Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category


How to unpartition a hard drive using Windows 7?

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” You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

When you delete a hard disk partition or volume (the terms partition and volume are often used interchangeably), you create empty space that you can use to create new partitions.

If your hard disk is currently set up as a single partition, then you can’t delete it. You also can’t delete the system partition, boot partition, or any partition that contains the virtual memory paging file, because Windows needs this information to start correctly. For more information, see Can I repartition my hard disk?”

To delete a partition
Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management.‌ Administrator permission required If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

In the left pane, under Storage, click Disk Management.

Right-click the volume, such as a partition or logical drive, that you want to delete, and then click Delete Volume.

Click Yes to delete the volume.
If you delete a primary partition, the resulting empty space is called unallocated disk space . If you delete a logical drive within an extended partition, the resulting empty space is called free space. You can now use the empty space to create additional volumes. To learn how, see Create and format a hard disk partition.

All data on a partition will be lost when you delete it. Be sure to back up any files that you want to save to a different location before you begin.

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7 things we want to see in the Surface Pro 4

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Perhaps a “Surface Pro 4” will debut at the same time or soon after Windows 10 launches. Here’s what we’d like to see in the Surface Pro 4.

Surface Pro 4
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 has become a surprise hit, bringing in more than $900 million in revenue, according to industry analysts, and generating such enthusiasm that fans are looking forward to the next version. The Surface Pro 3 was designed to present Windows 8.1 at its best, so it’s expected that its successor will serve as a showcase for Windows 10, which could come out as early as this summer. Perhaps a “Surface Pro 4” will debut at the same time or soon after Windows 10 launches. Here’s what we’d like to see in the Surface Pro 4.

A better camera.
In our review of the Surface Pro 3, we found that its rear camera was unable to focus on objects within a few feet of it. That’s unfortunate because it means you cannot use it to capture an image of a sheet of paper with text on it. For the Surface Pro 4, we hope it has an improved rear camera that would easily let us do this. This would make the tablet even more appealing in an office environment or for work-related tasks if you can use it to quickly snap images of documents to archive.

Another keyboard option.
Generally, we like the Type Cover: Surface Pro 3’s keyboard (sold separately) that also serves as a protective cover for the tablet. However, the keys can feel slightly mushy if you don’t type with your fingers curved and wrists raised. For the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft may want to consider offering a second keyboard with keys more like a traditional notebook. The design should have sturdy hinges so that the Surface Pro 4 can attach to it (perhaps by strong magnets) without the need for propping the tablet up by its built-in kickstand, which is what has to be done now with the Surface Pro 3 when using the Type Cover.

A (slightly) larger screen
Speculation has it that the Surface Pro 4 might come in two screen sizes, possibly 8 inches and 14 inches. Microsoft considered releasing a 7 inch Surface Pro 3, but cancelled it. For the fourth Surface, the company may be wise to repeat this strategy.
 We like Surface Pro 3’s 12-inch diagonal size and 3:2 aspect ratio, because it approximates the dimensions of an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch sheet (though just a bit smaller). To continue making the Surface appeal to the business market, the Surface Pro 4 should have a screen that’s perhaps a little bit larger to match the size of a standard business letter.

Processors that run cooler.
The Surface Pro 3 is available running an Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor, but there have been reports of the i7 model running too hot and therefore glitching out. Fortunately, it’s likely that the Surface Pro 4 will use the new Intel Core M line — powerful processors which were designed for slim, mobile devices, and they don’t use fans.

Continued compatibility with Windows desktop apps
The first two generations of Surfaces were available in two varieties: with processors that could run standard Windows desktop applications (the Surface Pro), and ones that could only run only Windows Store apps (Surface.) This was certainly confusing to customers, so Microsoft wisely didn’t release a “Surface 3.” This made the Surface Pro 3 a unique item onto itself, lessened brand confusion, and met buyers’ expectations. So the fourth generation Surface should not include a “Surface 4.”

More software for the digital pen
The Surface Pen is great; sketching and writing with it on the Surface Pro 3’s display conveys a close sensation of using an ink pen on paper. The tablet doesn’t include much software specially designed for it, except for the OneNote app which implements a UI to make using it with the Surface Pen easier. So we’d like to see more applications for the Surface Pen, such as a tool that can take your PDFs or Word documents and let them be signed by someone using the Surface Pen.

Finally, don’t mess with its good looks.
We really like the Surface Pro 3’s case — its smooth flat surfaces machined from magnesium feel cool to the touch, and even the hinge mechanism of its kickstand gives a sense of solid mechanical design when you pop it out to prop up the tablet. Perhaps the Surface Pro 4 will be slightly thinner and lighter (the Surface Pro 3 is 0.36 inches thin and weighs 1.76 pounds), but overall we see little that needs to be improved.

