Windows 10 on ARM laptops could soon be much more affordable

Windows 10 on ARM laptops haven’t made a lot of an effect so far, but they may soon become a lot more popular. That’s partly due to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx chip (as utilized in the world’s first 5G laptop, that was unveiled at Computex 2019) and partly thanks to a lot more affordable ‘always connected’ notebooks.

The cheapest Snapdragon-powered laptops you can purchase today – like the Asus NovaGo – ran to $599 (around AU$860) at launch. In practice, shiny things cost even more; at the time, the only real model available we could review cost $699, and more like £699 in the UK,. You will find therefore no real wallet-friendly options as a result when compared with traditional notebooks.

However, as WinFuture spotted, within an interview with Mobile Tech podcasts, VP of global product marketing for Qualcomm Don McGuire asserted there will soon be cheaper Snapdragon hybrids and notebooks, with prices potentially dropping as little as $300 (around £240, AU$430). Apparently this will happen pretty soon, and that we might hear something about these more affordable products within the next few months.

Qualcomm’s roadmap envisages a variety of devices pitched between $300 (around £240, AU$430) and $800 (around £630, AU$1,150), with the higher-end models using the aforementioned Snapdragon 8cx platform, and the more budget-targeted notebooks utilizing a lesser chip, which could be known as the Snapdragon 7cx or similar.

This could represent one step down in power, with corners obviously needing to be slashed to save cash around the chip. Still, anticipation would be that this 7cx variant (or whatever it ends up being called) would remain powerful enough to run apps and also the OS smoothly.

Software side

Speaking of the operating-system, further savings are possible if device manufacturers opt for Chrome OS instead of license Windows. Google’s desktop operating-system is much less resource intensive than Microsoft’s, that might also be a weighty consideration at the lower-end.

McGuire established that PC makers may likely use hardware designs that may be designed with both operating systems, commenting: “There will soon be cheaper Snapdragon laptops available on both Windows and Chrome OS.”

McGuire also said we ought to soon expect many more native ARM versions of popular apps (meaning they won’t need to be emulated, and therefore suffer performance overheads), because the procedure for porting these over and compiling for ARM is becoming easier. As an example, he cited the fact that Microsoft is spending so much time on doing exactly this with its Office suite.

Naturally, Qualcomm will want to paint a rosy picture of future Windows 10 on ARM devices, but things do seem to be obtaining pace quite nicely.

With increased powerful machines that use the Snapdragon 8cx backed by budget offerings having a lesser chip, and more native versions of popular apps hopefully in the pipeline, the always-connected PC’s overall ecosystem has certainly began to look more promising.

What’s the Windows 10 Fast Startup And How You Can Disable It

Everyone loves fast computers, and a system that instantly boots towards the desktop is one thing that many people hope to own at some point.

And while from a hardware perspective improving the boot speed can be achieved as much as some point, when it comes to software Microsoft brings its very own contribution using the so-called fast startup mode.

Introduced in Windows 8 and also available in Windows 10, fast startup is really a mix of the standard cold startup (which essentially means starting a computer following a shutdown) and hibernating, which saves the state of the important apps and services.

First of all, let’s talk a bit about how fast startup works.

As mentioned, it is a mixture of two features that already existed in Windows, therefore the way it works isn’t whatsoever complicated. Fast startup creates a picture from the Windows kernel and the used drivers in a file called “hibernation file” and located at C:\hiberfil.sys.

When resuming, the operating system loads this file and all sorts of instructions in it, thus restoring everything considerably faster. It’s a better hibernation mode, if you want, only that your apps no longer run, just like it’s the situation with a cold boot.

Microsoft supplies a more technical description from the fast startup mode in Windows:

“To prepare for a quick startup, Windows performs a hybrid shutdown sequence that mixes aspects of a complete shutdown sequence and a prepare-for-hibernation sequence. First, as with a complete shutdown, Windows closes all applications and logs off all user sessions.

At this stage, the machine state is similar to that of a computer which has just started up?ano applications are running, however the Windows kernel is loaded and also the system session is running. Next, the ability manager sends system power IRPs to device drivers to inform them to prepare their devices to enter hibernation. Finally, Windows saves the kernel memory image (including the loaded kernel-mode drivers) in Hiberfil.sys and shuts down the pc.”

