IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
32.4K views | +7 today
Follow
IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

Apple adds Windows 10 support to Boot Camp for all Macs released after 2012

Apple adds Windows 10 support to Boot Camp for all Macs released after 2012 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

If you're one of those people who runs Windows on your Mac, good news: Apple has just released Boot Camp 6, which brings updated drivers and official support for Windows 10 to the company's hardware. New installs of Windows using the Boot Camp Assistant tool should download the new drivers automatically, and those of you performing upgrade installs can use the Windows version of Apple's Software Update tool to download the new drivers before performing the Windows 10 upgrade install.


The new Boot Camp update supports all iMacs, Mac Minis, Mac Pros, MacBook Pros, MacBooks Airs, and MacBooks released after 2012; that's not to say that you can't get it working on older Macs, but you're on your own. If that seems a bit stingy, remember that most PC OEMs aren't officially supporting systems older than 2012 either. The Boot Camp software still supports Windows 8.1, too, but official Windows 7 support was dropped back in March.


Boot Camp 6 brings new drivers but not many other features—the Boot Camp Control Panel is still barebones, and still uses OS X 10.4-era folder icons. If you want to do anything more complicated than tap-to-click with your multitouch trackpad, you'll need to use a third-party driver like TrackPad++, which actually does do a decent job of supporting Windows 10's new trackpad gestures once you've played with the settings a bit.


Otherwise, upgrading from a fully activated version of Windows 7 or 8.x to Windows 10 on a Mac with a Boot Camp partition will work pretty much the same way as it does on a PC, including the oddities involved in getting a new product key and performing clean, properly activated installs.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

What hospitals need to know about Windows 10

What hospitals need to know about Windows 10 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The arrival of a new Microsoft operating system does not exactly bring the same excitement that it once did.


Indeed, since about the time Windows Vista launched, subsequent operating systems have come – and in the odd case of Windows 9 essentially vanished – without the fanfare of Windows 95, XP or 2000.

The company has at least managed to create enough wattage around Windows 10, however, that some 5 million so-called Windows Insiders installed early versions to test the software in development – and word slipped out this week that the planned flagship Microsoft store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan will open in the fall.


A critical piece of the renewed interest is how Microsoft is breaking new ground with a phased approach to what CEO Satya Nadella dubbed the "One Windows" strategy, beginning July 29 when the OS became available for PCs and tablets.


The aim is to upgrade systems currently running Windows 7 and 8 in the near-term and follow that with Windows 10 Mobile later this year, and devices from Microsoft’s harem of hardware partners are slated to become available before the holiday season. Beyond that, Microsoft intends Windows 10 to serve as the operating system for a range of Internet of Things devices, including its own Surface Hub conference systems and HoloLens holographic glasses, among others.


When that “One Windows” day comes, the sales pitch goes, hospitals will be able to consolidate varying devices onto Windows 10 and the fact that the upgrade is free for systems already running Windows 7, 8.1 or 8.1 Mobile should entice many IT shops to install it; for those still using an older OS, the price tag is $199 for the professional version.

Microsoft, in the meantime, has incorporated some healthcare-centric functionality into Windows 10.


On one of its web pages the company showed the operating system’s capability to “snap together” different applications and, in so doing, enable a clinician to view a patient’s EMR next to a home health app.

A Power BI function can "gather, analyze and visualize quality of care data," while the Power Map feature enables users to combine and compare a hospital's own information with population health statistics. Microsoft also pointed to programs including Office 365, OneNote, SharePoint and Skype that can be used for care management and information sharing.

Later this year, when Windows 10 Mobile becomes available, it will make syncing apps across smartphones, tablets and PCs easier. Now, that’s not likely to inspire CIOs to rip and replace existing smartphones anytime soon, but the ability to coordinate a Windows-based phone with a Surface tablet will invariably have some appeal to a select crowd.


That’s just a taste and Microsoft said that it will be showing more of Windows 10 health capabilities moving forward.


The new OS also brings many broader functions, such as the return of the old Start menu, the new Edge browser, Cortana virtual assistant, and the usual suspects of upgraded apps for mail. Maps, music, photos, and OneDrive to back them up.


Much like its competitors Apple, IBM, Google and Oracle, Microsoft has been ramping up efforts particular to healthcare lately. Earlier this month, for instance, when it unwrapped the Cortana Analytics Suite, Microsoft also revealed that Dartmouth-Hitchcock is already using the tools in a personalized medicine pilot project.


Whether Windows 10 will enjoy the widespread adoption of XP or languish like Vista remains to be seen. But at this point – and with Microsoft's marketing machine stating that the company is gunning to upgrade 1 billion devices to Windows 10  the former appears more likely than the latter. 


What's your perspective? Just another Microsoft OS or a great reason to upgrade?

more...
Scoop.it!

Skype for Business arrives on Windows Phone, but lacking a key feature for Office 365

Skype for Business arrives on Windows Phone, but lacking a key feature for Office 365 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Although Microsoft has now brought Skype for Business to Windows Phone, its own business customers—those who subscribe to Office 365—may be disappointed to learn that one key feature hasn’t yet been implemented: conversation syncing.


Skype for Business has already replaced Lync on desktop PCs and the Web, and Windows Phone 8.1 phones will automatically download the new Skype for Business app to replace Lync 2013. (Windows Phone 8.0 users can continue using Lync 2013 or Lync 2010; those phones won’t be able to update to the new app.) 



Given the fact that a phone has limited space with which to work, one change that Microsoft has made to the app is to “wall off” extraneous conversations. If a new message arrives on your phone, you’ll have the option to answer it without other clients' grabbing the conversation, Microsoft said. Microsoft has also encrypted your conversation and voice mail history by default.


One of the complaints Skype users have had, however, is that conversations that roam between various platforms don’t sync appropriately, meaning that you might end up with notifications being sent to your PC some time before they arrive on your phone. Microsoft apparently solved that problem, provided you’re running the latest server software—just not for Office 365 users. That capability will be coming soon, the company said.


Otherwise, the new Skype for Business app for Windows Phone features the Skype UI and 100 new emoticons, to give it a bit of extra punch.


Last week the Skype for Business team previewed a “broadcast” feature that will allow meetings to be shown to up to 10,000 participants. The app now also works with traditional telephones, so that users can simply dial in to conference calls.


Why this matters: To its credit, Microsoft has launched Skype for Business on Windows Phone, ahead of iOS and Android—not always the case, to be sure. Still, I suspect that some IT admins wish that Microsoft would get its ducks in a row before releasing the Windows Phone app. Not knowing where you are in a business conversation can give the appearance that you’re unprofessional—and it’s also just plain annoying.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Latest Windows 10 Mobile preview offers more features and bugs

Latest Windows 10 Mobile preview offers more features and bugs | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft has released a new Windows 10 Mobile preview build that adds new features, fixes previous glitches but adds some new bugs of its own.


