Windows 10 Adoption Grows

Back in May, more than 500 million active devices were being powered by Windows 10. Last week at Micrsoft’s annual shareholders meeting it was announced that a new milestone had been achieved for Windows 10. It’s now powering 600 million active devices.

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Windows 10 growth slowed down ever since the end of the free upgrade offer for Windows 7/8 users. Microsoft’s operating system continued to pick up market share, albeit at a much slower rate, as more and more businesses started moving away from Windows 7, but the majority of users are still running older versions of the OS to this day. Extended support for Windows 7 is set to end in 2020, and by that time Windows 10 should be well over the 1 billion target Microsoft set during the initial launch of the OS.

Going forward, it’s clear that Microsoft won’t have too much trouble getting users to upgrade to newer versions of Windows. The company’s Windows as a Service strategy has performed surprisingly well so far, with more than 20% of all Windows 10 users already using the latest feature update for the OS which only came out in October.

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New Windows Troubleshooting Scam Emerges

Just in time for the holidays a new PC scam is making the rounds that trys to trick you into turning over you hard earned cash.

“Windows Troubleshooting” is a new nasty scam that distributes as cracked software installer, it displays a fake BSOD, or Blue Screen of Death, on the infected machine and then shows Troubleshooting Windows pop up that seems like legit Windows Troubleshooter.

Image result for windows troubleshooting scam

The Troubleshooting scam was first detected by Pieter Arntz (a security researcher from Malwarebytes), the researcher said that Tech Support Scammers use different techniques for distributing themselves. This particular one was offered as a cracked software installer.

After installed, the scam will say that your Windows cannot be fixed, prevents you from using Windows, and encourages you to buy a program using PayPal to fix the “detected problems” and unlock the screen.

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The option of “Buy Windows Defender Essentials” will open a PayPal page to let you purchase the app for $25. The funds will be transferred to the following PayPal address

“lillysoft.it@gmail.com” and use the following URL:“https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=DXKLEMZTGTTDY”

After a successful payment, victims will be redirected to “hitechnovation.com/thankyou.txt”, which includes the word “thankuhitechnovation” that tells the program to open a new screen that pretends to fix the issues and enables the victim to close the program.

How to remove it?

To remove this scam, you should first bypass the lock screen, the malware uses a simply breakable mechanism to verify if a victim made a payment or not. But, you can simply workaround this issue by following these steps:

– Open the fake PayPal purchase screen.
– Press Ctrl + O keys from the keyboard to launch open dialog box.
– Type http://hitechnovation.com/thankyou.txt into Open box and press enter.

That’s all. You should be able to close the window and access your Windows because the program will think the user paid and shut itself down.

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Microsoft Edge Arrives on iOS & Android

Today the Microsoft Edge app quietly dropped its beta tag on Android, and now Microsoft has made it official. The browser is now out of preview on both iOS and Android, launching in full for everyone.

Microsoft Edge officially exits preview on iOS and Android

I have been using this web browser on my iPhone for several weeks and must say I have been impressed with its performance. This is really a nice option if you are tired of Safari or even Chrome on your smartphone.

Microsoft initially launched Edge on iOS and Android in preview in October as a way for Edge desktop users a way to easily sync their passwords, favorites, and reading list between devices. You can also quickly pick up where you left off with a “Continue on PC” feature, which opens the page your looking at on your phone on your PC.

While the app still behaves like Edge, it runs on the required WebKit rendering engine on iOS and the Blink rendering engine on Android, rather than Microsoft’s own EdgeHTML engine.

I suggest giving this one a try – especially if you use Edge on your Windows 10 PC.

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Microsoft Set to Change Things Up with ‘Sets’

Microsoft will soon be test-driving a feature in Windows 10 that could forever change how you use your PC. It’s also a feature you’ve already been using for years.

Say hello to tabs. Or as Microsoft calls them, ‘Sets.’

