It’s 1995 and I’ve been nearly two years in the professional workspace. OS/2 is the dominant workstation product, Netware servers rule the world, and the year of the Linux desktop is going to happen any moment now. If you weren’t running OS/2, you were probably running Windows 3.1, only very few people were using that Linux thing. What would have been the prefect OS at the time would have been NT with a competent POSIX subsystem, but since we were denied that, enter Hiroshi Oota with BSD on Windows. ↫ neozeed at Virtually Fun This is absolutely wild.
According to my sources, the new Windows bosses are now returning to an annual release cycle for major versions of the Windows platform, meaning Windows is going back to having just one big feature update a year instead of multiple smaller ones throughout. Microsoft may still use Moment updates sparingly, but they will no longer be the primary delivery vehicle for new features going forward. ↫ Zac Bowden at Windows Central Raise your hand if you still have any idea how Windows updates, feature additions, and new versions even work at this point. The number of weird codenames and Microsoftisms in this article are through the roof. According to my sources, Microsoft’s blockbuster new feature will be the introduction of an AI-powered Windows Shell, enhanced with an “advanced Copilot,” that’s able to constantly work in the background to enhance search, jumpstart projects or workflows, understand context, and much more. Sources say these AI features will be “groundbreaking.” ↫ Zac Bowden at Windows Central If you thought Windows 11 was bad now, it’s only going to get worse. Much, much worse.
Windows 10’s end-of-support date is October 14, 2025. That’s the day that most Windows 10 PCs will receive their last security update and the date when most people should find a way to move to Windows 11 to ensure that they stay secure. As it has done for other stubbornly popular versions of Windows, though, Microsoft is offering a reprieve for those who want or need to stay on Windows 10: three additional years of security updates, provided to those who can pay for the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program. ↫ Andrew Cunningham for Ars Technica Getting users to upgrade from Windows 10 to 11 at that point isn’t going to be easy, because at this point Windows 10 users who can technically upgrade are clearly not doing so for a reason. I also wonder what this will mean for the large number of Windows 10 users who simply cannot upgrade because they have a processor that’s artificially restricted from running Windows 11.
According to our tests and reports seen by us, HP Smart is auto-installing on all versions of Windows that use Microsoft Store, including Windows 11 23H2 or 22H2. HP Smart is an app that allows you to manage HP printers, and it’s typically pre-installed on HP PCs. It’s not supposed to be installed when you’re not using an HP device like a PC or printer. However, the Microsoft Store is auto-installing the “HP Smart” app on Windows installations. ↫ Mayank Parmar for Windows Latest Microsoft is giving away free applications to Windows users the world over, and even installing it for them! What a nice, altruistic gesture. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
The Windows Accessibility team adheres to the disability community’s guiding principle, “nothing about us without us,” emphasizing the creation of products that empower everyone. We launched and announced new and exciting features last September through our Windows 11 2022 Update and with your feedback, we have improved upon those experiences in a number of ways. ↫ Divya Bhaskaran on Microsoft’s official Windows blog In this blog post, Microsoft details some of the accessibility features it has added to Windows in 2023.
Windows App, which is still in beta, will let you connect to Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365, Microsoft Dev Box, Remote Desktop Services, and remote PCs from, well, pretty much any computing device. Specifically, you can use it from Macs, iPhones, iPads, other Windows machines, and — pay attention! — web browsers. That last part means you’ll be able to run Windows from Linux-powered PCs, Chromebooks, and Android phones and tablets. So, if you’ve been stuck running Windows because your boss insists that you can’t get your job done from a Chromebook, Linux PC, or Mac, your day has come. You can still run the machine you want and use Windows for only those times you require Windows-specific software. So remote desktop in a shinier package and some additional marketing.
