Microsoft aims to reboot connections with Windows 10

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Intel, Microsoft working to squash Windows 10 battery life bug.

Microsoft wants people who are testing Windows 10 to update to the latest version of the operating system, and the company has provided an important incentive: anyone running an older version of the OS will be unable to access the Windows Store, starting Friday. Microsoft is days away from launching its long-awaited Windows 10 operating system, which can’t come soon enough for users fed up with the widely panned Windows 8.1.On Thursday, an Intel spokesman confirmed that the company is working to patch a minor bug that will reduce the battery life of some Windows 10 machines by less than 10 percent. It’s not quite as simple as “Windows 10 will be available that day.” Windows Insiders (read: Windows 10 preview testers) will get first dibs when Windows 10 launches on July 29, while everyone else will see a staggered roll out over the following days. Microsoft, for example, issued an update for Intel’s HD Graphics integrated GPU on Thursday for its Surface line—along with a firmware update that failed to update for many people.

Under Windows 10, developers will be able to submit a broader range of apps for inclusion in the store compared to Windows 8, including web apps that are built to run on a user’s desktop and legacy Win32 apps in addition to “Modern” apps that feature a Windows 10-esque interface. Even worse is the games portion of the store, which seems to highlight casual games for phone users more than traditional PC games. (One exception is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game that was ported to Windows Phone and can be played on Windows 10 PCs.) On Windows 10, two apps stand out for their entertainment value: the Microsoft Solitaire Collection, an attractive group of traditional Windows games like Minesweeper; and the Xbox app, which is home to a social network as well as innovations like game streaming from an Xbox One to a PC. In some sense, both Intel and Microsoft are on an intercept course, with Microsoft’s Windows 10 scheduled to hit the market shortly before Intel is expected to begin shipping its next-generation Skylake chips. The new operating system also includes support for what Microsoft is calling the Windows universal app platform, which lets developers build core application code that can then be run across devices from smartphones to the Xbox One. Microsoft says it will use the rollout to check compatibility and to “listen, learn, and update the experience for all Windows 10 users.” However, the company notes that “the vast majority” of PCs running Windows 7 and higher should be fully compatible— though the compatibility checker doesn’t recognize Nvidia’s Windows 10-compatible GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card.

But this should remind you that with any new hardware or operating system, bugs can do more than cause visual glitches—they can affect the performance of your system. Some users will likely be frustrated by this approach, but the good news is that Microsoft is experimenting with alternative methods such as peer-to-peer distribution for future Windows 10 updates.

Microsoft has been rapidly pushing out updates to build 10240 that include bug fixes and other performance improvements over the course of the past week, and plans to continue doing so in the immediate run-up to Windows 10’s launch. Microsoft offered this oblique statement in return: “A benefit of delivering Windows 10 as a service means we continue to offer ongoing innovations and security updates, continuously improving Windows 10,” a spokeswoman said in an email. Meanwhile, some PC makers are warning, unsurprisingly, that turning on the Cortana digital assistant’s active listening feature will also reduce a PC’s battery life.

Discs packing the OEM version of Windows 10—which doesn’t include technical support—won’t be available until August 5 on Amazon, while flash drives bearing the consumer version of Windows 10 Home and Pro won’t go on sale until August 30. Quietly, PC makers have begun to tell us that the “Hey Cortana” feature built into Windows 10 will have some effect on battery life, but it’s not clear how much.

When “Hey Cortana” is triggered, that spikes to about 6 percent or so of a Core i5-powered HP Spectre X360—a tiny amount, and only active for a few seconds, anyway.

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