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  1. Microsoft has started testing the new Window 10 Controlled Feature Rollout feature with Windows Insiders in the Slow ring. This feature allows Microsoft to slowly roll out new features without releasing entirely new builds. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that starting with Windows 10 Insider 19H2 builds, Microsoft would be testing a new feature called Controlled Feature Rollout or CFR. Using this feature Microsoft can ship builds with disabled features that are gradually enabled by Microsoft to small groups of users. This allows Microsoft to test these new features against smaller groups to get better feedback, bug reports, and an overall better build quality. On July 15th, Microsoft released Windows 10 19H2 build 18362.10006 to Windows Insiders in the Slow Ring. This build included four new features that were disabled by default, but would be enabled at a later date using the CFR feature. Windows containers require matched host and container version. This restricts customers and limits Windows containers from supporting mixed-version container pod scenarios This update includes 5 fixes to address this and allow the host to run down-level containers on up-level for process (Argon) isolation. A fix to allow OEMs to reduce the inking latency based on the hardware capabilities of their devices rather than being stuck with latency selected on typical hardware configuration by the OS. Key-rolling or Key-rotation feature enables secure rolling of Recovery passwords on MDM managed AAD devices upon on demand request from in-tune/MDM tools or upon every time recovery password is used to unlock the BitLocker protected drive. This feature will help prevent accidental recovery password disclosure as part of manual BitLocker drive unlock by users. A change to enable third-party digital assistants to voice activate above the Lock screen. In a July 17th update, Microsoft stated that they have started to rollout build 18362.10006 that enables these features for a small subset of users who installed the previous build. "Today we have released 19H2 Build 18362.10006 for a subset of Windows Insiders that turns on the features delivered as part of Build 18362.10005 (noted in the below blog post) earlier this week. Please note that Build 18362.10006 is only going out to a subset of Insiders in the Slow ring. That means not everyone in the Slow ring will get this update." As you can see, the overall build number of 18362 is the same for both the original build and the new build with the enabled features. The subversion, though, went from 10005 to 10006. This indicates that for users on CFR releases, the subversion number will increment to reflect the new build with features enabled for that group. Unfortunately, at this time there is no known policy or method that can be used to control CFR or even disable it entirely. BleepingComputer has asked Microsoft for more information when the feature was first announced, but was told there was no further information available at the time. Furthermore, the recent release of the Administrative Templates (.admx) for Windows 10 May 2019 Update (1903) does not appear to contain any related policies. Source
  2. Windows 10 Version 1903 (19H1; May 2019 Update) FINAL Build 18362 Discussion 【 General information 】 - Official announcement - How to get the Windows 10 May 2019 Update - New features - New features for IT pros - Windows 10, Version 1903 Known issues - Microsoft makes Windows 10 1903 available on MSDN - Windows 10 May 2019 Update includes .NET Framework 4.8 - Microsoft updates the Windows 10 CPU requirements for the May 2019 Update - How to install, reinstall, upgrade and activate Windows 10 - Frequently asked questions (FAQs) ---> Include: additional info, error reporting, error solving, ...and similar staff =========================================================================================================== 【 Downloads 】 - RTM Build 18362.30 UUP (All Languages): mkuba50 project -- adguard project ESD (All Languages): HERE SVF (All Languages): SVF2ISOConverter (Credits to @s1ave77) -- GezoeSloog Repository -- mehdibleu Repository (Credits to @mehdibleu) ISO: Enterprise Evaluation ISOs (Credits to @DiamondMon and WZT) TechBench (All Languages) MSDN (English only) VLSC (English only): The same as MSDN Media Feature Pack for N versions of Windows 10: HERE ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - RTM Build 18362.175 ESD (All Languages): HERE SVF (All Languages): GezoeSloog Repository -- ISO (English only): HERE ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - RTM Build 18362.239 ESD (All Languages): HERE SVF (All Languages): N/A Yet ISO (English only): HERE =========================================================================================================== 【 Checksums 】 - RTM Build 18362.30 - RTM Build 18362.175 - RTM Build 18362.239 =========================================================================================================== 【 Updates 】 - May 21, 2019—KB4505057 (OS Build 18362.116) - May 29, 2019—KB4497935 (OS Build 18362.145) - June 11, 2019—KB4503293 (OS Build 18362.175) - June 27, 2019—KB4501375 (OS Build 18362.207) - July 9, 2019—KB4507453 (OS Build 18362.239) =========================================================================================================== 【 Activation 】 - Windows 10 Activation Keys ---> Credits to @vyzzer - Windows 10 Digital License (HWID) & KMS38 Generation ---> Credits to @s1ave77 - Microsoft Activation Scripts ---> Credits to @WindowsAddict =========================================================================================================== 【 Tools 】 - svfx v2.1.11 - Windows and Office Genuine ISO Verifier - SVF2ISOConverter v0.51.01 (SVF.ISO.CONVERTER-master) - decrypt-multi-release_v190521 ⇝ update revision: "Fix names for 19H1 (18362.30)" =========================================================================================================== 【 Tutorials 】 - How to use SVF patches - How to download with @s1ave77's tool "SVF.ISO.CONVERTER-master" - How to convert ESD to ISO =========================================================================================================== Here will be the discussion related ONLY to the final Windows 10 version released to the production; If you want to discuss pre-release versions released to insiders in the fast ring, slow ring or release preview ring, I suggest you to open a new thread where you can freely discuss such pre-release versions. Here will be shared ONLY official releases; please don't share here homebrew ISOs.
  3. By Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report Four years after the debut of "Windows as a service," Microsoft continues to tweak the Windows Update for Business rules. And if you don't know how to play the game, you're likely to be surprised with unexpected updates. We are days away from the fourth anniversary of Windows 10's initial release, which also marks the beginning of the "Windows as a service" era. By this time, you'd think Microsoft would have settled on an easy-to-understand set of rules that IT pros can follow for managing updates. Think again. For 2019, Microsoft has changed the rules you painstakingly mastered last year. And if you're not paying attention, you could end up with a network full of update headaches. Effective with version 1903, which is now rolling out via Windows Update, Microsoft is no longer supplying updates on separate channels for consumers and business customers. Instead, the initial public release goes to the Semi-Annual Channel, with no more Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) option. (And even those names represented changes from the original November 2015 designation of Current Branch and Current Branch for Business.) For anyone administering Windows 10 PCs in a business who used the older Windows Update for Business settings to manage feature updates, these latest changes require immediate action. On systems where the Branch Readiness Level is set to Semi-Annual Channel and no additional deferral is specified, Microsoft says your devices will begin updating to Windows 10, version 1903 in one week, on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Or at least that's when they'll be eligible to receive that update. Exactly when each device will receive the update is an AI-driven mystery. Some devices, including Microsoft's top-of-the-line Surface Book 2 models that contain a discrete Nvidia GPU, are currently blocked from receiving the update automatically. (For details, see "Microsoft blocks major Windows 10 update for Surface Book 2 after bug makes GPU vanish.") PCs that were previously blocked from updating because an external USB device or SD card was attached are no longer prevented from doing so, in a change that was documented just a few days ago. For a list of other known issues with this and other updates, see the official Version 1903 Release Information page. As I wrote in a column nearly two years ago, the ever-changing rules governing Windows Update for Business sometimes feel like a game of Calvinball, from Bill Watterson's classic "Calvin & Hobbes" comic strip. In Calvinball, you make up the rules as you go. And it doesn't matter if you start with an organized sport. "Sooner or later," says Calvin, "all our games turn into Calvinball." Over the past four years, the deferral periods have changed, from eight months to 180 days and then to 365 days. There were two branches, which became two channels, and then became a single release period. Earlier this year, Microsoft formalized an 18-month support deadline for Windows 10, which trumps the deferral periods you might have set. The only rule that matters for people who have to support PCs in business is simple: "No surprises." For large organizations that use central update management tools such as Windows Server Update Services or System Center Configuration Manager, that's possible. For everyone else, including the enormous population of PCs in small businesses, the only way to prevent unexpected updates is to manage the process aggressively. That means setting deferral periods of roughly 180 days (to avoid being surprised when a Windows version reaches its end-of-support deadline) and then scheduling manual updates for a date shortly before the end of that deferral period. When I wrote that Calvinball column, one Microsoft product manager told me I was being too harsh, that the company was simply responding to feedback from customers. Two years later, I think Calvin and I were right. Source
