Posts Tagged ‘Windows 10’

11.27
15

Microsoft acknowledges bug led to Windows 10 November upgrade stoppage

by admin ·

Restores 1511 to download site, restarts Windows Update push

Microsoft has restored access to Windows 10’s November upgrade from its download center, saying that it pulled the upgrade because of a bug.

“Recently we learned of an issue that could have impacted an extremely small number of people who had already installed Windows 10 and applied the November update,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a Tuesday statement. “It will not impact future installs of the November update, which is available today.”

Microsoft yanked the upgrade from the download website — and stopped serving it to Windows 10 users via Windows Update — last week. According to the company, the upgrade had reverted four preferences within the operating system to the original “on” default settings.

“We will restore their settings over the coming days and we apologize for the inconvenience,” the spokesman added.

The settings that were changed included two in Windows 10’s privacy section — one that lets the user’s advertiser ID to be tracked across multiple apps, another that enables an anti-phishing filter for apps that display Web content — and a second pair that synchronized devices and allowed various first-party apps to run in the background to, for instance, provide notifications.

Microsoft provided some information on the settings bug in a support document, and also rolled out a new cumulative update, the only kind for Windows 10.

While the bug may seem minor — especially in the context of the roll call of louder complaints about the November upgrade on Microsoft’s own support forums — the company may have been ultra-sensitive to the privacy settings snafu, considering that the firm has been manhandled by critics over what they saw as a significant uptick in intrusiveness. Those who had turned off the advertiser ID tracking, for example, would certainly have been upset to discover that it had been switched back on after the upgrade.

After fixing the problem, Microsoft restored the upgrade to the download center, where current Windows 10 users can generate installation media — usually a USB thumb drive, but alternately a DVD — with the Media Creation Tool (MCT). Many have been using the MCT to cut the line for the upgrade, normally served through the Windows Update service, and skip the wait as Microsoft slowly rolls it out in its now-familiar staggered fashion.

Computerworld confirmed that the MCT now downloads the November upgrade, which Microsoft identifies as both 1511 — a nod to the November 2015 release date — and build 10586, rather than the original July 29 code that it had reverted to last week.

The gaffe with the November upgrade could be seen as a setback for Microsoft’s strategy to convince customers that it can provide regular upgrades to Windows 10 two or three times a year, and more importantly, prove that it can do so with high-quality code that requires less testing than prior editions.

After the upgrade’s Nov. 12 release, but before it was pulled from distribution, Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans had called 1511 a milestone in Microsoft’s scheme. “This is a proof case for the ongoing update process,” Kleynhans said in a Nov. 13 interview. “It’s only the first data point, of course, but having delivered it, more or less on time, is a pretty good sign.”

Click here to view complete Q&A of 70-695 exam

MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft 70-695 Training at certkingdom.com

09.19
15

Why Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever

by admin ·

With Device Guard and Credential Guard, Windows enjoys unprecedented protection from malware and advanced persistent threats

Microsoft added two game-changing security features for enterprise users in Windows 10, but until recently, the company has been relatively quiet about them.

So far the buzz has mainly been about Windows Hello, which supports face and fingerprint recognition. But Device Guard and Credential Guard are the two standout security features of Windows 10 — they protect the core kernel from malware and prevent attackers from remotely taking control of the machine. Device Guard and Credential Guard are intended for business systems and are available only in Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education.

“Clearly, Microsoft thought a lot about the kind of attacks taking place against enterprise customers and is moving security forward by leaps and bounds,” said Ian Trump, a security lead at LogicNow.

Device Guard relies on Windows 10’s virtualization-based security to allow only trusted applications to run on devices. Credential Guard protects corporate identities by isolating them in a hardware-based virtual environment. Microsoft isolates critical Windows services in the virtual machine to block attackers from tampering with the kernel and other sensitive processes. The new features rely on the same hypervisor technology already used by Hyper-V.

Using hardware-based virtualization to extend whitelisting and protecting credentials was a “brilliant move” by Microsoft, said Chester Wisniewski, senior security strategist for Sophos Canada, an antivirus company.

Microsoft published tehnical guides for Device Guard and Credential Guard on TechNet last week.
Apps on lockdown

Device Guard relies on both hardware and software to lock down the machine so that it can run only trusted applications. Applications must have a valid cryptographic signature from specific software vendors — or from Microsoft if the application comes from the Windows Store.

Although there have been reports of malware code writers stealing certificates to sign malware, a significant majority of malware is unsigned code. The reliance of Device Guard on signed policies will block most malware attacks.

“It is a great way to protect against zero-day attacks that make it by antimalware defenses,” Trump said.

While this approach is similar to what Apple does with its App Store for iOS and OS X and with its Gatekeeper app-signing technology in OS X for verified developers who offer non-App Store apps, there’s a twist: Microsoft recognizes that enterprises need a wide array of applications. Businesses can sign their own software without having to make changes to the code, and for applications they know and trust (custom software they bought, for example), they can sign those applications, too. In this way, organizations can create a list of trusted applications independent of whether the developer obtained a valid signature from Microsoft.

This puts organizations in control of which sources Device Guard considers trustworthy. Device Guard comes with tools that can make it easy to sign Universal or even Win32 apps that may not have been originally signed by the software vendor. Clearly, Microsoft is looking for middle ground between a total lockdown and keeping everything open, enabling organizations to “have their cake and eat it, too,” Wisniewski said.

Under the hood, Device Guard is more than another whitelisting mechanism. It handles whitelisting in a way that is actually effective because the information is protected by the virtual machine. That is, malware or an attacker with administrator privileges cannot tamper with the policy checks.

Device Guard isolates Windows services that verify whether drivers and kernel-level code are legitimate in a virtual container. Even if malware infects the machine, it cannot access that container to bypass the checks and execute a malicious payload. Device Guard goes beyond the older AppLocker feature, which could be accessed by attackers with administrative privileges. Only an updated policy signed by a trusted signer can change the app control policy that has been set on the device.

“It’s exciting for Windows to put this right in the box,” said Trump. “It may become a corporate standard.”
Isolating secrets

Credential Guard may not be as exciting as Device Guard, but it addresses an important facet of enterprise security: It stores domain credentials within a virtual container, away from the kernel and user mode operating system. This way, even if the machine is compromised, the credentials are not available to the attacker.

