Microsoft Releases The New Light Theme In Windows 10 19H1 Insider Build 18282

Microsoft Releases The New Light Theme In Windows 10

Microsoft rolls out Windows 10 19H1 build 18282 to Insiders with a new light theme

Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18282 (19H1) to Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring on November 14. While the next Windows 10 iteration 19H1 includes several improvements and bug fixes, it also introduces a true Light theme for the Taskbar, Start menu, Action Center, touch keyboard, and more.

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Previously, if elements like the Taskbar, Start menu, Action Center, touch keyboard, etc., would be left out if one selected the Light theme. However, this changes with the new build.

“Ever since we introduced the ability to choose between light and dark in Windows 10, we’ve heard feedback asking for a truer separation between the two options,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

To enable light theme in Windows 10, you need to go to Settings > Personalization > Colors. Then, click the drop-down under ‘Choose your color’ and select Light. The new theme changes many elements of the OS UI, including the taskbar, Start menu, Action Center, touch keyboard and more. If you select the Light mode in the Settings app, all system UI elements will look lighter.

“When you update to this build, your system color won’t automatically change to the new light system color. This is because we want everything to be exactly as you left it before you did the update. We’re leaving the choice up to you,” Microsoft added.

As part of this new Light theme, Microsoft is also adding a new default wallpaper highlighting Windows Light. Go to Settings > Personalization > Themes and select Windows Light to apply it. This will change your PC to be light themed.

The UI change to Light theme is not ready yet. Microsoft is likely to introduce the new Light theme in the upcoming Windows 10 19H1 feature update due in Spring 2019.

The other notable changes in Windows 10 19H1 update are improved Action Center, dark themed OneDrive and more. Furthermore, there is also a new window snip option for Snip & Sketch, improvements to the printing experience, and more. Check out the general changes, improvements, and fixes for build 18282 here.

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Microsoft finally re-releases Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Microsoft resumes rollout of Windows 10 October 2018 (version 1809)update

Microsoft has finally re-released its latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) that was delayed by more than a month after users started complaining of data loss that forced the company to pull the update offline.

“Based on (telemetry) data, today we are beginning the re-release of the October Update by making it available via media and to advanced users who seek to manually check for updates,” John Cable, Director of Program Management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, said in an announcement in a new blog post.

According to Microsoft, the so-called October 2018 Update that was delayed due to “data destroying” bug has been thoroughly investigated and all related issues have been resolved. The decision to re-release the update was reached after the careful study of diagnostic data from millions of Windows Insiders showed no further evidence of data loss.

Unlike the April Update which had the fastest Windows 10 update rollout rate, the company is taking a more measured approach with the Windows 10 October Update. The update is available to download for advanced users straight away via media and manual updates. However, those who receive the update automatically through Windows Update will see a slower rollout.

The update will be offered to users via Windows Update when data shows their device is ready. However, the update might not get installed in a user’s system if an issue is detected.

“We will offer the October Update to users via Windows Update when data shows your device is ready and you will have a great experience,” Cable continued.

“If we detect that your device may have an issue, such as an application incompatibility, we will not install the update until that issue is resolved, even if you ‘Check for updates’, so you avoid encountering any known problems.”

Microsoft has promised a renewed focus in the way it approaches quality issues, including better communication with customers.

Michael Fortin, Windows corporate Vice President said: “While we do see positive trends, we also hear clearly the voices of our users who are facing frustrating issues, and we pledge to do more.”

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Microsoft To Address Performance Issues With Its Spectre Fixes

Microsoft To Address Performance Issues With Its Spectre Fixes

Windows 10 19H1 update to fix performance slowdowns caused by Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities

Microsoft will be applying Spectre Variant 2 speculative execution side-channel attack in the next release of Windows 10, reports MSPowerUser who were the first to spot the news.

Codenamed as Windows 10 19H1, this Microsoft’s fix is expected to contain new adaptations to the Spectre-patch problem.

For those unaware, earlier this year, two serious hardware vulnerabilities, Meltdown and Spectre were discovered that affected many modern processors and allowed programs to steal sensitive data. Back then, while several companies faced slowdown on their networks, Google’s cloud systems faced little to no damage due to an alternative approach used by the company to mitigate the effects of Spectre and Meltdown.

The approach called as ‘Retpoline’ is a faster way of blocking Spectre-based attacks with “negligible impact on performance,” according to Google. While Microsoft patched the Spectre flaws back in January 2018, the fix affected the performance of the PCs resulting in slowdowns.