  4. It's July 2019. It's been roughly 11 months since Valve introduced the world to a new version of Steam Play and a compatibility layer called Proton. Today, nearly 5700 Windows-only Steam games run great on Linux with just a click of the "install" button, and many more are becoming compatible every month as Valve and the Proton team work their development magic. To say gaming on Linux has come a long way in a brief time is an understatement. But I just wrapped up some game benchmarks on the System76 Oryx Pro laptop that downright surprised me and I wanted to share them with you. The System76 Oryx Pro laptop running Pop!_OS 19.04 Having a game run on Linux that isn't built for Linux? That's certainly a cool thing. Performance is another thing entirely. It's not a compelling enough argument for Linux enthusiasts to tell their Windows-using friends that "hey, but the games you play run on Linux!" They have to run well. Maybe the notion of switching to Linux is an enticing one for the stability and increased privacy control, but you can't show me an enthusiast gamer who'll willingly trade that for a 20% drop in the framerates they're used to on their hardware, right? That 20% is an important number, albeit not a scientific one. When I got into Linux last year, that's the figure I kept seeing thrown around. "Sure, it runs on Linux but about 15% to 20% lower FPS." With constant improvements to the kernel, Vulkan drivers and Steam Proton, however, I think the situation has changed. Enough of my rambling. Here's what we're looking at today: I have an Oryx Pro laptop from Linux PC manufacturer System76 (the company behind Thelio and Pop OS). It packs an Nvidia GTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card, 6-Core Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and 16GB of RAM. It's a beautiful and powerful machine. It also happily runs Windows 10 because it's basically a Clevo, and System76 linked me to a couple missing drivers to get stuff like the RGB keyboard lit up. So I figured what the heck? Let's do a head-to-head, Linux versus Windows 10 benchmark run and see what shakes out. I tested 6 games total (2 that are native to each platform, and 4 that run on Linux via Steam Proton) with Windows 10 version 1903 and the Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS 19.04 with Linux kernel 5.0. On the Nvidia driver side, Windows 10 is rocking version 431.36, and Pop!_OS utilizes the latest stable Nvidia proprietary driver which is 430.34. The latest Steam beta is used on both installations, and all games are running from the 500GB NVMe drive. To avoid any run-to-run variations, only built-in benchmark tools were used. Game Quality Settings: F1 2018: Ultra Preset with TAA, benchmark track is Australia with heavy rain Dirt Rally: Ultra Preset, 8x MSAA Shadow of the Tomb Raider: High Preset with TAA Total War: Three Kingdoms: High Preset, "Battle" benchmark Strange Brigade: Ultra Preset, ASync Compute off Hitman 2: High Detail & Textures, all other settings maximum, Miami benchmark scene System76 Oryx Pro: 1080p Gaming on Steam with Windows 10 and Pop!_OS 19.04 Let's pick these results apart. Dirt Rally and Total War: Three Kingdoms are both native to each operating system (with the Linux ports handled by Feral Interactive). The former uses OpenGL and the latter utilizes Vulkan. In both results, Pop!_OS comes out 14% ahead over Windows 10 in average framerate. The remaining 4 games are obviously native to Windows, and run on Linux thanks to Valve's Proton layer. In a very brief nutshell, this translates DirectX API calls on the fly to Vulkan (in other words, a graphics API that Linux understands). Crucially, these aren't even titles that Valve has "whitelisted" for Steam Play on Linux. The very demanding Hitman 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Pop!_OS can't quite catch Windows 10, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider did exhibit a much lower minimum framerate via Proton. But Strange Brigade sees a straight up tie at 107 average FPS on both operating systems. F1 2018 via Proton does pull ahead of Windows, though, by about 6%. Takeaways Does Linux win, here? Not really, but that's not the point. There are scattered victories, but without testing literally thousands of games across across hundreds of hardware configurations, we can't make that statement. And I'm fairly sure Windows would get the overall performance crown as the number of games tested increased. For now. We're seeing the open source graphics community at Valve, Red Hat, Google and elsewhere make serious strides. Linux has less overhead to begin with, and that advantage is primarily seen in productivity and compute workloads. So as the Vulkan drivers improve, Linux gaming improves. And just this month Valve published a new compiler focused strictly on gaming that improves upon the existing LLVM-based solution, boosting both average and minimum framerates on AMD Radeon hardware. (More on that here). What we're seeing today is a level of gaming performance on Linux that simply wasn't happening a year ago. Or even 6 months ago. Parity is being achieved more frequently, and while you still can't play every Windows game under the sun, the landscape looks brighter as each day rolls on. Plus, this little test was leveraging Nvidia GPUs. I suspect that once Valve's ACO compiler matures, a similar experiment on Radeon GPUs may show even stronger performance when compared to Windows. Speaking of the AMD side of things, Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais told me that the performance work being done in Proton and DXVK has gotten to a point where the CPU overhead of translating DX11 through DXVK can be lower than the overhead in the native AMD DX11 driver on Windows. That's impressive to begin with, and he told me that months ago. . . Stay tuned for more along this path. It's something we should definitely be keeping an eye on. Source
  5. By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft Microsoft is starting to automatically update Windows 10 Home and Pro users on versions 1803 to 1903 using Windows Update, as officials said would happen. Microsoft officials said last month that they were putting AI algorithms in place that would automatically update those on older variants of Windows 10 to 1903, the May 2019 Update via Windows Update. Today, July 16, is the day when this auto-updating process is kicking off, according to the Windows Update Twitter account. As of today, Microsoft is starting to initiate the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (1903) for those with devices "that are at or nearing end of service and have not yet updated their device," Microsoft's documentation says. Microsoft officials said back in May that the company planned to do this starting in June, 2019. "Based on the large number of devices running the April 2018 Update, that will reach the end of 18 months of service on November 12, 2019, we are starting the update process now for Home and Pro editions to help ensure adequate time for a smooth update process." Note: The reason many devices are still on the April 2018 Update is at least in part because the Windows 10 18H2 Update (1809) was a buggy mess. Microsoft's July 16 note says this process will be staggered, with officials prioritizing those devices "likely to have a good update experience and quickly put safeguards on other devices while we address known issues." Windows 10 Home and Pro users who get the 1903 update pushed to them will still have the ability to pause the update for up to 35 days, Microsoft notes. As my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott noted today, business users who use the Semi-Annual/Semi-Annual Targeted options for updating, Microsoft will begin pushing to some business customers on older versions of Windows 10 the 1903 release next week, Tuesday July 23, 2019. As is the case with Windows Update, the business updating process will be staggered, with certain devices blocked if Microsoft determines the update experience may go bad. Confused? You're not alone. The Windows 10 updating system is still messy and complicated. But unfortunately this may be -- at least in the near term, as TechRepublic notes -- as good as it gets. Source
  6. 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: Microsoft Telemetry Tools Bundle v1.13 Windows 10 Lite v9 Private WinTen v0.1h Blackbird v6 v1.0.75 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] O&O ShutUp10 v1.6.1402 WPD - Windows Privacy Dashboard v1.3.1203 WindowsSpyBlocker v4.22.1 Spybot Anti-Beacon v3.1 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] W10Privacy v3.3.0.3 Destroy Windows Spying v1.0.1.0 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] [NOT RECOMMENDED AS NOT UPDATED ANYMORE] Disable Windows 10 Tracking v3.2.1
  7. By James Sanders Based on Microsoft's own track record, there's a certain statistic "sweet spot" for Windows releases, and the May 2019 update appears to be it. For experienced IT veterans—and PC enthusiasts—there is a common wisdom about the latency between when a version of Windows is released, and when those releases become reliable. Windows XP is the primary example of this, as the original release of XP lacked a variety of important security protections—a rebuilt firewall enabled by default, support for NX bit, and finally disabling the Windows Messenger service abused by spammers, were added in Service Pack 2, three years and a day after XP was first released. This release works in either direction: Windows NT 4 had a partially broken implementation of Plug and Play, a largely broken DirectX implementation, and no official USB support, problems that would not be fixed until the release of Windows 2000, three years and four months later. Likewise, Windows Vista was a mess on release, due in large part to third-party driver compatibility issues resulting in instability, and Microsoft's entirely unrealistic concept of "Vista Capable," setting the minimum hardware requirements far lower than the resources Vista needed to have a pleasant experience. Windows 7 released to accolades from the press two years and eight months later. And so, that leaves us with our present circumstances with Windows 10. Roughly seven weeks ago—on May 21—Version 1903 (or 19H1), otherwise known as the May 2019 Update, was released. This marks three years, nine months, and 22 days since the initial release of Windows 10. Reception has been politely positive, though problems with the launch have prompted Microsoft to require users to remove USB storage devices or SD cards before upgrading; likewise, the update was blocked on the Surface Book 2 because a driver problem renders it incapable of seeing the NVIDIA GPU in the base of the high-end model. Microsoft's persistent difficulties writing drivers for their own hardware is embarrassing, but overall the rollout of Windows 10 1903 is comparatively problem-free compared to the version that came before it, which saw reports of data loss on upgrade, data loss when handling ZIP files, wrong CPU usage reporting, breaking audio drivers, and an HP keyboard driver that caused BSODs. These issues prompted Microsoft to stop distribution of Version 1809 for weeks for additional