Microsoft looks to the cloud to make Windows 10 safer for enterprise users

Image result for Microsoft looks to the cloud to make Windows 10 safer for enterprise usersWe already knew that the next version of Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, will feature a large number of new tools for consumers. While it was always clear that business users would also get their fair share of updates, Microsoft remained pretty quiet about what those would look like. That’s changing this week, as the company today announced a number of new security features for Windows 10 that will launch with the Fall Creators Updates later this year.

Rob Lefferts, the director of program management for Windows Enterprise and Security, told me that the company is obviously aware of the changing security landscape, which now often includes well-funded and supported hackers. To stay ahead of these threats, the company is doubling down on its existing security efforts, but in addition, it’s now also pushing ahead with new initiatives that emphasize cloud intelligence with AI and machine learning.

So while the team is hardening the Windows 10 platform with this new release — just like it has done with all the previous releases — it’s also building up its efforts to use the cloud to analyze security threats and prevent attacks.

As Lefferts noted, 96 percent of the attacks that Microsoft is seeing are distinct attacks. That’s partly because malware is now often polymorphic but also because the company is seeing more custom attacks.

 

One of the main vectors for attacking any desktop operating system is the browser. Back in 2016, Microsoft announced that it was working on a sandboxing technique — the Windows Defender Application Guard — that would allow it to stop attackers from ever getting a foothold on the machine, even if they were able to penetrate the browser’s defenses. It took the company quite a while to get this to market, but the next version of Windows 10 will now ship with support for this feature. Lefferts told me that it took the team a while to figure out the right user experience to enable this feature, which is hard when you start every browser session from zero. The team also had to ensure that it could quickly spin up these micro-containers with the Edge browser fast enough.

In addition, Microsoft is also improving the Windows Defender Exploit Guard with data it gathers from across its users. The Exploit Guard features a large set of intrusion rules and policies and Microsoft says that this feature should now help protect organizations better against quite a few advanced threats, including zero day exploits.

The company has now also built the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), which was previously available as a stand-alone tool, right into Windows 10. Lefferts stressed that this was something that Microsoft’s users had asked for.

 

Microsoft is also extending the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) feature that allows enterprise security teams to detect and respond to threats to include the Windows Server OS for protection across platforms. What’s more interesting, though, is that ATP is now linked to Microsoft’s cloud-based security services that use advanced analytics and machine learning to understand threats based on the huge number of signals Microsoft receives from across its users. The company is also using this cloud-based protection model to improve Windows Defender Antivirus.

Other new features include an improved version of Device Guard, the company’s service for managing which applications an enterprise user can run on a company-issued machine. Device Guard is now also integrated into Windows Defender ATP, which should make it easier to manage for IT and security teams. In addition, companies that want to opt into this can now use data from the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, which combines billions of data points to analyze threats, to automatically allow users to install applications that are most likely safe to install (thing Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.).

Lefferts noted that Microsoft’s goal is to bring together all of its compute, big data and machine learning smarts — combined with data it gathers from its users around the globe and traditional signature-based approaches — to protect its customer’s machines. “We think the Fall Creators update takes full advantage of Windows threat protection and we are pushing forward,” he said.

[“Source-techcrunc”]

Why Microsoft isn’t the smartphone leader it should be

Why Microsoft isn’t the smartphone leader it should be

Earlier this year, I read a piece at ArsTechnica about Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting, where many in attendance expressed their belief to CEO Satya Nadella that Microsoft had effectively ceded control of the smartphone market to Apple and Google, and had ceased to be a serious competitor.

One Windows Phone-using shareholder, Dana Vance, expressed his dismay that Microsoft had released certain apps on iOS and Android before Windows 10 Mobile. Vance also brought up the claims that development of the Microsoft Band had been discontinued.

Another audience member was more blunt, and asked Nadella straight up whether Microsoft was committed to Windows Mobile.

A slow and steady decline

So, here’s the thing. Eons ago, Microsoft was one of the market leaders when it came to mobile productivity. This was before Steve Jobs had even conceived the iPhone. Back then, the smartphone race was bitterly-fought between four main players: Palm, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Microsoft. Windows Mobile 6 – Microsoft’s offering – had a respectable market share of around 30 percent.