Rolled out on Thursday, Windows 10 Mobile Build 10149 is the latest preview edition for Windows Insiders. To elicit feedback from the user population, Microsoft has been regularly rolling out new previews, or builds, of Windows 10 for desktop and mobile devices. The Windows Insider program allows people to freely install and test each edition and offer their comments, questions and criticisms to Microsoft with the aim of improving Windows 10.


Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 10, and at this point, the company has a little over a month before the official version launches on July 29. Windows 10 has at least a couple of goals to meet. It has to provide enough of a punch to erase the bad memory of Windows 8. And it has to appeal to PC users and mobile users alike. The phone side is especially critical as Microsoft's share of the smartphone market has been relatively flat at around 4 percent as it's been trounced by Apple and Android. Windows 10 Mobile needs to offer the appeal necessary to start bumping up that market share.


On the plus side, Microsoft has given itself more breathing room with Windows 10 Mobile. Windows 10 for PCs and tablets will roll out July 29. But the mobile edition won't be seen broadly until later this year, Gabe Aul, head of Microsoft's Windows Insider program, said in a blog posted earlier this month.


"We've received questions on the final release date for Windows 10 Mobile," Aul said. "While we're making good progress, we need more time to deliver the optimal experience for mobile devices and you can expect Windows 10 Mobile to release broadly later this year."


So, what are some of the new features in the Windows 10 Mobile preview? In a blog posted on Thursday, Aul described what's new.

Designed as a simpler, faster alternative to the aging Internet Explorer, Microsoft's new Edge browser is now officially known as Edge, rather than by its older tag of Spartan. In this build, Edge displays the address bar at the bottom, a change based on feedback from Windows testers, according to Aul. There's also an option to view websites in either mobile view or desktop view.


Microsoft has also tidied up the overall look of Windows 10 Mobile. In previous builds, many Live tiles pinned to the Start screen would appear blurry. Now the screen is clearer and crisper. Certain controls, such as the volume control, have new icons. Aul also touted the latest build as "more responsive to use." He conceded that more work has to be done but was happy about the progress made in this build.


The Cortana voice assistant sports a few improvements, especially in its Notebook, an area used to store settings and other user information. Using the Notebook, you can now set up Quiet Hours, a feature that sends any incoming phone calls to voicemail so as not to disturb you. You can also now tell Cortana to send an email in one fell swoop by including the name of the recipient, the subject and your message in one single voice command.


Another request made by Windows Insiders was to add a virtual flashlight feature to Windows 10's Action Center. And Microsoft has complied with that request in the latest build, letting you turn your phone into a flashlight. The Photos app has been updated to be more reliable and also now supports animated GIFs. And you can now automatically upload your camera roll photos directly to your OneDrive online storage.


The latest build also contains several fixes, including ones for text notifications, the Podcast app and the navigation bar. But the build also introduces several new bugs.


In some cases, the install button doesn't respond if the battery isn't fully charged. Some users may bump into an error trying to upgrade from Build 10136, an issue that Microsoft is striving to fix. Sometimes the PIN keyboard doesn't appear after you swipe the screen to unlock it. In rare occasions, entering your PIN fails to unlock the screen. A Gmail account set up on the phone may prevent incoming and outgoing messages in the Messaging app, an issue that can only be resolved with a reboot.


Further, in-app purchases of Windows Store apps and games don't work on Windows 10 Mobile just yet. In some cases, the colors of certain apps may appear off kilter. And sometimes the notifications in the Action Center are blank.


To be fair, the latest 10149 build was released on what Microsoft calls the Fast Ring. The Windows 10 Technical Preview has been available to users in both a Slow Ring and a Fast Ring. The Slow Ring builds come out at a slower pace but are generally more stable. The Fast Rings naturally come out at a faster pace but are generally more buggy. So it's natural that the latest Fast Ring will have its share of bugs.


Based on this latest build, Aul seemed confident about the state of Windows 10 Mobile. "We've been using this build internally for a few days and have really loved it." Aul said. "It is faster, more stable, and more polished overall and has been lots of fun for us to see come together."

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Here Are The Features Microsoft Is Cutting From Windows 10

Here Are The Features Microsoft Is Cutting From Windows 10 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Windows 10 is fast approaching and while there’s no immediate need to upgrade from 8.1, or even 7, odds are you’ll want to make the jump eventually. Before you do, you’d best check out the Windows 10 “feature deprecation section”, to make sure your favourite features aren’t being cut from the latest release.

It’s to be expected you’ll run into a few driver incompatibilities and unsupported hardware and software, but what can sometimes catch you off guard is when entire features are dropped from the core operating system.

Probably the biggest cut is Windows Media Center, but it’s not the only thing getting the boot. From Microsoft’s Windows 10 specification page:

Feature deprecation section

  • If you have Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 Pro with Media Center, or Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center and you install Windows 10, Windows Media Center will be removed.
  • Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
  • Windows 7 desktop gadgets will be removed as part of installing Windows 10.
  • Windows 10 Home users will have updates from Windows Update automatically available. Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise users will have the ability to defer updates.
  • Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts Games that come pre-installed on Windows 7 will be removed as part of installing the Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft has released our version of Solitaire and Minesweeper called the “Microsoft Solitaire Collection” and “Microsoft Minesweeper.”
  • If you have a USB floppy drive, you will need to download the latest driver from Windows Update or from the manufacturer’s website.
  • If you have Windows Live Essentials installed on your system, the OneDrive application is removed and replaced with the inbox version of OneDrive.

Nothing particularly drastic, though if you love desktop gadgets in Windows 7, you might want to think twice about upgrading to Windows 10 — at least until you find some replacements. I doubt the floppy drive thing will bother anyone… I expect more people will be put out by the loss of Solitaire.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Microsoft's Cortana Is Coming to Android and iPhone

Microsoft's Cortana Is Coming to Android and iPhone | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Starting in June, you’ll be able to download Cortana as an app on your Galaxy or iPhone even if you’d rather die than use Windows. The rumors are true: Microsoft is giving the non-Windows crowd a taste of its powerful voice assistant, bringing Cortana to Android and iOS.

People love Cortana so much, some developers have already created a ported version for Android called “Portaña.” This switch to multi-platform availability will make Cortana seem more like a standalone product than a Windows feature. And Cortana has been getting increasingly sophisticated, so this could be a real threat to Siri and Google Now.

There is a catch, though: The Android and iOS versions of Cortana will be limited. You won’t be able to say “Hey, Cortana” to activate the voice assistant hands-free, and you won’t be able to open apps or toggle settings, since there won’t be the same level of integration.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

There are seven different versions of Windows 10

There are seven different versions of Windows 10 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft's big sales pitch with Windows 10 is that it's one platform, with one consistent experience and one app store to get your software from.


