Windows8

Big Changes Are Coming to Windows

Anyone who was disgruntled about the unwanted changes in Windows 8 will be happy to discover that Microsoft is continuing to fix the most onerous problems it created for customers. And hang on, folks: They’re not stopping with Windows 8.1.

Related: A New Hint About Microsoft’s One Windows Vision

Although the exact timing of these changes is still a bit hazy—my sources have used the term “next version of Windows,” which I take to mean a coming revision we might call Windows 8.2—the nature of the changes is not. A new team at Microsoft that’s responsible for overall OS development has clearly spent the past few months evaluating and then dropping most of the “my way or the highway” silliness that doomed the original Windows 8 release.

By necessity, internal politics is a big part of this story.

We might never know exactly why Steven Sinofsky left Microsoft a year ago, but we do know that his departure was both sudden and unexpected. And we suspect that he was ousted as part of the build-up to CEO Steve Ballmer’s retirement announcement and issues regarding succession. Sinofsky was an interesting character, brilliant and driven, but also pedantic to a fault and unmerciful if he ever decided you were no use to him. Most of all he was divisive, and many Microsofties fell into one of two camps when it came to Sinofsky: Those whose careers were furthered by the man and those who thought he was scary and dangerous.

When Sinofsky left, Microsoft temporarily divided his duties between two people, Julie Larson-Green, a top Sinofsky lieutenant, and Tami Reller, who many feel should be in the running for Microsoft’s CEO job. But when the software giant announced its massive reorganization this year, both Larson-Green and Reller were out, with the former heading off to a new Devices business and Reller being put in charge of overall marketing at the company.

If you’re not closely following Microsoft’s internal dramas, you might be wondering: Well, who’s running Windows then? The answer to that question is Terry Myerson. And the next obvious question is: Who the heck is Terry Myerson?

It’s a fair question. Mr. Myerson previously ran Microsoft’s Windows Phone business, which doesn’t seem like the type of post that would put the man in the running to lead all client OS development at Microsoft. But that’s exactly what he’s doing. And he’s been talking about consolidating Windows 8.x, Windows RT, and Windows Phone into a much simpler lineup. I’m really starting to like this guy.

I’m not aware of a coup of this magnitude ever happening before at Microsoft, and I’d have to go back to Apple’s purchase of Next—along with Steve Jobs—to find a tech industry example as dramatic. As Jobs and his Next cohorts made their presence known inside Apple, some Apple employees began wondering which company had purchased which. I suspect the remaining Sinofsky-era Windows employees are having similar thoughts right now.

And to be clear, there aren’t many left. Quietly but quickly, Myerson has removed the remnants of the team Sinofsky put in place. Major Sinofsky-era players Jon DeVaan and Antoine Leblond were left without leadership positions when the reorg was announced. Dean Hachamovitch, who led Internet Explorer development for years, quietly left the IE organization in November to parts unknown. And now Ted Dworkin (Windows Store) and Jensen Harris (user experience) have been shifted to the Bing team. (Which could very well be Microsoft’s version of Siberia.)

But Myerson isn’t just removing those who backed Sinofsky’s product vision for Windows. He’s also trying to make sense of the mess they made. Although I happen to like Windows 8 just fine—Windows 8.1 is particularly good—there’s no denying that this most divisive of Windows releases—a Frankenstein’s monster that combines separate mobile and desktop platforms into a single, messy OS—came at exactly the wrong time for Microsoft. Google’s Android and Apple iOS are offering simpler experiences for the masses, and Windows is getting left in the dust.

Microsoft made the first steps to fix these problems in Windows 8.1, and to be fair to Larson-Green and Reller, that release did happen on their watch. Windows 8.1 added back the Start button and made it easier for desktop users to stick within that environment and not be bothered by too much of the “Metro” mobile environment.

But it might not have gone far enough for many, and overall Windows 8.x usage share has been slow, about a third the rate at which Windows 7 was adopted. So now Myerson is making even more dramatic changes. Myerson is planning to unify Windows Phone and Windows RT into a single platform. He’s planning a follow-up to Windows 8.1, code-named “Threshold,” that will ship later next year and make the Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox One user experiences more similar. And now some Threshold details—heck, let’s call it Windows 8.2—are starting to emerge.

As I noted in “Further Changes Coming in Windows ‘Threshold’,” I’m aware of a few of these changes. First, Microsoft will be making it possible to run “Metro” mobile apps—which are typically run full-screen like other mobile apps—in floating windows on the desktop, allowing them to blend more seamlessly with desktop applications. And second, the firm is bringing back the Start menu for those who still pine for it, completely undoing the mess made with the original Windows 8, which replaced this menu with a full-screen Metro-style Start screen.