Windows Mobile did well with overworked office managers and financiers who wanted a convenient way to access their emails and tap out office documents, but its popular appeal was limited. The vast majority of handsets were just too drab and clunky for most ordinary consumers to even consider buying them.

But in 2007, everything went to shit for Microsoft. Apple released the iPhone, and in turn transformed the smartphone market into something that hadn’t been seen before.

iphone, apple, lock screen hack
Credit: ymgerman/Shutterstock

The iPhone was a phone that allowed people to get shit done while actually looking the part. It was the first truly aspirational smartphone. Everyone from teens to executives wanted their hands on one. And then shortly after Google unveiled Android which allowed companies like Samsung and HTC to offer iPhone-like functionality but at a fraction of the cost.

At that point, the final nail in the Windows Phone 6’s coffin had been all but hammered. It started to hemorrhage users. Microsoft tried to stem the flow with Windows Mobile 6.5, which worked slightly better on touch-only handsets and had a better browser, but it just wasn’t enough.

By the time the company released its first real modern smartphone OS – Windows Phone 7 – Microsoft’s overall share had shrunk to a fraction of what it was in 2005. This was a profoundly humbling moment for a company that had dominated the world of computing since the early 1990’s.

Despite the subsequent launches of Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows Mobile 10, Microsoft has never recovered in the mobile space.

It shouldn’t have to be this way

The most tragic thing about Microsoft’s unstoppable decline in the mobile is that it feels completely unnecessary.

There’s literally no reason why Microsoft – a company with vast financial resources and some of the world’s most talented developers and researchers on its payroll – should struggle like this.

Perhaps the biggest reason why Windows Phone (and later Windows Mobile) suffocated was that there was a vacuum of consumer enthusiasm. Nobody really cared about it. What frustrates me the most is that there were things that Microsoft could have done (and indeed, can do) to turn this around.

The struggling app store

Let’s address the ten-ton elephant in the room: the app store. Right now, the biggest reason why you shouldn’t buy a Windows Phone is that there’s a veritable drought of apps. Worse, of the scattering of apps that do exist, many of them haven’t received an update in a really long time.

Straight out of the gate, Microsoft should have taken a leaf out of RIM’s book and offered some serious financial incentives to developers.

Yes, I know that in 2013 it briefly offered to pay developers a whopping $100 for each newly-published app. Yes, I know that there were some private (and hefty) financial incentives given to larger companies, like Foursquare.

Clearly, these weren’t sufficient, and they weren’t sustained to ensure that these apps had feature-parity with their Android and iOS equivalents.

Taking control of hardware

The erstwhile CEO of Microsoft, Steven Ballmer, has some pretty strong thoughts on this subject. He (rightly) thinks that Microsoft should have gotten into the hardware game way sooner. Doing so would have allowed Microsoft to release phones where it can exercise control over every aspect of the device, much like Apple is with the iPhone.

This makes a lot of sense. During the brief halcyon days of Windows Phone, there were a smattering of devices running the software from a variety of manufacturers including Nokia, Blu, HTC, Alcatel, and ZTE.

Many of these were, at face value, pretty identical. In terms of industrial design and internal specifications, there wasn’t much to choose from. Moreover, it’s hard to differentiate between a Windows Phone device and an Android device because Microsoft only allows a certain amount of software customization.

From a consumer perspective, this was pretty confusing. I imagine that many people took a look at the then dizzying Windows Phone device ecosystem and promptly gave up, instead choosing to spend their money on an Android or iPhone.

Credit: Shutterstock

In retrospect, buying Nokia was a great idea. The Finnish mobile icon made great phones. Their industrial design was top-notch, and they were perhaps the most visible and committed manufacturer of Windows devices.

The biggest mistake Microsoft made was its inertia to retire the Nokia brand and take control of the Windows Phone ecosystem.

When it bought the company in 2014, it should have immediately stopped licensing its software and instead have committed to releasing three phones per year: a low-end, a mid-tier, and a premium flagship device.

