Patch Tuesday Brings Several Windows 10 Updates

Starting today Microsoft is rolling out a brand new cumulative update for Windows 10 that brings several new security updates and under the hood improvements and fixes. These updates are rolling out today as part of “Patch Tuesday”.

Patch Tuesday Updates for Windows 10 (Build 15063.540)

The updates include:

  • Addressed issue where the policies provisioned using Mobile Device Management (MDM) should take precedence over policies set by provisioning packages.
  • Addressed issue where the Site to Zone Assignment List group policy (GPO) was not set on machines when it was enabled.
  • Addressed issue where the AppLocker rules wizard crashes when selecting accounts.
  • Addressed issue where the primary computer relationship is not determined when you have a disjoint NetBIOS domain name for your DNS Name. This prevents folder redirection and roaming profiles from successfully blocking your profile or redirects folders to a non-primary computer.
  • Addressed issue where an access violation in the Mobile Device Manager Enterprise feature causes stop errors.
  • Security updates to Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Windows Search Component, Microsoft Scripting Engine, Microsoft Windows PDF Library, Windows Hyper-V, Windows Server, Windows kernel-mode drivers, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows shell, Common Log File System Driver, Internet Explorer, and the Microsoft JET Database Engine.

Microsoft provides one known issue for the cumulative update rolling out today: Installing this KB (4034674) may change Czech and Arabic languages to English for Microsoft Edge and other applications.

The update is rolling out to everyone on the stable version of the Windows 10 Creators Update (including Insider Release Preview) right now under the name KB4034674. Users on the Anniversary Update, November Update and original Windows 10 release are also receiving cumulative updates today too.

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Tip! Closing Windows Fast

How many different ways do you know to close a window in Windows? You can click the X in the upper-right corner, use the Alt + F4 shortcut, or right-click a Taskbar icon and choose Close window. But did you know there’s an old relic hanging out in Windows 10 that’s been around for decades?

In any Windows version, you can double-click in the upper-left corner of the title bar to close a window. For many programs, the spot you’ll need to click is marked by the app’s icon. This menu actually contains several other commands, like RestoreMove, and Minimize.

You can also activate this menu in any open app by pressing Alt + Space or by right-clicking the title bar.

Because keyboard shortcuts and newer Windows versions offer better ways to perform these functions, most people have forgotten about this menu. Probably its most useful function is the Move command, which lets you click and drag to slide a window around.

This comes in particularly handy when apps disappear off-screen — anyone who uses a laptop with a dock will know this annoyance. The Move command instantly snaps your mouse to the title bar of the affected app, so you don’t have to hunt around for it.

Most people probably don’t use this menu often, but it’s a neat trick to keep in your pocket. It’s fun to see what’s left over from Windows versions of old, and the Move command might save you some stress in the future!

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Patch Tuesday Brings New Windows 10 Update

As for the Creators Update, Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 Build 15063.413 for PCs and Build 15063.414 for Mobile devices. The build includes security updates for some of the core components of Windows, and it also includes a fix for the lock screen on Windows 10. Here’s the full changelog:

  • Addressed issue where the user may need to press the space bar to dismiss the lock screen on a Windows 10 machine to log in, even after the logon is authenticated using a companion device.
  • Addressed issue with slow firewall operations that sometimes results in timeouts of Surface Hub’s cleanup operation.
  • Addressed issue with a race condition that prevents Cortana cross-device notification reply from working; users will not be able to use the remote toast activation feature set.
  • Addressed issue where the Privacy Separator feature of a Wireless Access Point does not block communication between wireless devices on local subnets.
  • Addressed issue on the Surface Hub device where using ink may cause a break in the touch trace that could result in a break in inks from the pen.
  • Addressed issue where Internet Explorer 11 may ignore the “Send all sites not included in the Enterprise Mode Site List to Microsoft Edge” policy when opening a Favorites link.
  • Addressed additional issues with time-zone information and Internet Explorer.
  • Security updates to Windows kernel, Microsoft Windows PDF, Windows kernel-mode drivers, Microsoft Uniscribe, Device Guard, Internet Explorer, Windows Shell, and Microsoft Edge. For more information about the security vulnerabilities resolved, please refer to the Security Update Guide.

Head over to Windows Update to grab the latest patches, and have the best patch Tuesday ever!

