Enhancements Coming to Microsoft’s OneDrive

My favorite cloud storage service, Microsoft OneDrive is about to get better.

Last month, Microsoft announced the refreshed OneDrive web UI that will offer cleaner look and improved performance to millions of users around the world. With the new UI, users can quickly see what files and folders are new, what content has been shared with others, who has accessed the content and who has not with click of a single button via their new People Card and more. When we reported about this new UI last month, we saw lot of users complaining about it. Microsoft yesterday posted a detailed look at their new design explaining many things. I’ve highlighted few of them below.

1) Folder and File icon update:

OneDrive team has made it easier to scan across file names and notice essential information quicker. They have made thumbnails larger and more detailed. Read their reason below.

Because OneDrive and SharePoint are alive, active and ever-changing. New files come in, others change, some get shared out. We heard from you that these changes needed to be more apparent, and we combined that knowledge with research about how the human eye parses items. The human eye is attuned to recognize familiar shapes and colors instantly. To take advantage of this, we modified the look of the files and folders in the list and tile views so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.

In addition to the folder icon, they have redesigned file icons to be modern and lightweight. They have generated over 4200 variations and sizes of icons to make your files look great on any device. They are bringing these files experience across Android, iOS, Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and the web interfaces in OneDrive and SharePoint to make it familiar for users.

2) Compact Mode:

Based on the feedback from power users, they are introducing new compact list view which is “high density list view” resembling Windows File Explorer. Also now both the regular and compact list design allows users you adjust column widths suit their needs.

3) New Item and Popular file Indicator:

The New Item Indicator allows users to quickly catch up with the latest contributions. And the Popular files indicator helps users find the popular files in their organizations.

You can read the full post from Microsoft here.

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Update Your Windows Now If You Have Been Putting It Off

Users with old versions of Windows 10 should update their devices as soon as possible, as Microsoft has said it will no longer provide them with security and quality updates after tomorrow.

Image result for windows 10

Released in July 2015, Windows 10 was billed as the “last” version of Microsoft’s operating system because the new OS was designed to update on an ongoing basis via the cloud. However, users of enterprise-focused versions of Windows 10 can disable automatic updates if they believe those processes might interfere with their business operations.

Meanwhile, researchers with Google’s Project Zero have warned that users of Windows 7 and 8 face potential hacking risks because they receive software updates less frequently than do Windows 10 users. The problem stems from “patch diffing,” in which hackers noting security fixes for Windows 10 have time to exploit those vulnerabilities on older versions of the OS that have not yet been updated.

In other Windows news, Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore revealed in a series of tweets yesterday that the company is effectively ending its efforts to develop the Windows 10 Mobile platform. While it will continue to provide support and updates for the mobile OS, Microsoft will instead focus on improving how its systems work on the Android and iOS mobile platforms.

Avoid Becoming ‘More Vulnerable’

According to a Microsoft support note, users running version 1511 or earlier versions of Windows 10 will stop receiving security and quality updates after tomorrow.

“Since version 1511 was released in November 2015, Microsoft has released additional feature updates that build upon each other, delivering the newest features and more comprehensive security,” the note stated. “Windows 10 was designed as a service, whereby feature updates are required a couple times a year. For most consumers, both quality and feature updates are delivered automatically according to their Windows Update settings.”

After tomorrow, devices on which those automatic updates have been disabled will still keep working. However, they could become “more vulnerable to security risks and viruses,” Microsoft added.

Microsoft said users of Windows 10 Home, Pro, Education, and Enterprise should check to see what version their devices are running. If they’re running version 1511 or earlier, they should manually update their devices to the current version, which is the Windows 10 Creators Update rolled out earlier this year. The Fall Creators Update is set to arrive on Oct. 17.

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Using Your Touchscreen with Windows Ink

Windows Ink has been a part of Windows 10 since late 2016. The Windows Ink Workspace is a set of apps designed for touch-enabled devices. Combined with an active stylus, or pen, you can quickly jot down notes in the Sticky Notes app, sketch ideas in the Sketchpad app, or makes notes on screenshots in the Screen Sketch app.