This would have allowed Microsoft to take a holistic look at how people use its devices, and allow it to take the same detail-oriented approach to user experience that Apple takes with the iPhone.

Microsoft can make amazing hardware. This fact has been proven time-and-again with the likes of the Xbox One, Surface, Surface Book, and Surface Studio. Imagine what it would be like if the only Windows Phones on the market were a range of enticing, well-built Surface Phones?

Microsoft should have put on its dreaming cap

Over the past five years, Microsoft has evolved from a company obsessed with making incremental improvements to its software, to one that’s fundamentally adventurous and is obsessed with the new and undiscovered. Hololens anyone?

But this hasn’t really materialized on the mobile front.

I’ve got a theory about this. Since 2007, when Apple launched the iPhone, Microsoft has been playing catchup. It’s been so obsessed with ensuring that things work and that the essential features are present, it hasn’t been able to bring its vision for things like augmented reality to its mobile product.

From early on, Microsoft should have explored how it can differentiate its mobile offering from Apple and Google. It should have been bold. It wasn’t, and today Windows Phone languishes as an also-ran smartphone OS.

The last hurrah?

There were other things I wanted to mention. I wanted to bring up the confusing, inconsistent branding (note how many times I switch between Windows Phone and Windows Mobile in this article). I desperately wanted to rant about how I thought the platform was badly marketed. But time is short, and there just weren’t the column inches.

Some of you will read my article and furiously type out a comment about how I’m “an bias”  and an Apple fanboy. You’d be wrong. Not that it matters, but this Monday I bought a Dell XPS 13, and over my lifetime I’ve owned four different Windows phones. As a platform, I’ve given it plenty of chances. Perhaps more than it deserves.

But time is running out for Microsoft’s mobile ambitions. Microsoft is rumored to be working on a Surface Phone. Satya Nadella says that this will be the “ultimate mobile device”. Will this be the company’s last hurrah before it eventually consigns itself to building apps and services for the other two big incumbents?

Maybe. But I hope not.

I’m a perennial optimist, and as a result haven’t written Windows 10 Mobile off quite just yet. I feel that if Microsoft somehow manages to convince developers to return to the platform, and if it can build a device that can compete with the current range of desirable flagships, then maybe – just maybe – it’ll have a chance.

Maybe. But I doubt it.

[“Source-thenextweb”]

Have you had bad experiences with Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile tech support?

Image result for Have you had bad experiences with Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile tech support?

 

 

Companies today find it difficult to score the right balance when it comes to customer support. Microsoft is no exception, and we want to hear about your experiences with the company related to mobile product support, good or bad. Community member 73blazer experienced an issue with Windows 10 Mobile and the official Mail app from Microsoft. After updating it to the latest version, it ceased to work in Continuum mode.

As expected, 73blazer decided to hit up Microsoft for some assistance. What wasn’t expected was the bad experience. First off, Microsoft Office support was involved, and they were unable to offer assistance and eventually redirected our poor member over to B2x, an outsourced support platform Microsoft uses for hardware and other support. After providing the IMEI number of an HP Elite X3, 73blazer was informed that only Lumia phones are covered for support through this particular channel.

Do they even have it? I tried desperately Friday to get some insight into an issue that is clearly a bug, to no avail. Basically, the issue is the new version of the mail app that came out earlier this week, won’t launch in continuum mode. Elite x3 had it. I pull out my 950xl which hadn’t updated in a while mail launches there in continuum mode, update the mail app, mail won’t launch in…

REPLY

After supplying the same information for a Lumia 950, both soft and hard resets were recommended (clearly we’re looking at someone reading from a list of instructions to hand to consumers). It got worse from there, and so our forum member contacted HP support. They were more helpful and offered to take the problem up with Microsoft directly, supplying 73blazer with a case number to reference.How have your past experiences gone down when you got in touch with Microsoft for support? Do you have any tips when it comes to Windows 10 Mobile and specifically Lumia devices? Hit the link below and sound off in our community forum.

