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Is Windows 10 ready?

 

Windows 10 is different. While Microsoft aggressively tracked down leaked builds of Windows Vista and Windows 7, the software giant has opened its doors to let anyone test Windows 10 through a process that’s not normally public. It’s a change that has allowed everyone to judge and critique Windows 10 before it’s even ready. We’ve seen the good and the bad, and now we’re about to witness the final result on July 29th. With Microsoft now committing to a Windows 10 release in less than two months, is it really ready?

Windows 10 has progressed well over its relatively short development period. If you compare preview builds from two months ago to today, there are many changes and improvements, but still a lot of bugs. While it’s two months until release date, Microsoft will still complete a process known as release to manufacturing (RTM) later this month. Windows might be switching to a servicing model with regular updates, but there’s still a final point needed for PC makers to start loading their own images to ship devices in time for the back to school period and the holidays. That RTM phase means Microsoft only has a few weeks to get Windows 10 ready before it has to rely on patches and hotfixes that can be distributed automatically to machines once they’re upgraded.

Windows 8 logo stock

WINDOWS 10 FEELS NEARLY FINISHED, BUT THERE’S STILL SOME GLARING BUGS

A few weeks doesn’t seem like enough time right now, especially given the current state of Windows 10. The latest build (10130) looks almost finished and polished, but then there are continued issues with the Start Menu not opening or crashing and driver problems that are slightly alarming at this stage of development. Perhaps the biggest issue I have encountered is the upgrade process between builds. Microsoft has been testing this vigorously, as it’s a key part of getting Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to Windows 10 for free. If an upgrade fails then it’s one less machine running the latest operating system. I’ve had a variety of upgrade failures, even with the recent builds that Microsoft has distributed. Please note this is the author’s experience. I haven’t had a problem with any update upto and including 10130. (BJ)

These could all be fairly minor bugs, but they’ve been consistent and present throughout the Windows 10 development period, which suggests there have been some issues that have prevented Microsoft addressing them fully. Fortunately, Microsoft is now in a period of code completion. Additions to the core of Windows 10 will be locked soon, and Microsoft is now focused on improving the built-in apps and crushing bugs. Like any version of Windows, Microsoft has a number of tests and processes to check off before it declares Windows 10 is ready. The overall bug count will have to drop, and the company will decide which bugs can wait for launch day patches and prioritize accordingly.

Windows 10 Spartan

Windows 10 will of course be ready for July 29th, but how complete and stable it will be could vary depending on your hardware and usage. I have some machines that work well, and others that are crashing or the display drivers and audio drivers don’t work correctly. At this stage I would like to be using a release candidate on my machines that feels like the final version of Windows 10, but we’re not quite there yet. Microsoft will start preloading the final bits on PCs that have opted in for the Windows 10 upgrade, with patches and updates to follow once it launches on July 29th.

WINDOWS 10 IS GOING TO HAVE A BUNCH OF UPDATES ON DAY ONE

Windows 8 launched with a number of day one patches, and I expect Windows 10 will have plenty. Microsoft has been regularly patching Windows 10 preview builds to address bigger problems, and receive additional feedback to help shape changes. The dedicated feedback app will ship with the final version of Windows 10 so that Microsoft can continue to receive input from users. It’s really Microsoft’s method of using the general public for its own testing. With recent headcount reductions on the testing teams for Windows, public feedback and beta testing has helped Microsoft change the way it’s building Windows.

Microsoft is very close to getting Windows 10 ready, but the Windows team has a lot of sleepless nights ahead throughout June and July to ensure the quality is high across the vast amount of PCs out there. Microsoft can’t afford to make any bad impressions with Windows 10 after the mixed reception to both Vista and Windows 8. Providing the driver issues are cleared up, the company can easily avoid the problems associated with the early days of Windows Vista. Windows 10 is really shaping up to be the next great successor to Windows 7 and Windows XP, and Microsoft wants to ensure everyone upgrades. Windows 10 will never really be ready thanks to continuous new features and updates coming for the rest of the year and beyond. The road could be a little bumpy to start, but it’ll only get smoother and smoother over time.

Source: Is Windows 10 ready? | The Verge

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This is Microsoft Edge, the replacement for Internet Explorer

 

Microsoft first revealed its new browser plans back in January. Known as Project Spartan initially, Microsoft is revealing today that the company will use the Microsoft Edge name for its new browser in Windows 10. The Edge naming won’t surprise many as it’s the same moniker given to the new rendering engine (EdgeHTML) that Microsoft is using for its Windows 10 browser.

While Microsoft Edge is the successor to Internet Explorer, Microsoft will keep its aging browser around for enterprise customers. Microsoft Edge is designed to be basic and minimalist for the future, and early previews include new features like digital ink annotation, Cortana integration, and a built-in reading list. “You’re going to care about the blasting fast technology that’s inside it,” said Joe Belfiore on stage at Build. Microsoft Edge will be the default browser in Windows 10, and the one that most consumers will use to browse the web in Microsoft’s next operating system.