You don’t need to have a device with a pen, like a Surface Pro 4. You can use Windows Ink Workspace on any Windows 10 PC, with or without a touchscreen. Having a touchscreen allows you to write on the screen with your finger in the Sketchpad or Screen Sketch apps.

Here is our hands-on guide to using Windows Ink Workspace on your Windows 10 PC or device. We didn’t have a pen to test on our Windows 10 touchscreen laptop.

Open the Windows Ink Workspace

If you have a Surface Pro device, press the button on the pen to open the Windows Ink Workspace. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC with or without a touchscreen, but no pen, you may need to add the Windows Ink Workspace button to the Taskbar.

The button looks like script capital “I” and would be on the right side of the Taskbar next to the time and date. If you don’t see the button, right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and select Show Windows Workspace button from the popup menu.

windows ink workspace button

To open the Windows Ink Workspace, click the button that now appears on your Taskbar.

windows ink workspace

Jot Down Notes and Create Reminders With Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes has been part of Windows for a while, but the Windows Ink Workspace links your sticky notes to Cortana. When you enter a reference to a day or time, like “tomorrow,” you can let Cortana remind you of the event you write on the note. If you enter a flight number, Cortana will fetch the flight status from Bing. If you’re using multiple Windows devices, your Sticky Notes will be synced across them.

Here is our hands-on guide to using Windows Ink Workspace on your Windows 10 PC or device. We didn’t have a pen to test on our Windows 10 touchscreen laptop.

Open the Windows Ink Workspace

If you have a Surface Pro device, press the button on the pen to open the Windows Ink Workspace. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC with or without a touchscreen, but no pen, you may need to add the Windows Ink Workspace button to the Taskbar.

The button looks like script capital “I” and would be on the right side of the Taskbar next to the time and date. If you don’t see the button, right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and select Show Windows Workspace button from the popup menu.

windows ink workspace button

To open the Windows Ink Workspace, click the button that now appears on your Taskbar.

windows ink workspace

Jot Down Notes and Create Reminders With Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes has been part of Windows for a while, but the Windows Ink Workspace links your sticky notes to Cortana. When you enter a reference to a day or time, like “tomorrow,” you can let Cortana remind you of the event you write on the note. If you enter a flight number, Cortana will fetch the flight status from Bing. If you’re using multiple Windows devices, your Sticky Notes will be synced across them.

Click the Ruler tool on the toolbar. You’ll see a ruler display on the sketchpad at a 45-degree angle. If you have a touchscreen, you can move the ruler around with one finger and change the angle by twisting two fingers around on the ruler.

If you don’t have a touchscreen, use the mouse to click and drag the ruler around. To change the angle without a touchscreen, move the mouse cursor over the ruler and use the scroll wheel.

Once you’ve positioned the ruler, draw along the edge of the ruler with any of the drawing tools. You’ll find even if you stray away from the edge of the ruler, the line you’re drawing will stay straight.

windows ink sketchpad

The middle section on the toolbar allows you to turn Touch Writing on or off, undo and redo actions, and crop your sketch.

The buttons in the right section of the toolbar allow you to clear the entire sketchpad, save the sketch as a PNG file, copy the sketch to the clipboard, or share your sketch through Windows 10’s sharing center.

Close the Sketchpad using the red X button on the right side of the toolbar. Your sketch remains in the Sketchpad app until you clear it.

Annotate Screenshots With Screen Sketch

The Screen Sketch app allows you to take a screenshot of whatever’s currently on your screen and then draw on it using the same tools available in the Sketchpad app. It’s like Edge’s Ink feature, but you can draw on the entire screen, not just on a web page.