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‘Critical point’ for Windows starts Tuesday

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Whatever Microsoft calls Windows 8’s successor better wow the enterprise.

When Microsoft unveils its next edition of Windows Tuesday, it will face its greatest challenge ever in operating systems, an analyst argued today.

“There’s never been a more critical point for Microsoft related to operating systems than now,” asserted Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “Enterprises are now considering what’s going to happen in the next five to ten years.”

Wes Miller of Directions on Microsoft concurred. “I do think this is pretty critical,” said Miller. “In the enterprise, lots of businesses are wondering how long they’re going to stick with Windows 7.”

Microsoft is expected to reveal its upcoming Windows tomorrow at an invitation-only press conference in San Francisco starting at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET). The focus of this initial introduction will be how the next Windows — codenamed “Threshold” and preemptively dubbed “Windows 9” by some — works with traditional personal computers, those that dominate in business and rely on mouse and keyboard input, not touch.

The introduction will signal just how far Microsoft has retreated from the radical thinking that went into Windows 8, which most have decried as a flop, in order to appeal to its most profitable customers, the corporations that have essentially ignored Windows 8. The company may also provide details of the naming of the new OS, and whether it will be offered free to customers already running Windows 8, or even Windows 7.

“Microsoft must push forward on the tablet and phone front with a touch-enabled OS, but the great takeaway from Windows 8 is that they can’t do that at the expense of ignoring the desktop,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.

While some may argue that Microsoft has faced similar situations in the past — notably the introduction of Windows 7 in 2009 after the failure of Windows Vista — the scene today supports Moorhead’s take that this time is different.

Then, personal computer sales were still on the upswing — Peak PC didn’t happen until 2011 — while the iPad, and the explosion of tablets in general, was months away. Smartphones were still the purview of the well-to-do. Apple was selling fewer than two-thirds the number of Macs that it does today. And OEMs, the computer manufacturing partners Microsoft relies on, weren’t shilling systems powered by Google’s Chrome OS because, well, Google had not even released its own reference hardware yet.

Those headwinds now blow Windows’ way.

“PC OEMs are holding their breath,” said Moorhead. “To be frank, they were so disappointed with Windows 8 that they’re taking a conservative approach to expectations” for Threshold. “But at the same time, they’re cautiously optimistic because they really don’t have a choice but to participate.”

Another stumble with the next Windows won’t stop OEMs from shipping Windows on their machines — as Moorhead noted, the alternatives are meager — but it would open the OS to even more inroads by rivals.

“Windows 8 has given iOS, Android, Chrome OS and OS X more and greater access to the enterprise,” said Moorhead. “Microsoft has a chance to turn around the perspective [of Windows] with Threshold and minimize the risk [of further erosion].”

Threshold is important because, as Moorhead and others have pointed out, enterprises should already be looking ahead to what they will use to replace Windows 7, which has become, like Windows XP before it, the OS standard bearer for business.

While Microsoft will provide security updates for Windows 7 until January 2020, companies that want a smooth migration from old to new should be planning now for its replacement, Gartner analysts said last month. That replacement could be Threshold, if Microsoft effectively makes its case starting Tuesday. “[Microsoft] needs to give customers an idea of what the road map is going to be,” said Gartner analyst Michael Silver in an August interview.

If Threshold is simply a warmed-over Windows 8, then enterprises may well postpone migration plans and hope that whatever comes after that is more palatable. But during the interim, there’s the chance that they will look even harder at alternatives, like Macs and Chromebooks. Although neither can conceivably supplant Windows, PC sales are a zero sum game at this point: Every machine sold with Chrome OS or OS X is a loss, perhaps permanently, to Windows. And thus the spiral quickens.

“Threshold will either put points in Windows’ column, or in [those alternatives’] columns,” said Moorhead.

At least Microsoft has history on its side: Since Windows 98, the company has alternated well-received and rejected editions.

“Ideally, this next version of Windows will continue an amazing streak of alternating releases,” said Rubin. “There was Windows 98, which was good, and then Windows ME, which wasn’t. There was Windows XP, then Vista. Windows 7, then Windows 8. So this is an opportunity to address their users’ demands, as they have historically done.”

“I’m hoping for the best,” said Miller. “I like what I’m hearing [about the next Windows]. But this is make or break.”


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Microsoft wants you to forget Windows 8

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Look to Vista for how Redmond will treat Windows 8 as it moves on to the next bright, shiny OS

As talk of the next Windows begins to build and some details of what most are calling for now either Windows 9 or Threshold come into focus, it’s worthwhile to take a moment to remember Windows 8.

