The last build released to members of the Windows 10 Insider Program Slow Ring was 10130 which became available to those users on 12 June 2015.

This past week Microsoft has made three new builds available to Fast Ring Windows Insiders (10158, 10159 and 10162) and so the expectation is that one of those would be heading towards the Slow Ring.

Microsoft’s Gabe Aul indicated yesterday that they were looking very closely at build 10162 as a candidate for release to the Slow Ring, a less buggy and more stable release channel, to get Slow Ring users on a new build.

I think the biggest benefit for most Insiders, especially Fast Ring members, is to get the ISOs that are also made available for download when a build is finally pushed to the Slow Ring.

Well overnight Microsoft decided to go ahead and make the Windows 10 Build 10162 ISOs available for download even though that build has not been designated for the Slow Ring.

That means any of you out there who wants to perform a clean install of this build or possibly go ahead and upgrade a Windows 7 or 8.1 system to the latest Windows 10 build can now do so easily.

I upgraded two systems to 10162 last night without a hitch and so far this build seems very stable and is a daily driver candidate for me personally.

You can download the Windows 10 Build 10162 ISOs from the Windows Insiders program page.

If you prefer to wait and download this new build through Windows Update when it arrives for Slow Ring users it looks like that will happen early next week.

Source: Winsupersite

Microsoft has revealed the price details for Windows 10 Home and Pro editions.

The new OS which will start rolling out officially on the 29th of next month will be a free upgrade for consumers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch.

But if you are running an even older Windows version or, if you are building a PC on your own and want to install Windows 10, then you will have to pay an amount similar to the price of Windows 8.1, as Microsoft has fixed the retail price of Windows 10 at the same level as its predecessor.

The company has provided further price details about the Windows 10 Home, a consumer- focused desktop edition offering a familiar and personal experience for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s and about the Windows 10 Pro, which is a desktop edition having some extra features for small businesses.

In the following statement issued to Neowin, Microsoft said: “The easiest way to get Windows 10 is to upgrade for free. You may also purchase a copy of Windows 10 if you decide not to upgrade, or if you need to purchase a copy for other reasons like installing on a PC you built yourself. The suggested retail prices for Windows 10 in the US are same as Windows 8.1.”

“Windows 10 Home is an estimated retail price of $119. Windows 10 Pro is an estimated retail price of $199. And Windows 10 Pro Pack, which enables you to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, is an estimated retail price of $99. All these are available in stores or online.”

Meanwhile, well-known US retailer, newegg, is the first to announce Windows 10 OEM pre-orders for the Home and Pro editions.

VIA: IBT

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]icrosoft will release the much-hyped new operating system Windows 10 globally on July 29. Those who have used genuine versions of Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1 can upgrade to the new system for free, it said.

“Windows 10 is Microsoft’s vision to provide more personalized computing,” said Microsoft Executive Vice President Terry Myerson. “Enhanced personal information protection, more flexible mobility between devices, as well as more convenient interaction methods such as voice, touch, handwriting and holography are included in it.”

Microsoft has been urged to produce a new Windows after Windows 8 and 8.1 received worse-than-expected reviews from critics and users worldwide.

By providing a free upgrade to Windows 10, the company seeks to retain its reputation as the dominant system platform operator and to establish a more compatible platform environment between its mobile devices and the Xbox video game console series.

Microsoft said the free upgrade is offered only for personal users. Those who use the Enterprise version of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 as well as the Windows RT or RT 8.1 are not allowed the free upgrade.

The company also said those who use illegal versions the Windows can also upgrade to the new version. But the upgrade does not mean that their operating system will become a genuine version, it said.

Microsoft stressed that it has focused on improving user convenience in Windows 10.
The new Windows will have a “Start” button again. The Start button disappeared in the Windows 8 and 8.1 versions and that drew the biggest complaints from users.

Windows 10 includes an intelligent voice recognition system called “Cortana,” which works as a digital secretary like Google’s “Now” and Apple’s “Siri.” It also has a biometric verification function called “Windows Hello,” which allows users to login to their operating system without entering passwords.

Another new function named “Continuum” will connect diverse Windows-based devices including tablets, personal computers and smartphones, as well as the Xbox game consoles, to share data and control between different devices.

