Tim Sweeney is positively steam-ed about Microsoft’s Windows Cloud operating system

Image result for Tim,Sweeney,is,positively,steam-ed,about,Microsoft’s,Windows,Cloud,operating,system

Yesterday, we reported on Windows Cloud — a new version of Microsoft’s Windows 10 that’s supposedly in the works. Windows Cloud would be limited to applications that are available through the Windows Store and is widely believed to be a play for the education market, where Chromebooks are currently popular.

Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic and lead developer on the Unreal Engine, has been a harsh critic of Microsoft and its Windows Store before. He wasted no time launching a blistering tirade against this new variant of the operating system, before Microsoft has even had a chance to launch the thing.

With all respect to Tim, I think he’s wrong on this for several reasons. First, the idea that the Windows Store is going to crush Steam is simply farcical. There is no way for Microsoft to simply disallow Steam or other applications from running in mainstream Windows without completely breaking Win32 compatibility in its own operating system. Smartphone manufacturers were able to introduce the concept of app stores and walled gardens early on. Fortune 500 companies, gamers, enthusiasts, and computer users in general would never accept an OS that refused to run Win32 applications.

The second reason the Windows Store is never going to crush Steam is that the Windows Store is, generally speaking, a wasteland where software goes to die. The mainstream games that have debuted on that platform have generally been poor deals compared with what’s available on other platforms (like Steam). There’s little sign Microsoft is going to change this anytime soon, and until it does, Steam’s near-monopoly on PC game distribution is safe.

Third, if Microsoft is positioning this as a play against Chrome OS, Windows Cloud isn’t going to debut on high-end systems that are gaming-capable in the first place. This is a play aimed at low-end ARM or x86 machines with minimum graphics and CPU performance. In that space, a locked-down system is a more secure system. That’s a feature, not a bug, if your goal is to build systems that won’t need constant IT service from trojans, malware, and bugs.

Like Sweeney, I value the openness and capability of the PC ecosystem — but I also recognize that there are environments and situations where that openness is a risk with substantial downside and little benefit. Specialized educational systems for low-end markets are not a beachhead aimed at destroying Steam. They’re a rear-guard action aimed at protecting Microsoft’s educational market share from an encroaching Google.

 

 

[Source:- Extremetech]

Microsoft’s latest Windows update breaks multi-monitor gaming

SeriousSam

We’ve been talking about the problem of forced non-security updates since Windows 10 launched, so I won’t belabor the point again here. Instead, I’d like to point out that the issue here isn’t even just a question of forcing an update — it’s about forcing updates that break existing system configurations. If you’ve used Microsoft Windows for any length of time, you’re aware that the OS has its own built-in mechanisms for determining which software and hardware are already installed in your machine. Try to install a Windows Update that’s already been installed, and the computer informs you of that fact. Try to install an application, and you get a similar message. If you try to install old graphics drivers on top of newer drivers and you’ll get an error message. Windows is required to know how many displays you have connected to it, or it wouldn’t be able to offer color profile management or an appropriately scaled desktop. Similarly, the OS has to remember which windows belong on which screens to display information appropriately and it has information on what kind of GPU is installed.

There is, in other words, no reason why Microsoft should be pushing this update as mandatory for people who game on multiple displays. In fact, given the company’s 18-month fetish for telemetry collection, there’s no reason why Redmond couldn’t notifygamers that they may not be able to play certain titles without using workarounds to do so. This hits one of the most annoying points of these so-called “service” models — despite calling it a “service,” the service doesn’t actually serve the end customer. If Microsoft wanted to get end-users onboard with its telemetry collection, it could start by using that data in ways that actually improve their customer experience.

But since Microsoft doesn’t do that, if you’re a widescreen gamer, your choices are to disable Windows Update altogether or to hope this update doesn’t impact any titles you like playing in that configuration. There aren’t many people playing games on more than one monitor, to be sure, but this kind of regression is why people don’t like mandatory updates in the first place. We’ve seen some signs of late that MS is bending a bit on this issue by giving people the ability to defer updates by 35 days once the Creators Update (Redstone 2) drops later this year. Hopefully that’s just the first step back towards a more sane update policy.

 

[Source:- Extremetech]

 

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

Privacy-2-1024x812

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]

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]

 

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]

How to print from Edge for Windows 10

Image result for How to print from Edge for Windows 10b

How do I print web pages in Edge?

Microsoft Edge features all of the standard print tools for creating copies of web pages; those important stories and official forms can be physically printed on your printer, or they can be converted to PDF for further editing. Here’s everything you need to know about printing from Edge for Windows 10.

A look at Edge’s print settings

For anyone unfamiliar with printing from the web, here’s a look at the print settings in Edge.

  • Printer: Choose which printer you’d like to use.
  • Orientation: Choose from Portrait or Landscape.
  • Copies: Choose how many full copies of the printing job you want to be printed.
  • Pages: Choose from all pages, the current page shown in the preview, or page range. You can specify the range yourself by typing, for example, 5-7.
  • Scale: Change how large you’d like text and images to appear.
  • Margins: Set how wide or narrow you’d like the margins to be on printed pages.
  • Headers and footers: Toggle on and off. When on, the article’s title, the website, and the page number will be displayed at the top of the page, while the URL and date will be displayed at the bottom of the page.

For more settings, click More settings near the bottom of the print window.

  • Collation: Choose from collated or uncollated. Collated print jobs involving multiple copies will print in sequence, making it easier for physical distribution and binding. Uncollated print jobs with multiple copies will print out of sequence, i.e. four copies of page one, then four copies of page two, etc.
  • Pages per sheet: Choose how many pages you want to see on each sheet of paper. Scaling will occur.
  • Paper size: Choose the paper size you’re currently using in your printer.
  • Paper type: Choose the type of paper you’re currently using in your printer.
  • Paper tray: Choose which tray on your printer to use.