Because Microsoft will want everyone to forget it. And we will.
Unless the Redmond, Wash. technology company radically changes its habits, it will throw Windows 8 down a memory hole even before the successor ships. Just like it made Vista persona non grata in its official messaging in 2009, it will shove Windows 8 so far into the background that we’ll need the Hubble telescope to find it.

Not that that’s unusual. All companies fake amnesia to a stunning degree, even when what they want to forget — more importantly, what they want customers to forget — was once trumpeted with Joshua’s band. Ford tossed the Edsel into the don’t-mention file, Coca-Cola did the same with New Coke, Apple erased the Performa and Ping from its corporate memory, and IBM would be hard pressed to admit it ever knew the PCjr or OS/2.
Windows 8

It’s always about next year’s shiny object, not last year’s.

Vista redux

To see the future for Windows 8, look at how Microsoft treated Windows Vista — the 2007 edition that launched late and quickly garnered negative reviews that painted a reputation from which it never recovered.

In the months leading up to the launch of Windows 7, Vista’s successor — and a wildly successful one at that — Microsoft came close to banning the word “Vista” from press releases, its most official line of communications to the media, investors, partners and customers.

From January through October 2009 — the latter was Windows 7’s launch month — Microsoft mentioned “Vista” in just one press release headline or the single-line synopsis accompanying a headline. During the same stretch, Microsoft used “Windows 7” 16 times.

In comparison, three years later, during the January through October 2012 run-up to Windows 8’s debut, Microsoft mentioned “Windows 7” in 6 press release headlines or summaries, and used “Windows 8” 14 times.

So while a failure, as judged by Microsoft, was outnumbered 16:1 in mentions, a success, also as implicitly labeled by Microsoft, was bested by only about 2:1.

Expect the former for Windows 8. In fact, it may already have started as Microsoft preps for 8’s successor, called “Threshold” by long-time Windows watchers: Since the first of the year, Microsoft has mentioned “Windows 8” in its press release headlines or summaries just 6 times, on pace for 11. During all of 2013, Microsoft referenced the edition 16 times.

The second half of the year will be especially telling if, as often-in-the-know bloggers like ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley have contended, Threshold is to launch in the spring of 2015. With just over seven months until the start of March 2015, eight to April, it’s coming up on the time that Microsoft changes messaging from the past to the future.
Time to go silent on Windows 8

There is evidence that Microsoft has begun deemphasizing Windows 8.

In his mission statement of July 10, CEO Satya Nadella mentioned no specific edition of Windows on the desktop, using simply “Windows” when he wasn’t talking about “Windows Phone” or “Windows Server,” or relegating Windows to secondary status in the newly-minted Microsoft he envisions. Windows 8 was also AWOL among the speeches Nadella and other Microsoft executives made the following week at the company’s Worldwide Partners Conference, and was the subject of just three sessions out of more than 450 offered to attendees.

During this week’s earnings call, Nadella referenced “Windows 8.1″ just twice, both with the past tense. ” In April, we released an update to Windows 8.1,” he said of the refresh aimed to mollify enterprise users.

That’s no surprise: Not only has Microsoft acknowledged that its share of all computing devices — smartphones, tablets, personal computers — now hovers at 14%, a far cry from its near monopoly as late as 2010, but the company certainly understands how poorly Windows 8 has performed even within the small segment composed of desktop and notebook computers.

The newer OS has outsold Vista, certainly, about 31% better according to calculations based on stated sales milestones that were then turned into per-month figures for Windows 8’s first 16 months and Vista’s first 19. But Windows 8 has lagged far behind its predecessor, Windows 7. The latter bested Windows 8 by 113% on a per-month basis calculated for its first 15 months.

Estimates from analytics firm Net Applications confirm that disparity between Windows 7 and Windows 8. When both have been judged at the same points in their respective post-release timelines, Windows 7 consistently accounted for more than twice the total active Windows user share of Windows 8.

Windows 8 has led in percentage of total Windows user share over Vista, but not by much: Last month, in fact, Windows 8’s lead over Vista at the same point in each editions’ career was the smallest ever, only two-tenths of one percent.

Putting an end to Windows 8

To ease Windows 8 into the past, Microsoft will likely make little, if any, noise about the edition’s final update, slated for Aug. 12, reports say. That bump-up, probably to “Windows 8.1 Update 2,” will be released with little fanfare and few noticeable changes, certainly not with the modified Start menu Microsoft previewed this spring at its Build developers conference. From all indications, that — as well as other features to restore an emphasis on mouse and keyboard — will take place with Threshold to let the company tout that edition as a clean break from its predecessor.

