We highlighted Paul Vreeland’s System Rescue Toolkit a few months ago, but now he’s built a new, “lite” version that packs most of the same tools and can automatically run against and repair common Windows problems for you. If you liked the original, you’ll love this.
The beauty of the original was that it offered a number of great utilities to help you troubleshoot your system if you had PC problems, without a whole bunch of trial versions, bloated utilities, or “we found X errors now call me to fix your computer” demos. The Lite version dials some of those tools back and makes the scan and repair process automatic, so you can use the toolkit, walk away and grab a bite to eat, and, hopefully, come back to a repaired and functioning Windows system—or at least some more information about what you should do next if the toolkit couldn’t fix your problems. He notes:
The Lite version of my toolkit runs all of the autoFIX steps from “Automatic Mode” found in the full version. You do not have to be a techie to use it! No technical expertise is necessary because all the repair tasks are run automatically! These repair steps include:
Hard Drive Test
Windows Security Centre Check
Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Scans
Reset Windows Networking
System File Checker
Disk Cleanup and Defrag
Best of all, it’s completely free (although Paul does accept donations to maintain the project.) Hit the link below to try it out yourself.
Desktop App Converter tool (Project Centennial) is now available for download from Microsoft. This new tool allows developers to convert their desktop app to a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app. It converts a desktop Windows installer such as MSI or exe to an AppX package that can be deployed to a Windows 10 desktop.
Some of the benefits of converting your classic desktop app.
Your app’s installation experience is much smoother for your customers. You can deploy it to computers using sideloading (see Sideload LOB apps in Windows 10), and it leaves no trace behind after being uninstalled. Longer term, you’ll also be able to publish your app to the Windows Store.
Because your converted app has package identity, you can call more UWP APIs, even from the full-trust partition, than you could before.
At your own pace, you can add UWP features to your app’s package, like a XAML user-interface, live tile updates, UWP background tasks, app services, and many more. All of the functionality available to any other UWP app is available to your app.
If you choose to move all of your app’s functionality out of the full-trust partition of the app and into the app container partition, then your app will be able to run on any Windows 10 device.
As a UWP app, your app is able to do the things it could do as a classic desktop app. It interacts with a virtualized view of the registry and file system that’s indistinguishable from the actual registry and file system.
Your app can participate in the Windows Store’s built-in licensing and automatic update facilities. Automatic update is a highly reliable and efficient mechanism, because only the changed parts of files are downloaded.
Download it here from Microsoft. Read the MSDN documentation about this tool here.
Windows 10 is rolling out today in several countries across the globe in a phased roll out. If you’re one of those users who reserved it on Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1, and don’t see the update notification, there’s a good news for you. You can manually start the download by following a few simple steps (via Windows Central). As a disclaimer, this trigger should start the update but may not.,
Before you kick off, make sure you’re ready to install the Windows 10 upgrade. You can check out our guide on how to prepare your system for Windows 10. Next, make sure your system can automatically download and install Windows Update. After you’ve enabled automatic Windows Update, open Command Prompt as an administrator and type “wuauclt.exe /updatenow”. This should start the Windows 10 download on your system.
So are you ready yet to upgrade. Personally I can’t wait but I will be cautious about upgrading my work PC. Of course that’s a company decision. But I will be upgrading the laptops at home. Just have to pry them out of the hands of the owners first.
Of course I will promise them that I won’t break it with the upgrade. Please Microsoft don’t let me down I will never hear the end of it. At least there is a rollback option but a time limit of 30 days. Why a time limit at all. Guess Microsoft doesn’t want you to go back and I’m pretty sure that I will stick with Windows 10. The preview has been very interesting and much more like the windows that people are used to but with a lot more added bells and whistles.
Should be fun trying to convince the family. But you never know they may want to upgrade anyway. Hopefully.
The calls are starting to come in, as I, like you, Dear Reader, am the head of IT Support for my friends and family. You’d think my cell phone was an IT helpline, and my email is filled with Word documents with pasted in screenshots along with subject lines like “Is this safe?!?!?”
Anyway, Window 10 is coming soon, and this little icon (the Windows icon) is stating to show up in folks’ taskbars. For the techies, it’s called GWX (Get Windows 10) and it’s there to prep your machine and possible download Windows 10 if you want to reserve a spot. It’s added by KB3035583.
If you click it, you’ll get this screen where you can add your email and when July comes around your system will start downloading Windows 10 automatically.
You may also see this in Windows Update if you run Windows Update manually as I do.
You get to decide when you want to install it, it’s not automatic.
The important part you and your non-technical friend should know and explore is the “Check your PC” section. Click the “hamburger” menu in the upper left corner, then click “Check your PC.” Here’s mine. Looks like I need to update or uninstall one program that isn’t yet compatible, but my devices (video, usb stuff, etc) are cool.
