveal what really happened in the awarding of JEDI. (I asked Amazon to confirm it was protesting the JEDI award, but no word back so far.) Update: An Amazon spokesperson sent me the following statement: "AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the U.S. military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DoD's modernization efforts. We also believe it's critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias- and it's important that these matters be examined and rectified." Throughout much of the bidding process, Amazon was expected by many to be the triumphant bidder. In the later rounds, Amazon and Microsoft emerged as the two final bidders in the winner-take-all deal. (Google dropped out of the JEDI bidding late last year, while Oracle and IBM were eliminated earlier this year. ) But in August this year, the Pentagon said it was putting the JEDI contract on hold after US President Donald Trump complained about potential conflicts of interest in the process. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been targeted by Trump as a political thorn because of his ownership of The Washington Post. The JEDI contract is designed to upgrade legacy systems with newer cloud services. The JEDI Cloud will provide "enterprise-level, commercial IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) to the Department and any mission partners for all Department business and mission operations," the government said. The contract is expected to be worth up to $10 billion over 10 years. Microsoft was awarded the JEDI contract on October 25. Industry experts have predicted since that date that Amazon would challenge the award. Source
  11. Microsoft has announced the released of version 6.0 of the Windows Community Toolkit, bringing along a few improvements and new tools. For starters, and perhaps most notably, it's now possible to use Windows Community Toolkit with apps targetting the ARM64 architecture, which is probably related to the recent release of Microsoft's Surface Pro X. This release also improves support XAML Islands with .NET Core 3.0, which was released not too long ago. XAML Islands brings UWP elements to apps built using WPF, WinForms, and Win32, so developers can make apps look more modern while still leveraging existing technologies. Lottie on Windows also now supports some additional Adobe After Effects features, including linear and radial gradients, Masks Track Mattes, and more. Some of these features require newer SDKs, so Lottie-Windows also now supports adaptive versioning. These new features aim to help provide more "visually compelling experiences". In terms of new controls, this release includes a new Eye Dropper control, which lets developers build color pickers into their apps. New XAML controls for Microsoft Graph are also now being tested in preview starting with version 6.1. There are a few more changes in this release, so if you''d like to learn more, you can check out the release notes on GitHub. You can also download the Windows Community Toolkit sample app to try out all the new features. Source: Windows Community Toolkit version 6 is out now with XAML Islands improvements (via Neowin)
  12. Windows 10's built-in Edge browser (now informally called Legacy Edge) has always natively supported ARM64, or at least since Windows on ARM was a thing. But up until now, those testing out Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge browser haven't been able to run it natively on ARM; they could only get the x86 version running in emulation. Now, testers can finally use native ARM64 Edge Chromium. While most 32-bit Intel apps run fine in virtualization on ARM processors, browsers don't. Browsers generate code in real-time, making it hard to cache. That means that for Windows on ARM to be truly viable, there needs to be native browsers. Up until now, the only web browsers that ran native on ARM64 PCs were Edge Spartan and Firefox, the latter of which was announced back in December. But while native Firefox was announced at the same event as Chromium, Firefox was available for testing in January. Edge is now the first Chromium-based browser to have a shipping version running on native ARM64, albeit not from the stable channel. I've been told that Chrome won't be coming until next year. For now, ARM64 Edge Chromium is only available in the Canary channel. It will be coming to Dev and Beta channels soon; however, it won't be in the stable channel when it's generally available on January 15. Source: Microsoft's Chromium-powered Edge browser is now available for ARM64 PCs (via Neowin)
  13. Microsoft resolved a known issue causing Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to stop running and fail to send reporting data on some Windows devices after installing the KB4520062 optional non-security update. Some Windows 10 customers affected by the now-fixed bug also received 0xc0000409 errors in the Event Viewer on MsSense.exe according to the known issue's entry. The optional non-security KB4520062 update behind the issue was released on October 15 and it was designed to fix a problem leading to black screens being displayed during startup on the first sign in after installing updates. Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus not affected The issue was acknowledged by Redmond on October 17, 2019, and it was described as impacting Microsoft Defender ATP on both client and server Windows versions were the Windows 10 October 2018 Update was installed. The full list of affected platforms includes Windows 10 version 1809, Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019, Windows Server version 1809, and Windows Server 2019 platforms. As Microsoft noted on the issue's Windows 10 Health Dashboard entry, the consumer-grade Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus was not affected by this bug. The company addressed the Microsoft Defender ATP issue in the KB4523205 cumulative update released yesterday, as part of the November 2019 Patch Tuesday. Update and battery drain issues fixed in Windows 10 1903 Yesterday, Redmond also fixed two other known issues introduced over five months ago, causing abnormal battery drain and update installation failures issues on Windows 10 1903 devices. The first resolved issue impacted both client and server Windows 10, version 1903 platforms, while the other affected Windows 10, version 1903 and Windows 10, version 1809 client platforms. The battery drain problems were caused by a range of incompatible Intel Display Audio device drivers (versions 10.25.0.3 through 10.25.0.8). The update failures affected devices where the KB4497935 cumulative update was installed. These Windows 10 1903 known issues were fixed on the same day the Windows 10 November 2019 Update started rolling out (also known as Windows 10, version 1909) with feature improvements and bug fixes. Source
