OS http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/1131/ en Get a Sneak Peek of Window 9 in September or October http://www.maximumpc.com/get_sneak_peek_window_9_september_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_9_1.jpg" alt="Windows 9" title="Windows 9" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" />Microsoft is planning a technology preview of Threshold next month</h3> <p>Now that Microsoft is no longer bothering itself with major updates for Windows 8.1, the company can switch focus to its next operating system codenamed "Threshold," or Windows 9 if you think Microsoft will keep the numbering scheme going. What will Windows 9 bring to the table? If that's a question you'd like answered, stay tuned -- <strong>Microsoft is reportedly planning a "technology preview" of Windows 9</strong> either late next month or early October.</p> <p><a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-preps-windows-threshold-preview-for-late-september/" target="_blank">According to <em>CNET</em></a> and the multiple sources it spoke with who wish not to be named, anyone who installs the technology preview of Windows 9 will be required to accept subsequent monthly updates that are automatically pushed out. One of the sources "who has provided accurate information on Windows in the past" added that the tech preview will be available to anyone interested.</p> <p>Microsoft hasn't said much about Threshold or confirmed any features, though there have been a number of supposed leaks showing off different aspects of Windows 9, including a new mini Start Menu. If the leaked content is true, there will also be windowed Metro-style applications on the Desktop, virtual desktops, and no more Charms bar (except on tablets).</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/get_sneak_peek_window_9_september_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software threshold windows 9 News Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:38:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 28356 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft May Ditch the Charms Bar in Windows 9 http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_may_ditch_charms_bar_windows_9_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/charms_bar.jpg" alt="Charms Bar" title="Charms Bar" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Will you miss the Charms Bar?</h3> <p>It's only a matter of time before we see how much Microsoft learned fom Windows 8/8.1 and the feedback it received from users. Windows 9, otherwise known as Threshold, will usher in a new era of Windows, and early indications point to a different design philosophy than the one that drew criticism in the current version of Windows. For example, one of the rumors floating around is that <strong>Windows 9 will get rid of the Charms Bar</strong>.</p> <p>According to <em>Winbeta.org</em>, Windows 9 will be very different from Windows 8/8.1 with the desktop taking center stage once again. Part of that entails getting rid of the Charms Bar, at least for the desktop version -- there's a chance Microsoft will retain the Charms Bar for tablets.</p> <p>"We can confirm that Microsoft have been toying with multiple different ways they could implement a new charms menu which is fluent and makes sense for mouse users. One method that we heard about that stands out is having a button up near the window controls that once pressed, would reveal the Search, Share, Devices and Settings charms from the top of the window (there's no need for a Start Button for desktop users in the charms)," <a href="http://www.winbeta.org/news/windows-9-threshold-charms-bar-you-know-it-will-no-longer-exist-desktop" target="_blank"><em>Winbeta.org</em> says</a>.</p> <p>Microsoft may also remove Charms altogether, though it gets a little complicated since a bunch of Modern UI apps depend on it for certain features and functions.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_may_ditch_charms_bar_windows_9_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software threshold windows 9 News Thu, 07 Aug 2014 18:00:10 +0000 Paul Lilly 28310 at http://www.maximumpc.com Windows 8 Market Share Stands Pat as Windows 7 Gains Ground http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_8_market_share_stands_pat_windows_7_gains_ground_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_ultrabook.jpg" alt="Windows 8 Ultrabook" title="Windows 8 Ultrabook" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Windows 8 may have hit a brick wall</h3> <p>Not much has happened in the Windows space this summer, though what little movement there's been indicates that <strong>users are still trending more towards Windows 7 than Windows 8/8.1</strong>. The combined share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 in July was 12.48 percent, down a sliver from 12.54 percent in June and 12.64 percent in May. All of those figures are up slightly from the 12.24 percent share Window 8/8.1 held in April when support for XP ended, but nothing to brag about.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Windows 7 continues to inch forward month after month. Here's how the market share numbers have been playing out for Windows 7 since April of this year, according to data from <a href="http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=11&amp;qpcustomb=0&amp;qpsp=163&amp;qpnp=25&amp;qptimeframe=M" target="_blank">Net Applications</a>:</p> <ul> <li>April: 49.27 percent</li> <li>May: 50.06 percent</li> <li>June: 50.55 percent</li> <li>July: 51.22 percent</li> </ul> <p>That's a 2 percent bump since Microsoft yanked support for Windows XP. And speaking of which, the legacy operating system is still installed on about a quarter of PCs around the world at 24.82 percent, which is down from 26.29 percent in April.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_8_market_share_stands_pat_windows_7_gains_ground_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software windows 7 windows 8 windows xp News Mon, 04 Aug 2014 18:21:22 +0000 Paul Lilly 28287 at http://www.maximumpc.com Windows Phone 8.1 Update to Add Support for Folders http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_phone_81_update_add_support_folders_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lumia_635.jpg" alt="Lumia 635" title="Lumia 635" width="228" height="178" style="float: right;" />First update to Windows Phone 8.1 is coming soon</h3> <p>The cat is out of the bag -- <strong>Microsoft will soon release its first update for Windows Phone 8.1</strong>, and with it will come support for folders, the company revealed in a post intended for developers. As you can already do on the latest versions of Android and iOS, you'll soon be able to drag Tiles on top of each other on your Windows Phone handset to create a folder for organizing your applications.</p> <p>In addition to supporting folders, the update will introduce Voice over LTE (VoLTE) functionality (make phone calls over a 4G LTE connection), support for 1280x800 displays and 7-inch screens (perhaps indicative of upcoming Windows Phone phablets), and a phonebook entry for Cortana.</p> <p>One of the more interesting features in the upcoming update is support for interactive case accessories. This will allow case makers to build cases that can wake up the phone when they're opened and put them back to sleep when closed, <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/27/5941861/windows-phone-8-1-update-1-features" target="_blank"><em>The Verge </em>reports</a>. In addition, <a href="http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2357448/windows-phone-81-update-1-to-introduce-folders-volte-support" target="_blank"><em>The Inquirer</em> surmises</a> that Microsoft might be working on a cover similar to HTC's Dot View Case, which allows users to view notifications through the case.