Continuing coverage of Microsoft's Windows 8
Windows' new normal shows software-as-a-service ambitions
Microsoft's new updating "normal" for Windows -- a faster-paced tempo that demands customers apply releases within weeks -- is a first step in moving the OS to a services-style model. But companies may be leery of the change.
Microsoft extends Windows 8.1 Update migration deadline for business
Microsoft on Wednesday extended the Windows 8.1 Update migration deadline for businesses by three months, but again told consumers they had less than four weeks to make the move before the company shuts off their patch faucet.
Microsoft puts the squeeze on Windows to shoehorn it into 16GB devices
Microsoft has revealed how it will squeeze Windows 8.1 onto devices with storage space as small as 16GB to fulfill a promise earlier this year that OEMs could produce low-cost tablets and laptops.
Google quashes 31 vulnerabilities, restores Metro mode 'steppers' with Chrome 34
Google this week updated Chrome to version 34, patching 31 vulnerabilities and paying out nearly $30,000 in bug bounties to outside researchers.
Microsoft drags customers 'kicking and screaming' into its world of faster updates
Microsoft's demand that Windows 8.1 users install this week's major update was another signal that the company is serious about forcing customers to adopt its faster release strategy, experts said today.
Windows 8.1 Update deep-dive review: An OS that makes more sense
In Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft may be finally getting it right: The latest version of its operating system finally bridges the gap between touch and traditional computing.
Microsoft suspends Windows 8.1 Update release to businesses
Microsoft suspended serving Windows 8.1 Update to businesses that rely on WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), saying that a bug would prevent devices from recognizing future updates.
Windows 8.1 Update arrives today
Microsoft will deliver the much-awaited update to Windows 8.1 Tuesday, and with it comes a packed goody bag of treats for laptop and PC users.
Microsoft requires migration to Windows 8.1 Update within 5 weeks
Windows 8.1 users have a narrow window to upgrade to Windows 8.1 Update, the refresh that begins rolling out to customers today, to continue receiving future bug fixes, patches and enhancements.
FAQ: Good-bye old pal, old paint, Windows XP
Today's the day: Microsoft will serve up its final public patches for Windows XP, the aging OS that's been around since 2001.
Microsoft to restore Start menu to Windows
Microsoft this week gave customers a bare-bones peek at the future of Windows, saying that the next iteration after Windows 8.1 Update will restore a Start menu and let users run "Metro" apps on the classic desktop.
Microsoft sketches out final Windows XP security updates for next week
Microsoft today said it will ship four security updates to customers next week that will include the final public fixes for flaws in Windows XP and Office 2003, both slated for retirement from security support on Tuesday.
Microsoft teases touch-first Office for Windows
Microsoft teased a touch-first Office for Windows 8.1, but contrary to many experts' expectations, previewed only one app and declined to define a release window.
Hell freezes over: Microsoft makes Windows free for some devices
Microsoft will give away licenses to Windows Phone and Windows to device makers building smartphones or tablets with screens smaller than 9-in. measured diagonally.
Microsoft slates April 8 release of Windows 8.1 Update
Microsoft today said that it will ship a Windows 8.1 refresh, a set of new features designed to make the struggling OS easier to use for customers with a mouse and keyboard, on April 8.
Last-minute lazybones dump Windows XP
Windows XP and Windows 8 returned to their traditional pattern in March, with the soon-to-be-retired XP losing the most user share since December while Windows 8 gained ground.
Where's the touch-first Office for Windows?
When Microsoft unveiled Office for iPad on Thursday, neither CEO Satya Nadella nor the company said much of anything about a similar touch version for Windows 8.1. Analysts expect that to change this week.
Nadella wins praise for public debut as CEO
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's first public appearance on Thursday was a hit with analysts, who gave him a thumbs up for his time on stage as the company unveiled Office for iPad.
On eve of expected Office for iPad, some remain skeptical
Although rumors have pegged today as the day when Microsoft will announce a long-awaited Office for iPad, some remain skeptical that the company will actually pull the trigger.
