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9 months ago

Can't upgrade, won't upgrade: Windows Mobile's user problem

Microsofts dream of a smooth transition to Windows 10 Mobile needs a reality check. Figures from AdDuplex, which samples devices actually in use, finds that much of todays active Windows Phone user base wont be able to make the update.

A three-year-old device, the Lumia 520, is today the most popular Windows Phone in use, according to the agency. Six out of the 10 most popular Windows Phones are two years old.

Why is this a problem? W10M is greedier on system resources than Windows Phone 8.x, requiring 1GB of RAM in which to work comfortably. Only last year did Microsoft ensure that budget models ship with 1GB of RAM, and most popular models in 2013 and 2014 shipped with 512MB of RAM.

In addition, the phone needs sufficient storage to allow an Over The Air upgrade to take place, something that has dogged 16GB iPhones as iOS expanded. Its doubtful that models that shipped with 4GB (of which the OS would take up over 2GB) can make the cut. That leaves a question-mark over whether many Lumia models will receive a cut-down W10M, or no W10M at all.

Microsoft says its working hard to make Windows 10 Mobile available for older devices, but doesnt list the Lumia 520 or many other popular devices in its initial list of devices that are upgrade compatible.

Certain features and experiences will require more advanced future hardware, Microsofts Chris Weber said last week. Our goal is for the majority of the Lumia phones running Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 to join the Windows ecosystem.

Lumia expert Steve Litchfield at All About Windows Phone predicts that the near future will be rocky. I'm still expecting that big sellers like the 520 and 630/635 may be left on 8.1 Update 1 too, or at the very least presented with a cut-down experience on '10', because of the 512MB of RAM. Of course, this probably won't matter to most 520/630 owners, who are very unlikely to be tech enthusiasts and won't even be aware of any further upgrade possibilities on the horizon or under-the-hood technical limitations.

You could argue that its unreasonable for any OEM to support ancient models. But Lumias less than 18 months old (the 535) may well be left high and dry.

Indeed, the superior performance and usability of Windows Phone 8.1 over Windows 10 Mobile, in its latest incarnation, means missing out might be a blessing in disguise. For example, the older People app is far richer and more useful than the Windows 10 Mobile version, offering a handy history of your phone, SMS and email interactions with someone, and aggregates their social media contact information.

It was Windows Phones smooth performance on budget hardware that finally gave the platform a toe hold on the market in 2013, as Nokia launched an impressive range of low cost models. These appealed to users who wanted the simplicity of a feature phone (thanks to great UX design) and access to a few important modern apps. Nokia also focused its expertise in producing durable and great value low cost phones at the platform. Windows Phones market share peaked at 12 per cent in August 2013, a month before Microsofts acquisition of the phones unit was announced.

Since then Microsoft has swung the axe repeatedly, cancelling planned budget models. One new affordable model was announced at Microsofts Surface event last autumn, the first for months. It is priced at 79 on pre-pay contracts but has only just reached the market.

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9 months ago

Google and Red Hat hook up for OpenShift container cuddles

The Chocolate Factory and Red Hat have announced a partnership to run the Linux firm's OpenShift Dedicated container platform on the Google Cloud Platform in the next few months.

"We've made Google Compute Engine (GCE) a certified environment for Red Hat offerings, and have worked closely to unlock the power of containers through the Kubernetes project and the creation of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation," Google said in a blog post.

"We're now deepening this relationship to integrate OpenShift Dedicated with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services. In this initial phase, you'll have access to improved support for containers using Kubernetes and OpenShift, as well as access to powerful GCP services designed to help you make better use of data."

The Openshift Dedicated platform was launched by Red Hat last month, either as an enterprise-hosted platform or running on Amazon Web Services. Now Google is added to the mix, Red Hat will be looking for new customers and may drop the $48,000 price tag slightly to encourage this.

Google is already on good terms with the open source firm and has hosted Red Hat Enterprise Linux for over a year now, but this deal will see a much closer integration. It'll be useful for both parties; Red Hat gets a powerful new partner to spread the code and Google will get more access to the enterprise developer market it's courting.

The deal is also a good thing for Google's VP of cloud, Diane Greene. The VMware founder was recruited by Google after it bought her startup in November, and Greene is already running an aggressive price-cutting strategy and now adding industry partnerships to her portfolio.

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9 months ago

Afraid of getting your iThing pwned? Get yourself iOS 9.2.1

Apple has posted an update for iOS, including patches for 13 CVE-listed security flaws.

The Cupertino giant said that the iOS 9.2.1 update bundles the security fixes with a patch for a bug in the Apple Mobile Device manager that had prevented some iOS devices from installing apps. Note that this update will not fix the weird timezone-related battery level bug in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets, which Apple is still investigating.

The security portion of the 9.2.1 update covers a baker's dozen flaws, six of which can be exploited to achieve remote code execution on iOS devices.

Five of the remote code vulnerabilities lie in the WebKit browser engine, and could be exploited simply by loading a malicious webpage. Such flaws are commonly used by hobbyists to automate "unlock" procedures that allow users to install unapproved software. Discovery of all five flaws was credited to Apple staff.

A sixth remote code execution was found in the libxslt component by a researcher known as Puzzor. That flaw, due to a type confusion error, could also be exploited by way of a malformed webpage.