I can’t say that either change will affect me personally all that much, and I’m still trying to verify some other information I’ve received—what if Windows RT/Phone was free, for example?—but I know both will be a big deal for many users. The ultimate failure of Windows 8 wasn’t that Microsoft embraced mobile technologies, it was that it did so without taking into account how poor this experience would be for the 1.5 billion people who use Windows on traditional PCs. And when those people complained about this forced change, they were labeled as whiners.

But they’re not whiners, they’re customers. And although Myerson’s changes might be uncharitably called a step back, doing right by your customers is never the wrong strategy. Windows 8.1 was a step in the right direction. But it looks like Microsoft is on the threshold, if you will, of really doing the right thing.

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Posted by plates55 - December 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

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Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 GA updates publicly released

Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems (KB2883200)

 

These updates (*.msu) provide a collection of performance and reliability improvements that are designed to improve the Windows 8.1 experience.

Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2883200)

 

These updates (*.msu) provide a collection of performance and reliability improvements that are designed to improve the Windows 8.1 experience.

Update for Windows Server 2012 R2 (KB2883200)

 

These updates (*.msu) provide a collection of performance and reliability improvements that are designed to improve the Windows Server 2012 R2 experience.

Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems (KB2884846)

 

These updates (*.msu) provide a collection of performance and reliability improvements that are designed to improve the Windows 8.1 experience.

Update for Windows Server 2012 R2 (KB2884846)

 

These updates (*.msu) provide a collection of performance and reliability improvements that are designed to improve the Windows Server 2012 R2 experience.

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Posted by plates55 - October 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm

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Windows 8.1 (Blue) will be a free update

According to the official Windows blog Windows “Blue” will indeed be named Window 8.1 and that it will be free for current Windows 8 consumers through the Windows Store.

So through the Windows Store, that is interesting not Windows Update.

It seems logical that enterprises can use their WSUS or any other deployment method, so I assume it will be available as a stand alone download.

 

Source: The Windows Blog

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Posted by plates55 - May 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

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Windows 8 Camp in a BOX

This download includes the hands-on-labs, presentations, samples and resources from the Windows 8 camps. The Windows 8 camps are free training events for developers ramping up on Windows Store app development. To sign-up for a Windows camp, please visit http://devcamps.ms/windows.

 

Download Windows 8 Camp in a Box

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Posted by plates55 - February 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm

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First updates for Windows 8 RTM released

Microsoft posted the first (public) updates for Windows 8:

An update is available to correct tile logo images of files on the All Apps View.

 

Assume that you add the shortcut for a file to the All Apps View in Windows 8, Windows RT or Windows Server 2012.  After you change the file association of the file type, the tile logo image is not updated accordingly in the All Apps View.

KB: An update is available to correct tile logo images of files on the All Apps View

 

Also Microsoft published the EU browser choice Screen update for Windows 8.

KB: What is the Browser Choice update (KB976002) – Microsoft Windows

Both updates are available through Microsoft Update app.

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Posted by plates55 - September 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

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MSIT Plans, Deploys, and Manages Windows 8

Windows 8 is reimagined and reinvented from a solid core of Windows 7 speed and reliability with an all-new touch interface. MSIT has created a seamless user experience with improved image creation, deployment processes and a community based support model called //Pointers.
File name Size
2641-Win8IE10-RP-Deployment-QRG.docx 158 KB Download
2649_Pointers_BCS.docx 577 KB Download
2931_WSG_BackingUpYourData_External.docx 1.1 MB Download
2932_WSG_ProtectingYourDatawithWindows8BitLocker_External.docx 424 KB Download
2933_WSG_Connect_Microsoft_Account_to_Domain_Account_External.docx 427 KB Download
2934_WSG_Win8_ShortcutKeys_QuickReferenceGuide_External.docx 236 KB Download
2935_WSGUIFeatures_Windows8_External.docx 3.1 MB Download
2936_WSG_InternetExplorer10_External.docx 647 KB Download
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Posted by plates55 - August 29, 2012 at 6:50 am

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview On February 29th

On February 29, Microsoft  will finally release the Consumer Preview, a partly-finished beta, to the entire  world. It’s announcing the preview at an event at Mobile  World Congress in Barcelona.

The venue is interesting, since MWC is all about (duh) mobile devices.  Earlier this month, a video leaked explaining how  the next version of Windows Phone will interact with Windows 8, and share a  lot of common technology  as well. Expect to see some of that interaction at the show.

