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Microsoft Will Pester Windows 7 Users to Upgrade to W10 with Pop-Up Notifications

Microsoft has come up with another way to convince users to upgrade to Windows 10: corporate vice president Matt Barlow explained in a blog post this week Windows 7 users would be subjected to regular pop-up messages urging them to update to the latest version of the OS. That may not be the worst idea, as support for W7 officially ends January 14, 2020.

This is a courtesy reminder that you can expect to see a handful of times in 2019. By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition. These notifications are designed to help provide information only and if you would prefer not to receive them again, you'll be able to select an option for "do not notify me again", and we will not send you any further reminders. Just as software has changed over the years, so has hardware.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 5:00 PM (CDT)

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 Supports DX12 on Windows 7

The AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 driver has been released and it is optimized for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 and Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. AMD Radeon VII owners should see a 4% performance uplift in Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm when compared to the 19.2.3 driver. This driver brings DirectX 12 to Windows 7 for supported game titles. AMD supports more Vulkan extensions in this driver. Fixed issues include: Radeon ReLive for VR may sometimes fail to install during Radeon Software installation. Fan curve may fail to switch to manual mode after the manual toggle is switched when fan curve is still set to default behavior. Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed.

Known issues include: Rainbow Six Siege may experience intermittent corruption or flickering on some game textures during gameplay. DOTA2 VR may experience stutter on some HMD devices when using the Vulkan API. Mouse cursors may disappear or move out of the boundary of the top of a display on AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics. Performance metrics overlay and Radeon WattMan gauges may experience inaccurate fluctuating readings on AMD Radeon VII.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 8:41 PM (CDT)

Intel Comet Lake Processors Could Pack 10 Cores

A recently updated file in coreboot's Github repository seemingly corroborates previous rumors that claim Intel's upcoming Comet Lake processors could pack up to 10 cores. The "report_platform.c" file contains references to various Comet Lake CPU + Graphics core configurations, including a "CometLake-S (10+2)" config.
The listing also suggests that Intel will launch low power, 6-core U-series parts for laptops, as well as a variety of other 2, 4, 6, and 8 core configs designed to supplement or replace the existing Coffee Lake and Whiskey Lake lineup. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 11:05 AM (CDT)

Windows Update Fixes Previous Patch's Mouse Issues

Microsoft has released a fix to a previous update that reportedly caused "graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games, such as Destiny 2." KB4482887 contained the performance enhancing "Retpoline" Spectre mitigation, and in addition to the new mouse and graphics fixes, the newly released KB4489899 update patches some Microsoft Hololens calibration and tracking issues as well.

After installing this update on machines that have multiple audio devices, applications that provide advanced options for internal or external audio output devices may stop working unexpectedly. This issue occurs for users that select an audio output device different from the "Default Audio Device." Examples of applications that may stop working include: Windows Media Player, Realtek HD Audio Manager, Sound Blaster Control Panel

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 10:19 AM (CDT)

Microsoft Announces DX12 Support for Windows 7

Blizzard Entertainment added Windows 10 DX12 support to its MMO World of Warcraft (WoW) and fans of the game responded with a warm welcome to new features such as multi-threading. Blizzard Entertainment contacted Microsoft about bringing the same improvements to WoW gamers that remain on Windows 7. Microsoft responded to feedback from Blizzard Entertainment and has now ported the user mode D3D12 runtime to Windows 7. "This unblocks developers who want to take full advantage of the latest improvements in D3D12 while still supporting customers on older operating systems." With the latest patch, WoW now supports DX12 on Windows 7! Microsoft is now working with other developers to port their D3D12 games to Windows 7.

How are DirectX 12 games different between Windows 10 and Windows 7? Windows 10 has critical OS improvements which make modern low-level graphics APIs (including DirectX 12) run more efficiently. If you enjoy your favorite games running with DirectX 12 on Windows 7, you should check how those games run even better on Windows 10!

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 7:33 PM (CDT)

Windows 10 Will Uninstall Incompatible Updates

Microsoft has rolled out a new feature for Windows 10 that allows the operating system (OS) to automatically uninstall broken or incompatible updates. Windows 10 will attempt to fix startup failures with automatic recovery attempts before uninstalling the updates. Users will see this message "We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure." The OS will prevent problematic updates from installing automatically for the next 30 days. Users can manually install the updates, but Windows 10 will still remove the problematic updates if it detects issues with startup. Thanks @Monkey34 !

To ensure that your device can start up and continue running as expected, Windows will also prevent problematic updates from installing automatically for the next 30 days. This will give Microsoft and our partners the opportunity to investigate the failure and fix any issues. After 30 days, Windows will again try to install the updates. If your device is unable to start up properly after automatic or manual installation of these updates, Windows will uninstall them again.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)

Windows 7 Is One Obstinate OS

Computerworld looked at the latest numbers from web analytics vendor Net Applications and discovered Windows 7 managed to grow "for the second straight month, gaining a whopping 1.2 percentage points to rebound to 38.4% of all PCs and 43.9% of those running Windows." Windows 10 wasn’t as lucky, falling "by six-tenths of a percentage point in February, ending the month at 40.3% of all personal computers and 46.1% of all PCs running Windows." Some say users are just reluctant to upgrade, while others call this proof W10 is despised.