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Keyboard Tricks for Windows

Another quiet week in the tech world gives us some more time for actual technology tips. Lets look at some keyboard shortcuts you can use to make your life easier with Microsoft’s Windows.

High Contrast: SHIFT + ALT + PRINT

In its default setting, this shortcut opens a warning window before applying any changes. Click Yes or simply hit Return to switch to the high contrast setting.

This will enlarge the font on all open windows and change colors to high contrast. For example, the desktop will turn black, what was black text on white background before will be reversed. Clicking the same key combination again reverts the changes.

Switch Between Open Windows: ALT + TAB

This keyboard shortcut launches a layover window that shows all open programs. Hold onto the ALT key and click the TAB key to move to the next application. Release both keys to open the selected window.

You can reverse the direction by holding ALT + SHIFT while pressing the TAB key.

Delete Without Confirmation: SHIFT + DEL

Do you hate these nagging windows asking you whether you really want to do this or that. If you want to quickly delete something, without being harrassed for a confirmation, use this shortcut.

Do you want to make the instant delete route your default setting? Right click the Recycle Bin on your desktop, select Properties, and remove the checkmark next to Display delete confirmation dialog.

Show Desktop / Restore Open Windows: Windows key + D

Rather than moving your mouse into the bottom right corner of your screen to see your desktop, press this keyboard shortcut. Press it again to restore your windows exactly as they were before.

Lock System: Windows key + L

You should never leave your desktop unattended. Before you head out to the loo or to grab another coffee, press this keyboard shortcut to lock your system. When you return and log back in, all programs and windows will appear the way you left them.

Run Command Prompt as Administrator: Windows key + R, type cmd, hold CTRL + SHIFT, hit ENTER

This is one complex chain of commands. But if you manage to do it right, you’ll have instant Administrator access to the command prompt.

Unfortunately, this shortcut doesn’t seem to work anymore as of the Windows 10 Creators Update. Alternatively, press Windows key + X to open the Quick Access Menu, then use the UP/DOWN arrow keys to move the Command Prompt (Admin) entry, and hit ENTER.

Shut Down: Windows key + X, U, I / U / R / H / S

You can shut Windows down with a few button clicks. It all starts with Windows key + X to open the Quick Access Menu, followed by the U key to expand the Shut down or sign out options. Finally, press I to sign out, U to shut down, R to restart, H to hibernate, and S to sleep.

Create Your Own Desktop Keyboard Trick

Are there folders or applications you need a lot? Why not create your own keyboard shortcut to quickly access these tools.

Note: This will only work for shortcuts located on your desktop!

First you need to create an actual desktop shortcut. In Windows 10, this has become a little more tricks. Right-click on the application in its program folder or send it from the Start Menu to the Taskbar and SHIFT + right-click its Taskbar icon, then select Create Shortcut from the context menu.

Make sure the shortcut sits on your desktop. Now right-click the shortcut and select Properties. You should see a line that says Shortcut Key: None. Click that line and then click a letter on your keyboard, for example P. This will create a shortcut, here CTRL + ALT + P.

desktop shortcut

And there you go, now you have your own personal shortcut key.

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Fixing Adobe Acrobat in Windows 10

Life is good. Microsoft Edge is your new default web browsing experience on Windows 10, and it offers a new streamlined interface, speed improvements, and a lot of new features, including the ability to open PDF files. However there is where a problem emerges for some of us.

While the PDF reader is a convenient feature, it currently only offers some basic functionalities, and out-of-the-box, Windows 10 makes it your default system PDF reader whether you like it or not. If you prefer to use a more advanced application, such as SumatraPDF, Xodo, or Adobe Acrobat Reader, or after a Windows 10 upgrade your settings aren’t preserved, you may want to change your settings to disable Microsoft Edge as your default PDF reader every time you open a file.

Lets walk through the steps to change your system settings to stop opening PDF files in the web browser by default.

How to disable Microsoft Edge as default PDF reader

In order to disable Microsoft Edge’s PDF feature, you need to change the file association, which you can do with the following steps:

Using the Settings app
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Default apps.
    • Note: If you’re still running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the path is Settings > System > Default apps.
  4. Click the Choose default apps by file type link.
  5. Scroll down and find .pdf (PDF File), and click the button on the right side, which is likely to read “Microsoft Edge.”
  6. Select your app from the list to set it as the new default.
  7. Click the Switch anyway link to confirm the change.