To use Screen Sketch, make sure what you want to capture is active on the screen. Then, click the Windows Ink Workspace button and click Screen Sketch.

windows ink screen sketch

The app captures the screen and presents it for you to write on. Use the drawing tools and the ruler to draw or write what you want using a pen, your finger, or a mouse.

You can save, copy, or share your screenshot just like you can do with sketches in the Sketchpad app.

windows ink screen sketch

Open a Pen-Enabled App

Recently used pen-enabled apps are listed towards the bottom of the Windows Ink Workspace, whether or not you have a pen.

For example, you can click the Edge icon.

windows ink pen enabled

Then use Edge’s Ink feature to write on a web page. Some of the same tools you’ll recognize from the Sketchpad and Screen Sketch app are also available in Edge’s Ink feature. You can also save and share your annotated web page.

windows ink pen enabled

Get More Pen-Enabled Apps

The Get more pen apps link on the Windows Ink Workspace opens the Windows Store and shows you all the apps in which you can use your pen.

windows ink pen enabled

Customize the Pen Settings

If you’re using a pen, you can customize it in the Windows 10 Settings app by clicking Pen & Windows Ink settings at the bottom of the Windows Ink Workspace. As we mentioned, we don’t have a pen to test, but you can learn about the Pen settings on Microsoft’s support site.

windows ink pen settings

Organize Your Ideas and Life With Windows Ink

Try out the Windows Ink Workspace to take notes and create reminders for yourself, sketch your ideas, or annotate a screenshot. You can also share your sketches and screenshots with others.

If the Windows Ink Workspace doesn’t quite meet your note-taking needs, give OneNote a try.

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OneDrive Set to Get a Face Lift

Image result for microsoft onedrive pngAs part of its Ignite 2017 conference in Orlando today, Microsoft revealed several updates it is bringing to OneDrive for consumers. Most notable are some tweaks coming to OneDrive’s web user interface (UI), as well as an improved sharing experience across platforms.

First up is the web experience, which Microsoft says it is updating to be “cleaner and more intuitive.” That’s in addition to some tweaks meant to make it easier to find content that has been shared and by whom in a new people card.

Quickly see what files and folders are new, what content has been shared with others as well as being able to see who has accessed the content and who has not with click of a single button via our new People Card and Info Pane.

OneDrive is getting a cleaner web UI and improved sharing options

The sharing experience is also being tweaked to be more consistent across platforms. Microsoft says it has standardized sharing across Windows, Mac and the web. The new sharing pane allows users to choose to share documents to specific people, anyone, or people within an organization.

All of this is in addition to a number of other, smaller tweaks for standard users as well as IT administrators. Here’s a look at what’s coming:

  • Support for synchronization of libraries encrypted with Information Rights Management (IRM) or Digital Rights Management (DRM)- We will now fully support the synching or DRM/IRM libraries in OneDrive.
  • Simple and secure external sharing without a Microsoft account- As demoed this week, we will soon be supporting support external sharing with out the need for a Microsoft Service Account (MSA) by allowing you to use Azure to create a one time use passcode to grant external users access to content.
  • Support for On-Prem customers with Windows and Android App- We are happy to announce we fully support our OneDrive On-Premise customers on both the Windows and Android platforms.
  • Sharing desktop notifications- New mobile and desktop notifications allow you to quickly see when files that have been shared have been opened or changed by the team.
  • Zip File Support- Now open zip files in the web view to see what’s inside and, pick and choose the files you would like to extract.
  • Integration of sync client into Mac Office- The OneDrive client will now be installed as part of the Office for Mac installation process.
  • Support for NGSC (next generation sync client) in SharePoint 2019
  • Open to modern web experience- When you click a file in OneDrive web or choose to open a file via the browser, you will now be put right into an edit mode allowing you to jump into working more quickly.
  • Files Restore- will enable self-service recovery from disastrous events such as mass deletes, ransomware, corruption, and other data loss scenarios.
  • Self Service Migration Toolkit- We are releasing a migration toolkit for self-service users looking to migrate from share drives or other cloud based services to OneDrive on their own.
  • Updates to our mobile client- To make our mobile client even easier to use, we are bringing over some of the great new functionality from our webpage to mobile. You will be able to quickly see what content has been shared with others as well as being able to see who has accessed the content and who has not.
  • Multi-Geo- We will now support the country specific location of user’s data to specific Azure region, helping our customers to better support country specific security and standard’s needs.
  • Service Level Encryption with Customer Key- This allows customers to hold their own private key to their cloud storage
  • Updates to OD Admin Center- Now you can see active accounts, file activity and view all OneDrive Message Center messages right from the OneDrive admin console. We have also added a slider to make moving from most to least permissive sharing permissions easier.