Rather than belabor Windows 8, which is dead to Microsoft, it will beat the drum on the next name for its Windows client.

For that, Microsoft could re-run the post-Vista play, but turn it on its head. After Vista, the company declined to continue names as its naming convention (“XP” and “Vista” for the two consecutive releases) and instead went with the numerical “Windows 7.” The smart move this cycle would be to quit numerals, tainted after Windows 8, and distance Threshold from its predecessor with a word as name. “Windows Threshold” has little ring, but Microsoft has legions of marketers who could come up with something much better. “Windows Redemption” is probably off the table — too literal for what the company thinks, or better put, hopes.

From the Vista experience, too, Microsoft can assume that Windows 8 will slide toward, but not into, insignificance — assuming Threshold is a better stab at what customers want — as users upgrade and replace devices.

Much of Windows 7’s success was ascribed to customers abandoning Vista or leaving the even-older XP, which they’d clung to because of wariness about Vista. It was actually more about Vista, which lost 30% of its user share in the first year after Windows 7’s release. Windows XP shed just 15% of its share in the same 12 months.

Windows 8 (which includes Windows 8.1) will top out at around 16% to 16.5% of all personal computer operating systems in March and April 2015 — the assumption is that Threshold will ship then — according to the upwards tempo reported by Net Applications. Under the Vista-Windows 7 model, then, Windows 8’s user share will fall to 11.2% to 11.5% in a year.

But if Microsoft offers Threshold free of charge to current Windows 8 users, as many anticipate, 8’s decline should be much steeper. Using Windows 8.1’s manhandling of Windows 8 — the former was a free upgrade that reduced the latter’s user share by 50% in just seven months — as a guide, Microsoft could drive down Windows 8’s share to about 8% by October or November 2015.

It took Microsoft nearly two years to cut Vista’s share in half.

Let’s see: 22 months with Windows 8 hanging around, most of that time with double-digit share? Or just seven months? Which will Microsoft choose?

No contest: If Microsoft wants to air out the stink of 8 from the Windows domicile as quickly as possible, it must give away the Threshold upgrade. It would simply be the smart thing to do.

In fact, the decision to make Threshold free to Windows 8 customers will be the sign that Microsoft needs the 2012 OS to just go away. Microsoft won’t do it out of largess, it will do it to promptly draw the curtain on Windows 8.

Because the faster it can make everyone forget Windows 8, the better.

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4 key features coming to Windows 9 (hopefully)

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Don’t get too comfy with Windows 8.1. Soon after Update 1 was released, announcements and rumors arose about what’s coming in the next version of Windows (“Windows 9” for the lack of an official name.) The earliest we might see a beta is spring 2015, but here we speculate on the four most significant features it’s likely to have.

Restoration of Start menu – sort of
The Start menu UI that has been a main feature of the Windows family since Windows 95 will finally return. As you know, Microsoft didn’t include it in Windows 8 in order to force you to interact with the Start Screen, so you’d be more compelled to use Windows Store apps. But for many using the OS on a desktop PC or notebook (in other words, the vast majority of us), the familiar Start menu’s absence was jarring. Windows 8.1 restored a Start button to the desktop environment, but it leads straight back to the Start Screen when clicked/tapped.

Restoration of Start menu – this time for real
At Microsoft’s developer conference in April, the company showed off a Windows 8.1 version of the Start menu. The left half of this GUI’s panel lists desktop apps and categories, while the right will display Windows Store apps, with your Windows user account picture in the upper-right corner. This GUI looks slicker than any of the third-party programs that have been available to install a Start menu-style UI to Windows 8/8.1. It had been rumored that this Start menu would be included as a free update to Windows 8.1 later this year, but it’s looking like Microsoft wants to save the reborn Start menu for Windows 9.

Windows Store apps on the desktop
Along with the return of the Start menu, Microsoft showed at BUILD 2014 Windows Store apps running in resizable and movable windows in the desktop environment. (Update 1 laid the first-phase groundwork for this — it enables desktop and notebook users to pin running Windows Store apps to the desktop taskbar.) It looks an awful lot like what ModernMix does, a third-party program that lets you interact with your Windows Store apps as if they are Windows desktop applications.

Windows Store apps could come with options
We speculate that this feature could be switched on by default for desktop and notebook users, where you might right-click an app’s Tile on the Start Screen and be presented with an option to “run on desktop.” (On the other hand, if you just click an app’s Tile from the new Start menu, then maybe the app will launch within a resizable window on the desktop by default.)

