Microsoft fixes Windows 10 crash bug ahead of July 29 launch

28 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

10 things Windows 10 does better than Windows 8.

The latest version of Microsoft’s software is designed to be used across PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, and is the company’s second attempt at mounting a serious challenge in the mobile device market. Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system debuts Wednesday, as the longtime leader in PC software struggles to carve out a new role in a world where people increasingly rely on smartphones, tablets and information stored online.

Its first effort, Windows 8, failed to catch on with consumers as much as Microsoft hoped, with changes such as the removal of the Start menu and a major redesign met with a mixed reaction. Forrester Research tries to look beyond and lists down the five key improvements that enterprises, especially Infrastructure & Operations teams should focus on: 1. Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, will also make its debut on PCs, and a number of security features, including biometrics such as fingerprints, will be brought in with Windows 10. The launch will be accompanied by a global marketing campaign for an event the company hopes will be pivotal — both for its own future and for a vast audience of computer users around the world.

Sure, Windows 10 still drags over the “Windows apps and services” themes that Microsoft started pounding home in Windows 8, but it does so in a way that actually respects the legacy the traditional desktop earned over the years. However, although the free upgrade strategy may benefit Microsoft in terms of the number of devices using the new operating system, industry analysts aren’t hopeful that it will lead to an increase in sales of devices as consumers won’t have to invest in new hardware. It has new features, a streamlined Web browser called Edge and a desktop version of Cortana, the online assistant that is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri. This will make things simpler for users, developers and tech management teams across the board as the common platform will support and enable a range of consistent and familiar capabilities. Sure, Windows 10’s Start menu isn’t quite the one you’re used to, acting instead like a mash-up of Windows 7’s Start menu with Windows 8’s Start screen, replete with Live Tiles and Windows Store apps.

Windows 10 will feature a familiar Windows 7-style interface, complete with a resuscitated start button and an adaptive user experience that adjusts based on device type and usage. One of the most telling signs is in the forecasts from the component suppliers, with major firms such as Intel saying they aren’t expecting a large jump in demand, and even Microsoft’s own chief has been restrained in his predictions. “My bullishness for Windows 10 is more in the second half of the fiscal year,” Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said. For large enterprises, Microsoft aims to ease the burden of large-scale PC upgrades — which involve significant acceptance testing and wiping and reloading of OS images — by offering easy in-place upgrades on Windows 7 or later. Worse, they consumed all that space with spectacular inefficiency, leaving tremendous amounts of unutilized space in favor of big, empty blocks that were fine for fingers, but resulted in a dearth of information density and a vast amount of superfluous scrolling with a mouse. Dell, HP, Lenovo and Acer will all have devices with the new software available for sale on its first day. “The real competition for PCs is with the other ecosystems out there,” said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s marketing chief for Windows and devices. “This is bringing real energy to the Windows ecosystem and to the extent that we do that, it’s good for the Windows PC market.”

Some may not get it the first day; Microsoft says it will deliver downloads in waves, to ensure things go smoothly, but it hasn’t said how long that will take. In addition, Microsoft promises to deliver feature updates regularly, just as websites and mobile apps do, rather than in bulky and infrequent service packs.

Gone are the awful hidden Charms bar controls, replaced by a proper menu bar, and thanks to their scaling interface the newly “universal” Windows apps that ship with the system now feel much more natural on the desktop. The goal is to enable most customers to be on the latest features and security updates, but with some flexibility for companies to choose a standardized testing interval to prepare and implement updates. 4. Microsoft will expand its mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) capabilities to also manage PCs, enabling enterprises to have a unified approach to managing all devices. Whereas the desktop and Metro felt like dueling interfaces in Windows 8—being ripped from the desktop to a full-screen Metro app when you opened a file was so damned frustrating—they’re complementary in Windows 10, largely because of the Windows Store app and Start menu improvements mentioned previously. However, enterprises with large Windows 7 environments or lots of legacy applications won’t see the full benefits of these new capabilities until they update their PC fleet and older apps to leverage them — existing group policy tools will continue to work and be enhanced to complement this new approach.

It also revealed that it plans to use containers and data separation at the app and file level to create protection that follows data across devices, email, and cloud services. But ignore all that if you’re using a Windows 10 Phone or tablet, each of which uses a morphed version of Windows 10 to display an interface best suited for each screen size.

And it will provide a new feature, Device Guard, which promises to be a powerful means for blocking malware by managing and restricting application installs. Microsoft tried to sell Windows 8 as an operating system for every device, but it did so by forcing the same interface across tablets and PCs—two very different device types. Windows 10’s Continuum feature helps hybrid devices like the Surface behave like a tablet when it’s standalone, and like a PC when the keyboard’s connected. But Microsoft plans to phase out maintenance and security support for Windows 7 over the next five years, and for Windows 8 by 2023, as it did with the older Windows XP. DirectX 12, like AMD’s Mantle before it, allows for vastly improved CPU utilization in gaming scenarios and provides developers closer-to-the-metal access to graphics hardware.

A: The growth in mobile devices has caused PC sales to decline for more than three years, hurting manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard and companies like Microsoft and Intel, whose products are used with PCs. The end result: Intel and Microsoft say frame rates can increase by more than 50 percent when the same application is run in DX12 rather than DX11—or, alternatively, power draw can be halved. Our own early DirectX 12 testing, conducted with 3DMark’s synthetic API Overhead feature test, shows that the potential performance leap with DX12 is insane—once games start being published that use the new API, of course. Management of the individual desktops and their apps is handled via Windows 10’s surprisingly slick Task View, which can be accessed by its icon in the desktop taskbar.

Virtual desktops can be especially handy if you don’t have multiple monitors: You could dedicate one to social tools, another to work applications, and a third to PC games, for example, so you aren’t tempted to goof off in the middle of a hot and heavy productivity session. Windows 8.1’s search function already pulled info from the web with the help of Bing, but the results were just a dumb web search and you had to travel to the Start screen to conduct one. Cortana’s also powered by Bing, but uses machine learning to provide a personalized summary of your day, surfacing calendar details and news she thinks you’ll find interesting when you open the interface. Plus, Cortana’s sassy—though not all of the cool easter egg questions that Cortana answers on Windows Phone work on the Windows 10 desktop just yet. (Be sure to ask Cortana what she thinks of Siri!) Windows 10 kicks things up a notch with enhanced support for two-factor and biometric authentication, spearheaded by the awesome Windows Hello feature, which (among other things) can use depth-sensing cameras to automatically log you in. “Boy, Hello is terrific. And if you share that PC with others in your family, it will recognize them, too, automatically logging them in and picking up where they left off.” Facial recognition is nothing new, but Hello’s flavor of it sounds uniquely special.

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