Microsoft is now looking to use the same approach used by Google in its own operating system to eliminate performance slowdowns. The tech giant will “enable Retpoline by default” starting from the next feature update that will be released to Windows 10.

“We have enabled retpoline by default in our [Windows 10 version] 19H1 [builds] along with what we call ‘import optimization’ to further reduce [performance] impact due to indirect calls in kernel-mode,” tweeted Microsoft’s Mehmet Iyigun, who works on the Windows kernel team. “Combined, these reduce the [performance] impact of Spectre v2 mitigations to noise-level for most scenarios.”

Windows 10 19H1 will be able to reduce performance impact caused by Spectre v2 mitigations to “noise-level,” according to Iyigun. In other words, end-users should be able to experience a huge improvement in the CPU performance that originated from previous fixes.

Fast and Skip Ahead Insiders who are currently testing the latest Windows 10 19H1 Insider builds should have the change in effect, as Microsoft had already started releasing the new 19H1 builds to them earlier this month. However, the patch will not arrive to Windows 10 users until the next major Windows 10 update that is scheduled for the first half of 2019.

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Microsoft open-sources 60,000 patents to protect Linux

Microsoft open-sources 60,000 patents to protect Linux

Microsoft makes 60,000 patents open-source to help the Linux Community

Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network (“OIN”), an open-source group dedicated to protecting Linux and other open-source software programs from patent legal troubles.

The move will see the Redmond giant pledge its valuable and deep portfolio of over 60,000 issued patents open-source and available to other OIN members. Microsoft is positioning its move to show that it has no intention to use patents as a weapon against any free software, beyond just that free software which is part of OIN’s specific list.

“We know Microsoft’s decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents,” Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

“For others who have followed our evolution, we hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programmes,” Andersen added.

“Now, as we join OIN, we believe Microsoft will be able to do more than ever to help protect Linux and other important open source workloads from patent assertions. We also hope that our decision to join will attract many other companies to OIN, making the license network even stronger for the benefit of the open source community,” Andersen said.

“We look forward to making our contributions to OIN and its members, and to working with the community to help open source developers and users protect the Linux ecosystem and encourage innovation with open source software.”

Andersen said that joining OIN reflects Microsoft’s patent practice evolving in lock-step with the company’s views on Linux and open source more generally.

“We began this journey over two years ago through programs like Azure IP Advantage, which extended Microsoft’s indemnification pledge to open source software powering Azure services,” he said.

“We doubled down on this new approach when we stood with Red Hat and others to apply GPL v. 3 “cure” principles to GPL v. 2 code, and when we recently joined the LOT Network, an organisation dedicated to addressing patent abuse by companies in the business of assertion,” Andersen added.

Founded in 2005, OIN’s mission has been to protect Linux developers from patent lawsuits. OIN owns more than 1,000 patents and comprises more than 2,650 companies that includes firms such as Google, IBM, Red Hat, and SUSE.

Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network (OIN), said that Microsoft’s participation in OIN “adds to our strong community, which through its breadth and depth has reduced patent risk in core technologies, and unequivocally signals for all companies who are using OSS but have yet to join OIN that the litmus test for authentic behaviour in the OSS community includes OIN participation.”

According to Bergelt, these newly open-sourced patents consist of tons of open-source technologies such as Android, the Linux kernel, and OpenStack; newer technologies such as LF Energy and HyperLedger, and their predecessor and successor versions.

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Windows 10 Update: Microsoft updates CPU requirements for the October 2018 update

Windows 10 Update - October 2018 update

Microsoft updates its Windows Processor Requirements page

Amidst the chaos created due to Microsoft users complaining of data loss caused by rollout of Windows 10 October 2018 update (version 1809), Microsoft has gone ahead and updated its Windows Processor Requirements page for the new version of the OS. The main modification is that it now supports Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 850 chipset.

For standard versions of Windows 10 version 1809, it officially supports up to 8th-gen Intel Core processors (Intel Core i3/i5/i7-8xxxK/U/G), 7th Generation Xeon E3-xxxx v6***, and the current Intel Atom (J4xxx/J5xxx and N4xxx/N5xxx), Celeron and Pentium Processors. On the AMD front, it supports up to 7th Generation Processors (A-Series Ax-9xxx & E-Series Ex-9xxx & FX-9xxx), AMD Athlon 2xx processors, AMD Ryzen 3/5/7 2xxx, AMD Opteron**** and AMD EPYC 7xxxx****. Additionally, it also supports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850.