At the same time, the should-be-dead Windows XP put on six-tenths of a points during February, climbing to 3.3% of all PCs and stretching to 3.8% of systems powered by Windows. All in all, it was a mess. Windows 10 was supposed to be growing but it wasn't. Windows 7 and Windows XP were to be shedding share, but they weren't. Windows overall has been losing share, surely if slowly, but instead it gained.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 8:35 PM (CDT)

Windows 10 Update Can Degrade Graphics, Mouse Performance in Certain Games

Microsoft has alerted gamers that a recent Windows 10 update (KB4482887) can have adverse effects on some titles: "After installing KB4482887, users may notice graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games (eg: Destiny 2)." The company is still working on an official fix, but those who need an immediate solution may merely uninstall the update.

On March 1st, Microsoft released a brand-new update for Windows 10 that brought a number of quality improvements. However, and after various reports, Microsoft has confirmed that this latest update can degrade graphics and mouse performance in certain games (like for example Destiny 2). Microsoft has not explained/detailed the reasons behind this performance degradation. Moreover, this issue may not affect everyone therefore we strongly suggest uninstalling this update only if you are experiencing worse performance in your favorite games after applying it.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 4:00 PM (CST)

Tesla Launches New Supercharger with 1,000 MPH Charging, Better Efficiency, and More

Tesla has introduced a new version of the Supercharger with higher charging capacity (250 kW), providing up to 75 miles of range for the Model 3 in as little as 5 minutes. This is made possible by a new liquid-cooled cable that is "significantly lighter, more flexible, and more efficient" than their current air-cooled cable. These increased charging speeds will be unlocked for the Model S and X in a future software update.

A new "On-Route Battery Warmup" software feature was also announced. When entering a Supercharger station in your navigation system, the vehicle’s software will "intelligently heat the battery to ensure you arrive at the optimal temperature to charge." That’s assuming you have enough charge in the battery when you come in. The new feature alone should reduce "average charge times for owners by 25%," according to the automaker.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 11:05 AM (CST)

Google Discovers Vulnerabilities in Chrome and Windows 7

Google just publicized a combination of zero-day exploits for Windows 7 and Chrome that are reportedly being exploited together in the wild. The bug in Chrome allegedly involved the browser's file reader, while the vulnerability in Windows "is a NULL pointer dereference in win32k!MNGetpItemFromIndex when NtUserMNDragOver() system call is called under specific circumstances." Google says they reported the bug on February 27th, and pushed out a patch for Chrome on March 1st, but the Windows 7 vulnerability doesn't appear to be patched yet. Google claims they've only observed the Windows exploit on 32-bit Windows 7 systems so far, but notes that exploit mitigations already protect newer version of Windows, and say that "users should consider upgrading to Windows 10 if they are still running an older version of Windows." Sophos took a look at the Chrome bug earlier this week, and they seems to think that a single bad webpage could give attackers remote access to computers.

When we heard that the vulnerability was connected to FileReader, we assumed that the bug would involve reading from files you weren't supposed to. Ironically, however, it looks as though attackers can take much more general control, allowing them to pull off what's called Remote Code Execution, or RCE. RCE almost always means a crooks can implant malware without any warnings, dialogs or popups. Just tricking you into looking at a booby-trapped web page might be enough for crooks to take over your computer remotely.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 08, 2019 9:52 AM (CST)

Microsoft Announces the Open Sourcing of Windows Calculator

Microsoft has announced that it has open sourced the Windows Calculator on GitHub under the MIT License. Microsoft is seeking more community contributions and ideas in the development of Windows Calculator. Reviewing the Windows Calculator code will allow developers to learn how to work with Microsoft technologies.

Reviewing the Calculator code is a great way to learn about the latest Microsoft technologies like the Universal Windows Platform, XAML, and Azure Pipelines. Through this project, developers can learn from Microsoft's full development lifecycle, as well as reuse the code to build their own experiences. It's also a great example of Fluent app design. To make this even easier, we will be contributing custom controls and API extensions that we use in Calculator and other apps, to projects like the Windows Community Toolkit and the Windows UI Library.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 7:12 PM (CST)

Developers Install Windows 10 on an Nintendo Switch

A developer and hacker who goes by "Ben" on Twitter has allegedly shoehorned Windows 10 for ARM into an Nintendo Switch. This is reportedly the same hacker who helped get Windows 10 running on the Lumia 950 and the Raspberry Pi 3, but the Switch doesn't appear to be quite as functional as those devices yet.
Qualcomm is behind a push to bring ARM-powered Windows devices to the market, but this is the first time I've seen Windows 10 for ARM running on a Nvidia Tegra-based device. Ben recently mentioned that there's still "some more work to do," and that he's currently working on SD/MMC support, but I'm eager to see a public release of this effort some day. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 10:40 AM (CST)