Microsoft returns to scare tactic well in dump-XP campaign
Microsoft yesterday pulled out a fear-of-God approach to scare users into dumping Windows XP, telling them that the most popular tasks done on a PC will put them in the crosshairs of cyber criminals.
2-in-1 devices face a long, slow slog to credibility
Microsoft's efforts to push the concept of a "2-in-1" device, a tablet that does double duty as a notebook, will continue to struggle, an IDC analyst said Tuesday.
Google Now alerts hit desktop Chrome, OS subversion continues
Google yesterday began rolling out Google Now notifications to users of its desktop browsers on Microsoft's Windows and Apple's OS X.
Firefox's UI face-lift on track for April debut
Mozilla is on track to debut the new "Australis" user interface for Firefox next month after promoting the UI to its beta build last week.
Microsoft tries to tempt XP diehards with $100 discount on new PCs
Microsoft is pitching another deal at pry-XP-from-my-cold-dead-hands customers, offering them $100 off a new Windows 8.1 device if they spring for one that costs more than $599.
Ex-Mozilla engineer blames Microsoft's rules for Metro Firefox's death
A former Mozilla engineer who worked on the "Metro" version of Firefox says that poor adoption of Windows 8's radical user interface wasn't behind the decision to shelve the browser.
Talk is not cheap: Microsoft adds $23B to market cap on rumors of Office for iPad
Microsoft's share price cracked $40, setting an 11-year high in trading on Thursday.
Windows leak site Wzor goes dark a day after feds arrest Microsoft mole
The noted Windows leak site Wzor.net was offline Thursday and its Twitter account had disappeared, a day after an ex-Microsoft employee was charged with stealing trade secrets from the company.
Microsoft's OneNote strategy: Battle Evernote, or something bigger?
Microsoft today began offering Mac users its OneNote application free of charge, making rumors last week about a release a reality.
Microsoft dangles $50 carrot in front of XP users
Microsoft has anted up in its attempt to convince last-minute laggards to abandon Windows XP by handing a $50 carrot to people who buy a new Windows 8.1 device.
Mozilla shelves Metro Firefox, cites user apathy toward Windows 8
Mozilla on Friday abruptly canceled the release of its touch-enabled Firefox browser for Windows 8, just four days before it was to ship and after two years of work.
Microsoft's new lower-priced Office 365 is 'obvious preface' for iPad suite
Microsoft's announcement today of a less expensive Office 365 subscription for consumers was the strongest hint yet that the company will soon offer an edition for Apple's iPad, an analyst said.
Researchers pocket record $400K at Pwn2Own hacking contest's first day
Researchers cracked Microsoft's Internet Explorer 11, Mozilla's Firefox and Adobe's Flash and Reader at the Pwn2Own hacking contest, earning $400,000 in prizes, a one-day record for the challenge.
Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP
Microsoft's plans to ship the final public patches for Windows XP on April 8 could undo its hard-won reputation for security and hurt itself as much as the customers who end up with an infected XP system.
Microsoft plans to patch critical under-attack IE bug next week
Microsoft will deliver five security updates to customers next week, two tagged as "critical," including one that will quash the open vulnerability in Internet Explorer that hackers have been exploiting since January.
Microsoft reaches RTM milestone for Windows 8.1 update
Microsoft has reached a critical milestone for its next update to Windows 8, which is slated to ship early next month, according to reports.
OS upgrades: Cheap is better than pricey, free is better than cheap
Lowering the price of an operating system upgrade boosts its uptake five-fold, but pushing it out for free speeds uptake as much as 12 times, data from an analytics company shows.
No special treatment for China on XP, patches end April 8 in the PRC, too
Microsoft today said it has not changed the end-of-support policy for Windows XP users in China, and will still cut off those customers -- as it will others around the world -- from security patches after April 8.
Microsoft ships Office 2013 SP1 the old-fashioned way
Microsoft delivered the first service pack for Office 2013 on Tuesday, making good on a promise last year to ship the update in early 2014 and synchronizing its release with prior editions' initial service packs.
Microsoft's 'go-low' play puts Windows revenue on the line
Analysts were uncertain today whether the recent stretch of "go-low" moves by Microsoft means that the company has tweaked its strategy to emphasize services at the expense of devices.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
More and more for Windows users, there's no OS like an old OS.
