Items tagged with Windows

Microsoft has stepped out to explain its side of a recent story here that made headlines and it underscores that it's never wise to jump to conclusions in legal cases unless you have a firm grasp on the particulars. This week, we reported on an e-waste recycler who was sentenced to prison for 15 months for selling unofficial Windows install disks. At first glance, it may have been easy to consider Microsoft the bad guy for its overzealous prosecution. In the company's recent blog post, Corporate VP of Communications Frank X. Shaw gives great detail on the case, based entirely on publicly available records. While the company clearly has its own interests and its customers interests at heart,... Read more...
Microsoft decided to file criminal charges against an e-waste recycler named Eric Lundgren. The case against Lundgren originally went to court months ago, but the man remained free as his appeal worked its way through the court system. A federal appeals court has now upheld the original ruling, meaning that Lundgren will serve a 15-month prison sentence and will be forced to pay a $50,000 fine. What led to this harsh prison sentence? Lundgren had taken to downloading free software that Microsoft offers to Windows users commonly called restore disks. Lundgren's idea was to make these discs available to computer recycling shops so that they wouldn't need to make the disks themselves. He also wanted... Read more...
Microsoft has done something that might surprise a bunch of people out there, it has open sourced the WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) to make it easier for Windows users to run Linux distributions. The WSL sample that is now open source allows distro maintainers to build WSL packages for the Microsoft Store and to create custom Linux distro packages for sideloading. The distro launcher repo is on GitHub right now. Microsoft says that the open source WSL will enable: Linux distribution maintainers to package and submit a Linux distribution as an appx that runs on WSL Developers to create custom Linux distributions that can be sideloaded onto their dev machine Microsoft notes that since many... Read more...
PC users out there who are part of the Skip Ahead program have an updated version of Windows 10 they can grab and try out. The new version is Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17623 and it has some cool bits in it, and one not so cool feature. The major new introduction comes in the form of support for the High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) in Windows 10. Support for that format has been rolled into the Windows 10 Photos app. If you are unfamiliar with HEIF, it is an image container that uses modern codecs like HEVC to improve image quality, compression, and capabilities compared to older formats like JPEG, GIF, and PNG. Microsoft wrote, "In addition to traditional single images, HEIF... Read more...
Microsoft's Windows Defender was working hard this week, and according to Microsoft, just before noon on March 6 the AV suite put the brakes on 80,000 instances of several sophisticated trojans. These trojans were especially dastardly because they had advanced cross-process injection techniques, persistence mechanisms, and evasion methods. All the trojans are new versions of Dofoil (also known as Smoke Loader) and they carry a coin miner payload. Microsoft wrote, "Within the next 12 hours, more than 400,000 instances were recorded, 73% of which were in Russia. Turkey accounted for 18% and Ukraine 4% of the global encounters." Microsoft notes that Windows Defender AV flagged the "unusual persistence... Read more...
Microsoft is making it easier for businesses and IT administrators to tell if their PCs are protected from Spectre and Meltdown. Along with yesterday's collection of Patch Tuesday security updates, Microsoft upgraded its Windows Analytics service to specifically look for various mitigations against Spectre and Meltdown, including antivirus, operating system patches, and appropriate firmware. Unless you manage several PCs deployed at your workplace, you might not be familiar with Windows Analytics, a free tool that Microsoft provides to businesses. It's a cloud-based service designed to provide actionable insights into the performance, reliability, and health of Windows devices. Windows Analytics... Read more...
In some ways, Microsoft's Windows Phone platform feels like a missed opportunity. Had things been executed differently, it might have been big, giving Android and iOS a run for their money. Instead, it struggled to gain any kind of real traction in the marketplace, and Microsoft moved on. The potential of Windows Phone could have been, however, might be realized by the long anticipated Surface Phone, and some recent rumors suggest the device might support Win32 apps if and when it shows up. Microsoft has proven it can compete in hardware with its Surface products, despite a rocky start that saw the Surface RT flounder among more fully featured 2-in-1 devices. The company learned its lesson and... Read more...