Source: Korea Times

Today we have a new build for PCs going out to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring – Build 10122. I usually start these posts with the fun stuff at the top but want to call out our only big known Issue here right away – if you’re using an AMD GPU you’re likely to run into frequent crashes in Microsoft Edge (still branded as “Project Spartan” in this build.) If you want to avoid that, simply go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced and change to the Slow ring to sit this one out. We’re working with our partners at AMD on new drivers which should prevent the issue and will update this post once they’re released.

Other than that issue I think you’ll see that this build is a bit more stable and polished than the last one, which is to be expected as we begin to stabilize for the public release this summer. From here on out you’ll see fewer big feature changes from build to build, and more tuning, tweaking, stabilizing, and polishing. The Insider Previews continue to be aimed at very technical people who want to play with pre-released code, but I think you’ll feel more and more comfortable using this build and future builds on your day to day systems.

With this build we continue to move Windows 10 closer to our public release date this summer, and you’ll see changes large and small which were based on the input and feedback of Windows Insiders. It’s been wonderful for us to see the energy and passion of the millions of people who signed up to get Insider Preview builds, send us their feedback, and connect with us in the Windows Insider Program forum and on Twitter.

View: What’s new

Microsoft today released a new Technical Preview build for PCs – 10061. This build will be available to the Fast ring, and will be delivered via Windows Update.

If you installed the leaked Windows 10 Build 10056 or if you want to upgrade directly to Windows 10 Build 10061, you need an ISO file.

As we all know, Microsoft won’t be releasing ISOs for builds released on Fast ring and 10061 is no exception.

However, we can create our own ISO using the ESD files downloaded from Windows update. Someone has already created an Windows 10 Build 10061 x64 bit English ISO. Download ISO of Windows 10 Build 10061 here.

If you don’t trust these sources and want to create ISO by yourself, download ESD here.

Via: Microsoft News

Microsoft is making a rare move by rolling out a second batch of software patches in April. A Microsoft support page lists 34 patches in total for today. All of them are optional, which means they don’t address critical security problems, and won’t be installed automatically. To grab them, you’ll have to go to the Windows Update screen and install them manually.

Most of the patches are aimed at Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, but a few also mention Windows 7.

Microsoft typically releases a regular series of bug fixes, security updates and other patches on Patch Tuesday, which occurs the second Tuesday of each month. The software giant already unleashed a string of patches on April 14, in line with its usual schedule. So why is the company rolling out a second set this week?

The support page doesn’t provide much explanation except to say that these updates resolve issues in Windows. Each update does point to a Microsoft knowledge base article that’s supposed to provide more details. For example, one update resolves an issue with error messages concerning accounts on Windows domains.

Another deals with Wi-Fi connectivity issues in Windows 8.1. But most of the updates point to knowledge base pages that have no information or don’t yet exist.

View: Microsoft support page
Via: CNet

Just in time for the highly anticipated title Grand Theft Auto V, this new GeForce Game Ready driver ensures you’ll have the best possible gaming experience. With support for GeForce SLI technology and one-click game setting optimizations within GeForce Experience, you’ll have the best possible performance and image quality during gameplay. In addition, this driver is aligned with today’s launch of the world’s fastest gaming GPU; the GeForce GTX Titan X.

Game Ready
Best gaming experience for Grand Theft Auto V, including support for SLI Technology and GeForce Experience 1-click optimizations

New GeForce GPUs
Supports the new GeForce GTX Titan X; based upon the second-generation Maxwell architecture

Supported Products
GeForce 900 Series
GeForce GTX TITAN X, GeForce GTX 980, GeForce GTX 970, GeForce GTX 960
GeForce 700 Series
GeForce GTX TITAN Z, GeForce GTX TITAN Black, GeForce GTX TITAN, GeForce GTX 780 Ti, GeForce GTX 780, GeForce GTX 770, GeForce GTX 760, GeForce GTX 760 Ti (OEM), GeForce GTX 750 Ti, GeForce GTX 750, GeForce GTX 745, GeForce GT 740, GeForce GT 730, GeForce GT 720
GeForce 600 Series
GeForce GTX 690, GeForce GTX 680, GeForce GTX 670, GeForce GTX 660 Ti, GeForce GTX 660, GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST, GeForce GTX 650 Ti, GeForce GTX 650, GeForce GTX 645, GeForce GT 645, GeForce GT 640, GeForce GT 630, GeForce GT 620, GeForce GT 610, GeForce 605
GeForce 500 Series
GeForce GTX 590, GeForce GTX 580, GeForce GTX 570, GeForce GTX 560 Ti, GeForce GTX 560 SE, GeForce GTX 560, GeForce GTX 555, GeForce GTX 550 Ti, GeForce GT 545, GeForce GT 530, GeForce GT 520, GeForce 510
GeForce 400 Series
GeForce GTX 480, GeForce GTX 470, GeForce GTX 465, GeForce GTX 460 SE v2, GeForce GTX 460 SE, GeForce GTX 460, GeForce GTS 450, GeForce GT 440, GeForce GT 430, GeForce GT 420