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_phone_81_update_add_support_folders_2014#comments microsoft mobile operating system OS smartphone Software windows phone 8.1 News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:54:15 +0000 Paul Lilly 28253 at http://www.maximumpc.com No, Microsoft Isn't Scaling Back to One Version of Windows for All Devices http://www.maximumpc.com/no_microsoft_isnt_scaling_back_one_version_windows_all_devices_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/satya_nadella_2.jpg" alt="Satya Nadella" title="Satya Nadella" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Understanding Microsoft's unified strategy</h3> <p>Microsoft chief Satya Nadella caused a whirlwind of headlines and speculation with a comment he made during his company's fiscal fourth quarter earnings call. The way he worded some early rhetoric made it sound like the next version of Windows -- codenamed Threshold and likely to be called Windows 9 -- will ship with but a single SKU rather than multiple versions for smartphones, desktops, gaming consoles, and so forth. However, <strong>Nadella wasn't talking about a single OS to rule them all</strong>.</p> <p>The cause of confusion stems from Nadella saying, "We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating systems for screens of all sizes." However, he would later clarify that he was referring to the engineering approach -- having a single team work on all versions of Windows, each of which is built around a common core.</p> <p>"We will have multiple SKUs for enterprises, we will have for OEM, we will have for end-users. And so we will be disclosing and talking about our SKUs as we get further along, but my statement was more to do with how we are bringing teams together to approach Windows as one ecosystem very differently than we ourselves have done in the past," Nadella clarified.</p> <p>That said, Microsoft is hard at work unifying the Windows experience. Nadella envisions a unified store serving all platforms, even Xbox, along with a unified developer platform in which programmers can write code a single time and have their software run on any version of Windows.</p> <p>For more of what Nadella had to say, <em>Seeking Alpha</em> has the <a href="http://seekingalpha.com/article/2331775-microsofts-msft-ceo-satya-nadella-on-q4-2014-results-earnings-call-transcript?part=single" target="_blank">entire transcript</a> from the earnings call.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/no_microsoft_isnt_scaling_back_one_version_windows_all_devices_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS satya nadella Software Windows News Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:09:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 28222 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Dish Out Windows 8.1 Update 2 on August 12 http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_reportedly_plans_dish_out_windows_81_update_2_august_12 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_start_4.jpg" alt="Windows" title="Windows" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />The final major update for Windows 8.1 is said to arrive on Patch Tuesday in August</h3> <p>Mark your calenders, folks, and be sure to use pencil instead of ink (unless it's erasable ink) -- a Russian website is reporting that <strong>Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 Update 2 on August 12</strong>, which is also next month's Patch Tuesday date. This is expected to be the last major update for Windows 8.1 before Microsoft switches gears to Windows 9, or Threshold as it's also been referred to.</p> <p><a href="http://www.neowin.net/news/windows-81-update-2-said-to-arrive-on-august-12th" target="_blank"><em>Neowin</em></a> first noticed the leaked information on <a href="http://pcportal.org.ru/" target="_blank"><em>PCPortal.org.ru</em></a>, which posted what's supposed to be official Microsoft documentation. Though <em>Neowin</em> believes the information is authentic based on previous leaks, it has not been confirmed by Microsoft.</p> <p>Microsoft has continually been adding features to Windows 8/8.1 in order to address customer complaints and widen its appeal to users who have stuck with XP and Windows 7. Early indications suggest that Windows 8.1 Update 2 will contain mostly minor updates, and if that's the case, it's unlikely to change the perception of users who've refused to upgrade up to this point.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_reportedly_plans_dish_out_windows_81_update_2_august_12#comments microsoft operating system OS Software update 2 windows 8.1 News Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:24:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28207 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Reportedly Expands Free Windows License Program to Boost Hardware Sales http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_reportedly_expands_free_windows_license_program_boost_hardware_sales_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_logo.jpg" alt="Windows 8.1 Logo" title="Windows 8.1 Logo" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />More affordable Windows tablets could be on the horizon</h3> <p>Here's a bit of potentially good news for Microsoft's hardware partners. Word on the web is that <strong>Microsoft may expand its free Windows license program to include tablets priced below $250</strong>. Up until now, tablets less than 9 inches qualified for the subsidized pricing, though unconfirmed reports suggest the program will cast a wider net in order to get more Windows-based tablets out in the wild.</p> <p>Microsoft's partners already pay a reduced rate for Windows 8.1, and ever since June, they've paid nothing for installing Windows 8.1 on smaller size tablets. Giving Windows away like that reduces their cost by $10 to $15, and with sometimes razor thin profit margins ruling the day, it's been enough of an incentive to attract additional vendors into the Windows space.</p> <p>In addition, <a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20140714PD204.html" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes</em> reports</a> that Intel has been aggressively promoting its CPUs for mobile devices in China. The hope is that by offering its processors at cheap prices, it will attract white-box players to join the fold.</p> <p>As it stands, some 70 percent of whitebox vendors cooperating with Intel planned to release Android-based tablets in the second half of the year. However, between the expansion of the free Windows license program and cheaper Intel CPUs, that number is set to drop to 50 percent in the third quarter.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_reportedly_expands_free_windows_license_program_boost_hardware_sales_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software Windows News Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:41:30 +0000 Paul Lilly 28160 at http://www.maximumpc.com Don't Fret Over Microsoft Ending Mainstream Support for Windows 7 in January 2015 http://www.maximumpc.com/dont_fret_over_microsoft_ending_mainstream_support_windows_7_january_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/Windows_7_Boxes.png" alt="Windows 7" title="Windows 7" width="228" height="188" style="float: right;" />Microsoft updates end of support deadlines for various software</h3> <p>Now that we're well into July, Microsoft felt it was a good time to update its list of products reaching end of support in the next 6 months. One entry that's gaining a lot of media attention is Windows 7. According to the list, <strong>Mainstream Support for several versions of Windows 7 will end on January 13, 2015</strong>, though that doesn't mean you need to rush out and grab a copy of Windows 8. Here's why.