Windows 10 version 1709 EOL delayed

As a result of the Coronavirus epidemic grasping the world at this time, Microsoft has announced via blog post that its decided to continue supporting version 1709 of Windows 10 (Enterprise/Education editions only) for an additional six months, extending its life until October 13 of this year.

A important note is that the following month, version 1803 will reach end of life on November 10 which makes you wonder if Microsoft will push back all of the other versions for an additional amount of time.  Also, I wonder if this epidemic will sway Microsoft to even consider supporting Windows 7 and Server 2008/2008 R2 which hit EOL on January 14th.  Just a thought…

Devices running Windows 10 hits one billion

A tidbit worth mentioning…after almost five years of being available to the masses, Microsoft has claimed that its Windows 10 operating system is actively running on one billion devices during any given month.

This is different from when Microsoft claimed a year or so back that it was installed on one billion total devices.

Check out Microsoft’s press release here for more info!

The “new” Office App

For those mobile Office users, the news that Microsoft has developed an integrated app that saves space on your device in addition to providing the same or even more productivity has to be a welcomed development.

I’ve tested out the app for the past few days and must say that I’m impressed with its performance.  While it is a disappointment that it only includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (no integrated Outlook, OneNote, etc.) it is definitely a step in the right direction in that its performance is much improved in comparison to the traditional (and “clunky”) standalone mobile apps.

For more details about the new Office App, check out Gregg Keizer’s article on Computerworld.com here and let me know if you’ve taken the plunge and experimented with the app!

A closer look at the Modern Desktop

The latest buzz throughout the IT industry is about the ever changing landscape of its future, namely the shifting of all things towards cloud computing.

As more resources get redirected to the cloud, what does that mean for the average end user?  On the surface, you may think “mot much” but when you take a deep dive into the topic at hand, it is quickly realized that the expectations for productivity can increased being that whatever devices that are assigned to them can be managed and monitored at all times.

For a more detailed explanation, Paul Schnackenburg did a masterful job here in breaking down this shift towards what is now called the “Modern Desktop” along with its pros and cons on how it can and will affect us going forward…

Surface Laptop 3 issues

I must say that while it is somewhat common for manufacturers to release products that don’t quite live up to expectations from a quality control perspective, I was scratching my head at the fact that many owners of the recently released Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 have had their screen randomly crack despite taking the proper precautions and care of the device.

As someone who has seen a fair share of hardware defects (i.e. defective hinges, overheating issues, graphics card problems, bad RAM, bad HDDs/SSDs, defective connectivity ports, etc.) over the last 20 years, I have to admit that I don’t think I’ve ever come across a scenario where the screen itself cracks.

For more info, check out the post on Askwoody.com here!

Operating on the “Edge”…

The highly anticipated, revamped Edge browser has been available to the masses for almost a month now and it appears that Microsoft is forcefully pushing Windows users to adopt when the opportunity arises.

Lawrence Adrams at Bleepingcomputer.com reports here that the tactic being used is in the form of catchy ads within the Windows 10 OS to attract users.

If you happen to be a Firefox user, don’t be surprised if this pops up on your screen…

You’ve been warned…

Taskbar searching in Windows 10 not working

While no one will dispute the fact that Microsoft releases lots of updates on a monthly basis, (sometimes even every week depending on how disastrous that month’s patches are) it’s safe to say that they officially update certain features/products within their OS without warning.

Case in point: the random Windows 10 search bar issue hitting users machines.  Kudos to those that pointed out how the build number within the search bar changed and verified that Microsoft indeed performs secret “updates” that are designed to fly under the radar.

Additional kudos goes to Woody Leonard for providing us with great insight and analysis into this issue and explains it in a way that is easy for the casual user to understand.  Check out his Askwoody post/ Computerworld article here for the 411…

More info on Windows ESUs

Is it just me or does Microsoft continue to confuse the masses of exactly how the “extended security update” program works.  Perhaps the confusion is a vital part in that they want you to have upgraded to Windows 10 four to five years ago.

However, there are many institutions that need to keep their legacy Windows 7 / Server 2008 (R2) machines up to date.  For details on how to keep the update coming, Kurt Mackie gives a thorough breakdown here of what needs to be done as well as what is required to accomplish this task.

NSA exposes critical flaw in Windows 10!

According to Microsoft’s security update guide, a spoofing vulnerability that utilizes the Crypt32.dll file can be used to control a machine at will.

As stated within the emergency bulletin:

A spoofing vulnerability exists in the way Windows CryptoAPI (Crypt32.dll) validates Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) certificates.

An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by using a spoofed code-signing certificate to sign a malicious executable, making it appear the file was from a trusted, legitimate source. The user would have no way of knowing the file was malicious, because the digital signature would appear to be from a trusted provider.

A successful exploit could also allow the attacker to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks and decrypt confidential information on user connections to the affected software.

The security update addresses the vulnerability by ensuring that Windows CryptoAPI completely validates ECC certificates.

Good news is that Microsoft has already released a patch to close the loophole so make sure you take care of this ASAP!

R.I.P. Windows 7

At last, the time has come.  Today marks the last day of free security updates for the legacy OS.  For those of you that still plan on using it for the foreseeable future, it may be in your best interests to bit the bullet and spend the extra $50-60 for an additional year of coverage.

For more info on the extended security updates (ESUs), head to Microsoft’s site and check out their FAQ sheet here