But when it comes to buying the actual product, there will be seven different versions, Microsoft says in a blog post

Here they are:


  • Windows 10 Home, which is the most basic PC version.
  • Windows 10 Pro, which has touch features and is meant to work on two-in-one devices like laptop/tablet combinations, as well as some additional features to control how software updates get installed — important in the workplace. 
  • Windows 10 Enterprise, which will have extra management features. We have some ideas of pricing here, as Microsoft is touting a $7/month Windows 10 Enterprise subscription for businesses that also includes a bunch of juicy, lucrative cloud services
  • Windows 10 Mobile for smartphones. 
  • Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, which is like the one above, but with more business management features. 
  • Windows 10 Education, which is optimized for schools.
  • Windows 10 IoT Core, which is for robots, smart sensors, and — well, if you need it, you'll know it.


There's very little reason to stress here.


The important thing to know is that if you're a consumer using Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1,  you're get a free upgrade to the equivalent version of Windows 10, so long as you take the plunge in the first year


So, for example, if you're using Windows 8 Home Edition, you're going to have the option of upgrading to Windows 10 Home Edition.

All of these versions of Windows 10 include the good stuff, like the new Microsoft Edge browser that's replacing Internet Explorer, digital assistant Cortana, and the new password-less Windows Hello login system. And Microsoft is promising Universal Apps that work across the whole range of devices, from phone to PC and back. 


And if you take Microsoft up on its free offer, you get the upgrade to the right version automatically. 


But for something that's supposed to be a massive departure, this list of Windows 10 versions sure seems to be business as usual for customers.


For developers, the fact that it's all Windows 10 on the backend makes it easier to develop apps once and make them available to everybody, everywhere. But for the actual users, this range of Windows 10 versions is annoying at best, even if it's an annoyance that Microsoft customers are used to.  


The other massive caveat here is that we don't know Windows 10 pricing outside of the free upgrade offer — so if you want to go from Windows 8 Home to Windows 10 Pro, for example, we don't know for sure how much that would cost you. Free just isn't always free. 


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Microsoft Jumps Into The Mobile Device Management Fray

Microsoft Jumps Into The Mobile Device Management Fray | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft made good on its promise to add mobile device management (MDM) to its Office 365 productivity service, making the feature generally available today to commercial customers. Microsoft has added, in English, the ability for large companies to manage Office on the phones of their employees, regardless of whether the handset in use is a personal or corporate device.

Mobile device management is a heated space inside the enterprise market. MobileIron, a company that offers MDM along with other related services, recently went public. Another market participant, Good Technology, filed to go public, shelved its offering, and now appears ready to take another crack at flotation.


Microsoft’s MDM product will be free to commercial Office 365 customers. That is sensible, as the software company is, I presume, more focused at the moment on growing its seat-base rather than wringing positive dollar churn from fresh accounts.


As you would expect, Office 365’s MDM tooling includes the ability to wipe information from employee handsets, implement security requirements and restrict access to data.

Office 365 is a key product for Microsoft, which is working to convert its single-sale software model into a recurring stream of subscription revenue. The company breaks out its consumer Office 365 subscriber base on a per-quarter basis, but not its commercial seat count for the product. If MDM can help Microsoft sell more quickly into the enterprise market, the company could make progress toward beating its currently tepid, expected growth tally for its current fiscal year.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Windows 10 to Launch This Summer

Windows 10 to Launch This Summer | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will officially launch this summer. It will be released in 190 countries and 111 languages. While Microsoft has confirmed a summer release they did not specify an official release date.


As we reported back in January Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for the first year to owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Windows 10 will also bring with it the launch of the Xbox App that will bring the PC and Xbox One into the same ecosystem. It has also been announced that DirectX 12 will be shipping with the operating system.

We also have reported that Windows 10 will ship with a new web browser codenamed Project Spartan that will replace Internet Explorer and the new operating system will have the ability for users to get updates via a BitTirrent-like system.

Stay tuned as I’m sure we will hear a lot more about Windows 10 in the coming months.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

A lot of people are saying Microsoft is killing Internet Explorer, but that's not true

A lot of people are saying Microsoft is killing Internet Explorer, but that's not true | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft has been working on a new web browser code-named "Project Spartan" specifically designed for Windows 10 for quite some time now, and that's left plenty of people wondering what will happen to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

While some are claiming that Microsoft is "killing off" the Internet Explorer branding, that's not true.

Microsoft confirmed to us that Internet Explorer will still be included in Windows 10, but that it will play second fiddle to "Project Spartan," which is to be re-branded with a new name in the future.

"Project Spartan is Microsoft’s next generation browser, built just for Windows 10," a Microsoft spokesperson told Business Insider. "We will continue to make Internet Explorer available with Windows 10 for enterprises and other customers who require legacy browser support."

So while Internet Explorer will technically be included in Windows 10, Microsoft wants to shine a spotlight on Project Spartan as the main Microsoft browser, likely in an effort to shed the negative connotation many have with Internet Explorer (famously known for being the number one web browser for downloading other browsers) and to draw attention to the slew of new features Project Spartan will offer.

Project Spartan was first announced in January during Microsoft's Windows 10 unveiling, and it offers a new design and rendering engine, and includes integration with Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant.


Allowing Project Spartan to plug into Cortana will allow users to glean more information from the web without leaving their current tab, with Cortana being able to pull up directions, store hours, phone numbers, and addresses from a website. All you'll need to do is click on Cortana's tiny blue ring to see what she can find from the website you're visiting.

So what will Project Spartan eventually be called when Windows 10 launches?

Microsoft says it's still deciding on how to re-brand Project Spartan, according to The Verge, but don't be surprised if it includes the word "Microsoft" in the name — Microsoft's marketing chief Chris Capossela says their polling suggests Chrome users preferred including the company name in the re-branding. 


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

'Freak' Flaw Also Affects Windows

'Freak' Flaw Also Affects Windows | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft is warning that all Windows operating systems are at risk from the vulnerability known as Freak, for "Factoring RSA-EXPORT Keys." The flaw exists in SSL, which is used to secure online communications, and could be abused by an attacker to force crypto suites to downgrade from using a "strong" RSA cipher to a weaker, "export-grade" RSA cipher.

A new Microsoft security advisory (KB3046015) warns that Secure Channel, or Schannel, which encrypts traffic and transactions on most Windows platforms, is at risk from the Freak flaw.


"Microsoft is aware of a security feature bypass vulnerability in Secure Channel that affects all supported releases of Microsoft Windows," the alert says. "Our investigation has verified that the vulnerability could allow an attacker to force the downgrading of the cipher suites used in an SSL/TLS connection on a Windows client system."

As yet, there's no patch available for vulnerable Windows systems, although information security experts say they expect Microsoft to release related fixes quickly. In the interim, Microsoft has detailed a temporary workaround that can be used for most Windows systems. "You can disable the RSA key exchange ciphers in Windows Vista and later systems by modifying the SSL Cipher Suite order in the Group Policy Object Editor," it says. But it warns: "Windows will fail to connect to systems that do not support any of the ciphers listed in the workaround."

To date, however, there's no fix or workaround available for Windows Server 2003. "The cipher management architecture on Windows Server 2003 does not allow for the enabling or disabling of individual ciphers," Microsoft says.

