Tag: windows 7

Microsoft investigates the case of the mysterious sign-ups

Sherlock-Holmes-and-WatsonSoftware giant Microsoft is on the case of a mysterious IP address which appears to have signed up an awful lot of Windows 7 registrations.

According to Torrent Freak Microsoft  has logged hundreds of suspicious product activations from a Verizon IP address.

In a lawsuit filed this week at a district court in Seattle, Microsoft has targeted the individuals behind a single Verizon IP address – Vole does not know who he or she is but there is a pretty good bet that they are pirating Windows 7 like a mad thing,

“As part of its cyberforensic methods, Microsoft analyses product key activation data voluntarily provided by users when they activate Microsoft software, including the IP address from which a given product key is activated,” the lawsuit reads.

Microsoft says that its tools allow the company to analyse billions of activations of Microsoft software and identify patterns. An IP address associated with too many activations is one through which pirated software is more like to be being activated.

“Microsoft’s cyberforensics have identified hundreds of product key activations originating from IP address…which is presently assigned to Verizon Online. These activations have characteristics that on information and belief, establish that Defendants are using the IP address to activate pirated software.”

Microsoft says that the unknown defendants have activated hundreds of copies of Windows 7 using product keys that have been “stolen” from the company’s supply chain or have never been issued with a valid license, or keys used more times than their licence allows.

Microsoft gives the Chinese free Windows 10

eclipse-chinaSoftware king of the world Microsoft has decided that the best way to stop the Chinese pirating its Windows 10 operating system is to give it to them.

Microsoft has decided to push into the heavily pirated Chinese consumer computing market this summer by offering free upgrades to Windows 10 to all Windows users, regardless of whether they are running genuine copies of the software.

The big idea is to get legitimate versions of VoleWare onto machines of the hundreds of millions of Windows users in China. Recent studies show that three-quarters of all PC software is not properly licensed there.

Terry Myerson, who runs Microsoft’s operating systems unit, announced the plan at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China.

Microsoft will upgrade all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10. The plan is to “re-engage” with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China, he said, without elaboration.

Windows 10 would be released globally sometime “this summer”. That is the first time Microsoft has put a time frame on the release, although it has been expected in autumn.

Microsoft said in January it would offer free upgrades to Windows 10 for users of Windows 7 or later in an attempt to hold onto users and make up for lost revenue by selling services such as Office over the Internet.

Microsoft is working with Lenovo to roll out Windows 10 in China to current Windows users, Myerson said.

It also is offering Windows 10 through security company Qihoo 360 Technology and Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest social networking company, which will build a Windows 10 app that will work on smartphones and PCs for its popular QQ gaming and messaging service. QQ has more than 800 million users.

Lenovo said in a statement that it will make phones running Windows software, available through China Mobile, sometime later this year.


Windows 10: the mess begins

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseMicrosoft appears to have further muddied the waters with its announcements about Windows 10 last week.
The new version of Windows, which no one really expects to be available until September this year at the earliest, is supposed to run on all sorts of different hardware platforms.
But, according to veteran expert Mary Jo Foley over at ZD Net, you might need a degree in both physics and marketing to try and make any sense of what’s in store for millions of people later this year.
She writes that the different SKUs – stock keeping units come in a plethora of shapes and sizes.
For example, the preview edition available to test now is Windows 10 desktop that will run on Intel based devices.
But the February version will be Windows 10 mobile and that’s intended to run on phones based on ARM chips.
There are other versions of Windows 10 intended for different kinds of devices.
You can read more about what Mary Jo has to say, here.
Our take on this is that all Microsoft will do is persuade its enterprise customers and everyone else that it is deeply confused about the future.
Some sources estimate that as many as 10 percent of people that use Windows are still using Windows XP.  That’s because they failed to be convinced it was worth moving to Vista, Windows 7, or the widely disrespected Windows 8.1.