Advanced persistent attacks rely on the ability to steal domain and user credentials to move around the network and access other computers. Typically, when users log into a computer, their hashed credentials are stored in the operating system’s memory. Previous versions of Windows stored credentials in the Local Security Authority, and the operating system accessed the information using remote procedure calls. Malware or attackers lurking on the network were able to steal these hashed credentials and use them in pass-the-hash attacks.

By isolating those credentials in a virtual container, Credential Guard prevents attackers from stealing the hash, restricting their ability to move around the network. The combination of Device Guard and Credential Guard could go a long way toward locking down an environment and stopping APT attacks.

“Microsoft’s Implementation may not be as easy as some vendors, and Microsoft may not have a fancy dashboard, but to include security features like these [Credential Guard, Device Guard, Microsoft Hello two-factor authentication, and BitLocker] you have an operating system worthy of the title ‘Enterprise’ and a very hard target to hack,” Trump said.
Not for everyone

Exciting features aren’t enough to spur adoption. While Windows 10 will make inroads in the enterprise, the hardware requirements and infrastructure changes will delay widespread adoption of Device Guard and Credential Guard for at least four or five years, Wisniewski predicted.

The hardware requirements are hefty. To enable Device Guard and Credential Guard, the machines need Secure Boot, support for 64-bit virtualization, Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware, and the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip. Only enterprise hardware, not consumer PCs, includes such features. For example, business laptops such as Lenovo ThinkPad and Dell Latitude models typically have these specs, but consumer models such as the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro do not. The hypervisor-level protections are available only if the machine has a processor with virtualization extensions, such as Intel VT-x and AMD-V.

Employees regularly working in the field or traveling extensively throughout the year are more likely to opt for a lighter laptop — and most Ultrabooks do not have TPM inside. “The executives are the ones I worry about,” Wisniewski said, as they’re the ones most at risk of attack and more likely to be using consumer models.

The hardware isn’t the only barrier to getting started; most organizations will also need to make changes to infrastructure and processes. Many IT teams don’t currently use UEFI or Secure Boot because they impact existing workflows. IT may be concerned about getting locked out of computers with Secure Boot; it’s easier to wipe a machine and load a stock corporate image when setting it up. Likewise, some machines may run critical applications with specific requirements that cannot be upgraded.

Fortunately, Device Guard and Credential Guard don’t require an all-or-nothing decision. IT can build a new domain with Device Guard and Credential Guard protections turned on and move users who meet the hardware requirements. The machines that can’t be upgraded can be left in the existing domain. This lets IT maintain a “clean” network with signed policy and protected credentials and focus their attention on the older, “dirty” domains. “Don’t hold the entire network back for just one thing,” Wisniewski said.

Few enterprises believe the current state of enterprise Windows security is acceptable. Device Guard and Credential Guard actually offer a way forward, albeit one that demands a substantial investment. With Windows 10, “Microsoft is telling enterprises, ‘If you want good technology you need to do security [our way],’” Wisniewski said. Time will tell whether enterprises are willing to follow that path.

 

MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com

09.14
15

Office 2016 adopts branches, update-or-else strategy of Windows 10

by admin ·

Enterprise subscribers to Office 365 get “Current Branch” and “Current Branch for Business” update and upgrade tracks

Microsoft yesterday said it will launch Office 2016 for Windows on Sept. 22, and detailed how it will deliver updates and upgrades with a cadence and rules set similar to Windows 10’s.

Office 2016 will be “broadly available” starting Sept. 22, said Julie White, general manager of Office 365 technical product management, in a Thursday post on the team’s blog. Organizations with volume license agreements, including those with Software Assurance, will be able to download the new bits beginning Oct. 1.

Week after next, subscribers to Office 365 Home and Personal — the consumer-grade “rent-not-own” plans that cost $70 and $100 yearly — may manually trigger the Office 2016 for Windows download at Office.com. In October, Office 2016 will automatically download to those subscribers’ devices. The applications will be updated monthly after that, with vulnerability patches, non-security bug fixes and new features and functionality.
[ Get the latest tech news with Computerworld’s daily newsletters. ]

Consumers are locked into that monthly tempo, and like those running Windows 10 Home, must take the updates as they automatically arrive.

But for Office 2016 in businesses, Microsoft plans to reuse the update-and-upgrade release pace pioneered by Windows 10. Office 365 will offer both a “Current Branch” and a “Current Branch for Business,” just as does Windows 10.

Current Branch (CB) will update monthly and potentially include new or improved features, security patches and non-security bug fixes. Current Branch for Business (CBB), on the other hand, will issue updates every four months, with the same potential content. In the months that Microsoft does not deliver a CBB update, it will issue only security fixes to customers who adopt the branch.

Failure to deploy the next CB update means customers won’t receive future security updates. For CBB, businesses may defer deployment of the next update — four months later — but must adopt the one after that, or face a patch stoppage.

Office 365 CBB users, in other words, can retain the feature set of Office 2016 no longer than eight months (two updates). If CBB 1 appears, as Microsoft has pledged, in February 2016, then customers may skip the June 2016 CBB 2 but must deploy October 2016’s CCB 3 or be severed from security updates.

Those rules and the CBB tempo are also identical — although not necessarily on the same calendar schedule — as Windows 10’s.

Some Office 365 customers will be able to use only the CB: Those include organizations that have subscribed to Office 365 Business and Office 365 Business Professional, plans that currently cost $8.25 and $12.50 per user per month.

Firms that subscribe to the pricier Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Enterprise E3 or Office 365 Enterprise E4 plans may opt for the CBB track. Those plans run from $12 to $22 per user per month.

That, too, is identical to Windows 10, in that the operating system offers leisurely update cadences only to those running the more expensive Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise.

There will be no analog to Windows 10’s “Long-term Servicing Branch,” or LTSB, the track that eschews all but security patches for extremely long stretches.

Microsoft may not have spelled it out, but the existence of CB and CBB tracks also plays to its new strategy of passing testing responsibilities to customers, another characteristic of Windows 10. Those running the CB will, in effect, serve as guinea pigs as changes roll out to them monthly; their feedback and complaints will be used by Microsoft to tweak or fix problems before the code reaches customers running the CBB.

Although Microsoft has burdened Office 365 and the locally-installed Office 2016 apps that compose the core of a subscription with a slew of new terms and rules, the changes are in some ways more clarification than procedural, argued Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

“Before, we didn’t know when these [Office 365] updates were coming,” said Miller. “Now, they’re giving us the classifications of what updates will come when.”

