Category: News

New Windows 10 Build Available

For those of us in the fast ring of updates for Windows 10, a new build is now available for upgrade. Build 10041 has new functionality and bug fixes.

Here is what’s new for PC

Improving the Start experience: In 9926 we introduced the XAML based Start experience, and we’ve continued to make improvements since then. Start now has transparency, and we’ve addressed issues with the All Apps list like making the All Apps button easier to use with touch. Dragging and dropping apps from All Apps or your most used apps list to pin them to Start was a top request, and this has been added.

Improvements to Virtual Desktops: We’ve addressed your #1 feature request for Virtual Desktops from Insiders – you can now drag a window to a Virtual Desktop! Previously, you had to right-click and use a context menu. You can also drag a window to the “+” icon to both create a Virtual Desktop and move the window to it in single step. We also now support a filtered taskbar. This means that only the running windows in a particular Virtual Desktop will show in the taskbar. This allows you to better organize what you are working on. We are doing some A/B testing for this where there will be different defaults for different users to help us decide what default to use based on feedback from Insiders. We also added a filtered Alt+Tab so you only see the windows on the given Virtual Desktop.

Cortana is expanding into new markets on the desktop: Cortana now also works on the desktop in China, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain – in addition to the U.S. For you in these new markets, look for her to help you find the things you need and proactively bring you information that you care about. Currently, Cortana will help you search for apps, settings, and files as well as search the web. Cortana learns your preferences and provides smarter recommendations over time. Cortana is still fairly new to the desktop but we are continuing to fix bugs and add new capabilities all the time.

New Network flyout from Taskbar in Windows 10

New network fly-out from the taskbar: We’ve heard a lot of feedback on this and have introduced a network fly-out from the taskbar when you click on the network icon for quick access to your network settings. You’ll be able to easily connect to wireless networks from this fly-out. We have more work to do here as the UX isn’t complete just yet.

Enhancements to the Photos app: The updated Live Tile for the Photos app will now include your photos on OneDrive in the recent photo rotation where previously you would only see local photos.  We’ve made lots of performance and reliability improvements across the entire app. You will see added support for RAW format files, which should be up to date with new major cameras. If you find a RAW file that doesn’t show up correctly in the Photos app, let us know what camera model it’s from using the Feedback app. We’ve also implemented our first set of keyboard shortcuts for the Photos app – try using the tab, arrow keys and page up/down with the Photos app open. In coming weeks we’ll be adding keyboard shortcuts for popular actions/workflows. If you have one you really count on – let us know via the Feedback app.

New handwriting input panel in Windows 10

New Text Input Canvas: We’ve introduced an updated experience for handwriting panel recognition optimized for short text entry. Auto displayed on tap in edit control with pen, positioned near the edit control, provides recognition candidates, suggestions and next word predictions.

Experimenting with the Lock screen: We often hear feedback around the learning curve when it comes to a big new release. To make things easier, we’re experimenting with the Lock screen as a place to share some “did you knows” as well as tips and tricks to help people learn Windows 10. Some of you may have noticed the Lock screen lighting up with beautiful imagery and a “Welcome to the Windows Insider Program” message with the previous build we released back in January (9926). Between now and our final release, we’ll be rolling out more of these – first in the U.S. and France. In other countries, for now you will continue to see rotations of beautiful imagery. Your Lock screen may look different than your fellow Windows Insider’s lock screen, as we rotate through a variety of different content. Send us feedback through the Windows Feedback app and let us know what you think about this. And of course you can still change your Lock screen background to any photo of your choice.

Windows 10 Available This Summer, and to Pirates

Microsoft has made an announcement that Windows 10 will be available this summer. The odd part – it’s going to be available to upgrade from both genuine and non-genuine operating systems. Meaning, if you have a non-genuine or pirated copy of Windows 7 or 8.1, you are still eligible to upgrade to Windows 10. This is a change for Microsoft, which usually have a very strict stance on piracy which led to the online activation scheme in the first place (one of my biggest complaints about the OS, as it’s not too reliable at times).

The new changes show that Microsoft is willing to do a lot to get Windows 10 onto as many devices as it possible can. That, and maybe the OS itself isn’t going to be the main revenue generator for the company anymore.

At the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit on Wednesday, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Windows, Microsoft Corp., announced that Windows 10 will launch in 190 countries and 111 languages around the world this summer.

Office for Windows 10 Preview Available

Office for Windows 10 is a touch styled Office application for Windows 10. A much better interface for tablet users not wanting to use the standard desktop application, which is meant for mouse and keyboard users. For those wanting to give it a try and see how it works for you, there are some previews available today.

Give it a try:

Word Preview

Excel Preview

Powerpoint Preview

Office for Windows 10 offers touch-optimized versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook that work great on small screen devices like your phone and tablet—all the way up to the Microsoft Surface Hub. They are designed from the ground up to run on Windows 10, built for touch and offer the unmistakable Office experience you know and love. As “universal” Office apps, they truly are the same app across device size, providing a consistent way for independent software vendors and developers to extend and integrate with Office apps.

Bing Predicts Patriots Win Superbowl

Edit – Bing was correct this year. Great game… Not a fan of the last minute, but still a great game!

Bing predicts that the Patriots have a 51% chance to win the Superbowl. In the regular season, Big predictions have been pretty good. Right now, it looks like the odds are pretty good that it’s going to be a great, unpredictable game. 51% chance for the Pats and 49% of the Seahawks. Should be anyone’s game, and hopefully it’s a great one to watch! Do you think Bing predictions will be right?

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RSAT Tools Available for Windows 10

For those IT Pro’s out there testing Windows 10 and the new Windows Server Technical Preview, there is a new Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) available for Windows 10. Grab it if you need it.

    Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 Technical Preview includes Server Manager, Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins, consoles, Windows PowerShell cmdlets and providers, and command-line tools for managing roles and features that run on Windows Server Technical Preview.
    Note that this release of Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 Technical Preview does not run on Windows 10 Technical Preview builds that are older (lower-numbered) than build 9926. This download can only be installed on the January 21, 2015 release of Windows 10 Technical Preview.
    Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 Technical Preview can be used to manage roles and features that are running on Windows Server Technical Preview (October 2014), with the following exceptions:

    • DNS Tools. DNS Tools in this release of RSAT offer limited functionality managing DNS Server running on Windows Server Technical Preview. Use DNS Tools to manage DNS Server running on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
    • IP Address Management (IPAM) Tools. You cannot use IPAM Tools in this release of RSAT to manage IPAM running on Windows Server Technical Preview. Use IPAM Tools in this release of RSAT to manage IPAM running on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.

    The following management tools are not available in this release of Remote Server Administration Tools.

    • Direct Access
    • Routing and Remote Access

Surface Pro 3 Update for Windows 10

For those running Windows 10 on your Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has posted an update to improve stability with the onboard graphics. While I haven’t run it on the SP3 (waiting for RTM), I have heard some reports of high CPU usage, etc. and I don’t think this will fix it, but as usual – I always expect some bugs and instability. Grab this if you need it!

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Surface Doing Well, Drops Surface 2

Microsoft’s Surface division is doing extremely well, earning the company $1.1 billion dollars last quarter. Microsoft is dropping the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 and focusing it’s efforts all on the Surface Pro 3 – which was the source of most of the revenue.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the Surface 2 is being retired. Besides the rather large difference in Surface sales by device, as well as Microsoft’s lack of plans to bring over Windows 10, stock of the computer has been drying up in several places, including the company’s own online store.

Windows 10 & Xbox One

A couple cool new things coming for Windows 10 and the Xbox One. First, the Xbox One is going to get an update to the Windows 10 kernel. This should help the Xbox with a lot more apps (universal apps), as well as bring DirectX 12 to the system.

"One of the monthly updates that you’ll get on [Xbox One] is gonna change from the Windows 8 kernel that’s in there now to the Windows 10 kernel," Microsoft Xbox lead Phil Spencer said during a group interview in Redmond, Washington, yesterday. "I know a lot of people are excited about things like Cortana and other features they see on Windows 10. Obviously getting on the Windows 10 kernel — well, it’s not really the kernel — but Windows 10 OS inside of Xbox One is an important first step to unlock a lot of what [Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore] showed."

Next is the Xbox One can stream to the PC. So, with an Xbox controller, you can play your Xbox One games on your PC display. That sounds neat, but what about the other way around? Can you play PC games on your Xbox One setup? Microsoft is investigating the possibilities of that. In theory, it could easily work. PC games on the big screen look great and play great. However, not everyone can have a PC in their living room or connected to their HDTV. Having the ability to stream it to your already connected Xbox One would be excellent.

But now the company has said that it is also looking into the reverse – streaming Windows 10 games from other devices to play on your Xbox One.

"We’re actively investigating that right now," Xbox exec Mike Ybarra explained during a roundtable interview attended by Eurogamer’s man on the ground Jeffrey Matulef.

Windows RT Not Getting Windows 10

Windows RT, the gimpy version of Windows for tablets, isn’t getting a full upgrade to Windows 10 as the desktop and phone are. Instead, they get “an update … which will have some of the functionality of Windows 10.”. Windows RT isn’t a bad OS. The Surface RT is a good device. However, when you compare it to the Surface Pro or some of the other (less expensive) Windows 8.1 devices running a full version of Windows 8.1, it really can’t compare.

I left the iPad due to it’s limitations. It’s strictly a tablet and has a productivity barrier. Even with some decent apps and a Bluetooth keyboard, I was limited quite a bit. The RT has the same limitations. Going to a full edition of Windows is an easy solution.

Honestly, I can’t say I’m surprised. If anything, I’m more surprised that it’s lasted this long. After third party OEM’s dropped RT, and the limited install base, I would have thought it’d be dropped a year ago. I’m glad they are supporting it for those users that did buy into it. I would love to have an RT device. I have a Surface Pro 3, which does great. But, I’d love a second device to use strictly as a tablet – e-reader, apps, some games, Office. Great battery life, and simple and sweet.

The company on Wednesday spent nearly two and a half hours at a press event talking up Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system that’s trying to fix the problems from Windows 8. But it devoted only a few seconds to Windows RT, saying during a Q&A with reporters that it is “working on an update for Windows RT as well.”

Windows 10 Presentation

For those that missed it, Microsoft has a blog update showing what was shown at today’s event for Windows 10. A lot of really cool stuff. Windows 10 Insiders get an update within the next week to showcase a lot of the new features. Should be extremely fun to play around with.

Some other excellent things were shown during the presentation: HoloLens, Surface Hub,  Windows 10 Phone, Xbox Streaming… A good presentation, for sure. I’m definitely impressed with the new Windows 10, and I knew a bit of this before hand. Seeing it in action made a big impression, as did some of the other technologies shown.

One big question answered – if you own Windows 7 or 8, you get a free upgrade to Windows 10 as long as you do it within a year of release. No, this isn’t a year free of a subscription service. This is a year long promotion to get it for free – for the life of the device.

Today was a monumental day for us on the Windows team because we shared our desire to redefine the relationship we have with you – our customers. We announced that a free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch.*

This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge. With Windows 10, the experience will evolve and get even better over time. We’ll deliver new features when they’re ready, not waiting for the next major release. We think of Windows as a Service – in fact, one could reasonably think of Windows in the next couple of years as one of the largest Internet services on the planet.