While Microsoft isn’t sure whether that name will stick, the idea is to bring browser-like tabs to not just Chrome and Edge, but virtually every Windows app. Moreover, it’s not just grouping duplicate instances of a single app; you can actually combine different apps into one window. Check out Microsoft’s explainer video:

Basically, Sets could help you keep apps group related apps for particular tasks, projects, or ideas, rather than just being a mess of windows that you’re constantly rearranging. If you’re researching a paper, for instance, you could theoretically combine a PDF reader, a PowerPoint presentation, and notes all into to one tabbed window.

Granted, you could already organize your apps by task or idea by using virtual desktops, but that method has some drawbacks. You can assign different desktops to tasks or projects, for example, but you can’t see or move them all at once. Sets would be giving users another layer of control to keep things nice and tidy.

Besides, tabs are likely more intuitive for the average user. After all, organizing resources into tabs is already how we browse the web and use plenty of Web apps. Heck, this is basically how Chrome OS operates. Microsoft is simply expanding that organizational concept to the desktop with full-fledged apps.

The idea was born out of the ‘Timeline’ concept Microsoft introduced back during its Build conference in May. That feature allowed you to go back in time to see what apps you were using at any given moment, allowing you to easily resume a work setup or project. Sets are simply another way to group your apps.

Windows Timeline

At first, the feature will only be available on UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps first because their sandboxed nature helps ensure you don’t break anything major. Over time, it seems the company hopes to expand to first part apps like Office and traditional Win32 apps as well.

In any case, it could be quite some time before the feature ever hits the public. Even users in Microsoft’s Insider testing program won’t all have access to it; Microsoft will randomly select a small group of testers who will be able to access the feature to start.

I hope I’m one of the lucky ones; as far as I’m concerned this is one of the most useful changes to Windows in years.

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Your Own Captain’s Log Arrives on Windows 10

While handwritten journals are nice, electronic journals are more convenient, and they provide ways to record your life that pen and paper simply can’t. my Log allows you to record video journal entries and transcribes into text them for you. Just like on Star Trek.

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The app also has an optional Star Trek theme that lines up nicely with the surge in the franchise’s popularity, thanks to recent films and Star Trek Discovery.

The app is available for free on Windows 10, Xbox One, and HoloLens. You can download the premium version or donate to the developer but this doesn’t seem to add any features.

my Log is centered around video journal entries, but its other features create a fuller journaling experience. The most impressive feature is the app’s voice-transcribing feature. When you record an entry, the app automatically records your words as text. It’s very accurate, though not perfect, and gives you a way to read through your entries without watching your video. As you’d expect, you can edit the text to correct any errors.

In addition to videos and transcribed text, you can also upload photos and gifs to your entries. You can’t upload full videos, though, which is unfortunate.

my Log has some nice features and impressive voice dictation, but the market for journal apps is crowded. my Log stands out with its Star Trek theme and video focus, but it is missing features that would let it replace other popular journaling apps.

One of those missing features is social media and calendar integration. However, in it’s dedefense my Log is a much newer app and it is free.

It would also be nice to see my Log gain the ability to add journal entries without videos having to be recorded. While the app is video focused, sometimes you just want to jot down ideas without recording anything.

Final Thoughts

my Log is a fun app to use, especially if you’ve watched as many Star Trek episodes as me. Anyone who knows anything about Star Trek is familiar with the phrase “captain’s log.” The voice-dictation software works well enough that you won’t have to make a ton of edits to correct errors, and the ability to upload photos and gifs is handy.

There are a lot of competing journal apps for Windows 10 but my Log is unique enough to deserve a look.

You can download my Log in the Windows Store.

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Microsoft Launcher Comes to Android

Microsoft has just launched the re-branded Microsoft Launcher on Android.

According to Play Store, the launcher was downloaded 5 million times and it currently has a 4.6 rating.

Microsoft is trying hard to make sure Android users prefer Microsoft Launcher as their default launcher on Android. The company is also sending out quick updates to fix the issues and make sure to give the best experience especially to Microsoft fans moving from Windows Phone to Android.