Users mock Microsoft for asking their help on XP-to-Windows 8.1 upgrades
Astute Windows users have pointed out the Achilles Heel of Microsoft's plea for help in getting customers to dump Windows XP: The lack of a smooth upgrade path to Microsoft's newest OS, Windows 8.1.
Microsoft concedes Windows 8.1 needs more for mouse, keyboard customers
Microsoft on Sunday publicly acknowledged what leaks had shown, that the company will issue an update to Windows 8.1 this spring that provides more tools for owners of traditional PCs controlled by mouse and keyboard.
Microsoft tries to jumpstart cheap Windows devices with license price cut
Microsoft has cut the price of Windows 8.1 by nearly three-fourths to device makers who produce lower-cost laptops and tablets.
Why Apple needs a $700 MacBook Air
Apple has been able to maintain high prices and high margins for its computers even as competitors jumped into a pricing pit. But with computer sales drooping, Apple may use the opportunity to lower prices.
Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch: A lightweight contender
We test Lenovo's latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch ultrabook, which is sleek and powerful, offers an impressive display and comes with an interesting keyboard innovation.
Microsoft delivers stopgap defense against active IE10 attacks
Microsoft on Wednesday issued a stopgap defense that protects IE9 and IE10 against ongoing attacks until the company issues a patch, probably in three weeks.
What if Microsoft threw an iPad Office party, and no one came?
Microsoft will make a killing when it launches Office apps for Apple's iPad and tablets powered by Android. Or will it?
Microsoft claims 200M Windows 8 licenses sold, but how many are in use?
Microsoft last week said that it had sold 200 million licenses of Windows 8 since the operating system launched more than 15 months ago. But how many copies are actually being used?
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: You can keep using XP for another year, but do you really want to?
While clinging to the 11-year-old OS after Microsoft issues its last security patch in April is defensible, the security risks are going to keep mounting.
Microsoft sets Oct. 31 as stop date for Windows 7 consumer PC sales
Microsoft has set Oct. 31 as the end of sales of new consumer-grade Windows 7 PCs, but for now has left open the do-not-sell-after-this-date for business machines.
Perspective: Microsoft hedges on Office for iPad, cites 'thoughtful' decisions
'Thoughtful' was the watchword yesterday for Tami Reller, Microsoft's chief of marketing, when she was asked how the company plans to extend its lucrative Office franchise to mobile platforms other than Windows
IE10 under attack as hackers exploit zero-day bug
FireEye today said it had discovered that attackers are actively exploiting a new, unpatched vulnerability in Internet Explorer 10.
Windows XP isn't the only software getting the knife in 8 weeks
Microsoft will call it quits not only on Windows XP in less than two months, but will pull the plug on Office 2003 the same day.
Microsoft adds critical IE, XP fixes to Tuesday's patch slate
Microsoft on Monday unexpectedly added two more critical security updates to the list it will deliver tomorrow, including one for all versions of Internet Explorer and another for the soon-to-be-retired Windows XP.
Backlash slaps Microsoft's 'help-a-friend-dump-XP' plea
Microsoft's appeal to its technically-advanced customers to help friends and family ditch Windows XP didn't quite work out like the company had hoped.
Perspective: Microsoft asks for volunteers to join its kill-XP army
Microsoft today implored its technically astute customers to help friends and family who are still running Windows XP get rid of the soon-to-be-retired operating system.
Nadella's rise renews appeals for Office on iPad, Android tablets
The anointment of new CEO Satya Nadella has renewed calls by analysts that Microsoft free its profitable Office franchise from Windows and release full-featured versions for Android and iOS tablets.
Microsoft promises Nadella up to $18M for fiscal year 2015
Microsoft this week set Satya Nadella's annual base salary at $1.2 million, nearly twice his predecessor's but right on the average of CEOs in the tech industry, an executive compensation expert said today.
Humorists strike gold with Nadella's promotion, Gates' job change
Humorists stuck a minor gold mine yesterday when Microsoft anointed Satya Nadella, a veteran company insider, as its new CEO, proving that funny can be found in the most unlikely places.