Once you completed the steps, Microsoft Edge will no longer open PDF files by default in the web browser.

Using the file context menu

Alternatively, you can quickly make another app as your default PDF reader, using the following steps:

  1. Right-click a PDF file.
  2. Select Open With.
  3. Click on Choose another app.
  4. Select the PDF application you want to use.
  5. Check the Always use this app to open .pdf files option.
  6. Click OK.

If you don’t see the app you want to use in the list, click the More apps link at the bottom of the list. You can also click the Look for another app on this PC to find the PDF application you want to set as default.

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Saving Disk Space with Windows 10

Windows 10 Creator’s Update makes saving disk space easier then ever before. Let’s take a look at how you can reclaim some of that hard drive space on your PC or laptop – perhaps saving you some cash along the way.

Image result for saving disc space windows 10

How do you manage all those files you don’t need anymore? Do you dump everything in the Recycle Bin? Are you one of the few people who uses the excellent Shift + Delete shortcut? Or are your desktop and file hierarchy a mess thanks to years of poor folder management?

Whichever category you fall into, the bottom line is that staying on top all your old files is entirely your responsibility.

Or is it? Well, no. Not anymore. The Windows 10 Creators Update has brought a much-welcomed update to the already excellent Storage Sense feature.

But what is it? What can it do for you? And how you use it? Keep reading to find out.

What Is Storage Sense?

Microsoft released Storage Sense as part of the original Windows 10 back in 2015, though it’s been part of Windows Phone since the days of the 8.1 release. It offered you a way to manage the apps and files on your hard drive.

The feature could tell you how much of your system’s memory was being occupied by each individual file type and let you specify onto which storage media you wanted to save your apps, documents, music, pictures, and videos by default.

windows 10 storage usage space

All those features are still present in the Creators Update version of Storage Sense, but the core purpose of the app has changed. Now you can use it to automatically monitor and free up storage space on your computer. It can delete old files, monitor for specific file types, and a whole lot more. I’ll discuss it in more detail shortly.

Why Is the New Version of Storage Sense Needed?

As I touched on in the introduction, managing old files and folders can be a mammoth task. Lots of people simply aren’t disciplined enough to keep themselves organized.

For example, Microsoft designed the Recycle Bin to be a safety net — it theoretically prevents you from accidentally losing an important document. But did you know it has a default maximum size? Windows will automatically delete the Bin’s contents on a “first-in-first-out” basis once you’ve reached the limit. If you abuse the purpose of the app and never empty out the junk, it could come back to haunt you.

recycle bin size

If you’re curious, you can change the default size of the Bin by right-clicking on the app’s icon, heading to Properties > General and altering the Custom size number.

Other file cleaning tools, such as Disk Cleanup (Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Disk Cleanup), are not easy to use nor automatic.

n short, the new Storage Sense feature aims to fix a long-standing Windows problem that users have been complaining about for years.

How to Enable Storage Sense

There are two parts to Storage Sense: you can choose to simply enable the feature and run with the Windows default settings, or you can customize it to meet your personal requirements.

If you want to merely turn on Storage Sense, head to Start > Settings > System.

windows 10 settings system

Now locate the menu item labeled Storage in the panel on the left-hand side on the Settings window and scroll down until you see the Storage Spaces option. You’ll see a sliding toggle. Set it to the On position.

windows 10 settings system storage spaces

If you make no further changes and quit the app, the Windows 10 Creators Update will automatically delete any junk files from your PC. That includes data files left over from long-since-uninstalled apps, some temporary files, and any items in the Recycle Bin that are more than 30 days old.

If you leave the feature turned on for a few months, you’ll even be able to see a month-by-month history of your storage savings.

How to Customize Storage Sense

If you want to make Storage Sense work in a different way from the pre-prescribed defaults, there are some options you can change.

Once again, you need to head to Start > Settings > System > Storage > Storage Sense. This time, click the link titled Change how we free up space.

windows 10 settings system storage spaces

The new window allows you to choose whether you only delete old Recycle Bin files, only delete temporary files that your existing apps aren’t using, or delete both. Slide the toggles accordingly to make your choices.

A little further down the page, there’s also a third option called Free up space now. If you click on the Clean now button, Storage Sense will perform the clean-up actions immediately.

windows 10 settings system storage spaces clean now

As you can see from the image above, my system instantly found 83.9 MB of new space. It might not sound like much, but I religiously keep my Recycle Bin empty and stay on top of old files — even in the hidden AppData folder. If you’re not as particular as me, the savings could be enormous.