Windows ships with fast startup enabled by default, and unfortunately, disabling it isn’t necessarily the most straightforward move to make, especially because a dedicated option isn’t yet available in the Settings app. So instead, you need to rely on the classic Control Panel, which may go away at some point in the near future.

To do this, you are able to launch the Control Panel by typing its name within the Start menu and visit the following path:

System and Security > Power Options > Choose exactly what the power button does

A quicker method of doing this is to type the following text in the Start menu:

Fast startup

And then navigate to:

Additional power settings > choose exactly what the power button does

Within this User interface screen, click on the option that reads:

Change settings that are currently unavailable

In the same window, you need to now uncheck the option called:

Switch on fast startup (recommended)

When you uncheck this method and click OK, your system should apply the new settings. This means that the next boot should no more use the fast startup system.

The tutorial here works in most Windows 10 versions. I tested it on Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) and May 2019 Update (version 1903) and the same steps apply. On the other hand, with the classic User interface projected to become removed at some point in the near future, the fast startup option should be gone to live in the Settings app, so I’ll update the content with the new instructions when this happens.

How to Automatically Restart Your Device After Installing Windows Updates

Installing Windows updates is a vital thing for each and every one of us on Windows, as they include not only further refinements for the operating-system, but also critical security fixes that can protect our data against cyberattacks.

Updating Windows, however, is definitely a crazy rollercoaster ride for users worldwide, because the overall experience has often been ruined by both surprise behavior along with a bad approach implemented at OS level.

While botched updates still happen every once in a while, long-time Windows users certainly remember the instances when the operating-system restarted out of the blue to complete the update process.

Microsoft has since tried to address these complaints, and at this time, users are supplied by having an additional group of controls to ensure everything regarding the update from the system works as expected.

Recently, however, some IT admins told me that although the forced reboots to complete updates was annoying at times, they were a necessary evil. Mostly because some people within their organizations never manually reboot their devices to set up updates, so despite the patches actually being there, they become pushed back, leaving the unit all susceptible to attacks.

Windows 10 version 1903 comes with a dedicated option that addresses this issue and allows a pc to be configured to automatically reboot after installing updates.

First and foremost, what’s very important to know is that this option comes disabled automatically. This means that devices shouldn’t normally try to reboot after installing Windows updates, and this is clearly the right approach given all the criticism in the past years.

The option is situated at the following path fitted 10 device:

Windows 10 > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options

And it’s called:
Restart this product as quickly as possible when a restart is required to install an update. Windows displays a notice before the restart, and the device should be on and connected.

Needless to say, only enable this feature if you really believe this is actually the correct approach, as such a behavior may become annoying for Windows users and even result in losing unsaved work.

If this feature is enabled, users around the Windows 10 device will see a notification covering the entire screen and requiring a method reboot:

It’s almost time to restart
You’ve chosen to restart your device as quickly as possible when an update is pending, and one is ready for you now.
We’ll restart to install this update at /time/ or you can restart sooner. Remember to leave our device switched on and plugged in.

Exactly the same screen at the path above includes a choice to show notifications when a reboot is required, so perhaps this is a easier system for users inside an organization:
Show a notification when your PC needs a restart to finish updating

After making changes in this screen, there’s no need to reboot your device, as all settings are saved automatically.

However, IT admins attempting to manage updates better could turn to different ways of doing this instead of enable these reboots on Windows 10.

The option to restart the device ASAP when it is necessary to install an update was implemented in Windows 10 version 1903, or Windows 10 May 2019 Update, so it’s not available in the previous OS versions.

For instance, there isn’t any such option in Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) and older.

Managing History in Chromium Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is migrating to the Chromium engine, and the testing builds which are already available on Windows and macOS give to us an early glimpse into how the final browser will look and work like when it reaches the ultimate development stage.

Because they are both based on Chromium, Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome share a lot of features, albeit their parent companies develop their very own refinements to offer an improved experience to their users.

The history section of Microsoft Edge gives you easy control over those sites that you simply loaded in the past, so when comparing the 2 browsers, the available options are nearly identical.

First and foremost, in Microsoft Edge, if you want to open a brief history manager, you can either press CTRL + H (the default keyboard) or follow this path:

Microsoft Edge > Menu > History > Manage history

A brief history manager includes a rather straightforward approach, and i believe that it’s easier still to use than the one of Google Chrome, mostly because it’s super-clean.