Bill Gates steps aside as chairman, becomes Nadella's 'consigliere'
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will step down as chairman of the board to spend his time with the company advising the new CEO, Satya Nadella.
Windows 8.1 refresh leaks to the Web
An early build of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 Update 1, a tweaked refresh of last fall's revamp to 2012's original Windows 8, has leaked to pirate websites, according to Web searches.
The ROI of free OS updates: Who wins, Apple or Microsoft?
By offering their latest operating systems for free, Microsoft and Apple have accelerated the adoption pace of their newest OSes, according to data released by analytics firm Net Applications.
Users postpone ditch-XP decision as Windows 8 runs to stay in place
Windows XP's disappearance and Windows 8's march toward some kind of success were both put on hold in January, after a December when the former's user share plunged and the latter's swelled, a Web analytics company said.
Leak hints Microsoft will recant 'make-them-eat-Metro' strategy for Windows 8
Microsoft will renounce its "make-them-eat-Metro" strategy in an update for Windows 8.1 slated to ship this spring, if leaked preliminary builds reflect the final product.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Told you so! Microsoft backs off on Metro
Microsoft appears to be backing off on its biggest user interface fiasco since Microsoft Bob: In the Windows 8.1 update, the desktop rather than Metro reportedly will be the default interface.
Cognoscenti anoint Nadella as next Microsoft CEO
After sustained reports surfaced that Microsoft is close to naming its third-ever CEO, Satya Nadella, a 21-year veteran of the company, is now seen as the heir apparent.
Pwn2Own hack contest puts record $645K on prize table
Hewlett-Packard's Zero Day Initiative has spelled out the rules for its March hacking contest, Pwn2Own, which will put two-thirds of a million dollars in prize money on the table for researchers who can hack the biggest browsers and most popular plug-ins.
Perspective: If Windows 8 = Vista, what's Microsoft's next move?
As Windows 8 struggles to gain traction, you can hear the criticism mounting that Microsoft's latest OS is the new Vista. If that turns out to be true, the company has some big decisions to make.
Microsoft retains weapon to silently scrub XP
Microsoft will be able to silently reach into Windows XP PCs for more than a year after it stops patching the aged OS to clean malware-infected machines, sources close to the company confirmed.
Microsoft lost money on each Surface sold last quarter
Microsoft lost $39 million last quarter selling its Surface tablets, the company acknowledged in filings today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
HP sticks thumb in Microsoft's eye, discounts consumer Windows 7 PCs
Hewlett-Packard today launched a new online promotion that discounts several consumer PCs by $150 when equipped with Windows 7, saying the four-year-old OS is "back by popular demand."
Microsoft will furnish malware assassin to XP users until mid-2015
Microsoft will continue to offer its malware scrubbing program to Windows XP users for more than a year after it stops patching the operating system in April.
Windows 8's complexity tax shackles Microsoft
Complexity may be Windows' downfall, and Microsoft has not only failed to address the problem, but exacerbated it by shipping the dual-threat, two-UI Windows 8.
Windows users denounce Chrome scrollbar changes that mimic Chrome OS
Google Chrome users have stormed the company's support forum to complain about a non-standard scrollbar in Chrome 32 that makes it harder for them to navigate pages in Windows.
Steven J. Vaughan Nichols: Windows 9 in 2015: Desperation isn't pretty
Yes, Windows 8's been a failure. It's been worse than Vista. But is the solution really to push out a new operating system in double-quick time?
Microsoft retreats from XP's antivirus kill notice
Microsoft today backpedaled from earlier decisions and said it would extend a limited helping hand to Windows XP users by offering both antivirus signatures and its own Security Essentials software for more than a year after it stops patching the aged OS.
AV vendors buck Microsoft, will deliver Windows XP anti-malware signatures for years
Windows XP owners can expect most antivirus vendors to continue providing up-to-date signatures long after Microsoft pulls its patch plug in April, but that won't keep their machines safe, an expert said today.