Another five of the patched flaws would also allow remote code execution, but only when run locally on the device. Those include memory corruption errors in iOS Disk Images (discovery by Frank Graziano of Yahoo! Pentest Team), IOHIDFamily and IOKit (both discovered by Ian Beer of Google Project Zero), iOS Kernel (discovered by Beer of Project Zero and Ju Zhu of Trend Micro), and syslog (discovered by Joshua J. Drake and Nikias Bassen of Zimperium zLabs).

The remaining two security flaws include a bug in WebKit CSS allowing a site to check if a user has previously visited a link (discovered by an anonymous researcher) and a flaw that could allow a captive portal webpage to view a user's cookies (discovered by Adi Sharabani and Yair Amit of Skycure.)

Users can obtain the iOS 9.2.1 update by loading the iOS "Settings" app then accessing the "General" panel and selecting "Software Update."

Sponsored: Building secure multi-factor authentication

9 months ago

How To Enable DirectPlay Windows 7/8/8.1/10 - Duration: 1:45.

How to Enable DirectPlay in Windows 8/8.1/10. Users reporting errors while trying to enable DirectPlay have had success by disabling their antivirus. Some antivirus, such as Kaspersky and the newer Avast, do not let the user make changes to their system while it is enabled.

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10 months ago

Best Windows 8 Tips to Speed up Windows 8 - Lifehacker UK

Like older versions of Windows, after a while Windows 8can start to lose its sprightliness if you dont take proper care of your computer.

Maintenance is the key here to stop your machine from slowing down there are a variety of steps you must take, from cleaning out your hard drive thats become bloated to disabling startup programs that built up over time and stop Windows from loading quickly.

If you're using another version of Windows, check out our other tips features. And ifyou're still using Windows 8, we'd recommend you upgrade to Windows 8.1 - it's a free download through Windows Update.

These are the more obvious things, but there are also other tricks that you c

10 months ago

Mac tips and tutorials: everything you need to know to set up your new Mac

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10 months ago

Welcome to

You can browse this site for information, tips & troubleshooting information about Microsoft Windows Operating Systems.

If you have a question you want to ask, you should post a message on our WindowsBBS support forum.

Microsoft prices Windows 8.1

September 19, 2013 - 10:00 GMT

Last Tuesday, in a blog post on Microsoft's website, Senior Marketing Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc announced Microsoft's Pricing and Packaging for Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 Review - Small improvements fix some annoyances

August 10, 2013 - 23:50 GMT

In this two page article I look at the preview of Windows 8.1 and look at what Microsoft decided to update or change in comparison to the current Windows 8.

Download and Install Windows 8.1 Preview

June 26, 2013 - 20:15 GMT

Today at the Build 2013 in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the availability of the Windows 8.1 Preview.

Disable Windows Automatic Maintenance

June 14, 2013 - 15:00 GMT

Windows 8 includes an automatic maintenance routine designed to run in the background with limited user interaction and minimal impact to performance and energy efficiency. If you want to disable the automatic maintenance (for example if you are running Windows 8 in a virtual environment) you'll have to change some file permissions to be able to do so successfully.

Check Your Mobile Device's Battery Health

May 29, 2013 - 11:45 GMT

Like Windows 7, Windows 8 includes a command that let you view details on your computers power usage including details on your computer's battery. The Windows 8 command will show you even more details if you are running on newer hardware.

Microsoft Confirms Windows 8.1 Update Free for Existing Windows 8 Customers

May 13, 2013 - 15:25 GMT

Today at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston, Windows division CFO Tami Reller shared with the audience that the update previously referred to as 'Windows Blue' will be called Windows 8.1 and will be a free update to Windows 8 for consumers through the Windows Store.

A First Look at Windows 8 "Blue"

April 10, 2013 - 15:30 GMT

In this two page article I take a look at the leaked 9364 Build of Windows 8 "Blue" and note some of the small improvements Microsoft seems to be making (mainly to the new 'Modern UI' interface).

Managing Windows 8 Networking

March 29, 2013 - 17:30 GMT

In this two page article I look at Windows 8 networking an sharing options including managing Wireless networks.

Optimize Windows 8 for use with a Solid State Drive (SSD)

January 30, 2013 - 14:00 GMT

Microsoft got most things right with Windows 8 and Solid State Drive's (SSD drives have been around for a few years now). So while you don't have to employ all kinds of 'tricks' to get the most out of your SSD drive, you may still benefit from some tips, especially when it comes to saving some disk space (which can come in handy on smaller size SSD drives).

Missing the Start Menu in Windows 8? Updated February 20, 2013 Feb. 20, 2013

January 7, 2013 - 09:30 GMT

In the Windows 8 Developer Preview, Microsoft had a registry setting that allowed you to switch off Windows 8 'Metro' Start screen. This would also enable the 'classic' Windows 7 Start menu. Microsoft took this option away in the Consumer Preview and has not added that simple trick back to the release version of Windows 8, so what do we do now?

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Windows Headlines - Microsoft news you can use

10 months ago

Windows 8 Survival Guide: All the Tips, Tricks, and ...

Windows 8 Survival Guide: All the Tips, Tricks, and Workarounds