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and Enterprise also get support up to Intel’s 7th Generation Xeon CPUs, along with AMD’s Opteron and EPYC chips, along with AMD 7th Generation Processors (A-Series Ax-9xxx & E-Series Ex-9xxx & FX-9xxx), AMD Athlon 2xx processors, AMD Ryzen 3/5/7 2xxx, AMD Opteron**** and AMD EPYC 7xxxx****. However, the new LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) release of Windows 10 Enterprise does not support Qualcomm Snapdragon 850.

*** Intel Xeon processors are supported on Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and Windows 10 Enterprise only.

**** AMD Opteron and AMD EPYC processors are supported on Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and Windows 10 Enterprise only.

The options for Windows 10 IoT Core 1809 (SAC and LTSC) haven’t changed on the official page, although support for NXP processors, including the i.MX 6, i.MX7, and i.MX 8M families is coming soon.

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise officially supports up to Intel 8th Generation Processors (Intel Core i3/i5/i7-8xxxK/U/G) and through current Intel Atom (J4xxx/J5xxx and N4xxx/N5xxx), Celeron and Pentium Processors. Additionally, it also supports AMD 7th Generation Processors (A-Series Ax-9xxx & E-Series Ex-9xxx & FX-9xxx), and AMD Ryzen 3/5/7 2xxx.

Further, Windows Server 2019 supports up to Intel 7th Generation Processors (Core i3-7xxxx/Celeron/Pentium; Xeon E3 v6; Xeon E21xx; Xeon SP 31xx, 41xx, 51xx, 61xx, and 81xx; and Xeon D 15xx), and Atom C33xx. In the AMD family, it supports up to 7th generation processors (AMD A-Series Ax-9xxx & E-Series Ex-9xxx & FX-9xxx), AMD Ryzen Family, and AMD EPYC 7xxxx.

Finally, the last Windows 10 LTSC release was version 1607, which only supported up to 7th generation Intel Core and Xeon chips, along with AMD 7th generation CPUs. It does not have Ryzen support.

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Microsoft launches office 2019 for mac and windows users

Microsoft launches office 2019 for mac and windows users

Microsoft has been always in the lead when it comes to its software diversity. They had a bunch of productive software, which helped tons of people all across the globe. They even had software for non-parent OS (Operating System) platforms such as Mac commonly known by Microsoft office for mac.

Like every new year, Microsoft really worked hard and launched its new Microsoft office 2019 version for both Mac ( Microsoft office for mac )and Windows platform ( Microsoft office for windows ).

Its been a ritual in Microsoft that every new update is first available for the people who have the insider preview feature turned on. But now Microsoft has officially rolled out its New office 2019 version for all Windows and Mac users as well.

It also means that all your favorite office software like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Outlook are getting an overhaul.

According to their official Blog post, all the new changes in Microsoft office 2019 version will be a subset of features that are already available on Microsoft Office 365. This also means that this new launch will be a one time release which further means it won’t be receiving any major updates except from regular security and stability updates.

Office 2019 also has new sets of enhancements since the Office 2016. For example, its PowerPoint now includes Morph and Zoom feature through which you can create cinematic presentations. Not only that, even with Microsoft Excel they added new formulas, charts and a bunch of enhancements to PowerPivot as well. In addition to that, they also gave a new data analysis feature which surely is very handy.

Now talking about the Word and Outlook the company had introduced its new features like  Text Spacing and Read Aloud. This feature helps in making content more easier and engaging. Also, there is Focus mode available on both the software which blocks out distractions.

The new version is though available for Commercial volume license customers which is already started from 24th September 2018. The company also confirms that they will keep on bringing the on-premises versions in coming years which is very nice.

At last, the price of Microsoft Office 2019 is $249.99 for both the Home and Business consumers.

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Microsoft releases first test build of Windows 10 19H1 for Insiders

Microsoft releases first test build of Windows 10 19H1 for Insiders

Microsoft releases two new Windows 10 preview builds, 17723 and 18204

Yesterday, Microsoft released the first Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18204 codenamed ‘19H1’ (also known as Redstone 6) to Windows Insiders who are in the Skip Ahead ring. Looks like Microsoft is no longer going to use Redstone codenames for the next version of Windows and instead use the newly re-named codename ‘19H1’, where 19 represents the year 2019 and H1 refers to the first half of the year.