Windows 10 may be a fail

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseTaiwanese suppliers of notebooks are not over impressed by the news last week that Microsoft will give free upgrades to its Windows 10 operating system.
Digitimes, which regularly talks to manufacturers in the supply chain, reports that Microsoft’s move is unlikely to prompt people to replace their existing notebooks.
Windows 10 is not expected to be available until the third quarter of this year – and the supply chain doesn’t think a free upgrade from Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 is much of an incentive for people to go out and buy new machines.
The report claims that many people continue to use Windows 7 and as much as 10 percent of people are still using the now unsupported Windows XP.
People prefer to buy new smartphones or tablets than expensive notebook PCs, Digitimes said.
Notebook sales will continue to be of low end models rather than the full monte with bells and whistles, Digitimes said.


Windows 10 will be free

ms-event-2015-01-21-win10-46-741x416Microsoft has released details of Windows 10 and said that it will be free for many current Windows users.

The company unveiled the Windows 10 consumer preview yesterday and showed off many new features which will be available.

What is surprising is that Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows users running versions of the OS, going back to Windows 7. That includes Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows Phone.

Microsoft said that the upgrade would be free for the first year of release, but people would need to pay for it after that. However, Microsoft will support the upgrade for the “lifetime of the device”.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the event  he wanted Windows 10 to be the most loved release of Windows.  It will have services everywhere but no bolted on apps.

There will be a new web browser for Windows 10, codenamed Project Spartan. It’ll be the primary browser in Windows 10 and will be available on PCs, tablets and phonesallows users to “draw” directly on a web page for quick sharing of notes. It includes a fully integrated reading list that follows a user across devices, as well as a built-in PDF viewer.

Another unusual thing about the OS is the use of a sort of virtual reality, called Windows Holographic, powered by a new kind of device called the HoloLens.

Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the Operating Systems Group, Joe Belfiore, announced it would bring back the much-missed Start Menu, but Belfiore revealed it would also have a full-screen mode that includes more of the Windows 8 Start screen. He also said Windows machines would go back and forth between two menus in a way that would not confuse people. Right.

Belfiore also showed a new notification centre for Windows, which puts a person’s notifications in an Action Center menu that can appear along the right side, similar to how notifications work in Apple OS X.

There is also a thing called Continuum to help so-called hybrid devices flip between themselves. Removing a keyboard from a tablet like the Surface Pro 3, say, will call up a dialogue box asking if  a human wants to switch to tablet mode.

Microsoft has also parked its Cortana into Windows 10. People will be able to access it using a search bar next to the Windows logo in the taskbar.

Describing Cortana showed how users could ask it to play music, answer queries launch apps and open specific files, like a PowerPoint deck you’ve been working on. Cortana is also built into Spartan.

Windows 10 can work on devices smaller than 8 inches, which would have a special version of the OS tuned to the precise touch capabilities needed.

As an example of Universal Windows Apps, which are apps that provide a multi-modal experience across devices, Belfiore showed off revamped mobile versions of Microsoft Office.

The “consumer preview” version of Windows 10 will be available for PCs starting next week, and for phones in February. Some of the Windows 10 features Microsoft showed at the event will not immediately be available in preview builds of the software, but will roll out in the next three to four months.

Microsoft hasn’t yet set a date for the general release of Windows 10, but it’s expected to launch in the Autumn. Or Fall. Pride comes before a fall.


Windows 7 is off life support

ECGSoftware giant Microsoft killed off “mainstream support” for Windows 7 yesterday.

Leaving mainstream support only means that Windows 7 will not be receiving any new features or product tweaks, such as DirectX 12 gaming technology slated to launch with Windows 10. Free software support from Microsoft is not going to happen either.

Once a Windows desktop operating system leaves mainstream support, it enters the extended support phase. Windows XP was in that state from early 2009.

Users will still get security patches during extended support, which means that Windows 7 will not be cast out completely yet. Hotfixes will still be provided, too, assuming they are security related.

Extended support for Windows 7 lasts until January 14, 2020 so if you are happy with all that, there is no reason to rush to upgrade.

However, it is a sign that Microsoft has given up on the operating system, which is subjectively seen as being better than its successor.

Windows 7 update malware spotted by AMD

Huntsman spider, Wikimedia CommonsSoftware giant Microsoft appears to have despatched an update which behaves like malware to its Windows 7 customers.

Microsoft has confirmed that a recent update, with the catchy title KB 3004394, is causing a range of serious problems and recommends removing it.

It was first flagged by AMD’s Robert Hallock who noticed that the update blocks the installation or update of graphics drivers such as AMD’s new Catalyst Omega. Nvidia users are also reporting difficulty installing GeForce drivers.

Hallock recommended manually uninstalling the update, advice now echoed officially by Microsoft.

However, the update does not just kill off graphics drivers. Microsoft’s Answer Forum has dark mutterings that USB 3.0 drivers are broken and User Account Control prompts have gone haywire. Microsoft has acknowledged that it even prevents the installation of future Windows Updates.

The Windows Defender service has been disabled by the update.

This is the third time in three years Microsoft has issued software and firmware updates to their Xbox platform which have “bricked” the consoles. In August 2014 and April 2013 PC updates caused widespread Blue Screens of Death.

Microsoft moves to bury Windows 7 at Halloween

Digging-Own-Grave-300x336-267x300Software monster Microsoft plans to stop selling Windows 7 licences to OEMs after Halloween as its first moves to kill off the operating system in favour of the god awful Windows 8.1.

It is pretty much a formality. There are few Windows 7 machines in the shops right now – Microsoft has done a good job of making sure there is not a repeat of the Windows XP fiasco that left millions of machines running the ancient operating system.

Business and enterprise customers can order PCs “downgraded” to Windows 7 Professional. Microsoft has not set an end date for when it will cut off Windows 7 Professional to OEMs, but it will likely be a while.

Microsoft usually pulls OEM supply of an OS a year after it removes it from retail. Microsoft cut off the retail supply of Windows 7 in October of last year, although some retailers still have some remaining stock left.

Windows 8 is slowly working its way into the American public,as a Windows XP replacement. Windows 7, both 32-bit and 64-bit, account for 59 per cent of Steam’s user base. Windows 8 and 8.1 account for 28 percent while XP has dwindled to four percent.

However Windows 7 appears to have a core base of users who are happy and hanging on to the OS for dear life. Windows 8 appears to be picking up XP users who do not know any better and think it is OK.

It is possible that many Windows 7 users are waiting to see if Windows 10 is any better before they upgrade. If that happens, it is going to be a dismal Christmas for PC retailers.

Windows 9 out next year

Microsoft campusYou may not have upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7, never mind Windows 8 – but pretty soon you’ll have Windows 9 to think about.

Microsoft will release something it calls  a technical preview of Windows 9 at the end of this month.

The word on the street is that Windows 9 will include the start menu – and it might not be called Windows 9.  The beta is due to be supplied with a single beta.

According to PC Advisor, the preview version will come between the second quarter and the third quarter next year. There will be versions available for smartphones, for PCs and for tablets.

Web site Winbeta said that Microsoft is going to dump the so-called “charms bar”, an annoying menu that comes in from the right hand side of the screeen with buttons to search, share and the like.

The word on the street appears to be that Windows 9, or whatever it’s called, will use 64 bit processors only, although that could present a  problem for heaps of people.

Microsoft about to do a Windows 8 on Windows 9

windows9.1 leak Microsoft normally follows a pattern with its operating systems – one successful version is followed by a total stuff up. 

Theoretically that should means that Windows 9 should be great, but leaked screen shots of the coming attraction shows that Microsoft could be headed for yet another disaster.

The update, codenamed Threshold and possibly called Windows 9 or just plain Windows, takes some features from Windows 8 and grafts them onto the classic Windows 7 desktop. This is a sop to most Windows users, like me, who hated having to dumb down their computers by running tablet software as the interface.

When running in windowed mode, Windows Store apps will get a button in the top-left corner. Clicking the button brings up a list of functions that previously appeared in the Charms bar, including Search, Share, Play, Project and Settings. This menu will let users switch the app to full screen mode as well.

There will be some new buttons to the desktop taskbar — a search button sits immediately to the right of the Start button, followed by a button for switching between multiple desktops. The latter feature, possibly called “virtual desktops,” will let users switch between several sets of desktop apps and layouts.

On the right side of the taskbar, users will find a new notifications button, with a pop-up menu that will presumably show messages from Windows Store apps.

The screenshots show that Microsoft is keeping the Charms bar, which many expected would be culled.

While all of this is subject to change as Microsoft has not even released a public beta yet, but it is clear that Windows 9 is not really going to be much different from Windows 8.

This is a major problem, particularly as Windows 7 will be starting to look a little elderly by the time Windows 9 hits the shops. Part of the problem is that Microsoft refuses to understand that people do not want their PCs running like a tablet. When you are sitting at a PC you are there for serious work and serious programs, you do not want to have to jump between screens looking for software you do not want.

How often PC users will want to visit the app store is anyone’s guess, yet Microsoft appears to be trying its hardest to make this easier.

What is annoying is that the software behind the interface is much better and more reliable than Windows 7, but the software is crippled by its interface.

This will create huge problems for Microsoft. When it put out Windows Vista people just stayed using Windows XP. Now, rather than use Windows 8, users are sticking to Windows 7.  If Windows 9 is just Windows 8 in drag then people are going to want to stay with Windows 7 even longer.  That is going to make it even more venerable and established that XP was.

Microsoft needs to get back to design basics and work out why people use a desktop.  Hint: it is not because they want a more powerful tablet.


Rumours of Windows 9 emerge

Bill GatesSoftware giant Microsoft has been hinting that it will make changes in Windows 9 which should satisfy those who are using Windows 7 and will not upgrade.

While Windows 8 has been a disaster for Microsoft because it forced desktop users to conform to a tablet format and download Apps which did not function as well as their desktop version.

Word on the superinformationstrasse is that Vole is planning to further merge the Modern UI with the desktop in Windows 9 and might reduce the OS’s use for tablet users.

According to WinBeta, the cunning plan is that tablet users will see the demise of the desktop in Windows 9.  Instead Microsoft is set to replace Win32 applications with Modern UI alternatives in Windows 9, meaning Windows is set to get a full on Modern UI facelift when it rolls around next year.

This means that the desktop will no longer have a place for tablet users running Windows RT.
This fits into rumours regarding Windows Phone and Windows RT becoming one operating system. This would see Windows Phone devices and Windows RT tablets run the same operating system with no desktop.  If the device hardware requires it, a cut down version of the desktop will be available, but this is not likely to be seen much.

Vole is apparently worried about Chrome OS.  It wants to make Windows Phone free, and Windows RT being merged with it.  This will use this as the cheaper alternative for OEMs to sell tablets and cheap laptops too.

These laptops will run apps from the Windows Store just like on Chrome OS, which is limited to Chrome OS apps, the Windows Phone/RT devices will be limited to Windows Store apps.

This means that Windows 9 will be different depending on the hardware you use and you will only see a desktop if you are actually on the desktop.

Word on the street is that Microsoft will allow Modern UI apps to run in the desktop, in windowed mode, and have Modern UI apps pinned to the Start Menu instead of a Start Screen.

Tosh makes big channel push

windowscomputexToshiba introduced a campaign aimed at supporting channel players specialising in the SMB sector.

Called “”Get Modern with Toshiba”, the scheme ties in with Microsoft’s Get2Modern – an attempt by the software giant to wrest us away from Windows XP and Office 2003.

Toshiba said its channel partners will be given competitive prices on machines including the Portege Z30, Tecra Z40 and Tecra Z50. A trade in scheme lets SMBs claim up to £100 on new products, while Toshiba said its reliability guarantee lets its partners offer free repair and full refunds if on old model is traded in before March 31st 2014.

Toshiba said many SMBs are still using Windows XP and as we all know Microsoft will can support for Office 2003 and Windows XP on April 8th next.

Toshiba’s marketing director, Matt McDwall, claims “there’s a strong financial argument” to move from XP to Windows 8.1 – basing that claim on IDC figures that show running Windows XP is five times more expensive than Windows 7.

Microsoft shows clear signs of OS desperation

windowscomputexMost people were reasonably happy with Windows 7. For that matter, most people quite liked Windows XP. No one liked Vista.  And it’s pretty clear that Windows 8 has gone down with the most enormous thud.

Even Microsoft seems to acknowledge that – our sister publication TechEye is reporting that it is saying Windows 7 isn’t that secure.

Actually, it’s Microsoft that isn’t that secure. And its insecurity is linked to Intel’s insecurity too.  Microsoft, like Intel, was way too late to jump on the tablet bandwagon and its efforts to get into the smartphone market have been somewhat of a big fail too.