</p> <p>After "Mainstream Support" comes another cycle known as "Extended Support," which <a href="http://support.microsoft.com/gp/support-reaching-end-2nd" target="_blank">lasts 5 years</a> (January 14, 2020) and includes "security updates at no cost, and paid hotfix support." In other words, as the January 13, 2015 deadline comes and goes, it will be of little consequence to most home users.</p> <p>As for hotfixes, you'll receive those as well, as long as they're security related. It's only the non-security hotfixes that require an extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending. It's something for IT admins and businesses to consider, but again, nothing of relevance to home users.</p> <p>You can check out Microsoft's <a href="http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy" target="_blank">Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ</a> for more on the differences between Mainstream Support and Extended Support.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/dont_fret_over_microsoft_ending_mainstream_support_windows_7_january_2015#comments microsoft operating system OS Software support windows 7 News Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:41:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 28134 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Testing Automatic Update to Fix Windows 8.1 Upgrade Woes http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_testing_automatic_update_fix_windows_81_upgrade_woes_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_start_4.jpg" alt="Windows 8.1 Start" title="Windows 8.1 Start" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Let's everyone cross our fingers</h3> <p>Microsoft first offered up its free update to Windows 8.1 (from Windows 8) for the general public back in October of last year, though there are still many users who have been unable to make the leap. If you're one of the unlucky ones pulling your hair out wondering why you can't get the update to install, hang tight, a fix might finally be forthcoming. At long last, <strong>Microsoft has released an automatic update that's supposed to solve the Windows 8.1 upgrade issue</strong>.</p> <p>Hopefully this works better than the original implementation. For whatever reason, Microsoft made the Windows 8.1 upgrade available through the Windows Store. Not everyone was able to install it, however, and this fix Microsoft is rolling out is considered a pilot program.</p> <p>"This (Windows RT) pilot program is an example of ways we're experimenting to help ensure more of our customers benefit from a continuously improving Windows experience," a Microsoft spokesperson said, <a href="http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/microsoft-works-get-windows-8rt-users-updated-81" target="_blank">according to Paul Thurrott</a>. "Similar to how the Windows 8.1 Update [1] process works today, the pilot program will automatically update consumer Windows 8 and Windows RT machines for free to Windows 8.1 Update and Windows RT 8.1 Update in select markets."</p> <p>The update is intended to fix whatever issue is preventing PCs from upgrading to Windows 8.1. If you'd rather not wait for it to be rolled out to your system automatically, you can manually <a href="http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2973544" target="_blank">grab the download</a> and try your luck, at least for the Windows RT version (we're not aware of a manual download link for the x86 version yet). Please note that you must first install <a href="http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2871389" target="_blank">update 2871389</a> regardless of whether you're running Windows 8.0 or Windows RT 8.0.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_testing_automatic_update_fix_windows_81_upgrade_woes_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software windows 8 windows 8.1 windows rt News Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:33:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 28107 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Hopes Windows 9 Will Win Over Desktop Users http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_hopes_windows_9_will_win_over_desktop_users_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_9_1.jpg" alt="Windows 9" title="Windows 9" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" />Are you ready for a new OS?</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft is reportedly aiming to win back its core desktop audience with the release of Windows Threshold</strong> 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.</p> <p>So says Mary Jo Foley over at <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/windows-threshold-more-on-microsofts-plan-to-win-over-windows-7-users-7000031070/" target="_blank"><em>ZDNet</em></a>. Based on the sources Foley has been speaking with, Windows 9 will look and work different based on the hardware it's installed on. If you install the OS on a desktop or laptop machine, it will focus on the Windows Desktop experience. And if you run a two-in-one hybrid device, Windows 9 will support switching between the Start screen and Windows mode.</p> <p>The desktop SKU of Windows 9 will reportedly include a customizable mini Start menu. You'll also have the ability to run Windows Store apps in windows on the desktop, and you may even be able to turn off the Metro-esque Start screen completely.</p> <p>Windows 9 is still months down the road -- think spring of 2015. In the meantime, Microsoft will reportedly deliver a second and final update for Windows 8.1.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_hopes_windows_9_will_win_over_desktop_users_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software threshold windows 9 News Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:16:59 +0000 Paul Lilly 28101 at http://www.maximumpc.com Google Play Movies & TV App Now Supports Offline Playback on Chrome OS http://www.maximumpc.com/google_play_movies_tv_app_now_supports_offline_playback_chrome_os <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/gplay_chromeapp_v01_r04_1.png" alt="Google Play Movies &amp; TV Chrome OS " title="Google Play Movies &amp; TV Chrome OS " width="228" height="114" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Chromebooks continue to acquire new offline functionality</h3> <p>Adding to the still small, albeit growing, list of things that can be done on a Chromebook while it’s offline, Google earlier this week <strong>updated the Google Play Movies &amp; TV Chrome app with support for offline media playback</strong>.</p> <p>“The new Google Play Movies &amp; TV Chrome app makes your favorite movies and TV shows on your Chromebook available any time, anywhere - even without a WiFi connection,” the company said in a <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GooglePlay/posts/MknvamBFAqb" target="_blank">Google Plus post announcing the new feature</a>.</p> <p>Coming at a time when Chromebook availability is being expanded to nine new countries, the ability to watch your favorite movies and TV shows when stuck with a Chromebook without internet access is definitely a positive development from both the standpoint of usability and marketability. But don’t expect to store an awful lot of content locally, for Chromebooks generally tend to ship with fairly limited built-in storage.