Microsoft also (finally) reconfirmed that Files On-Demand will be launching into general availability on October 17 alongside the Windows 10Fall Creators Update.

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Microsoft Set to Replace Skype for Business with Teams

Microsoft confirmed this morning that it will replace Skype for Business with Microsoft Teams, as had been widely rumored. But it will still release a new Skype for Business on-premises server next year for those businesses not ready to move to the cloud.

To be clear, only the Skype for Business brand is really going away, and then only in the cloud for the short term. That is, all of the capabilities that Microsoft’s business customers expect from Skype for Business will be rolled into Microsoft Teams. That latter product has been well-received by customers and has experienced exploding usage in its first six months of availability. And it’s about to get a lot better. Or at least a lot more capable.

Key to this move is delivering a single architecture—and, on each client platform, a single way to access these features—for Unified Communications. Now, customers will be able to place calls, hold meetings, collaborate with others, and communicate in other ways all from a single place. And that place is Microsoft Teams.

At the time of this writing, it’s not clear what the schedule is for phasing out Skype for Business across Office 365, Microsoft 365, and the software giant’s other cloud-based offerings. But Microsoft Teams will become the core communications client “over time,” Microsoft says, and it will be updated with numerous features and meeting enhancements during this transition. These will include features normally associated with Skype for Business, including inbound/outbound calls to PSTN systems, the ability to hold and transfer calls, voicemail, audio conferencing, universal presence, and messaging and calling interoperability.

Obviously, this is blockbuster news, but it’s a transition that will take some time. And I don’t believe this change impacts the consumer version of Skype in any way.

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Bing Joins War Against Fake News

Microsoft is jumping on the fake news bandwagon, adding a “Fact Check” label to Bing. Facebook enacted a crackdown on fake news months ago, and Google soon followed suit. And now, Microsoft is joining the party. And you’ll soon see the fruits of these labors in Bing search results.

Image result for bing fake news

It’s getting increasingly difficult to tell fact from fiction. And we have the internet to blame for this phenomenon. Sure, false news stories, conspiracy theories, and urban legends were born and spread before the advent of the internet. However it’s much worse these days, mostly a result from the internet and social media.

Fake News Is a Serious Business

Fake news isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is now much more prevalent than ever before. Fabricated news stories are being written, spread, and perpetuated to actually affect people’s opinions on specific countries, politicians, and celebrities. And the whole thing is becoming a serious business.

Having watched Facebook and Google both do their utmost to help people separate fact from fiction, Microsoft is adding a new UX element to Bing search results. The “Fact Check” label, as it’s called, will add fact-checking information to search results without the user ever having to leave Bing.

Essentially, Bing will add a note where applicable to news stories and web pages. These will instantly show users that a claim has been fact-checked by an organization such as Snopes or Politifact, and reveal what their assessment of it is. Whether it’s True, False, or somewhere in-between.

Bing Is Bigger Than You Think

I can already hear that the Fact Check label on Bing is meaningless because no one uses Bing. But that simply isn’t true. In fact, as Microsoft was keen to point out in August 2017, Bing is bigger than you think. So, given Bing’s popularity, Microsoft’s efforts to fight fake news should be applauded.