Here’s the invite:

Windows 8 preview invite at MWC USE THIS

Continue At Source

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Posted by plates55 - February 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

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Building the next generation file system for Windows 8: ReFS

Another extensive blogpoost on the Building Windows 8 blog:

 

ReFS, has been designed from the ground up to meet a broad set of customer requirements, both today’s and tomorrow’s, for all the different ways that Windows is deployed.

The key goals of ReFS are:

  • Maintain a high degree of compatibility with a subset of NTFS features that are widely adopted while deprecating others that provide limited value at the cost of system complexity and footprint.
  • Verify and auto-correct data. Data can get corrupted due to a number of reasons and therefore must be verified and, when possible, corrected automatically. Metadata must not be written in place to avoid the possibility of “torn writes,” which we will talk about in more detail below.
  • Optimize for extreme scale. Use scalable structures for everything. Don’t assume that disk-checking algorithms, in particular, can scale to the size of the entire file system.
  • Never take the file system offline. Assume that in the event of corruptions, it is advantageous to isolate the fault while allowing access to the rest of the volume. This is done while salvaging the maximum amount of data possible, all done live.
  • Provide a full end-to-end resiliency architecture when used in conjunction with the Storage Spaces feature, which was co-designed and built in conjunction with ReFS.

The key features of ReFS are as follows (note that some of these features are provided in conjunction with Storage Spaces).

  • Metadata integrity with checksums
  • Integrity streams providing optional user data integrity
  • Allocate on write transactional model for robust disk updates (also known as copy on write)
  • Large volume, file and directory sizes
  • Storage pooling and virtualization makes file system creation and management easy
  • Data striping for performance (bandwidth can be managed) and redundancy for fault tolerance
  • Disk scrubbing for protection against latent disk errors
  • Resiliency to corruptions with “salvage” for maximum volume availability in all cases
  • Shared storage pools across machines for additional failure tolerance and load balancing

In addition, ReFS inherits the features and semantics from NTFS including BitLocker encryption, access-control lists for security, USN journal, change notifications, symbolic links, junction points, mount points, reparse points, volume snapshots, file IDs, and oplocks.

And of course, data stored on ReFS is accessible through the same file access APIs on clients that are used on any operating system that can access today’s NTFS volumes.

NTFS.SYS = NTFS upper layer API/semantics engine / NTFS on-disk store engine; ReFS.SYS = Upper layer engine inherited from NTFS / New on-disk store engine

 

Continue at source!!

MSDN Blogs

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Posted by plates55 - January 19, 2012 at 8:24 am

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Microsoft Documents Windows 8’s Best Features: PC Reset and PC Refresh

Microsoft today provided a lengthy explanation of two related and key new Windows 8 features called PC Reset and PC Refresh. The post on Building Windows 8 does into quite a bit of detail, expanding greatly on the information I provided previously in my Windows 8 Developer Previewoverview. There, I wrote:

PC recovery. The Windows 8 recovery stuff is awesome and is going to represent a major milestone in PC reliability. There are two major options to note, PC Refresh and PC Reset. With Reset, you get a full reset, and the entire PC is wiped out and reinstalled from scratch. This process takes a few minutes currently and will return the PC to its factory condition; it doesn’t require any external discs or USB key. With Refresh, your files, data, favorites, personalization, and metro style apps are all backed up, the OS is wiped out and replaced, and then everything is reapplied to the PC, leaving you with a pristine, running copy of Windows with everything (except for classic applications) exactly the way they were before. It currently takes 4 to 5 minutes.
I also previously published a Windows 8 Refresh Your PC Screenshot Gallery that features numerous screenshots of these features in action.
But back to Microsoft.
According to the post, PC Reset and PC Refresh will go a long ways towards making Windows 8-based PC behave more like devices, since these features are akin to a hardware “reset” button. The two features are differentiated as follows:
Reset your PC. Remove all personal data, apps, and settings from the PC, and reinstall Windows.
Refresh your PC. Keep all personal data, Metro style apps, and important settings from the PC, and reinstall Windows.
What’s most amazing about these features, of course, is how fast they are. And while I’ve experienced this in the real world, let’s just use the post’s own numbers: On the Developer Preview version of Windows 8, PC Refresh takes about 8 minutes and 22 seconds, while PC Reset (thorough, with BitLocker) takes under 6 and a half minutes. (Without BitLocker enabled, it’s more time-consuming at almost 24 minutes.) The same type of restore using a system image takes about 24.5 minutes by comparison.

Anyway, the post has a lot more detail, as always, if you’re morbidly curious. Plus, there’s a video in there as well.

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Posted by plates55 - January 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm

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