Windows Archive

“Why can’t I trigger a manual blue screen crash by injecting the magic key sequence?”

A customer was developing an automated test that required the system to suffer a blue screen crash. They configured their test systems to crash when the ScrollLock key is pressed twice while holding the Ctrl key, and they wrote a simple program that ran as administrator and injected the appropriate keystrokes. But no crash occurred. What did they do wrong? ↫ Raymond Chen Does anyone here not love a Raymond Chen mystery?

WoWMIPS: MIPS emulator for Windows

Recently, I began a new project – developing a MIPS emulator for Windows. Although Windows NT is commonly associated with x86-based architectures (and more recently ARM64), historically some lesser-known editions were released for other chipsets. MIPS, a RISC architecture, briefly featured on Windows NT 3.51/4.0 alongside the DEC Alpha and PowerPC before being discontinued with the release of Windows 2000. Having been predominantly x86-focused until now, I have no prior experience with MIPS – or RISC architectures in general. As with the Win16 emulator, my plan is not to achieve 100% compatibility with complex software. Instead, I aim to emulate enough core functionality to successfully run some of the built-in Windows games and utilities. I would like to achieve this in the most universal way possible, relying on minimal hardcoded “fixes” and hooks. ↫ x86matthew A very impressive project, and a fun one, to boot. Do note that the series of articles is split up, and you can move to the next one in the series at the bottom of each article.

Updating Microsoft Secure Boot keys

Microsoft, in collaboration with our ecosystem partners, is preparing to roll out replacement certificates that’ll set new Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Certificate Authorities (CAs) trust anchors in Secure Boot for the future. Look out for Secure Boot database updates rolling out in phases to add trust for the new database (DB) and Key Exchange Key (KEK) certificates. This new DB update is available as an optional servicing update for all Secure Boot enabled devices from February 13, 2024. ↫ SochiOgbuanya This update will replace the Windows 8-era certificates, set to expire in 2026, with new ones.

Microsoft is bringing Copilot “AI” to Notepad for Windows 11

Microsoft plans to make Copilot AI inseparable from Windows. After releasing Copilot for Windows 11 and 10 and adding it to Microsoft apps, you can now use Copilot AI in Notepad to get simplified explanations. You can install the Notepad app update via the Microsoft Store to use this feature, but remember, it only works in Dev or Canary channels. Notepad version 11.2401.25.0 adds the “Explain with Copilot” option in its context menu. After highlighting a chunk of text (sentences, code snippets, etc), right-click and select the “Explain with Copilot” option. Or you can press the Ctrl + E shortcut to invoke this feature. ↫ Abhishek Mishra I wonder if you could replace this new, butchered Notepad with a an older, working copy.

Short history of all Windows UI frameworks and libraries

The official way to create user interfaces for the Windows operating system changed quite a lot of times during the last years. Microsoft created and (partially or fully) abadoned a lot of APIs which where intended to replace the respective previous ones. They changed names and ways how it’s supposed to be done a few times, and left a lof of developers confused. Here is a small historical overview. ↫ Nikolaus Gebhardt If you’re ever wondering how we ended up at a situation where, on the desktop and in Explorer, context menus have their own context menus, well, this is why.

Microsoft formally announces sudo for Windows

After earlier sightings, Microsoft has now formally announced sudo for Windows. We’re excited to announce the release of Sudo for Windows in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26052! Sudo for Windows is a new way for users to run elevated commands directly from an unelevated console session. It is an ergonomic and familiar solution for users who want to elevate a command without having to first open a new elevated console. We are also excited to announce that we are open-sourcing this project here on GitHub! We’re working hard to add more information about the project in the GitHub repo and will be sharing more details about our plans in the coming months! If you’re looking for additional functionality that Sudo for Windows does not provide, check out Gerardo Grignoli’s gsudo which has a number of additional features and configuration options. ↫ Jordi Adoumie on the official Windows blog In response to sudo coming to Windows, Theo de Raadt announced that Word is coming to OpenBSD.

Microsoft uses giant four-page popup to push Windows 10 users to upgrade to Windows 11

Windows 10 users started seeing full-screen pop-ups after installing a cumulative update release in May 2023. Now, the pop-up is back again on our Windows 10 PC after installing the optional update released in January 2024, and it gouges the eyes. No one expects a gigantic multi-slide advert using their PCs (web browsers are a different story). ↫ Abhishek Mishra Windows is an advertising platform first, operating system second. You should be expecting ads.