Risks to Apple, Android, Cloud

After quietly warning security vendors, government agencies and other organizations in recent weeks, security researchers first sounded a public alert about the Freak vulnerability on March 3. They've warned that the vulnerability exists in versions of OpenSSL prior to 1.0.1k, all Android devices that ship with the standard browser, as well as in Apple SSL/TLS clients, which are used by both Mac OS X clients and iOS mobile devices, among other operating systems. The vulnerability has been designated as CVE-2015-0204.

The Freak flaw could be exploited to downgrade a browser or other client's Internet connection from a relatively secure cipher, to an outdated - and weak - "export cipher," which attackers could then crack, allowing them to intercept communications or inject attack code into browsers. "What Freak allows you to do is, if you can break the RSA export-strength key, then you can provide a 'valid' certificate for a man-in-the-middle attack," says Gavin Millard, technical director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Tenable Network Security. Tenable, which sells the widely used Nessus vulnerability scanner, has released a Nessus plug-in that will scan for Windows clients and servers that are vulnerable to Freak.

No Attacks Seen

But to date, there have been no signs that the Freak flaw has ever been exploited in the wild - against Windows servers and systems, or any other device. "The reality is, it's still really difficult to do - to break a key, it would still take a few hours or $100 of Amazon EC2 time," Millard says, referring to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, which offers on-demand processing power. "There are so many other ways to break into a site. Hackers are smart; they don't use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut."

Still, related vulnerabilities remain widespread. The Freak Attack website, which is run by researchers at the University of Michigan, has been tracking the extent of the Freak vulnerability. The site reports that as of March 6, 9.5 percent of the websites on the Alexa index of the 1 million most popular top-level domains remained vulnerable to Freak, although that was a decrease from 12.2 percent of all such sites when the Freak vulnerability was first publicized on March 3. But 37 percent of all HTTPS servers with browser-trusted certificates remained vulnerable to Freak, as did 26 percent of all HTTPS servers, and neither of those statistics had declined since Freak was first publicized, the researchers say.

As of March 6, the Freak Attack website reported that the following client software remained vulnerable to the Freak flaw:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Chrome on Mac OS (patch available now)
  • Chrome on Android
  • Safari on Mac OS (patch due week of March 9)
  • Safari on iOS (patch due week of March 9)
  • Stock Android Browser
  • BlackBerry Browser
  • Opera on Mac OS
  • Opera on Linux

Cloud security firm Skyhigh Networks reported that as of March 4, 766 cloud providers also remained unpatched against the vulnerability, thus leaving their users at risk. "These services include some of the leading backup, HR, security, collaboration, CRM, ERP, cloud storage, and backup services," Sekhar Sarukkai, vice president of engineering at Skyhigh, says in a March 5 blog post. Across the company's 350 customers, meanwhile, he reports that 99 percent use at least one cloud provider that's vulnerable to the Freak flaw, while the average company uses 122 vulnerable services.

Don't Freak: How to Mitigate

The Freak Attack site says that to mitigate the vulnerability, anyone running a server "should immediately disable support for TLS export cipher suites," and that anyone who uses a browser should ensure that they have the latest version installed, and keep checking for new upgrades, since all major browsers should soon see a fix.

Finally, Freak Attack recommends that all systems administrators and developers ensure that their TLS libraries are fully updated. "Both OpenSSL and Microsoft Schannel are known to be vulnerable," it says. "Note that these libraries are used internally by many other programs." The site offers a number of tools that can be used to test for related flaws.

This is not the first time that the Microsoft Schannel has been at risk from a newly discovered vulnerability. In particular, a zero-day vulnerability in Schannel was discovered in November 2014. Before that, Schannel was at risk from the so-called POODLE flaw - first publicly revealed Oct. 14 - in SSL, and which was later found in TLS. The flaw could be exploited to intercept and read encrypted Internet communications, steal session cookies and impersonate users.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Before Windows 10, Microsoft offers Lumia 635 with more memory

Before Windows 10, Microsoft offers Lumia 635 with more memory | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In a somewhat surprising twist, Microsoft has added a new version of its Lumia 635 handset in some regions. Don’t get too excited though; it appears there’s only one change: A doubling of the phone’s system memory.

Microsoft‘s official Lumia 635 page confirms the change, which was spotted by the AllAboutWindowsPhone blog. The original model launched with 512MB of memory while 1GB is now available in select markets. The updated model, along with prior comments from the company suggests that Windows 10, Microsoft’s upcoming software for its phones, is best suited for devices that have 1GB of memory.

That doesn’t mean that phones with less RAM won’t see the Windows 10 upgrade. However, Microsoft’s Corporate VP, Operating Systems Group, Joe Belfiore has already said that the company is working to get Windows 10 on phones with 512MB of memory; they just may not have all of the new software features available to them. If you haven’t seen them yet, here’s an overview from the currently available early preview of Windows 10.

As much as I’d like to see Windows 10 arrive for the complete line of Lumia handsets, I can understand the challenge Microsoft faces with limited memory on low-cost phones. Unfortunately, the best selling Lumias have been the ones with 512MB of memory so the company will be challenged to get these handset owners on its new software which unifies the experience across phones, tablets and computers.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Microsoft may be on the cusp of a major move to invade Android

Microsoft may be on the cusp of a major move to invade Android | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft may put its apps on what's likely to be the most popular Android phone of the year, the Galaxy S6, according to a new report from Sam Mobile.

The blog claims to have received information about Samsung's plans for the software that will be on the Galaxy S6.

The company will supposedly remove all of its own apps and offer them as downloadable options instead, but Microsoft's apps are said to come pre-loaded on the phone. This would include apps such as Microsoft Office Mobile, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype. 

In general, it sounds like Samsung is making major improvements to its software. The Galaxy S6 is expected to come with software that's very similar to the stock version of Android, just like Google's Nexus 6.

If true, this would be a big move on Microsoft's part too. Ever since CEO Satya Nadella took over about one year ago, he's emphasized the fact that Microsoft will be expanding outside it's own platforms.  

The company has released several apps for iOS and Android over the past few months, including its Outlook Mail app for iPhone  and Office for iPad, both of which has received generally positive reviews so far. Microsoft is also reportedly getting ready to invest $70 million in Cyanogen, a startup that builds its own version of Android and eventually wants to take Android away from Google.

Putting its own apps and services on a phone that's bound to be popular like the Galaxy S6 would obviously benefit Microsoft, but it's a puzzling move on Samsung's part. We expect to know more on March 1 when Samsung officially introduced it's new phone. 


more...
GuerillaStockTrading.com's curator insight, February 13, 2015 4:09 PM

Microsoft making big moves. I don't think it's puzzling what Samsung is doing. They want a phone that targets business professionals and that integrates with Microsoft Office and cloud.

Scoop.it!

Classic Shell and Start10 banish Windows 10 Live Tiles, bring back Windows 7 look

Classic Shell and Start10 banish Windows 10 Live Tiles, bring back Windows 7 look | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

For anyone having regrets about upgrading to Windows 10, there are now two good options for bringing back the look of Windows 7.

