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August Updates For Windows 8.1/Server 2012R2

Those expecting Windows 8.1 Update 2 in the coming weeks will be disappointed. However, Microsoft is bringing a few improvements next Tuesday for the August updates. So, they are clearing up some Windows 8.1 Update 2 speculation. However, I’m sure there will be some (true or not) speculation on if this is a move to bring Windows 9 to market sooner and leave the larger update for that, rather than a new, large update to Windows 8.1. Take that as completely BS that I just made up, and may or not be true.

With the above in mind, rather than waiting for months and bundling together a bunch of improvements into a larger update as we did for the Windows 8.1 Update, customers can expect that we’ll use our already existing monthly update process to deliver more frequent improvements along with the security updates normally provided as part of “Update Tuesday.” So despite rumors and speculation, we are not planning to deliver a Windows 8.1 “Update 2.”

Missing Graphics and Icons in Office 2013 – Solution

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We recently had a migration to Office 2013 at work. We had an issue on several PC’s where we would have missing graphics on the application – from missing icons, to missing arrows on pull down menus, even the Maximize/Minimize/Close buttons were gone. You can see in this example – the down arrows for the fonts are missing, the File icon (it’s white, but not visible in this shot), and close/minimize/maximize buttons are missing.

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After a lot of searching and testing and uninstalling and reinstalling Office, other applications and installing various .Net libraries, we have a solution. It may not be a fix for every situation, but it seems to fix all of our issues on all our machines. The culprit – KB2670838. When we uninstalled the KB, as well as Internet Explorer 10, the issue was resolved. This seems to a common issue with some folks with Windows 7 (and can cause other issues – ‘gfxui.exe has stopped working’, Aero not working,  Desktop Windows Manager service crashing but shows running, etc.).

***Before you attempt to uninstall the KB (it automatically uninstalls Internet Explorer 10, as well) – make sure you download another browser (either install files for IE9 or install Chrome/Firefox/Opera). If you do not have another browser ready to go or ready to install, you won’t be able to download one. There won’t be one installed to do so.***

Here is how to uninstall the KB –   1. Open the Control Panel, click Programs and Features.

 

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2. In the left pane, select “View installed updates”. Find the KB2670838 entry, click it and select “Uninstall” at the top of the window.

 

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3. Reboot the machine, and when you reopen an Office 2013 application, the missing graphics should have returned.

 

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Now, to get Internet Explorer back (or use an alternative browser), use the install file for your browser of choice. If you are resolving this issue, it’s best to go with Internet Explorer 9 or an alternative browser. Updating to IE10 may bring the same issues.

 

OneNote Video – I Click It and I Note It

OneNote team posted a funny video (parody?) of a popular song, but switched it up to be a bit more relevant to the Surface Pro 3 and OneNote. This came out last month, so many may have already watched it, but I just caught wind of it.

Microsoft Killing Windows RT

Microsoft is going to drop Windows RT from it’s product line according to CNN Money. But, it’s the headline that got a chuckle from me – “Microsoft’s most boneheaded product is about to be killed off”. Sounds pretty brutal. One thing they did mention in there is that the Surface RT was the only mainstream Windows RT tablet. There were others, most have already dropped out from the RT offerings, though.  It had potential, but I see more users wanting the full Windows OS and not a watered down lookalike.

Windows RT was supposed to usher in the tablet era for Microsoft. But Windows RT has two fatal flaws: it’s missing crucial apps, and it’s poorly designed. Unsurprisingly, the stripped-down operating system failed to take off. (Actually, that’s an understatement: Microsoft took a $900 million writedown last year because of awful Surface RT sales, the only mainstream tablet than ran Windows RT.)

OneDrive Ups the Quotas

OneDrive users have been upgraded to a much larger quota. From the free OneDrive accounts to the business accounts (and Home/Home Office/Education), all have been given more space for your files. Of course, there is the ability to pay for more space as needed.

New and existing personal OneDrive accounts will come with:

 

 

Also, people who use OneDrive for Business now have a 1 TB quota (up from 25 GB).

XBox TV Gets the Cut

As part of the layoffs and cuts at Microsoft this week, the newer XBox TV program has been axed. The series based on Halo will continue (as well as Signal to Noise), but all other projects are gone. I was hoping for some new original content from Microsoft with the platform.

Interestingly, that series (along with Signal to Noise) will continue, but everything else is being closed up. This means that the short life of Xbox Originals is already over. It’s unclear why this newly developed platform wasn’t allowed to grow, but evidently the new leadership saw limited potential in a crowded (and expensive) market. It’s also possible that leadership felt that creating content just wasn’t in Microsoft’s wheelhouse, and that the resources it’d require would be better placed elsewhere.

Microsoft IT Pros – Prometric is Gone, Pearson Vue is In!

I was one of the many that were upset when Microsoft dropped Pearson Vue in favor of Prometric for their IT certification exams. Now, Microsoft is dropping the contract with Prometric, and is renewing with Pearson Vue. This is excellent news for many, as the nearest Prometric test center for me was 4 hours away (similar to many others). Pearson Vue has more centers available. Now, I can say that I am going to finish my CCNA: Security and then move on to many more Microsoft exams (Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, etc..). A FAQ for details is available here (PDF).

The partnership officially ends on December 31, 2014, however on September 4, 2014,Pearson VUE will renew its authorization as an exam delivery provider. Microsoft certification exams will continue to be available through both exam delivery providers through December 31, 2014.

Microsoft Has 14% of Market Share for All Devices

Microsoft has declared that it no longer has 90% of the market share. However, the 90% is still true for PC’s, but it does only have 14% in the total device market. This includes all devices with an OS – PC’s, laptops, phones, tablets… Kevin Turner of Microsoft has a good outlook on the situation. Basically, it comes down to “Challenge Accepted.”.

But the rise of computing on tablets and smartphones has turned the PC market into one slice of a much larger pie, and Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner this morning told the company’s partners that they have to look at the world differently. Even though Microsoft still has 90 percent of the PC market, he said, the important figure is 14 percent, taking into account the entire world of devices.

Windows 9 Start Menu Image Leaked

Take this with a grain of salt, but a leaked image of the new Windows 9 start menu has appeared on the web. A rough and dirty combination of the classic start menu alongside the Modern UI, all in a single menu.

The watermark present in the screenshots says that the new start menu is part of Windows Build 9788, which may be an early build of Windows 9. While the screenshot watermark is labeled as Windows 8.1, ExtremeTech noted that it’s not uncommon to see alpha builds of a new Windows operating system using current version numbers.

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Satya Nadella’s Plans for the Future

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s has a way with words. The guy can really deliver some inspiration and motivation for the employees of Microsoft. He has delivered a large memo to the employees (and public to read) that really makes me love the “new” Microsoft.

The day I took on my new role I said that our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation. I also said that in order to accelerate our innovation, we must rediscover our soul – our unique core. We must all understand and embrace what only Microsoft can contribute to the world and how we can once again change the world. I consider the job before us to be bolder and more ambitious than anything we have ever done.