</p> <p>Anyway, offline playback isn’t the only new feature introduced as part of this app update: “In addition to offline mode on Chrome OS, it also brings Info Cards and an improved Chromecast and local playback experience to anyone watching movies through the Chrome browser.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/google_play_movies_tv_app_now_supports_offline_playback_chrome_os#comments chrome os chromebooks cloud os google play movies offline OS Software News Mon, 09 Jun 2014 05:42:40 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27964 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft May Not Bring Back Start Menu Until Windows 9 http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_may_not_bring_back_start_menu_until_windows_9_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_start.png" alt="Windows Logo" title="Windows Logo" width="228" height="231" style="float: right;" />Don't hold your breath waiting for the return of the Start menu</h3> <p>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. <strong>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</strong> -- instead, the Start menu may not make a comeback until Windows 9.</p> <p>Citing a couple of sources "who've had good track records on Windows information," <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/no-microsoft-start-menu-for-windows-8-until-2015-sources-7000030100/" target="_blank"><em>ZDNet</em> claims</a> that up until recently, Microsoft was planning to introduce a new "Mini" Start menu as part of a second update to Windows 8.1, which is scheduled to come out in August. Now it appears that won't be happening until the next major release of Windows.</p> <p>It was barely more than three months ago when Jacob Miller, a UI designer for Windows 8, dove into the deep end of a <em>Reddit</em> rage against Windows 8 to <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_8_designer_offers_candid_explanation_metro_and_why_power_users_hate_it_2014" target="_blank">clarify Microsoft's intent with Metro</a>. According to Miller, Metro, which he candidly described as "the antithesis of a power user," was the default option in Windows 8 because casual users don't go exploring</p> <p>"If we made desktop the default as it has always been, and included a nice little Start menu that felt like home, the casual users would never have migrated to their land of milk and honey," Miller explained.</p> <p>Miller went on to say that the casual crowd now knows about their new home, which means Microsoft can begin tailoring Windows for the rest of us. If that's the case, why is Microsoft dragging its feet in bringing back the Start menu? We don't know the answer to that, but it could have to do with whatever redesign the Redmond outfit has planned.</p> <p>According to <em>ZDNet</em>, the new Start menu won't be like the one found in previous versions of Windows. Instead, it will somehow integrate Windows 8's Metro-style Start screen concept.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_may_not_bring_back_start_menu_until_windows_9_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software Start Menu threshold windows 8.1 windows 9 News Mon, 02 Jun 2014 15:40:46 +0000 Paul Lilly 27919 at http://www.maximumpc.com The Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Guide http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_81_guide_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u152332/upgrade_small_1.jpg" width="280" height="227" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>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</h3> <p>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.</p> <p>It’s this gale-force headwind that Microsoft is flying into with its first major update to the much-maligned OS, which some blame for the record declines in PC sales. Dubbed Windows 8.1, this point release promises to address some of the major concerns people have with Windows 8.0 and even reintroduce the familiar Start button. But does it? Can this simple point release calm the seething masses?</p> <p>Maybe and maybe not. If anything, it might actually make some people even angrier. Windows 8.1 brings back the Start button, yes, but it turns out it wasn’t just the Start button we wanted, but the Start Menu that came with it. The process to even get the update and who exactly gets it and the work-arounds isn’t going to make too many friends, either. In the past, major updates could be downloaded and installed on all of your machines en masse with little effort. Not so this time. Just getting the update on Windows 8.0 requires following a flow chart and throwing chicken bones across the top of your chassis.</p> <p>Yes, we know you’re skeptical, distrustful, and even a little pissed off, but to find out the full skinny on what you need to do to get Windows 8.1 and whether it’s even worth the hassle, and how to make the most of it should you decide to take the plunge, you’ll need to read the whole story.</p> <h3>Installation Issues</h3> <p><strong>Updating to Win8.1: easy for some, a real PITA for others</strong></p> <p>Windows 8.1 is no mere Service Pack. No, it’s a whole tenth better than Windows 8.0, thus the point-release designation by Microsoft. Therein lies most of the problems with even getting Windows 8.1. People expect it to be as easy and painless as a Service Pack, but it ain’t. For the vast majority of folks, it just works, but that’s no consolation to those of us who hit snags. Here are the possible issues you could encounter. (Note: We highly recommended that you run a backup before you install the upgrade, as going back isn’t always easy).</p> <h4>Who Qualifies for the Upgrade?</h4> <p>Anyone who is currently running Windows 8.0 or the Windows 8.1 Preview is eligible for the upgrade. If you were waiting for the notification to pop up in Windows Update that Windows 8.1 is ready for download, stop. In its infinite wisdom, Microsoft has decided that despite intense hatred by many of the Modern interface, that’s the only place you can get the Windows 8.1 update, in the Windows Store. Even more confusing, this won’t work for everyone. Those running the Enterprise version of Windows 8 or Win8 Pro using a volume license, MSDN, MAK, or TechNet key will not be able to grab the update in this manner. Instead, Microsoft is recommending that those with VLK versions download the ISO from MSDN or TechNet and perform an in-place upgrade. Enterprise users are recommended to just talk to their sys admin about how to update. Not sure what you’re running? Just hit Windows R and type slmgr.vbs –dli and Windows will identify your version.</p> <h4>No 64-bit for You!</h4> <p>Microsoft has included the requirement that the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 support the CMPXCHG16b instruction. This won’t cause problems for anyone with a modern CPU, but if you’re using one of those earlier CPUs that had 64-bit support but not an explicit CMPXCHG16b instruction, you’re screwed. According to formerly in-print PCWorld.com, the affected chips include Athlon 64 X2 parts, Opteron 185, and other “vintage” 64-bit processors. Sometimes, it’s not even just the CPU, as reports indicate that the Core 2 Quad, which apparently supports the instruction, is stopped by the error because the P35 chipset doesn’t support it. The “fix” is to run 32-bit, or not run the upgrade. There is also a reported work-around but it’s no fun to execute and would take a page just to describe. Poo.