This week, Classic Shell officially added Windows 10 to support for its free Start menu and File Explorer replacement. With this program (pictured above), users can switch to Windows 7’s dual-column view, with pinned and recent applications on the left, and common folders and locations on the right. Classic Shell also includes a classic version of the Windows File Explorer, with a customizable toolbar and a more useful status bar that shows both free disk space and the size of any selected folder.


Meanwhile, Stardock has just released Start10 out of beta for $5. Much like Classic Shell, Start10 allows for a two-column view that resembles the Windows 7 Start menu, and brings back the ”all programs” menu that groups applications into folders. There’s also an option to hide Cortana from the Windows 10 taskbar, while restoring program and file search in the Start menu proper.



I gave each of these programs a quick go-round, and in practice the differences between them are subtle. If you’re just looking for the familiarity of Windows 7, either one should do the trick (though Classic Shell has the advantage of costing nothing). Start10 may be more useful for people who still want access to Windows Store apps, as you can preserve them in the right-hand column while tweaking other aspects of the Start menu. Both apps have plenty of customization options, however, and are far more flexible than the default Start menu.


While Classic Shell is free, Start10 does offer a 30-day free trial, so you can try them both to figure out which Start menu replacement suits your needs.


Why this matters: Although Microsoft has dialed back some of the radical changes that it made to the Start menu in Windows 8, it can still feel pretty unfamiliar coming from Windows 7. If you’re not really using Windows Store apps, the emphasis on Live Tiles in Windows 10 isn’t much help, especially since it comes at the expense of Jump Lists, quick Control Panel access and the old Recent Items shortcut. It’s unlikely that these replacements will see the tens of millions of downloads that they did with Windows 8, but they’re still helpful for people who’d rather keep things the way they used to be.

more...
Scoop.it!

Microsoft Rolls Out The Latest Windows 10 Build To Its 5 Million Testers

Microsoft Rolls Out The Latest Windows 10 Build To Its 5 Million Testers | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Late last week, Microsoft kicked out another Windows 10 build, numbered 10162, to the ‘fast ring’ of its testing community.

The larger Windows Insider program has two groups, fast and slow, allowing people to select how raw they want their code.


The build was rolled out to the larger group of testers today, those in the slow ring. Given that Windows 10 is now just 23 days out, it’s worth taking a moment to dig into what is being released.


The 10162 build, according to Microsoft’s Gabe Aul (see below), isn’t focused new features, but instead contains “bug fixing and final polish.” The company has released a number of builds in recent weeks that were of similar ilk, aimed at beating the operating system into shape, instead of expanding its capabilities.


The code was first pushed to the ‘fast ring’ of testers on the second of this month.

So, consider this to be a build akin to done, but not quite. That means that if you are currently testing Windows 10, regardless of what group you are in, you can now use Windows 10 in a nearly-normal capacity. How polished it is remains your own judgement.

Microsoft recently explained to the public how it will roll out Windows 10. The company intends to deploy the final build to its testing community on the 29th of this month. Following, in waves, other groups will be brought into the fold.


Earlier this morning, The Verge’s Tom Warren reported that Microsoft intends to RTM Windows 10 and distribute it to equipment manufactures (OEMs) later this week. That makes it not too surprising that the software company is working to get fresh code out into the hands of its community.


The long Windows 10 dance is nearly to its first conclusory benchmark. Microsoft has made noise for some time now that it will continue to update the code in perpetuity. But all races, even those that don’t end, have a day one.

    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    Windows 10 likely to land at PC makers this week

    Windows 10 likely to land at PC makers this week | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    Microsoft keeps wending its way past the mile markers en route to getting Windows 10 out to the public on time.


    The software titan is putting the finishing touches on the operating system software and will finalize its prerelease development by July 10, The Verge is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company's plans. This version ofWindows 10, called "release to manufacturing," will then be sent to PC makers to be bundled into their products.


    Windows 10, which is slated to launch on July 29, comes at a critical time for Microsoft. While Windows overall remains the dominant force in desktop operating systems, running on over 90 percent of computers worldwide, according to NetMarketShare, the last big release -- Windows 8 -- proved a marked disappointment. According to NetMarketShare, Windows 8 musters just 13 percent market share worldwide, far behind the 61 percent share for Windows 7 and just ahead the 12 percent share for the now ancient Windows XP.


    The issues with Windows 8 were numerous, ranging from Microsoft's design choice, called Metro, to a steep learning curve for those used to the old days of Windows. Windows 8, which launched in 2012, also came as consumers and business users were increasingly attracted to tablets and smartphones, which typically ran either Apple's iOS software or Google's Android.


    Microsoft tried to respond by offering its own tablet, the Surface, and partner with third-party tablet manufacturers. The efforts, however, have done little to kick Android and iOS from the top spots.

    Realizing its own miscues and the changing market dynamics, Microsoft has tried to address its Windows 8 woes with Windows 10.


    The Start button is back and the design a bit more traditional, while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made clear that Microsoft is a "mobile-first (and cloud-first)" company that will allow for Windows 10 to run on multiple device types without sacrificing features. To boost adoption, Microsoft will offer free upgrades to customers currently running Windows 7 and Windows 8 -- a first for the company. Microsoft has even softened its stance in its longstanding battle with pirates, saying that any pirated copy of Windows can be upgraded to Windows 10 free-of-charge.


    For months now, Microsoft has been offering preview versions of Windows 10 to developers and consumers who want to take the operating system for a test drive. Operating systems go through a series of "builds," or versions, during their development phase. Once the company's development team has finalized the operating system, it goes into RTM phase, which means it's ready to be passed on to hardware vendors for bundling into the PCs they sell. Assuming the report is accurate, hitting the RTM phase this week would ensure Windows 10 would be available later this month, as anticipated.

    That said, while Microsoft seems to be on-pace for a July 29 launch, the company has cautioned thatthe rollout could be slow going.


    Microsoft said last week that it "will start rolling out Windows 10" on July 29, but will roll out the operating system "in waves" after that date.

    "Each day of the rollout, we will listen, learn and update the experience for all Windows 10 users," the company said in a blog post. "If you reserved your copy of Windows 10, we will notify you once our compatibility work confirms you will have a great experience, and Windows 10 has been downloaded on your system."


    The blog post seems to indicate that while Windows 10 may be released to PC vendors soon, it will continue to fine-tune the operating system after the July 29 launch date.


    Microsoft has yet to say when its operating system will hit the RTM phase, but in the past, the company has announced the milestone on its site. Microsoft will likely do the same with Windows 10, once it has officially gone RTM.

    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    Archos $99 Windows 10 PC-on-a-stick is best deal yet for a tiny PC | News | Geek.com

    Archos $99 Windows 10 PC-on-a-stick is best deal yet for a tiny PC | News | Geek.com | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    It wasn’t that long ago that geeks walked around with a pocket full of flash drives. Today, you can stuff them with entire computers instead — like this new one from Archos. Intel has their Compute Stick. Lenovo has the IdeaCentre Stick 300. So, what did Archos whip up? Fittingly enough, they call it the Stick PC.