fixes, re-releasing it in mid-November 2018. Call it data or anecdote, but this is as good as it gets Microsoft's decision to lay off 18,000 employees in 2014—largely including software testers—has undoubtedly left Windows worse off. The proliferation of high-profile issues with subsequent releases of Windows 10 bears that out. Microsoft has shown no sign of backing away from its biannual release cadence, though the abundantly cautious rollout of Windows 10 1903 demonstrates that they have learned something from the debacle six months prior. That said, Windows 10 1903—by its own merits—actually fixes significant usability problems, particularly for the concurrent use of DPI-aware and legacy applications, and the simultaneous use of displays with different DPI values. It's as solid and drama-free of a release that a commercial product with hundreds of millions of users is ever likely to experience, even if that release is still subject to some unresolved bugs on launch. That is explicitly not to say that Microsoft's telemetry policies are less controversial or better explained than when Windows 10 was released. Microsoft's continually poor ability to communicate what is being collected still raises ire. It's not meaningfully different from the data collected by Google, and Android is as much as monopoly in mobile as Windows is on the desktop, but Microsoft continues to face more negativity about it. Despite Microsoft's (now sanctimonious) privacy-focused "Scroogled" campaign, the company is not going to change course on telemetry at this juncture. Given the positioning of Windows 10 as being essentially the last version of Windows (similar to the way Mac OS X has been around since 2001), it is potentially unwise to declare this exact point in time "as good as it gets." Microsoft's track record is likely to back up this claim, though—at best, Microsoft can deliver iterative changes on top of Windows 10, but the biannual release cadence does not lend itself to massive changes, and further iterative changes are not going to convince the skeptics. If you don't like Windows 10 now, you're not going to like it in the future. Ultimately, attention is fleeting. Something will replace Windows 10, and the cycle will begin again. Years from now, we'll all be back here debating the merits of Windows One or Windows 365, because Microsoft's track record for names is what it is. Source
  8. Microsoft to allow Alexa to integrate further into Windows 10 New changes coming later this year Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Microsoft is opening up Windows 10 even further to third-party digital assistants. In the next update to Windows 10, due in September, Microsoft will allow voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to activate on the lock screen. This change will allow third-party assistants to activate from wake words when a PC is locked and someone is shouting “Alexa” from across the room. It’s a relatively minor change, but it does show Microsoft is willing to open up how it handles voice digital assistants on Windows 10. Amazon also enabled its Alexa wake word on its Windows 10 app earlier this year. Microsoft’s new changes follow changes to Cortana in Windows 10, as it moves to a separate app in the Microsoft Store and away from the built-in search experience in the operating system. Microsoft and Amazon have also previously partnered up to integrate Cortana and Alexa. Alexa on Windows 10 Microsoft has a new vision for Cortana, and it involves conversations and interactions that are part of the software and services the company offers to businesses. This means Cortana will now serve a bigger role for enterprise software, but it will be just one of many digital assistants available on Windows 10 in the future. Microsoft is planning to make some of these digital assistant changes in the codename 19H2 update, which is expected to arrive in September. Unlike previous fall updates, this one will be a lot smaller in size with fewer new features and changes. Microsoft is starting to test some of these digital assistant changes in a new Windows 10 build (18362.10005) released to Windows Insider testers today. Source: Microsoft to allow Alexa to integrate further into Windows 10 (The Verge)
  9. Windows 10 SFC /scannow Can't Fix Corrupted Files After Update Starting today, Windows 10 users are finding that the /sfc scannow feature is no longer working and that it states it found, but could not fix, corrupted Windows Defender PowerShell files. The Windows System File Checker tool, commonly known as SFC, has a /scannow argument that will check the integrity of all protected Winodws system files and repair any issues that are found. As of this morning, users in a wildersecurity.com thread have started reporting that when they run sfc /scannow, the program is stating that "Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them." I too was able to reproduce this issue on a virtual machine with Windows Defender configured as the main antivirus program. sfc /scannow error The full text of what users are seeing when they run this command can be read below: Beginning system scan. This process will take some time. Beginning verification phase of system scan. Verification 100% complete. Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. For online repairs, details are included in the CBS log file located at windir\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For example C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For offline repairs, details are included in the log file provided by the /OFFLOGFILE flag. According to the CBS.log file, SFC is stating that the hashes for the Windows Defender PowerShell components located in the C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules\Defender are not matching their corresponding files in the WinSxS folder. CBS Log The strange thing, though, is that when checking with the fsutil hardlink list command, it is reporting that these files are properly linked, so the hashes should be the same. While yesterday was the July 2019 Patch Tuesday updates, this does not appear to be related to the latest Windows 10 1903 KB4507453 cumulative update or the Windows 10 KB4507469 update as I do not have those installed. Instead, it appears to be related to the latest definition updates for Windows Defender, which were released this morning and are version 1.297.823.0. Current Windows Defender Definitions Some users have reported being able to fix the error by running the following DISM commands: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth For those who do not wish to use these commands, you can wait for Microsoft ro resolve the issue. Thx Opera for the tip and stapp for provided info! Source: Windows 10 SFC /scannow Can't Fix Corrupted Files After Update (BleepingComputer)
  10. The Windows 10 KB4507453 Cumulative Update released by Microsoft on July 9 is reportedly causing a restart notification loop on some of the computers where it was installed. This issue was reported by Windows users on several websites and computer support forums across the web [1, 2, 3], with all of them describing the exact same problem — being told to reboot their devices again to finish installing the KB4507453 update even though it was already installed. While multiple Windows 10 Version 1903 and Windows Server Version 1903 users have been already impacted by this issue according to their reports, Microsoft has not yet publicly confirmed the restart notification loop problem they experienced. Not all systems where KB4507453 is installed to be affected Also, according to German blogger Günter Born who initially reported the reboot loop issue, not all users of Windows 10 version 1903 who install this cumulative update will be affected given that he wasn't able to reproduce the bug on his test systems. The update information doesn't include any info on changes made to the Windows 10 notification system or the update installation procedure that could be behind this glitch. As detailed on the KB4507453 update's entry on Microsoft's support website, it comes with the following highlights: Addresses an issue that may cause BitLocker to go into recovery mode if BitLocker is being provisioned at the same time as updates are being installed. Addresses an issue that may cause Mixed Reality users to see a tilted world after connecting their headsets. Addresses visual quality issues some users may have seen with Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headsets and Steam®VR content. Security updates to Windows Wireless Networking, Microsoft Scripting Engine, Windows Server, Windows Storage and Filesystems, Windows Kernel, Microsoft HoloLens, Internet Explorer, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Virtualization, Windows App Platform and Frameworks, Microsoft Graphics Component, Microsoft Edge, and Windows Cryptography. Available workarounds Born says that there are at least two possible workarounds to get rid of the irritating alerts continuously nagging users to restart their systems. The first is to click the "Restart Now" button on the notification dialog itself generated by the Windows 10 Notification Center instead of trying to restart the system from the Start menu. A second workaround consists of checking again for system updates via Windows Update, as discovered by heise online's Jan Schüßler. This allows the OS to see that no new updates are available and that no other restarts are needed given that all previous updates were installed. This might also happen on its own after some time once Windows will check for updates on its own, although it may take hours for some of the affected Windows users. More issues caused by July's Cumulative Updates Other monthly rollups, security-only updates, and cumulative updates (i.e., KB4503293, KB4503327, and KB4503286) released on June 11 are behind an issue already confirmed by Redmond and impacting multiple Windows 10 Server versions. This new known issue acknowledged today by Microsoft may block devices from booting if they're using Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) images from Windows Deployment Services (WDS) servers or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Cumulative update KB4507469 is behind another known issue causing a small number of devices to potentially "startup to a black screen during the first logon after installing updates." To bypass this black screen, users can "press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, then select the Power button in the lower right corner of the screen and select Restart," with the device restarting normally afterwards. Microsoft says that is currently working on resolutions for both these known issues, to be made available with an upcoming Windows 10 release. Source