The launcher lets users customize feeds, download new Wallpapers from Bing, check news, customize gestures on the home screen and many more. On the top of all this, Microsoft Launcher comes with “Continue on PC” which will send files, images, docs, and websites directly to your PC using OneDrive. Microsoft Launcher is a must app for people who love to keep their home screen simple and clean.

If you’re an Android user, head to the Play Store from the link below to get Microsoft Launcher for Free.

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Microsoft’s November Patch Tuesday Arrives

November’s batch of Patch Tuesday updates is now rolling out to Windows 10 users. As per usual, today’s updates include quite a few bug fixes and improvements, but no noteworthy features.

For those already running the Fall Creator’s Update, today’s patches bring the build number up to 16299.64 with update KB4048955. This is the first Patch Tuesday update for the Fall Creators Update. Here’s a look at the fixes included:

  • Addressed issue that causes the Mixed Reality Portal to stop responding on launch.
  • Addressed issue that causes a black screen to appear when you switch between windowed and full-screen modes when playing some Microsoft DirectX games.
  • Addressed a compatibility issue that occurs when you play back a Game DVR PC recording using Android or iOS devices.
  • Addressed issue where the functional keys stop working on Microsoft Designer Keyboards.
  • Addressed issue to ensure that certain USB devices and head-mounted displays (HMD) are enumerated properly after the system wakes up from Connected Standby.
  • Addressed issue where the virtual smart card doesn’t assess the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) vulnerability correctly.
  • Addressed issue where Get-StorageJob returns nothing when there are storage jobs running on the machine.
  • Addressed issue where applications based on the Microsoft JET Database Engine (Microsoft Access 2007 and older or non-Microsoft applications) fail when creating or opening Microsoft Excel .xls files. The error message is: “Unexpected error from external database driver (1). (Microsoft JET Database Engine)”.
  • Addressed issue where application tiles are missing from the Start menu. Additionally, applications that the Store app show as installed don’t appear on the application list of the Start menu. Computers that have Internet connectivity and upgrade on or after November 14, 2017 will receive this preventative solution and avoid this issue. Machines that lack network connectivity or have already encountered this issue should follow the steps in the Microsoft Answers thread “Missing apps after installing Windows 10 Fall Creators Update”. Microsoft will release and document an additional solution in a future release.
  • Addressed issue where Microsoft Edge cannot create a WARP support process and appears to stop responding for up to 3 seconds during a wait timeout. During the timeout period, users cannot navigate or interact with the requested page.
  • Security updates to Microsoft Scripting Engine, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows kernel, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player.

Updates are similarly available for prior Windows 10 releases, each with a lengthy list of bug fixes. Windows 10 Mobile users are also getting an update to build 15254.12, which contains all of the improvements found in update KB4048954. You can find a full list of release notes at Microsoft’s support site.

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Microsoft Apps on Your Android or iOS Device

Although Microsoft’s Windows Phone is a distant memory and I often get choked up missing my old Windows Phone – Microsoft has done a great job embracing both Apple & Android. There are several awesome Microsoft productivity apps that you can download on your smartphone that will help you work better and get that awesome Microsoft tingly feeling (or maybe that’s just me).

Here are my favorite productivity apps that you will want to make sure are installed on your device.

Microsoft Office

Although small screens are not the best UI for major editing jobs, having the ability to tweak a presentation or other document when you are waiting to meet with a customer is valuable and these apps will give you that capability.

In addition, being connected to your e-mail and calendar is critical during the work day and having Outlook on your device for that is a no brainer. The latest versions of Outlook for iOS and Android include the Focused Inbox feature to help you stay focused on the important communications.

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote has become my second brain and allows me to take all of my notes and other information everywhere I go. It is laid out to use a heirarchy of Notebooks which then have Sections and then those areas have Pages which can then be organize with all of the data that enters our daily existence.