</p> <h4>I Don’t See No Stinkin’ Upgrade</h4> <p>Getting the upgrade should be simple, except it’s not. First, as we said, you can only get it through the Windows Store from within the Modern UI. Second, well, sometimes it still won’t show up. Why not? You need to have all of the previous updates installed first. You may also need to reset the Windows Store. You can do this by swiping in from the right, touching the magnifying glass icon, and… oh hell, forget that. Just start a command prompt by hitting Windows Key + R and typing wsreset.exe. Now reboot. Go back into the Store and the update should be displayed prominently. Still not getting it? It’s possible that your Windows 8 is a version that doesn’t qualify—meaning it’s an Enterprise or Professional version using a product key from MSDN, TechNet, or a volume license. Unfortunately, your only answer may be an in-place upgrade (if you’re lucky) or nuking from orbit.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/upgrade_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/upgrade_small.jpg" alt="The Windows 8.1 upgrade can only be found in the Windows Store, and only after all Win 8.0 updates are applied." width="620" height="502" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Windows 8.1 upgrade can only be found in the Windows Store, and only after all Win 8.0 updates are applied.</strong></p> <h4>Updating from the Preview Version</h4> <p>If you installed the preview version of Windows 8.1 and are still using it, your trial license is about to expire. After January 2014, you have to activate with a retail product key. You'll still need to download the final version of the OS, too. Thankfully, you can get that update from the Windows Store, just as if you were upgrading from a retail copy of Windows 8.0. The store is the green-and-white "shopping bag" icon on the Start screen, which you access by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard.</p> <p>If you made a "clean install" of the preview version from ISO media, where you use a DVD or USB key to completely replace the current operating system instead of upgrading from it (or you installed onto a blank hard drive), you too can use the Windows Store to upgrade to version 8.1.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4>Start Menus and Microsoft Accounts</h4> <p>Since Windows 8 no longer comes with a Start menu, a cottage industry has emerged to fill the gap. Windows 8.1 has a Start button, but no new functionality is present. Our third-party Start menu, Start Menu 8 (free, <a href="http://www.iobit.com/">www.iobit.com</a>), had no issues with our updating to Windows 8.1. Microsoft's new Start button just never appeared.</p> <p>The trickier issue is Microsoft accounts. By default, Windows 8.1 does not invite you to create a standard local account during the installation phase, which stores your credentials on your computer like usual, rather than on Microsoft's server in the "cloud." Instead, the company wants you to sign into a pre-existing account for services like Hotmail or Outlook.com, or create a new one inside this networked ecosystem. To get around this installation step, click Create Account instead of entering your Outlook.com or Hotmail login. Then, at the bottom of the next page, click "Continue using my existing account." If you are installing 8.1 from scratch, you will have the option to create a new local account instead.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/files/u152332/microsoft_account_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/microsoft_account.jpg" width="620" height="435" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<strong>Win 8.1 will prompt you to create a Microsoft account, but you can bypass that in favor of a local login.</strong></p> <p>An MS account isn't bad news or anything. It allows you to use SkyDrive to sync your apps and settings across different PCs. It will let you consolidate Facebook, Twitter, Outlook, and LinkedIn feeds into the People app. It makes Hotmail and Outlook.com integration smoother. And you need it to get and update apps from the App Store, anyway. (You don't have to worry about not being able to log in if you're offline, because Windows itself will "remember" the last correct password you entered.) You can also switch your PC from an MS account to a local account later on.</p> <h4>Updating Multiple PCs to 8.1</h4> <p>If you have a small business or a household with a bunch of Windows 8.0 machines, downloading the 8.1 update for each PC could take a lot of time and bandwidth, since each download is basically the entire OS. But we know a trick to convert this download into an ISO, which you can then put on a DVD or USB flash drive, so that you only need to download it once. Be advised, however, that this only apparently works if you are running a retail version of Windows 8.0—the downloader rejected the OEM keys we tried as well as the “generic keys” floating around the Internets.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/creatingiso_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/creatingiso_small.jpg" alt="You can download a full ISO of Windows 8.1 to perform an in-place upgrade or even clean installs, sorta." width="620" height="459" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>You can download a full ISO of Windows 8.1 to perform an in-place upgrade or even clean installs, sorta.</strong></p> <p>Pick any of your Windows 8.0 PCs and navigate to this Microsoft site: <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only">http://bit.ly/SCANcl</a>. Have your product key ready. Click the "Install Windows 8.1" button. Choose "Install by creating media," click Next, select ISO File, and click Next again. Choose the destination folder of the download, and click Next. The program will now download the Windows 8.1 update and create an ISO for it. Then it will ask if you want to burn the ISO to a DVD right now. You do have the option to create a bootable USB stick, but the general consensus is to just save the ISO instead, as you can always create a bootable USB stick version later on using the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool: <a href="http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool">http://bit.ly/162L74X</a>. Using this disc, you’re still limited to an in-place upgrade only—not a service-pack-like upgrade.</p> <h4>Activating a Windows 8.1 ISO with an 8.0 Key</h4> <p>You may have been told that you can't install Windows 8.1 from scratch and use a Windows 8.0 key. However, you can use a "generic" key designed for testing. The “generic” keys we refer to are those floating around the Internets—if you Bing “generic Windows 8.1 key” it shouldn’t take too long to find. Using the generic key, you will be able to eval Windows 8.1 for 120 days. Once you’ve entered in the correct generic key for your version of Windows (either Core or Pro) you can now activate it with your original, licensed Windows 8.0 key.</p> <p>Once you've completed installation using one of these keys, open Windows Explorer (it's the folder icon in your taskbar), right-click This PC, select Properties, and click the link at the bottom-right that says Activate Windows. Then click the first Enter Key button and enter your Windows 8.0 retail key. Your copy of Windows 8.1 is now officially installed.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/changing_product_key_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/changing_product_key_small.jpg" alt="You can download a full ISO of Windows 8.1 to perform an in-place upgrade or even clean installs, sorta." width="620" height="388" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Windows 8.1 introduces a visual upgrade to the method for changing your product key.