Microsoft’s Windows Lite OS has a new codename “Santorini”

Microsoft’s Windows Lite OS has a new codename “Santorini”

“Santorini” is the new codename for Microsoft’s Windows Lite OS

Microsoft has been reportedly rumored working on a new light version of the desktop operating system (OS) codenamed “Windows Lite.” This OS is built on Windows Core OS for lightweight computing. This OS is designed to compete with Google’s Chrome OS in the education sector and other markets.

The name “Windows Lite” first appeared in a Windows 10 SDK and will run applications from the Microsoft Windows Store and PWAs (Progressive Web Apps). The rumored Lite desktop OS does not replace any existing version of Windows and it is not something that the users would run on the desktop. Lite will also have instant-on functionality and it should be able to run on any CPU.

Now, Zac Bowden, a journalist with Windows Central, reports that Microsoft has finalized a new codename “Santorini” instead of Lite for its new platform. For those unaware, the codename is usually the nickname assigned to software and hardware when Microsoft tests it internally.

Santorini will offer an entirely new experience that has been designed to meet the specific needs of the students who will use it. It will run on a number of new devices including “Centaurus” and “Pegasus”. The Centaurus is a dual-screen device, while Pegasus is a new line of Notebooks running Lite OS with different configurations or features.

While Microsoft has not formally confirmed any such reports, we may likely get to hear more about information about Windows Lite this spring.

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Microsoft removes eight apps from its Windows App Store that were mining cryptocurrencies

Microsoft removes eight apps from its Windows App Store that were mining cryptocurrencies

Eight Malicious Crypto-Mining Apps Removed From Microsoft’s Windows App Store

Microsoft has removed eight applications from its Windows App Store that were mining Monero crypto-currency without the knowledge of users.

The illicit eight crypto-jacking Windows 10 applications were discovered by the cybersecurity company, Symantec in the month of January this year. Apparently, these apps were published in the Microsoft Store between April and December 2018, but many of them were published only towards the end of the year.

“On January 17, we discovered several potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) on the Microsoft Store that surreptitiously use the victim’s CPU power to mine cryptocurrency. We reported these apps to Microsoft and they subsequently removed them from their store,” Symantec said in a blog post.  

For those unfamiliar, crypto-jacking, also often referred to as drive-by mining, is the process whereby hackers and websites host sections of code that have the ability to secretly siphon off your computer processing unit’s (CPU) power towards mining cryptocurrency for the offenders to make money from.

According to Symantec, all eight apps are likely developed by the same person or group. “The apps – which included those for computer and battery optimization tutorials, internet search, web browsers, and video viewing and download – came from three developers: DigiDream, 1clean, and Findoo. In total, we discovered eight apps from these developers that shared the same risky behavior. After further investigation, we believe that all these apps were likely developed by the same person or group,” Symantec added.

All the malicious apps that ran on Windows 10, including Windows 10 S Mode were Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These are web applications that load like regular web pages or websites but can offer user functionality such as working offline, push notifications, and device hardware access traditionally available only to native applications. PWAs combine the flexibility of the web with the experience of a native application.

Ironically, Microsoft’s Windows 10 S Mode is the most secure Windows 10 version, as it restricts app downloads to the Microsoft Store.

“As soon as the apps are downloaded and launched, they fetch a coin-mining JavaScript library by triggering Google Tag Manager (GTM) in their domain servers. The mining script then gets activated and begins using the majority of the computer’s CPU cycles to mine Monero for the operators. Although these apps appear to provide privacy policies, there is no mention of coin mining on their descriptions on the app store.” Symantec said.

The eight crypto jacking apps were published in the Store by three developers, “DigiDream”, “1clean”, and “Findoo”. These apps are Fast-search Lite, Battery Optimizer (Tutorials), VPN Browser+, Downloader for YouTube Videos, Clean Master+ (Tutorials), FastTube, Findoo Browser 2019, Findoo Mobile & Desktop Search.

All the eight apps collectively boasted over 1,900 reviews. However, since the app ratings can be fraudulently inflated, it is currently unclear how many of these app ratings and downloads are legal.

If you have installed any of the above-mentioned apps, it is suggested that you uninstall them as soon as possible. It is recommended that you keep your software up to date and avoid downloading apps from unfamiliar sites. Only install apps from trusted sources. Also, closely monitor CPU and memory usage of your computer or device.

