Next Windows 10 update nearing completion as it gets its official name

Enlarge (credit: Peter Bright / Flickr)

The last few Windows Insider preview builds of Windows 10 have offered few new features; instead these have focused on fixing bugs.

The latest build, released today, takes a step towards completion: it’s changed the operating system’s version stamp. Until now the previews have called themselves version 1803, the release from earlier this year. Today’s build updates that version label to 1809, showing that Microsoft intends to wrap up its development in September with an October release likely to follow.

Version 1809 will be the last of the five Redstone-codenamed Windows releases. The next release, likely to come in April 2019, is codenamed simply “19H1,” with Microsoft opting for date-based codenames to go with its date-based releases.

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Microsoft Office Experiencing Activation Issues on Mac and PC

Microsoft Office appears to be experiencing activation issues on both Mac and PC today, according to several user reports on Twitter. MacRumors also received emails from multiple readers affected.



At least some Office 365 subscribers who have attempted to use Word, Outlook, and other apps in the Microsoft Office suite have been prompted to reactivate their license, but the process fails to complete.

Affected users have encountered various errors while Office apps hang on “activating” or “looking for licenses,” which eventually leads to a window that says “no license found,” with seemingly no workaround.



The issue appears to be affecting not only individual users, but businesses and

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Alexa and Cortana integration starts rolling out today

Enlarge (credit: Amazon)

Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa digital assistants can now talk to each other. The collaboration between the two assistants was announced last year and was originally due to become available by the end of 2017.

Microsoft showed how the integration would work at its Build conference earlier this year, and what’s rolling out today seems little changed from that demo. From a Cortana-native device (a Windows 10 PC, an Xbox, the Harman Kardon speaker), “Hey Cortana, open Alexa” will switch you to speaking to Alexa. From there, you have access to Alexa’s full range of shopping (not that anyone seems to really care about that), music, weather, and so on.

From an Alexa-native device, the opposite incantation—”Alexa, open Cortana”—will open Microsoft’s digital assistant for you to check your calendar, manage your to-do list, or listen to some emails.

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Microsoft nearly banned Gab over post saying Jews should be raised as livestock

Enlarge / The Microsoft logo at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (credit: Getty Images | Justin Sullivan)

The Microsoft Azure cloud computing service threatened to stop hosting Gab, a self-described “free speech social network,” unless the site deleted two anti-Semitic posts made by a neo-Nazi who previously ran for a US Senate seat.

Gab founder Andrew Torba yesterday posted a screenshot of Microsoft’s notice, which said that Microsoft had “received a complaint of malicious activity” and that Gab must take action within two business days or face the possible “suspension of your deployment(s).”

“Gab’s hosting provider, Microsoft Azure, has given us 48 hours to take action on two posts or they will pull our service and Gab will go down for weeks/months,” the website’s official Twitter account said.

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Windows 10 to get disposable sandboxes for dodgy apps

Enlarge (credit: F Delventhal)

Microsoft is building a new Windows 10 sandboxing feature that will let users run untrusted software in a virtualized environment that’s discarded when the program finishes running.

The new feature was revealed in a bug-hunting quest for members of the Insider program and will carry the name “InPrivate Desktop.” While the quest has now been removed, the instructions outlined the basic system requirements—a Windows 10 Enterprise system with virtualization enabled and adequate disk and memory—and briefly described how it would be used. There will be an InPrivate Desktop app in the store; running it will present a virtualized desktop environment that can be used to run questionable programs and will be destroyed when the window is closed.

While it would, of course, be possible to manually create a virtual machine to run software of dubious merit, InPrivate Desktop will streamline and automate that process,

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Microsoft adding support for Movies Anywhere, giving away free X-Men movie

Enlarge (credit: Movies Anywhere)

Microsoft’s Movies & TV app for Windows 10 and Xbox now supports the Movies Anywhere service. And for a limited time, if you add your Microsoft account to the Movies Anywhere app, you’ll get a free film.

Movies Anywhere, originally launched by Disney in 2014, brings together movies you’ve bought from a wide range of content providers, including Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu. Rather than having to hunt through different apps (and even different devices) to figure out which service you bought a given film from, Movies Anywhere, means all your films will show up in one app and the app can run on a wide range of devices. The Movies Anywhere app also supports buying from any service that you’ve connected.

Movies Anywhere movies will show up within Microsoft’s Movies & TV apps, even if they were bought on competing platforms. At

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Apple’s Windows migration tool can transfer more info in Mojave

Windows users looking for an easier time of switching to the Mac are in luck. According to a report at 9to5Mac, Apple’s latest operating system, macOS 10.14 Mojave, has a new Windows Migration Assistant. Originally spotted by a Twitter user, the new assistant will apparently bring over much more data than ever before, including user accounts, documents, email, contacts and calendar information.

Via: The Verge

Source: YRH04E/Twitter, 9to5Mac

Microsoft Plans to Keep Skype Classic Available ‘for Some Time’ Following User Backlash

Microsoft last month announced plans to shut down Skype 7, aka Skype Classic, on PCs and Macs in September, with the company encouraging customers to instead upgrade to the latest version of Skype, Skype 8.