Currently, there are many settings/registry keys that developers desire to tweak that are either not accessible via the Windows Settings app and/or are difficult to discover throughout the OS. Users may have to resort to running scripts or manually changing registry keys to get their machine into their ideal state. Furthermore, there is not a single place for developers to discover and tweak new Windows features specific to developer workflows that are in development and provide feedback on them. This means that developers may not even be aware of features or settings that they can tweak to improve their workflows and optimize their productivity/machine performance. Finally, lots of developers have to search the web to find the best settings to tweak to optimize their machine for their specific use case — there isn’t a single place to find what settings are recommended by fellow developers. Microsoft is soliciting feedback on a possible new settings panel that would centralise popular advanced settings in Windows that currently require registry hacks or are otherwise difficult to find. The company wants to know which features and settings are a good fit for such a panel, and what such a panel should look like. This is an excellent idea, and something I’m sure many of the Windows users here would love to see.
Reading the story of how Windows NT came to be was entertaining, as it is a story of the system itself and the dynamics between Dave Cutler, the original designer and lead for NT, and the other people involved in the project. I was shy of being 10 years old when Windows NT launched and I didn’t comprehend what was going on in the operating systems world and why this release was such a big deal. Reading the book made me learn various new things about the development process, the role of Microsoft in that era, and allowed me to settle some questions I’ve had over the years. This article is a mixture of a book review and a collection of thoughts and reflections that the book evoked. Let’s begin because we have a lot of ground to cover. Dave Cutler’s impact on the word of computing really can’t be understated. I often wonder how he truly feels about what his and his team’s creation turned into today – does he like what Windows NT has become? Does he consider Windows 11 worthy of carrying on the torch of NT? As Cutler still works at Microsoft, we won’t get an answer any time soon, but I sure do hope he intends to write down his memoirs in a tell-all book about his life and career, because I’d be down for reading that.
NTDEV, the developer behind Tiny11, has released a new update for its miniature Windows 11 operating system, called Tiny11 2311, that adds Microsoft’s latest feature update, 23H2, into the OS and introduces a plethora of bug fixes addressing issues in the outgoing version of Tiny11. On top of this, the new update also shrinks Tiny11’s install size by a whopping 20%, making Tiny11’s renowned footprint even smaller. There is absolutely no need for Windows 11 to be as big and invasive as it is, and it feels like such a shame and missed opportunity to burden an otherwise good and capable operating system with such cruft and useless junk.
Windows Terminal is getting an optional feature – ChatGPT-powered “AI chat” on Windows 11. ChatGPT integration is now available in Terminal (Canary), a new development channel to test experimental features ahead of a wider rollout. With ChatGPT AI Chat in Terminal, you can use AI to generate commands, explain errors, and get recommendations. Microsoft wants Terminal to use the natural language AI to explain commands, such as “DISM”, or errors you might get when running commands. Similarly, it can suggest actions, like an alternate command when the original one doesn’t work. When Microsoft said it wants to shove “AI” into every aspect of Windows, they weren’t kidding.
Shortly after announcing the end of three services, one of which is as old as MS-DOS, Microsoft deprecated the Tips app. Now, another utility is about to get the axe: Microsoft has updated its Windows documentation again, detailing the end of the story for Steps Recorder (psr.exe). Steps Recorder is an old utility from the Windows 7 era that lets you, as the name implies, record your steps while doing something in Windows. Although long abandoned, Steps Recorder is a handy tool for describing to your grandma how to perform specific actions in Windows, troubleshoot apps, or report bugs. Steps Recorder is simple and very effective, and you can launch it by pressing Win + R and typing psr. With Windows being as massively popular as it is, even removals of weird, obscure utilities and services that small percentages of Windows users used, still means hundreds of thousands of people can be affected. So, let’s pour one out for psr.
In order to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, Microsoft is planning a number of changes to Windows to comply with this new legislation. Ars sums them up nicely: All of the above will be exclusive to the EU/EEA, so Windows users elsewhere are out of luck.
“Microsoft steals access data” – When the well-known German IT portal “Heise Online” uses such drastic words in its headline, then something is up. If Microsoft has its way, all Windows users will have to switch to the latest version of Microsoft Outlook. But: Not only can the IMAP and SMTP access data of your e-mail account be transferred to Microsoft, but all e-mails in the INBOX can also be copied to the Microsoft servers, even if you have your mailbox with a completely different provider such as mailbox.org. They’re going to use it for AI, I’m assuming. In any event, don’t use the new Outlook – it’s a web app anyway and there’s better clients for Windows. I think. I’m not sure people are still developing e-mail clients for Windows.