View: Release Notes
Download: NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready Driver 350.12 WHQL (64-bit)

Microsoft will cut off support for SQL Server 2005 in just under a year, on April 12, 2016. The company has advised organisations to put plans in place to migrate off the platform beforehand.

“The benefits of upgrading to a modern data platform far outweigh the costs of maintaining security, support and compliance for an unsupported database,” wrote T.K. Rengarajan, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for data platform, in a blog post.

He noted that SQL Server 2014 has been benchmarked at 13 times faster than SQL Server 2005.

Microsoft’s older products have, in some cases, become the biggest competitors for newer versions of its software, as it has struggled to convince organisations to migrate away from software such as 2001’s Windows XP, even after technical support has ceased.

After the cut-off date, Microsoft will no longer provide updates, including security patches, although the product will continue to function, the company said. Rengarajan noted that Windows Server 2003 support is also ending soon, and urged customers to carry out infrastructure upgrades.

He said migrations away from SQL Server 2005 can take “several months” depending upon the applications supported, the migration destination and the scale of the move.

To help with migration, Microsoft is providing an assessment and planning toolkit, an upgrade technical guide and a migration wizard for those looking to shift to the cloud with Azure SQL Database.

A Microsoft-commissioned Forrester study last July estimated the total initial costs of migrating to a newer SQL Server version could amount to more than $4 million (£2.7m) for a retail organisation with 30,000 employees and 300 SQL Server databases. The study suggested such an organisation could see a 113 percent return on investment and repay the investment in 9.5 months.

The study found that the newer software could reduce IT resource time by 20 percent, help desk calls by 12 percent ad security issues by 11 percent.

Via: TechWeekEurope

A Windows vulnerability named “Redirect to SMB” has been discovered by researchers at security firm Cylance, which warned that, while it relies on social engineering to be effective, it could potentially affect millions of computers.

The exploit depends on encouraging a user to click a certain link in an email or on a website, at which point Redirect to SMB (Server Message Block) can hijack communications and copy login data, as the victim’s system will then be logged into a server controlled by the hackers.

Cylance has commented that the exploit is similar to one last seen in the 1990s, which took advantage of a Microsoft Internet Explorer weakness to make people sign into controlled servers.

As the exploit takes advantage of the Windows Server Message Block – an application layer network protocol in Windows that handles access to files, printers, and other communication ports and routines – Cylance believes that, theoretically, attackers could intercept automated log-on requests to remote servers issued by background applications on the Windows machine, and bend those requests to their own will.

However, this variation has so far only been created in Cylance’s labs.

Microsoft downplayed the urgency of the threat, commenting that “several factors would need to converge for a ‘man-in-the-middle’ cyber attack to occur”.

“Our guindance was updated in a Security Research and Defense blog in 2009, to help address potential threats of this nature. There are also features in Windows, such as Extended Protection for Authentication, which enhances existing defences for handling network connection credentials.”

Cylance, however, does not agree, stating that the exploit is not protected, and offering the following advice:

“Microsoft has yet to release a patch to fix the Redirect to SMB vulnerability. The simplest workaround is to block outbound traffic from TCP 139 and TCP 445 – either at the endpoint firewall or at the network gateway’s firewall (assuming you are on a trusted network). The former will block all SMB communication, which may disable other features that depend on SMB. If the block is done at the network gateway’s firewall, SMB features will still work inside the network, but prevent authentication attempts with destinations outside the network.”

Via: Computing

There’s a problem with Outlook.com at the moment. Microsoft acknowledges Outlook.com email issues

We are aware that users of the following mail clients are experiencing issues syncing and sending email. We are working on the issue and expect resolution in the next 24 hours. –

Windows Live Mail
Outlook Connector
MSN Premium client
Windows Phone 8.1
Windows 8 Mail Client

Fixing the problem is taking longer than we had hoped. We’ll provide an update by 08 April 11:00.