</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <hr /> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Customization</h3> <p><strong>The essential first steps to making Win 8.1 desktop-worthy</strong></p> <p>Like candy? Then you’ll love Windows 8.1, because the improvements Microsoft has made in its first major iterative update to the Windows 8 operating system include a ton of eye-candy tweaks that should make your experience within the operating system prettier, at least—and in some cases, a bit more user-friendly!</p> <p>No, you still don’t get a “real” Start button and, no, you can’t ditch the Modern UI for good without a third-party program. We’ll consider Microsoft’s tweaks to be but baby steps on the grand evolution of its Windows 8 ecosystem, one that hopefully comes with even more happy desktop/Modern UI integration for those still displeased by the touch-themed tidbits of Microsoft’s latest OS.</p> <h4>Boot to Desktop</h4> <p>One of the most frustrating elements of Windows 8 is its inability to boot directly to the classic Windows desktop, instead dumping users onto the Start screen with each and every flick of the power switch. Thankfully, Windows 8.1 gives you a bit more freedom in that regard.</p> <p>To boot to Desktop mode instead of the Start screen, hit up your desktop, right-click your taskbar, and select Properties. Click the Navigation tab and select the option: “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start.” How’s that for a description?</p> <h4>Simplify Your Login</h4> <p>Good for you; you have a strong password for your Microsoft Live account and you aren’t afraid to use it. If you’re the only one who ever has access to your desktop or laptop, however, maybe the act of typing in that 30-character passphrase is more trouble than it’s worth. Let’s simplify.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/windows8_screen_2_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/windows8_screen_2_small.jpg" alt="While Microsoft’s picture passwords make more sense for tablet users, you can still have a bit of (secure) fun working your mouse-drawing skills." width="620" height="346" /></a></p> <p>Switch over to Windows 8.1’s Modern UI, hover your mouse in the lower-right corner to reveal the Charms Bar, and click the Settings button. Click Change PC Settings on the bottom-right corner, click Accounts, and then click Sign-in Options. Set up a PIN, and you’ll have a much easier time logging into your home system without compromising the integrity of your long Live password. Set up a picture password, and you’ll get to have a bit of fun using taps, circle-gestures, and lines to serve as your system’s new authentication method.</p> <h4>Set Your Defaults</h4> <p>One of the first places we like to stop within Windows 8.1—after we’ve installed some of our favorite third-party apps such as Media Player Classic (or VLC) for our videos and Chrome for our webpages—is the operating system’s list of default programs. That doesn’t sound very sexy, we realize, but it’s a key part of Windows 8.1 that allows you to exert an iron fist over how your operating system treats your files.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/windows8_screen_3_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/windows8_screen_3_small.jpg" alt="We often find ourselves checking the Default Programs window from time to time, just in case something else has taken over our favorite app’s file types." width="620" height="351" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We often find ourselves checking the Default Programs window from time to time, just in case something else has taken over our favorite app’s file types.</strong></p> <p>Fire up the Modern UI, type in default, and select the Default Programs option that appears within the sidebar search results. Click “Set your default programs,” and then find an app in the left-hand portion of the window that appears that you want to be, well, the default app for all file types that it can open. Highlight it, click the “Set this program as default” option, and you’ll never have to wonder why Windows Media Player is trying to load your jams instead of VLC.</p> <h4>Personalize Your Taskbar for Multiple Displays</h4> <p>Running two monitors at once is an awesome feeling. Such power. Getting your taskbar to play friendly with both monitors is the Mario Super Star of a dual-display setup in Windows 8.1, and here’s how you do it: Hit up Windows 8.1’s desktop mode and right-click the taskbar, then select Properties, which will bring up the new “Taskbar and Navigation properties” window. On the very first tab that appears (Taskbar), you’ll see a few options toward the very bottom.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/windows8_screen_4_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/windows8_screen_4_small.jpg" alt="We were just as confused as you when we couldn’t find our file libraries in Windows 8.1." width="620" height="405" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We were just as confused as you when we couldn’t find our file libraries in Windows 8.1.</strong></p> <p>Uncheck the “Show taskbar on all displays” to confine your taskbar to one display. If you’d rather be a bit more surgical about your taskbar, you can always select on which taskbar you’d prefer your running apps’ buttons be located, depending on what screen they’re active on. You can also globally set whether you want an app’s multiple windows to combine into a single button, or exist as independent objects on each taskbar. (The “Taskbar buttons” setting controls your primary monitor; the “Buttons on other taskbars” controls your other monitors.)</p> <h4>Unify Your Desktop and Start Screen Backgrounds</h4> <p>A new tweak in Windows 8.1 finally allows us to use a single desktop background for both the Modern UI and Windows 8.1’s desktop mode. To unify these two seemingly disparate environments, right-click your taskbar on the Windows 8.1 desktop and select Properties. From there, click the Navigation tab. Select the option to “Show my desktop background on Start,” and you’ll now be able to look at the same, pretty picture regardless of whether you’re clicking around the Modern UI or “classic” Windows desktop.</p> <h4>How to Disable Charms (sort of) and Recent-app Switching</h4> <p>Tired of all those funky bits of Windows 8.1’s Modern UI appearing unexpectedly, like when you accidentally mouse over one of the four corners of your display? We can fix that; we have the power. Fire up the Start screen, move your mouse over to the lower-right corner, click Settings, and then click Change PC Settings at the bottom. Select “PC and devices,” and then “Corners and edges.”</p> <p>While you can’t disable everything about the Modern UI, you can use the corresponding on/off switches to hide Windows 8.1’s upper-left Recent Apps pullout, in addition to the upper-right hotspot for the Charms Bar. You’ll still be able to (or have to) access the Charms Bar via Windows 8.1’s lower-right hotspot, but it’s a start, right?</p> <h4>Restore Your Libraries in File Explorer</h4> <p>Once you’ve made the jump to Windows 8.1, you might notice that a certain part of File Explorer no longer exists—namely, easy access to your good-ol’ Windows libraries, those helpful Documents, Music, Video, and Pictures links that gave you a quick and easy way to check out all of your writing and media.