Microsoft To-Do

Although this app is not nearly as full featured as Wunderlist which it replaced, much to the chagrin of Wunderlist loyalists, it does integrate with Outlook and enables you to keep track of all the items on your work list.

Microsoft OneDrive

As the cloud continues to become an integrated feature in our work flow having access to it and everything stored there is what makes this app a must on your device. It has recently undergone a significant UI update while makes the experience across iOS and Android nearly the same which reinforces the companies effort to make your experience mobile no matter what platform you use.

Microsoft Authenticator

If you are not using Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on your accounts then you are behind the security power curve. What I love about the Microsoft Authenticator app is that it is platform agnostic, What I mean by that is I am able to setup the app as a second factor of authentication for any platform that supports 2FA. There are options for entering the account data manually or using a QR Code to automatically set 2FA in action.

Bonus Apps to Help You Work

Microsoft Edge

This recommendation reaches both iOS and Android and while Microsoft Edge is still in beta preview mode on iOS and Android (public preview). iOS users can sign-up to begin testing Edge through the Apple TestFlight program.or

This app is a key element of productivity for anyone who is using the latest feature update for Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, with these two mobile platforms. Within the Edge app there is a method to send a website link to your Windows 10 device which can be opened right then or stashed in your Action Center as an alert that can be opened later. This feature, Share to PC, is some of the early steps Microsoft is working on for their Windows Timeline feature that will make this process easier by sharing activities between a users ecosystem of devices.

Microsoft Launcher

I wish it was possible to tell everyone that this app is accessible on both iOS and Android but unfortunately Apple does not support alternate launchers on their platform so this one is just for those on Android devices.

Microsoft Launcher is one way that users can transform their phone into a pseudo Microsoft device by not using the default Android launcher options and then installing any and all of the Microsoft apps that they want on their handset.

There are options to configure wallpapers, themes, icon packs and many other aspects of the app. In addition, by tying in your Microsoft Account you can easily access your calendar, documents, and other activities. Just like the Microsoft Edge app there are also capabilities built in to share items to your Windows 10 device that uses the same Microsoft Account.

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Saving Windows Media Player

Image result for windows media player logoMicrosoft isn’t quite as bad as Apple or Google when it comes to trashing much-loved apps, features, and services, but lately Microsodft also seems to be moving in that direction.

For example, with the release of the Fall Creators Update, Windows Media Player has, at first glimpse disappeared. It goes missing as soon as you install update KB4046355 on build number 1709. I am sure Microsoft really – really wants everyone using Groove, however in many ways Media Player is simpler and all you need.

But is Media Player gone forever? Well, no. At least not yet. You can get it back. Here’s how.

Bringing Back Windows Media Player on Windows 10

Follow the step-by-step guide below to bring back Windows Media Player:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Apps > Apps and features.
  3. Click on Manage optional features.
  4. Select Add a feature.
  5. Scroll down to Windows Media Player.
  6. Click on Install.

Windows Media Player Disappeared? Get It Back! windows 10 optional features

The process might take several minutes to complete. When it’s finished, you’ll find the Windows Media Player shortcut in your Start Menu. Click on the shortcut to launch the app.

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Controlling Reminders in Outlook

If you use Outlook for managing tasks, you’re likely painfully aware of Calendar reminders.

Reminders can definitely come in handy for important meetings and as a project management tool, but if you have several calendars connected to your account, you might be getting reminders left and right that you don’t need. Luckily, they are very easy to turn off.

To turn off Outlook Calendar reminders do the following:

  1. Go to File > Options Calendar.
  2. Under Calendar Options uncheck Default Reminders and click OK.

When you do this, you won’t receive reminders on meetings you’ve accepted that are in your calendar.

How to Disable Annoying Outlook Calendar Reminders Outlook Calendar Reminders

If you’ve created reminders for specific emails or tasks, you can also switch all of these off with just one setting in Outlook.

  1. Go to File > Options > Advanced.
  2. Under Reminders, make sure that the Show reminders is unchecked.

How to Disable Annoying Outlook Calendar Reminders Outlook Reminders

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