“Going forward, RS5 builds will come from the RS5_RELEASE branch. For Insiders who chose to “skip ahead”, 19H1 builds will continue to come from the RS_PRERELEASE branch. Insiders can see the branch name in the watermark at the lower right of their desktop. Right now, the builds from these branches are largely the same which is why we’re only doing a single blog post for both of today’s new builds. However, in the future, we will be doing separate blog posts for each. To summarize all this, see the below graphic that explains what Skip Ahead is,” Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar writes in a blog post.

Those who are a part of the Skip Ahead Ring can now download the first Windows 10 Build 18204 (19H1) preview build.

Besides the 19H1 preview builds, Microsoft also released the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17723 (Redstone 5) for Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring.

Both the builds, 17723 and 18204 include the same new features, so there not many big changes in either of these releases. However, with the update to Windows 10, the company is adding a Mixed Reality Flashlight, improvements to Edge, and the addition of Emoji 11. Other smaller changes include time accuracy and traceability improvements, and an improved kiosk setup experience. Microsoft is also working on improving your update experience, and game bar enhancements.

You can click on the Windows Blog to know more about the full changelog, which also includes a list of known issues and more!

Source: Windows

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Microsoft announces open-source Quantum Katas project on GitHub to teach Q# programming

Microsoft announces open-source Quantum Katas project on GitHub to teach Q# programming

Microsoft launches a free series of programming exercises to learn quantum computing

Quantum computer is touted as the next big leap in technology. Microsoft has been working on to build a robust ecosystem for quantum computing for quite some time now.

Recently, the software giant announced the release of Quantum Katas, an open source project on GitHub for those who wish to learn about quantum programming and how to program in the Q# language.

Quantum Katas is a “series of self-paced tutorials aimed at teaching you elements of quantum computing and Q# programming at the same time.” It is a series of programming exercises that provide immediate feedback as you progress.

“Each kata offers a sequence of tasks on a certain quantum computing topic, progressing from simple to challenging,” Microsoft Quantum Team states. “Each task requires you to fill in some code; the first task might require just one line, and the last one might require a sizable fragment of code. A testing framework validates your solutions, providing real-time feedback.”

Currently, there are only four katas covering basic quantum computing gates, superposition, measurements, and the Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm, which are mentioned below.

Basic quantum computing gates. Tasks which focus on main single-qubit and multi-qubit gates used in quantum computing.

Superposition. Tasks which focus on preparing a certain superposition state on one or multiple qubits.

Measurements. Tasks which focus on distinguishing quantum states using measurements.

Deutsch–Jozsa algorithm. Tasks which focus on writing quantum oracles which implement classical functions, and the Bernstein–Vazirani, and Deutsch–Jozsa algorithms.

To get started with the Quantum Katas, you are required to install the Quantum Development Kit that is available for Windows 10, macOS, and for Linux. For more information about the Quantum Katas project, you can go to GihHub repository by clicking here.

Source: Microsoft

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Microsoft announces Identity Bounty program that offers payouts up to $100,000

Microsoft announces Identity Bounty program that offers payouts up to $100,000

Microsoft’s new bounty program pays up to $100,000 for finding bugs in its Identity Services

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new bug bounty program for bug hunters and security researchers that focuses on protecting consumer data online.

For those unaware, a digital identity is the body of information about an individual, organization or electronic device that exists online. Digital identities of customers are usually the key to accessing enterprise applications and services and interacting across the Internet.

Phillip Misner, Microsoft’s Principal Security Group Manager, in a blog post noted that the company has heavily invested in the “creation, implementation, and improvement of identity-related specifications that foster strong authentication, secure sign-on, sessions, API security, and other critical infrastructure tasks, as part of the community of standards experts within official standards bodies such as IETF, W3C, or the OpenID Foundation.”

Therefore, in order to improve the security of its identity solutions Microsoft has launched a new bug bounty program called the ‘Identity Bounty Program’. In this program, hackers and security researchers can earn payouts ranging from $500 to $100,000, if they are able to find vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s “digital identity services”.

While the new bug bounty program covers Microsoft Account (consumer) and Azure Active Directory (enterprise) identity solutions, it is also extended to certain implementations of select OpenID standards as well.

Under the Identity Bounty Program, the researchers will get an opportunity to disclose security vulnerabilities in the identity services to Microsoft privately and also fix the issue before publishing technical details and get rewarded for the same.

“If you are a security researcher and have discovered a security vulnerability in the Identity services, we appreciate your help in disclosing it to us privately and giving us an opportunity to fix it before publishing technical details,” wrote Misner.