Microsoft this week announced that it has integrated some new tricks into Windows Defender to help prevent users from being bullied to buy upgraded versions of free software. According to Microsoft, there has been a big uptick in free versions of programs that claim to scan a user's computer and find a litany of errors. The software then uses coercive messaging to scare users into buying upgrades to license premium versions of the software to fix the errors. Microsoft notes that the premium version of these programs are often called cleaner or optimizer applications and claim to fix the issues that the free version found. Microsoft wrote, "We find this practice problematic because it... Read more...
The two most worrisome vulnerabilities in computers to have surfaced in recent months are Spectre and Meltdown, which were first first disclosed earlier this month. These flaws collectively affect processors from Intel, AMD, and ARM. The problem for some people, including Linus Torvalds, was that Intel's initial response was lackluster. After Intel finally got around to giving PC users a fix for the Meltdown and Spectre flaws, the updates caused unexpected rebooting of some machines -- a new bug that Intel eventually confirmed. Microsoft has decided to step in and help users who are fighting these unexpected reboots with an out-of-phase patch released on Saturday specifically to... Read more...
If you've been following the tech or security news for the past few days, then you no doubt know of a security vulnerability that reportedly affects all Intel processors. OS vendors have been working to mitigate the issue with kernel patches, but those software Band-Aids can come with some performance handicaps as a side effect. Today, we're learning more about what exactly is going on, and that there are not one, but actually two vulnerabilities that have been disclosed. It's bad enough that one of them targets Intel processors, but the second affects ALL modern processors as well -- including those based on architectures from Intel, AMD and ARM. So, we present to you Meltdown and Spectre.... Read more...
If the reports are accurate, it appears that Intel might have a pretty severe chip-level security bug on its hands that cannot be simply swatted away with a microcode update. The bug affects all modern Intel processors dating back at least a decade. We should note that squashing the bug requires a patch at the OS level; and Linux patches have already been distributed (with redacted comments). Microsoft is expected to address the bug in its monthly Patch Tuesday update. The circumstances surrounding the exploit are currently under embargo, but some details are starting to make their way to the public spotlight, thanks to reporting over at Python Sweetness and The Register. In a nutshell, the bug... Read more...
As 2017 winds down, Kodi has an announcement that Xbox One fans will really appreciate. Kodi for Xbox One is now available globally via the Windows and Xbox Store. One caveat of the software is that Kodi says it is not completely finished and may contain missing features and bugs. Essentially, it is beta software. Kodi wrote, "It was thought by the team that getting Kodi (XBMC) running on newer Xbox versions would be wishful thinking and we would never see that happen anymore. As time passed by developers and users were happy running XBMC on their Linux, Windows, OSX, Raspberry-Pi and Android devices as such no one really looked back. Although jokingly for nostalgic reasons we talked about how... Read more...
If you were alive in 1985, it was a pretty good year to be around. The movies that came out that year are some of the most popular and classic of '80s films like "The Goonies", "Back to the Future", "Weird Science", and "The Breakfast Club". 1985 also happens to be the year that version 1.0 of Windows rolled out. Someone has dug up a complete version of Windows 1.0 that is signed by no other than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The eBay seller, Badastheblues, claims that the Windows 1.0 box set is an original copy that was handed out at an event in Las Vegas in November of 1985. The description of the software reads, "This is an original copy, dated and signed by Bill Gates, of the first ever... Read more...
William Henry Gates III, better known to the world as Bill Gates, spent several decades building Microsoft into the software (and hardware) empire that it is today. His legacy outside of the philanthropy world is Windows. If he had to do it all over again, do you think he would do things differently? Sure he would, though one of his biggest regrets might surprise you. What still eats away at Gates to this day is how to force a reboot in Windows.Image Source: Flickr (World Economic Forum)More specifically, Gates laments the Ctrl-Alt-Delete combination to restart Windows. During a speech at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in Manhattan this week, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft says... Read more...
If you are chomping at the bit to get your hands and eyes on one of the new Windows Mixed Reality headsets for your PC, the time for pre-ordering is here. Dell has announced that its mixed reality headset, called the Dell Visor, is now available for pre-order. Dell says that the headset has a superior ergonomic design, comfort-first features, and a white color scheme that sets it apart from the competition. Microsoft announced before that Dell was a partner for the mixed reality headsets along with several other major PC manufacturers including Lenovo, Acer, and HP. Dell says that the Visor will ship on October 17 and will sell for $349.99 for the headset and $99.99 for the controllers. A bundle... Read more...
Lenovo has pulled the wraps off a pair of new workstation PCs that aim directly at the folks out there who need lots of power and performance to make it through their workday. The machines include the ThinkStation P920 and P720. The most powerful of the duo is the P290 and it is crammed full of hardware with options running dual Intel Xeon Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze CPUs.  Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is pre-loaded and the machine is also certified for use with Redhat Linux. If your workload requires you to render 3D models or perform other GPU-intensive workloads, the P920 can be fitted with up to three NVIDIA Quadro GP100 or P6000 GPUs. Lenovo will fit the machine with up to... Read more...
It's not uncommon for us to write about security issues, but it's pretty rare when we write about one that's not going to be fixed, per the guilty party. In this case, that guilty party is Microsoft, and the bug is one that has been around ever since the launch of Windows 2000. Whether or not it's truly severe, we'll really have to wait and see. Or, at least we suppose, since it's existed for 17 years already.  The bug is related to a Windows API hook called PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine, which lets the kernel know that a new module has been loaded. The problem, allegedly, is that invalid module names can be reported, ultimately tricking security software that rely on Windows' APIs into handling... Read more...
While VR is the big thing for gaming, there is another similar tech that PC makers and software giant Microsoft really want to take off in a big way and that is mixed reality. VR and mixed reality are similar in that both have virtual constructs in them, but in VR everything that the user of the tech sees is virtual whereas mixed reality overlays virtual objects with your real world environment. Mixed reality has big potential to revolutionize industry with the ability to help train new workers and to bring gaming into your home in a new way. Microsoft writes, "A little over ten months ago our mixed reality journey took a leap forward when we announced that the world’s largest PC makers were... Read more...
Back in June, a leak hinted that there would be new flavors of Windows 10 aimed specifically at workstation PCs. Fast forward a couple months and Microsoft has now officially announced Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and it is designed specifically to support server-grade PC hardware. Microsoft's Klaus Diaconu, Partner Group Program manager, Windows & Devices Group, wrote, "Today we are very excited to announce a new edition of Windows 10 Pro designed to meet the needs of our advanced users deploying their Workstation PCs in demanding and mission-critical scenarios. Windows 10 Pro for Workstations will be delivered as part of our Fall Creators Update, available this fall." The OS will... Read more...
Microsoft has gone to great lengths to foster adoption of its Windows 10 operating system, and for good reason. In addition to it likely being one of the best iterations of the Windows OS in a long time--with better security, support for DX12 and host of other features--it’s clearly also a platform for MSFT to better track its customer base for myriad of reasons. Many, including our team here at HotHardware, have droned on about some of the privacy concerns with Windows 10 and we even showed you how to keep Redmond’s nose out of your private bits here as well. Further, even Microsoft has reacted, offering significantly more advanced privacy controls in the recent Windows 10 Creators Update. However,... Read more...
Last Friday, we reported on a major cyberattack involving ransomeware that hit a large number of computers - including some belonging to the UK's National Health Service. At first, the malware's reach wasn't too clear, but as the weekend went on, we learned that the number of affected PCs reached at least 200,000 worldwide. Given the nature of this beast, that is downright terrifying. The big question right now is, "Who's at fault?" The blame could easily be shifted to Microsoft, as the bug that allowed this to happen was directly attributed to its own code. While the company is to be commended for releasing a rare Windows XP patch to help squash the bug, it comes a bit too late. Microsoft knew... Read more...
Windows 95 is alive and well in the United States Pentagon. Daryl Haegley, program manager for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment reported at an event hosted by OSIsoft that 75% of the Department of Defense computers Windows XP or older (including Windows 98 and even Windows 95). This information was gathered from fifteen different defense sites within the United States.Image from: Wikimedia Commons, David B. GleasonMicrosoft ended support for Windows XP in 2014, but the Pentagon currently pays Microsoft to continue providing support for the outdated OS. The majority of the computers equipped with Windows XP or older are thankfully... Read more...
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