    Like Lenovo did with their stick, Archos stayed true to Intel’s reference design. The PC Stick runs on the same quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F clocked at 1.3GHz, has just 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. You’ll have less available to use since Windows 10 comes pre-installed, of course, but you can pop in a microSD card or connect an external hard drive or SSD to the Stick PC’s full-sized USB port. As far as connectivity goes, Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11bgn WiFi support is built in.


    The Stick PC measures just 4.4 inches tall by an inch-and0-a-half wide, and it’s about half of an inch thick. You’ll barely notice it in your pants pocket, and there’s a good chance it might end up going through a wash cycle or two as a result.


    Really, the only big difference you can see between the Archos PC Stick and the other two I’ve mentioned here is that it’s blue. Well, that, and the ridiculously low price tag. Archos plans to sell the PC Stick for just $99. That’s a heck of a good deal considering it’s the same thing Lenovo wants to sell you for $129 and the Compute Stick is priced at $149.

    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    When Windows 10 arrives, will your files and apps survive?

    When Windows 10 arrives, will your files and apps survive? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it
    You may run into some compatibility bumps if you upgrade to Windows 10. screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

    Set to debut July 29, Windows 10 will be free for one year for anyone running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. And it will be a direct upgrade, meaning you can run the Windows 10 installation in Windows 7 or 8.1, and you should end up with Windows 10 in the end.

    Windows 10 marks Microsoft's big push to get itself back on course after the miscues of Windows 8, so every little thing counts -- including getting the installation correct right off the bat.

    Not all software upgrades go smoothly, however. Compatibility problems sometimes rear up, especially when you upgrade from one operating system to another. Certain hardware may be not compatible. Certain software programs may not be supported or may need to be updated or reinstalled. How will you know if the hardware and software you run in Windows 7 or 8.1 will still work after the upgrade? Microsoft can help you determine if and how your PC or tablet will handle the move to Windows 10.

    Check for compatibility issues

    First, those of you running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 should see a Windows 10 icon in the Windows system tray. This icon debuted June 1 to coax you to reserve your free copy of Windows 10 so that come July 29, the installation package is automatically downloaded to your PC. But whether or not you've made the reservation, you can still check your PC to see which hardware and software may not play ball with Windows 10.

    Click the Get Windows 10 icon. In the Windows 10 upgrade window, click the icon with the three horizontal bars, aka the hamburger icon. From the left pane that appears, click the link to Check your PC.

    A Compatibility Report opens to tell you if Windows 10 will work on this PC. You'll also probably see a list of any hardware and software that may not be fully compatible or may not work with Windows 10. For example, on my Lenovo laptop, the report told me that Bluetooth audio might not work correctly after the upgrade, that Norton Internet Security won't work and that I would need to reinstall VMware Player and Lenovo Messenger.

    If you find a lot of compatibility issues, don't panic. Remember that Windows 10 is still in beta mode with a release date of July 29 before the final product is out. That gives Microsoft and third-party vendors almost two months to smooth out compatibility issues and resolve any potential bugs. And even when July 29 arrives, you may want to hold off on upgrading to Windows 10 right away. You do have a year to snag the free upgrade. Wait a few weeks or a month after the OS debuts, and some of those compatibility problems may get ironed out.

    Check Microsoft's information

    You'll also want to check the details on Windows 10 via Microsoft'sWindows 10 Specifications page. The Important Notes section on this page explains which items should make the leap to Windows 10 and which ones may not.

    The good news is that your documents and personal files should all handle the transition to Windows 10 without any problems. Still, you may want to back up all of your personal files to an external drive or other source just to be on the safe side. Your Windows apps and settings should also remain intact following the upgrade. But Microsoft cautions that some applications or settings may not migrate.

    As the company explains it:

    The upgradeability of a device has factors beyond the system specification. This includes driver and firmware support, application compatibility, and feature support, regardless of whether or not the device meets the minimum system specification for Windows 10.


    For example, third-party antivirus and anti-malware applications will be uninstalled during the upgrade and then reinstalled with the latest version after the upgrade is finished, according to Microsoft. That process assumes your subscription to the antivirus product is still valid. If not, then Microsoft's Windows Defender will be enabled instead. The Compatibility Report that I received told me that Norton Internet Security would not work, so presumably Windows 10 would install an updated version of Norton that does work.

    Certain applications installed by your PC or tablet maker may need to be removed before the upgrade. My Lenovo laptop contains a suite of applications specific to Lenovo. The Compatibility Report told me that Lenovo Messenger would need to be reinstalled.

    Any applications with Windows 10 compatibility issues will be removed before the upgrade. Therefore, you'll want to note the names of any such applications and check to see if new or updated versions are available that you can install after Windows 10 is in place.
     

    Based on the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview builds, Microsoft seems to have addressed most of the gripes about Windows 8 and created an OS that seems fresher and decidedly more user-friendly. So as long as you can work through any compatibility issues, upgrading from Windows 8.1 and even from Windows 7 should be worth the effort.

    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    Windows Phone is now officially Windows Mobile again

    Microsoft started dropping the Windows Phone brand back in September, and now we have its official replacement. The software maker has revealed today that the equivalent to Windows Phone for the Windows 10 era is simply "Windows 10 Mobile." If you’ve been paying attention to Microsoft’s mobile efforts over the years, then you’ll know that’s a straight return to the Windows Mobile days. Microsoft used a variety of names for Windows Mobile, including Windows Mobile 2003, Windows Mobile 5, and Windows Mobile 6 before switching to Windows Phone for version 7.

    While the new name isn’t simply Windows Mobile, thanks to the 10 numbering, it’s still a return to the old days of Windows Mobile especially if Microsoft does choose to ship a Windows 11 or Windows 12 in the future. After a confusing mix of names over more than 15 years, Microsoft has finally settled on the name it used the most. Windows Mobile makes a lot more sense than Windows Phone these days, especially as the operating system will span across phones and tablets, but it's still not really the Windows as we know it today. Microsoft is trying to change that with universal apps across all devices, but for most Windows is still Windows on PCs and laptops.

    Either way, welcome back old Windows Mobile friend, the circle is complete.


    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    Windows 10: No More Monthly Patches

    Windows 10: No More Monthly Patches | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    For its soon-to-be-released Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft will abandon its longtime practice of issuing a batch of "Patch Tuesday" product and security updates once per month. Instead, the company will begin offering 24/7, cloud-based patching, which will become the new default for consumers. For the enterprise market, a new Windows Update for Business will enable IT managers to take advantage of these anytime updates or define their own patch-release schedules.


    Those are just some of the new Windows 10 features announced this week at Microsoft's Ignite conference in Chicago. Windows 10 could ship as early as summer 2015 for PCs, the company says, but the OS will launch later for smartphones, tablets, the Xbox and other devices. The operating system is the successor to Windows 8 - Microsoft skipped "Windows 9" - which was released in late 2012.