Source: Symantec

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Microsoft wants you to stop using Internet Explorer

Microsoft wants you to stop using Internet Explorer

Microsoft is urging its users to stop using Internet Explorer

Microsoft in a blog post has begged its users to not use Internet Explorer (IE) as a main or primary web browser, as it is a ‘compatibility solution’ for enterprise customers to deal with legacy websites.

“We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days. They’re testing on modern browsers,” said Chris Jackson, worldwide head of cyber-security at Microsoft’s Windows division, in the blog post.

Jackson said that developers now no longer test on the legacy Web browser, but instead use “modern browsers”.

While many of the users these days either use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, some firms still depend on Internet Explorer for web apps that have been built using the old infrastructure.

The security expert also explained why companies need to be aware of their “technical debt”, as they are paying for extended support of older software.

Responding to the user comments section of his blog post, Jackson clarified that he’s not influencing people to never use Internet Explorer.

“My concern is that to accommodate apps that do need IE, we use it for everything. We want you to use IE for the sites that need it — what I’m trying to say here is that I hope you don’t use it for everything else,” he said.

“The candle is burning from the other side with that approach — now your new sites break while keeping your old sites fixed. I’d like to craft a solution where both your old sites and your new sites work.”

Launched in 1995 with Windows computers, Internet Explorer, was one of the most widely used web browsers, that once held 95 percent of the market in 2003.

In 2015, Microsoft had announced that Microsoft Edge would replace Internet Explorer as the default browser on its Windows 10 devices. However, Edge has struggled to make a mark due to stiff competitors like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Microsoft recently announced that it will be ending support for Internet Explorer 10 on January 31, 2020.


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Microsoft releases Windows Template Studio 3.0 – here’s what’s new

Microsoft releases Windows Template

Microsoft’s Windows Template Studio 3.0 released!

Microsoft yesterday released its version 3.0 of Windows Template Studio, which is its first major update since version 2.0 was released in April last year.

For those unaware, launched in 2017, Windows Template Studio is kind of replacement for the Windows App Studio and the company has been working continuously on improving it since its launch. Template Studio, an open-source project, makes it easier for developers to build full-fledged UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps without writing a line of code.

Yesterday’s update includes a variety of enhancements in this version, which are:

  • Code now generates as a multi-project solution. This will enable better reuse and separation of code logic. This now will output a UWP project and .NET Core project.
  • Support adding new projects on right click
  • Horizontal Navigation View has replaced the Pivot navigation pattern.
  • Update MVVMLight to use .NET Standard library
  • Bug fixes

Dev platform updates:

  • AdaptiveCards to v1.1.2
  • Analytics to v 1.12.0
  • Crashes to v 1.12.0
  • Store.Engagement to v10.1810.16002
  • Xaml to v2.0.181018003.1
  • Json to v12.0.1
  • UniversalWindowsPlatform to v1.0.1.3

Further, there are also known issues with the Windows Template Studio 3.0 that one must be aware of.  One can experience issues while using this with Visual Studio 2019, as preview support for multi-project is showing a NuGet reference failure for the Core project. Also, Feedback Hub has been removed for now until a bug has been fixed in their SDK.

Microsoft is also currently building on few things that it plans to include in future builds, such as Menubar navigation pattern template (ETA is v3.1), Identity Login (ETA is v3.1), Improved Visual Studio 2019 support, Azure features starting to be added in (v3.1 and beyond), and Unit Test projects.

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Microsoft issues warning about Windows 10 update

Microsoft issues warning about Windows 10 update

Future Windows 10 updates to eat up more storage space on your computer

Microsoft in a blog post announced that future Windows 10 OS updates will now utilize more of your computer’s storage space in addition to the regular storage space reserved for the OS. The company is taking measures to ensure that Windows 10 computers will always be able to upgrade automatically.

The feature dubbed as ‘Reserved Storage’ will be introduced with Windows 10 Build 1903 (April 2019 update). However, this feature will use a lot of storage from the users’ hard drive which “cannot be removed from the OS.”

Microsoft program manager Jesse Rajwan in a blog post said that the additional storage exclusive for OS update would be taken from Windows 10 users’ hard drives, which will be around 7GB. This will be in addition to over 20GB of storage space that the OS version usually takes for storage.

“Through reserved storage, some disk space will be set aside to be used by updates, apps, temporary files, and system caches. Our goal is to improve the day-to-day function of your PC by ensuring critical OS functions always have access to disk space,” says Rajwan.

“When it’s time for an update, the temporary unneeded OS files in the reserved storage will be deleted and update will use the full reserve area. This will enable most PCs to download and install an update without having to free up any of your disk space, even when you have minimal free disk space,” Rajwan added.