[“Source-windowscentral”]

Now we know what Microsoft’s upcoming ‘Game Mode’ for Windows 10 will do

Windows 10 Game Mode

A few weeks ago, sharp-eyed users spotted something new in a Windows 10 Insider Preview build — reference to a new “Game Mode.” Discussions on what the feature might do, or how it could improve performance, have made the rounds since. But a new investigation suggests the new feature won’t make much difference for the vast majority of Windows 10 gamers.

PCGamesN has details on the latest Insider Preview build (15007) and what it exposes in the OS. While Game Mode can’t be enabled yet, you can read the description of what it’s going to do. Basically, it performs some low-level services tailoring to make the system work smarter when you’re actively using Microsoft’s GameDVR function.

This is more-or-less as expected, and fairly worthless in any case. Both Nvidia and AMD have shipped software solutions with their own, low-level DVR capture capability, with a minimum impact on their own hardware. Microsoft’s decision to bake in its own solution is probably a boon to Intel gamers or to people who aren’t aware of Radeon ReLive or Nvidia ShadowPlay, but it’s not much benefit to anyone else. If you want to get back the performance improvement of Game Mode before Microsoft ships the feature, you can disable the DVR altogether using these instructions.

As for the amount of performance you’ll get back by making these changes, it’s unlikely you’d ever notice. Heck, it’s not even likely that you’d notice if you benchmarked the game. Barring an unusual situation, DVR recording and other background Windows services are meant to run in the background, where they’re unlikely to consume resources or cause issues. Part of the reason why this simply doesn’t matter on modern hardware is because Windows’ hardware specifications have only changed slightly since the introduction of Windows Vista in 2006. (The idea of running Vista on hardware from 1995 would’ve been beyond hilarious, but you can run Windows 10 on equipment sold 11 years ago, if you have to). Microsoft hasn’t done much moving of the goalposts, and later versions of Windows are generally viewed as improvements to Vista, as far as running on low-end hardware.

Don’t get us wrong — if Microsoft is enabling this feature because it has data suggesting that its DVR software doesn’t play nice with specific titles, that’s a fine thing. But we’d prefer the company just say that, as opposed to pushing the idea of a Game Mode that’s going to make most titles run faster. If you’re trying to play modern games on a computer that was cutting-edge in 2008 and hasn’t been upgraded since, DVR support is the least of your worries. If that doesn’t describe you, then these optimizations aren’t likely to matter.

What we would like to see, if Microsoft is taking notes, is a Game Mode that prevented Windows Update from rebooting the computer while resource-intensive applications or games are running. If you’ve ever had a Windows 10 system suddenly decide it’s time for a reboot in the middle of a game or benchmark run (and I’ve seen multiple testbeds pull this trick with zero warning), you know how infuriating it can be. Fix that problem, and you’ve got a Game Mode worth deploying.

[Source:- Extremetech]

Upcoming Windows 10 update reduces spying, but Microsoft is still mum on which data it specifically collects

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There’s some good news for privacy-minded individuals who haven’t been fond of Microsoft’s data collection policy with Windows 10. When the upcoming Creators Update drops this spring, it will overhaul Microsoft’s data collection policies. Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, has published a blog post with a list of the changes Microsoft will be making.

First, Microsoft has launched a new web-based privacy dashboard with the goal of giving people an easy, one-stop location for controlling how much data Microsoft collects. Your privacy dashboard has sections for Browse, Search, Location, and Cortana’s Notebook, each covering a different category of data MS might have received from your hardware. Personally, I keep the Digital Assistant side of Cortana permanently deactivated and already set telemetry to minimal, but if you haven’t taken those steps you can adjust how much data Microsoft keeps from this page.

Second, Microsoft is condensing its telemetry options. Currently, there are four options — Security, Basic, Enhanced, and Full. Most consumers only have access to three of these settings — Basic, Enhanced, and Full. The fourth, security, is reserved for Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education. Here’s how Microsoft describes each category:

Security: Information that’s required to help keep Windows, Windows Server, and System Center secure, including data about the Connected User Experience and Telemetry component settings, the Malicious Software Removal Tool, and Windows Defender.

Basic: Basic device info, including: quality-related data, app compatibility, app usage data, and data from the Security level.