Here’s my personal translation/take on the most important parts:
Windows 10 upgrades start July 29th and you can choose to upgrade for free until July 29, 2016 so no rush. If you want wait and see, you can.
The upgrade is free for that period (July 29th 2015 until 2016, a year later). Upgrading after July 29th, 2016 will cost something.
You can upgrade machines running 7 and 8.1.
You machine should have these specs, which are pretty low and reasonable. Most anyone with a running PC can upgrade.
Yes, Solitaire and Minesweeper and Hearts will be removed BUT you can download the new versions of Solitaire and Minesweeper free in the Windows Store. They are pretty nice versions.
You’ll move to either Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, according to this table:
You apps will keep running. I’m running all sorts of apps, many quite old, on Windows 10 and I have had no issue. The Compatibility Wizard still exists, though, so you can “lie” to really old apps and tell them they are running on Windows 95, or whatever. Just right-click the App that isn’t working and click “Troubleshoot Compatibility,” or right-click, Properties, then Compatibility. I haven’t had to do this myself, yet, so consider this a rare thing.
It’s amazing that Windows 7 users and Windows 8 users will all be able to upgrade and come forward to a single version of Windows. As a developer (both web and apps) it’ll be nice to have people on an “evergreen” Windows where I can do things like Feature Detection and not think as much about versioning.
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 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 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.
“Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10.” That was the message from Microsoft employee Jerry Nixon, a developer evangelist speaking at the company’s Ignite conference this week. Nixon was explaining how Microsoft was launching Windows 8.1 last year, but in the background it was developing Windows 10. Now, Microsoft employees can talk freely about future updates to Windows 10 because there’s no secret update in the works coming next. It’s all just Windows 10. While it immediately sounds like Microsoft is killing off Windows and not doing future versions, the reality is a little more complex. The future is “Windows as a service.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT WINDOWS AS A SERVICE
Microsoft has been discussing the idea of Windows as a service, but the company hasn’t really explained exactly how that will play out with future versions of Windows. That might be because there won’t really be any future major versions of Windows in the foreseeable future. Microsoft has altered the way it engineers and delivers Windows, and the initial result is Windows 10. Instead of big releases, there will be regular improvements and updates. Part of this is achieved by splitting up operating system components like the Start Menu and built-in apps to be separate parts that can be updated independently to the entire Windows core operating system. It’s a big undertaking, but it’s something Microsoft has been actively working on for Windows 10 to ensure it spans across multiple device types.
While we’ll witness the results in the coming months, Microsoft is already in launch mode for a number of its apps and services that power Windows 10. The software company is testing preview builds of Window 10 with willing participants, and apps like Xbox and Mail have been engineered for regularly monthly updates. Even Office for Windows 10 will also get regular updates, much like a mobile version, instead of the big bang release every few years.
WINDOWS ISN’T DEAD, BUT THE IDEA OF VERSION NUMBERS COULD BE
When I reached out to Microsoft about Nixon’s comments, the company didn’t dismiss them at all. “Recent comments at Ignite about Windows 10 are reflective of the way Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner, with continuous value for our consumer and business customers,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “We aren’t speaking to future branding at this time, but customers can be confident Windows 10 will remain up-to-date and power a variety of devices from PCs to phones to Surface Hub to HoloLens and Xbox. We look forward to a long future of Windows innovations.”
With Windows 10, it’s time to start thinking of Windows as something that won’t see a big launch or major upgrade every few years anymore. Much like how Google’s Chrome browser gets updated regularly with version numbers nobody really pays attention to, Microsoft’s approach will likely result in a similar outcome. This is really the idea of Windows as a service, and the notion that Windows 10 could be the last major version of Windows. Microsoft could opt for Windows 11 or Windows 12 in future, but if people upgrade to Windows 10 and the regular updates do the trick then everyone will just settle for just “Windows” without even worrying about the version number.
With no flagships announced, software that is on other platforms and a weak app store for the better part of a year, many consumers have asked what is the value proposition of Windows Phone. Up until last week, Microsoft did not have an answer that they were publicly willing to share but now we know how the company will respond to this question going forward.
Continuum for phones, that is coming with Windows 10, is Microsoft’s ace up the sleeve. The feature, which requires new hardware and will be arriving in new devices this summer, is the ‘killer’ feature that you can only get on Windows 10 for phones and it will not be easily replicated by any other player in the market.
What this feature allows you to do is take your phone, connect it to a keyboard, mouse and monitor and use the device like a desktop PC. This isn’t a watered down experience either, because of how Universal apps are designed, you can run all the Office apps just like you would on the desktop with most of the features being present as well. While we know this may not be a feature everyone will use on day one, it’s easy to see how this functionality will one day replace your laptop.
Looking at how quickly smartphones have progressed over the past 10 years, it’s fair to say that the devices of today are at least as powerful, if not more so, than the laptops of ten, maybe even five years ago. If you think about where the smart phone is headed in the next five years or so, you can only imagine how much horsepower will be under the glass in future devices.