  11. Microsoft is making Windows 10 passwordless It’s part of a bigger push to get rid of passwords Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Microsoft is planning to make Windows 10 PCs work without passwords. While the company has been working on removing passwords from Windows 10 and its Microsoft Accounts for a number of months now, the next major update to Windows 10 next year will go one step further. You’ll soon be able to enable a passwordless sign-in for Microsoft accounts on a Windows 10 device. This means PCs will use Windows Hello face authentication, fingerprints, or a PIN code. The password option will simply disappear from the login screen, if you decide to opt in to this new “make your device passwordless” feature. So why does Microsoft want people to stop using passwords to log into Windows 10 PCs? It’s really simple: passwords suck. People love to reuse them across every website and on their personal devices, and although we have a number of two-factor authentication methods available, it’s still difficult to convince people to use them. Microsoft argues that a PIN code is far more secure than a password, even if it seems more simple to use a four-digit code. This is thanks to unknown variables and the fact that the code is stored on a device and not shared online. Windows 10 stores your private key on a device with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is a secure chip that keeps a PIN local to your device only. Servers can be compromised and passwords stolen, but a Windows Hello PIN wouldn’t be affected. Microsoft has been slowly trying to convince Windows 10 users to opt into two-factor authentication processes like basic SMS, a separate Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, or even physical security keys with the FIDO2 standard. With the latest Windows 10 May 2019 Update, you can even set up and sign into a Windows 10 PC with just a phone number on a Microsoft Account. Microsoft is now planning to allow people to remove the password option entirely from the Windows 10 login screen. This will also extend to business users through Azure Active Directory, allowing businesses to go fully passwordless with security keys, the authenticator app, or Windows Hello. It’s all another step toward a future where hopefully we don’t have to worry about remembering complex passwords, having a password manager, or avoiding reusing passwords. If Microsoft, Apple, and Google have their way then we’ll be using our eyes, fingers, or physical keys that we posses to get into our accounts and devices instead of passwords. Update, July 11th 12:40PM: Article updated with more information about passwordless for business users. Source: Microsoft is making Windows 10 passwordless (The Verge)
  12. Windows 10 Build 18932 (20H1) ISO now available for download Microsoft first released this Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18932 (20H1) to Fast Ring Insiders last week. Microsoft has now released ISOs for this build. This build comes with improved Eye Control, refined notification settings and more. With this build, when you get a toast notification from an app, you now have an inline option to turn off notifications for that app. Find the full change log of this build below. Eye Control Improvements We’re continuing to extend and improve Eye Control based on your customer feedback. With this release, we have improvements in the following areas, which we invite your feedback about through the Feedback Hub and Microsoft Accessibility Feedback Forum. Drag-and-drop: One of the most requested features, performing mouse drag-and-drop, is now implemented in Eye Control. When turned on from within Eye Control’s settings screen, the precise mouse control tool now allows mouse drag operations, as well as the ability to combine clicks and drags with Shift and Ctrl modifier keys. Pause: We’ve made improvements to the pause experience. Selecting the pause button completely hides the launchpad. When dismissed, the launchpad reappears when you briefly close your eyes or look away from the screen. This allows uninterrupted viewing of full screen content, like watching a video. Similarly, it also allows eye gaze enabled applications to be used without triggering Eye Control features, useful if playing the recently launched Eye First applications. Switch support: Previously, Dwell was the method for clicking a button. Dwelling is the act of fixing your eyes on part of the screen and keeping your eyes there for a specific amount of time. In this release, we’re adding a second activation method, switch. In this method, dwell is used to select the target, but clicking a button is done with switch. Currently switches on joysticks, or devices emulating joysticks, are supported. Under the hood: People wishing to develop their own gaze enabled applications can do so using the open source Gaze Interaction Library in the Windows Community Toolkit. In this revision of Eye Control, the user interface is implemented using the same code that is in the Gaze Interaction Library. Settings: We have updated settings to allow you to manage more Eye Control features. This includes enabling some of the new features and more fine control of the numeric values that change how responsive the system is to eye movements. This allows for a more customized and natural feel for your Eye Control experience. Other Accessibility Improvements Narrator will now automatically start reading webpages and emails: Do you want to hear the most valuable content faster? Narrator now automatically starts reading webpages when they are loaded. Narrator will start reading at the main landmark, if there is one, or will fall back to a reasonable paragraph. Narrator will also start automatically reading emails when they are opened in Outlook and the inbox Mail applications. If you find experiences that aren’t working well, please send us feedback. The Magnifier UI now works with dark theme and text sizing options. The image below shows two Magnifier windows. The top one is in Light theme and default text size; the bottom one is in Dark theme and the text is scaled at 125%. Refining your notification settings Over the last few releases, based on your feedback, we’ve been working on giving you more control over potential interruptions. Introducing Focus Assist to automatically suppress notifications when you’re trying to stay in the moment and not get distracted, and adding the option to use middle click to dismiss notifications if you want to quickly make a notification toast go away. One thing we’ve heard from you, though, is that our notification settings aren’t easily discoverable. In addition, once you find the settings, they can be difficult to understand. In order to address this, we’ve begun rolling out a few changes, including: 1. When you receive a notification toast, there will now be an inline option to turn off notifications for that app, or head to the app’s notification settings. 2. When you dive into an app’s notification settings, you’ll find that we’ve added pictures to help articulate the impact of a certain settings. 3. Prefer to have all your notifications muted? You no longer have to go to the old sound control panel to do that – we’ve added it as a top-level option in Notification & Actions Settings. 4. But wait, there’s more! We’ve also added a new direct link at the top of the Action Center to manage notifications, so it takes one less step to get to Notification & Actions settings. To make room for this we’ve moved the “no notifications” text down to the middle of the Action Center, which also means your eyes don’t have to traverse as far to see it when you launch the Action Center from the bottom of the screen. 5. Finally, ever dismissed a notification you wanted to disable, and went to Notification & Actions Settings only to find the list of notification senders to be really really long? You can now sort the list by which apps most recently sent notifications. We hope you like these changes! They’re currently available for a portion of Insiders in the Fast ring, and we’ve seen positive results so far. We’ll let you know once they are available for all Insiders. If you have any further feedback about notifications, please don’t hesitate to share it with us here. Your Phone app – Phone screen & Notifications features Hello Windows Insiders. Today, we’re bringing additional new features to the Phone screen, which includes the ability to one touch tap and integration with Notifications. Try out these preview features and give us your feedback. Enabling touch functionality You will now be able to interact with your phone screen using one-touch tap and long press. This handy feature will allow you to conveniently open apps, select items, click on links, and more, directly on your touch-enabled PC. Notifications integration with Phone screen We’re pleased to launch Notifications integration with Phone screen for Insiders with the May 2019 update or newer. If Phone screen is set up, your notifications will open in Phone screen allowing you to interact with your keyboard and mouse. If Phone screen is not supported or set up, clicking on notifications will take you to your notifications feed instead. Note that your text message notifications (SMS, MMS) will continue to be available within the messaging node. Your Phone Notifications available to all users Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback over the last few weeks to help us improve the Notifications feature in the Your Phone app. We’re happy to announce that this feature is now gradually rolling out to all Windows 10 users with the April 2018 update and newer. It may take a few days to show up within Your Phone app, so keep a look out! Phone screen requirements Select Android phones running Android 7.0 or greater Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, S9, S9+, S8, S8+ Samsung Galaxy A8, A8+ Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Note 8 OnePlus 6, 6T Windows 10 PCs with Bluetooth radio that support low-energy peripheral role Minimum Windows Insiders Build 18338 and above Android phone must be on, within Bluetooth range of the PC and connected to the same network as the PC Known issues Touch gestures (e.g. swipe, flick or pinch) won’t work Touch will behave as mouse, so trying to drag to scroll in some apps may behave differently and select text instead of scrolling Some games and apps do not support mouse interactions and won’t recognize touch interactions from the PC either Always on display will not be shown on the phone screen displayed on the PC Blue light preferences will not be applied on the phone screen displayed on the PC Other audio besides screen reader feedback will play out of the phone speakers, not the PC These features will gradually roll out to Insiders on 19H1 builds or higher, so it may take a few days to be available. We’d love to hear your feedback. You can report issues under Your Phone > Settings > Send feedback General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC We’re in the process of converging settings sync