The image of a lowercase “e” encircled by a halo of light is one of the most recognizable items in any computer interface. Familiar though it may be, however, the Internet Explorer icon is more infamous than famous: everyone knows what it points to, but nobody’s excited to go there. Call it the post-IE6 trauma that will never go away.

Microsoft has been on a mission to right the wrongs of its web browser and has got better with every new iteration of IE, and for Windows 10 it’s going one step further and renaming the software with the new title of Microsoft Edge. But that re-branding hasn’t gone all the way. The icon is still a lowercase “e,” still bisected by the ghostly shadow of that dreaded IE halo. it makes Microsoft Edge look like a bold stride into the future that refuses to close the door on the past.

Source: This is Microsoft Edge, the replacement for Internet Explorer | The Verge

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Redstone: The codename for the next Windows update coming in 2016

Microsoft loves to use codenames and from the past few years, there are two in particular that you may recall; Blue and Threshold. With Windows 10 (Threshold) coming to market sometime this summer, Microsoft is already starting to work on the next update for the OS.

Microsoft has said multiple times that Windows will be moving at a faster cadence than in the past and they are already working on a release for 2016. The codename for the project is ‘Redstone’, a popular item in the recently acquired game, Minecraft.

At this time, not much is known about Microsoft’s plans for Windows vNext, but the company has now entered the planning stages of the update, as confirmed by two internal sources. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise as the company is perpetually planning for the next iteration of its software, regardless of the platform.

We will be curious to see if any more code names pop up using the Minecraft terminology. We have already seen several names from the Halo series spring to life, like the Spartan web browser and of course, Cortana too.

It would seem logical that this will not be a large update for the OS. Seeing that Windows 10 is an overhaul of the entire platform, Redstone will likely be relatively minor in comparison. Until Microsoft clarifies what the post-Windows 10 world looks like for the platform, there are many questions left to be answered.

It is worth pointing out too that Windows Server is expected to be released in 2016, so Redstone could possibly be related to this project as well. It’s early days for the this project but as we learn more and solidify what Redstone will become, we will keep you updated.

For now, know that Redstone is the next codename for Windows update and if you happen to see it pop up anywhere at Microsoft, make sure to let us know.

Source: Redstone: The codename for the next Windows update coming in 2016.

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Patch for Windows 7 and 8 will notify users to upgrade to Windows 10

Windows 10 is still months away, but that isn’t stopping Microsoft from deploying some tools that will remind users to update to the newest operating system once it becomes available.

A recent “recommended” patch showed up in Windows Update, linked to KB3035583, which seemingly prepares machines for the new OS. The knowledge base article describes the patch as enabling additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1.

But looking at the files the patch installs in System 32, we can see that at least one of the executables mentions downloading Windows 10. Not only that, but the patch itself seems to pave the way for Microsoft to display ads and notifications to users, letting them know when the new OS becomes available.

In the same system folder, users can find a config XML file that goes through the program’s behavior depending on what “phase” Windows 10 is in. For example, currently the program doesn’t display any notifications or act in any way because we’re currently in the “None” phase. But as we get to the “RTM” phase of Windows 10, users will likely see a new Live Tile show up on their Start Screen, pointing to the upcoming OS. Similarly, taskbar notifications will also be displayed when Windows 10 launches, prompting users to update.

Though some may see this as a bit intrusive, it isn’t that different from what Microsoft does with big updates. The company is obviously looking to update as many people as quickly as possible to the new system and avoid the debacle that was the Windows 8.1 update.

However, Windows 10 is only expected later this summer, so the company’s plans will likely become much clearer as we get close to the operating system’s launch.

Source: Patch for Windows 7 and 8 will notify users to upgrade to Windows 10.

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Microsoft Releases Preview Of Its New Browser ‘Project Spartan’ In Fresh Windows 10 Build

Windows 10 Technical Preview x64 Build 10041-2015-03-31-19-58-19

Microsoft wasn’t kidding when it promised to ship Windows 10 builds more quickly. Today, less than two weeks after its last iteration, the company has kicked out a new build that has an important new feature: Project Spartan.

The new build number is 10049, up a total of 68 from the preceding release.

If you are now on the “fast ring” of the Windows Insider program, say hello to the new code. For the rest of you on the more conservative build cycles, wait for the dust to settle. You can, of course, change your ring setting and get the new tools more quickly. (Note: This is not the upcoming build that will support a host more Windows Phone handsets. This build is nearly all about Project Spartan.)

Windows 10 Technical Preview x64 Build 10041-2015-03-31-19-58-25Project Spartan, the current, public codename of Microsoft’s new browser, will replace its venerable predecessor not all at once, but in steps. This fact has caused some confusion.

What can Project Spartan do? It comes with Cortana, the company’s digital assistant that lives in both current builds of Windows Phone and Windows 10. By bringing it to the browser, Microsoft makes progress on what appears to be an implicit goal to make sure that Cortana lands on every screen where the company vend a platform. (Xbox, gear up.)

Microsoft highlighted pen capabilities, simple reading views, and a rendering engine built for the modern Web as points in the browser’s favor during a call.