  • How to print a webpage

    First things first; here’s how to print a page as-is in Edge.

    1. Launch Edge from your Start menu, taskbar, or desktop.
    2. Navigate to a webpage you want to print.
    3. Click the More button in the top-right corner of the window. It looks like •••

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

New FL Studio Mobile offering in the Windows Store for on the go music editing

Windows 10 Mobile has been a mixed bag of development when it comes to app support. While Windows 10 Mobile inherited the downward trend of failing app support, the newest iteration of Microsoft’s mobile operating system is leveraging the foundation of its more developer inviting bigger brother Windows 10, to varying degrees of success to entice mobile app support.

Some bigger name app developers have taken the bait and created Universal Windows Platform apps that span both PCs and Mobile devices and adding to the list of interested developers is FL Studio.

Formerly Fruity Loops, FL Studio has offered a modern PC version of its app in the Windows Store beginning with Windows 8 development. Admittedly, the new FL Studio app for Windows PCs has seen few updates and feature additions since its arrival in the Windows Store, but the developers newest project may circumvent the stagnation.

Thanks to a tip from WinBeta reader Amir, we now know FL Studio is offering a new app titled FL Studio Mobile in the Windows Store that is promising a better full-featured experience for Windows users.

According to the app features list:

Features

  • Fully functional music production Application. Record edit and sequence music.
  • For those of us still wielding Windows 10 Mobile powered phones, the addition of FL Studio Mobile could be a godsend, especially for the quick track edit, impromptu podcast, or cleaning up the occasionally recorded class lecture.

    A note to those interested, the app is listed at a surprising $14.99 for download with a tag about in-app purchases. While $14.99 for a quality app should not be surprising, the fact that the older Windows 8 PC version of the app remains free for download makes the listed price of FL Studio Mobile a bit of a head scratcher.

    It also appears there is a redeem code option for those who can find a code.

[Source:- Winbeta]

Windows 10 Mobile build 14977 adds improved Cortana Quiet Hours, alarm settings, and much more

Microsoft released Windows 10 Mobile Insider build 14977 this morning, with the ability to read EPUB ebooks in Edge on mobile devices. PCs are left out this time due to a blocking bug, and so all of the improvements and fixes are for Windows phones only.

Here’s the complete list of what’s been fixed and improved in Windows 10 Mobile Insider build 14977:

  • We’ve changed the rendering technology used for many types of UWP app content, so please provide feedback through the Feedback Hub if you notice any new visual glitches in UWP apps.
  • Alarms sent by 3rd party alarm apps will now break through Cortana’s Quiet Hours – we appreciate all the app developers who logged feedback requesting this, keep it coming!
  • We’ve removed the top-level option in Notification Settings to disable alarms on the lock screen – alarm reliability is a top priority for us, and we’ve found this setting was frequently enabled accidentally, without awareness that it would stop alarms from waking the phone when the phone was locked. For those who still wish to enable this setting, it’s will continue to be available under the per-app notification settings.
  • Notifications from Settings can now be customized or disabled – option is available under Settings > System > Notifications > Settings
  • We have enabled OAuth support for Yahoo Mail accounts. This will improve sync reliability for those accounts, and provide a secure experience while browsing your email.
  • We fixed an issue where disconnecting and reconnecting a wired headset while watching a video might result the audio no longer working.
  • We fixed an issue Insiders may have experienced where certain music apps would unexpectedly stop playing music after a single song.
  • We fixed an issue where closing a tab in Microsoft Edge, exiting the app, and then relaunching it would sometimes result in Edge opening to a blank page with the closed tab’s web address in the URL bar.
  • We fixed an issue where the Start Settings page wasn’t rendering when opened on external screen while using Continuum.
  • We’ve made a number of translation improvements, including, for French (France and Canada) speakers, fixing a grammatical error in the “Don’t Forget!” text seen when shutting down the phone so it now says “N’oubliez pas”, and for Chinese speakers, fixing an issue where the option to clear the Chinese Input Method Editor’s input history was displaying in English rather than Chinese. If you see any other translations that aren’t as you’d expect, please log feedback – we’re listening!
  • We fixed an issue where, if the setting to show notifications above lock had been turned off, booting the device and immediately checking the Action Center while the phone was locked could result in the Action Center not displaying any notifications after the phone had been unlocked.
  • We fixed an issue Insiders may have experienced where the Camera app might not appear after using the hardware camera button while the screen was off or while on the Glance screen.
  • We fixed an issue where Bangla (Bangladesh) keyboard text prediction might stop working after entering character followed by a vowel mark.

That’s not a terribly short list of fixes and improvements, and so if you’re using a Windows 10 Mobile device on the Insiders Fast Ring, then go hit that update button. Let us know in the comments if you run across anything else that’s been fixed or improved.

 

 

[Source:- Winbeta]

Microsoft Photos gets Sway support in latest update on Windows 10 PC and mobile

Today, Microsoft Photos got an update, adding a Share option providing Sway support among other new features and bug fixes. Now, you can upload any photos from your albums to Sway from the Share menu.

Here’s a look at the full changelog for Microsoft Photos:

  • Check out updated app animations and transitions
  • Add slow-motion effect to videos captured by any device
  • Upload albums to Sway from the Share menu
  • Improved performance for images stored on a network
  • Bug fixes

The Microsoft Photos update is available for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile devices. Update the Microsoft Photos app now.

 

 

[Source:- Winbeta]