Enhanced: Additional insights, including: how Windows, Windows Server, System Center, and apps are used, how they perform, advanced reliability data, and data from both the Basic and the Security levels.

Full: All data necessary to identify and help to fix problems, plus data from the Security, Basic, and Enhanced levels.

That’s the old system. Going forward, Microsoft is collapsing the number of telemetry levels to two. Here’s how Myerson describes the new “Basic” level:

[We’ve] further reduced the data collected at the Basic level. This includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows. We use this data to help keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly when you let Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also includes basic error reporting back to Microsoft.

Windows 10 will also include an enhanced privacy section that will show during start-up and offer much better granularity over privacy settings. Currently, many of these controls are buried in various menus that you have to manually configure after installing the operating system.

It’s nice that Microsoft is cutting back on telemetry collection at the basic level. The problem is, as Stephen J Vaughn-Nichols writes, Microsoft is still collecting a creepy amount of information on “Full,” and it still defaults to sharing all this information with Cortana — which means Microsoft has data files on people it can be compelled to turn over by a warrant from an organization like the NSA or FBI. Given the recent expansion of the NSA’s powers, this information can now be shared with a variety of other agencies without filtering it first. And while Microsoft’s business model doesn’t directly depend on scraping and selling customer data the way Google does, the company is still gathering an unspecified amount of information. Full telemetry, for example, may “unintentionally include parts of a document you were using when a problem occurred.” Vaughn-Nichols isn’t thrilled about that idea, and neither am I.

The problem with Microsoft’s disclosure is it mostly doesn’t disclose. Even basic telemetry is described as “includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows.” Okay. But what does that mean?

I’m glad to see Microsoft taking steps towards restoring user privacy, but these are small steps that only modify policies around the edges. Until the company actually and meaningfully discloses what telemetry is collected under Basic settings and precisely what Full settings do and don’t send in the way of personally identifying information, the company isn’t explaining anything so much as it’s using vague terms and PR in place of a disclosure policy.

As I noted above, I’d recommend turning Cortana (the assistant) off. If you don’t want to do that, you should regularly review the information MS has collected about you and delete any items you don’t want to part of the company’s permanent record.

 

 

[Source:- Extremetech]

What’s on your Start Screen, Zac Bowden?

Image result for What's on your Start Screen, Zac Bowden?

It’s been a little while since we last did a “What’s on your Start Screen?”, and that’s because so much has been changing within the world of Windows phone over the last couple of years. With the introduction of Windows 10 Mobile, the redesign of several Windows phone apps, and the slow transition from several different versions of Windows to one single Windows that works across every device, we just haven’t found the time!

A lot of Windows Phone users have since left the platform since our last Start Screen article, and that’s unfortunate. However, there’s still a few of us left using Windows phones as our daily drivers, and I thought it’d be a good idea to share some of the apps I’m using on the lead up to 2017.

I don’t have many apps pinned, and that’s simply because I don’t like scrolling on my Start Screen. I’m a huge user of live tiles, and I think live tiles should be on screen at all times so I can see what information they have to offer. Still, I try to make good use of my screen real estate.