Microsoft sneaks ads into the new Outlook for Windows

The migration from the classic Mail and Calendar app to the new Outlook app is in full swing already. Microsoft announced the deprecation of the classic apps in favor of a new Outlook app in June 2023. It introduced the new Outlook app to Insider builds a month later and announced that it would enforce the migration in early 2024. Not all users are migrated at this point. Those who have been migrated already or installed the Outlook app directly, may notice several differences between the new Outlook app and the classic Mail app. One of the main differences turns an ad-free email experience into one with ads. You may see ads in the inbox in the new Outlook. ↫ Martin Brinkmann Ads disguised as emails in your inbox. Microsoft will not rest until Windows resembles Times Square. What a trash fire of an operating system.

Bootable Windows on ReFS still not ready for prime time due to lack of wider compatibility

That was back in August and since then, there has not been anything too noteworthy in terms of Windows bootability support on ReFS. Meanwhile, Microsoft has also not updated the officially supported ReFS version up from 3.10 yet, and as such, trying to run Windows on any newer ReFS version leads to an immediate crash on the newest Canary build 26040. Apparently, the crash is worse than it was on previous builds as it now throws up no recovery messages either. ↫ Sayan Sen at NeoWin It seems like NTFS will be with us for quite a while longer.

Windows 11 is getting native sudo command

Microsoft is testing native Sudo command support for Windows 11. The support for native “Sudo” command was spotted in a leaked Windows Server preview build, accidentally published to the Windows Update servers over the weekend. ↫ Mayank Parmar It’s kind of wild that something like sudo doesn’t exist in Windows.

Tiny11 creates a 100MB version of Windows 11 by axing the windows

If you know your Windows history, you’ll know that the operating system got that name when it moved away from using pure MS-DOS and started using a graphical user interface to show things. As it turns out, you can force Windows 11 back to its legacy roots and reduce it back to a command-line interface. This is what the developer of Tiny11 has achieved, calling their new creation “Minwin.” The developer of Win11, NTDev, posted a video on YouTube about their project. There’s absolutely nothing flashy here; no Copilot, no Start menu, and definitely no UI. It’s as graphically complex as the Command Prompt, which meant that NTDev had to resort to fancy 00s-era ASCII logos to announce that Minwin was working. ↫ Simon Batt at XDA Definitely a neat proof-of-concept, and it shows just how modular Windows could be if only Microsoft allowed its users to take out the parts they don’t need. I wonder how close this is to Nano Server, an installation option for Windows Server you’ve probably never heard of. I also like the nod to MinWin, the informal codename Microsoft used internally to refer to an effort by a small number of expert Windows kernel engineers to untangle the spaghetti ball of dependencies that had sprouted between the various architectural layers of Windows. This project started around Vista, and eventually made it possible to make broader, sweeping changes to Windows without breaking things all over the place because the spaghetti ball of internal, low-level dependencies wasn’t mapped out.

BugCheck2Linux: run Linux in a tiny RISC-V emulator during a Windows BSOD

Running into a blue screen of death, but don’t want your journey to end? Well, how about dropping into a Linux shell when you hit a BSOD in Windows? We simply register a BugCheck callback. The callback function runs a tiny RISC V emulator running linux. For the video output we use bootvid.dll and for input we have a horrible simple polling based PS/2 keyboard driver. ↫ BugCheck2Linux GitHub page The gist here is that during a BSOD, drivers can reset a device to a known working state and gather diagnostic data, so what the BugCheck2Linux “driver” does is load up an incredibly small RISC-V emulator, boot a Linux kernel, and drop you in a shell. An incredibly limited shell that can barely do anything, but a shell nonetheless. And when I say “limited”, I really do mean “limited”: it only works on BIOS systems, runs at 640×480 in 16 colours, the shift key doesn’t work (you’ll need to use caps lock for that), and you can’t use backspace either. Still, this is an incredibly cool proof of concept, and I wonder if more is possible here. Who knows – this could become a valuable troubleshooting tool.

Windows to launch Copilot “AI” automatically on boot on “widescreen” devices

We are trying out opening Copilot automatically when Windows starts on widescreen devices with some Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. This can be managed via Settings > Personalization > Copilot. Note that this is rolling out so not all Insiders in the Dev Channel will see this right away. ↫ Amanda Langowski, Brandon LeBlanc at the official Windows blog You will use the copyright infringement tool, Windows user.

