Windows 10 review: it’s better, simpler, smarter than Windows 8

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Can Microsoft restart love for Windows?.

Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella (pictured) says the tech giant wants to move from “people needing Windows, to choosing Windows, to loving Windows”. Starting this week, Microsoft is offering most Windows 7 and Windows 8 users a free upgrade to the software giant’s latest operating system — Windows 10. But there’s a very important security caveat that users should know about before transitioning to the new OS: unless you opt out, Windows 10 will by default share access to your Wi-Fi network with any contacts you may have listed in Outlook and Skype — and, with an opt-in, your Facebook friends!

Furthermore, some users are having trouble with Windows Update (on one of my PCs, I got an error last night, and this morning it simply got stuck on “Checking for updates”). That turned out to be a flaccid affair, leaving many Microsoft users annoyed at the radical overhaul of the layout and, in particular, the decision to ditch the start button menu. I first read about this disaster waiting to happen over at The Register, which noted that Microsoft’s Wi-Fi Sense FAQ seeks to reassure would-be Windows 10 users that the Wi-Fi password will be sent encrypted and stored encrypted — on a Microsoft server. That comes either indirectly from software licenses included with new computers sold to people or companies, or directly from corporations that buy bundles of Microsoft software and services that entitle them to regular upgrades.

The company says your contacts will only be able to share your network access, and that Wi-Fi Sense will block those users from accessing any other shared resources on your network, including computers, file shares or other devices. But these words of assurance probably ring hollow for anyone who’s been paying attention to security trends over the past few years: given the myriad ways in which social networks and associated applications share and intertwine personal connections and contacts, it’s doubtful that most people are aware of who exactly all of their social network followers really are from one day to the next. “That sounds wise — but we’re not convinced how it will be practically enforced: if a computer is connected to a protected Wi-Fi network, it must know the key. Windows revenue from corporate contracts and business PC sales have been roughly stable in the last two years, even as PC unit sales have swooned, the company has said.

That said, consumer Windows sales tend to be small by Microsoft standards, roughly one-quarter to one-third of Windows revenue, based on the company’s April financial disclosures. According to research firm IDC, global shipments between April and June reached 337 million units, up nearly 12 per cent on the same quarter last year. Microsoft likely made almost as much revenue from one of its second-tier businesses–digital advertising, primarily search ads delivered by Bing–as it did from its original business line selling Windows for consumer PCs. See what it says under “System type.” You can change what the Windows 10 installer will keep, but be warned that if you hit “Back” you’ll have to go through the updates and checks again.

I should point out that Wi-Fi networks which use the centralised 802.1x Wi-Fi authentication — and these are generally tech-savvy large organisations — won’t have their Wi-Fi credentials shared by this new feature. Microsoft’s solution for those concerned requires users to change the name (a.k.a. “SSID”) of their Wi-Fi network to include the text “_optout” somewhere in the network name (for example, “oldnetworknamehere_optout”). This is the first screen you should see, before your computer restarts: Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through … read more »

Wi-Fi Sense has of course been a part of the latest Windows Phone for some time, yet it’s been less of a concern previously because Windows Phone has nowhere near the market share of mobile devices powered by Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS. The company is trying to mitigate that effect by pushing Office 365, a Web-friendly version that is a paid subscription like Netflix rather than a buy-once piece of software. More from WSJ.D: And make sure to visit WSJ.D for all of our news, personal tech coverage, analysis and more, and add our XML feed to your favorite reader. It wants to be the go-to platform where app developers pitch their wares: not simply a home for apps reconfigured from variants built for Apple’s IOS.

And, as The Reg notes, if you personally share your Wi-Fi password with a friend — by telling it to them or perhaps accidentally leaving it on a sticky note on your fridge — and your friend enters the password into his phone, the friends of your friend now have access to the network. For every network you join, you’ll be asked if you want to share it with your friends/social networks.” To my way of reading that, if I’m running Windows 10 in the default configuration and a contact of mine connects to my Wi-Fi network and say yes to sharing, Windows shares access to that network: The contact gets access automatically, because I’m running Windows 10 and we’re social media contacts.

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