Where Are the Old Features?

I mentioned earlier that some Storage Sense used to be about managing your storage locations and getting a snapshot of your various drives’ file breakdown.

Even though Microsoft has revamped the Storage Sense feature, you can still do those things, but you’ll now find them in a slightly different place.

Navigate to Start > Settings > System > Storage and scroll down to More storage settings. There are two options: Change where new content is saved and Manage Storage Spaces.

windows 10 more storage settings

Change Where New Content Is Saved

Clicking on Change where new content is saved will give you a list of six filetypes: Apps, Documents, Music, Photos and Videos, Films and TV Programmes, and Offline Maps.

windows 10 more storage settings options

Under each filetype, you can choose your preferred location from the drop-down box. The app will list all your drives, including any removable disks.

Manage Storage Spaces

Choosing Manage Storage Spaces allows you to create pools of drives. Any content you save will be added to both drives, thus protecting you against drive failure and accidental deletion.

windows 10 drive pool

Click Create a new pool and storage space to create your pools.

Local Storage

Lastly, you can still see a breakdown of your current drives by content type.

Go to Start > Settings > System > Storage and click on the drive you want to view.

windows 10 local drives

The app will show you a full list of your content along with the amount of space needed by each type.

windows 10 storage used

What Other Features Would You Like to See?

There’s no doubt that the new Storage Sense feature will be a boost to anyone who feels like they’re drowning under the weight of old content.

That said, the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update only marks the first iteration of the app. Presumably, Microsoft will add a lot more functionality in future updates.

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First Patch Arrives for Windows 10 Creators Update

Last month Microsoft released the Creators Update for Windows 10 and although not all users have been offered the updated version of the OS on Windows Update many did manually install the new version of Windows.

Image result for windows 10 creators update

So what’s in this scheduled patch?

There is also a security update for Adobe Flash Player for Windows 10 Version 1703 (KB4020821) and the standard monthly release of the updated Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830).

There are also other updates for Microsoft software on this Patch Tuesday and we will explore those later today to let you know what you should be focused on in this batch of updates.

So, KB4016871 is cumulative security update that is available for PCs (Build 15063.296) and Mobile (15063.297) and addresses the following issues:

  • Addressed issue with Surface Hub devices waking from sleep approximately every four minutes after the first two hours. 
  • Addressed issue where autochk.exe can randomly skip drive checks and not fix corruptions, which may lead to data loss. 
  • Addressed an issue where Microsoft Edge users in networking environments that do not fully support the TCP Fast Open standard may have problems connecting to some websites. Users can re-enable TCP Fast Open in about:flags
  • Addressed issues with Arc Touch mouse Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Security updates to Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows SMB Server, Windows COM, Microsoft Scripting Engine, Windows kernel, Windows Server, and the .NET Framework.

As with any other cumulative update, there are no new system features in this patch but the updates & fixes noted above are very important.

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Windows 10 S Arrives

Microsoft has just launched a very different version of its Windows operating system.

It’s being compared to Chrome OS, a simple, web-focused desktop operating system created by Google.

Image result for windows 10 s

The device runs Windows 10 S, a new version of Windows 10. In previous leaks, it’s been called Windows 10 Cloud OS.

“Streamlined for simplicity,” said Terry Myerson, the executive vice president of the Windows and devices group, who went on to describe it as “the soul of today’s Windows.”

Windows 10 S runs on the full range of Windows 10 hardware, including high-end models like the Surface Book, and has a slightly different default desktop image to Windows 10.

Like Chrome OS, it’s lightweight and streamlined, designed for teachers, students and customers who only require access to certain core programs, such as the Edge browser and educational apps.

It’s also designed to boot up quickly, making it ideal for the classroom.

Everything that runs on Windows 10 S has to be downloaded from the Windows Store, which will suggest alternatives to any programs it doesn’t offer.

Windows 10 S will be available this summer, ahead of the start of the next academic year.

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Get a Fresh Start with Windows 10 Creators Update

Things can go wrong in the world of computers. Sometimes a operating system (OS) upgrade, like the new Windows Creators Update can go wrong or your PC can get sluggish and start misbehaving over time.