The similarities of the Windows 10 and Office 365 release rhythms; the lexicon, including CB and CBB; and the patch stick brandished to motivate customers to update, are all intentional, Miller added. “Microsoft’s giving relatively similar nomenclature for its two major desktop endpoints, Windows and Office,” he said.

But Miller contrasted how Office 365 — which currently is based on the Office 2013 application suite — is managed by organizations with the methods outlined for Office 2016 within the subscription plans.

Now, once a business adopts Office 365, it points workers to the Office 2013 downloads. They install the applications locally on their devices, and from that point, Microsoft, not the organization, “owns” the maintenance via updates.

“If an IT team wanted to own Office maintenance, it had to download the transformation tools [the Office Customization Tool, or OCT], take the installer from Microsoft and modify it,” said Miller. The IT-derived installer would then be offered to employees. “From that point, the organization owns the updating,” Miller continued. He called the process “a little burdensome” — an oft-heard complaint from business subscribers and their supporting IT staffs.

Under Office 2016, shops that subscribe to Office 365 will be able to more easily “own” the updating process by selecting the appropriate branch for each employee or groups of employees. While IT will still rely on the OCT to craft custom installers, the revised tool — not yet available — will support branch selection, Microsoft said in a support document.

The multiple update tracks Microsoft has outlined will only apply to Office 2016 within an Office 365 subscription, Miller said. Traditional licenses, dubbed “perpetual” in that once paid for they can be used for as long as desired, will not be able to adopt the CB or CBB. That’s in keeping with Microsoft’s long-running scheme to make Office 365 more attractive than perpetual licenses, whether purchased by consumers one at a time or by businesses in bulk, by virtue of its accelerated release schedule.

Office 2016’s debut later this month will also start a clock on Office 2013 for Office 365 enterprise subscribers.

“You can continue to use and receive security updates for the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus for the twelve months after the release of Office 2016,” Microsoft told users. “After 12 months, no additional security updates will be made available for the Office 2013 version. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you update to the Office 2016 version within the first twelve months that it’s available.”

The first CB of Office 2016 will be released Sept. 22, and the first CBB update will appear some time in February 2016. Microsoft has not yet set the price of individual perpetual licenses sold at retail, or even said whether those would go on sale this month: The company did not reply to questions about retail availability.

MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com

 

08.17
15

Microsoft’s rollout of Windows 10 gets B+ grade

by admin ·

General vibe of the new OS remains positive, say analysts

Microsoft has done a good job rolling out Windows 10 in the first two weeks, analysts said today, and the general vibe for Windows 8’s replacement has been positive, even though glitches have dampened some enthusiasm.

“If I had to give Microsoft a letter grade, it would be a B or a B+,” said Steve Kleynhans of Gartner. “It’s not an A because it hasn’t gone perfectly. They’ve stubbed their toe over privacy issues, for example.”

Microsoft began serving up the free Windows 10 upgrade late on July 28, giving participants in the firm’s Insider preview program first shot at the production code. It then slowly began triggering upgrade notices on Windows 7 and 8.1 machines whose owners had earlier “reserved” copies through an on-device app planted on their devices this spring.

The Redmond, Wash. company has said little of the rollout’s performance other than to tout that 14 million systems were running Windows 10 within 24 hours of its debut.

Estimates based on user share data from U.S. analytics company Net Applications, however, suggests that by Aug. 8, some 45 million PCs were powered by Windows 10.

Analysts largely applauded the launch. “As far as the roll-out, it’s not any worse than any other Windows,” said Kleynhans. “But it’s all happening at this compressed timetable.

“And social media now amplifies any problems,” he continued, much more so than three years ago when Windows 8 released, much less in 2009, when Microsoft last had a hit on its hands.

Others were more bullish on Microsoft’s performance. “Windows 10’s go-to-market was really quite good,” said Wes Miller of Directions on Microsoft, a research firm that specializes in tracking the company’s moves.

Miller was especially impressed with Microsoft’s ability to make customers covet the upgrade. “Something Microsoft has not always done a great job of is creating a sense of exclusivity,” said Miller. “But they’re withholding [the upgrade] just enough that there’s a sense of excitement. People are saying, ‘I want it, I’m not getting the upgrade yet.’ Arguably, that exactly what Microsoft wants.”

Windows 10’s rollout has departed from those of past editions in significant ways.

Historically, Microsoft released a new Windows to its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners first, who were given months to prepare new devices pre-loaded with the operating system. Only when the computer makers were ready did Microsoft deliver paid upgrades to customers who wanted to refresh their current hardware. Relatively few users paid for the upgrades; most preferred to purchase a new PC with the new OS already installed.

This cycle, Microsoft gave away the Windows 10 upgrade to hundreds of millions of customers — those running a Home or Pro/Professional edition of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 — to jumpstart the new OS’s adoption. With some exceptions, the upgrade hit before OEMs had prepared new devices or seeded them to retail.

Because of the large number of customers eligible for the free upgrade, Microsoft announced it would distribute the code in several waves that would take weeks (according to Microsoft) or months (the consensus of analysts) to complete. While some had predicted that the upgrade’s massive audience would stress the delivery system Microsoft had built, or even affect the Internet at large, neither happened.

The “Get Windows 10” app — which was silently placed on PCs beginning in March — not only served as a way to queue customers for the upgrade, but also ran compatibility checks to ensure the hardware and software would support the new operating system, another slick move by Microsoft.

“Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 to the audience that would be most receptive,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, referring to the Insiders-get-it-first tactic. “Then they rolled it out to those who weren’t Insiders, but who had expressed a desire to get the upgrade. And only those [whose devices] passed all of its tests got it. That was a smart thing to do.”

The latter was designed to limit upgrade snafus, something Microsoft has chiefly, although not entirely, accomplished. “While the rollout was pretty clean, there have been glitchy issues here and there,” said Kleynhans, who cited post-Windows-10-upgrade updates that crippled some consumers’ machines.

Moorhead echoed that, highlighting the out-the-gate problem many had keeping Nvidia’s graphic drivers up-to-date as Microsoft’s and Nvidia’s update services tussled over which got to install a driver. “Problems have been more anecdotal than system-wide,” Moorhead said. “And they seem to get remedied very quickly.”

The bungles haven’t been widespread enough to taint the generally favorable impression of Windows 10 generated by social media, news reports and Microsoft’s PR machine, the analysts argued.