  14. With Microsoft's launch of the Surface Pro X last week, questions were once again raised about the apps that can run on it. The answer is that like any Windows 10 on ARM PC, it can run native ARM (ARM and ARM64) apps, and it can run emulated 32-bit Intel (x86) apps. This leaves out 64-bit Intel (AMD64, or x64) apps, so if you want an app that's only available in an x64 flavor, such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Photoshop Elements, you can't use it. That's going to change though. Speaking with several sources, I can confirm that Microsoft is indeed working on bringing x64 app emulation to Windows on ARM. When that will happen is a bit more unclear, but it seems like it could be in Windows 10 21H1, which would mean that the general public will have access to it in the first half of 2021, and Windows Insiders will be able to test it out next year. When Windows on ARM was first introduced back at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit in 2016, the official messaging was that 64-bit emulation was never going to happen. That messaging has changed, as we reached out to Microsoft for this story, and a company spokesperson said that there's nothing to share at this time. But no one ever said that 64-bit app emulation wasn't possible. In fact, I was told that it was more of an issue of performance. That's the other issue here; while Windows on ARM will be able to support emulation of both 32- and 64-bit apps, 32-bit will still be faster. 32-bit emulation uses WOW64, the exact same thing that x64 versions of Windows use to run 32-bit apps. This would presumably have to be something new. That brings another issue to light, and it's a question that there probably isn't an answer for yet, since we're still early in this process. It's unclear what the default will be. The way that typical installers work is that if your machine supports 64-bit, it delivers the 64-bit app. That's because in all current cases, 64-bit apps are equal or better than their 32-bit counterparts, at least in terms of performance. That will change for ARM though, where 32-bit apps will still offer a better experience. Another issue is how it will handle vendors that deliver different versions of apps based on what your system can handle. For example, Adobe Creative Cloud will offer you Photoshop 2018 on a 32-bit machine, and therefore it offers the same on an ARM64 machine. With 64-bit emulation, it's unclear if it will start offering Photoshop 2020 (or 2021 by that point) instead, even though performance will be worse than it already is. Qualcomm's current generation of PC chipsets is the Snapdragon 8cx, as well as Microsoft's SQ1, which is a slightly modified 8cx. These SoCs are built from the ground up for PCs, with emulation in mind. However, 64-bit app emulation won't be exclusive to the 8cx lineup; rather, you'll be able to use x64 apps on every generation of Windows on ARM processors, going all the way back to the Snapdragon 835. One good thing to come out of this is that it should be less confusing for consumers, just to be able to say that all Windows apps run on an ARM PC. Microsoft's first shot at Windows on ARM was Windows RT, an ill-fated version of the OS that looked and felt exactly like Windows 8, but it could only run ARM apps, most of which had to come from the Windows Store. The whole idea of Windows 10 on ARM was to get away from that, and that's why we have emulated apps. Windows on ARM is just supposed to be Windows, at least from an end user perspective. Microsoft doesn't want you to have to think about what you can and can't do. You should be able to use your ARM PC like any other. For the performance gap, it's worth noting that Qualcomm is moving at a pretty rapid pace when it comes to PC chipsets. The Snapdragon 850 and Snapdragon 8cx were both huge leaps from their predecessors, so if the company continues to innovate at such a rapid pace, hopefully we'll get to a point where emulation isn't even noticeable. Source: Exclusive: Microsoft is working to bring 64-bit Intel app emulation to Windows on ARM (via Neowin)
  15. Yesterday, Microsoft released the Windows 10 November 2019 Update. It's a small update, with a small list of new features. It's no surprise, since Windows 10 version 1909 is really just an enablement package that lights up some new features and bumps up the build number. Version 1903 and 1909 are even serviced with the exact same cumulative updates. Microsoft has updated its support documents to show which features are being removed or deprecated in the new update. Being that this is a small update, it should come as no surprise that this list is small as well. Here's the list of features being removed: Feature Details and mitigation PNRP APIs The Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) cloud service was removed in Windows 10, version 1809. We are planning to complete the removal process by removing the corresponding APIs. Taskbar settings roaming Roaming of taskbar settings is removed in this release. This feature was announced as no longer being developed in Windows 10, version 1903. And then there are the