engines to reduce complexity and improve reliability of sync. As of today, the older settings sync engine will be turned off for 20H1 builds and changes made to settings that have not yet been migrated to the new settings sync engine will stop being sent and received until that work is complete. Some settings may not be migrated. The full list of settings that have been supported for sync are available here, but the list is subject to change during 20H1. Synced settings that are impacted by this change include settings pertaining to taskbar orientation, wallpaper, theming, and others. If there’s a setting you’d like to particularly be prioritized as we work on this, please let us know. Please note, you may notice a one-time receival of synced settings changes after you upgrade or reset your PC, but after that it will stop. We’ve updated our indexing behavior to exclude common developer folders, such as .git, .hg, .svn, .Nuget, and more by default. This will improve system performance while compiling and syncing large code bases in the default indexed locations such as user libraries. We fixed an issue where the update might have failed the first time you tried to download it with a 0xc0000409 error code. We fixed an issue where recent updates might have failed with a 0x80070005 error code. We fixed an issue for Home editions where some devices couldn’t see the “download progress %” change on the Windows Update page. We fixed a race condition resulting in some Insiders seeing a large number of explorer.exe crashes in recent builds. This is also believed to be the root cause for some Insiders finding that Control Panel wasn’t launching – please let us know if you continue seeing issues after upgrading to this build. We fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders finding that their File Explorer search box was rendering in an unexpectedly small space and crashed when clicked. We fixed an issue where Settings would crash if you tried to add a language on the previous build. In Word, after showing a “flash message” on a braille display, Narrator is now correctly showing just the current heading. We made a small backend change to the updated Windows Ink Workspace to help improve the launch time. We fixed an issue resulting in Task Manager unexpectedly showing 0% CPU usage in the Performance tab. We fixed an issue that could result in a black remote desktop window for a few seconds when disconnecting from a remote desktop session. We fixed a issue resulting in Direct3D 12 games crashing in the previous flight. We fixed an issue that could cause certain apps to crash when you input Asian characters. We fixed an issue for the Chinese Pinyin IME where if you were in the middle of finalizing a phrase and clicked away, the next thing you typed wouldn’t show the characters. We fixed an issue with the Chinese Pinyin IME where the mouse over highlight could get stuck on a particular candidate in the candidate window. We fixed an issue with the Chinese Pinyin IME where the candidate window wouldn’t display when typing in the Microsoft Edge search box (Ctrl+F). We fixed an issue resulting in not being able to use touch to open context menus on websites in Microsoft Edge after using pinch to zoom in and back out. Narrator search mode will now reset scoping to all elements each time it is opened. The data looks good, so we’re now rolling out the fix for taskbar unexpectedly dismissing when invoking Start if set to autohide to all Insiders in Fast. We fixed an issue where the Bluetooth Hands-Free audio driver (bthhfaud.sys) could get stuck when making or breaking a synchronous connection-oriented (SCO) link to the headset. This would cause all audio on the system to stop working until the system was rebooted. Known Issues If you’re seeing failures installing games via the Xbox app, you can retry the install. If it continues failing, you may want to roll back to Build 18922. There has been an issue with older versions of anti-cheat software used with games where after updating to the latest 19H1 Insider Preview builds may cause PCs to experience crashes. We are working with partners on getting their software updated with a fix, and most games have released patches to prevent PCs from experiencing this issue. To minimize the chance of running into this issue, please make sure you are running the latest version of your games before attempting to update the operating system. We are also working with anti-cheat and game developers to resolve similar issues that may arise with the 20H1 Insider Preview builds and will work to minimize the likelihood of these issues in the future. Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue. Tamper Protection may be turned off in Windows Security after updating to this build. You can turn it back on. In August, Tamper Protection will return to being on by default for all Insiders. You can download the Windows 10 Build 18932 ISOs here. Source: Windows 10 Build 18932 (20H1) ISO now available for download (MSPoweruser)
  13. It’s a bad sign when companies answer complaints and concerns with corporate doublespeak. For many years, Microsoft has struggled to get the way it updates Windows right — and mostly got it wrong. But a month ago, I wrote about how Microsoft finally got a piece of it right, by giving people control over whether to install the twice-annual feature updates, such as the recent Windows 10 May 2019 Update. Boy, was I ever off-target. Over the past few weeks, Microsoft has done little more than sow confusion about how and when Windows will be updated. It did this by issuing Orwellian statements and putting out a preview release schedule whose logic is undiscernible. Clearly, Microsoft’s system for updating Windows is as broken as broken can be. And there are no signs it will ever be fixed. To see why, you need to understand a bit about how Microsoft tests its twice-a-year feature updates, like the recent May 2019 Windows Update. People who want to test the updates before they’re released can join the Windows Insider program, which lets them download preview versions for months leading up to the update. In return for being essentially guinea pigs, these businesses and consumers get to see each step in building the next iteration of Windows, which can help them prepare for it. There are various “rings” Insiders can sign up for: the Fast ring, which installs preview updates the moment they’re publicly released; the Slow ring, which installs them later, after they’ve been tested a bit; and the Release Preview ring, which installs them only after they’re essentially fully tested. There’s also a “Skip Ahead” program that lets an Insider skip an entire Windows version to the next one beyond. Back in February, while Microsoft was testing the May 2019 Windows Update, it announced it was releasing an early Windows Preview build into Skip Ahead. But instead of releasing a build that would come out in the fall of 2019 (code-named 19H2, for being released in the second half of 2019), it was releasing one that was two versions ahead, due in the spring of 2020 (code-named 20H1, for the first half of 2020). (Until then, Microsoft had only released into Skip Ahead builds one release ahead, not two releases ahead.) Microsoft explained in its post: “Some things we are working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time. We will begin releasing 19H2 bits to Insiders later this spring.” It was certainly confusing that Microsoft was publicly testing a build not due for more than a year, while not testing one due out in not much more than six months. For enterprises and individuals that need to prepare for any Windows 10 update, this testing sequence made no sense. Why should they be preparing for 20H1 when they hadn’t even seen 19H2? At least they were promised 19H2’s first builds in the spring, at which point a more normal sequence should be re-established. They would then know whether the next version of Windows 10 would bring a lot of new features, or be not much more than a rollup of minor changes. But the spring came and the spring went. Silence from Microsoft about 19H2. The 20H1 builds kept coming, but no 19H2 builds were released. So people started asking Microsoft spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc on Twitter why no builds had been released in the spring as promised. His Twitter answer, in part: “Our definition of ‘spring’ doesn’t necessarily match to exactly when spring ends and summer begins. It’ll happen when we’re ready.” It was an answer reminiscent of George Orwell’s critique of the abasement of language by bureaucracies. In his novel 1984, Orwell put Newspeak in the mouths of government bureaucrats, but it was just as arrogant and disorienting coming from this corporate spokesperson. How different is “Spring is when we say it is” from Big Brother’s “Freedom is slavery”? Well, we now know Microsoft’s definition of spring: July 1, when it finally released the first 19H2 build. Maybe the Insiders, Microsoft’s unpaid beta-testers, could make that work — if Microsoft hadn’t chosen that moment to suck all the logic out of its preview release schedule. It released 19H2 into the Slow ring, and then moved 20H1 into the Fast ring. That means that people who were expecting to test the next version of Windows in the Fast ring would in fact be testing a version of Windows not due until approximately a year from now. Only Slow ring testers would get a preview of the Windows version due this fall. Confused yet? You should be. And it only gets worse. The 19H2 version of Windows due this fall won’t be installed the way such twice-a-year updates have long been installed. It will be installed like a normal Windows monthly update. With no significant new features, it will be little more than what Microsoft used to call a service pack, which rolls up a number of minor updates together. Microsoft tried to explain all this in a blog post, “Evolving Windows 10 servicing and quality: the next steps.” The post is full of gobbledygook, corporate doublespeak and acronyms like “CFR.” It is, to put it mildly, laughably incomprehensible. The upshot of all this? Windows Update is broken and needs to be fixed. Microsoft owes it to its customers to be upfront about what to expect from the next versions of Windows, especially because it is using many of them — the Windows Insiders — as guinea pigs. Enterprises in particular need to know what will be in Windows updates, so that they can decide whether and how to prepare for them. Enterprises are Microsoft’s lifeblood. Microsoft should make its update procedures logical — preferably just one significant one a year, and perhaps a second minor service pack. And it should be clear and transparent about exactly what it’s doing. That means it shouldn’t declare that July 1 is spring and it shouldn’t issue blog posts that read as if they were written by a committee made up of adherents of 1930s-style Marxism — by which I mean a combination of the Marx Brothers and Soviet apparatchiks. Source: / Preston Gralla @ Computerworld