“If for some reason Windows update needs more space than is reserved, it will automatically use other available free space. If that’s not enough, Windows will guide you through steps to temporarily extend your hard disk with external storage, such as with a USB stick, or how to free up disk space.”

In addition, the reserved storage feature will be “introduced automatically on devices that come with version 1903 pre-installed or those where 1903 was clean installed.” However, the reserved storage will not apply to those updating to 19H1 from a previous version.

In the blog post, Microsoft also suggests two methods that users can use to reduce the amount of reserve storage on Windows 10 PCs and laptops once the feature is rolled out. First, users can opt to uninstall optional features by going to Settings > Apps > Apps & features > Manage optional features. Second, users can opt to uninstall language that they don’t need by going to Settings > Time & Language > Language.

The Windows 10 update announcement is certainly not good news for users as it comes after the failure of October 2018 update 1809. Back in October 2018, Microsoft had to pause rollout of update 1809 after users had started complaining of data loss. Further, in November 2018, Windows 10 Pro users reported being downgraded to Windows 10 Home after downloading an update.

What do you think about the Reserved Storage feature? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Windows Media Player feature getting retired from Windows 7

Windows Media Player feature getting retired

As Windows 7 extended support came to an end this year, the developers started retiring the services for Windows 7 in particular.

We are talking about the removal of Windows media player feature from Windows 7 and in fact Windows Media Center from Windows 7, 8, and 8.1.

As stated by Windows, Microsoft itself has quietly updated a support document on January 26, in which they said the new metadata won’t be updated on media players in Windows 7, which implies to Windows Media Player and Media Center.

Microsoft said that the decision has been made based on “customer’s feedback and data usage”, stating:

Going forward, you may be unable to view information (metadata) such as the title, genre, and artist for songs, and the director, actors, cover art, and TV guide for movies in Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player. After looking at customer feedback and usage data, Microsoft decided to discontinue this service. This means that new metadata won’t be updated on media players that are installed on your Windows device. However, any information that’s already been downloaded will still be available.

Well, it’s important to note that discontinuation of this feature will not affect Windows Media Player on Windows 10. You can use it safely and without any stress.

Furthermore, it also does not affect major functionalities such as playback, navigation, and streaming.

Stay tuned for more such Stories.

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Microsoft Office 365 Is Now Available On Apple’s Mac App Store

Microsoft Office Is Now Available On Mac App Store

Microsoft Office 365 is one of the most feature-rich office suite that is used by millions of users. The Microsoft Office 365 consists of many useful tools like Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Well, the Microsoft’s Office 365 suite is now finally available on the Mac App Store.

So here’s everything you need to know about the availability of Microsoft Office 365 on Apple’s Mac App Store.

ALSO READ: Huawei Might Surpass Apple To Become Second Largest Smartphone Vendor In 2019

Microsoft Office 365 Is Now Available On Apple’s Mac Store

Last year at WWDC Apple promised to launch Microsoft Office 365. Apple has finally announced on Thursday that Microsoft Office 365 is now available on Mac App Store. Users can now directly download the signature Microsoft apps such as Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Excel on their MacOS computers.

Earlier, Mac users relied on Microsoft’s website for downloading Microsoft apps. It is worth noting, that the Microsoft Office 365 for MacOS will also offer some nifty features like Dark Mode and Continuity Camera. These features are exclusively available on MacOS only.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing stated that “Apple and Microsoft have worked together to bring great Office productivity to Mac users from the very beginning. Now, with Office 365 on the Mac App Store, it’s easier than ever to get the latest and best version of Office 365 for Mac, iPad, and iPhone.”

Microsoft Office 365 Subscription Plans

You can use the Microsoft Office 365 suite completely free of cost for a month. Later you can pay $70 per year for using the Microsoft services as a personal edition. Furthermore, you can pay $100 a year and upgrade to the Home version. It is worth noting that the Home version can be used by up to 6 people.

In addition to Microsoft Apps, the Home version also offers 1TB of Onedrive storage and 60 minutes of monthly Skype calls.

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Microsoft announces end of support for Windows 10 Mobile devices

Microsoft announces end of support for Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft to officially stop supporting Windows 10 Mobile platform from December 2019

Microsoft recently published a support page where it announced that the company will be ending support for Windows Phone 10 mobile devices on December 10, 2019.

“Windows 10 Mobile, version 1709 (released October 2017) is the last release of Windows 10 Mobile and Microsoft will end support on December 10, 2019,” reads the Microsoft support note.