features that are being deprecated. This means that these features are still included in the OS, but they're not longer being actively developed. It also means that they may be removed in a future release. Here's the full list: Feature Details and mitigation Hyper-V vSwitch on LBFO In a future release, the Hyper-V vSwitch will no longer have the capability to be bound to an LBFO team. Instead, it can be bound via Switch Embedded Teaming (SET). Language Community tab in Feedback Hub The Language Community tab will be removed from the Feedback Hub. The standard feedback process: Feedback Hub - Feedback is the recommended way to provide translation feedback. My People / People in the Shell My People is no longer being developed. It may be removed in a future update. TFS1/TFS2 IME TSF1 and TSF2 IME will be replaced by TSF3 IME in a future release. Text Services Framework (TFS) enables language technologies. TSF IME are Windows components that you can add to enable typing text for Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean languages. Package State Roaming (PSR) PSR will be removed in a future update. PSR allows non-Microsoft developers to access roaming data on devices, enabling developers of UWP applications to write data to Windows and synchronize it to other instantiations of Windows for that user. The recommended replacement for PSR is Azure App Service. Azure App Service is widely supported, well documented, reliable, and supports cross-platform/cross-ecosystem scenarios such as iOS, Android and web. My People is probably the most consumer-facing feature that's being deprecated. Presumably, it wasn't being used much. The next feature update is Windows 10 20H1, which is due out in the first half of 2020. The good news is that it's pretty much done, so if a deprecated feature on the list isn't removed just yet, it probably won't be. Source: Here are the features being removed or deprecated in Windows 10 version 1909 (via Neowin)
  16. Windows 10 - Media Creation Tool - Version 1909 The new Windows 10 edition - version 1909 - is available. With Windows 10 Media Creation Tool you can download the newest Windows 10 edition and create a ISO, USB stick or DVD for installation. Need to create a USB stick, DVD or ISO? If you need to install or reinstall Windows 10 using a USB stick or DVD, you can use the Media Creation Tool to create your own installation media with either a USB stick or a DVD. The tool provides file formats optimized for download speed and can be used to create ISO files. Release Notes: Changes in v1909: various bug fixes and some new features. Check this on the computer where you want to install Windows 10: 32-bit or 64-bit processor (CPU). You’ll create either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 10 that’s appropriate for your CPU. To check this on your computer, go to PC info in PC settings or System in Control Panel, and look for System type. Homepage: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 Direct Download Link: MediaCreationTool1909.exe
  17. A minor update that’s more like the traditional Windows service pack Microsoft is releasing its latest Windows 10 November 2019 Update to devices today. While most of Microsoft’s significant Windows 10 updates usually come with a host of new features, this one is much more like the service packs you’d find with previous versions of Windows. Most of the changes are minor, and you won’t see a lot of them as they’re behind-the-scenes improvements focused on stability, performance, and more. That doesn’t mean nothing has changed, though. The biggest changes can be found in the improvements that Microsoft is making to the notifications experience in Windows 10. This new November update has a manage notifications button in the notification center (Action Center) that leads to a better settings area where you can customize notifications. You’ll also be able to hover over notifications that appear and tap a settings button to permanently mute notifications from a particular app. Microsoft is even offering the ability to customize the number of notifications you see from apps. Elsewhere, there are a few changes to the Start menu and task bar. You can now hover over the Start menu hamburger menu without having to click it, and you’ll also be able to add events to your calendar from the task bar. Microsoft is also updating the search functionality inside File Explorer. It’s now powered by the same Windows search backend as the Start menu, so you can find files on your local PC or even cloud storage on OneDrive. Microsoft is starting to roll out the November 2019 Update to Windows 10 users today, and you can grab it directly from Windows Update by heading into Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and checking for updates. Source: Windows 10 November 2019 Update is now available as more of a service pack (via The Verge)
  18. Today is the second Tuesday of the month, making it Patch Tuesday. That means that there are cumulative updates available for all supported versions of Windows. The amount of supported versions goes up by one today, as version 1909 was released. Today also marked the end of support for version 1803, but only for Home and Pro SKUs, so there are still updates for Enterprise and Education. Moving forward, versions 1903 and 1909 will get the same updates, since it's just an enablement package that increases the build. Today's update is KB4524570, and that brings the build number to 18362.476 and 18363.476 for versions 1903 and 1909, respectively. You can manually download it here, and there's one highlight: Here's the full list of fixes: If you're on Windows 10 version 1809, you'll get KB4523205, bringing the build number to 17763.864. You can manually download it here, and these are the highlights: Here's the full list of fixes: Finally, there are three known issues to be aware of: Symptom Workaround Certain operations, such as rename, that you perform on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error, “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”. This occurs when you perform the operation on a CSV owner node from a process that doesn’t have administrator privilege. Do one of the following: Perform the operation from a process that has administrator privilege. Perform the operation from a node that doesn’t have CSV ownership. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release. After installing KB4493509, devices with some Asian language packs installed may receive the error, "0x800f0982 - PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT _NOT_FOUND." Uninstall and reinstall any recently added language packs. For instructions, see Manage the input and display language settings in Windows 10. Select Check for Updates and install the April 2019 Cumulative Update. For instructions, see Update Windows 10. Note If reinstalling the language pack does not mitigate the issue, reset your PC as follows: Go to the Settings app > Recovery. Select Get Started under the Reset this PC recovery option. Select Keep my Files. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release. When setting up a new Windows device during the Out of Box Experience (OOBE), you might be unable to create a local user when using Input Method Editor (IME). This issue might affect you if you are using the IME for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean languages. Note This issue does not affect using a Microsoft Account during OOBE. To mitigate this issue, set the keyboard language to English during user creation or use a Microsoft Account to complete OOBE. You can set the keyboard language back to your preferred language after user creation. Once the OOBE is done and you are at the desktop, you can rename the current user using these instructions. If you prefer to create a new local user, see KB4026923. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release. If you're on version 1803, you'll get KB4525237, which brings the build number to 17134.1130. You can manually download it here, and here are tne highlights: Here's the full list of fixes: This one also has a couple of known issues to be aware of: Symptom Workaround Certain operations, such as rename, that you perform on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error, “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”. This occurs when you perform the operation on a CSV owner node from a process that doesn’t have administrator privilege. Do one of the following: Perform the operation from a process that has administrator privilege. Perform the operation from a node that doesn’t have CSV ownership. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release. When setting up a new Windows device during the Out of Box Experience (OOBE), you might be unable to create a local user when using Input Method Editor (IME). This issue might affect you if you are using the IME for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean languages. Note This issue does not affect using a Microsoft Account during OOBE. To mitigate this issue, set the keyboard language to English during user creation or use a Microsoft Account to complete OOBE. You can set the keyboard language back to your preferred language after user creation. Once the OOBE is done and you are at the desktop, you can rename the current user using these instructions. If you prefer to create a new local user, see KB4026923. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release. Next up is Windows 10 version 1709, which, like 1803 will be going forward, is only supported for Enterprise and Education SKUs. Those users will get KB4525241, bringing the version number to 16299.1508. You can manually download it here, and these are the highlights: Here's the full list of fixes: This update has the same known issues as the one above. Next up is Windows 10 version 1703, which isn't supported for any version of Windows 10 for PCs. Those with a Surface Hub will get KB4525245, bringing the build number to 15063.2172. Also, this update is where you'll find the changes that are included in this month's Windows 10 Mobile 1709 update. Windows 10 version 1607 is only supported for LTSC and Windows Server 2016 customers. Those users will get KB4525236, bringing the build number to 14393.3326. You can manually download it here, and these are the highlights: Here's the full list of fixes: It also has two known issues: Symptom Workaround After installing KB4467684, the cluster service may fail to start with the error “2245 (NERR_PasswordTooShort)” if the group policy “Minimum Password Length” is configured with greater than 14 characters. Set the domain default "Minimum Password Length" policy to less than or equal to 14 characters. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release. Certain operations, such as rename, that you perform on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error, “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”. This occurs when you perform the operation on a CSV owner node from a process that doesn’t have administrator privilege. Do one of the following: Perform the operation from a process that has administrator privilege. Perform the operation from a node that doesn’t have CSV ownership. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release. Finally, the original version of Windows 10 is still supported for LTSC customers, and those users will get KB4525232, bringing the build number to 10240.18395. You can manually download it here, and these are the highlights: Here's the full list of fixes: This update only has one known issue, the one that's common across all of the above updates. Source: Microsoft releases Windows 10 builds 18362.476 and 18363.476 - here's what's new (via Neowin) p/s: The title of the article is quite misleading as it only mentions updates for v1903 and v1909, but actually the Patch Tuesday updates are released for all supported releases of Windows 10 (except where noted), please read thoroughly before commenting.