“Overall, I’d say Windows 10 has received a much more positive reception than other [editions of] Windows,” said Moorhead, who said the reaction was justified, since the developing consensus is that Windows 10 is a big improvement over its flop-of-a-predecessor, Windows 8.

“The vibe is positive, but it’s much more about consumers now than businesses,” said Directions’ Miller. Enterprises, he said, will take a wait-and-see approach — as they always do — before jumping onto Windows 10, as they must if they’re to stick with Microsoft, a given since there isn’t a viable alternative.

A credible reaction from corporate customers, Miller continued, won’t be visible until Microsoft finishes unveiling its update tracks, called “branches,” particularly the “Long-term servicing branch” (LTSB). That branch will mimic the traditional servicing model where new features and functionality will be blocked from reaching systems that businesses don’t want to see constantly changing.

“People are liking what they are getting out of the other end” of the upgrade, added Kleynhans. “From what I’ve heard, they’re happy, surprisingly happy, and generally pretty positive about the OS. But I’d expect the new shine to wear off after the first couple of weeks.”


MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com

 

08.10
15

How to uninstall Windows 10 and go back to Windows 7 or 8

by admin ·

Did you upgrade to Windows 10 and regret it? You can go back to your older operating system in a few clicks.

You’ve had Windows 10 for more than a week now, but try as you might the new operating system’s just not working out for you. Maybe a mission critical program doesn’t work properly, maybe you hate the new Start menu, or maybe Cortana is giving you the creeps.

If that sounds like you, it might be time to downgrade back to your past operating system and try again later.

To make life easier on Windows 7 and 8.1 converts, Microsoft will allow you to rollback your Windows 10 installation to the previous operating system for 30 days post-upgrade. Don’t worry—if you want to come back later, you can still take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade for the next year.

Keep in mind that downgrading to your older OS requires that you still have your Windows.old folder at C:\Windows.old. If you typically delete that after upgrading, or you’ve done a post-upgrade clean install of Windows 10, you’re out of luck.

Getting ready for the rollback
Before you use the rollback option, take the time to set a few things set up. First of all, make sure all your data is backed up on an external hard drive, or with a cloud-based back-up service like Backblaze or Carbonite.

You might also want to make sure you have your old Windows 7 or 8 product keys handy just in case. You shouldn’t need them, but it can’t hurt to have them on hand if you want to be careful. Don’t worry about saving your Windows 10 product keys—those are handled differently than in previous versions of the OS.

The keys for your previous operating should either be on a sticker on the back of your PC (under the battery if you’re on a laptop), or included with the system discs that came with your PC.

Once you’ve got all of that organized, it’s time to get with the rollback. Open the Start menu, select the Settings app, and go to Update & Security > Recovery.

windows 10 rollback
If you’re eligible to downgrade you should see an option that says Go back to Windows 8.1 or Go back to Windows 7. If you see it, click Get started and follow along with the wizard.

Once you’ve returned to your previous version of Windows, you need to tinker with it to perfect your setup once again. Older programs may need to be reinstalled, and if you had a different password on the older system than you did with Windows 10, you’ll have to sign-in with that one.

Getting to this tutorial after the 30-day grace period has passed? If you need to downgrade to your past operating system and Windows 10’s rollback option is gone, you’ll either need recovery discs generated from your original Windows 7 or 8 machine to do a clean install of your old system, or have a system image backup stashed somewhere.

If that doesn’t work, your last option is to install Windows 7 or 8.1 in a virtual machine on your Windows 10 system—if you can get your hands on a product key and the older system discs. It’s a pain, but a VM will work surprisingly well for those times when only Windows 7 or 8.1 will do.


MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com

 

 

07.30
15

Windows 10: Fact vs. fiction

by admin ·

With Win10 slated to drop July 29, we give you the straight dope on support, upgrades, and the state of the bits

It’s a few days before Windows 10 is officially slated to drop, and still, confusion abounds. Worse, many fallacies regarding Microsoft’s plans around upgrades and support for Win10 remain in circulation, despite efforts to dispel them.

Here at InfoWorld, we’ve been tracking Windows 10’s progress very closely, reporting the evolving technical details with each successive build in our popular “Where Windows 10 stands right now” report. We’ve also kept a close eye on the details beyond the bits, reporting on the common misconceptions around Windows 10 licensing, upgrade paths, and updates. If you haven’t already read that article, you may want to give it a gander. Many of the fallacies we pointed out six weeks ago are still as fallacious today — and you’ll hear them repeated as fact by people who should know better.

Here, with Windows 10 nearing the finish line, we once again cut through the fictions to give you the true dirt — and one juicy conjecture — about Windows 10, in hopes of helping you make the right decisions regarding Microsoft’s latest Windows release when it officially lands July 29.

Conjecture: Windows Insiders already have the “final” version of Windows 10

Give or take a few last-minute patches, members of the Windows Insider program may already have what will be the final version of Win10. Build 10240, with applied patches, has all the hallmarks of a first final “general availability” version.

If you’re in the Insider program, either Fast or Slow ring, and your computer’s been connected to the Internet recently, you’ve already upgraded, automatically, to the Windows 10 that’s likely headed out on July 29. No, I can’t prove it. But all the tea leaves point in that direction. Don’t be surprised if Terry Myerson announces on July 29 that Insiders are already running the “real” Windows 10 — and have been running it for a couple of weeks. Everyone else can get a feel for the likely “final” Windows 10, build 10240, by checking out our ongoing Windows 10 beta coverage at “Where Windows stands right now.”

Fact: Windows 10 has a 10-year support cycle

Like Windows Vista, Win7, and Win8 before it, Windows 10 has a 10-year support cycle. In fact, we’re getting a few extra months for free: According to the Windows Lifecycle fact sheet, mainstream support ends Oct. 13, 2020, and extended support ends Oct. 14, 2025. Of course, if your sound card manufacturer, say, stops supporting Windows 10, you’re out of luck.

ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD: What if Windows went open source tomorrow?

I have no idea where Microsoft’s statement about covering Windows 10 “for the supported lifetime of the device” came from. It sounds like legalese that was used to waffle around the topic for seven frustrating months. Microsoft’s publication of the Lifecycle fact sheet shows that Windows 10 will be supported like any other version of Windows. (XP’s dates were a little different because of SP2.)