Skype 8, first introduced last year, features a total design overhaul that has not been popular with some customers, which led some Skype users to be unhappy with Microsoft’s announcement.



As of today, as pointed out by Windows blog Thurrott, Microsoft has changed its mind following user feedback. In a forum post, the Skype team says that support for Skype 7 will not end in September, with the end of life date extended to an unknown time.

UPDATE: Based on customer feedback, we are extending support for Skype 7 (Skype classic) for some time. Our customers can continue to use Skype classic until then.

It is not clear how long “some time”

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Another Windows 10 SKU is on its way, this time for remote desktops

Enlarge / A VT100 remote terminal, which is basically the same thing as Windows Remote Desktop. (credit: Wolfgang Stief)

Most of the Windows 10 builds published in the Insider program don’t come with ISO disk images, so the Windows 10 installer doesn’t get a ton of scrutiny. Every now and then, however, ISOs are published (in theory every time there’s a build pushed to the slow channel) allowing for fresh installs. Twitter user Tero Alhonen has spotted a new installation option in the latest ISO: Windows 10 Enterprise for Remote Sessions.

As the name rather implies, the Windows 10 variant supports multiple users logged in to multiple remote desktop sessions simultaneously, with at least 10 concurrent users allowed.

Some kind of remote desktop capability has been a part of Windows since Windows 2000 (and before that with third-party extensions), but Microsoft has always restricted it in various ways. Windows

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The Surface Go reviews are in, and… they’re a bit all over the place

Enlarge / Surface Go. (credit: Microsoft)

Surface Go—Microsoft’s 10-inch, $399 tablet—launches today in 25 markets. Many publications around the Web have had a couple of days to review Microsoft’s latest attempt at a cheap(ish) computer, and opinions are surprisingly varied.

Surface Go is a shrunk-down version of the Surface Pro, Microsoft’s kickstand-equipped two-in-one tablet/laptop. It has a smaller screen (10-inches, 1800×1200), a weaker processor (an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y, which is a two-core, four-thread Kaby Lake chip that was launched about 18 months ago), slower and smaller storage (64GB, using an eMMC interface), and reduced battery life (estimated at 9 hours). But it’s cheaper. A lot cheaper: the base model is just $399, compared to $799 for the base Surface Pro.

Go keeps all the major Surface design elements: a variable-position kickstand, 8MP rear/5MP front cameras with Windows Hello facial recognition, the Surface Connect magnetic charging and

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Latest Windows 10 build will support “Your Phone” content sharing

Enlarge / With Your Phone you can drag and drop a photo from the phone onto the PC, without having to plug the phone in. (credit: Microsoft)

Back at its Build conference in May, Microsoft showed Your Phone, a Windows 10 app (with companion apps on Android and iOS) that helped bridge between the smartphone world and the PC world. The company showed syncing of photos, SMS messages, and notifications between the phone and the PC, hoping to put an end to time-honored traditions such as e-mailing yourself a picture you took on your phone just so you can use it on your computer.

The latest Insider Preview build of this autumn’s Windows 10 update, released yesterday, finally enables this syncing. Or at least, it enables the Windows-side portion of it. The phone-side updates are merely “coming soon.” An Android app, requiring Android 7.0 or better,

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Windows 10 will try not to reboot when you’re just grabbing a cup of coffee

Caffeinate or continue to have unfettered access to your machine? A new Windows 10 tweak hopes you will no longer have to make such difficult decisions. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The next semi-annual update to Windows 10 will use machine learning models to make automatic rebooting for updates a bit less annoying. The models will attempt to predict when you’re likely to return to your PC and not update if you’re expected back soon.

In prior versions of Windows, it was routine for systems to be compromised through flaws that were patched months previously because Windows users deferred installing those updates or even disabled Windows Update entirely. Windows 10 goes to some lengths to ensure that Windows users, especially home users, apply the monthly security patches in a timely fashion through a policy of automatically rebooting when a patch is available. Last year, Microsoft gave users greater control over this feature

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The best mobile devices for students

There’s no negotiating on this: You need a smartphone at college. Powerful flagships like the iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy S9 promise speedy performance, but even more affordable options like the Xperia XZ2 Compact and OnePlus 6 offer an impressive amount of bang for your buck. Though not necessary, you might also want a tablet for book-reading, or a smartwatch that double as a fitness tracker. While the Apple Watch is the most obvious choice for an iPhone user, other brands have offerings that are just as stylish — stuff you won’t be ashamed of wearing around campus.

As for tablets, Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad doesn’t break the bank (at least before you add on accessories) and is now compatible with the Apple Pencil — a tool once reserved for the higher-end iPad Pro line. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Surface Pro offers laptop-grade power, though we recommend paying extra for Continue reading “The best mobile devices for students”

Highly Requested Dark Mode Comes to Outlook Web Mail Service

Microsoft today launched a much-requested dark mode for its Outlook.com web mail service. The company teased the new mode earlier this month, suggesting it would be reminiscent of last year’s Halloween theme for Outlook.