Interactive Tiles on the Start Screen
At the BUILD conference, the Human-Computer Interaction Group of Microsoft Research Asia demonstrated an experimental feature that allows for the Tiles of Windows Store apps to be interacted with the Start Screen. If an app is designed to utilize this, you would be able to tap the Tile for it to show you more information. For example, you could tap a weather app to see an extended forecast, without having to launch the app itself into full-screen mode. Likewise, tapping an email app would expand the size of its Tile to reveal subject headings of the most recent emails in your inbox.

Live Tiles
The Human-Computer Interaction Group created a task manager app that demonstrates this function. Its Tile can be tapped to display applications that are running in the desktop environment, so that you can manage them directly from the Start Screen. Microsoft hasn’t yet officially announced the existence of interactive Tiles, but we’re guessing it’s unlikely this feature will be brought to Windows 8.1. This seems like something that will be highlighted for Windows 9 tablets.

Cortana, Microsoft’s voice digital assistant
Cortana comes with Windows Phone 8.1. It’s Microsoft’s take on Apple’s Siri or the combo of Google Now and Ok Google. Scrutinizing the wording of a job listing posted by Microsoft, it looks like Cortana will eventually make its way to Windows. We should expect Microsoft to be doing this since future versions of the OS — not Windows Phone — will likely be meant for use also on tablets, just as Windows 8/8.1 was designed to be.

Cortana could counter Google apps
There’s probably another, more pressing motivation for Microsoft. Google has been adding Google Now and Ok Google functions to the Windows version of Chrome: The Google browser takes over Windows’ notification area to pop open Google Now cards that show information personalized for you, like current traffic in your vicinity and local weather conditions. Additionally, you can ask “Ok Google” questions or speak some commands to it. We’ll predict that Cortana’s technology will figure prominently throughout the UI of the next major release version of Windows. In the meantime, Google will evolve and refine Google Now and Ok Google as invasive elements into the Windows ecosphere.


Microsoft XP is in the queue of erasing

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Microsoft has ended up encouraging users to stop using windows XP for very long.

Microsoft’s choice to remove its support team in the sand has sowed uncertainty and will likely encourage bad manners by several clients, analysts said at present.

“If next month someone finds another zero-day like this one, Microsoft might just shift the line once more,” said John Pescatore, director of emerging security trends at the SANS Institute, a security training company.

“In a method, this encourages awful manners. There’s a risk that people will look at it that way,” said Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner, referring to those who will now question Microsoft’s determination to end XP maintain, and thus slow or even suspend their resettlement to newer editions of Windows.

The specialist were discussion about Microsoft’s shift on May 1 to problem fixes for a serious susceptibility in Internet Explorer (IE) that had been disclosed the week before and used by cyber criminals for an anonymous span of time before that to take control Windows PCs. Patching the bug was not strange; what was out of the normal was Microsoft’s choice to push the join to Windows XP equipment.

At First, Microsoft had set the finish of support for Windows XP as April 8, a date it had broadcast for years. When Microsoft software reaches its support departure time, it’s our business policy to stop public patching.

Just days after the limit, Microsoft fundamentally said, “Never mind,” and patched the IE helplessness on Windows XP. What had been sure — the support line in the sand — became irresolute?

Microsoft stand-by the decision, proverb it had bent to what it called “overblown” media exposure and explanation that it did so only because XP had only newly been retired.

“I don’t think the coverage was overblown,” said Pescatore.

Wes Miller, an analyst with commands on Microsoft, decided. “It was a extremely bad weakness,” he keen out.

Even so, the analysts were surprised at the let go of a fix for XP, not only because of the line Microsoft had so firmly drawn but because of the ramifications of erasing that line.

The precedent was what worried the experts. “totally, the standard matters to Microsoft,” said Miller. “It’s not a question of if, but when, this issue will come up yet again. Until key organizations are off of XP, every major vulnerability becomes a important chance for exploitation.”

Some consumers still having Windows XP may view Microsoft’s patching decision as a pass to carry on organization the 13-year-old operating system which, as Microsoft has repeatedly hammered home, lacks many of the higher security and anti-exploit features and technologies in newer editions, including Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Even further in the future, customers running Windows 7 may recall this XP patch and conclude that Microsoft is not serious about retiring that OS when its January 2020 support deadline nears.

“There is now a difference between what Microsoft thinks they mean and what [customers] think they mean,” said Miller. “Everyone is playing chicken. Which means [years from now] people may say, ‘I can keep running Windows 7.'”

Microsoft was in a “lose-lose” situation with XP, according to Silver, because of the operating system’s large user base. At the end of April, XP powered about 26% of the world’s personal computers, analytics company Net Applications revealed last week.

Although Microsoft didn’t talk about XP’s stubborn confrontation to retirement, and the huge numbers of PCs that still run the OS, the decision was clearly based on its continued prominence. Which makes one wonder, analysts said, what Microsoft may do in the weeks and months to come.