The year was 1983. Microsoft was slowly becoming a well-known tech company in the PC space. Two years before, in 1981, Its MS-DOS operating system would be installed in the first IBM PC. It launched its first-word processing program, Word, earlier in 1983, along with its first Microsoft Mouse product. It even made Mac and PC hardware expansion cards. However, 40 years ago today, on November 10, 1983 at a press event in New York City, Microsoft first revealed its plans to launch an all-new graphical user interface-based PC operating system. The company called the OS Windows. If you’ve ever used Windows 1.0 – either because you’re old and remember it as new, or in a VM – you’ll know just how limited and useless Windows 1.0 really was. Still, it set the stage for one of the most successful tech products of all time, and few products in tech can boast about being on the market for four decades. That being said, I’m not exactly sad Windows seems to be in its twilight years.
A few weeks ago, we reported an odd discovery in Microsoft Edge: a poll asking users to explain their decision to download Chrome. A similar thing is now haunting OneDrive users on Windows, demanding to answer why they are closing the app. And demanding is a correct word here because Windows will not let you quit OneDrive without answering first. The beatings will continue until morale improves.
WinRAR has a massive security hole that’s still being actively exploited, and it’s one of many Windows applications that do not auto-update. The developer boasts of more than 500 million WinRAR installations around the world, so it’s likely that hundreds of millions of PCs are vulnerable to malicious ZIP files today. How is it that, in 2023, the world’s most popular desktop operating system doesn’t provide an easy way to update your installed applications? It baffles me that Windows and macOS users still have to manually keep track of and update each and every one of their applications individually, like it’s 1997 or something. Stay safe. It’s the wild west out there for some of you.
We’ve already covered the end of life of Windows CE, but Ars has a short but interesting look back at the history of this undeservedly unloved operating system. It was a proto-netbook, it was a palmtop, it was a PDA, it was Windows Phone 7 but not Windows Phone 8, and then it was an embedded ghost. It parents never seemed to know what to do with it after it grew up, beyond offer it up for anybody to shape in their own image. And then, earlier this month, with little notice, Windows CE was no more, at least as a supported operating system. I will never forget Windows CE.
Microsoft is starting to roll out new changes to Windows Ink that let you write anywhere you can type in Windows 11. After months of previewing the changes, the handwriting-to-text conversion now works inside search boxes and other elements of Windows 11 where you’d normally type your input. Microsoft has started rolling out the KB5031455 non-security update as a preview to Windows 11 users yesterday. You simply have to head to Windows Update and toggle the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” setting to get this update before it’s available fully in the coming weeks. While my handwriting is not great and I never use it for any computing tasks, stuff like this has always been pretty cool. Microsoft has been working on this since Windows 3.1 for Pen Computing 1.0 from 1992, and the recognition is actually very, very good. Being able to input handwriting straight into text fields will be a boon for artists and note-takers who use Windows on tablets, though, so it’s definitely worth installing this update if you belong to that group.
Virtualization of Microsoft Windows 9x systems is a bit problematic due to 2 major bugs: TLB invalidation bug and CPU speed limit bug. This program contains a set of patches to fix these bugs, and can be booted from a floppy on a virtual machine. It either applies the patch to the installed system, or it patches the installation files in order to create (relatively) bug-free installation media. A must-have for your Windows 95/98/ME virtual machines.
Last weekend, we noticed that an attempt to download Google Chrome using Microsoft Edge results in the latter opening its sidebar with a poll, asking you to explain to Microsoft how you could dare try downloading Google Chrome. Of course, the exact wording is more tame, but you get the idea. Now, besides dismissing several banners and a full-size ad injected on the Chrome website, Edge wants you to answer a questionnaire with the following options. Frequently bought together.