  14. Microsoft pares Windows 10 feature upgrades to 1 a year In a multi-part announcement spread across three blog posts, Microsoft has again given its Windows 10 update model a shake. Here's what the changes mean. Thinkstock/Microsoft Microsoft has again given its Windows 10 update model a furious shake, voiding one of the foundational concepts of the "Windows as a service" (WaaS) strategy. In a multi-part announcement spread across three blog posts, Microsoft on July 1 said it had begun testing of the next Windows 10 feature upgrade, which it has codenamed 19H2 but by the company's four-digit (yymm) labeling will be tagged with 1909 when it ships. The first build of 19H2/1909 was released that same day to Windows Insider participants who set their PCs to receive the "Slow" ring versions. Insider will continue to deliver previews of 20H1 - the feature upgrade that will likely be dubbed 2003 to show it was completed in March 2020 - to testers on the "Fast" ring, as has been the case since February, when Microsoft debuted next year's edition. Although Microsoft did not put the announcement's biggest news in plain English - instead relying on some marketing-speak, coded language and at least one new acronym - that news was impossible to miss. Microsoft has ditched the idea of generating more than one feature upgrade annually, and will instead produce a single substantial refresh, apparently each spring. Say what? "The next feature update for Windows 10 (known in the Windows Insider Program as 19H2) will be a scoped set of features for select performance improvements, enterprise features and quality enhancements," John Cable, director of program management for the Windows servicing and delivery team, wrote in a July 1 post to a company blog. In Cable's post and also in one by John Wilcox, a Microsoft WaaS evangelist, the company representatives laid out the changes. Because they underplayed the import of those alterations to the Windows 10 maintenance model, we'll explain what will be different and more importantly, what that means to the hundreds of millions of users of that OS. Now we know what happened to 1909 In mid-February, Microsoft spurned precedence and started seeding the most adventurous Insider beta testers with builds from what it called the 20H1, or first half, 2020, development branch. Previously, Skip Ahead had been used to get the next feature upgrade to testers - that would have been the fall upgrade, 1909, or in Microsoft's code, 19H2 - but instead it jumped over 1909. To explain the detour, Microsoft said: "Some things we are working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time." While that may well have been true, it was an unsatisfactory justification, what with Microsoft's recognition that regularity is something corporate customers value. Microsoft did promise that 19H2/1909 would be released, if not as usual, then "later this spring." That was what Microsoft on Monday handed to Insiders on the Slow ring. Weeks ago, Computerworld wondered what had happened to 1909 as Microsoft kept its lips zipped. The experts who weighed in rejected rumors that Microsoft would skip the upgrade, perhaps to get back on track after delays to the two previous. They each nailed it with their prognostication, with one predicting a shift to annual upgrades, the other forecasting a shift in schedule to Major in the spring, Minor in the fall. On the surface, then, Microsoft remained committed to a twice-a-year slate, one it's hewn to since 2017, postponements and re-releases and all. But that's not quite the truth. Deciphering the announcement, part 1 "19H2 will be a scoped release with a smaller set of enhancements focused primarily on select performance improvements, enterprise features, and quality enhancements," said Wilcox in his post, which was directed at commercial customers, Microsoft's most important (emphasis added). The sentence, almost a word-for-word repeat of Cable's post - and thus certainly part of Microsoft's corporate messaging - requires unpacking. By scoped release, Wilcox seemed to be using the first word to define a limited release, one that has had strict boundaries set regarding the to-be-included functions and delivery date. (This is the first time Computerworld recalls Microsoft using the phrase "scoped release," but it can be found here and there in other software developers' commentary.) That analysis was bolstered by Wilcox saying, "Given this limited scope, we will deliver the 19H2 in a new way...." in the next paragraph (emphasis added). His calling out smaller set and select are additional proof points that the fall's release would play the minor role to the spring release's major. Also worth noting are two of the three things listed as part of 19H2 - performance improvements and quality enhancements - almost always prominently appear in software developers' descriptions of their less-ambitious upgrades because, well, they don't have new features to trumpet. Bottom line: 19H2 (or 1909, take your pick) will be a minor release that includes few, if any, new features. Deciphering the announcement, part 2 "To deliver these updates in a less disruptive fashion, we will deliver this feature update in a new way, using servicing technology (like the monthly update process) for customers running the May 2019 Update who choose to update to the new release," stated Cable (emphasis added). "In other words, anyone running the May 2019 Update and updating to the new release will have a far faster update experience because the update will install like a monthly update." This was the second important part of the announcement. Again, unpacking is necessary. Because 19H2/1909 will be a minor refresh of Windows 10, it will be significantly smaller than past feature upgrades, which have been full OS replacements tipping the scales between 3GB and 5GB (4.6GB for the 64-bit version of 1903, for instance). Microsoft acknowledged that 19H2 will not be an OS replacement, at least when using this faster servicing approach, because it's restricting that to those running 1903 (the May 2019 Update, which went final in late May). That means 19H2 will be much more like one of the cumulative updates issued several times monthly to Windows 10, which build on the already-in-place OS but do not replace it. (The most notable update is Patch Tuesday's, the "quality" update - Microsoft's word - that includes vulnerability patches and all kinds of non-security fixes.) The monthly cumulative updates - and 19H2, too, when installed by 1903 and 1903 only - are small, and thus fast to download and install, because they include only the changes from the prior code. Over the last two years, Microsoft worked on reducing the size of the cumulative updates - as well as the number of update sizes - most recently with those deployed by 1809, the October 2018 Update that ended up delayed until early 2019. It's worth repeating this: Windows 10 19H2/1909 will be an update to Windows 10 1903, not a true feature upgrade as customers have known them. That's why the analogy to "service packs" made by many observers resonates. For the forgetful, service packs were the cumulative updates of the past - Windows 7 and earlier - that integrated already-issued fixes with the original code. They rarely included new features. Microsoft last issued one in February 2011, when it released Windows 7's Service Pack 1, or SP1; Windows 7 SP1 is the currently-supported version of the 2009 operating system, set to drop from support in January 2020. Windows 10 19H2/1909 will include all that was in Windows 10 1903, plus additional bug fixes, performance improvements and stability enhancements, but few if any new features. Sounds like a service pack to us, too. Deciphering the announcement, part 3 "We will begin releasing 19H2 builds to Windows Insiders in the Slow ring starting today ((July 1)), with new features being offered in future Insider builds as they are ready," Cable wrote in his post (emphasis added). "Some Insiders may not see the new features right away as we are using a controlled feature rollout (CFR) to gain better feedback on overall build quality." This process was both clear in its purpose and vague in its execution. It also represents a mix of old and new. First, the clear: previews of 19H2/1909 shown to Insider participants will include off-by-default features that can be, but not necessarily will be, switched "on" at some later date. Each feature will first be tested with a small subgroup of Insiders; as bugs are uncovered and quashed, and Microsoft becomes convinced the feature works as intended without significant negative side effects, others will be added to the test pool. At some point, presumably, everyone has it enabled by default. This "controlled feature rollout" procedure is something Microsoft already uses in a much more general fashion when it favors the PCs it believes will not balk at installing a feature OS upgrade. But CFR, named that or not, has long been a hallmark of some browser makers - notably Google (Chrome) and Mozilla (Firefox) - who tuck new features into an update but then don't immediately turn them on, sometimes waiting days or weeks to do so, other times slowing adding enabling more users' copies over time in the hope that any bug won't afflict everyone. Microsoft's CFR closely resembles Chrome's and Firefox's deliberate "switch on" approaches, even to how they turn on a feature or option. "Specific to CFRs, we may ship features in these updates turned off by default and turn them on independently of bits getting downloaded to Insiders' PCs," Microsoft's Wilcox added. That's how Chrome and Mozilla do it, too. Secondly, however, there's the vague: Although Microsoft said it would use CFR while it runs 19H2/1909 through Insider-based testing, it said nothing of relying on the rollout tactic at or after launch. CFR-generated prudence would seem to be a smart move for any new feature in 19H2/1909, seeing as the truly-new would have little time with Insiders (July 1 through a September debut, or two months and change). Or, if the new feature(s) in 19H2/1909 are actually items brought forward from 20H1 testing (the Insider focus since February), a leisurely distribution would also be a good idea, since the integration with the earlier upgrade might have been run through little or no testing. On the other hand, CFR-based activation of a deployed 19H2/1909, especially on corporate PCs, could be a pain point for IT administrators if Microsoft, not themselves, were in charge of deciding when a feature pops on. Enterprise IT does not like surprises, one reason why resistance quickly grew against Windows 10's twice-annual upgrade cadence and 18-month support lifecycle. Questions remain, but here's the bottom line so far Not surprisingly, there are unanswered questions about the new