“May be Microsoft thought hard about this one. But if the same thing happened in a year, you wouldn’t see it. So that [patch last week] may have been the real line,” contended Silver.

“6 months from now, an XP vulnerability may get the same [media] coverage,” said Pescatore. “But then Microsoft has a much stronger legend. They might say, ‘XP’s dropped in half since April, so we’re sticking to the plan.'”

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Windows 8 cobranding with Android may backfire for Microsoft

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All business in the front and party in the back, this category is the mullet of mobile devices.

At CES, dual-boot devices running Windows 8.1 and Android revealed a conflicted situation for Microsoft. In the struggle to make Windows 8 relevant in mobile, the OS has been cobranded with Android on these devices.

Microsoft’s OEMs missed the point. Relevancy is measured in terms of digital life, the amount of time mobile users spend engaged with a mobile internet ecosystem. According to Chetan Sharma’s research, Microsoft ranks seventh in importance. In a similar unpublished interactive survey of 300 industry insiders at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco, Google led the digital life market, with Apple in second place, while Microsoft finished in the back of the pack.

With dual-boot tablets and notebooks, Microsoft is willfully sacrificing valuable digital life for Windows 8. As Richard Windsor of Radio Free Mobile reported from CES:

“The idea is that the user uses Windows 8.1 when he or she is working and Android when at leisure. This is a crazy proposition as the whole point of Windows 8 is to make an environment that is optimized for both use cases, and it’s telling that the OEMs feel the need to add something else.”

Splitting productivity time using a keyboard with Windows 8 and then rebooting for leisure time via gestures with Android just compounds the problem, because it stagnates users’ curiosity to search for new Windows 8 apps. This reduces some much-needed traffic to the Windows app store, which, compared to Android and iOS, is currently a ghost town.

Dual-boot teaches a user to boot Windows 8 for compatibility with Microsoft’s old ecosystem and to boot Android to use the new mobile ecosystem. This points to a glaring problem. If Microsoft is to fix this, Windows 8 users need a reason to spend their entire digital life in the Windows 8 ecosystem; when the user toggles from desktop to mobile they have to think –there’s an app for that – and download a Windows app.

Once upon a time, Windows users helped one another make Windows applications work. Given the dominance of earlier Windows versions, Microsoft had an army of users to help other users make Windows work. Mobile has completely changed user behavior. Mobile users download an app, give it a few seconds to satisfy the need that influenced them to download it, and if the app fails, they uninstall it and try the next app in the category. According to NetMarketshare, Microsoft retains 91% of the desktop market share, but Windows 8 only accounts for 10% of that. So a user’s chance of solving a Windows 8 problem through the help of another user who understands Windows 8 is only one in 10. According to Windsor:

“The Metro [the old name for the Windows 8 UI] user experience is perfectly capable of offering a good experience for Digital Life.”
If Microsoft is to become relevant in mobile, it needs to convince users of the value of this UI without the army of helpers it once had. Cobranding with Android doesn’t help, it hurts. Dual boot and virtualization isn’t a solution any longer in the consumer mobile market because app developers motivated by a good business model in target devices will port their apps. Dual boot emphasizes the limited number of apps available for Windows 8, and proves that Microsoft has not convinced users that it’s a good OS to begin with.

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Windows 8 Update: China prefers to stick with dying Windows XP rather than upgrade

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Also: Next Windows 8 release rumored to be closer to Windows Phone; report says Windows 8.1 uptake slow

China says it wants Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP because that will help it in its fight to stop proliferation of pirated Microsoft software.

A report from TechWeb written in Chinese says the release of Windows 8 means a substantial increase in the selling price of a Windows operating system, especially in light of the upcoming end-of-life of Windows XP, which is still used by a large percentage of Chinese.

According to a Google translation of the report, “the customer cannot purchase the applicable operating system; Win8, and a substantial increase in selling prices, increased user software procurement costs.” Terminating support for XP will pose security threats to users, according to Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of China’s National Copyright Administration.

He linked the demise of XP to China’s efforts to stem software piracy by making pirated software seem a better option. “These practices affect the smooth operations of genuine software in China,” Yan Xiaohong is quoted as saying.

About the same time Microsoft launched Windows 8 it stopped selling a low-end version of Windows 7, forcing potential customers to consider the more expensive Windows 8, he says.

He says he hopes Microsoft and other software vendors would promote use of legitimate software through sales and services that meet the needs of China customers.

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Windows 8 Threshold
The next version of Windows 8 – code-named Threshold – will coincide with upgrades of Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One, according to sources talking to blogger Mary Jo Foley.