Windows 10 Technical Preview x64 Build 10041-2015-03-31-18-54-27This is the first public release of Project Spartan. So what we will see is a preview of Microsoft’s browser vision. Project Spartan remains an incomplete product, the company said in a call. That’s hardly a sin for beta software, of course, but it will be a decent data point to stress-test Project Spartan regardless — how far along and stable is this new vision?

According to a separate blog post from the company, 10049 has a some bug fixes, and known issues. That’s par for Windows 10 course.

Build, Microsoft’s developer conference, is next month, meaning that Microsoft might eventually hit pause on new builds to store up new bits to show off at the event. Today, however, was not such a case.

Source: Microsoft Releases Preview Of Its New Browser ‘Project Spartan’ In Fresh Windows 10 Build | TechCrunch.

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Windows 10 So Far and Has the Death of Internet Explorer Been Exaggerated?

Windows 10 Technical Preview x64 Build 10041-2015-03-25-21-40-48

The latest preview of Microsoft Windows 10 (10041) is looking more like a useable OS or it would be if I could use mail, contacts and a few other basic apps. Oh well. It’s just a preview. It’s nice to see a new Windows Store and the normal full screen apps working in a window. Although at the moment this seems to be the default. I was getting used to having apps working in full screen. It simplified and focused the process of what the app is meant to achieve. The mail program is uncomplicated and easy to use and I use all the time for my personal email. I even use Remote Desktop (downloaded from the store) in full screen. Well now I can do both in Windows 10.

I do have one thought about Internet Explorer though. Are Microsoft really going to drop it? When you start it up you are taken to a page that explains the new Spartan engine, is not in this release of Internet Explorer. So are we going to see Internet Explorer 12 or a browser of a different name. Perhaps Modern IE? We shall have to see. Another 3 months or so.

In the meantime have a look at some screen shots of the installation process and quick look around the desktop.

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​Adobe builds new features straight into Microsoft’s browser

microsoft-adobe-web-standards-support

Adobe Systems is giving Microsoft a hand building new features into its next-generation browser.

Four of the top five browsers — Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari and Opera Software’s Opera — are based on open-source projects to which anybody can contribute. That’s been handy when one party wants to add support for a new feature, though writing the necessary code is only a first step in convincing the browser leaders to actually ship with it. But Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and its cousin code-named Project Spartan that will ship with Windows 10 are closely guarded proprietary software projects.

A partnership with Adobe opens it up a bit — and paves the way for similar changes from others, according to a blog post Monday from Bogdan Brinza, Microsoft’s Project Spartan program manager.

“We’ve been making changes internally to allow other major Web entities to contribute to the growth of our platform, as well as to allow our team to give back to the Web,” Brinza said. “Adobe improved the Web platform in other browsers, but couldn’t bring the same improvements to Microsoft’s platform. This changed a few months ago when Microsoft made it possible for the Adobe Web Platform Team to contribute to Project Spartan.”

The partnership likely will mean a better Web for everyone, for two reasons. First, millions of Microsoft browser users will get access to new features, notably Adobe’s work to bring magazine-like publishing polish to websites. Second, developers will be able to embrace those features sooner, since they’ll be more widely supported in browsers.

And that should make the Web a better competitor to native software written to run solely on a particular operating system like Windows, iOS or Android.

Adobe’s specific changes to Microsoft’s browser technology so far involves formatting and graphics technology called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). To start with, Project Spartan will be able to combine and overlap graphics in a variety of more sophisticated ways, but Microsoft said more changes will come.

Project Spartan is the future of Microsoft’s browser technology. It’s made major improvements with IE9, IE10, and the current IE11, but with Project Spartan, Microsoft stripped out a lot of technology dating to earlier days of the Web. The resulting browser foundation gives Microsoft “a clean slate” to make it easier to support new Web standards. IE will continue to ship for those who need its old-style modes, but it’ll be Spartan that carries Microsoft’s ambitions in today’s fiercely competitive browser market.

One more implication of the Microsoft-Adobe deal: Adobe should have a slightly easier time moving beyond its Flash programming technology that for years brought fancy features like animations and streaming video to browsers. The Flash Player browser plug-in doesn’t exist for iOS and Android, and it poses security and reliability problems for browsers, and Adobe has been moving to embrace Web standards instead. Being able to reach Microsoft’s browser better helps the company in its effort to remain relevant in a world without Flash.

Source: ​Adobe builds new features straight into Microsoft’s browser – CNET.

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Microsoft’s New Browser Previewed In Video

It was back in January that Microsoft showed off its long-awaited replacement for Internet Explorer, currently named “Project Spartan.” The new browser is designed to be light, nimble and secure, with the company stressing how deeply Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, is baked into the software. Now, thanks to WinBeta, we’ve gotten the first sense of how that’ll work out in the real world. For instance, visit the homepage of a restaurant and the blue circle in the address bar will bounce to advise you that more information is available. In addition, you can highlight and right-click a word to define it, and typing in keywords in the address bar — such as weather — will bring up relevant information. The video is short, but you can expect plenty more like that when the previews of Windows 10 (with Spartan) arrive at the end of the month.

Source: Engadget – Microsoft’s new browser previewed in video