Fiction: The 10 years of support start from the day you buy or install Windows 10

There’s been absolutely nothing from Microsoft to support the claim that the Win10 support clock starts when you buy or install Windows 10, a claim that has been attributed to an industry analyst.

The new Windows 10 lifecycle and updating requirements look a lot like the old ones, except they’re accelerated a bit. In the past we had Service Packs, and people had a few months to get the Service Packs installed before they became a prerequisite for new patches. With Windows 8.1, we had the ill-fated Update 1: You had to install Update 1 before you could get new patches, and you only had a month (later extended) to get Update 1 working. The new Windows 10 method — requiring customers to install upgrades/fixes/patches sequentially, in set intervals — looks a whole lot like the old Win 8.1 Update 1 approach, although corporate customers in the Long Term Servicing Branch can delay indefinitely.

Fact: You can clean install the (pirate) Windows 10 build 10240 ISO right now and use it without entering a product key

Although it isn’t clear how long you’ll be able to continue to use it, the Windows 10 build 10240 ISO can be installed and used without a product key. Presumably, at some point in the future you’ll be able to feed it a new key (from, say, MSDN), or buy one and use it retroactively.
Fiction: You can get a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro from Win7 Home Basic/Premium, Win8.1 (“Home” or “Core”), or Win8.1 with Bing

A common misconception is that you can upgrade, for free, from Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium, Windows 8.1 (commonly called “Home” or “Core”), or Windows 8.1 with Bing, to Windows 10 Pro. Nope, sorry — all of those will upgrade to Windows 10 Home. To get to Windows 10 Pro, you would then have to pay for an upgrade, from Win10 Home to Pro.

Fact: No product key is required to upgrade a “genuine” copy of Win7 SP1 or Win8.1 Update
According to Microsoft, if you upgrade a “genuine” copy of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update, come July 29 or later, Windows 10 won’t require a product key. Instead, keep Home and Pro versions separate — upgrade Home to Home, Pro to Pro. If you upgrade and perform a Reset (Start, Settings, Update & Security, Recovery, Reset this PC) you get a clean install of Windows 10 — again, per Microsoft. It’ll take a few months to be absolutely certain that a Reset performs an absolutely clean install, but at this point, it certainly looks that way.

Fiction: Windows 10 requires a Microsoft account to install, use, or manage

Another common misconception is that Microsoft requires users have a Microsoft account to install, use, or manage Windows 10. In fact, local accounts will work for any normal Windows 10 activity, although you need to provide a Microsoft account in the obvious places (for example, to get mail), with Cortana, and to sync Edge.

Fact: If your tablet runs Windows RT, you’re screwed

Microsoft has announced it will release a new version of Windows RT, called Windows RT 3, in September. If anybody’s expecting it to look anything like Windows 10, you’re sorely mistaken. If you bought the original Surface or Surface RT, you’re out of luck. Microsoft sold folks an obsolete bucket of bolts that, sad to say, deserves to die. Compare that with the Chromebook, which is still chugging along.

Fiction: Microsoft pulled Windows Media Player from Windows 10

One word here seems to be tripping up folks. What Microsoft has pulled is Windows Media Center, which is a horse of a completely different color. If you’re thinking of upgrading your Windows Media Center machine to Windows 10, you’re better off retiring it and buying something that actually works like a media center. WMP is still there, although I wonder why anybody would use it, with great free alternatives like VLC readily available.

Fiction: Windows 10 is a buggy mess
In my experience, Windows 10 build 10240 (and thus, presumably, the final version) is quite stable and reasonably fast, and it works very well. There are anomalies — taskbar icons disappear, some characters don’t show up, you can’t change the picture for the Lock Screen, lots of settings are undocumented — and entire waves of features aren’t built yet. But for day-to-day operation, Win10 works fine.

Fact: The current crop of “universal” apps is an electronic wasteland
Microsoft has built some outstanding universal apps on the WinRT foundation, including the Office trilogy, Edge, Cortana, and several lesser apps, such as the Mail/Calendar twins, Solitaire, OneNote, and the Store. But other software developers have, by and large, ignored the WinRT/universal shtick. You have to wonder why Microsoft itself wasn’t able to get a universal OneDrive or Skype app going in time for July 29. Even Rovio has given a pass on Angry Birds 2 for the universal platform. Some games are coming (such as Rise of the Tomb Raider), but don’t expect a big crop of apps for the universal side of Windows 10 (and, presumably, Windows 10 Mobile) any time soon.

Fiction: Microsoft wants to control us by forcing us to go to Windows 10
I hear variations on this theme all the time, and it’s tinfoil-hat hooey. Microsoft is shifting to a different way of making money with Windows. Along the way, it’s trying out a lot of moves to reinvigorate the aging cash cow. Total world domination isn’t one of the options. And, no, the company isn’t going to charge you rent for Windows 10, though it took seven months to say so, in writing.

Fiction: Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines will upgrade directly to Windows 10

Win7 and Win8 machines won’t quite upgrade directly to Win10. You need Windows 7 Service Pack 1, or Windows 8.1 Update 1, in order to perform the upgrade. If you don’t have Windows 7 SP1, Microsoft has official instructions that’ll get you there from Windows 7. If you’re still using Windows 8, follow these official instructions to get to Windows 8.1 Update. Technically, there’s a middle step on your way to Win10.

Fact: We have no idea what will happen when Microsoft releases a really bad patch for Windows 10

If there’s an Achilles’ heel in the grand Windows 10 scheme, it’s forced updates for Windows 10 Home users and Pro users not attached to update servers. As long as Microsoft rolls out good-enough-quality patches — as it’s done for the past three months — there’s little to fear. But if a real stinker ever gets pushed out, heaven only knows how, and how well, Microsoft will handle it.

Fact: You’d have to be stone-cold crazy to install Windows 10 on a production machine on July 29
There isn’t one, single killer app that you desperately need on July 29. Those in the know have mountains of questions, some of which won’t be answered until we see how Win10 really works and what Microsoft does to support it. If you want to play with Windows 10 on a test machine, knock yourself out. I will, too. But only a certified masochist would entrust a working PC to Windows 10, until it’s been pushed and shoved and taken round several blocks, multiple times.

You have until July 29, 2016, to take advantage of the free upgrade. There’s no rush. Microsoft won’t run out of bits.


MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com

 

 

02.28
15

5 top tips and secrets for Windows 10

by admin ·

Become master of the Windows 10 universe.
Trying out Windows 10 and want to get more out of it? Try out these top five tips and secrets for the new operating system.