Phone Continuum will likely never replace developer machines or those used for video/photo editing but for some users who only need email, chat and web browsing, this scenario is a very real solution to consolidating their technology.
There are other reasons to choose Microsoft’s mobile platform like Cortana and the many new security features that offer a better ecosystem when you are already using a Windows PC. But for a quick, one sentence answer that is easily directed at consumers, Continuum is the marketing word of choice as it is not only new but forward-looking as well.
When it comes to ‘killer’ features, Cortana, while better than Siri and on equal footing to Google Now, has competitors that now exists but Continuum is unmatched. Yes, there were earlier devices that tried to replicate this experience but they were limited to a few handsets and the apps were simply phone apps on a larger screen; they never gained much attention.
While Microsoft hopes that its new iOS/Android app porting strategy will fill out its store and they will consistently update Cortana, Continuum is the new show pony for the platform.
Ignite 2015 Microsoft has shown off some of the new security mechanisms embedded in Windows 10, and a change to its software updates that Windows supremo Terry Myerson reckons will shame Google.
“Google takes no responsibility to update customer devices, and refuses to take responsibility to update their devices, leaving end users and businesses increasingly exposed every day they use an Android device,” Myerson said during his Ignite keynote in Chicago today, referring to the tardy rolloutof operating system updates for Android gadgets.
“Google ships a big pile of [pause for effect] code, with no commitment to update your device,” he added to chuckles from the audience.
Myerson promised that with the new version of Windows, Microsoft will release security updates to PCs, tablets and phones 24/7, as well as pushing other software “innovations,” effectively putting an end to the need for a Patch Tuesday once a month. Continue reading Microsoft to KILL OFF PATCH TUESDAY
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft figures one way to get people psyched about Windows 10 is to make sure there are plenty of cool features and apps for smartphones and tablets that use the new operating system.That’s why the tech giant is making its case Wednesday before an army of software developers who may be crucial allies in its campaign to build enthusiasm among consumers for the next version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, coming later this year.While Microsoft has already previewed some aspects of the new Windows, a parade of top executives will use Microsoft’s annual “Build” conference to demonstrate more software features and app-building tools, with an emphasis on mobile devices as well as PCs.
Ultimately, they’re hoping to win over people who have turned to smartphones and tablets that run on rival operating systems from Google and Apple.During the three-day conference, Microsoft may also show off new Windows smartphones or other devices and reveal more details about such tech initiatives as the company’s new Spartan web browser; its Siri-like digital assistant known as Cortana; and the HoloLens, a futuristic “augmented reality” headset that projects three-dimensional images in a wearer’s field of vision.But perhaps most importantly, this year’s conference is an opportunity for Microsoft to persuade an audience of more than 5,000 techies and independent programmers that it’s worth their time to create new apps and programs for Windows 10.
Experts say Microsoft needs a rich variety of apps if it wants to appeal to people who are increasingly using mobile gadgets instead of personal computers.”Getting developer buy-in is absolutely the crucial thing,” said J.P. Gownder, a tech industry analyst at Forrester Research. He said Microsoft has struggled with a “chicken-and-egg” problem, in which developers have been reluctant to build mobile apps for Windows because relatively few people use Windows phones and tablets. Microsoft hopes it has solved that problem by designing Windows 10 so it’s easier for developers to build “universal” apps that work on a variety of Windows devices, from phones to PCs and other gadgets, Gownder said.
The company also has a big carrot to wave in front of those developers: Microsoft has already said it will release Windows 10 as a free upgrade to people who now have PCs or other gadgets running the previous two versions of Windows, provided they upgrade in the coming year. The offer could create a huge new audience of Windows 10 users in a relatively short time, Gownder said. Microsoft has not said exactly when Windows 10 is coming, and some analysts are hoping the company will announce a release date at the conference, along with details about how it will distribute future upgrades.
CEO Satya Nadella and other executives have hinted they’d like to move away from the old notion of selling each new version of Windows as a separate product. Microsoft’s had early success in selling its Office productivity software on a subscription basis, in which customers pay an annual fee to use programs like Word, PowerPoint and Excel.Nadella is presiding over a major overhaul of a company that once dominated the tech industry, in the days when PCs were king. He has redesigned some of Microsoft’s most popular programs for mobile devices and invested in new “cloud-computing” services, in which businesses pay to use software that’s housed in Microsoft’s data centers.Microsoft still relies heavily on selling traditional software for PCs and corporate computer systems.
But its latest quarterly earnings report, issued last week, offered some signs that the decline in that business is slowing, while Microsoft’s cloud-computing business is growing rapidly. The news drove Microsoft’s share price up 10 percent in one day. The stock has continued to climb, closing Tuesday at $49.15.Nadella will discuss the company’s strategy and financial performance at a gathering of Wall Street analysts in San Francisco later on Wednesday afternoon.