  19. It's that time of the month again when every supported version of Windows gets an update with a bunch of fixes. This week, in addition to cumulative updates, we saw the release of the Windows 10 November 2019 Update. Windows 7 and 8.1 haven't been forgotten just yet, and there's a couple of updates for these older versions of the OS, too. As usual, this month's updates come in two flavors, a monthly rollup and a security-only update. For Windows 8.1 and Window Server 2012 R2 users, the monthly rollup is KB4525243, and it can be downloaded manually here. The security update is KB4525250, and it can be downloaded manually here. Here's what's new in the monthly rollup update: For the security-only update, only the fourth, fifth, and seventh points apply. Both updates have the same known issues, which has been around for some time now: Symptom Workaround Certain operations, such as rename, that you perform on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error, “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”. This occurs when you perform the operation on a CSV owner node from a process that doesn’t have administrator privilege. Do one of the following: Perform the operation from a process that has administrator privilege. Perform the operation from a node that doesn’t have CSV ownership. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release. For users still running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, the monthly rollup is KB4525235 and it can be downloaded manually here. The security-only update is KB4525233 and can be downloaded manually here. Here's what's new in the monthly rollup: For the security-only update, only the second, third, and fifth points apply. Neither of the releases has any known issues to be aware of. If you want to grab the monthly rollup, it'll show up normally in Windows Update, but those looking for the security-only variants will need to download them manually using the links above. Source: Here's what's new in this month's Patch Tuesday for Windows 7 and 8.1 (via Neowin)
  20. Microsoft's new Edge browser, based on the Chromium project, is set to release on January 15, and when it does, it'll be missing a few features, such as history syncing and extension syncing. Another thing that'll be missing, for those using the current version of Edge, is the ability to set tabs aside to use later. But if you're using this feature in the current version of Edge. As spotted by Techdows, if you install the stable version of Microsoft Edge - which is only available through unofficial methods - on Windows 10, your tabs set aside will be available as favorites. Upon launching the updated browser, when you right-click one of the tabs at the top of the screen, there'll be a menu item saying you can find your tabs set aside in Favorites. There, you can find them in a dedicated folder to tabs set aside, with each set of tabs grouped into a different folder. Since the new version of Edge will be added to Windows 10 as soon as it's generally available, displacing the current version, it makes sense for user content to be preserved somehow. On the favorites page, you'll also see a message saying you can't currently set tabs aside in Edge. Microsoft has talked about the possibility of bringing some features over from the current version of Edge, and during a session at Build this year, no guarantee was given that the ability to set tabs aside would be among them. However, the text on this page could suggest it is happening at some point. It's worth noting that the Canary and Dev channels of the new Edge have an interesting new feature called Collections, which can gather websites, images, and notes into user-created groups, which isn't too far off from how setting tabs aside worked. With the ability to add all the current tabs to a collection, for instance, the functionality would be nearly identical to how it works in the current version of the browser. It could end up being something completely different, though. Source: The new Edge will seemingly import tabs set aside from the legacy version as favorites (via Neowin)
  21. This week at its Ignite 2019 conference, Microsoft announced that OneNote 2016 is being resurrected, after telling users for years that the desktop app is only in maintenance mode, and that we should all be using the UWP app, OneNote for Windows 10. Not only will the company be adding new features, but it will be installed by default with new Office installations beginning in March. Because of this, many were wondering about the future of OneNote for Windows 10, and whether it will continue to be supported going forward. The short answer is that it will be, and that shouldn't change in the immediate future. Everyone I talked to about this agreed though, that it won't make sense to support two apps on the same platform forever. Microsoft's official reason for bringing back OneNote 2016 is because it was listening to user feedback. Many were hesitant to move to the UWP app for some time, and it took time for the team to even get the two apps close to feature parity. Now, it seems that we have two apps that are better at different things. After all, OneNote for Windows 10 has been receiving new features regularly for a while now, while OneNote 2016 was in maintenance mode. One area where the UWP app is certainly stronger is with inking features. If the Redmond firm does kill off OneNote for Windows 10 at some point, it could be a blow to its credibility. As mentioned earlier, many were hesitant to make the switch from OneNote 2016, and there were pain points in the transition. After users sorted through all that and made OneNote for Windows 10 fit their work flow, asking them to switch back might be too much. But that's looking too far into the future for now. As it stands, both products are supported, and if Microsoft decides to kill off one of them, there's no telling which one that will be. Source: Microsoft will continue to support OneNote for Windows 10, but the future is uncertain (via Neowin)