“Submissions for standards protocol or implementation bounties need to be with a fully ratified identity standard in the scope of this bounty and have discovered a security vulnerability with the protocol implemented in our certified products, services, or libraries.”

The following criteria(s) are required to be met while submitting eligible vulnerabilities for a payout:

  • Identify an original and previously unreported critical or important vulnerability that reproduces in Microsoft Identity services that are listed within scope.
  • Identify an original and previously unreported vulnerability that results in the taking over of a Microsoft Account or Azure Active Directory Account.
  • Identify an original and previously unreported vulnerability in listed OpenID standards or with the protocol implemented in our certified products, services, or libraries.
  • Submit against any version of Microsoft Authenticator application, but bounty awards will be paid only if the bug reproduces against the latest, publicly available version.
  • Include a description of the issue and concise reproducibility steps that are easily understood. (This allows submissions to be processed as quickly as possible and supports the highest payment for the type of vulnerability being reported.)
  • Include the impact of the vulnerability.
  • Include an attack vector if not obvious.

The following login and authentication tools are included in the scope of this program:

  • Microsoft Authenticator (iOS and Android applications)

Please note that the vulnerability research must reproduce on the latest version of the application and mobile operating system.

For ID bugs in non-Microsoft products, the scope is:

  • OpenID Foundation – The OpenID Connect Family
  • OpenID Connect Core
  • OpenID Connect Discovery
  • OpenID Connect Session
  • OAuth 2.0 Multiple Response Types
  • OAuth 2.0 Form Post Response Types
  • Microsoft products and services Certified Implementations listed under OpenID certification

As mentioned earlier, rewards for submissions that qualify for a bounty range from $500 up to $100,000, which are available for a significant authentication bypass, multi-factor authentication bypass, standards-based implementation vulnerabilities, cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), authorization flaw, and sensitive data exposure.

The payouts will be awarded for submissions varying from incomplete to baseline quality to high quality submissions that will take the top reward. For example, a researcher can earn $100,000 for high-quality multi-factor authentication bypass submission.

Higher payouts are given based on the quality of the report and the security impact of the vulnerability, Microsoft said. “Security researchers are encouraged to provide as much data at the time of submission to be more likely of the highest payout possible,” said the company. “We typically reward lower amounts for vulnerabilities that require significant user interaction.”

To find out more about the Identity Bounty Program, visit Microsoft’s official site.

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Microsoft rumored to be working on its own Android smartphone

Microsoft rumored to be working on its own Android smartphone

Is Microsoft planning to release its own Android powered smartphone?

Last year, Microsoft had discontinued its Windows 10 Mobile-powered Lumia series of phones, withdrew the Lumia project citing disappointing sales and exited the smartphone market. However, the company has not stopped creating or adapting software for Android and iOS smartphones to make their presence felt in the market.

Now, a Microsoft Store employee (who wanted to remain anonymous) in a series of messages with a Windows Latest journalist has revealed that the Redmond giant is currently working on a new line of phones that will be powered by Google’s Android operating system and sold on Microsoft Store. Besides this, the representative did not disclose any significant information regarding the design or features of the handset.

When the journalist asked if the Microsoft representative was referring to a new series of Lumia smartphones, he replied, “Our Windows phone engineers are focusing on releasing a new model. However it’s not yet announce what type of models they’re gonna create or release.”

Below is a little excerpt of the text conversation that were exchanged between the anonymous employee and the journalist:

Journalist: Do you mean a new Windows Phone model? But Windows Phone has been discontinued.

Employee: Not Windows phone per se, I was referring with our engineers but it’s definitely not Windows phone this time. / We will be creating a new line of phones for Microsoft phones […]

Journalist: it won’t run Windows 10 Mobile?

Employee: It’s like a new edition for Microsoft phones. / It’s gonna be powered by Android that’s for sure.

When the Microsoft Store employee was questioned if the Microsoft brand would be behind the phones, the employee said they will “be under our Wing” without giving any further clarifications. In other words, the smartphone would be sold under Microsoft’s own brand.

Usually, Microsoft Store employees are not informed of the company’s secret plans regarding upcoming product launches. Also, it’s likely that he is referring to the Microsoft Edition Android phones from other OEMs that are already sold through the Microsoft Store. Hence, we suggest that you take this rumor with a pinch of salt, as there are high chances that the employee had incorrect information.

Since, there is no official confirmation from Microsoft yet, it’s better we wait to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Source: Windows Latest

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