</p> <p>Well, the libraries may be gone, but they’re not gone for good. To bring them back into File Explorer, you just need to fire it up and click the View tab. From there, click the Navigation Pane button toward the upper-left of the window, and then select “Show libraries.” This little buried setting might be tricky to find on your own, but it’s worth the five-second trip.</p> <h4>Tile Management</h4> <p><strong>Making the most of Modern UI</strong></p> <p>We’re not 100 percent sold on the jarring changes that Microsoft has constructed between its tried-and-true Windows desktop and its newfangled touchscreen-themed experience. However, we have become a bit more accustomed to tiles since Windows 8’s launch last October, and Windows 8.1 does offer some important improvements to make the Modern UI a bit more palatable—for those not already using third-party programs to write it off for good.</p> <h4>A Brand-New Start Screen</h4> <p>One of the most headache-inducing elements of Windows 8’s Start screen was that Microsoft gave its users absolutely no way to contain the flood of shortcuts—now tiles—that would invariably litter the area after the installation of just a few applications.</p> <p>Windows 8.1 reverses this treatment. Now, your Start screen is as bare as bare can be; you have to manually select apps that you want to see when you jump into the Modern UI. Tiles won’t just appear by default on your Start screen whenever you install an application—yes, even a Windows Store app.</p> <p>So, how do you get your favorite apps onto your Start screen? Pull up the Start screen and jiggle your mouse until an arrow icon appears in the lower-left corner. Click that to access the All Apps screen, and then right-click any of your tiles and select Pin to Start from the bar of options that appears at the bottom of the screen.</p> <h4>Control Thy Tiles</h4> <p>It’s a lot easier to go about modifying your tiles than it ever was on plain-ol’ Windows 8. Here’s what we mean: Pull up the Start screen and right-click a tile. Heck, right-click a few tiles—multiple-tile attribute editing has been beefed up in this new iteration of Microsoft’s OS.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/windows8_screen_8_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/windows8_screen_8_small.jpg" alt="We were just as confused as you when we couldn’t find our file libraries in Windows 8.1." width="620" height="588" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Goodbye, single-app-at-a-time uninstallations. Why Microsoft didn’t slap this into Windows 8 by default, we’ll never know.</strong></p> <p>Once you’ve done so, you’ll see an option at the bottom of your screen for resizing tiles. Click that, and you’ll be given one of four sizes to choose from, ranging from Small (1/4 a standard tile size) to Large (four tiles’ worth of space). Selecting Medium gives you the default Windows 8.1 tile dimension, whereas Wide allows you take up two tiles’ worth of space by one tile’s height. While you’re there, you can also use the “Turn Live Tile Off” option to do just that—transforming your Windows 8.1 tiles into static representations of shortcuts rather than little boxes that are otherwise updated with news based on whatever the tile happens to be (assuming the tile supports the feature).</p> <p>You can also more easily remove apps (as in, Windows Apps, not applications) from your system—uninstalling multiple apps at once—by right-clicking each one you want gone on the Start screen and selecting the Uninstall option. Once you do so, you’ll be asked to pick whether you want to simply nuke them from the system you’re currently using, or whether you want to remove the apps from all the systems whose settings have been synchronized to your Microsoft Live account. To note: This only really works well with apps, as mentioned; trying to uninstall apps and applications simultaneously gives preference to the former over the latter.</p> <p>And, of course, moving and grouping tiles is easier in Windows 8.1, as well. Select your tiles and drag them to a new, empty column (you’ll know you’ve nailed it once Windows displays a giant, translucent gray bar), and then type in a name for your new chunk of shortcuts in the Name Group field. It’s as easy as that!</p> <h4>Master the New ‘View’</h4> <p>This might win over you Modern UI haters: Windows 8.1 brings some new improvements to its Snap treatment of Modern apps. Depending on the size and/or number of monitors you’re rocking, you can have up to eight different Windows apps running and visible at once.</p> <p>Ready? Fire up a Windows app within the Modern UI, move your mouse to the top of the screen until your cursor changes into a hand, and then click and drag the entire app toward the far left or far right of your monitor. You’ll now see some empty gray space on the other side. Left-click anywhere within that to launch a new app, side-by-side, in the empty space.</p> <p>Now that you have your screen split into two, if you want to go for the big three (and your screen allows it), launch an app from the Start screen on the monitor that your two split apps are running on. When you do, the app itself will appear to float in the center of your screen for a bit. Click it, hold down your mouse button, and keep it hovering over the center divider. <br />Voilà—your Modern UI will magically make room for more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4>SkyDrive Mastery</h4> <p><strong>More robust options make Win8.1’s cloud storage a compelling option</strong></p> <p>Microsoft seems a little more ready to tackle the cloud storage world with its SkyDrive service, now that the 7GB of free cloud storage comes more baked into Windows 8.1 than it did with Windows 8.</p> <p>And this is more than Microsoft just dropping a shortcut to SkyDrive within File Explorer and calling it a day. A number of nifty features work behind the scenes to ensure you aren’t sucking down massive amounts of data that you might not necessarily need (or worse, filling up a limited hard drive with a ton of unnecessary SkyDrive content). Your SkyDrive folder will be accessible and searchable just like any other folder on your physical hard drive. However, only when you go to access a file will Microsoft pull it down from the cloud.</p> <p>And yes, you can still manually select to synchronize as many files and folders as you want if you’re more into the Dropbox “sync everything” method. That said, onto the tips!</p> <h4>View/Add SkyDrive Storage</h4> <p>If you’re concerned about how much space you might be eating up of your 7GB of free SkyDrive storage—or want to add more—Microsoft’s made it easy for you to check and/or buy. Fire up the Start screen, pull open the Charms Bar, and click Settings. Click Change PC Settings, and then select the SkyDrive option. The very first screen you then see will tell you how much storage you’re using, in total, and give you the option to purchase more if you’re so inclined.</p> <h4>Saving Your Stuff</h4> <p>A nifty new feature in Windows 8.1 is the ability to have supported apps prompt you with the option to save your files to the cloud instead of your local hard drive. The best and easiest example of this is Microsoft Word. Enable the option, and you’ll always first be given the chance to stick your files in your SkyDrive documents folder, a real time-saver if you’re a SkyDrive aficionado. To turn on this option, just flick the little switch below the SkyDrive storage information that we previously mentioned. You can’t miss it, as it’s labeled “Save documents to SkyDrive by default.”