A stated goal of Microsoft is to adapt the various operating systems so apps written for one run on the others or at least the bulk of the code written for one can be reused in bulk to create an app for either of the other platforms. A single app store for all three is also a goal.

Threshold is just a common name for the next versions of the three operating systems, not a single OS that replaces the current three, Foley says. The larger unifying factor is that Threshold represents an attempt to develop a common set of high value activities across all the platforms: expression/documents, decision making/task completion, IT management and “serious fun”, she says.

In any case the release date for Threshold is sometime in 2015.

Uphill battle for Windows 8/8.1 adoption

Microsoft has been doing its best to promote Windows 8, but the latest monthly report on operating systems in use on the Internet shows that combined use of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 has declined over the past month compared to the month before.

In October the combined use represented 10.25%, but in November that dropped to 9.3%, according to NetMarketshare, which tracks use of key Internet technology.

Within that combined usage, Windows 8.1 actually improved its percentage from 1.72% to 2.64%. The percentage usage of Windows 8 dropped from 7.53% to 6.65%. So it seems that users of Windows 8 are upgrading to Windows 8.1 or at least users who have given up on Windows 8 are being replaced by new adopters who jump in with Windows 8.1.


Windows 8 Update: Microsoft Windows 8 is not Ballmer’s biggest regret

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Also: Is Windows 8 TPM security an NSA back door?

Even though Windows 8 incited hordes to call for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s ouster, the operating system is not what he regrets most about his 33-year tenure at the company.

That distinction falls to one of Microsoft’s other operating systems, Vista, according an interview with Ballmer by Mary Jo Foley on her All About Microsoft blog.

It could be argued that Windows 8 is as big a debacle as Vista. Windows 8’s underwhelming sales numbers in its first few months were compared unfavorably to those of Vista, which is generally considered to be Microsoft’s biggest OS flop. Ballmer perhaps hints in the interview that it’s the fact that Windows 8 is still within its first year that he’s giving it a pass so far, but it’s difficult to tell from the transcript.
Oh, you know, I’ve actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista.
— Steve Ballmer

Here’s his somewhat vague and rambling answer:

“Oh, you know, I’ve actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista. I would say that’s probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn’t prove out to be as valuable.”

TPM: Windows 8 security boon or boondoggle?

Microsoft has been boasting that its use of Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chips in certified Windows 8 devices is a security asset, but leaked German government documents warn it could be a security liability.

Even more dire, TPM could actually be a backdoor that would allow attackers – the leaked documents include the U.S. National Security Agency among them – to undermine the security of the devices entirely, the documents say.

Microsoft says this is nonsense, according to Die Zeit, the German publication that got hold of the documents and wrote about them.

According to Microsoft, using TPM makes it nearly impossible for root kits to infect machines successfully, thereby preventing a devastating type of attack. That’s why Windows 8 enables TPM security by default and links it to certificates signed by Microsoft itself.

It also gives users the option to use substitute certificates and bootloaders or to turn off TPM altogether.

The risk, according to the documents Die Zeit obtained from the German federal Office for Security Information, is that manufacturers place a master encryption key on TPM chips when they’re made. So if that key is somehow compromised, the security that flows from it is also compromised.

That possibility is remote, experts say, and would affect not only Windows 8 machines but any computers using TPM.

Since the initial Die Zeit story, the German security agency has backed off its recommendation that government and businesses avoid using Windows 8’s TPM capabilities.

Prices down, usage up for Surface RT

Since Microsoft has offered bargain deals on Surface RT tablets that run an ARM-specific version of Windows 8 use of the machines has blossomed, according to a blog on the Web site of AdDuplex.

The site gathered a day’s worth of data from 393 Windows 8 applications that run AdDuplex SDK and then figured out as best they could what device they were running on. “It is also worth noting that, since our stats are based on Windows Store apps, their definitely skewed in favor of Windows RT, tablets and other touch devices,” the blog says.

Here’s a chart of what they found out.

The blog compares the results to those gathered in April and finds that Surface RT represented 6.2% of Windows 8 devices in use then and represented 9.5% in August. Over that period Microsoft has offered special deals that deeply discount the Surface RT price.

New devices

The same blog drops in mention of what may be a new Surface model called Surface 2.

AdDuplex says that in reviewing its log information it comes up with thousands of model names for the devices it tracks.

“We don’t have any deep details but we regularly see devices named Microsoft Corporation Surface 2 and Microsoft Corporation Surface with Windows 8.1 Pro,” the blog says. “The first one definitely looks like a new device, but the second one theoretically could be just a change in what Surface Pro with Windows 8.1 installed reports.”