    "Windows 10 follows the path first taken by the smartphone sector where iPhones, versions of Android and Windows Phones pioneered getting updates delivered to users as soon as they become available," says Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of security firm Qualys. "This strategy has worked out exceptionally well when it comes to security." Indeed, Verizon's 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report found that a scant 0.03 percent of smartphones get infected with "higher-grade" malicious code, which is orders of magnitude below PC infection rates.


    But some notable Windows 10 security questions as yet remain unanswered. Microsoft has yet to reveal if its cloud-based approach to updating devices will work with just Windows 10, or also with Windows 7 and Windows 8. It's also unclear whether Windows Update for Business will replace the widely used Windows Server Update Services.

    Windows 10 Security Overview

    Ahead of the new operating system's debut, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's operating systems group, took to the stage in Chicago to describe four key information security areas that are being addressed in Windows 10:

    • Device protection: Hardware-based Secure Boot can restrict the types of software that load when the device is powered on. A new Device Guard can be set to only allow a "white list" of approved applications to run, backed by Hyper-V, a native hypervisor that creates virtual machines. And Microsoft is touting a "new device health capability" that ensures endpoints are free from malware and bugs, and fully updated, before they're allowed to connect to enterprise resources.
    • Identity protection: Microsoft says the Windows 10 Passport - which also uses Hyper-V - can protect credentials and handle secure authentication with networks and websites without sending passwords, thus providing a defense against phishing attacks. The new Windows Hello feature, meanwhile, allows for biometric access controls via faces or fingerprints.
    • Application protection: Microsoft will certify the security of applications purchased via its Windows Store for Business. Businesses can also set Device Guard to only allow those certified applications to run on a device. All applications will also be restricted to only using kernel-level drivers that are digitally signed by Microsoft. "Windows 10 will not allow older drivers to run unless fully compatible with Windows 10," says Sean Sullivan, security adviser at anti-virus vendor F-Secure. "Microsoft expects developers to tighten up their old code ... which is better for both security and the user experience."
    • Information protection: Enterprise Data Protection can be set to automatically encrypt all corporate data, including files, emails and website content, as it arrives on the device from online or corporate networks.
    Security-Only Patching

    With the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft is also planning big changes to how Windows devices can be updated.

    One notable change centers on updates for mission-critical systems - such as medical equipment or the supervisory control and data acquisition systems that power factories and refineries - that must never be allowed to crash, and for which IT managers thus often never install any Windows updates. As a result, such devices are often at risk from exploits that target known vulnerabilities.


    With Windows 10, however, Microsoft will now issue "Long Term Servicing Branches" that will "contain only security updates, without any functional updates," Microsoft's Myerson says. That way, businesses should be able to keep these mission-critical systems patched against attacks that target known flaws, without worrying that various feature changes or upgrades will crash the system.

    Windows Update for Business

    With Windows 10, businesses will also have new types of patch-distribution capabilities, via Windows Update for Business, which Myerson says will be a free service for business-focused Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices. Windows Update for Business will offer four options that are designed to make updates easier and less expensive to manage, while also enabling IT managers to get security and functionality updates into users' hands more quickly:

    • Distribution waves: IT managers can specify update waves, so critical devices get untested patches first. Others could be set to still receive monthly patch updates. F-Secure's Sullivan says that this "looks like good stuff," because it will allow businesses to reduce the time they need to patch enterprise systems.
    • Maintenance windows: Patch managers can specify when updates should - or should not - occur.
    • Peer-to-peer delivery: P2P can be used to get updates to remote offices or workers. "The peer-to-peer distribution model for these updates will help with connectivity bottlenecks," Kandek says. "It's an attestation to the power of this networking technology which has been well tested in gaming and video distribution."
    • Integration: Microsoft says the new patching capabilities will work with existing systems management tools that handle patching, such as System Center and the Enterprise Mobility Suite.
    Goodbye, Patch Tuesday

    Windows 10 marks a big change to Microsoft's policy of releasing patches in monthly batches, which dates back to 2003. The rise of agile programming has changed businesses' and consumers' expectations about how - and how quickly - their software should receive updates.


    Some vendors now patch and release fixes for flaws in a matter of days, or less. At the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest, for example, after security researchers demonstrate new flaws in widely used software products, Google and Mozilla regularly issue patches for those vulnerabilities in their Chrome and Firefox browsers in less than 24 hours.


    Recent versions of those browsers have been built using agile development techniques - including rapid development "sprints" - that might see new versions of an application get released at least every few weeks. Coupled with those browsers having the ability to automatically receive and install updates, these more frequent releases allow developers to patch products more frequently, and that's led some companies, including Google, to adopt more rapid patching as the norm.


    With Windows 10, Microsoft is positioning itself to embrace these techniques too, in part via its new "Microsoft Edge" browser, known previously by its "Project Spartan" code name.


    "For enterprises, IT teams there do have the option to continue with tighter patch control and testing," Kandek says. "However, I don't doubt that most IT teams will see the advantages of shifting over to the new model, as it supports fast patching on the desktop level. More and more, our desktop PCs and laptops have become pure Internet-connected workstations that will have no dependencies on legacy applications that force the use of outdated software versions, so the old model for patching becomes less relevant over time."


    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    Windows 10 Upgrades Will Be Free, Even for Pirates. No Joke

    Windows 10 Upgrades Will Be Free, Even for Pirates. No Joke | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    Windows 10 is coming this summer, Microsoft has confirmed, and will be free to anyone using Windows 7 or better. Even people who didn’t pay for it.

    That’s right, even Windows 7 and 8 users who don’t have a valid Windows license will get a free bump up to Windows 10. The release timing and new upgrade scheme were revealed by Microsoft operating system chief Terry Myerson at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China, Reuters reports. Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

    It’s a surprising move given the importance that Microsoft has placed on Windows license revenue in the past, and the lengths Microsoft has gone to to prevent the spread of pirated copies of the operating system. But the company has spent the past year reinventing itself in many ways, including going so far as to announce a free version of Windows for devices with screens smaller than nine inches.

    Meanwhile, operating system pricing expectations have also been changing. Apple has offered free upgrades to OS X since 2013, and mobile operating system updates have long been free. Apple can make up for some of this lost revenue through increased hardware sales, and Microsoft is trying this strategy as well with its Surface tablet/notebook hybrid and other new devices. But Google offers its Android mobile operating system for free, making money off mobile advertising and app sales in the Google Play Store. Microsoft may similarly see a free Windows 10 as the gateway to alternate revenue streams.

    The company now offers a range of cloud services, including Office 365, Skype and OneDrive, that Windows users may be more likely shell out for, even if they didn’t buy an operating system license. And even if those customers don’t end up buying cloud services from the company, at least they’re staying in the Microsoft ecosystem. Last quarter Microsoft’s revenue from consumer licensing — including both Windows and Office — accounted for only 16 percent of the company revenue, down from 23 percent the previous year. With Apple and Google Chromebooks slowly eating into Microsoft’s market share, the company could be thinking that a non-paying customer is better than no customer at all.