My Apps

  • Messaging: I’m super big on SMS. I know that’s kind of odd leading into 2017, but I much prefer it over any form of instant messenger such as WhatsApp or Skype. If I can, I’ll always opt to send an SMS if trying to contact someone. Everybody has SMS.
  • Phone: The standard built-in Phone app. I don’t make calls all that often, but I feel like I need to have this app pinned on my Start Screen just in case I am in a situation in which I do need to make a call.
  • Outlook Calendar: I like being able to see the date and upcoming appointments on my Start Screen, and the Calendar app does just that. Rarely do I open the Calendar app, this is definitely one of those situations in which the live tile does everything I need it to do.
  • Microsoft Edge: Edge is the best way to browse the web on a Windows 10 Mobile device, so I’m constantly using it to view websites, read news, watch videos and more. It syncs favorites across Windows 10 devices, and is lightweight and easy to use.
  • Windows Store: The Windows Store is home to all purchasable Content in the Windows ecosystem. Whether it be apps, games, music or movies/TV, I’m always in the Store looking for something new to spend my money on. I often find a movie, or a game that catches my interest.
  • Twitter: When it comes to Twitter, I opt for the official Twitter app from Twitter themselves. Yes, I know there are far better Twitter clients out there built by third parties, but I like the simplicity of the official app. It’s universal and works across PC and Phone, and what’s more, even though there are a plethora of bugs and missing features, it gets the job done.
  • Cortana: I don’t actually use Cortana all that much, but I have it pinned just in case I want to mess with a setting or two with syncing notifications and whatnot. I like the news ticker that pops up on the live tile, and will sometimes open it up to check on reminders and adjust things.
  • Outlook Mail: The built-in Mail app is my choice of email client on Windows 10 Mobile. It does everything I need, from a reliable live tile all the way down to the simplicity of the app. I can add my Outlook, Google, Yahoo and other email accounts with ease, and configure notification popups from specific accounts if needed.
  • GroupMe: GroupMe is one of the best group messaging apps available on Windows 10 Mobile, and I use it frequently with some of the Windows Central team. It’s great for team collaboration, goofing around, and just sharing things for later.
  • WhatsApp Beta: Although I’m big on SMS, I do have a need for WhatsApp too. A lot of my personal friends would rather be contacted through WhatsApp, so that’s what I use when contacting them. The WhatsApp Beta app, although still a Windows Phone 8.1 app, is coming along quite nicely being updated constantly with new features and changes.
  • Slack: Slack is the main communication platform we use here at Mobile Nations. It’s how I message the team, and how the team message me. It’s still in beta, but the app is feature-filled enough to be usable as one of my “must-have” apps on my phone.
  • Groove Music: Groove is the best music streaming service available on Windows 10 Mobile. Sure, there’s Pandora and Spotify, but those apps aren’t all that great compared to Groove, which is arguable the best app available on Windows 10 right now. I’m a subscriber to Groove music, and most of the music I’d want to listen to is ready to stream from the service.
  • Windows Central: Of course, how could I not have this one pinned to my Start Screen? I love the Windows Central app, it’s easy to use and is always updated with the latest articles direct from our feed. The live tile is super customizable too!
  • Weather: I live in the United Kingdom, so I need to know whether the weather outside is grey and raining. It usually is, but sometimes that live tile shows a bit of sunshine, and that makes me smile.
  • Instagram: Not a huge user of Instagram, I generally only use it when procrastinating. Maybe one day I’ll be Instagram-famous.
  • Trello Central: We use Trello for article planning and scheduling here at Mobile Nations, so it makes sense for me to have an app on my phone that allows me to jump in there and check on things. It’s not super feature-filled, being a 3rd-party app, but it gets the job done.
  • Uber: As a kid, I always wanted own my own car so I could drive wherever I needed, whenever I needed to. In 2016 however, all I need is Uber. Who needs to drive these days when you can get someone else to drive for you?!

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Image result for The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Looks like speculation that Alcatel’s Idol 4S running Windows 10 Mobile going carrier-unlocked (GSM) after a T-Mobile exclusivity ended were true. As spotted on MSPU Microsoft has begun to make the rather powerful – and impressive – Windows 10 Mobile phone available for purchase in the US through their store.

Asking price is still the same $470, which includes the VR goggle package and 21MP rear camera.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Specs

CPU Snapdragon 820 | Quad Core CPU @2.15 GHz
Display 5.5-inch FHD AMOLED
Dragontrail 2.5D Glass
Memory 64GB ROM
4GB RAM
microSD
Camera 21 MP rear camera
8 MP front-facing camera
Battery 3,000 mAh
Quick Charge 3.0
420Hrs Standby
15Hrs Talk
Continuum Yes
VR Yes
Windows Hello Yes (Fingerprint)
Audio Dual speakers with Hi-Fi surround sound
Dimensions 153.9 x 75.4 x 6.99 mm
Weight 152g
HD Voice Yes
VoLTE Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Calling 1.0
Bluetooth BT 4.1
A2DP, OPP, HFP, AVRCP, PBAP

The rest of the specifications and color (‘Halo Gold’) are all the same as well. In fact, it’s likely the same device as our review unit, which was unlocked as well and worked brilliantly on AT&T with no issue.