Windows 8.1 is RTM

The first major overhaul of Windows 8 is released to manufacturers, according to the Windows ITPro blog written by Paul Thurrott.

That means device makers have the code in hand so they can start making Windows 8.1 machines, which are due out in October.

Lenovo installs Start button app

Microsoft is restoring a start button to Windows 8 when it releases Windows 8.1, but that’s not good enough for Lenovo.

The major PC vendor plans to install Pokki software on its Windows 8 machines, a Bloomberg story says, attributing the news to the co-founder of SweekLabs, which makes Pokki.

Individual Windows 8 users who have bought Pokki on their own use it an average of 10 times per day, the company says.

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Windows 8 won’t hit critical mass in enterprises, Forrester says

by admin ·

Windows 8 won’t hit critical mass in enterprises, Forrester says
The new OS isn’t expected to ever reach 50 percent adoption in workplace PCs, according to the IT research firmWindows 8, the most significant upgrade to Microsoft’s operating system since Windows 95 and one of the most important products in the company’s history, will not achieve enough adoption in enterprises to be considered a standard, according to Forrester Research.

By the time the next major Windows upgrade is released, Windows 8 will be in less than 50 percent of workplace PCs, unable to overtake its predecessor Windows 7.

“I have to believe Microsoft expected better enterprise adoption for Windows 8,” said Forrester analyst David Johnson, the lead author of the report “IT Will Skip Windows 8 As The Enterprise Standard,” released Thursday.

As it is, most enterprises have either recently migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7, or are in the process of doing so. In a Forrester survey of European and North American enterprises and SMBs conducted in last year’s third quarter, Windows 7 was on almost half of respondents’ PCs and Windows XP had a 38 percent share. Respondents further said that they forecast having Windows 7 on 60 percent of their PCs a year later, and Windows 8 on 26 percent.

Factors affecting enterprises’ interest in and adoption of Windows 8 are varied, according to Johnson. IT pros aren’t generally convinced that Windows 8 offers their companies a marked improvement over Windows 7, which has proven to be a solid, stable OS.

In fact, many IT departments are concerned about some elements of Windows 8, such as its radically redesigned user interface — based on tile icons and optimized for touch screens — and how much of a learning curve it will represent for their end users.

There is also skepticism over how that so-called “Modern UI” interacts with the more traditional one that is also included with the new OS for running Windows 7 applications. “There isn’t a truly seamless experience between the two interfaces,” Johnson said.

Another concern are the cost and effort involved in upgrading desktop OSes across an enterprise, a process that causes “migration fatigue” and makes companies unlikely to embark in shortly after finishing it.

With Windows 8, Microsoft is hoping to improve Windows’ weak presence in tablet devices, but iPads and to a lesser extent Android tablets remain the preferred options.

Windows RT, the Windows 8 version designed for ARM-based devices, has also hurt OS adoption in the enterprise for several reasons, such as its inability to run Windows 7 and XP applications and its limited IT control capabilities.

Microsoft officials said recently that an update, called Windows 8.1, will be released as a preview in late June and in final form before the end of the year, but they haven’t provided any details about what will be new or changed in terms of features and functionality. They have only suggested that the Start button and menu might be restored.

Thus, it’s hard to tell if Windows 8.1 will be compelling enough to change the adoption plans of enterprises, but even if it doesn’t, IT departments need to be ready to deploy Windows 8, according to Johnson.

Those rollouts may be limited to special sets of users or scenarios, such as a new fleet of tablet devices, but interest on Windows 8 is high among end users, more so than among IT pros. A Forrester survey in last year’s fourth quarter showed that 38 percent of employees would prefer to have Windows 8 on their work PC, while 35 percent expressed a preference for Windows 7. Also of significance was that when asked about their work tablet preference, 26 percent chose the iPad, while 20 percent picked a Windows 8 tablet.

As a result, IT departments need to be ready for the arrival of Windows 8 devices in their enterprises, whether the adoption is led from the top down or whether it’s via a BYOD situation in which employees bring their personal Windows 8 tablets to work.

Johnson recommends that IT departments first and foremost accelerate and complete their Windows 7 migrations, because this move from Windows XP will put their enterprises’ IT infrastructures in much better shape to accommodate Windows 8 machines.

Also, they should implement a formal BYOD policy and program, because it’s likely that Windows 8 devices will begin to appear in their enterprises in this manner. “With Windows 8, you should understand how to support BYOD scenarios and be opportunistic about finding applications for tablets, because they may prove useful in many instances,” he said.

Johnson also recommends implementing and expanding application and desktop virtualization, as well as testing and piloting Windows 8, its applications and its devices with a variety of employees from different departments.


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