Saturday, February 1, 2014

Microsoft finally realizes that people hate Windows 8′s live tiles

Sounds like Microsoft is listening to us. Strip away all the apps and start up by going directly to the desktop, sounds a lot like Windows 7!  Now if they would just add a START button lower left .....

This comes from

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Live Tiles

"It’s official: Microsoft realizes that most desktop users have no use for the Live Tiles interface. The Verge reports that the next update of Windows 8.1 will make the platform boot up to desktop mode by default, which means that people who buy new Windows 8.1 PCs with the latest update won’t have to look at Live Tiles when they first flip on their computers.

“We understand that Microsoft has been paying close attention to telemetry data that shows the majority of Windows 8 users still use a keyboard and mouse and desktop applications,” The Verge writes. “This same telemetry data was used to justify the removal of the Start button shortly before the Windows 8 release, and contributed to its eventual return in Windows 8.1. Microsoft may have wanted to push touch computing to the masses in Windows 8, but the reality is that users have voiced clear concerns over the interface on desktop PCs.”

This takes us back to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s joke about how trying to merge a desktop OS with a tablet OS was the equivalent of trying to merger a toaster and a refrigerator. While Microsoft’s attempt to create one common interface for all its devices was certainly a noble experiment, it hasn’t exactly been a successful one so far and the company seems to know it."

Friday, January 31, 2014

Another Option for an Upgrade From Windows XP

The Q&A below come from the NY Times.

I would like to preface this by saying there is no real rush to run out and spend money just because Microsoft will cease delivering security updates to XP on April 8. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT: as long as you have all of your data (pictures, music, videos, documents) backed up on some external medium. This could be a flash drive, an external hard drive, a backup service in the cloud (like SOS, which I use), etc.

Q. I’m still running Windows XP on my computer; can I upgrade to Windows 7 instead of Windows 8?

A. Microsoft stopped selling retail copies of the Windows 7 operating system last fall, but with a little searching, you should be able to buy discs from a third-party store or vendor. Just make sure that the seller is reliable, as using a counterfeit copy of the system can cause problems with some Microsoft services. If you plan to upgrade your current computer from Windows XP, make sure that it meets the Windows 7 system requirements and that you know how to proceed with the installation.

If you plan to buy a new computer, things are a bit easier, as several PC makers are still selling new machines with Windows 7 installed. Best Buy and Dell, among others, sell new Windows 7 computers, as does Hewlett-Packard, which was recently running a “back by popular demand” sale — even though Windows 7 machines have yet to be officially discontinued.

As for how long Windows 7 (and computers that have it installed) will be around, Microsoft’s Windows life cycle fact page says only that the date is “to be determined.” The company’s mainstream technical support for Windows 7 is scheduled to end on Jan. 13, 2015, but extended support goes through Jan. 14, 2020.

Microsoft’s current version of the operating system is Windows 8.1, which includes some improvements over its original Windows 8 release. No official announcements have been made yet for updates and enhancements to Windows 8.1 or future versions of the system, but new information may become available in early April when Microsoft holds its annual Build conference for developers.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Perspective: If Windows 8 = Vista, what's Microsoft's next move?

I really hope this doesn't happen. It's a bum rap for W8. W8 takes some getting used to, but it performs very well. Vista never did.


"It's a low rumble here, there, like a thunderstorm barely heard because it's so far over the horizon that only the cloud tops can be seen, but the words "Windows 8 is Vista" are starting to leave lips and paint pixels.

And that has to scare the you-know-what out of Microsoft.

Because to Microsoft, Vista is the bastard child of the Windows family, the one who lost friends' savings in a Ponzi scheme, then fled to Bhutan and its mountains, beyond reach by extradition.

If Windows XP could be called the elderly uncle who worked most his life in the foundry to put his kids through college, if Windows 95 is a fondly-remembered grandmother who once danced with the Rockettes, if Windows 7 is the nephew with a shot at middle management, then Vista is the kin no one wants to talk about."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Microsoft retains weapon to silently scrub XP

Well, this is really good news for us good guys, that is for me and those of you who have followed my recommendation on security that I have posted on my blog. If, on your Windows XP machine you have Automatic Updates selected and if you use Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) as your free anti-virus, and if you run Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) every month as recommended, this applies to you.

Think of this as the Windows XP after life that extends our security for a while. While I think of it I should note that it is my belief that Microsoft only runs the quick scan when it stealthily runs MSRT each month on your machines. As some of you know,I have always recommended a full scan to be manually run every month. Just click on START then RUN then enter MRT to run it.

This good news comes to you from Greg Keizer at

" Microsoft will be able to silently reach into Windows XP PCs for more than a year after it stops patching the aged OS to clean malware-infected machines, sources close to the company confirmed Friday.

The Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) will continue to be updated and deployed via Windows Update through July 14, 2015, 15 months after the Redmond, Wash. company serves its final public security patches for XP on April 8 of this year.

By extending the life of the MSRT -- and more importantly, automatically running it each month -- Microsoft will be able to clean some PCs if massive malware outbreaks hit Windows XP after it's retired from support.

MSRT is updated monthly as Microsoft targets one or more major malware families it believes are the biggest current threats. The tool is posted for manual download on Microsoft's website and distributed through the Windows Update service on "Patch Tuesday," the second Tuesday of each month when Microsoft pushes security patches to customers running still-supported editions of Windows. MSRT automatically installs on PCs with Automatic Updates enabled, and then runs a seek-and-destroy mission in the background without any action on the part of the user."