Microsoft notes that the unlocked version should work on AT&T, T-Mobile, H20, Straight Talk, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, and select prepaid carriers.

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

 

Minecraft Pocket Edition will no longer receive updates for Windows mobile devices

We received a tip earlier today that Minecraft Pocket Edition will no longer be supported on Windows mobile devices.

Since receiving the tip, we have confirmed with sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans that Minecraft Pocket Edition will no longer receive updates for Windows Phone 8.1 or 10 Mobile, but it will still be available in the store.

This will come as a considerable blow for Windows mobile fans of the game, but the amount of users spending time in Minecraft PE for Windows 8.1 and 10 Mobile is reportedly very low, making the development hours needed to keep it up to date is simply no longer economically viable.

At this point, I’d say it’s pretty clear that the future of Windows on mobile devices lies with full Windows 10 on ARM, recently announced for future handsets powered by the Snapdragon 835 processor. Microsoft demonstrated World of Tank Blitz running on a Snapdragon 820 with full Windows 10, which implies that the newer 835 would make short work of Minecraft for Windows 10, which already supports touch. I suspect this is where the bulk of Minecraft development will be spent moving forward.

You can still download and play Minecraft Pocket Edition on Windows Phone devices, at least for the time being, using the link below.

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

 

HP’s CES 2017 releases are truly gorgeous PCs

HP’s 13-inch Spectre x360 is our favorite convertible ultrabook, but if something bigger would happen to tickle your fancy, it’s hard to deny the appeal of the updated 15.6-inch edition of the convertible. It’s a truly sexy design, seen here in the “ash gray and copper” color combo, and HP’s embraced what their customers demanded from the laptop and given it a spec bump update less than a year later.

The previous edition sported a 15.6-inch IPS display in Full HD or 4K resolutions, but for the new version HP’s ditched the lower-res panel and is only offering 4K while also shrinking the bezels dramatically o the sides (and a bit up top). That’s driven by updated internals, including a new 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU.

HP’s also added an IR-equipped Windows Hello-capable webcam and a pair of USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports (through which the laptop charges, including HP Fast Charge to get to 90% in 90 minutes), while still maintaining a single full-size USB-A port, HDMI, and a full-size SD card reader. Also joining the party is Windows Ink-compatible pen support on that 4K display, but alas without a pen silo to store the stylus.

Everything else you know and love about the 15.6-inch Spectre x360 has remained the same, though with one slight change: bucking the trend towards increasing thinness, HP opted to make the Spectre x360 just under 2mm thicker than last year’s model, allowing them to cram in an enormous 79.2Whr battery that can last an advertised 12 hours.

HP’s Spectre 13t has been impressing us with its thinness and drop-dead gorgeous design since it first landed, and now with a Kaby Lake processor upgrade it’s an even more capable machine. It’s never been a computing powerhouse, nor was it ever meant to be, but it’s no slouch for how thin and light it is.

While the processor update was nice, there was a problem still facing the Spectre 13t: the color scheme. Personally, I love the dark gray and copper combination — it’s gorgeous without being gaudy, flashy without being ostentatious. But it’s not for everyone, and that’s okay, and HP recognized that. So they’re also introducing a “natural silver and chrome” color combination that’s still glitzy but not as out-there as the original color. It’s super classy.

There’s only one way to do an ultrawide display at 34 inches, and that’s as a curved panel with a 3440×1440 resolution and barely any bezel. I could stop there, but HP decided to take it a step further and built a whole PC into the display’s wide, blocky base. There’s a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake processor in there, along with 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD, and AMD RX 460 GPU.

Because that 34-inch panel is great for movies and this is likely the kind of PC you’ll put in a common space in your home, HP built in an impressive audio array into the base: four speakers with dual passive arrays, all tuned by audio partner Bang & Olufsen. There’s a touch-sensitive dial embedded on the right side of the base for controlling volume and playback, plus a Qi wireless charging pad on the left side.