</p> <h4>Automatically Upload to SkyDrive</h4> <p>If you’re the kind of person who wants to make sure that everything you’re doing on your smartphone or camera, for example, is automatically saved to the cloud, Windows 8.1 makes it easy. Under the Camera Roll menu within the aforementioned SkyDrive settings screen, you’ll find options that allow to you manage the size at which your pictures are automatically stored in the cloud. Additionally, you’ll see the ever-important switch that will allow your system to automatically send videos up to SkyDrive as well.</p> <h4>Sync Your Settings</h4> <p>One of the fancier features of SkyDrive is its ability to synchronize a bevy of your personal settings for Windows 8.1; log into a fresh Windows 8.1 machine with your account, and it’ll look just like what you’re used to using.</p> <p>You can, of course, flip this option on and off within the Sync Settings menu on the SkyDrive settings screen. More importantly, you can choose what you want SkyDrive to sync: your tiles? Your desktop theme? Your app settings? Passwords? The choice is yours.</p> <h3>Make Search Work for You</h3> <p>Turn off Bing As you’ve no doubt noticed, Microsoft’s made a few changes to Windows 8.1’s search functionality. Start typing on the Start screen and you’ll find that your system automatically starts searching through, well, everything: Windows settings, your files, and—guess who?—Bing!</p> <p>If you’re not keen on marrying your offline searching with an ever-present web search, here’s how to ditch it. Fire up the Charms Bar, click Settings, click Change PC Settings, and select “Search and apps.” From there, ditching Bing is as easy as flicking off the switch for “Get search suggestions and web results from Bing.”</p> <p>Hide Your Files Perhaps there are some things you don’t want to automatically populate the default “Everything” search within Windows 8.1. We’re not going to venture to guess what those files actually are—we’re just going to tell you how to make them invisible to Windows 8.1’s watchful eye.</p> <p>If you have data on your hard drive that you don’t want Windows 8.1’s Modern UI-based search to find, simply go to the files or folders within File Explorer, right-click, select Properties, and tick the little checkbox for the Hidden property. If File Explorer isn’t set to view hidden files, your folder or file will vanish from view. To get it back, just check Hidden Items in the View pane of File Explorer. Since they won’t show up in search, you’ll need to remember just where you hid your precious collection of vintage Seka movies.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_81_guide_2014#comments feature how to use January issues 2014 microsoft operating system OS tips Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Office Applications Software Features Thu, 29 May 2014 21:26:17 +0000 Maximum PC staff and David Murphy 27510 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Warns Against Using Registry Hack Allowing Windows XP to Receive Security Updates http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_warns_against_using_registry_hack_allowing_windows_xp_receive_security_updates_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_xp_update.jpg" alt="Windows XP Update" title="Windows XP Update" width="228" height="127" style="float: right;" />Registry hack for Windows XP catches Microsoft's attention</h3> <p>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? <strong>A registry hack that allows Windows XP to continue to receive security updates is making the rounds</strong>, and it's caught the attention of Microsoft.</p> <p>It's a simply registry hack that involves creating a text file with the .reg extension and entering the following code:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00<br />[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\WPA\PosReady]<br /> "Installed"=dword:00000001</p> <p>Once you save the file, you can double-click it in Windows Explorer and it will proceed to run Windows Update on 32-bit versions of Windows XP (if you're running a 64-bit copy, there's a workaround <a href="http://www.sebijk.com/community/board15-other/board73-tutorials/2985-getting-xp-updates/" target="_blank">here</a>). <em>ZDNet</em> <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/registry-hack-enables-continued-updates-for-windows-xp-7000029851/" target="_blank">tested the hack</a> and said it appears to work as advertised. Several of the updates it pulled by running the registry hack were for Windows Server 2003, which runs the same kernel as Windows XP.</p> <p>Microsoft is privy to the workaround, but strongly advises against running it.</p> <p>"We recently became aware of a hack that purportedly aims to provide security updates to Windows XP customers. The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers," a Microsoft spokesperson told <em>ZDNet</em>. "Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP. The best way for Windows XP customers to protect their systems is to upgrade to a more modern operating system, like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1."</p> <p>So there you have it. While the hack appears to work (for now), Microsoft insists it's risky business to use it.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/3977441193/sizes/o/" target="_blank">Flickr (Wesley Fryer)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_warns_against_using_registry_hack_allowing_windows_xp_receive_security_updates_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS registry Security Software update windows xp News Tue, 27 May 2014 17:01:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 27885 at http://www.maximumpc.com Google Extends Chrome OS Minimum End of Life Term to 5 Years http://www.maximumpc.com/google_extends_chrome_os_minimum_end_life_term_5_years900 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/chromebook.jpg" alt="Chrome OS " title="Chromebook" width="228" height="212" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Previously, Chrome OS devices were guaranteed four years’ worth of software support</h3> <p>Google has <strong>updated its Chrome OS End of Life (EOL) policy</strong>, <a href="https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/eol.html" target="_blank"> extending the minimum EOL term to five years</a>. Many Chrome OS device owners have already received an email apprising them of the change from the search engine giant.</p> <p>With the new minimum EOL term applying retrospectively, each and every Chrome OS device ever released is affected by this announcement. Take for instance, the very first Chrome OS device — the CR-48 Chromebook. Prior to this EOL policy update, the EOL date for CR-48 was set for December 2014. But now the CR-48 is guaranteed to receive OS updates and security patches until at least December next year.</p> <p>“We’re updating our official End of Life policy for all Chrome devices, including previous models, to extend the End of Life (EOL) minimum term,” <a href="https://plus.google.com/+BrandonTiller/posts/YYD7ETRnV3i" target="_blank">Google told Chrome OS owners in an email.</a></p> <p>“The new minimum EOL term is now 5 years from the date the device hardware is made available for purchase. Some models may have a further extension based on regional releases and the length of sale.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/google_extends_chrome_os_minimum_end_life_term_5_years900#comments chrome os chromebook chromebox eol Google OS Security Software update News Mon, 19 May 2014 02:04:55 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27825 at http://www.maximumpc.com