  22. Microsoft has teamed up with Warner Bros. to store a copy of the 1978 movie “Superman” on a small glass disc about the size of a coaster. The collaboration, which will be officially unveiled at Microsoft’s Ignite 2019 conference in Orlando, Florida Monday, is a first test case for a new storage technology that could eventually help safeguard Hollywood’s movies and TV shows, as well as many other forms of data, for centuries to come. “Glass has a very, very long lifetime,” said Microsoft Research principal researcher Ant Rowstron in a recent conversation with Variety. “Thousands of years.” The piece of silica glass storing the 1978 “Superman” movie, measuring 7.5 cm x 7.5 cm x 2 mm. The glass contains 75.6 GB of data plus error redundancy codes. Microsoft began to investigate glass as a storage medium in 2016 in partnership with the University of Southampton Optoelectonics Research Centre. The goal of these efforts, dubbed “Project Silica,” is to find a new storage medium optimized for what industry insiders like to call cold data — the type of data you likely won’t need to access for months, years, or even decades. It’s data that doesn’t need to sit on a server, ready to be used 24/7, but that is kept in a vault, away from anything that could corrupt it. Turns out that Warner Bros. has quite a bit of this kind of cold data. Founded in the 1920s, the studio has been safekeeping original celluloid film reels, audio from 1940s radio shows and much more, for decades. Think classics like “Casablanca,” “The Wizard of Oz” or “Looney Tunes” cartoons. Warner Bros. stores film in cold storage vaults, where temperature and humidity are tightly controlled and air sniffers look for signs of chemical decomposition that could signal problems. “Our mission is to preserve those original assets in perpetuity,” said Brad Collar, who is leading these efforts at Warner Bros. as the studio’s senior vice president of global archives and media engineering. And while the studio is deeply invested in these classics, it also keeps adding an ever-increasing number of modern assets to its archives, ranging from digitally-shot films and television episodes to newer forms of entertainment, including video games. To date, the Warner Bros. archive contains some 20 million assets, with tens of thousands of new items being added every year. Each of them is being stored in multiple locations, explained Collar. “We want to have more than one copy.” And to this date, Warner Bros. is storing every single movie and TV show on film, even if they’re being shot digitally. For archival purposes, the studio splits a film into its CYMK color components, resulting in three distinct copies that are then written on black-and-white film. The results are being stored away in a cold vault, which is kept between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Hollywood studios have been storing films like this for decades, explained Collar. “This process is tried and true.” And it works: When Warner Bros. recently decided to reissue “The Wizard of Oz” in 4K, employees just had to go back into the studio’s vault, retrieve those 3 color-isolated copies, digitize each, and reassemble them to the color master copy. “It is an evolved process,” said Collar. However, the process doesn’t work for all kinds of assets. Video games, for instance, need to be stored digitally. Light field video captures, holograms, or whatever else the future may hold for next-generation entertainment, will likely also require different solutions. And with recent visual improvements like 4K and HDR, there is an ever-increasing need for petabytes of storage, said Warner Bros. chief technology officer Vicky Colf. “It’s the quality of the content that we are dealing with.” The studio has been researching novel storage solutions for some time. When Collar first heard about Microsoft’s Project Silica, he was instantly intrigued. After all, the idea to store media on glass sounded awfully familiar: Collar had stumbled across old audio recordings in Warner’s archives a while back, which were being stored on glass discs slightly larger than regular vinyl records. His team had to first find special players to access the recordings, but was then able to digitize them, unlocking a “Superman” radio play from the 1940s. So when the Warner started talking to Microsoft about collaborating on Project Silica, it was immediately clear that “Superman” was the right film to store on glass. Said Collar: “It’s a beautiful full circle.” Warner Bros. has been storing all of its films and TV shows, even those shot in digital formats, on 35mm film. But Microsoft’s approach is based on very different