Microsoft to +1 its OS, move to Windows 9 in 2015
Microsoft will likely talk up its next iteration of Windows, which some have already dubbed "Windows 9," at the BUILD developers conference in 11 weeks.
Apple's Mac ends up in tablet cannibal pot, too
Tablet cannibals have taken as big a bite out of Mac growth as they have out of PCs in general, showing that Apple is not immune to the seismic shift it triggered with the iPad.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Lessons for IT from Windows 8/Metro
What went wrong? The answer could keep your IT team from a similar design fiasco.
Patch Tuesday preview: Get your Windows XP patches while they last
Microsoft plans to deliver just four security updates next week, none of them marked "critical," to quash vulnerabilities in Windows, Word, SharePoint Server and Dynamics AX.
Analysts blast crappy Chromebooks reporting, defend platform's potential
Media reports two weeks ago that Chromebooks had had a successful 2013 drew criticism from analysts, including one whose data sparked the coverage.
OEMs, Intel making big mistake with two-headed, dual-OS devices
OEMs and Intel risk damaging both the Android and Windows ecosystems if they go through with plans to sell devices able to run software from both worlds, an analyst argued today.
Mozilla resets Metro Firefox ship date to mid-March
Mozilla has again pushed back the release date for a touch-enabled version of Firefox that will run in Windows 8's "Modern" user interface, with the new target in mid-March.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: The Windows killer: Chromebook
Could the Chromebook knock out Windows on the desktop? Don't bet against it.
Windows 8 regains uptake mojo, XP restarts death slide
Windows 8 surged in December to end the year with almost 12% of the user share of all Windows personal computers, while the destined-for-retirement Windows XP restarted its decline after a two-month pause, a Web analytics company Net Applications said Thursday.
Unencrypted Windows crash reports give 'significant advantage' to hackers, spies
Windows' error- and crash-reporting system sends a wealth of data unencrypted and in the clear, information that eavesdropping hackers or state security agencies can use to refine and pinpoint their attacks, a researcher said today.
Chromebooks' success punches Microsoft in the gut
Chromebooks had a very good year, according to retailer Amazon.com and industry analysts. And that's bad news for Microsoft.
Microsoft to face computer makers' rebellion at CES
Microsoft will face a rebellion of long-time partners at next month's CES when OEMs introduce Windows PCs that can also run Android mobile apps.
Balky browsers tick off tablet owners
Browser problems are the most common complaints of iPad Air and Fire HDX tablet owners, an online community of troubleshooters said.
Microsoft warns customers to update to Windows 8.1 final or face ruin
Microsoft today reminded customers that the Windows 8.1 Preview will conk out on Jan.15.
Perspective: Throw Windows XP a lifeline, Microsoft
Microsoft's support for WIndows XP ends in less than four months, and the company has warned users repeatedly that it's time to move on. But a lot of them are sticking with the aged OS. And for Microsoft, that's a problem.
Analyst credits Surface sell-out to Microsoft swinging conservative
Microsoft's Surface tablets were in short supply Monday, with most models out of stock on the company's online store.
Coming in 2014: MacBooks as fast as data center servers
DRAMeXchange expects second-generation PCIe to replace SATA III in servers and higher-end laptops as the interface of choice for manufacturers, including Apple.
Microsoft times BUILD dev conference to fall outside Apple's shadow
Microsoft will return to San Francisco in April to reprise its BUILD developers conference.
Microsoft likely to bring back Start menu in future Windows update
Microsoft is likely to bring back the Start menu to Windows 8 and let users run "Metro" apps inside windows on the desktop, restoring traditional elements to its newest operating system.
Microsoft retracts Windows 7 PC end-of-sales deadline
As quietly as Microsoft defined the dates it would stop selling Windows 7, over the weekend it revised its end-of-sales deadlines again, saying it had made a mistake.
Tablets remain tops in American gift-buying plans
A slightly-smaller percentage of American families plan to buy a tablet during the holiday season than last year, but tablets remain a hot-ticket item, a market research company reported today.
Other browser makers follow Google's lead, revoke rogue certificates
Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera Software today joined Google in revoking rogue digital certificates that had been issued by a subordinate certificate authority (CA) of France's cybersecurity agency.
