Microsoft is reportedly aiming to win back its core desktop audience with the release of Windows Threshold next year. These are the same users clinging to Windows XP and Windows 7, or perhaps even made the jump to Linux in order to avoid Windows 8/8.1. Microsoft has a chance to atone for the usability mistakes it made in Windows 8/8.1 with Windows 9, and you can expect a whole bunch of new features aimed at desktop users.
Don't hold your breath waiting for the return of the Start menu
Microsoft did Windows users a solid by bringing back the Start button in Windows 8.1, but has stubbornly refused to give back the Start menu for those who want it. Last we heard, the Start Menu would indeed make a comeback, the question is when, and the answer might not be with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 2 -- instead, the Start menu may not make a comeback until Windows 9.
To all the Windows 8 haters out there, we feel your pain! The update might be too little, too late for some, but if you're ready to accept a Win 8.1 fate, our guide will get you started
Sometimes we wonder if Microsoft didn’t actually build a new OS so much as a Frankenstein that its customers could direct years of pent up anger, frustration, and fear onto. For example, just hint that Windows 8.0 ain’t that bad on the Internet, and some Windows users will react as if you keyed their mint ’64 Chevelle Malibu and kicked their dog with your steel-toed boot. To say you’ll get a beat down of YouTube-able proportions is an understatement of people’s rage at Windows 8.0 today.
Note: This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of the magazine.
Registry hack for Windows XP catches Microsoft's attention
Microsoft finally and officially ended support for Windows XP back in April, though not without throwing XP users a bone in the form of one last out-of-cycle security patch for a pretty serious vulnerability affecting most versions of Internet Explorer. However, that was a one-time thing, and now XP users are left out in the cold. Or are they? A registry hack that allows Windows XP to continue to receive security updates is making the rounds, and it's caught the attention of Microsoft.
Many devices preloaded with the free SKU to be unveiled over the coming weeks
Microsoft is now getting very serious about taking the fight to all those low-cost Android tablets and cheap Chromebooks. Hot on the heels of its decision to begin offering OEMs free Windows licenses for building sub-9-inch devices, the Redmond-based tech bellwether on Friday announced a new version of Windows that will be offered free of cost to device manufacturers regardless of screen size.
New and improved version of Chrome OS hits the Stable channel
Google this week rolled out an updated version of its open source Chrome OS to the Stable channel -- version 35.0.1916.116 (Platform version: 5712.6.0). The update applies to all Chrome OS devices, save for the Asus Chromebook and Samsung Series 3 Chromebox. For all other Chrome OS devices, the update adds a number of bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements.
Different reports point to different release schedules
Speaking at last year’s Build conference, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated that moving to a rapid release cadence was “fundamental to what we’re doing, and what we must to do to mobilize our ecosystem and our partners.” Since that proclamation, we’ve already seen the company release two updates (albeit of varying significance), and a third, presumably called Windows 8.1 Update 2, is rumored for release later this year. But what about next year?
Every Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) deciphered (Updated!)
If you're returning here by way of bookmark, first off, please accept our condolences. There's only reason you spend time reading a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) article, and that's to try and solve a problem you're having with your own system. If we could give out a teddy bear stuffed with cash to each person that visited this article, we'd do it. Sadly, we don't have teddy bears, and what little cash we have is usually spent at the pub.
Windows 8.1 users now have until June 10th to install the Windows 8.1 Update
Microsoft is all about grace periods and delayed deadlines lately. For example, the discovery of a pretty serious zero-day bug in Internet Explorer came shortly after Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, though in a show of good faith, the Redmond outfit included XP in an out-of-cycle patch. Fast forward to today and Microsoft is announcing that it's giving Windows 8.1 users an additional month to apply the Windows 8.1 Update before dropping support.
Just like you're supposed to do when dealing with the undead, Microsoft aimed for the head when it cut off support for Windows XP last month, the legacy operating system that's proving impossibly difficult to kill. Despite the risk of unpatched vulnerabilities (a pretty big deal) and no more tech support (largely a non-issue for consumers, but important for some businesses), Windows XP is installed on more PCs than Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows Vista combined.