We apologise for the lengthy interruption in service.

Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 10, may not be released yet, but it would seem Redmond already has the next trick up its sleeve in the form of an operating system update dubbed Redstone.

Neowin has it that Redstone is in fact the first update for Windows 10, and will come to market sometime in 2016.

Two internal sources allegedly said that Microsoft has gone into planning mode for Redstone, named after a much-sought after resource in the now Microsoft-owned Minecraft video game.

The alleged codename would follow Microsoft’s recent nomenclature which has seen the company name new products after elements of its gaming properties.

Cortana is, of course, Microsoft’s digital assistant, with Spartan set to be the new browser replacing Internet Explorer in Windows 10. Both feature in the popular Halo franchise.

Redstone will most likely be a smaller update for Windows 10, as it’s not likely a complete overhaul would just a year after the a main operating system release.

Last month, Microsoft has revealed more details about the roadmap for Windows 10, confirming that we’ll only have to wait a few more months to experience the latest version. Windows 10 will be available as a free update to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users and is designed to work the same on a smartphone as it does on a PC.

Via: TechWeek Europe

Mozilla Firefox is a fast, light and tidy open source web browser. At its public launch in 2004 Mozilla Firefox was the first browser to challenge Microsoft Internet Explorer’s dominance. Since then, Mozilla Firefox has consistently featured in the top 3 most popular browsers globally and this is set to continue thanks to the release of Firefox 30. The key features that have made Mozilla Firefox so popular are the simple and effective UI, browser speed and strong security capabilities. The browser is particularly popular with developers thanks to its open source development and active community of advanced users.

Easier Browsing

Mozilla put of a lot of resources into creating a simple but effective UI aimed at making browsing quicker and easier. They created the tab structure that has been adopted by most other browsers. In recent years Mozilla has also focused on maximizing browsing area by simplifying toolbar controls to just a Firefox button (which contains settings and options) and back/forward buttons. The URL box features direct Google searching as well as an auto predict/history feature called Awesome Bar. On the right side of the URL box there are bookmarking, history and refresh buttons. To the right of the URL box is a search box which allows you to customize your search engine options. Outside of that a view button controls what you see below the URL. Next to that you have the download history and home buttons.

Speed

Mozilla Firefox boasts impressive page load speeds thanks to the excellent JagerMonkey JavaScript engine. Start up speed and graphics rendering are also among the quickest in the market. Firefox manages complex video and web content using layer-based Direct2D and Driect3D graphics systems. Crash protection ensures only the plugin causing the issue stops working, not the rest of the content being browsed. Reloading the page restarts any affected plugins. The tab system and Awesome Bar have been streamlined to launch/get results very quickly too.

Security

Firefox was the first browser to introduce a private browsing feature which allows you to use the internet more anonymously and securely. History, searches, passwords, downloads, cookies and cached content are all removed on shutdown. Minimizing the chances of another user stealing your identity or finding confidential information. Content security, anti-phishing technology and antivirus/antimalware integration ensures your browsing experience is as safe as possible.

Download: Mozilla Firefox 37.0

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Spartan army was the centrepiece of an ancient Greek city-state that grew into a powerful military land-power in roughly 650 BC. Today, Microsoft is putting Spartan, its new browser, at the center of Windows 10 to slay off the old, weak, and beleaguered Internet Explorer.

Microsoft might not be fully killing off Internet Explorer the app, but a new brand name will herald a new era for the company’s browser prospects and a signal to web developers that Internet Explorer will soon be part of ancient history.

Project Spartan is just a codename for now, but I’ve had a chance to experience Microsoft’s new browser in Windows 10, the successor to Internet Explorer.

Perhaps the biggest change to Spartan that you won’t really notice is a new rendering engine. Microsoft is moving away from the complexity and legacy of Internet Explorer, and it’s starting fresh with Project Spartan.

Spartan

The new Edge rendering engine is designed to be modern, so there’s no support for ActiveX controls and rendered pages should be a lot more compatible thanks to more standards compliancy. I’ve found that some pages don’t render well at the moment, and it has a few quirks here and there, but it’s preview so these kinks will likely be ironed out by the time Spartan ships in the summer.

One impressive thing I’ve noticed is the small amount of RAM usage for tabs. It’s usually less than the same site in Internet Explorer, so once the performance issues are fixed this could be a very fast and bloat-free browser.

Read full review @ The Verge

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]icrosoft has released its new web browser, Project Spartan, to the public for the first time in its latest build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

First rumoured back in December, Spartan is to replace Internet Explorer as the default browser in Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 operating system. Featuring an entirely new engine dubbed EdgeHTML, Spartan will be available alongside IE11 but has been confirmed as the focus for the company going forward.

The new rendering engine isn’t the only change between the two browsers: Spartan will feature no legacy support or fallback to IE rendering modes and boasts of ‘unique user experiences like annotation, distraction-free reading, and Cortana integration.’

In a post to the Windows blog late last night, Windows lead Joe Belfiore announced that Project Spartan is to be available for public use in an update to the Windows 10 Technical Preview build for Windows Insiders.

In this new build, users can try out the new rendering engine and Spartan’s additional features including support for the Cortana speech-recognition system, pen-based annotation and sharing capabilities, and the Reading List and Reading View distraction-free rendering modes.

Belfiore has asked users to manage their expectations, however. ‘It’s important to note we’ll have more features and many improvements coming to Project Spartan before we make it broadly available. This preview is NOT a polished, ready-for-everyone release,’ he warned in the announcement.

‘For Windows Insiders, we’re excited to make Project Spartan available for your feedback, only a short time after we made it available for use internally at Microsoft.’

Project Spartan is available in the Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10049 and upwards, and will launch properly alongside Windows 10 this summer.

Via: Bit-Tech

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Surface 3 runs Windows 8.1 and costs $499 and up. Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled the Surface 3, the latest version of its tablet that can double as a laptop thanks to a keyboard attachment.

The Surface 3 is a slimmed down, less costly version of the the Surface Pro 3, a tablet that critics welcomed as the first two-in-one device that finally began to deliver on its promise of functioning reasonably well in both laptop and tablet mode.

While Microsoft initially had trouble selling the Surface line, things improved when it began marketing the 2-in-1s as laptop replacements rather than tablets which also boast a laptop mode.

At a starting price of $499, the Surface 3 marks a steep discount on the Surface Pro 3’s $800 price tag. The Surface 3 includes a 10.8-inch display and an Intel Atom x7 processor, which gives it enough juice to run a full version of Windows 8.1 and, coming this summer, Windows 10.

The low cost of entry could also attract buyers unwilling to fork up $899 or more for Apple’s cheapest offering, the $899-and-up 11-inch MacBook Air.

Previous Surface tablets ran Windows RT, a stripped-down operating system for mobile devices that could run apps but not Microsoft’s flagship Windows desktop applications.

Early reviews of the device have welcomed the addition of a full-fledged Windows operating system as a welcome and necessary improvement to the non-pro Surface line.

The Surface 3 is currently available for pre-order at the Microsoft Store, and will hit retail stores by May 7.

Via: Time

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]icrosoft’s Windows 10, one of the most anticipated technical products of 2015, is all set to be launched during the summer.

Prior to that, Microsoft loyalists have been discussing the OS’ compatibility, the features it offers and information related to upgrading from older Windows versions.

To officially clear the air with regard to upgrading from older Windows operating platform versions, Microsoft has stated that it prefers existing desktop users to upgrade to its newer OS when it is released.

Aaron Woodman, Microsoft’s senior product marketing director, in an interview with Yahoo has detailed finer aspects of upgrade paths for existing Windows users.

According to Woodman, existing licensed customers of Windows 7 running current versions of the OS such as the Windows 7 SP1, and users having installed Windows 8.1, will be offered a free one-step upgrade to Windows 10.

However, users running comparatively older iterations of Windows 7 and Windows 8 will not be offered the direct one-step upgrade. Instead, such users will have to compulsorily upgrade to current versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8, post which upgrade path to Windows 10 will be provided, thus making it a two-step process.

[pullquote-left]Another important aspect is existing users upgrading to Windows 10 can use the newer OS without having to pay additional usage charges even after the one-year free usage period (an initial condition that Microsoft will impose on users upgrading to Windows 10).[/pullquote-left]

Nonetheless, those preferring to purchase Windows 10 would have to pay the full sum of the OS, according to Woodman who adds that certain individual users will not be eligible for the free upgrade.

“We never said Windows is free,” said Woodman. “We haven’t made the decision on whether it will be free for these users, nor what it will cost if it is not free.”

Windows 10 will also not be free to enterprise users who would have to pay for Windows 10 licences.

Via: IBTimes