technology than what was used by 1940s-era archivists. Project Silica relies on lasers similar to those used for Lasik eye surgeries to burn small geometrical shapes, also known as voxels, into the glass. “We can encode multiple bits in each voxel,” explained Rowstron. And unlike traditional optical media like CDs or DVDs, Project Silica actually encodes data in multiple layers. Microsoft used 74 such layers to capture “Superman” in glass, but has since advanced the technology to add many more layers. Once data is stored this way, it can be accessed by shining light through the glass disc, and capturing it with microscope-like readers. In fact, in Project Silica’s early days, the company simply bought off-the-shelf microscopes for this process, which also benefits from machine learning to make sense of the captured light. The process of storing and accessing data with Project Silica is still in early stages, but it works: After burning the copy of “Superman,” Collar’s team checked to make sure the data was not corrupted. “We did a bit-by-bit check,” he said. The result: The movie was there, safe for future generations. “We have that glass now here in our vaults,” he said. Microsoft Project Silica senior optical scientist Patrick Anderson loads the system that writes data onto glass using lasers that are similar to those used in Lasik surgeries. Microsoft also did extensive tests to make sure that Project Silica storage media didn’t easily damage. “We baked it in very, very hot ovens,” said Rowstron. His team submerged the glass in boiling water, microwaved it, and even scratched it with steel wool — all without any damage to the stored data. Sure, it is breakable if you try hard enough, admitted Rowstron. “If you take a hammer to it, you can smash glass.” But absent of such brute force, the medium promises to be very, very safe, he argued: “I feel very confident in it.” And while Microsoft partnered with Warner Bros. for this first proof-of-concept, the use cases for Project Silica may ultimately extend far beyond Hollywood. Other known examples for cold data include medical data and banking information, explained Rowstron, adding that many other applications may not even be known yet. To illustrate the potential, Rowstron referenced the way consumers used to treat photos taken on their phones. A few years ago, before cloud storage became ubiquitous, a consumer may have taken a burst of photos of one motive, and then deleted all but one of those pictures. Fast forward a few years, and machine learning algorithms have gotten really good at combining these burst photo sequences, and turning them into better-looking composite images. “There is a lot of value to keep data around,” Rowstron said. Microsoft senior optical scientist James Clegg loads a piece of glass into a kind of specialized microscope to read data stored on glass. This also explains why Microsoft is interested in storage solutions like Project Silica to begin with. The company’s own Azure cloud business already safekeeps vast amounts of data for its customers, including both “hot,” frequently accessed data, as well as “cold” data. For some of its long-term storage needs, Azure still uses tape, which frequently has to be checked, and even re-copied, to maintain data integrity. Glass could one day be a more secure solution to safekeep data for the company and its customers. Warner Bros. isn’t expected to replace its existing archival strategy entirely with glass any time soon, said Colf. “It’s just another arrow in our quiver,” she said. “We hope that film is an option for us for many years to come.” There is also still a lot of work to be done before Project Silica can become a real product. Read- and write-operations need to be unified in a single device, and the amount of data stored on one piece of glass needs to increase. Microsoft isn’t revealing how much it has been able to squeeze onto the latest generations of the medium, but it is apparently not in the terabyte range just yet. Still, Rowstron is confident that Project Silica will lead to a break-through in storage technology. “I believe the future is glass,” he said. Source
  23. A far more repairable design than older Surfaces Microsoft’s new Surface Pro X computer may not have taken the world by storm as a Windows-on-ARM showcase, but as iFixit’s teardown reveals, the new hardware design is groundbreaking in other respects by being far easier to repair than other Surfaces. When Microsoft announced the Surface Pro X, it highlighted the removable SSD, which is hidden behind a pop-up door alongside the SIM card and can be easily removed by taking out a single screw. But there are plenty of other changes Microsoft has made here that make the Surface Pro X easier to repair than older models (like the Surface Pro 6). The screen is held down with foam adhesive instead of the globs of glue that nearly every other tablet-style device uses. All of the screws are standard Torx screws, making it relatively simple to take apart once the screen is off. iFixit also praises the Surface Pro X for featuring a variety of modular components, particularly for the USB and Surface Connect ports, meaning you’ll be able to replace just a single part if something goes wrong, not the whole laptop. On the flip side, the teardown found that the battery is extremely difficult to remove, requiring