Tell Cortana to keep her hands off your data
Cortana can be an exceptionally useful personal assistant — but she can only be helpful if she has access to your data. And you may prefer less help from Cortana and more privacy.

To tell Cortana to keep her hands off of some of your data, click in the search bar in the taskbar, and then click the menu button at the top left of the screen that appears — it looks like three horizontal lines. Select Settings and look for the setting “Delete tracking info such as flights and packages, in emails on my device.” Move the slider to On.

Become a command line master of the universe
Remember the command line, that bare C: against a black, empty screen? If you’re were willing to delve into its mysteries, it gives you quite a bit of power.

Windows 10 gives the command line new powers. But you’ll need to turn them on. To do it, type cmd in the search bar, then click its icon that appears. That launches the command line. Now right-click its title bar and select Properties–>Experimental. You’ll find all kinds of new tools, such as being able to copy and paste inside it with the usual Windows keyboard shortcuts Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. You can do other things as well. Try them out.

Use the new keyboard shortcuts
Some people hate keyboard shortcuts, some people love them. I’m a big fan. If you are too, you’ll be pleased to hear that Windows 10 has several new ones. To snap a window to the left or right of the screen, or re-center it if it’s on the side of the screen, use the Windows Key-Left Arrow shortcut combo or Windows Key-Right Arrow shortcut combo. The Windows Key-Tab opens us Task View to show all of your running windows. There are also shortcuts for controlling virtual desktops. For a list of all the new ones, go to Brandon LeBlanc’s Blogging Windows post. (Note: It’s an official Microsoft blog.)

Move programs between virtual desktops
Virtual desktops are among my favorite new Windows 10 features. If you like them as well, you’ll also like this tip: You can move programs between one virtual desktop and another. To do it, when you’re running multiple desktops, go to Task View by pressing the Windows Key-Tab combo. Right-click the app that you want to move from one virtual desktop to another, select Move To, then move it to the desktop where you want it to go.

Turn off interactive feedback prompts
As you use Windows 10, every once in a while a prompt will appear, asking you to provide feedback about a feature you’ve been using. Microsoft uses this feedback from the more than 2 million people using the Windows 10 Technical Preview to determine what to change in future Windows 10 versions.

Don’t like those prompts? You can turn them off completely, or have them bother you less frequently. To do it, select Settings from the Start menu, then select Privacy –> Feedback. Click the down button underneath “Microsoft should ask for my feedback” and select Never to turn feedback off completely, or choose another selection to change the frequency with which it asks you questions.


MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification,
Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com

 

 

02.1
15

Microsoft tells Windows 10 users to uninstall Office

by admin ·

Office conflicts with one of Patch Tuesday’s security updates, manager cautions on Twitter

Microsoft today took the unusual step of telling users running Windows 10’s Technical Preview to uninstall Office before applying one of December’s security updates.

“We just made a tough call after working through the night that I thought I should share with you,” wrote Gabe Aul, the engineering general manager for Microsoft’s operating system group, in a four-part Twitter understatement Tuesday.

“We have a security update going out today, and the installer fails on 9879 if Office is installed,” Aul continued. “Rather than rolling a new fix (losing several days in the process) we’re going to publish it as is. The workaround is painful: uninstall Office, install the hotfix, reinstall Office. Sorry. We’re working hard to fix.”

Aul’s mention of “9879” referred to the latest “build” of the preview; Microsoft issued Build 9879 four weeks ago.

Somewhat later, Aul identified the update as KB3022827, the Knowledge Base identifier displayed in Windows Update on the preview. (Computerworld was unable to find an associated page on Microsoft’s support site that matched KB3022827.) He also partly retracted his advice to uninstall Office: “Please try to install KB3022827 before the workaround to uninstall Office first. It will work for many, no harm if not,” he tweeted.

Several people chimed in on Aul’s Twitter feed to say that they had tried the update before uninstalling Office and had no problems.

According to Microsoft, only one of today’s seven security updates was to be applied to Windows 10’s preview. That update, pegged as MS14-080, patched 14 vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer (IE) 11, the browser bundled with the OS.

Andrew Storms, vice president of security services at New Context, weighed in on Aul’s odd workaround.

“There are always upsides and downsides to being on the bleeding edge,” Storms said in an interview conducted via instant messaging. “Users who chose to grab the Windows 10 Technical Preview are now stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Today, Microsoft admitted that some number of their users are plagued with Explorer crashes and what’s worse, an update that won’t be easy to install. I, like Microsoft, hope that these users are adept enough to figure out the workaround/fix on their own.”

As Storms said, Microsoft acknowledged that one in eight users of the preview had been unable to install an earlier fix that was supposed to stop crashes of the operating system’s Explorer file manager.

“On a shipping OS, if we hit an issue like this we’d normally pull the update,” Aul admitted in talking about the Explorer screw-up. “But since the Windows Insider audience is technical, we decided to leave it up while we work on the fix so that people hitting the Explorer crash can get some relief.”

Storms echoed Aul’s confidence in Windows 10 users’ skills. “Preview users are generally the most willing to nuke and repave their systems,” Storms said.


 

MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com

10.27
14

Windows 10 Technical Preview deep-dive: A promise of better things to come

by admin ·

So far, Microsoft’s next-gen operating system is looking good.

It’s been nearly a week since Microsoft announced that it will follow Windows 8.1 with Windows 10 — and released its Technical Preview so that those interested could take a first look at the new operating system. Since then I’ve been exploring the new OS, alongside the sparse documentation Microsoft has released.

Much of the under-the-hood kernel level work has been done; the Preview is a tool for Microsoft to understand how to bring its next-generation Windows to its desktop users. That’s an important problem for the Windows team to solve before the new OS is released in mid-2015. Some enterprise customers are still moving from Windows XP to Windows 7, so Microsoft needs to put in place an upgrade path from Windows 7 to this new version. It needs, as Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of operating systems, said in San Francisco, “to feel like going from a Prius to a Tesla” — without having to learn to drive all over again.

There are actually two versions of the Windows 10 Technical Preview. The Technical Preview that most people are referring to is aimed at individual enthusiast users or SMBs and can be downloaded from the preview.windows.com site. An Enterprise Preview for volume licensing customers is available from the TechNet evaluation center.

(If you’re planning on evaluating an entire Windows 10 infrastructure, there are also technical previews for the enterprise-directed Windows Server and the System Center management suite, which can be downloaded at Technet.)