process. It's likely answers won't be known until this fall or even later than that, after 19H2/1909 wraps up Insider testing and reaches customers. But Computerworld believes there's enough information now to paint a rough picture of how the changes reflect the evolving Windows 10 feature upgrade process. The fall upgrade - 1909 - will be a delimited update, akin to a monthly cumulative release rather than a full feature upgrade. It will sport performance and reliability improvements and perhaps a few new features. It will not be an OS replacement, as all previous upgrades have been. 1909 will be deployable via Windows Update or Windows Update for Business using a servicing mechanism similar to that used by the monthly updates. Via those update services, 1909 will only be available to users already running 1903, aka May 2019 Update. For commercial customers running 1809 (October 2018 Update) or earlier, the upgrade process remains unchanged. "You will have the option to update to 19H2 just as you did with previous releases," Microsoft said, meaning that 1909 will be deployable using, say, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Windows 10 1909 is, more than anything, a "service pack" for 1903. For users who did not - and will not - run 1903, Windows 10 1909 is essentially 1903 plus some improvements. Because of the above - most importantly the lack of new features - it's difficult to view 1909 as a credible feature upgrade on its own. Microsoft has, then, reduced its 2019 output to one feature upgrade (1903) and one service pack for that feature upgrade (1909). It's implausible that Microsoft has crafted this as a one-off, in other words 1909-as-service-pack for a one-time rollout (perhaps to simply make up the time lost to delays by 1809 and 1903). This major (spring release) and very minor (fall release) will be the new normal going forward and last ... well, until Microsoft again changes its mind. There are other aspects of the latest upend to Windows upgrades, which Computerworld will cover in a later companion piece, that will influence enterprise scheduling and affect Microsoft's penchant for pressing consumers to act as testers for commercial customers. Source: Microsoft pares Windows 10 feature upgrades to 1 a year (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer) (Requires free registration to view)
  15. Microsoft Issues Warning For 50M Windows 10 Users Windows 10 continues to be a danger zone. Not only have problems been piling up in recent weeks, Microsoft has also been worryingly deceptive about the operation of key services. And now the company has warned millions about another problem. Windows 10 users have been exposed to a worrying new vulnerability Steve Kotecki Spotted by the always excellent Windows Latest, Microsoft has told tens of millions of Windows 10 users that the latest KB4501375 update may break the platform’s Remote Access Connection Manager (RASMAN). And this can have serious repercussions. The big one is VPNs. RASMAN handles how Windows 10 connects to the internet and it is a core background task for VPN services to function normally. Given the astonishing growth in VPN usage for everything from online privacy and important work tasks to unlocking Netflix and YouTube libraries, this has the potential to impact heavily on how you use your computer. Interestingly, in detailing the issue Microsoft states that it only affects Windows 10 1903 - the latest version of the platform. The problem is Windows 10 1903 accounts for a conservative total of at least 50M users. Microsoft's Windows 10 updates remain a minefield WindowsCentral Why conservative? Because Microsoft states Windows 10 has been installed on 800M computers worldwide, but that figure is four months old. Meanwhile, the ever-reliable AdDuplex reports Windows 10 1903 accounted for 6.3% of all Windows 10 computers in June (50.4M), but that percentage was achieved in just over a month and their report is 10 days old. Microsoft has listed a complex workaround, but no timeframe has been announced for an actual fix. In the meantime, Microsoft is stepping up its attempts to push Windows 7 users to Windows 10. Those users must be looking at Windows 10 right now and thinking they will resist to the very end. Source: Microsoft Issues Warning For 50M Windows 10 Users (Forbes)
  16. Windows 10 version 1903: banding on gradients issue Microsoft released KB4501375 for Windows 10 version 1903 recently to fix a number of issues. One of the fixed issues affected calibration loaders and applications like the popular F.Lux program that make use of the SetDeviceGammaRamp API. The changelog confirms that Microsoft fixed the issue in KB4501375: Addresses an issue that may cause Night light, colour Management profiles, or gamma correction to stop working after shutting down a device. It appears, however, that Microsoft introduces a new bug that causes banding on gradients even when calibration is not active. Any program or game that loads an ICC profile may be affected by the issue. The issue is that severe that Eizo published a support page on the company website in which it recommends to avoid PCs installed with Windows 10 version 1903 at the time. The company notes that tones are not displayed correctly, and that the issue affects all monitors and all graphics boards. We highly recommend not using a PC installed with Microsoft Windows 10 (1903) for the time being, especially for diagnostic imaging or graphics editing which requires tone accuracy. Windows 10 version 1903 users may look at gradients, e.g. on this monitor test page, to find out if they are affected by the issue. The gradient should be smooth; a device is affected by the bug if stripes are noticeable when you look at the gradient. A workaround A workaround has been published, e.g. on the DisplayCal forum, that suggests to disable the Calibration Loader task in the Windows Task Scheduler. Open the Start menu, type Task Scheduler, and select the item from the list of search results to open the Task Scheduler. Navigate to Microsoft > Windows > WindowscolourSystem Double-click on the Calibration Loader task. Switch to the Triggers tab. Double-click on "At log on. Remove the checkmark from "Enabled". Repeat the process for "On connection to user session" to disable the trigger as well. Log out and back on again. Note that it is required to make the change again if the associated profile is changed. Microsoft released the final version of Windows 10 version 1903 at the end of May 2019 to the public. Source: Windows 10 version 1903: banding on gradients issue (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  17. Newsflow is a free, customizable RSS reader app for Windows 10 Sometimes we may only have time to read the headlines of articles, and if something piques our interest, we read the entire post. This is where RSS readers shine. Newsflow is a free, customizable RSS reader Newsflow takes RSS to the next level, it is a modern and pretty app. It has a ton of features which you may like. The main page of the app displays news from your feed, and by default it shows the thumbnail image from the article. You can change this behavior from the app's settings. Global Settings Hit the toggles for the "show images and video in news lists" and "...article" options, and the media should be disabled in the main page. This makes it look cleaner and distraction-free. The Settings pane also has options to animate elements, and a font size bar which is very useful. Other options found in the page include a theme selector that lets you choose among a system based theme/light theme/dark theme, all of which look good. The app can be configured to sync news in the background, or manually. Newsflow has read later and favorites options that you can toggle. Tip: Use the back button in the top left corner, to quickly go to the previous page you were on. Notifications, Live Tiles, Data You can disable notifications completely, turn off the sound alert, banners, etc from the Notifications pane. The Live Tiles options have a few options like show news images, feed icons, unread count, that you can toggle. The Data pane in Newsflow has an import option which lets you pick an OPML file (from your previous RSS reader), to add all your feeds to the app. An export option is available as well. The import took quite a while for me, but that maybe because I am subscribed to over a 100 feeds. If you have multiple computers which you wish to use the app on, you can use the Backup & Restore options. The Cache rebuild/clean up options can help you manage the app's storage. Main page customizations Click on an article in the feed to view it in the app. The top-bar has the Main, Deffered, and Favorites tabs. The search bar can be used for finding a specific feed or article. There is a view selector right in the top-center of the screen. This lets you switch to the following views: Title Only View - Displays the headlines of articles Cards View - Headline + first sentence + media (grid view) Magazine View - Similar to cards view, but displayed like a list. Article View - Large banner + headlines + article summary Personally, I prefer to use RSS readers in a text-only view, so I set the title-view for all categories. It's nice for fast reading. Tip: Every category has individual view selection options. So, you can set a specific view type for a category, and a different one for another. Side-panel The side-panel is where your feeds and categories are listed. You can also access your Sources and Settings from the sidebar. The Sources pane is where you can manage the content i.e., add/remove feeds, select specific feeds and mark them as read, see when the feed was updated, etc. Clicking on the three dot button next to a feed lets you move the feeds position, and more importantly customize the feed. Tip: If you wish to view news from a particular feed, say Ghacks, click on the feed's icon to jump to the site's feed. Feed Customization The Edit screen lets you edit the Feed title, RSS feed link, description, and category. You can choose the number of articles that should be stored per feed, by default it is set to 500 articles. You can also set how often the feed should be synced (15/30 minutes, 1/3/6/12 hours, 1/2 days). The app also lets you toggle media content off for specific feeds, and also disable a feed from the main page. Tip: Don't forget to hit that save button on the top-right corner. You can use the Categories tab to create/delete categories, delete, mark all feeds as read, etc. The extensions tab makes it sound like it supports a ton, but in reality there is just one, and it isn't free. I was a long time user of Feedburner, but moved on to other RSS readers like RSSOWL or Quite RSS. I tried web-based options like Inoreader and Feedly, and eventually settled on the latter completely. But I missed having a standalone RSS Reader, and the notifications that would pop-up. Newsflow looks like it could fill that gap. Source: Newsflow is a free, customizable RSS reader app for Windows 10 (gHacks)
