Category Archives: Windows

Notepad gets a major upgrade, now does Unix line endings

Enlarge (credit: g4ll4is / Flickr)

Notepad, the text editor that ships with Windows, is not a complicated application. For many, this is its major advantage—by having virtually no features, it cannot go wrong—but especially for software developers, it has often proven an annoyance.

That’s because Notepad has traditionally only understood Windows line endings. Windows, Unix, and “classic” MacOS all use different conventions for indicating the end of a line of text. Windows does things correctly: it uses a pair of characters, the carriage return (CR) followed by the line feed (LF). Two characters are needed because they do different things: the CR moves the print head to the start of a line; the LF advances the paper by one line. Separating these is valuable, as it allows for effects such as underlining to be emulated: first print the text to be underlined, then issue a CR, and then print underscore characters.

Unix, however, uses a bare line feed to denote that a new line should be started. Classic MacOS (though not modern macOS) uses a bare carriage return for the same purpose. Given the meaning behind the CR and LF characters, these operating systems are both obviously wrong, but sometimes wrongness is allowed to prevail and persist.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Critical Windows bug fixed today is actively being exploited to hack users

Enlarge (credit: Lisa Brewster / Flickr)

Microsoft on Tuesday patched two Windows vulnerabilities that attackers are actively exploiting in the wild to install malicious apps on the computers of unwitting users.

The first vulnerability resides in the VBScript Engine included in all currently supported versions of Windows. A so-called use-after-free flaw involving the way the engine handles computer memory allows attackers to execute code of their choice that runs with the same system privileges chosen by the logged-in user. When targeted users are logged in with administrative rights, attackers who exploit the bug can take complete control of the system. In the event users are logged in with more limited rights, attackers may still be able to escalate privileges by exploiting a separate vulnerability.

CVE-2018-8174, as the flaw is formally indexed, is being actively exploited by attackers, Microsoft officials said. The vulnerability was discovered by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab, which then reported it to Microsoft. In the exploits observed by Kaspersky Lab:

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

With Timeline and Your Phone, Microsoft makes a PC the phone’s second screen

SEATTLE—The PC is, for many of us, no longer the central hub for our digital and online activities; the phone has taken that role. In this new world, the relationship between the two has flipped: the phone is not a companion device for the PC, but rather, the PC is now a companion device for the phone.

At its Build developer conference today, Microsoft showed a pair of applications that reflect this new world. First are updated versions of the Launcher for Android and Edge for iOS that include support for Timeline, the big new feature of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Timeline gives a historic view of the documents, emails, and webpages that you have visited, making it easy and convenient to go back and resume working on your ongoing tasks. With the updated versions of the apps, the Timeline view is now accessible on your mobile devices.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Build 2018: Microsoft embraces its new platforms, Azure and Microsoft 365

Enlarge / An oil platform moored in Scotland. It’s not on fire. (credit: Berardo62 / Flickr)

SEATTLE—Windows isn’t going away any time soon. A glance at Microsoft’s financials makes clear that the Windows business is still important for Microsoft. But as the reorganization in March demonstrated, Windows is no longer central to Microsoft’s vision in the way it once was. Instead, it’s now part of a broader picture with two platforms: Azure and Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365—the subscription service that includes Office, Windows, and a range of additional services on top—will be the focus tomorrow. Today was all about Azure.

The company’s major focus is currently machine learning, bringing new services and expanding the reach of those services to make it easier to use machine-learning features in a wide range of applications. That expanded reach comes from running machine-learning models on endpoint devices rather than in the cloud, allowing low-latency, offline operation.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

What to expect at Microsoft’s Build 2018 conference

Fresh off of Windows 10's major April update, Microsoft is gearing up for its Build conference in Seattle Monday. The annual event, like Google I/O (which starts just one day later), is a celebration of the company's developer community. That means y…

Microsoft is making it easier to take screenshots in Windows 10

The next Windows 10 Insider preview build includes a lot of trial features — including a new way to take screenshots. Instead of putting its Screen Sketch tool behind the Windows Ink menu, it's now a standalone app. Users will be able to summon it w…

Chrome learns to mute sites based on your web history

Right now, your web browser's response to auto-playing content tends to take one of two extremes: either it mutes everything or blasts your ears. But there are some times you do want sound right away, such as a livestream or a game — do you have to…

A look at what the Windows 10 April 2018 update brings

Enlarge / Did I pick a picture of a clock because the update was released late or because the update’s biggest feature is Timeline? The world may never know. (credit: John Loach / Flickr)

After some delays, the newest major update to Windows 10, the April 2018 Update, has just scraped into April. It’s available to download right now and will start distribution on Windows Update on May 8th.

Even with its extended development period—a blue screen of death crash was discovered late in the process, forcing Microsoft to delay the release by a few weeks—the new release feels very similar to its predecessor. While the last couple of updates have tried to push new directions—virtual and augmented reality in the Fall Creators Update, 3D graphics in the Creators Update—with Microsoft trying to promote them as being themed collections of features gathered together, the new update doesn’t have any particular overarching theme. Instead, it’s a bunch of improvements to various parts of Windows, along with one particularly notable new feature.

That big new feature is one that we initially thought we were going to get in the Fall Creators Update: Timeline. Timeline adds a new dimension to the Windows task switcher (the one shown when you press Win+Tab, or click the “Task view” button on the taskbar): specifically, time. The default view when you first enter the switcher is the same as it ever was, showing all the windows you have open so that you can instantly pick between them. But it now has a scrollbar. Scroll the screen down and you’ll see historic documents, browser tabs, and applications.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft defends conviction of e-waste recycler over piracy

Many were upset that e-waste recycling pioneer Eric Lundgren was going to prison for creating his unofficial Windows restore discs, and in some cases pointed the finger at Microsoft for its role in the conviction. Microsoft, however, doesn't think h…

The Windows 10 April 2018 Update will ship this April, but only just

Enlarge (credit: Peter Bright)

The next big Windows 10 update, originally expected earlier this month until Microsoft delayed it at the last minute because of a bug causing blue screens of death, at last has an official name and a release date.

As expected, Microsoft is dropping its “themed” names for this update, instead calling it simply the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, with the version number 1803. It’ll be available to download manually from April 30, just scraping into April. Broader distribution through Windows Update will start on the next Patch Tuesday: May 8.

Just as was the case with past updates, those installing it through Windows Update shouldn’t expect to receive the update immediately; Microsoft rolls each update out in phases, checking for incompatibilities and other problems, before opening the floodgates and offering the upgrade to everyone. Microsoft stepped up the pace of this rollout with the last update, which saw it peak at more than 92 percent of Windows 10 systems.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments