Articles by "Microsoft"

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Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts

There’s no denying that the Office suite of apps is Microsoft’s most important product, even more critical for the success of the company than Windows. That’s because many people already use alternatives to Windows, including Mac and Chrome OS. Even iOS and Android count as Windows 10 alternatives.

Microsoft Office apps are getting new icons

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But regardless of your operating system preferences, Microsoft Office is still the best productivity suite out there. And Office works across platforms, as it’s available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Microsoft is always looking to improve the Office apps, even if it means just minor visual alterations. To that end, for the first time in five years, the Office icons are changing, and we already have a preview of what they’ll look like.

The Office apps icons are easily recognizable across platforms, especially if you’ve been a long-time user. The last time Microsoft updated them was five years ago, but a refresh is due. As you can see in the following presentation video, Microsoft is going for simplicity with its new icon designs, as well as a focus on collaboration:

The icons still maintain their personality, and you’ll quickly be able to recognize Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps in any list of computer or mobile applications. The letters that Microsoft uses for its Office apps are still there, but the background has been changed to something simpler — geometric shapes associated with the apps.
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Microsoft’s goal here is to focus on the content rather than a specific format and highlight the collaborative nature of Office apps. That’s why the Word app loses the document outline in favor of shapes that suggest lines of text. Similar changes affect the Excel and PowerPoint icons.

“Our design solution was to de-couple the letter and the symbol from the icons, essentially creating two panels (one for the letter and one for the symbol) that we can pair or separate,” Microsoft’s Jon Friedman wrote on Medium. “This allows us to maintain familiarity while still emphasizing simplicity when inside the app.”
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Icon design updates are also coming to other apps, including OneDrive, Outlook Mobile, and Skype. The new icons will be rolled out to users in the coming months, starting with mobile and web apps.

How To Type Rupee Symbol/Sign In MS Word, Excel, Mac, Keyboard, Photoshop – It’s indeed good news that Indian National Rupee has also got a unique identifiable symbol of international recognition and importance. But, still, personal computers and laptop’s keyboard designers haven’t availed a separate button for a new symbol of Indian National Rupees. Which further gives birth to “How To Type Rupee Symbol/Sign In MS Word, Excel, Mac, Keyboard, Photoshop” kind of queries in your mind. And, another good news is that – we have a solution.
How To Type Rupee Symbol/Sign In MS Word, Excel, Mac, Keyboard, Photoshop
How To Type Rupee Symbol/Sign In MS Word, Excel, Mac, Keyboard, Photoshop

How To Type Rupee Symbol/Sign In MS Word, Excel, Mac, Keyboard, Photoshop

When typing the rupee symbol, mainly two major varieties are there. First one being – Although small, yet somewhere on your keyboard, you will easily be able to find the button of ₹. Most probably, all the latest versions of the Keyboards releasing these days are including ₹ symbol specifically in India. And, similarly United States Dollar, Indonesian Rupiah and Euro etc. Symbols are made available in the Keyboards manufactured in their respective countries.

MS word of Microsoft Office Word (irrespective of which version it is) is one of the most used typing software in all windows personal computers along with the notepad and others. Thus, the simplest possible tip to type Indian National Rupee symbol in MS word is the press and hold CTRL+ALT+4 (or the button which has a dollar sign on it). 

This tip is equally valuable on WordPress, Drupal, SilverStripe, Kentico CMS, Contao, Pulse CMS, Mambo, Web GUI, Composer CMS, Exponent CMS, XOOPS, Microweber, Blogger and all other website content management systems. This trick is also valid for Notepad as well. But here’s a catch. One can face problem in typing Indian National Rupee symbol by pressing and holding CTRL+ALT+$ in earliest possible versions of Windows XP and 98 etc.

Reason being, this Rupee Symbol came into existence 15 July 2010 onwards, following which earlier versions of the windows may have not received the update till now. But, there’s a solution as well, in general, Microsoft, in general, keeps releasing the updates for the Windows in Windows 7, 10 and others.

This post has completely answered all your queries related to Indian National Rupee symbol such as – How To Type Rupee Symbol in Excel, How To Type Rupee Symbol from Keyboard in Windows 10, How To Type Rupee Symbol Download, How To Type Rupee Symbol in Gmail, Rupee Symbol Text, Rupee Symbol in Word 2007, How To Type Rupee Symbol in TVS Keyboard, Rupee Symbol in Word 2003 etc.

If you’re still having any queries related to How To Type Rupee Symbol/Sign In MS Word, Excel, Mac, Keyboard, Photoshop, using comment box given below, you can ask for the same from our experts. Apart from that, please make sure to go through below provided links related to typing from media.

Microsoft Launcher is a formidable option when it comes to Android Launchers. Microsoft first tried their hands with the arrow launcher and then they shifted to the feature-rich launcher. The company has now added yet another utility feature to the Microsoft Launcher. Microsoft has baked in a feature that allows parents to track their kids. The new feature was announced as part of a Microsoft event which focussed on features related to children.
Microsoft Launcher for Android Gets a New Kids Tracking Feature
Other features include the feature to block certain sites on Microsoft Edge on Android and also a news site dedicated to the kids. As of now, Microsoft’s Family Group settings already allowed the parents to set certain restrictions for the kids and also track their activity on Windows 10 and Xbox One devices. Now, Microsoft has bundled the new tracking tool with the Android Launcher. The feature works by fetching the latest location of your kids within the personalized news feed.
In order for this to work you need to set a family group after installing the Microsoft Launcher on your Android. As explained earlier, parents will also be able to view the recent activities across all devices including Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. It is impressive how Microsoft is diluting the boundaries between platforms and is slowly turning itself into a company that is platform agnostic. Apart from the slew of apps for Android and iOS, now Microsoft is also offering a site blocking feature on Microsoft Edge.
With this in place, the Microsoft Launcher will shape up as a hub to track your kids’ activities across all devices. In the recent past, GPS devices to track your kids have not only been accessible but affordable as well. That being said, child rights and privacy campaigners are worried that this will hinder the kid’s growth and will not allow them to be independent. If such trackers become mainstream, the mankind will run the risk of having an entire generation that is raised on the idea of accepting surveillance.

Microsoft on Monday announced the rollout of new features for Office 365, the company's suite of applications available for mobile and desktop platforms. These new functional features include ink analysis and ink gestures on Microsoft PowerPoint and Word. There have been certain AI improvements for Word on Mac, new features for Outlook on iOS, Outlook calendar enhancements on Windows, and the Office 2019 preview is now available. In a blog post, the Redmond, Washington giant announced several new features for its Office 365 suite of apps.
Microsoft Office 365 Update Brings AI Improvements, Ink Gesture Support, and More
Microsoft PowerPoint now gets enhanced shape and text recognition on Windows Ink, which can be used to convert handwritten words on their slides into texts and draw certain shapes. As for Word, new ink gestures allow users to add handwritten text to documents and manage existing content using a pen. Additionally, "Microsoft 365 subscribers can quickly split paragraphs into multiple lines, insert words into existing sentences, and join separated words, all using natural pen-based gestures," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365. Office 365 on Mac adds AI enhancements to Microsoft Word. With the update, Mac users can translate documents written in more than 60 languages, using neural machine translation to offer accurate contextual results.
The new Resume Assistant helps create resumes with "personalised insights" with the backing of Microsoft's professional social platform - LinkedIn. Full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote on iOS and Android will soon be available for Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 F1, and Office 365 E1 subscribers. The versions will offer the ability to create, edit, and share documents on the go. Preview of Office 2019 for commercial customers on Windows 10 is now live. Office 2019 for Mac, Exchange 2019, SharePoint 2019, Project Server 2019, and Skype for Business 2019, will also launch previews in the following months. Lastly, on the consumer front, Outlook for Windows gets the ability to prevent forwarding calendar invitations to non-relevant recipients - helping protect user privacy and preserving meeting information.
The update also brings certain new features to Microsoft 365 Business such as the inclusion of Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), capabilities like data loss prevention and information protection to prevent unintentional leaks, and new technologies to improve enterprise-level security. As for IT management, the update brings enhancements to cloud-based device management, addition of Kiosk browser in Windows 10, and an integrated admin interface on Microsoft 365. Microsoft Outlook While Microsoft Office 365 got a ton of the above mentioned features, Outlook, specifically, got several features on all platforms. Things like bill pay reminders, suggested event locations and meeting rooms, meeting RSVP tracking and forwarding, and managing multiple time zones are all new features available on Outlook Calendar across Windows, Mac, web, and mobile. As for Outlook Mail, it gets three new features - namely, organisation directory details to manage employee lists better, added support for SOCKS proxies to protect company data (available on Outlook for iOS and Android), and a new Bcc warning to alert users when they are blind copied on an email (available on Outlook for Windows). On iOS, Microsoft Outlook will finally get Draft Sync that will let users continue their unsent drafts on mobile and desktop platforms alike. This feature will roll out in the near future.
A new Organization view is coming to iOS that will show a hierarchical chart of all employees in the company with details like manager, direct reports, and coworkers for the selected user. AI will help Outlook surface relevant contacts from outside the organisation structure as well. Coming soon to the Outlook app on Android is Office Lens technology that allows users to trim down and embed images of documents, presentations, or of text written on a whiteboard. It's coming to Android in May 2018. Also coming to Android in the same timeline, and later this summer to Outlook for Mac, Quick Reply will offer contextual replies similar to Google's Smart Reply. Quick reply is available in Outlook for iOS. Finally, the ability to tag favourite contacts (Android and iOS in June), enhanced group tracking (iOS in June), blocking external content tracking (Android in May), and the ability to enforce company policies on email data sharing (iOS and Android in June) are some new features coming to Outlook mobile soon.

Windows 10 April 2018 update rolling out today: 7 best features to know
Microsoft is rolling out its semi-annual Windows update to Windows 10 PCs and tablets from Monday. This is the fifth such feature update since the first public launch of Windows 10 in 2015. The update was earlier called Microsoft Spring Creators Update, but it seems Microsoft wanted to simplify the name this time around. Furthermore, the new update that brings Windows 10 to version 1803 is focused on productivity and task management with some new, nifty features. While the update is called April 2018 update, it is arriving a bit late. It was scheduled to roll out a couple of weeks ago, but Microsoft took some time to even out a few bugs that were found at the last minute by beta testers. The easiest way to get the new update is to wait for the notifications. Windows Update will automatically inform users that a new feature update is ready to install. However, you can manually check for updates from the Settings app or get the latest version directly from Microsoft store. With the release of the new update, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update that released in 2016 is no longer supported. It will not receive bug fixes and security updates any more while the April 2017 Creators Update will no longer be supported from October 9 from this year. Users are hence recommended to update to the latest version soon as they receive it.
Microsoft has made the update process more streamlined so that users don’t have to spend hours waiting for the update to finish. Features will download in the background once the initial changes are done after a Windows restart. The new update brings to the table some much anticipated features that is likely going to change the way users have used Windows. This includes the new Timeline feature while Microsoft’s new Fluent design language has spread to more places. You’ll see more hover effects in places like the Start Menu and the Notification Center apart from the Settings app while the taskbar can now be blurred. Here are the five best features of the Windows April 2018 update:
Timeline The major new feature in the new update is the Timeline. The feature sits in place of the Task View button beside the Cortana seach bar on the Task Bar. The feature lets you see all the apps and activities of the past 30 days so that you can pick up right where you left off. The apps and activities sync across various machines including Android and iOS devices running Microsoft Edge various, in which case, the entire browsing history on smartphones will be available on Windows. The Timeline can also be accessed by pressing Windows Key + Tab or swipe up with four fingers on the trackpad. The Timeline still shows the active apps but a scroll bar on the right allows you to access apps, documents, Office programs, web pages opened using Microsoft Edge. If you are privacy freak, however, the feature can be turned off by heading to Settings —> Privacy — > Activity History where you’ll find two check boxes to either turn off activity history for current PC or disable the feature altogether.
Focus Assist
What’s Do-not-Disturb for Android is Focus Assist on Windows. The update brings the feature that allows users to be more productive by muting notifications. Earlier, the feature was known as Quiet Hours but now Focus Assist will automatically mute notifications when you’re playing a game or projecting a presentation. You can allow some apps to show notifications though, by tweaking the settings. Focus Assists sits in the Activity Center in the Task Bar.
Nearby Share Once again, the feature is lifted from MacOS devices that allow file sharing between nearby machines. Nearby Share will allow users to share photos, videos, documents, web pages across nearby Windows 10 machines. The receiving party needs to have the update installed to use it and it works over Bluetooth much like Apple’s AirDrop. The feature is disabled by default but you can turn it on by going to Settings —>System — > Shared Experiences. There are options to either share with only your devices or share with everyone nearby. The feature does not support sharing via contacts though, which we hope Microsoft will soon add to it.
Quick Bluetooth Pairing Pairing Bluetooth devices have always been a long process, but with the new update, that’s about to change. Windows will now send an automatic prompt to quickly connect to a Bluetooth device nearby and pair with it. It isn’t supported by all Bluetooth devices though and device makers will need to add support for the feature to quickly pair them with the PC.
Microsoft Edge Tab Mute and PWA support Microsoft’s Edge browser will finally have the ability to mute tabs to prevent unwanted sounds from playing from a tab. The feature already exists in rival browsers like Chrome and Firefox. After the update, you can mute websites by right clicking on the tab and selecting ‘Mute’. Additionally, the browser also supports Progressive Web Apps that are essentially apps that are made for the web and is compatible across iOS, Android and Windows devices uniformly.
Dictation Windows’ ability to allow dictation is not new. There have been multiple tools for dictation on Windows over the years, but users had to rummage for it. With the new update, Windows is making it easier for users to dictate speech to the PC to convert to text. Dictation mode can be turned on by simply pressing the Windows Key + H shortcut which will use the available microphones to understand what you’re saying. The feature works quite all right if you have a clear accent and good mics.
Switch between GPUs Most high-end Windows laptops come with the option to switch between on-board and dedicated GPUs and Windows will offer users the make the switch on a per-app basis. So, you can choose lightweight apps like Chrome and Paint to run on the on-board graphics to save power, but Photoshop and games can be set to run on dedicated graphics to improve the performance. Previously, this was done automatically which was also quite efficient, but with the new update, Windows is giving the power in your hands. There are dozens of other new additions to Windows that ultimately help in making the platform more streamlined. Windows is now the most popular PC operating system with over 1.25 billion PCs active over the world and with every update, Microsoft is making Windows more useful and more streamlined. The new features add to an already existing suite of productivity-centric features that will only make the experience better. Let us know what you think about the features.

April 30, 2018 , , ,
Microsoft announced this past Friday that its hotly anticipated new update, now known simply as the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, would be released on Monday. Today, the company delivered on that promise. The Windows 10 April 2018 Update comes a bit later than expected considering today is the last day of the month, but it’ll be no less appreciated by Windows 10 users who gain access to a number of important new features. The update, which Microsoft had previously called the Spring Creators Update, is all about increasing focus and promoting productivity. “With Windows 10, we’ve focused on delivering the most modern and most secure operating system.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 April 2018 Update is out now - here are the 5 best hidden features
Since its initial launch, we delivered two updates with features designed to enable the creator in each of us,” the company said in its announcement. “With our latest major release – the Windows 10 April 2018 Update – we want to give you back some of your greatest currency, your time. Our hope is that you’ll have more time to do what matters most to you – create, play, work or simply do what you love.” We’ve already told you about all of the best new features in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, and you should go back and read that post if you plan to install the Windows 10 April 2018 Update today. Once you’ve gone over all the biggest new additions to Windows 10 though, take a look through this post to learn about our five favorite hidden features in the new Windows 10 April 2018 Update.
Bye bye blur Remember when 1080p resolution was a big deal? Well those days are long gone and it seems like even lower-cost Windows laptops and mid-range PC monitors support higher resolutions. Heck, you can get a really good 27-inch 4K monitor on Amazon these days for just over $200! Of course, not all software scales well on these super high-resolution displays, which is why Windows 10 has a scaling option. This way, users can quickly and easily scale up things like fonts so that they’re larger and easier to see on monitors with very high resolution. The problem, of course, is that scaling up certain apps make them look horrible and blurry. Good news! There’s now a new feature that comes courtesy of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update to let you fix these blurry apps. Just go to Settings > System > Display > Advanced scaling settings and toggle the option “Let Windows try to fix apps so they’re not blurry” to on.
Faster updates If you configure Windows 10 to automatically update overnight, it doesn’t really matter how long your PC is offline. Of course if you’re an early adopter that’s not the case, because the Windows 10 April 2018 Update isn’t yet available as an automatic update. If you want it now you’re going to have to update manually, and that means you’re going to have to spend some time offline while major update components are installed. Last year’s Creators Update left PCs offline for a whopping 82 minutes, and the subsequent Fall Creators Update left you twiddling your thumbs for 51 minutes. Impressively, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update will only leave you offline for about 30 minutes.
Cortana is more helpful Cortana doesn’t get anywhere near as much hype as Amazon’s Alexa assistant. Heck, even Siri is talked about far more than Cortana, though most conversations surrounding Siri are negative these days. But people who use Windows 10 to its fullest know how helpful the Cortana assistant can be, and a few nifty tweaks in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update make it even better. Our favorite Cortana tweak is the new “Organizer” tab on Cortana’s Notebook page. This tab places lists and reminders front and center, which is obviously a good thing since those are the most important features of the Notebook in Cortana. Everything else has been dumped into a second tab labeled “Manage Skills.”
Stop updates from slowing down your PC It’s great that Windows 10 can download updates in the background while you continue working. But the worst thing about Windows updates — even ones that happen in the background — is that they tend to slow down your machine while they’re being downloaded. Honestly, it would probably be less frustrating to just take the PC out of commission while updates are being downloaded than to have your machine slow down. Once you install the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, you’ll be able to prevent future slowdowns. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Advanced Options. On the next screen, click on Delivery Optimization > Advanced Options. Now, check the boxes next to “limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the background” and “limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the foreground.” Then just use the sliders to adjust the maximum amount of bandwidth updates can use.
Privacy improvements Last but certainly not least, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update includes some lesser-known privacy improvements that will be much appreciated by users who value their personal data. This is obviously a very hot topic right now in light of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. In the new Windows 10 April 2018 Update, there are four key privacy enhancements that most people don’t know about. First, privacy settings pertaining to camera hardware will now impact all software, including Win32 programs. Second, there’s a new option to automatically block all permission requests for Account Info, Calendar, Call History, Contacts, Documents, Email, Messaging, Pictures, Tasks and/or Videos. Third, the Activity History page (Settings > Privacy) now includes an option to enable or disable “Let Windows collect my activities.” And finally, “Diagnostics & Feedback” now lets users view the data Windows 10 has collected, and it can quickly and easily be deleted.

Microsoft has rolled out a preview of Office 2019 to commercial customers, with features that are usually seen in the company's Office 365 subscription. Microsoft is making test versions of several Office apps available for x86-based Windows systems in the Office 2019 preview programme. Office 2019, which Microsoft calls its 'perpetual' Office release, will be released in the second half of 2018 and it will include client apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, Project, and Visio, as well as server apps like Exchange, SharePoint, Project Server, and Skype for Business Server.
Microsoft Office 2019 Commercial Preview Now Available for Windows 10 Users
The Office 2019 is the successor to Office 2016. The company is targetting the Windows version of Office 2019 towards enterprises that are not running Office 365. In a support page, Microsoft had detailed how to participate in the Office 2019 Commercial Preview programme. Notably, Office 2019 will only run on Windows 10 and in the case of the server apps, Windows Server 2019, Microsoft explains in a blog post. Also, the Mac Commercial Preview program for Office 2019 also will go live "in the next few months." Do note that users and companies must be registered with the Microsoft Collaborate portal to join the Preview programme. "Updates include new and improved inking features across the apps, like the roaming pencil case, pressure sensitivity, and tilt effects; more powerful data analysis in Excel, like new formulas, new charts, and Power BI integration; and sophisticated presentation features in PowerPoint, like Morph and Zoom," explains Microsoft's Jared Spataro.
It is worth noting that these features are already included in Office 365 ProPlus. Coming to the latest changes in Office desktop apps in Office 2019, PowerPoint 2019 comes with the ability to manage icons, SVG, and 3D images, and more, while Word 2019 adds learning tools captions and audio descriptions, and other features. With Excel 2019, Microsoft promises better data analysis and with Outlook 2019, users can "manage email more efficiently." Microsoft also is shortening the duration of support for the latest version of Office. Earlier, it users to provide five years of mainstream and five years of extended support, but with Office 2019, Microsoft is going to provide five years of mainstream support and two years of extended support.

 The next major Windows 10 update is launching
After a brief delay (though Microsoft won’t confirm or deny this), Microsoft today announced that the Windows 10 April 2018 Update will be available as a free download to users worldwide on Monday, April 30, with the broader rollout starting May 8. As with every Windows release, there’s plenty of new features, cosmetic tweaks and bugfixes here. But since Microsoft now tests all of these through its Windows Insider program ahead of the wider launch, there are no real surprises here (except for maybe the name, which is obviously not “Spring Creators Update”) . As Microsoft’s general manager for Windows product marketing Aaron Woodman told me ahead of today’s launch, the company sees this update as a continuation of the overall Windows 10 journey. According to Woodman, the overall idea behind this release was to ensure that “people can do their best work on Windows.”
“When you think about the release, there is a theme being pulled through,” he told me. “How do we help customers really get things complete and save time and be more efficient on Windows than on any other operating system.” Indeed, after having used the update for a while now, it very much feels like Microsoft’s overall vision for Windows 10 is really coming together. The most obvious manifestation of that is the new Timeline feature, which is the highlight of the release. It was actually supposed to be in the Fall Creators Update from October 2017, but it simply wasn’t ready for a wider rollout then. The overall idea here is simple: users now jump between desktop and mobile all day long, but it’s hard to pick up where you left off when you go back and forth between devices, even if you’re just talking about a desktop and a laptop. With Timeline, Windows 10 users get a view of their recent activity from the last 30 days, no matter whether that’s in Edge on Android or Office 365 on another Windows machine.
Timeline is built right into the existing task switcher and ideally it’ll allow you to, for example, jump right back into a document you were working on in the office when you get to your laptop at home. This feature has a lot of promise, but I haven’t actually found it all that useful yet, mainly because most developers have yet to support it. While Edge is a perfectly fine browser, I mostly use Firefox and Chrome, and those don’t appear in timeline yet. If you’re a heavy Office 365 user, though, this feature is likely a godsend. In Woodman’s view, Timeline is a good example for where Windows is going, though. “One of the big changes you see with Windows Timeline is that it embraces the end customer over the individual machine,” he told me. Another major new feature Microsoft is highlighting is Focus Assist, which basically mutes notifications for you. You can set it to automatically mute notifications at specific times or turn it on at will.
You can also choose to still receive calls and emails from specific people even when you are in focus mode. While this isn’t going to “wow” most people, it’s surely useful, especially if your company has adopted Slack or a similar tool that’s meant to make communications easier but mostly just leads to constant distractions. When you turn your notifications back on, Focus Assist will present you with a summary of what you’ve missed. Also new is support for system-wide dictation. Microsoft isn’t putting this front and center with this release — and you’ll have to use the Windows Key+H shortcut to actually start it — but if that’s something you’ve always wanted, your time has come.
Dictation will work in any text field. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft is also launching an updated version of its Edge browser with this release. You can read more about that here, but the highlights of the updated Edge are full-screen support for books, PDFs and Reading View pages, as well as support for a new grammar tool that can analyze sentences for you. Also new is the ability to save your address and payment preferences to make filling out payment forms easier (something Chrome and others have long done), as well as the ability to print clutter-free versions of articles you are reading on the web. Oh, and you can now finally mute noisy tabs, too! In addition to these consumer-centric features, the company is also announcing a number of features for Windows 10 business and enterprise users today. For the most part, these will make the life of IT admins easier. You can read more about those new features here. As you can see, this isn’t a major overhaul of Windows 10 — and with the semi-annual updates, that’s no real surprise. As I noted above, it’s starting to feel like Microsoft’s overall vision for Windows 10 is coming into focus. Not everybody is going to love an operating system that increasingly relies on cloud services for some of its more advanced features (like Timeline), but that’s pretty much the way Microsoft is going here and that’s also where there is some obvious room for innovations.

Google overhauls Gmail to lure businesses away from Microsoft
San Francisco: Alphabet Inc.’s Google unveiled on Wednesday its first Gmail redesign since 2013, capping what the company says was an expensive overhaul two years in the making to adopt security and offline functionality and better resemble Microsoft Outlook. It is Google’s most extensive update to software in its G Suite workplace bundle since accelerating efforts to steal business from Microsoft Corp.’s dominant Office workplace software suite. Previously, G Suite added instant-messaging and spreadsheet features.
With Gmail, Google said it restructured email storage databases, unified three duelling systems for syncing messages across devices and upgraded computers underpinning the service. That shift to Google’s self-developed Tensor processing chips enables smart-assistant features such as “suggested replies” to messages and “nudges” to respond to forgotten emails. “This is an entire rewrite of our flagship, most-used product,” said Jacob Bank, product manager lead for Gmail, which 1.4 billion people use each month.
Unreliable offline access to email has long discouraged would-be customers, while recent high-profile corporate data breaches have increased their desire to lock down email. Analysts estimate G Suite generated about $2 billion in revenue last year, 10 times behind Office. Google declined to specify costs associated with the redesign. But parent Alphabet reported Monday that first-quarter capital expenditures nearly tripled year-over-year to $7.3 billion.
Chief financial officer Ruth Porat told analysts that half of the spending resulted from hardware purchases to support expanding use of machine learning, which describes automated programs that can, among other things, identify spam and predict which emails users would find most important.

Microsoft Working on Windows 10 Lean Edition for Devices With as Low as 16GB Storage
Microsoft is reportedly planning a new edition of Windows 10, apparently called 'Windows 10 Lean'. It is 2GB smaller in size compared to a regular edition of Windows 10 such as the Windows 10 Pro. The Lean edition is said to have been designed for devices with less storage and will reportedly be offered to OEMs to be used in low-end laptops and tablets. The new Windows 10 Lean edition was first spotted by Twitter user Lucan, who found references in the latest publicly released Windows 10 test build (17650). According to Lucan, Microsoft is reducing the OS's storage space needs by getting rid of components that are unnecessary on low-cost devices, such as the Internet Explorer.
Interestingly, as per the images shared, even Registry Editor appears to have been removed. As usual, Microsoft has not revealed any official information about the Windows 10 Lean edition. Meanwhile, as per a Windows Central report, the upcoming SKU will be available for devices that have 16GB of storage. It is said to have been mainly designed to ensure these devices receive Windows updates. Usually, low-end device users download apps, media, and files that prevent Windows updates from getting the necessary free space to upgrade to future updates of the operating system. Microsoft is planning to fix it with the Lean edition.
The Windows 10 Lean edition is similar to the classic Windows OS, "just streamlined so that it better fits on devices with smaller internal storage." As per the report, Windows 10 Lean will not remove support for legacy apps, meaning it will still have full Win32 app support. It is not a part of Windows Core OS nor will it run on Andromeda. The report adds that Microsoft is also working on Windows 10 Lean to ensure updates do not encounter rollbacks. This essentially means that the update install times could be slower on Windows 10 Lean to support higher install success rates.

Here’s yet another good reason to never use Internet Explorer
If you or any of your loved ones are still using Internet Explorer — and yes, I do mean true IE, not Microsoft Edge — then you probably already realize that you’re a good 15 years behind the times. But if you need a good nudge to get you (or your company’s IT department) off this addiction before it ruins more good families, this news should do it.
A hacking group is actively exploiting a zero-day exploit in Internet Explorer to infect Windows PCs with malware, according to researchers. A team from Qihoo 360’s Core security unit “say an advanced persistent threat (APT) group is using the IE vulnerability on a “global scale,” according to ZDNet. The vulnerability is being exploited using an infected Office document, loaded with something called a “double-kill” vulnerability. In order for the malware to be triggered, users have to be Internet Explorer and choose to open the infected Office file.
From there, the malware uses a well-known exploit to get around Windows’ User Account Control, those pop-up windows that are supposed to stop unverified scripts running. The attack does require users to do two things they really shouldn’t — open unverified Office files, and use Internet Explorer — but the researchers are calling on Microsoft to issue an urgent patch to fix the issue nonetheless. Short of burning Internet Explorer to the ground (a rational choice, but one that users on institution IT systems don’t always have the option of), there’s nothing users can do to protect themselves right now.

Microsoft Launches Windows Defender Browser Protection Extension for Google's Chrome Browser
A long time after protecting users on its Edge browser, Microsoft has now brought Windows Defender Browser Protection to the Google Chrome browser in the form of an add-on. The new Chrome extension is available for free download via Chrome Web Store and is claimed to protect users against phishing and malware content.
It also comes with a real-time indicator to notify users about potentially unsecured sites. When it comes to user protection, Chrome already does a good job by automatically restricting access to sites malicious content. But Microsoft claims that its Windows Defender protection is far ahead of what you can get from Chrome. Specifically, Windows Defender Browser Protection on Microsoft Edge is touted to protect against 99 percent of phishing attacks, while Chrome offers 87 percent of protection and Mozilla's Firefox comes third with 70 percent of protection rate.
These numbers are certainly aimed to persuade you to install Microsoft's extension on your Chrome browser. But apart from merely the numbers, Microsoft's Windows Defender Browser Protection adds a security layer to Chrome to help protect you against online threats, such as links in phishing emails and websites, the company claims.
The extension automatically checks links you click against a constantly updated list of malicious URLs, and if any of those links matches with one on the list, it shows a red warning screen. It is worth noting here that while a large number of Chrome extensions work with Chrome OS devices, the Windows Defender Browser Protection extension is limited to Windows and Mac devices running the Chrome browser. Moreover, the extension apparently works in tandem with the default Chrome protection.

Office 2019 Will Only Work on Windows 10, Says Microsoft
Microsoft has announced that its Office 2019 suite -- to be available in the second half of 2018 -- will only work on Windows 10 operating system. "Office 2019 will ship in H2 of 2018. Previews of the new apps and servers will start shipping in the second quarter of 2018.
Office 2019 apps will be supported on any supported Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) release," the company wrote in a blog post late on Thursday. "Office 2019 will provide five years of mainstream support and approximately two years of extended support.
This is an exception to our 'Fixed Lifecycle Policy' to align with the support period for Office 2016. Extended support will end 10/14/2025," the company added. However, there was no change announced regarding the support term for existing versions of Office.
This release has no effect on Office for Mac, which is a separate product with a different release schedule. Last year at Ignite, Microsoft announced Office 2019 -- the next perpetual version of Office that includes apps (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and Skype for Business) and servers (including Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business). The company also announced servicing extensions for Windows 10 and changes to the Office 365 ProPlus system requirements.
The support for Windows 10 (versions 1511, 1607, 1703, and 1709) for enterprise and education customers running certain versions of the operating system was extended for another six months to help them move to the latest supported versions of the operating system.

July 21, 2017 , ,
Microsoft is quietly fighting a clever war against Russian hacking group Fancy BearWhile the White House mulls striking up a joint cyber program with Russia, an unlikely vigilante is taking care of business. As the Daily Beast reports, Microsoft has been waging a quiet war against the hacking entity known as Fancy Bear, which is believed to be associated with the GRU, Russia’s covert military intelligence agency.
While you can’t exactly drag an amorphous, faceless hacking group into court, the lawsuit served one key purpose: it hijacked some of Fancy Bear’s servers. In the last year, Microsoft has taken over at least 70 different Fancy Bear domains, many of which served as “command-and-control” points so the hackers could communicate with the malware they installed on targeted computers.
The Daily Beast details how in 2016, Microsoft’s legal team sued Fancy Bear (also known by many other aliases) for reserving domain names that violated Microsoft trademarks. Apparently, in the course of claiming generic domains for its operations, Fancy Bear often selected domains that riff of of Microsoft products and services, inadvertently opening the door to the lawsuit.

When a domain flips over into Microsoft’s hands, the company can use it to observe and map Fancy Bear’s server network, which communicates with the Microsoft domains. The result is that the company can indirectly disrupt and observe aspects of a suspected foreign intelligence operation — a pretty clever trick for a tech company to pull off in its spare time.

July 20, 2017 , , ,
Blizzard Ending Support for Windows XP and VistaMicrosoft ended mainstream support for Windows XP in 2009 and for Windows Vista in 2012. Five years on, and Blizzard is finally going to stop supporting both of these now ancient operating systems for five of its most popular games.

He goes on to explain that when Microsoft ended support for its own operating systems there were still many people using them to play Blizzard's games. So Blizzard decided to carry on supporting them. In 2017, that's no longer the case. We've had Windows 7, Windows 8, and most recently Windows 10 released and the majority of gamers have upgraded their hardware and embraced more recent versions.

In a post on Blizzard's forums, community manager Nate Valenta announced that starting in October, "we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm."

Blizzard makes it clear that when support ends in October, the games listed above will no longer run on Windows XP or Vista. The end of support will be staggered, so not all games will stop working as we reach October, but it's best to assume they will.

If you are someone who still plays Blizzard's games on these old operating systems, take this as your 10 week warning. In 10 weeks the Blizzard games you enjoy playing are probably going to stop working unless you upgrade. And while performing that upgrade is going to mean spending some cash, it also unlocks several years of new games to play.

July 18, 2017 , ,
Microsoft to help Baidu’s ‘Android of autonomous cars’ go globalWe already knew Microsoft Azure Cloud was a member of Baidu’s Apollo self-driving platform alliance, but now Microsoft has revealed more details about what it will be providing the cross-industry partnership. Basically, Microsoft will be offering cloud infrastructure services via Azure for customers in markets outside of China looking to adopt Apollo, which Baidu has described as an open, “Android of the autonomous driving industry.”
Microsoft has also been aggressive in nailing down partnerships in the growing autonomous and automotive cloud services space – it’s working with BMW, Ford, Renault-Nissan, Toyota and Volvo on a range of different projects, and its work with Baidu and Apollo could add a host of new OEM partners to that list, depending on uptake.
Apollo, which Baidu knowingly named after the original lunar landing program because it sees a similar scale of cross-industry cooperation required to bring autonomous driving to market, is meant to offer cloud services, open software, and reference vehicle, sensor and computing hardware. The alliance includes a number of top industry players, including mapping company TomTom, Bosh, Continental, Nvidia, and Uber competitor Grab, in addition to Microsoft.

Apollo is intended to be released to developers and automakers via staged releases, including access to self-driving tech for circumscribed, restricted areas by month’s end. Baidu has said that it hopes to deploy a platform that can fully handle autonomous driving in both urban and highway settings by the end of 2020, which is a very ambitious target for the nascent project, but in line with stated expectations about self-driving commercial launches from leading automakers.

July 17, 2017 , ,
How Microsoft brought SQL Server to Linux
Back in 2016, when Microsoft announced that SQL Server would soon run on Linux, the news came as a major surprise to users and pundits alike. Over the course of the last year, Microsoft’s support for Linux (and open source in general), has come into clearer focus and the company’s mission now seems to be all about bringing its tools to wherever its users are.

Ahead of today’s announcement, I talked to Rohan Kumar, the general manager of Microsoft’s Database Systems group, to get a bit more info about the history of this project and how his team managed to bring an extremely complex piece of software like SQL Server to Linux. Kumar, who has been at Microsoft for more than 18 years, noted that his team noticed many enterprises were starting to use SQL Server for their mission-critical workloads. But at the same time, they were also working in mixed environments that included both Windows Server and Linux. For many of these businesses, not being able to run their database of choice on Linux became a friction point.

The company today launched the first release candidate of SQL Server 2017, which will be the first version to run on Windows, Linux and in Docker containers. The Docker container alone has already seen more than 1 million pulls, so there can be no doubt that there is a lot of interest in this new version. And while there are plenty of new features and speed improvements in this new version, the fact that SQL Server 2017 supports Linux remains one of the most interesting aspects of this release.
“Talking to enterprises, it became clear that doing this was necessary,” Kumar said. “We were forcing customers to use Windows as their platform of choice.” In another incarnation of Microsoft, that probably would’ve been seen as something positive, but the company’s strategy today is quite different.
Kumar also noted that many enterprises were looking for an alternative to Oracle’s database products. If you want to run Linux and use a proprietary relational database with full enterprise support, you aren’t exactly spoiled for choice, after all.

As Kumar told me, this wasn’t the first time his team looked at Linux support. “We had a couple of discussions in the past where it wasn’t approved,” he told me. “It wasn’t something considered to be a strategic way for the business.” But three years ago — now with Satya Nadella at the top of the company — the team decided to pitch this idea again.”The biggest surprising part was that we were expecting a whole lot of back and forth. It was really surprising to see how quickly the decisions got made,” Kumar said.

Sitting over a bowl of pho at a Vietnamese restaurant in Redmond, the team found its answer: Drawbridge. Drawbridge was a research project that launched back in 2011 which basically provided a container with a small API surface and a basic version of Windows configured to efficiently run the application in the container. The idea here was basically to build better and more secure virtual machines. The library OS then executes the application, handles memory management and other vital functions, and integrates with the underlying operating system.

With the decision made, the team faced a daunting task, though: how do you port the tens of millions of lines of SQL Server’s code to Linux? Kumar didn’t want to make any compromise in functionality either, so it either had to be the full core of SQL Server or nothing at all (and for now, that excludes the graphical user interfaces and tools the company offers on Windows).

About two years ago, the SQL Server team decided to make this the core of its Linux efforts. “The leadership expressed the right amount of concern,” Kumar commented — and my guess is that there was indeed quite a bit of concern given that Drawbridge was very much an experimental project. But the SQL Server team took over the Drawbridge code base and added it into the SQL OS layer.
This OS layer was, in many ways, what made this project possible. Because SQL Server’s needs always went beyond what Windows and Windows Server were able to offer, especially with regard to memory management, the team had already built many of the standard OS features into SQL Server’s OS layer already. Thanks to this, SQL Server in Drawbridge could manage its own memory, too, for example. The work on this was successful enough that the team didn’t just build this for SQL Server on Linux but actually merged SQL OS and the work it did on Drawbridge into the new SQL Platform Abstraction Layer that now runs on Windows and Linux.
As a result, the SQL Server team can work from a single code base and doesn’t really have to worry about where the code will run (and this includes Microsoft’s Azure platform).

SQL Server for Linux should reach general availability later this year. Even today, a couple of companies are already using it in production, and the Linux version now runs as fast as the Windows version (assuming comparable hardware).

Looking beyond the final release, Kumar noted that the team would take a close look at what to do next. While innovation in the database space continues to accelerate, not all of Microsoft’s customers want annual (or even faster) updates for their mission-critical systems. Given that we’ve lately seen annual SQL Server releases with SQL Server 2016 and 2017, though, I’d be surprised if we didn’t hear about the first SQL Server 2018 preview releases sooner rather than later.

LinkedIn’s new desktop app arrives on Windows 10LinkedIn is today launching its official desktop application for Windows 10, allowing the Microsoft-owned professional social networking service to be more deeply integrated into the operating system through features like the Windows 10 Start Menu, a pinnable Live Tile, and Action Center notifications. These alerts will include things like new messages in your LinkedIn inbox, updates about who’s viewed your profile, trending news stories in your industry, and other highlights, the company says.

Users can configure which alerts they’d like to see from the Notifications tab inside the app, LinkedIn’s blog post notes.
At the time of the acquisition, LinkedIn had over 400 million users worldwide, which makes it the largest professional social networking site in existence. In April, the company announced it had grown to 500 million users across 200 countries around the world, which represented 10+ million active jobs, access to 9+ million companies, and more than 100,000 articles published every week. Simply put, that’s a lot of business-related information for Microsoft to tie into through this new, integrated desktop experience.
Microsoft closed on its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in December, then noting its plans to bring LinkedIn identity to Microsoft’s productivity applications, like Office and Outlook; the ability to draft resumés and apply for jobs via Microsoft Word; LinkedIn integration with Active Directory; and LinkedIn notifications in the Windows Action Center, among several other things.

This latter item is being addressed with the launch of the new Windows 10 application, which sends out its updates in real-time – a move that could make LinkedIn feel like a more active network, with timely news and information, rather than a place that many people today only think to check when they’re looking to change jobs.

LinkedIn, whose user base is 40 percent desktop users, also rolled out an update to its desktop experience on the web in January.

The new Windows 10 app is today beginning to roll out to the Windows Store, and will be available in 22 languages at launch.
The launch of the Windows 10 application comes shortly after Microsoft announced its plans to deprecate its Windows mobile app, which will be shut down on August 30, 2017. The company’s statement at the time said that Microsoft’s efforts were instead focused on building out the new LinkedIn desktop app, which would arrive this summer – as it has today. Mobile users, meanwhile, could use the site from the mobile web if they chose, said Microsoft.
The list of supported languages includes English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese (simplified), Arabic, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Turkish, Swedish, Chinese (traditional), Czech, Indonesian, Thai, Malay, and Romanian.

The app will be available to all LinkedIn markets by the end of the month.

July 17, 2017 , ,
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is great, once you upgrade Windows 10 SI’ve talked to a number of people on the Surface team over the last few months, and the decision to hinder their beautiful new piece of hardware still boggles the mind. The Surface Laptop is really nice — in fact, it’s quite possibly the best piece of hardware to carry the Surface name. But for some reason Microsoft saw fit to use the product to showcase Windows 10 S, a stripped-down version of its operating system targeted primarily at schools.

Microsoft has since told me it recognizes that the Laptop’s messaging was confusing. Launching the device at an education event made it look like the company was releasing a $999 Chromebook competitor. And it told me back in late-May that a version of the Laptop with full Windows 10 is coming at some point. Meantime, it’s waiving the upgrade fee through the end of the year.
The screen is quite nice, too. I don’t find touch to be super easy to use in a laptop form factor, but no one’s going to argue with offering up the option — well, aside from Apple, I guess. Like the MacBook, the port situation leaves something to be desired: you get power, headphones,  MiniDisplay and one USB 3.0 port.
So definitely do that. And if you buy a Surface Laptop next year, grit your teeth and spend the $50. I’m not saying there’s no place in the world for Windows 10 S — I’m just saying that if you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance it wasn’t built with you in mind. The new version of the operating system is for K-12 students and, perhaps, people gifting older parents a device for which they’d rather not have to perform regular tech support.
Windows 10 S is defined mostly by its limitations: it’s a locked-down version of the operating system, most notably in the case of apps, which are limited to what you download from the Windows Store. It kind of feels like Windows Phone all over again. It’s easy to see why teachers might embrace those restrictions — it keeps students’ focus and weeds out potentially malicious apps. It’s also clear how Windows 10 S is useful on those new $189 education systems that were launched alongside the operating system. It puts less of a strain on the system, so you’ll get more out of low-end devices.
But the Surface Laptop is not that. It’s a very good and nice device. It’s the first Surface device that can truly be considered a MacBook competitor.

Just the other week, I was reviewing the new Surface Pro and lamenting the fact that it wasn’t the Laptop. And now I have one in my possession and stand by that statement. The device takes the lessons learned from previous Surface products and applies them to a more familiar and universal form factor.

Sure, there are things you can’t do on the Laptop that are standard fare for other Surfaces. The screen doesn’t detach and it can be opened 180 degrees, so if you’re in the relative minority that relies on the Surface Pen, this isn’t the form factor for you. But the permanent keyboard is much sturdier than its detachable counterpart — in fact, the keys feels better and deeper than recent MacBooks. And the fabric that surrounds the keyboard looks and feels nice to the touch — though if you tend to use your laptop while eating, be wary. It’s harder to clean than your standard laptop palm rest.

That last one represents one of the pretty clear distinctions between Microsoft and Apple’s respective approaches. USB-C represents a path to the future paved in dongles. In a couple of years, you’ll probably be happy to have it on your laptop. For the moment, however, chances are that you own a lot more cables that will plug into Microsoft’s product.

It’s clear the company put a lot of thought into the product, and along with recent additions, it represents the ongoing evolution of the Surface line from proof-of-concept Windows devices to some of the best products in their class. The Surface Laptop is a nice and well-designed product at a reasonable $999 starting price. But if you buy one after December 2017, budget an extra $50 for an OS upgrade. Trust me on this one.

Microsoft admits disabling anti-virus software for Windows 10 users
Microsoft has admitted that it does temporarily disable anti-virus software on Windows PCs, following an competition complaint to the European Commission by a security company.
In early June, Kaspersky Lab filed the complaint against Microsoft.
The security company claims the software giant is abusing its market dominance by steering users to its own anti-virus software.
Microsoft says it implemented defences to keep Windows 10 users secure.

Detection rates

In an extensive blog post that does not directly address Kaspersky or its claims, Microsoft says it bundles the Windows Defender Antivirus with Windows 10 to ensure that every single device is protected from viruses and malware.
"We built Windows Defender Antivirus to make a promise to our customers that every Windows 10 device always has protection from viruses and malware... our test results are among the top of security industry leaders, including recent real-world testing where Windows Defender Antivirus scored over 99% detection rates," writes Rob Lefferts, a partner director of the Windows and Devices group in enterprise and security at Microsoft.
"We also know that Window customers value choice, and that is why we actively engage with and support a community of over 80 independent software vendors through the Microsoft Virus Initiative (MVI) program.
"This engineering programme enables us to share key technical details of Microsoft technologies with our AV [anti-virus] partners to collaborate on future directions and problem solve on existing security challenges to protect our shared customers from malicious software."

Temporarily disabled

To combat the 300,000 new malware samples being created and spread every day, Microsoft says that it works together with external anti-virus partners.
The technology giant estimates that about 95% of Windows 10 PCs were using anti-virus software that was already compatible with the latest Windows 10 Creators Update.
For the applications that were not compatible, Microsoft built a feature that lets users update their PCs and then reinstall a new version of the anti-virus software.
"To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began. We did this work in partnership with the AV partner to specify which versions of their software are compatible and where to direct customers after updating," Mr Lefferts writes.

Satish Kumar

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