The truth is that it’s all about money and has very little to do with security. These endless patches from Microsoft for operating systems have always been a nuisance and demonstrate that on the OS front, at least, the software giant hasn’t really invented anything.  It’s all been borrowed or acquired.

You can’t get a new PC from a retailer now without it being installed with Windows 8.1. Want Windows 7? You’ll have to buy it separately. And if you believe Microsoft, it’s not that secure anyway.

At the launch of Windows XP in London all those years back, Steve Ballmer told us that it was the most secure version of Windows ever. Some of us remember what happened with that one.

I have a machine here that’s running Windows XP and there’s no way I’m “upgrading” it to Windows 8.1.  That will leave me insecure, according to Microsoft.  Insecure I will be, then. But I do get the definite feeling that I’m not alone in sticking with an OS I like and without the tablet feel I expect on a tablet, not on a PC.

On Monday, just a year before XP goes

framedwindowsThis coming Monday will mark just one year until Microsoft ends extended support for Windows XP. Vista was a joke – but Windows 7 is quite good, and companies are being urged to upgrade their OS before exposing themselves to unnecessary risk.

Microsoft has itself advised companies to upgrade to 7 or 8, but according to a report from 1E, under a quarter of surveyed companies had migration in place. Just under half said they were in the process of upgrading – meaning headaches for IT departments if they do not get their upgrades guaranteed in time. 1E warns that with just a year left to complete that migration, it won’t be long before budgets are complicated by costly extended IT support.

In a statement, Sumir Karayi, CEO of 1E, said businesses will be under threat of security risk unless they upgrade their IT systems in time – and the migration should be done with as little disruption to the business as possible.

“Organisations that are not yet off the starting blocks or only a little way down the track are highly unlikely to complete before the Microsoft deadline,” Karayi said. “Whether the delay is because they misunderstood the sheer scale of the project, or that they are coming across technical hurdles, it means they cannot confidently predict when they will finish or how much it will cost them”. The prospects, Karayi warns, are a little grim – “few IT teams will have ever experienced such a complex migration,” he said.

Karayi said 1E leans toward fully automating the process on as many as machines as possible instead of partiallyautomating the process for every machine, because it can lead to 80 to 90 percent less desk visits. Using a totally automated approach “means organisations can deploy literally thousands of machines per day,” which is the “only way to get migrated within the available time”.

Camwood, a migration services company ‘s CEO Adrian Foxall said IT knows full well that the end of Windows XP is around the corner, but business isn’t paying as much attention.

“In these tough economic times, it is not surprising that business leaders do not want to invest a substantial amount of money in something that essentially isn’t broken, as is the case with Windows XP today,” Foxall said. “But with an estimated 40 percent of business desktops still running Windows XP and with the clock ticking, IT and the board need to join forces and work together to migrate to a new OS that will support their organisation now and into the future”.

If they don’t, companies will be putting themselves “in jeopardy”.

IE 10 arrives for Windows 7

msMicrosoft’s channel partners will be greatly relieved to discover they will no longer have to explain to corporate clients why they can’t have the latest Internet Explorer, even after they upgraded to Windows 7.

Redmond, in a desperate attempt to push Windows 8, delayed the release of its new Internet Explorer 10 so that it did not run on Windows 7, even though that is mostly what corporate customers are upgrading to at the moment.

Corporations usually run a generation behind on operating systems and the system has been compounded by many of them hanging on to Windows XP and ignoring Vista.

But IE 10 also has some important security improvements and is an all-round better browser with better access for things like HTML5 functionality and do not track functions. It also plays nicer with web standards and fits into 30 that were not adopted in IE9.

Like IE10 for Windows 8 and Windows RT, IE10 for Windows 7 is optimised for touch, which will be largely seen as pretty pointless for corporations. However unlike the Windows 8 and Windows RT versions, IE10 for Windows 7 places the URL bar at the top of the screen, not the bottom.
These sorts of functions and the fact that IE 10 on Windows 7 includes improved JavaScript performance, and a focus on battery life improvements for mobile PCs means that it will make an easier sale to outfits who are mulling over a BYOD policy.

More from Microsoft here.