Category Archives: Windows

Future Windows 10 update will soften the blow of Spectre patches

Like with other companies, Microsoft's Spectre and Meltdown security fixes introduced a performance hit — it mostly affected servers, but it was there. Thankfully, that blow shouldn't be quite so severe in the next several months. The company's Me…

Microsoft’s problem isn’t how often it updates Windows—it’s how it develops it

Windows 10 during a product launch event in Tokyo in July 2015.

Enlarge / Windows 10 during a product launch event in Tokyo in July 2015. (credit: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

It’s fair to say that the Windows 10 October 2018 Update has not been Microsoft’s most successful update. Reports of data loss quickly emerged, forcing Microsoft to suspend distribution of the update. It has since been fixed and is currently undergoing renewed testing pending a re-release.

This isn’t the first Windows feature update that’s had problems—we’ve seen things like significant hardware incompatibilities in previous updates—but it’s certainly the worst. While most of us know the theory of having backups, the reality is that lots of data, especially on home PCs, has no real backup, and deleting that data is thus disastrous.

Windows as a service

Microsoft’s ambition with Windows 10 was to radically shake up how it develops Windows 10. The company wanted to better respond to customer and market needs, and to put improved new features into customers’ hands sooner. Core to this was the notion that Windows 10 is the “last” version of Windows—all new development work will be an update to Windows 10, delivered through feature updates several times a year. This new development model was branded “Windows as a Service.” And after some initial fumbling, Microsoft settled on a cadence of two feature updates a year; one in April, one in October.

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Samsung launches Snapdragon 850-powered Windows 2-in-1

Samsung

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Book2 (sic; the company has not put a space between the word and the number), a 2-in-1 tablet running Windows 10, powered by a Snapdragon 850 processor.

The first generation of Windows 10-on-ARM machines were roundly criticized for the performance of their Snapdragon 835 processors. The second generation of machines, however, uses the Snapdragon 850, a variant of the Snapdragon 845 that’s designed for the bigger batteries and higher power dissipation of laptops and tablets. This is widely hoped and expected to bring performance up to respectable levels.

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Microsoft making more of the Windows 10 built-in apps removable

It will soon be possible to discard more of the in-box apps that ship with Windows 10.

Currently, a handful of pre-installed apps can be removed, including OneNote, Skype, and Weather, but most of the other built-in apps are permanent fixtures. Windows 10 has also promoted a number of third-party applications such as Candy Crush Saga to the chagrin of many. These don’t appear to be going away, but such apps have always been uninstallable if you don’t want them. However, the latest preview build of Windows 10, build 18262, enables the removal of apps such as Mail, Calendar, Movies & TV, and the Groove Music app.

The ability to remove these apps doesn’t really mean much in terms of disk space or convenience, as none of them are very big. The move may be of more interest to corporate deployments; an organization that has standardized on Outlook, for example, might want to remove the Mail and Calendar apps to reduce user confusion.

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‘Destiny 2: Forsaken’ purchases now include earlier add-ons

Destiny 2: Forsaken is a significant improvement to a game that had a rough start, but it also had a rude surprise for newcomers: it didn't include the two expansions from the original game, making you pay twice just to catch up with people who had b…

Windows 10 October 2018 Update no longer deletes your data

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Enlarge / Your precious documents, after installing the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. (credit: shaorang)

Microsoft has figured out why the Windows 10 October 2018 Update deleted data from some systems and produced a fixed version. The severity of the bug caused the company to cease distribution of the update last week; the fixed version is now being distributed to Windows Insiders for testing, ahead of a resumption of the wider rollout.

Microsoft is advising anyone affected by the bug to contact support. The bug caused files to be deleted, meaning that the only guaranteed way of restoring them is to retrieve them from a backup (if you have one). However, undelete software can often recover recently deleted files, and Microsoft’s support can apparently assist with this process at no cost for those bitten by the problem. In the meantime, the advice is to use affected PCs as little as possible; minimizing disk activity helps maximize the chance of a successful undeletion.

The software giant claims that only a small number of users were affected and lost data, and has published an explanation of the problem.

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Apogee’s Jam+ is an upgraded guitar input for iOS, Mac and Windows

If you're looking to employ any of the dozens of guitar apps to practice Stevie Ray Vaughn riffs, you'll need some sort of adapter to plug your axe into your phone, tablet or computer. Apogee debuted the Jam in 2011, a $99 thumbdrive-sized dongle tha…

Data-deletion bug forces Microsoft to suspend rollout of Windows 10 update

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Enlarge / This message, shown during Windows upgrades, is going to be salt in the wound. (credit: MS Windows)

Earlier this week, Microsoft started distributing the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, version 1809, to Windows users who manually checked for updates. The company has now halted that rollout after many reports that installing the update is causing serious data loss: specifically, deleting the Documents, and perhaps Pictures, folders. Microsoft is also advising anyone who has downloaded the update but not yet installed it to not install it at all.

The exact circumstances causing data loss aren’t clear; the handful of reports on Microsoft’s forums and Reddit don’t have any obvious commonalities, and people report seeing only one affected system among many when upgraded. There will need to be some amount of investigation before a fix can be developed.

This will be too late for anyone that’s suffered data loss; although file recovery/undelete tools might be able to salvage the deleted files, the only reliable way of recovering them is to restore from a backup.

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The Windows 10 October 2018 Update is out now

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Enlarge / Who doesn’t love some new Windows? (credit: Peter Bright / Flickr)

The Windows 10 October Update, version 1809, is now available for Windows 10 users.

As is traditional, Microsoft will be doing a staged rollout, using machine learning to better detect issues and incompatibilities while offering the update as quickly as possible to as many Windows 10 users as possible.

The update will soon be delivered automatically over Windows Update, but if you don’t want to wait, performing a manual check for updates will fetch and install the update immediately (as long as your system isn’t known to be incompatible). Microsoft has been attempting to make the automatic updates less annoying, for example by not updating when the machine is idle only for a short time, and advising laptop users to leave their machines plugged in overnight so that it can update without interrupting them.

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Microsoft suspends development of touch-friendly Office apps for Windows

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Enlarge (credit: Nicole Klauss)

Microsoft has stopped developing new features for the touch-friendly Office Mobile apps for Windows 10, reports the Verge.

Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and PowerPoint Mobile first made their debut with Windows 8.1. Their significance is twofold: they have a user interface that’s designed to be touch-friendly, and they’re built using Microsoft’s modern UWP (Universal Windows Platform) framework. They’ve been regularly updated since their introduction, but no longer. The use of UWP meant that the same app core could be used on both desktop Windows and Windows 10 Mobile, but with Windows 10 Mobile no longer a going concern, this compatibility is no longer a priority.

In a statement to the Verge, Microsoft said, “We are currently prioritizing development for the iOS and Android versions of our apps; and on Windows, we are prioritizing Win32 and Web versions of our apps.”

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