 

 

 
[Source:- Windowscentral]

All you need to know about YubiKey for Windows Hello and Windows 10b

Image result for All you need to know about YubiKey for Windows Hello and Windows 10

The first companion device for Windows Hello is now out. Here is how to use YubiKey with WIndows Hello and what it can — and cannot — do.

Microsoft’s bio-authentication system Windows Hello is one of the most demanded features users want with new PCs. Currently, the most popular are fingerprint readers, facial recognition using IR cameras, or iris scanners (for phones).

Another new Windows Hello method is just starting to come to market: companion devices. In theory, wearables like smartwatches or your phone could be a yet another way to validate your authenticity. YubiKey’s new app for Windows 10 fits into this category. Today, I’ll review it and show you how it works.

YubiKey – What it is

YubiKeys by Yubico are small USB devices that you carry around with you to add two-factor authentication (aka ‘2FA’) to various apps and services. For instance, if you use LastPass to store all your passwords you need one master password to unlock them all. That’s a huge security vulnerability because if someone managed to get that password, they would get all the rest too in your safe. By using a YubiKey, the attacker would physically need your USB YubiKey in addition to your password to unlock your virtual safe.

Sure, 2FA is an extra step. Besides typing in your password, you need to insert the YubiKey, wait a second, and press on the touch-to-sign metal area on the key. It’s super easy to use, but still a little more work. Nonetheless, when it comes to security that type of protection is wanted — and needed — by many.

Other services that work with YubiKey included Google, Dashlane, KeePass, Dropbox, Evernote, WordPress, GitHub, and other things like disk encryption.

There are three main types of YubiKeys on sale right now:

  • YubiKey 4 (USB)
  • YubiKey 4 Nano (USB)
  • YubiKey NEO (USB and NFC)

They range in price from $40 for the regular USB versions to $50 for the USB and NFC variant. With NFC users can also use the YubiKey NEO for Android mobile phones and presumably any other system with NFC.

At CES 2017 Yubico announced YubiKey 4C, which is a USB Type-C device to keep up with modern PCs and computers. That version goes on sale in February 2017 for $50 as well.

YubiKey for Windows Hello

Recently, Yubico released a new app called YubiKey for Windows Hello in the Windows Store. The free app lets you link your YubiKey to your PC (not Microsoft Account) as a companion security device.

While not bio-authentication e.g. fingerprint or face recognition adding a YubiKey to your PC lets you unlock and log into the computer just by inserting the physical device into the PC.

So, why bother? Most PCs today including laptops and desktops do not have a built-in Windows Hello system. By using YubiKey, you can cheaply add this to your PC while also using it with your other apps and services listed above.

Once inserted into the PC the system is unlocked all the time. Removing the key lets it lock again. A YubiKey is small enough to be carried around on a key chain making it easy to use with your home PC or laptop.

Setting up

Setting up YubiKey is very easy once you have the physical device in your possession.

  1. Download and run YubiKey for Windows Hello from the Store
  2. Select Register
  3. After inserting the YubiKey into a USB Port select Continue
  4. Optionally name the YubiKey (good if you have multiple keys) and choose Continue
  5. Follow the prompts to authenticate your key with Windows Hello
  6. When done choose Finish
  7. That’s it. The whole process takes about 30 seconds.

    Setting up on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise

    For those with a Windows 10 Home license, the above steps are all that is required to get YubiKey working with Windows Hello. If, however, you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise editions, you will need to edit the Local Security Policy to allow companion devices.

    If you are unsure which version of Windows 10 you have only go to Settings > System > About and under Edition it should read as Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, or Windows 10 for Enterprise.

    If you are on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can modify the system to allow companion devices for Windows Hello. Here is how according to Yubico:

    1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor. To do this, press [Windows key + R], and then type gpedit.msc.
    2. In the Local Group Policy Editor, from the top level Local Computer Policy, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Secondary Authentication Factor.
    3. In the right pane, click the link to Edit policy setting. (You can also double-click the setting to Allow companion device for secondary authentication.) The default state is Not configured.

[Source:- Windowscentral]