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Microsoft Rolls Out New Windows Update

With all of the exciting Apple news this week I wanted to let everyone know that there is a new Windows 10 update being rolled out. Microsoft is now rolling out KB4038788 via Windows Update which bumps up the build number up to 15063.608. The update is available for Windows 10 PCs and Mobile device, and it includes a lot of fixes and security patches.

Here’s whats in the update:

  • Addressed issue where the color profiles do not revert to the user-specified settings after playing a full-screen game.
  • Updated HDR feature to be turned off by default in the OS.
  • Addressed issue where you can’t open the Start menu when you add a third-party IME.
  • Addressed issue with scanners that rely on inbox driver support.
  • Addressed issue in a Mobile Device Manager Enterprise feature to allow headsets to work correctly.
  • Addressed issue where some machines fail to load wireless WAN devices when they resume from Sleep.
  • Addressed issue where Windows Error Reporting doesn’t clean up temporary files when there is a redirection on a folder.
  • Addressed issue where revoking a certificate associated with a disabled user account in the CA management console fails. The error is “The user name or password is incorrect. 0x8007052e (WIN32: 1326 ERROR_LOGON_FAILURE)”.
  • Addressed issue where LSASS is leaking large amounts of memory.
  • Addressed issue where enabling encryption using syskey.exe renders the system unbootable.
  • Updated the BitLocker.psm1 PowerShell script to not log passwords when logging is enabled.
  • Addressed issue where saving a credential with an empty password to Credential Manager causes the system to crash when attempting to use that credential.
  • Updates to Internet Explorer 11’s navigation bar with search box.
  • Addressed issue in Internet Explorer where undo is broken if character conversion is canceled using IME.
  • Addressed issue with the EMIE where Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer repeatedly switched between each other.
  • Addressed issue where a device may stop responding for several minutes and then stop working with error 0x9F (SYSTEM_POWER_STATE_FAILURE) when a USB network adapter is attached.
  • Addressed issue where some apps cannot be opened because the IPHlpSvc service stops responding during the Windows boot procedure.
  • Addressed issue where spoolsv.exe stops working.
  • Addressed issue where the Get-AuthenticodeSignature cmdlet does not list TimeStamperCertificateeven though the file is time stamped.
  • Addressed issue where, after upgrading to Windows 10, users may experience long delays when running applications hosted on Windows Server 2008 SP2.
  • Addressed RemoteApp display issues that occur when you minimize and restore a RemoteApp to full-screen mode.
  • Addressed issue that sometimes causes Windows File Explorer to stop responding and causes the system to stop working.
  • Addressed issue that causes the Export-StartLayout cmdlet to fail when exporting the layout of tiles at startup.
  • Addressed issue where the option to join Azure AAD is sometimes unavailable during the out-of-box experience.
  • Addressed issue where clicking the buttons on Windows Action Center notifications results in no action being taken.
  • Re-release of MS16-087- Security update for Windows print spooler components.
  • Security updates to Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows kernel-mode drivers, Windows shell, Microsoft Uniscribe, Microsoft Edge, Device Guard, Windows TPM, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Scripting Engine, Windows Hyper-V, Windows kernel, and Windows Virtualization.

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Switching from iCloud to OneDrive for Camera Roll Sync and Backup

Image result for onedrive iphoneMany times I have been asked by family, workmates & friends about the iPhone message stating that their “iCloud” is reporting memory full. This is often because the iPhone defaults to uploading your photos to the iCloud – in addition to a genral backup of the phone. Unfortunately there is only 5GB of free space there – anything beyond that and you need to pay Apple.

I prefer Microsoft’s OneDrive for photo backup. The service is much less expensive and more functional.

So how do you do this?

1. Make sure Camera Upload is toggled on.

2. These options allow you to use your mobile network for uploading images to OneDrive, include videos, and upload in the background without having to open the app to being the image sync to OneDrive. Select your options based on your preferences.