While this review focuses on the Technical Preview, as it’s the release that most users will explore, I tried out both releases. There’s very little difference between the two at this point, with the Enterprise Preview adding security and networking features on a par with the current Windows 8.1 Enterprise releases.

As test machines, I used a Surface Pro 2 running Windows 8.1 (which I used to examine update scenarios) and a series of Hyper-V virtual machines (which I used to test clean installs). In both cases, I found the installation process quick and easy.

I created USB installation media from Microsoft’s ISO downloads. It’s a surprisingly forgiving installer: One of my test machines was mistakenly set up with the Technical Preview release rather than Enterprise, and I was able to install Enterprise over the top of Technical Preview without having to reset the test PC between installs.

One thing is clear: This is a first cut at the Windows 10 desktop experience and so naturally it is more than a little rough around the edges. This should be kept in mind.
User experience

With all the disparagement of Windows 8’s user interface, this was clearly the area that was going to get the most focus from testers. That’s not surprising: Windows 8 was a break from several generations of Windows user experience. Windows 10 steps back into more familiar territory.

Much of the criticism of Windows 8 focused on the separation between its two UI models, with desktop apps and Windows Store apps running in separate containers. Windows 8.1 started to blend the two ways of working, but Windows 10 finishes the job, mixing the two on the familiar Windows desktop.

The most obvious change in Windows 10 is the return of the Start Menu. As shown at the Build 14 conference last April, it’s a mix of the Windows 8 Live Tiles with the familiar Windows 7-style menu — one right next to the other.

The Start Menu is back, in a hybrid of the familiar Windows 7 Start Menu (jumplists and all) and the Windows 8 Start Screen, complete with Live Tiles.

Working with the new Start Menu is easy enough: To launch it, all I had to do was click on the Windows logo in the corner of the desktop. Like the Windows 7 Start menu, it has a hierarchical list of apps and support for Jump Lists (which, oddly, fly out and replace the Live Tile section of the Start Menu). I was able to drag to adjust its height and add Live Tiles and pin apps to adjust the width.

I’m still of two minds about the new Start Menu, though. It works well on a keyboard and mouse device, but Microsoft does seem to have made some odd decisions. For one thing, it doesn’t support the ability to group tiles that would make the Start Screen easier to navigate. Instead, I was presented with a long string of tiles with no way of choosing how they’re displayed. Of course, this is still a preliminary UI, but right now it seems a bit strange, especially with the work done in recent Windows Phone builds that add features like collapsible groupings of tiles.

Tablet users will need to wait for the 2015 Consumer Preview to see the new Windows Phone-like touch UI that was teased in a couple of slides at the launch event. There’s also a planned Continuum experience for two-in-one devices that will switch from a tablet UI to a desktop UI when in keyboard mode. I’ll be looking forward to trying that out, as one of its target devices, the Surface Pro 3, has quickly become my day-to-day PC.

One thing to note: If, like me, you do an upgrade Windows 10 install on a Windows 8.1 touch PC, you’ll keep the original Start Screen. It’s easy enough to switch between the two user interface modes — though if you’ve filled a start screen with Live Tiles you’re going to get a very wide Start Menu, as all your Live Tiles will be on the new Start Menu. Mine ended up scrolling off the side of the screen on the test Surface Pro 2.

Microsoft has stepped back from the immersive model for its WinRT-powered Windows Store apps. They can still run full screen, but the default is a new windowed mode. This lets Windows Store apps run alongside desktop apps, in fully resizable windows with familiar controls.
Windows 10 Windows Store apps Simon Bisson

Windows Store apps now run on the Windows desktop, in their own fully resizable and snappable windows, alongside existing Windows desktop apps.

There’s also a new set of controls on the top left of the window that duplicates the old Windows 8 touch controls and charms. One option gives access to any app commands, while others replace the old swipe-able charms bar — with the addition of print and project buttons.

It’s clear that these controls are still experimental. They’re very small on a high resolution screen and don’t work at all well with touch. Even so, it’s interesting to see how Microsoft is thinking of delivering its new controls to a mostly desktop audience.

The Windows 8 charms bar is in this build of Windows 10; on a touch-screen device I could still swipe from the right to access the Windows 8 charms. Microsoft spokespeople were clear that this was only for the Technical Preview release, and that they were still considering how to change this behaviour. One change is already in place: Swiping from the left brings up the Win-Tab task switcher rather than the fiddly Windows 8 task view, which let me tap and swipe a carousel of my active apps and manage my virtual desktops.

Oddly, the menu bar for Windows Store apps is a couple of pixels bigger than that for a desktop app. I found it to be a disconcerting mismatch, especially when I was tiling windows using Windows 10’s new quadrant snap feature (see below). Yes, this is an early look at the OS, but when Microsoft is talking about how design-led the Windows development process is, it’s somewhat incongruous.

If you prefer to use Windows from a command line (after all, the good old DOS commands are still there!), Microsoft has finally updated its Windows console with a set of experimental features. There’s now support for the same Ctrl-key shortcuts as the rest of Windows (at last!), along with the option of having a translucent console. I found that the same options are also available for the PowerShell console, something that should make IT administrators’ lives just that little bit easier.
A new snap mode

Windows 8’s snap mode let me choose how to display two (or more on higher-resolution screens) Windows Store apps. It was closely related to the similar desktop Aero snap mode introduced with Windows 7. Windows 10 brings the two approaches together with a new quadrant snap mode.

The new quadrant snap feature in Windows 10 helps arrange app windows, both desktop and Windows Store, to take advantage of monitor screen real estate.

Quadrant snap simplifies the process of snapping more than one app to a screen. Once you drag an app to a corner, it snaps to fill half the screen, and a new snap assistant displays the remaining apps so that you can snap another, if you want. Drag a third app into a screen corner and Windows 10 rearranges the windows to create a vertical division between that app and another (with the option to pick and snap a fourth app). Quadrant view with four apps really requires a large screen to work well.

Currently, Windows Store apps will only snap to half the display — they don’t support quadrant snapping. That means I was able to snap two desktop apps in the upper and lower half of the screen, while a Windows Store app occupied either the left or the right side.

Like the current Windows snap tools, Microsoft offers keyboard shortcuts, adding Win-Up Arrow and Win-Down Arrow for snapping apps to the top or bottom of the screen (joining Win-Left Arrow and Win-Right Arrow for snapping them to either side). Once done, I could adjust the width and height of the snapped windows to get the optimum layout for the task at hand.