  18. Windows 10 20H1 introduces major notification changes The first feature update release of 2020, Windows 10 20H1, will be the next major update of the Windows 10 operating system after the release of the May 2019 Update. Microsoft revealed recently that Windows 10 19H2, or Windows 10 version 1909, won't be a massive update. In fact, the update will be delivered just like any other cumulative update for the operating system. Means: it installs faster and without many of the issues associated with feature update installations. A new preview build of Windows 10 20H1 was released yesterday to the Insider channel introducing accessibility and notification system improvements. Not all of these changes are visible in all installations of the build, as Microsoft tends to roll out some changes gradually over time, but the blog post on the Windows Experience blog provides a good rundown of what to expect. The Notification system of the Windows 10 operating system offers only some options right now. Windows users and administrators may disable notifications or restrict them to certain applications. The release of Windows 10 20H1, expected is an end of March 2020 release, introduces several important changes to the system: Microsoft plans to add an option to notifications to turn them off for the firing application right in the dialog. Notifications Visualizer that provides detailed controls and visual cues: enable or disable notifications on the desktop and/or Action Center; the setting is much clearer now, especially the global notifications toggle to enable or disable the feature. option to hide content when notifications are on the lockscreen. enable or disable audio cues. change the max number of visible notifications in the Action Center. change the priority (position) of notifications in the Action Center. Link to manage notifications in the Action Center. List of notifications in Notifications & Actions may be sorted by recency. Closing Words The changes improve notifications management significantly in Windows 10. While these won't matter to users who turned off all notifications, it helps users who make use of them as it gives them better control and management options over these. Annoying notifications can be disabled right from the popup, and the overhauled Notifications page in the Settings provides better options as well. You may turn off notifications in Windows 10 by going to Settings > System > Notifications & Actions, and flipping the "get notifications from apps and other senders" switch to off. You may also turn off any other setting found there as a precaution. Source: Windows 10 20H1 introduces major notification changes (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  19. Microsoft explains the lack of Registry backups in Windows 10 We noticed back in October 2018 that Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system was not creating Registry backups anymore. The scheduled task to create the backups was still running and the run result indicated that the operation completed successfully, but Registry backups were not created anymore. Previous versions of Windows 10 created these backups and placed them in the C:\Windows\System32\config\RegBack folder. The backups could be used to restore the Windows Registry to an earlier state. Microsoft published a new support page recently that brings light into the darkness. The company notes that the change is by-design and thus not a bug. The change was implemented in Windows 10 version 1803 and all newer versions of Windows 10 are affected by it. Microsoft made the change to reduce the size of Windows on the system. Starting in Windows 10, version 1803, Windows no longer automatically backs up the system registry to the RegBack folder. If you browse to to the \Windows\System32\config\RegBack folder in Windows Explorer, you will still see each registry hive, but each file is 0kb in size. This change is by design, and is intended to help reduce the overall disk footprint size of Windows. To recover a system with a corrupt registry hive, Microsoft recommends that you use a system restore point. The Registry backup option has been disabled but not removed according to Microsoft. Administrators who would like to restore the functionality may do so by changing the value of a Registry key: Open the Start menu, type regedit.exe, and select the Registry Editor entry from the list of results. Navigate to the following key: HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Configuration Manager\ Right-click on Configuration Manager and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value. Name it EnablePeriodicBackup. Double-click on it after creation and set its value to 1. Restart the PC. Windows 10 will backup the Registry again from that point on. Windows backs up the registry to the RegBack folder when the computer restarts, and creates a RegIdleBackup task to manage subsequent backups. We have created two Registry files to enable and disable automatic Registry backups on Windows 10. You can download them with a click on the following link: Windows 10 Automatic Registry Backup Script Closing Words The backups may be handy even though they occupy some space on the device. It is generally recommended to use a third-party backup solution as well, e.g. Paragon Backup & Recovery Free, Macrium Reflect, or other drive backup programs. Source: Microsoft explains the lack of Registry backups in Windows 10 (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  20. How to disable Fluent Design transparency effects in Windows 10 How to disable Fluent Design transparency effects in Windows 10 To disable Fluent Design transparency in Windows 10: Launch the Settings app (Win+I). Click the “Ease of Access” category. Toggle the “Show transparency in Windows” button to the off position. Applies to All Windows 10 Versions Not a big fan of Fluent Design? Although the translucent glass is loved by many, it can also be an unwelcome distraction – or a potential performance issue on low-power PCs. Here’s a quick tip to show you how to disable the Windows 7 Aero throwback if it’s not to your taste. Turning off the transparency is easily done, although the setting’s not in the most obvious of places. You’ll find it within Windows’ accessibility controls, the Ease of Access Centre. Disabling Fluent Design transparency – the left sidebar of the Settings app now has an opaque background colour Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut) and click the “Ease of Access” tile. On the page which appears, look for the “Show transparency in Windows” toggle button under the “Simplify and personalise Windows” heading. Turn it to the off position to banish the translucency. The change will take effect immediately. With transparency disabled, Fluent Design surfaces such as window backgrounds and the Start menu will instead take on a single opaque colour. You’ll see solid grey, with the tone varying depending on your system theme choice. Should you wish to reenable Fluent Design in the future, just return to the Ease of Access settings page and slide the toggle back to “On.” Source
  21. dotNET Framework 3.5 Offline Installer Tool is a tool that can be used to easily install the .NET Framework 3.5 offline designed for Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10 Features: ======== - Installing the .NET Framework 3.5 offline (included DVD or Windows installer ISO file) - Supports 2 (two) methods to install (Using Command Prompt and PowerShell) How to use: 1. Insert the DVD or mount the Windows ISO installer file ... 2. Select Drive Windows installer location ... 3. Click the "Install" button ... Changelog: ========= - Version 1.0 (08/03/2019) First release ... Homepage: ========== https://devatakomputer.blogspot.com/ Download Page: ============= https://devatakomputer.blogspot.com/p/dotnet-framework-35-offline-installer.html Download: ========= https://drive.google.com/file/d/119fqlJD9SklfRrhGdEm2CyktsEON5ZIu/view
  22. Cortana now available as an app in Microsoft Store for Windows 10 users Cortana beta app is now available for download from Microsoft Store. Microsoft’s digital assistant was baked into Windows 10 OS right from the start. Due to this tight integration, Cortana got major updates only when Windows 10 OS got major updates. It looks like Microsoft has now finally decided to release Cortana as a standalone app in Microsoft Store. This move will allow Microsoft to release updated Cortana app more frequently without worrying about Windows 10 update schedule. As an intelligent assistant, Cortana will find all kinds of info, give you weather and traffic updates, and help you search the web. But Cortana will also get to know you better all the time. Cortana will help track and find the things you’re passionate about, like your favorite artists or sports teams, to give you better recommendations and updates. Download the app here from Microsoft Store. Source
  23. Windows 10 Now Warns When a Device Can’t Be Upgraded to Version 1903 Microsoft has started displaying a new warning in Windows Update on devices that can’t be upgraded to Windows 10 version 1903, or May 2019 Update, because of compatibility reasons. As part of Microsoft’s release system, devices that are not fully compatible with a new Windows 10 feature update are not provided with the new version on Windows Update. While the manual update is possible via Media Creation Tool or using a standalone ISO, Microsoft recommends users to wait until feature updates become available on Windows Update. And because the wait is painful for users eager to try out a new Windows 10 version, the company has started showing messages in Windows Update to let them know that the latest feature update isn’t yet available for their devices.“You can’t do anything about it”As per WL, the message tells users that their devices aren’t ready for Windows 10 May 2019 Update, and the only option is to sit back and relax until it shows up in Windows Update. “The Windows 10 May 2019 Update is on its way. We’re offering this update to compatible devices, but your device isn’t quite ready for it. Once your device is ready. you’ll see the update available on this page. There’s nothing you need to do at this time,” the message reads. Microsoft already issues warnings to users trying to upgrade Windows 10 devices with various compatibility issues, and the company also set in place several upgrade blocks to prevent other bugs after the update. Windows 10 May 2019 Update is now available for seekers, which are those users who manually check for updates on Windows Update. Additionally, the company has also started training its automatic release system to begin offering the update to devices running Windows 10 version 1803, or April 2018 Update. Source
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