IMPORTANT:
At this point go back to the main OneDrive app page and you should see your phone begin syncing all of your Camera Roll images to OneDrive. Let this process finish before you proceed to the next step.

By default, iCloud is used in iOS to backup your camera roll as you take images with the phone and it comes with just 5GB of storage for free with options to subscribe and add more storage to your account.

However, if you are already part of the Microsoft ecosystem then you can actually shift over to using OneDrive for syncing your camera roll images to the cloud. These days OneDrive also comes with just 5GB of cloud storage at no cost. However, if you are an Office 365 subscriber or maybe grandfathered with more storage prior to the reductions Microsoft made a couple of years ago then you likely have much more than just the free 5GB allotment of storage.

To get started just download the OneDrive app from the App Store on your iOS device and sign into your Microsoft Account via the OneDrive app after it is installed.

Once you are signed in just follow the screenshots in this gallery for steps on turning on camera roll sync with OneDrive and turning it off in iCloud.

Note: Make sure you allow the OneDrive app to sync your existing camera images from your phone to OneDrive first before shutting down the iCloud backup. I have bolded that warning in the gallery image to remind you. This is just to make sure that none of your existing images are lost in the transition.

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Auto Save with Office 365

Is there anything more upsetting, annoying, or frustrating than accidentally losing a chunk of your work? It could happen for all sorts of reasons: accidentally closing an app, losing power in a storm, or maybe a simple software crash.

If you’ve spent hours crafting a document, the last thing you want is to have to start from scratch.

Luckily, Microsoft Office 365 now offers a way to auto-save your work. Best of all, you can turn the feature on or off using a Quick Access Toolbar icon, if you know when to look.

Add Auto-Save to the Quick Access Toolbar

Adding an auto-save icon to the Quick Access Toolbar is easy. Just follow these five steps:

  1. Launch Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint.
  2. Locate the small downward-facing arrow in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Click the arrow to expand the list of Quick Access Toolbar customizations.
  4. Click Automatically Save.
  5. Slide the toggle into the On position.

However, the new auto-save feature has a few caveats you need to be aware of:

  • The feature will only work if you save the document into OneDrive. It does not work for locally saved documents.
  • As of this writing, the feature is only available to Office 365 subscribers.
  • The feature only works for the newest Office document formats. For example, files if you have saved as XLS, PPT, or DOC, the feature will not work. Instead, you need to make sure your files are saved in the newer DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX formats.

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Window 10’s Dynamic Lock

Do you ever walk away from your PC and wish you had locked it? Well if you ever do – I have a Windows 10 tip for you!

When Microsoft updated Windows 10 recently it added a new OS feature for Bluetooth-equipped devices. It’s called Dynamic Lock, and lets you control access to your PC based on how close you—and your Bluetooth-paired phone—are to it. That is, if the phone you’ve paired with your PC (it works for laptops, notebooks, tablets and desktops) is not found within radio range of your PC, Windows 10 turns off the screen and locks the PC after 30 seconds have elapsed. Many PC users will probably find this hidden security gem very useful.

Setting up Dynamic Lock

To begin, you must pair your phone with your Windows 10 PC.

To do this, open “Devices and Printers,” then click “Add a device.” Once the phone has been paired with your PC, you’ll see something like this under the “Devices” heading in this control panel widget (here, my iPhone is paired with my Dell Venue Pro 11 7139 hybrid tablet PC).

iPhone paired with Windows 10 PC

When a phone is paired with a Windows 10 PC, an entry like the “iPhone” item shown above appears in Devices and Printers.

Once pairing is complete, you can turn on Dynamic Lock by visiting Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. Simply click the checkbox under the Dynamic Lock heading that reads “Allow Windows to detect when you’re away and automatically lock the device,” as shown in this screen snippet:

Enable Dynamic Lock

Simply click the checkbox, and you’ve enabled Dynamic Lock! From this point forward whenever you walk away from your Windows 10 PC it will automatically lock after 30 seconds!

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