Category Archives: Windows

Ubisoft sanitizes ‘Rainbow Six: Siege’ to expand its audience

Ubisoft wants to bring Rainbow Six: Siege to new Asian markets, and it's sterilizing some parts of the game in the process — regardless of where you live. It's prepping a Year 3 Season 4 update to the global version of the game that removes numerou…

‘Fortnite’ ends Halloween event with an in-game bang

When Epic said it was going to end its Fortnitemares Halloween event in spectacular fashion with a one-time occurrence, it wasn't kidding around. If you happened to be in Fortnite at 1PM Eastern on November 4th, you saw the mysterious cube on the ma…

‘Destiny 2′ for PC is free until November 18th

Bungie and Activision aren't going to stop at handing out free copies of Destiny 2 to console gamers. Right in time for the launch of BlizzCon, they're making the base PC version of the shared-world shooter available for free from now through Novemb…

‘Yooka-Laylee’ in-game filter revives the Nintendo 64 era

There are many, many games that recreate the look of 8-bit and 16-bit games, but there isn't a lot for people who grew up with the first generation of 3D-oriented consoles. Where's their nostalgia hit? Playtonic Games is taking care of it. The studio…

Windows’ built-in antivirus tool can run in a secure sandbox

Antivirus programs, by their nature, introduce a degree of risk. Since they have to scan malicious data to stop attacks (and thus need extensive permissions), a piece of malware that exploits antivirus flaws can typically run with impunity. That co…

Half of enterprise machines run Windows 10, as Windows 7’s end of life looms

Who doesn't love some new Windows?

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

On Microsoft’s earnings call for the first quarter of its 2019 financial year, CEO Satya Nadella said that “more than half of the commercial device installed base is on Windows 10.”

A Microsoft spokesperson “clarified” this to say, “based on Microsoft’s data, we can see that there are now more devices in the enterprise running Windows 10 than any other previous version of Windows.” That description offers a little more wriggle room; Windows 10 might only have a plurality share of enterprise systems rather than the majority share Nadella claimed. But either way, a substantial number of machines in the enterprise are currently running Windows 10.

Equally, however, it means that there’s a substantial number of machines not running Windows 10. Those systems are likely to be running Windows 7. Windows 7 is due to drop out of support in January 2020. Beyond that date, Windows 7 users will either have to pay for up to three years of patches or switch to Microsoft-hosted virtual machines, which will receive the three additional years of patching at no cost.

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Microsoft is bringing all-you-can-play Game Pass subscription to PC

The arrow is pointing to a PC that's just off-frame to the right.

Enlarge / The arrow is pointing to a PC that’s just off-frame to the right.

Microsoft says PC players will be able to access a version of its all-you-can-download Xbox Game Pass subscription service some time in the future.

The news comes from CEO Satya Nadella, who mentioned the move offhandedly in response to a question about cloud gaming in a recent earnings call. Nadella said “increasing the strength of the community” around the Xbox brand is important to the company’s bottom line and that “obviously, bringing Game Pass to even the PC is going to be a big element of that.”

It’s not clear which PC games exactly would be included with such a subscription or whether PC games would require their own separate subscription on top of the existing console Game Pass. For years, Microsoft has been promoting its “Play Anywhere” initiative for games that you buy once and play across PC and console, though we’ve run into trouble with that compatibility in practical testing.

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Microsoft posts a record $29.1 billion Q1. Same old, same old

Microsoft posts a record $29.1 billion Q1. Same old, same old

(credit: Julien GONG Min / Flickr)

Microsoft has posted the results of the first quarter of its 2019 financial year, which runs up until September 30, 2018. Revenue was $29.1 billion, up 19 percent year on year, to set a new record for the company’s first quarter. Operating income rose 29 percent to $10.0 billion, and net income was up 34 percent to $8.8 billion. Earnings per share were up 36 percent at $1.14.

Microsoft currently has three reporting segments: Productivity and Business Processes (covering Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype, Dynamics, and LinkedIn), Intelligent Cloud (including Azure, Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, and Enterprise Services), and More Personal Computing (covering Windows, hardware, and Xbox, as well as search and advertising).

Productivity group revenue was up 19 percent to $9.8 billion, with operating income up 29 percent to $3.9 billion. Both commercial and consumer Office sales were up by 17 and 16 percent respectively, and Office 365 continues to grow; commercial seats were up 29 percent year on year, and it now has more than 155 million monthly active users. There are also now 32.5 million consumer subscribers. This ongoing switch to the cloud meant that perpetually licensed Office revenue was down 12 percent. Dynamics revenue is up 20 percent, and LinkedIn revenue has grown 33 percent.

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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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