    The company could also be worried about leaving millions of machines running outdated operating systems and software. Unpatched systems can spread malware and viruses, and releasing security updates for decades old platforms is costly. Microsoft has been campaigning to get users to retire Windows XP and the Internet Explorer 6 web browser, but China has been particularly slow to upgrade both. To make matters worse, the Chinese government, which has long clashed with Microsoft over piracy, even banned the use of Windows 8 on government computers largely due to concerns over upgrade costs.

    The move to simply give away updated copies to pirates could ensure that Microsoft doesn’t end up in the same situation again. But regardless of the reason, it’s certainly a change of direction for the company. And welcome news to those who acquired Windows through less than legal means.


    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    The next version of Windows could make passwords obsolete

    The next version of Windows could make passwords obsolete | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    Passwords are terrible.

    They're hard for people to remember and relatively easy for computerized programs to guess — which is why a lot of companies make you change them every 90 days and use a bunch of characters and symbols and capital letters and numbers, which makes them even harder to remember.

    Because they're so hard to remember, people often write them down on pieces of paper or send them to themselves via email, making them even less secure.

    But if Microsoft has its way, the days of entering a password to log into your computer, applications, or favorite web sites may soon come to an end.

    Windows 10 will include a feature called Windows Hello, and Microsoft says it "introduces system-level support for biometric authentication." In plain English, that means that you'll be able to log into Windows using your fingerprint or by having the computer take a picture of your face or iris.

    Obviously, Microsoft isn't the first and only company trying to rid the world of passwords. Apple's iPhones have had the Touch ID fingerprint scanner since the iPhone 6. And PC makers like Lenovo have tinkered with face recognition instead of passwords for years too.

    So, not surprisingly, to work with Windows 10, the PC will have to be equipped with a fingerprint scanner or special infrared sensors, both of which are pretty rare today. But assuming the hardware is there, Windows 10 will do the difficult software work. It can be used not only to log on to your PC, but can also identify you to applications and web sites — assuming that the creators of those apps and sites want to support Windows Hello.

    Microsoft is also introducing a technology for businesses code-named Passport, which would allow employees to log on to company networks using a biometric sensor or a PIN (like you use on your phone). No password is ever stored on the PC or server, making it harder for hackers to get into networks.

    Biometrics aren't new for Microsoft either — Windows has supported them for years, and many companies already use things like fingerprint readers. The barrier has always been the ubiquity of the hardware more than the software. But with Windows 10, Microsoft is taking another shot at making them even easier. Given the high-profile hacks of the last couple years, the time may finally be ripe for mass adoption.


    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    Windows PCs remained vulnerable to Stuxnet-like attacks despite 2010 patch

    Windows PCs remained vulnerable to Stuxnet-like attacks despite 2010 patch | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    If you patched your Windows computers in 2010 against the LNK exploit used by Stuxnet and thought you were safe, researchers from Hewlett-Packard have some bad news for you: Microsoft’s fix was flawed.

    In January, researcher Michael Heerklotz reported privately to HP’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) that the LNK patch released by Microsoft over four years ago can be bypassed.

    This means that over the past four years attackers could have reverse-engineered Microsoft’s fix to create new LNK exploits that could infect Windows computers when USB storage devices got plugged into them. However, there’s no information yet to suggest this has happened.

    The original attack, which exploited a vulnerability in how Windows displayed icons for shortcut (LNK) files, was used to spread Stuxnet, a computer worm that sabotaged uranium enrichment centrifuges at Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz.

    Stuxnet, which is believed to have been created by the U.S. and Israel, was discovered in June 2010 after it spread beyond its intended target and ended up infecting tens of thousands of computers around the world. The LNK vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2010-2568, was one of several zero-day, or previously unknown, flaws that Stuxnet exploited. Microsoft patched the flaw in August that same year as part of a security bulletin called MS10-046.

    “To prevent this attack, Microsoft put in an explicit whitelist check with MS10-046, released in early August 2010,” the HP researchers said in a blog post Tuesday. “Once that patch was applied, in theory only approved .CPL files should have been able to be used to load non-standard icons for links.”

    “The patch failed,” they said. “And for more than four years, all Windows systems have been vulnerable to exactly the same attack that Stuxnet used for initial deployment.”

    ZDI reported the LNK patch bypass found by Heerklotz to Microsoft, which treated it as a new vulnerability (CVE-2015-0096) and fixed it Tuesday as part of MS15-020. The ZDI researchers plan to examine the new update to see if there are any other possible bypasses.

    However, applying the workaround published by Microsoft in 2010, which involves using the registry editor to manually disable the display of icons for shortcut files, will protect against the latest flaw too, they said.

    While the LNK attack was first discovered as part of Stuxnet, security researchers from Kaspersky Lab recently found that another computer worm, called Fanny, had used it since 2008. Fanny is part of a malware arsenal used by a highly sophisticated cyberespionage group that Kaspersky has dubbed Equation.

    As revealed by a Kaspersky Lab report in August 2014, exploitation of the original CVE-2010-2568 vulnerability remained widespread even after the Microsoft patch in 2010, primarily because the exploit was integrated in more common threats like the Sality worm. From July 2010 to May 2014, Kaspersky Lab detected over 50 million instances of the CVE-2010-2568 exploit on more than 19 million computers worldwide.


    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    Momentum grows around Microsoft's Windows 10 for phones

    Momentum grows around Microsoft's Windows 10 for phones | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS hasn’t taken the world by storm, but its successor, Windows 10, is off to an encouraging start even before its release.

    Only a handful of Windows 10 handsets were on display on the show floor of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, but with some device and chip makers announcing their intentions to support Windows 10 on smartphones, that could translate to many more handsets becoming available by year end.

    Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will provide a more consistent user experience across smartphones, tablets and PCs. A technical preview of the OS is already available, with the final version expected to reach handsets later this year. Some handsets, but not all, running Windows Phone 8.1 will be upgraded to Windows 10.



    At the show Microsoft announced a new smartphone, the Lumia 640XL, which it demonstrated running Windows 10 Technical Preview at its booth. It will ship with Windows Phone 8.1, but can be upgraded to Windows Phone 10. A spokesman demonstrated the Cortana voice interaction and said it would work with Office 365, OneDrive and other Microsoft technologies.


    more...
    No comment yet.
    Scoop.it!

    Microsoft to Double Support Costs For Windows XP

    Microsoft to Double Support Costs For Windows XP | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    Microsoft is trying another tactic to get Windows XP users to finally upgrade. They will be doubling the support cost for the operating system. Windows XP is 14 years old now and has been followed up by Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, but many home and business users continue to rely on the software and have not upgraded.

    Microsoft will be raising the per-PC price of custom support agreements for enterprise users to $400, which is double the previous fee. Even though official Microsoft support for the operating system ended April 8th 2014, 15.17% of the world’s PCs still use Windows XP.


    more...
    No comment yet.