Microsoft sells out Dell tablet doorbuster in minutes
Microsoft sold out the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet within minutes of kicking off an online discount Monday morning.
Our bloggers on Windows 8
Dear Microsoft: Give me back the Start Menu now!
The upcoming Windows 8.1 update will have a slew of nice-to-have updates that make the operating system better to use with mouse and keyboard. But it will be missing a new Start Menu that Microsoft is promising will some day appear.
Why wait, Microsoft? I want it now!
Can free Windows forever save Microsoft?
Yesterday's announcement that Windows Phone and Windows for small tablets will be free for device makers was an admission from Microsoft that its mobile strategy has failed. Will it help save the company in mobile, or is it too little, too late?
Can universal Windows apps close Microsoft's app gap?
One big reason Windows tablets and smartphones don't sell well is the app gap: There are far fewer apps available for Windows tablets and Windows Phone devices than for iOS and Android. With Microsoft's announcement of universal apps that run on all Windows devices, though, that may well change.
Did Microsoft diss Windows 8 when it released Office for the iPad?
The release of Office for the iPad is an even bigger deal that it might seem. It means for the first time, Microsoft has released a version of its software for a competing operating system rather than its own -- a truly touch-based Office isn't yet available for Windows 8. Is this a sign of things to come?
Hate Windows 8? How about a return to DOS?
Plenty of people, including me, are no fans of Windows 8. But be happy it's here -- at least you don't have to compute like people did in the days of DOS. Then again, if you want, you can now return to those days, thanks to the free code being made available to all takers.
Microsoft snoops on blogger's email account. Is yours safe?
As part of an investigation into a leak of Windows 8, Microsoft snooped on the Hotmail emails and instant messages of a blogger. The company claims it was all legal. Is your Microsoft account safe from the company's prying eyes?
Firefox says Windows 8 is a black hole, kills its Metro app
Firefox is pulling the plug on its Windows 8 Metro app because its Metro beta uptake is so minuscule it's barely measurable. Will other developers follow Firefox and abandon Metro?
Mac users four times more engaged than Windows users
Mac users are almost four times more likely to upgrade to the latest edition of their OS in comparison with Windows users, with nearly a quarter of the most active users of both platforms now using Macs.
Could Windows 9 kill off Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella?
New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is just entering the honeymoon phase as Microsoft CEO. But if Windows 9 doesn't right Micrsoft's listing ship, don't be surprised if Nadella gets jettisoned for a new CEO.
Six ways the Windows 8.1 update bridges the Desktop-Start Menu divide
With the Windows 8.1 update, Microsoft has finally realized it has to make its duelling Desktop and Start Menu interfaces play nice together. Based on the latest leaks, here are six ways it does it.
Microsoft cries 'uncle' on Windows 8 -- 8.1 update boots straight to desktop
Microsoft has apparently finally admitted that Windows 8's dueling tablet-PC interface was a mistake, because reports say that in the upcoming 8.1 update Windows will bypass the Start screen and boot straight to the desktop. But will this create an even bigger problem for Microsoft?
Here's how to make your Windows machine run Chrome OS
Want to use Chrome without buying a Chromebook? Here's a simple way to do it on a Windows machine that will take only a few minutes. You won't get all of Chrome's features, but you will get the most important ones.
Windows 9 will mean the revenge of the Desktop
Microsoft tried to kill the Desktop in Windows 8, but with Windows 9 the Desktop may well take center stage again. Reports says that the next Windows release, due possibly in the middle of 2015, may make the Desktop more useful than ever.
Quick guide: OS X Mavericks for Windows switchers
You're a Windows user and you're about to get your very first OS X Mac this Christmas. Now Apple's shipped new models you've taken the decision to buy. Here's a short guide to help Windows users get to grip with OS X Mavericks and their Mac.
Has Microsoft finally admitted Windows 8 was a colossal blunder?
Microsoft's decision to finally bring back a true Start menu to Windows begs the question: Has it finally recognized what a massive mistake it made with Windows 8, or is Microsoft just reluctantly assuaging critics?