The new dark mode actually adopts shades of grey to generate panel contrast, providing a more polished look as a result. You can enable it from the Quick settings menu (the cog wheel icon in the upper right). Currently it only works with the default blue theme.

The dark mode for Outlook.com is one of the most highly requested features for Microsoft’s web mail service, according to listings on the Outlook.com feedback site, although there’s still no word on whether a similar mode is coming to the mobile Outlook app.

Last month, Microsoft launched a rebranded version of its Microsoft News app for iOS with a dark mode. Several other iOS

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Microsoft’s streaming Xbox will split up games to keep latency low

The Xbox power button lights up when turned on; otherwise, it’s solid black, not shiny-silver.

Last month, we learned that Microsoft is developing a pair of new Xboxes for release in 2020 under the codename Scarlett. One system will be a full console; the other will be a cloud-connected system for streaming games. Today, Brad Sams at Thurrott.com has more to say about that streaming box.

We know Microsoft has been interested in developing a streaming service for many years. At this year’s E3, the company reaffirmed that it’s working on a streaming service that will allow games to be run in the Azure cloud and streamed to a relatively simple set-top box. This makes the end-user hardware much cheaper, but it has a consistent problem: latency. Every button press on the controller has to travel over the Internet to the server before it can be processed, and every

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Microsoft exec: We stopped Russia from hacking 3 congressional campaigns

Microsoft’s Tom Burt talks about phishing attacks detected by Microsoft against political campaigns at the Aspen Security Summit.

In a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute’s Security Summit yesterday, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Customer Security and Trust Tim Burt said that in the course of hunting for phishing domains targeting Microsoft customers, members of Microsoft’s security team detected a site set up by Russian actors that was being used in an attempt to target congressional candidates.

“Earlier this year,” said Burt, “we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks, and we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the midterm elections.” While Burt would not disclose who the candidates were, he did say that they “were all people who, because of their positions, might have

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Microsoft posts bumper Q4, with Windows, Surface, Azure all up

(credit: Julien GONG Min / Flickr)

Microsoft has posted the results of the fourth quarter of its 2018 financial year, running up until June 30, 2018. Revenue was $30.1 billion (up 17 percent year-on-year), operating income was $10.4 billion (up 35 percent), net income was $8.8 billion (a rise of 10 percent), and earnings per share were $1.14 (an increase of 11 percent).

This brings the full-year revenue to $110.4 billion (up 14 percent on the 2017 financial year), with operating income of $35.1 billion (up 21 percent) and net income of $16.6 billion, a drop of 35 percent, attributed to the impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act’s $13.8 billion repatriation tax. Without that, the company would have been looking at a net income of $30.3 billion, up 18 percent on 2017.

Microsoft currently has three reporting segments:

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Halo devs not working on battle royale mode for Infinite

Enlarge / Don’t expect this to be the setting for a survival-style battle on an ever-shrinking map anytime soon.

The stratospheric success of games like Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds in the past year has led to a wave of copycat battle royale survival games and modes. Even franchises like Call of Duty aren’t immune, with Black Ops 4 adding a new battle royale mode called Blackout while ignoring the usual single-player campaign.

It seems the Halo series will not be following the trend, though. In a Halo 5-focused “social stream” hosted on Microsoft’s Mixer platform last night, 343 Industries writer Jeff Easterling said the studio is not working on a battle royale mode for the upcoming Halo Infinite .

A viewer plainly asked, “Will there be battle royale in Halo Infinite?” Easterling responded definitively, “I’ll tell you right now, the only BR we’re interested in is Battle Rifle, the

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Windows 10 will get better at telling the time with new leap second support

Enlarge (credit: michael)

One of the things that to me sums up the utter futility of existence and the inevitability of humanity’s eventual extinction is the fact that the world is slowing down. About every 18 months or so, the Earth takes about a second longer to rotate on its axis, ever so slowly grinding to a halt. There’s at least a possibility that when this happens, the Earth will be tidally locked to the Sun, with one side in sun-scorched perpetual daylight (probably Texas, they frankly won’t notice the extra heat) and the other side eternally dark. The future is really bleak.

But between now and then, we have to handle the problem of keeping track of the time. There are two main sources of time; a whole bunch of atomic clocks averaged together to produce International Atomic Time, and the astronomical time that comes from measuring how

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VR rivals come together to develop a single-cable spec for VR headsets

USB Type-C, the most exciting boring connector in the industry right now. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Future generations of virtual reality headsets for PCs could use a single USB Type-C cable for both power and data. That’s thanks to a new standardized spec from the VirtualLink Consortium, a group made up of GPU vendors AMD and Nvidia, and virtual reality rivals Valve, Microsoft, and Facebook-owned Oculus.

The spec uses the USB Type-C connector’s “Alternate Mode” capability to implement different data protocols—such as Thunderbolt 3 data or DisplayPort and HDMI video—over the increasingly common cables, combined with Type-C’s support for power delivery. The new headset spec combines four lanes of HBR3 (“high bitrate 3”) DisplayPort video (for a total of 32.4 gigabits per second of video data), along with a USB 3.1 generation 2 (10 gigabit per second) data channel for sensors and on-headset cameras, along with 27W of electrical

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