In the past this often meant finding a “tech person” to look at the PC and “format” it. While this may still be necessary from time to time, thanks to Windows 10 and it’s new Fresh Start feature you may be able to improve your relationship with your PC quickly and on your own. Saving yourself time and money.

Related image

Life Before Windows 10

In the Windows 8 period, a feature was added to the operating system called Reset and Refresh. The choice was simple. Reset meant your device was returned to a pristine installation of Windows 8 with none of your files, settings, or apps remaining on the device. The experience after the reset would be just like powering up your device for the first time. On the other hand Refresh would keep your files and Windows Store apps installed but system settings and desktop software would be removed. This options was great for a quick fix due to corrupted settings or something like that.

In the Windows 10 Creators Update those two options are now called Reset this PC and Fresh Start but they have now reversed roles in a couple of ways.

Option 1 – Reset this PC

To access this setting just go to Windows Settings>Update & security>Recovery and then select Get started.

Reset this PC - Windows 10 Creators Update

You will then be presented with two options:

Reset this PC - Windows 10 Creators Update

Option 1 – Keep my files. Apps and Settings are removed but your personal files are retained and available in the reset system.

Option 2 – Remove everything. files, apps, and settings are removed. This results in a completely pristine state just like the day you started it up for the first time out of the box.

Option 2 – Fresh start

The starting point for Fresh start is in a non-standard location – the Windows Defender Security Center app under Device performance and health tab. Although now that I am looking at that written down – it does make sense because this option is all about improving device performance and health.

To get started just select the Additional info link.

Fresh start - Windows 10 Creators Update

Here you will see the explanation of what Fresh start will do on your system. Your personal files and some settings are always retained in this option. Take note that apps you installed will be removed along with Office, third-party anti-virus software, and pre-installed desktop apps.

That last one is key about Fresh start because this includes OEM software that is pre-installed on many devices out of the box.

Fresh start - Windows 10 Creators Update

To begin the Fresh start process just select Next and follow the subsequent prompts.

Fresh start - Windows 10 Creators Update

Fresh start gives you a truly clean start because the latest version of Windows 10 is downloaded from Microsoft and not pulled from the standard restore partitions that many systems have these days for reinstalling the operating system.

In the above dialog box you will see that Windows Store apps that were pre-installed by the device manufacturer will be restored in this process just like the standard Windows 10 inbox apps.

So if you are experiencing any unresolved issues on your Windows 10 device then these two feature options could help sort that out. I recommend you start with the Reset this PC option which will use your devices recovery media. If that does not help or you want a much cleaner install with a fresh copy of Windows 10 then Fresh start is the one to use.

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Windows 10 is Here to Save Your Battery

Microsoft yesterday touted operating system-wide power savings in a recent preview of Windows 10, claiming that the technology will reduce notebook battery consumption by 11% on laptops equipped with the newest processors.

Image result for windows 10 battery

The technology, temporarily tagged as “Power Throttling,” was enabled on all copies of Windows 10 Insider build 16176, which Microsoft released Friday. Insider is the beta program Microsoft runs for both enthusiasts and businesses, which I participate in. Microsoft relies on Insiders to learn how the OS will change for the next feature upgrade, as well as for testing the upgrade prior to deploying the final code when it is shipped several months later.

Power Throttling Explained

Microsoft stated when explaining their new ‘Power Throttling,’ that when background work is running, Windows places the CPU in its most energy efficient operating modes, meaning work gets done, but with as minimal possible battery usage as possible.

Like other such technologies, Microsoft’s is meant to recognize foreground tasks — such as active apps — as well as persistent applications, like music streaming applications, then give them full access to the processor. Other apps, or even individual processes within an app, that are classified as “background,” are restricted in how they impact the CPU’s power usage. For instance, they may not be allowed to kick the processor into its higher-frequency, higher-power, higher-consumption mode.

Image result for intel speed shift

What You Will Need

Power Throttling works only on Intel processors with that firm’s Speed Shift, a feature of sixth-generation and later CPUs, including “Skylake” and the newer “Kaby Lake.” Sadly this means if you have an older laptop you will need to pick up a new one to enjoy longer battery life through Speed Shift & Windows 10.

When Will Power Throttling Be Available?

The first opportunity most users will have to apply Power Throttling will be with 2017’s second feature upgrade. Microsoft has not revealed a release timetable, but most expect it to appear this fall.

 

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