Further, smartphones running Windows 10 Mobile version 1703, such as Lumia 640 and 640 XL, will only be supported till June 11th, 2019. Moreover, in the support note, the Redmond giant also recommends Windows 10 Mobile users to shift to iOS or Android devices.

“As of December 10, 2019, Windows 10 Mobile users are no longer eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free,” explains an FAQ on Windows 10 Mobile end of life.

“With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device. Microsoft’s mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices.”

It should be noted that Microsoft had stopped developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile since 2017. Although the company continued to provide security and software updates to Windows 10 Mobile devices, this too would now cease from December 10th, 2019, and devices will be no longer be supported after this date. However, the company might continue supporting third parties or paid support programs for the platform for a later date.

Once the device reaches the end of support, some of the features will slowly stop working. Microsoft notes, “After the end of support, automatic or manual creation of new device backups for settings and some applications will continue for 3 months, ending March 10, 2020.  Some services including photo uploads and restoring a device from an existing device backup may continue to work for up to another 12 months from the end of support.”

Microsoft also stated that it will also be phasing out its built-in backup tool after the support ends. Hence, the company is encouraging its users to manually create a backup before December 10, 2019. To do so, the users can go to the Settings -> Update & security -> Backup -> More Options and then tap Back up now before that date.

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Microsoft India to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youths in the country

Microsoft India to set up 10 AI labs

Microsoft to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youths and upskill 10,000 Indian developers

Microsoft India on Wednesday announced its plans to set up Artificial Intelligence labs (AI) in 10 universities in the country in the next three years. The company also plans to upskill over 10,000 developers to bridge the skills gap and enhance employability, and train 5 lakh youths across the country in disrupting technologies.

Microsoft has 715 partners who are working with the company in India to help customers design and implement a comprehensive AI strategy.

“The next wave of innovation for India is being driven by the tech intensity of companies – how you combine rapid adoption of cutting edge tech with your company’s own distinctive tech and business capabilities,” Anant Maheshwari, President of Microsoft India, said at the ‘Media and Analyst Days 2019’ held in Bengaluru.

“We believe AI will enable Indian businesses and more for India’s progress, especially in education, skilling, healthcare, and agriculture. Microsoft also believes that it is imperative to build higher awareness and capabilities on security, privacy, trust, and accountability. The power of AI is just beginning to be realized and can be a game-changer for India.”

According to Microsoft, the company’s AI and cloud technologies has today digitally transformed more than 700 customers, of which 60 percent customers are large manufacturing and financial services enterprises.

The Redmond giant has partnered with Indian government’s policy think tank, NITI Aayog, to “combine the cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions across several core areas including agriculture and healthcare and the environment,” said Microsoft India in an official press release.

“We are also an active participant along with CII in looking at building solution frameworks for application in AI across areas such as Education, skills, health, and agriculture,” the company added.

In December last year, Microsoft had announced a three-year “Intelligent Cloud Hub” collaborative programme in India, which will “equip research and higher education institutions with AI infrastructure, build curriculum and help both faculty and students to build their skills and expertise in cloud computing, data sciences, AI and IoT.”

Source: Microsoft

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Microsoft is reportedly building a Chromium-based browser to replace EdgeHTML

Microsoft is rumored to be reportedly working to replace EdgeHTML, the rendering engine that Edge is built on, with a new Chromium-based web browser for Windows 10

Microsoft is looking to replace EdgeHTML with a Chromium-based browser

Microsoft had launched its built-in web browser ‘Edge’ to replace the much-maligned ‘Internet Explorer’ as the default browser on Windows 10.

However, Microsoft Edge has not able to see success or gain popularity since its debut in 2015.

As a result, Microsoft is rumored to be reportedly working to replace EdgeHTML, the rendering engine that Edge is built on, with a new Chromium-based web browser for Windows 10, according to a new report from Windows Central.

The new web browser will be built using Chromium, a rendering engine, which as popularized by its rival, Google Chrome.

The project rumored to be codenamed as Anaheim is likely to appear in the 19H1 development cycle, and will finally completely replace Edge early next year.

If the rumors are true, Microsoft’s new web browser would provide the same experience to users that they would get while using Google Chrome. Ironically, in terms of experience, Microsoft Edge is lagging far behind in comparison to its rival, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

Currently, Microsoft is shipping Windows 10 with two browsers, Internet Explorer and Edge. Will Microsoft replace Edge with a new browser or add a third browser to the OS remains to be seen. Keep watching this space as it is a developing story.

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