Win32Emu/DIY WOW: run RISC Win32 binaries on x86 Windows

When the AXP64 build tools for Windows 2000 were discovered back in May 2023, there was a crucial problem. Not only was it difficult to test the compiled applications since you needed an exotic and rare DEC Alpha machine running a leaked version of Windows, it was also difficult to even compile the programs, since you needed the same DEC Alpha machine to run the compiler; there was no cross-compiler. As a result, I began writing a program conceptually similar to WOW64 on Itanium (or WX86, or FX-32), only in reverse, to allow RISC Win32 programs to run on x86. ↫ CaptainWillStarblazer People with this much skill just exist.

Windows 11 is relaxing Microsoft account auto-sign in apps, but only in Europe

Windows is changing the way apps can access your Microsoft account. Currently, when you sign in to Windows 11 or 10 with your Microsoft account, most apps automatically use that Microsoft account for in-app sign-in. The tech giant plans to change this behaviour by allowing you to decline access to Microsoft accounts in installed apps. ↫ Mayank Parmar at Windows Latest This change, like so many others that are making Windows ever so slightly less of a trashfire, is EU-only.

Microsoft tests feature that lets you reinstall Windows through Windows Update without losing files, applications, etc.

A new Windows Update feature could be a game-changer for those scared of losing files or pictures when attempting to reinstall or recover their Windows 11 installations. The new feature, “Fix Problems using Windows Update,” lets you reinstall Windows 11 using Windows Update. The idea is to repair the existing Windows installation by downloading a fresh copy of the OS from Windows Update. And the best part? It won’t remove any files, settings, or apps, according to a support document from July 2023. ↫ Mayank Parmar for Windows Latest If it works as advertised, it sounds like a useful feature. I wouldn’t trust Windows Update with anything more valuable than a used toothpick, but if you’re already using Windows, that ship sailed anyway, in which case this is better than nothing.

Microsoft ending support for Windows 10 could send 240 mln PCs to landfills – report

Microsoft’s plan to end support for Windows 10 operating system could result in about 240 million personal computers being disposed, potentially adding to landfill waste, Canalys Research said. The electronic waste from these PCs could weigh an estimated 480 million kilograms, equivalent to 320,000 cars. While many PCs could remain functional for years post the end of OS support, Canalys warned demand for devices without security updates could be low. ↫ Akash Sriram for Reuters A lot of these machines are perfectly capable of running Windows 11 if not for Microsoft’s artificial restrictions, and while less relevant – most people can’t just switch to Linux or BSD – there are alternative operating systems to keep these machines going. The only good thing that might come of this is a flurry of cheap, usable hardware on the second hand market, which can be used by us enthusiasts for all kinds of things.

Microsoft deprecates Mixed Reality from Windows

And the culling of Windows features continues. Windows Mixed Reality is deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Windows. This deprecation includes the Mixed Reality Portal app, and Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR and Steam VR Beta. ↫ Microsoft’s “Deprecated features for Windows client” page All this mixed reality stuff was a big push in Windows, up to the point Microsoft added applications and dedicated folders for it to Windows. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone use any of it. The Verge notes Microsoft has been downsizing its VR efforts for a while now, and it seems the company is bailing on the VR hypetrain.

Microsoft deprecates legacy console feature

The culling of Windows features you’ve never heard of but that will affect hundreds of thousands of people because Windows is just that popular so even an unknown feature is used by gobs of people continues. The legacy console mode is deprecated and no longer being updated. In future Windows releases, it will be available as an optional Feature on Demand. This feature won’t be installed by default. ↫ Microsoft’s “Deprecated features for Windows client” page Basically, with legacy console mode you could revert to an older version of the Windows console in case some program wasn’t working correctly in the latest version installed with your copy of Windows.

Microsoft’s latest “AI” development tool requires Linux

Windows AI Studio simplifies generative AI app development by bringing together cutting-edge AI development tools and models from Azure AI Studio Catalog and other catalogs like Hugging Face. You will be able browse the AI models catalog powered by Azure ML and Hugging Face, download them locally, fine-tune, test and use them in your Windows application. As all of the computation happens locally, please make sure your device can handle the load. ↫ Windows AI Studio Preview on GitHub Nothing particularly exciting here, until you get to the installation process, as noted by Venn Stone on Mastodon: you need to install Linux, in the form of Ubuntu 18.04 or higher on WSL, before you can use this Microsoft offering. I don’t know, but that’s just funny.