Category Archives: Windows

Microsoft unifying search across Bing, Office, and Windows

Article intro image

Enlarge / Even searches on Bing will show organizational results, in a section above the regular Web results. (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is shaking up the search boxes found in Bing, Office, Windows, Teams, and everywhere else it shows up in productivity apps. Under the common banner “Microsoft Search” the plan is to provide a consistent, unified view of search results that encompasses not just your own documents and emails but also your organization’s content and conversations.

With the change, the search bar will become more prominent, with consistent behavior wherever it appears. This will include new features such as automatic suggestions—merely clicking the search box will present personalized results, such as documents you’ve edited recently or contacts you email regularly—and the ability to search for commands within the application. This means that instead of hunting through ribbons and dialog boxes, you’ll be able to search for an application function and activate it from the search results.

The new search will subsume Windows search and show local files among its results. Greater value will be experienced by organizations using Microsoft 365. When signed into an Office 365 account, search results will include documents in SharePoint or OneDrive, conversations in Teams or Yammer, and contacts from the company directory, even when performing a search from Bing. Eventually, Microsoft plans to offer third-party data sources, too.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Windows Virtual Desktop gives you a Windows 7 or 10 desktop on Azure

Article intro image

Enlarge / A VT100 remote terminal, which is basically the same thing as Windows Remote Desktop. (credit: Wolfgang Stief)

A new Windows version for multiple users was spotted last month, and now we know what it’s for: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a new service providing multi-user remote desktop and VDI in the Azure cloud.

WVD combines three things. Using the new Windows 10 version, WVD can be used to provide remote desktop sessions with multiple users remotely logged in to the same Windows 10 virtual machine (or, alternatively, a Windows Server virtual machine). This can provide both remoting of a full desktop session and of individual applications, serving as a replacement for the RemoteApp service that Microsoft cancelled last year. The service also supports full VDI, with remote users each having their own single-user virtual machine while both persistent and non-persistent VMs are supported. This is supported both with Windows 10 and with Windows 7.

Licenses for WVD will be an integrated, no-additional-cost part of Windows Enterprise E3 licenses. This will enable, for example, a local Windows 10 installation that uses WVD for remote access to a couple of legacy applications running on Windows 7 on Azure with no additional Windows licensing requirements.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rare delays ‘Sea of Thieves’ DLC at the last minute

You might want to rethink your plans if you expected to swashbuckle your way through Sea of Thieves' "Forsaken Shores" DLC this week. Rare has pushed back the release from September 19th (just over a day away as of this writing) to September 27th….

Telltale’s final ‘The Walking Dead’ season continues September 25th

We hope you've steeled yourself for the next installment of Telltale's final The Walking Dead season, because it's almost here. The developer plans to release the second episode on September 25th for PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One players. You can buy…

Microsoft Managed Desktop lets Redmond handle your desktop devices

Article intro image

Enlarge (credit: Thomas Claveirole / Flickr)

Just as the cloud freed many administrators from the day-to-day tedium of tending to Exchange servers and infrastructure like Domain Controllers, Microsoft Managed Desktop (MMD) could do the same for the corporate desktop. The new service combines Microsoft 365 Enterprise (a combined Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility bundle), hardware leasing, and cloud-based device management to deliver secured, updated, and maintained systems, all with software maintenance handled by Microsoft.

Redmond says that it’s offering the service in response to customer desire to hand off day-to-day device management tasks and spend more time addressing the needs of their organizations.

The new service will work on what the company calls “modern hardware”: systems with the right hardware security features and remote-management capabilities. This will include both first-party Surface systems and, in coming months, third-party machines from companies such as Dell and HP. With MMD, customers will be able to put their credentials into systems straight from the OEM. Machines will retrieve their configuration, enroll in device management, and install necessary applications using Windows AutoPilot. There should be no need for IT personnel to ever touch the machines.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Windows 10 will use the cloud to free up disk space

Article intro image

(credit: IBM)

The next update to Windows 10, due to be released in October, will be smarter about how it frees up disk space and cleans up temporary files.

Central to this update is OneDrive cloud storage. Since last fall’s update, Windows 10 has used a clever system of placeholder files to make OneDrive cloud storage seamless to use. With placeholders, the local OneDrive directory appears to contain the full directory structure and all the files that are found in the cloud. Any attempts to open or modify one of those files causes the data to be seamlessly retrieved from the cloud. There are various manual controls available; for example, files can be marked as always available offline (so they’ll never be a placeholder, always a real file), and their local copies can be manually removed (leaving just the placeholder stub behind).

The next update will perform some of this management automatically. As part of its Storage Sense feature, Windows will be able to automatically remove the local copies of OneDrive files (unless they’ve been set as always available offline). The operating system will determine which files to remove based on when they were opened: files used more recently than a certain number of days will be retained locally, while those that haven’t been used will be replaced with placeholders. The system will remove files until the operating system reckons it has enough free space for normal operation.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Native support for Windows file sharing coming to Chrome OS

Article intro image

Enlarge / Adding an SMB location to Files. (credit: François Beaufort)

Chrome OS 70 will include native support for SMB file shares (spotted by Paul Thurrott), giving it built-in access to files stored on Windows servers. With this, Chrome OS users can add SMB file shares to the Files app and use them to store and load documents.

Currently, using these network resources requires the use of an extension that adds a similar ability to add file shares to the Files app. Google has been working to make Files a more capable application. As well as integrating support for networked files, the company is also experimenting with giving it more access to Android files, something that will streamline the use of Android applications by exposing their data files to Chrome OS apps.

The SMB support helps smooth a pain point when mixing Chromebooks with other systems: it makes it easier to use Chrome OS with corporate file servers, home networked storage devices, and of course, Windows PCs. Instead of needing the extra extension to be installed, these things will just work out of the box. That’s going to prove helpful as Chromebooks move beyond their K12 education stronghold, as it will mean that Chromebooks more seamlessly interoperate with mixed platform networks. In particular, networked storage intended for Windows machines will be instantly accessible to Chrome OS machines.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft lets companies pay for Windows 7 support until 2023

Microsoft must still be scarred by having to support Windows XP well past its expiry date, as it's drawing a line in the sand for Windows 7 users. Corporate and institutional customers can only pay for extended security update support through Januar…

Windows 10 support extended again: September releases now get 30 months

Article intro image

Enlarge / Licensing is not really the easiest topic to illustrate. (credit: Peter Bright)

In its continued efforts to encourage corporate customers to make the switch to Windows 10, Microsoft is shaking up its support and life cycle plans again. Support for some Windows 10 releases is being extended, and the company is offering new services to help detect and address compatibility issues should they arise.

The new policy builds on and extends the commitments made in February this year. Microsoft has settled on two annual feature updates (the “Semi-Annual Channel,” SAC) to Windows 10, one finalized in March (and delivered in April) and the other finalized in September (and delivered in October). Initially, the company promised 18 months of support for each feature update, a policy that would allow customers to defer deployment of feature updates or even skip some updates entirely. Going forward, the September releases are going to see even longer support periods; for Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education, each September release will receive 30 months of servicing. In principle, an organization that stuck to the September releases could go two years between feature updates.

Customers of Windows 10 Home, Pro, and Pro for Workstations will continue to receive only 18 months of updates for both March and September releases.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Skype’s podcast-friendly call recording is now available

The Skype team is acting on its promise to make life easier for podcasters and other content creators. Call recording is now available in the latest version of Skype except for Windows 10, which will see an upgrade in the "coming weeks." The clips…