almost the entire laptop to be disassembled to get it out. Given that battery replacements are one of the more common hardware repairs (especially as devices get older and batteries wear down), that’s a bit disappointing. While the screen is easier to remove than nearly any other tablet, you’ll still have to remove it for most repairs, which means that you’ll probably still need to take it into a repair shop for anything more serious than swapping the SSD. Still, iFixit ranks the Surface Pro X at a 6 out of 10 on its repairability scale, making it the most repairable Surface tablet the company has made. It’s also easier to repair than any of Apple’s current iPad hardware. Assuming Microsoft continues to build new hardware with the Surface Pro X’s design language in future years, that level of repairability is a very encouraging thing to see. Source: Surface Pro X teardown confirms it’s easier to repair than any other Surface or iPad (via The Verge)
  24. The browser, overhauled with a new engine, also is getting a new icon. Microsoft Edge is dumping its old icon for a new cresting-wave look that might get you thinking about surfing the web while still reminding you of the old lowercase "e" logo dating back to Internet Explorer. Microsoft's overhauled Edge web browser is getting a new icon to go along with its new engine. A series of Microsoft Edge team teases ahead of Microsoft's Ignite conference next week revealed the new icon for those who could figure out the puzzles (or read the comments on Reddit). The new icon is a hybrid of the old lowercase "e" icon that dates back to Microsoft's old Internet Explorer years and a crashing wave that might have something to do with surfing the web. Microsoft is in the middle of rebuilding its Edge browser as a variation of Google's open-source Chromium project. The Chromium-based Edge is beta testing now. Two decades ago, Microsoft's Internet Explorer vanquished Netscape's Navigator to win the first browser wars, but Microsoft let the browser languish after its victory. Mozilla's Firefox, Opera Software's Opera and Apple's Safari chipped away at IE's dominance and sowed the seeds for a revitalized, independent web. Chrome's vaulted past them all after its arrival in 2008, and Microsoft has been trying but failing to reclaim its influence since then. Microsoft stripped down its old IE into the new Edge but even the modernized approach didn't help. So now Microsoft is throwing out the browser engine on which its old Edge was based and swapping in Chromium. That's what's used by several other browsers, too, including Samsung Internet, Vivaldi Technologies' Vivaldi and Brave Software's Brave. Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge is available far beyond Windows, too, including on Android and MacOS. Source
  25. This week at its Ignite 2019 conference in Orlando, Microsoft announced the general availability date of its new Chromium-based Edge browser, which has been in public testing since April. Beginning on January 15, it will be considered generally available, meaning that it will start updating users to its new browser. Unfortunately, it's going to be missing a few key features. ARM64 support will be missing at launch, despite Microsoft having released its own ARM-powered PC just this week. You also won't find the new browser for Xbox One or HoloLens; and it probably goes without saying, but the newly-announced Linux version won't be available on January 15. Some app features won't be there either, including history syncing and extension syncing. To be clear though, these features, along with ARM64 support, won't be in the shipping version of the browser, but they could be in Canary and Dev channels by then. The reason for the lack of ARM64 support is a blocking bug that is exclusive to the ARM architecture. Microsoft did indeed plan to announce support for the chip architecture at its October 2 event alongside of the ARM-powered Surface Pro X, but it just wasn't ready, and it's still not ready. ARM64 support is definitely coming though, just in case anyone was worried. As for things like Xbox One and HoloLens, those are just lower priority, and it makes sense. The browser isn't used nearly as much on something like an Xbox. It's coming, but there's no specific timeline. I met with Edge CVP Chuck Friedman, and I did ask why the team chose to announce a GA date when things like ARM64 support, history syncing, and extension syncing aren't ready, and aren't going to be ready in time. It pretty much comes down to those features not being important enough. ARM64 PCs are still a tiny segment of the Windows 10 market, even with a brand new flagship ARM64 PC from Microsoft, the Surface Pro X. History and extension syncing are both important, but not as important as password syncing, which is already included in the browser. Beginning on January 15, users will start seeing the Edge Chromium browser showing up on their PCs. The back end for the updates will be Windows Update, so you'll pretty much get an app that installed over Legacy Edge. Eventually, there will be a Windows 10 feature update that removed Legacy Edge entirely, but there's no telling when that will be. Source: Microsoft's new Edge will ship without ARM64 support, history sync, and extension sync (via Neowin)
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