The new snap features are useful, but a little odd at first. It takes some time to get used to them, and I found myself regularly disconcerted by the differences between Windows Store and desktop apps. The two should work identically, and it’s somewhat jarring to realise they don’t.

I also miss the ability to snap Windows Store apps to one side of a desktop, a Windows 8.1 feature that proved surprisingly useful with Twitter apps and with Microsoft’s OneNote. While I understand that Microsoft is yet to deliver the full Windows 10 UI, it’s odd to find something that feels it should be a step forward instead appears to be a step back.
Virtual desktops

Way back in the mists of time, Microsoft offered a series of Powertoys, apps that in many cases have now become Windows features. Among them was a Virtual Desktop manager that let you set up four different virtual desktops that you could use to manage your workspace — for example, segregating personal apps from your work apps. (Vista users will remember those used for the Flip 3D task switcher.) These virtual desktops are now part of Windows 10, controlled from the Win-Tab task switcher keystroke or from the new task switch icon on the Windows taskbar.

Windows 10 Win-Tab Simon Bisson
The Windows 10 task switcher now has a carousel of large live app views, and also lets you switch between virtual desktops – and create new workspaces.

It’s easy enough to create a new Virtual Desktop: Just click the + symbol at the bottom of the task switcher window. Apps can be launched as usual from the Start Menu or from pinned taskbar icons; Microsoft has added a set of visual cues to help locate running apps, with a small rectangle under an active app icon on the taskbar showing that the app is running in another virtual desktop.
Windows 10 Taskbar Simon Bisson

Apps running on another virtual desktop are highlighted by a small bar under the app icon on the taskbar.

Virtual desktops share the same wallpaper as other desktops, and don’t persist between reboots. If users are going to get the most from this approach, then Microsoft is going to have to provide a tool that lets you build multi-desktop environments that are ready to go from boot. I’m expecting to use the tool to keep mail and IM away from the screen where I’m writing in order to reduce distractions.
A universal approach to development

It’s clear that Microsoft still sees its WinRT development model as the way forward for Windows. That’s not surprising: By offering a sandboxed operating environment with contracts that allow apps to work together, it’s much more secure than the familiar Win32 APIs. (Introduced in Windows 8, contracts enable WinRT apps to communicate, even when they’ve been developed by different companies and have no direct links.)

At the launch event, Microsoft’s Myerson and Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, operating systems group, talked a lot about Universal Windows apps, a new generation of Windows Store apps based on the tools introduced at Build 2014.

Universal apps are Microsoft’s latest solution to the old problem of how you can deliver code that runs on Windows desktops, tablets, phones — and, according to Myerson, on Internet of Things devices and game consoles. Instead of working on a write-once, run-everywhere system, Universal apps let you build a common core of business logic that can be wrapped in an appropriate user interface for a device. It’s a sensible approach, and combined with Microsoft’s relationship with cross-platform development system Xamarin, also means that apps can be delivered to iOS and Android as well.

I’m expecting to hear a lot about Universal apps between now and Windows 10’s release. They’re the next wave of Windows Store apps — and with the new APIs that are being delivered with Windows 10, look likely to finally offer the same capabilities as the more mature Win32. Microsoft is starting to position Universal apps as a significant differentiation between its development platforms and its competitors’ tooling, and with a single store for Universal apps, it has a key way to help developers monetise their apps.

There are certainly a lot more WinRT namespaces in the new release; while Microsoft isn’t intending to focus on Windows 10 developers until its next Build event in April 2015, there’s plenty here for developers to explore. Many of the new namespaces are focused on productivity and information management scenarios, which points to more shared code in future Windows Phone releases. Apple’s Continuity lets information flow from phone to tablet to PC, and from an exploration of the WinRT namespace, it looks as though Windows 10 will be able to offer something similar.

Programmatic access to contacts, to email and to messaging makes a lot of sense in a multi-device world, and giving WinRT the tools to do this goes a long way toward encouraging developers to work with Microsoft’s new programming model.

Microsoft is clearly targeting enterprise users with this latest version of Windows. While many of the underlying enterprise features rely on a new release of both Windows Server and the System Center management suite (and the cloud Intune service), there’s a lot that’s being done to ensure that enterprise concerns with Windows 8 won’t be issues in Windows 10.

One key concern is the use of Microsoft Accounts for the Windows Store. While Microsoft hasn’t described how the Windows 10 store will operate, a now-deleted blog post detailed how it would use Azure Active Directory accounts as an alternative authentication model and would also allow IT departments to curate their own store experiences. I’d expect Microsoft to announce how this feature will operate in conjunction with the 2015 release of key Windows management tools, alongside new Azure AD features.

Then there’s the separation of personal and business information on devices (especially Windows tablets in BYOD scenarios). I talked to senior Microsoft spokespeople at the Windows 10 event in San Francisco, exploring how a new container model would allow secure partitioning of work and personal data. Work apps would get access to the work container and information in one container can’t be copied to another — even via cut and paste. Some apps, like Office, will be what Microsoft calls “enlightened” — able to work in both contexts while still keeping information under control.

The Windows 10 Technical Preview is most definitely a very early release, and it’s still hard to judge exactly what shape the final product will take. As alpha releases go — and the Technical Preview is very much an alpha — it’s stable and familiar.

I’ve now installed it as both an upgrade and VM installs, with no problems. I’m not yet ready to run it as a production OS — that’s likely to wait until the Consumer Preview, when we’ll get a better picture of the final OS. Until then, what we’ve currently got is a Windows 10 that still looks very much like Windows 8.1, with elements of a new UI and a new set of APIs.

Many of the key new features, like the containerised separation of user and corporate data, aren’t yet accessible, as they rely on systems management tooling that won’t be available until the early part of 2015. That could be a problem for IT departments that want to try out those high profile features, though at this point in the Windows 10 development cycle it’s probably best to use the Technical Preview to explore compatibility issues and to understand the effects of tuning the delivery of Windows 10 updates.

There’s a lot for Microsoft to do between now and launch, especially around delivering on its user experience promises. But with a timetable that seems to indicate a release in the second half of 2015, there’s still plenty of time. Many of the nuts and bolts are in place — what we’re waiting for now are the supporting services and the fit and finish in order to get a better handle on the final shape of the new Windows.


MCTS Training, MCITP Trainnig

Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com