In the left side from the screen, there’s searching box to look for a particular website, and the search results are displayed as you type.

A brief history entries could be filtered by time, and Microsoft Edge comes automatically with filters for today, yesterday, last week, and older entries. You may also see all websites in history.

The right side from the screen can be used by your history.

Sites are categorized by date, and every of these includes rather intuitive options. Clicking a link obviously opens it inside a new tab, while a right-click fires up a context menu with simple options like open in new tab, new window, or new InPrivate window, copy link, and delete.

A very useful feature is called “More from the same site,” so you can see all of the history logs from the site that you simply right-clicked. This can be a fast filter for any specific page, albeit this obviously involves you looking for one specific entry in your history manager.

In the search engines Chrome, this method isn’t included in the context menu that you simply see when right-clicking a brief history entry, but in the adjacent menu that comes with every logged website.

In Microsoft Edge, you can easily delete a history entry simply by clicking the X button alongside it.

There is also a shortcut towards the browsing data delete option, which lets you configure what data you want to clear, like browsing history, download history, cookies, cached files, autofill form data, site permissions, passwords, yet others.

Keep in mind that Microsoft Edge continues to be a work-in-progress, a few of the features detailed here might be further refined by the time the development build is finalized.

At this point, Microsoft Edge will come in Dev and Canary build on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and macOS. There’s still no ETA regarding when the stable version of the browser should be ready, but evidence found recently established that this might happen in the spring of 2020.

The existing version of Microsoft Edge might be replaced by its Chromium-based successor in Windows 10 20H1, which according to Microsoft’s schedule, should be ready in the spring of the next year. Typically, Microsoft completes the expansion work of spring feature updates in March, while the public launch begins in April or May. Most likely, if this is the program, the Chromium Microsoft Edge should end up being the default browser in Windows 10 20H1 preview builds shipped to insiders within the coming months.

Establishing Site Permissions in Chromium Microsoft Edge

Such as the other Chromium-based browsers, Microsoft Edge provides users having a rich group of controls to configure key settings concerning the way the applying interacts with websites.

And one of these concerns site permissions, which allow you to decide the access degree of every website that you load within the browser.

Basically, nearly all users ought to be just fine with the default configuration that Microsoft Edge ships with, which include Adobe Flash content always blocked, JavaScript content allowed, and prompts displayed to users whenever access to the location, camera, and microphone is required.

The settings you are making here had the ability to affect the performance from the browser as well as from the device itself. For example, if you allow Flash content, life of the battery could be reduced. And because of the security risks that Flash Player has created in the past, it’s definitely the best thing that Microsoft Edge blocks it by default.

In the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, site permissions can be found in the following path:

Microsoft Edge > Menu > Settings > Site permissions

Their email list of permissions you’re allowed to configure is fairly long and includes the following:

Cookies Location Camera
Microphone Motion or light sensors Notifications
JavaScript Adobe Flash Images
Pop-ups and redirects Background sync Automatic downloads
Unsandboxed plugin access Handlers MIDI devices
Zoom levels USB devices PDF documents
Protected content Clipboard Payment handlers

Each of these includes its set of configuration options, plus some include more advanced settings that you can adjust from the same screen.

When it comes to cookies, for example, you can allow or block sites from saving and reading cookie data, keep local data only until you close the browser, block third-party cookies, view all cookies and data, and manage the websites that are blocked, allowed, or whose cookies are deleted on exit.

Nearly all permissions, like for camera, microphone, and location, allow you to enable a prompt to inquire about before accessing, and manage their email list of blocked and allowed sites. You are able to further manage every entry with options to allow/block, edit, or remove them.

One extremely important thing, especially for beginners, is the fact that Microsoft Edge seeks your consent for the majority of permissions, so be sure you check twice once the browser displays a prompt after loading a page. Even though you click it in error, however, you can go back to this to reconfigure permissions for any specific page at a moment.

As compared to Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, which is the number one Chromium-based browser, also comes with an option to “View permissions and knowledge stored across site.” This particular menu also enables you to search for a specific website after which reset its permissions and clear data.

You may also sort sites here by favorite, data stored, and name.

Given that Microsoft Edge continues to be a work happening, further refinements within the coming updates are very likely. At this point, the browser is available in testing stage on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and macOS, along with a Linux version is anticipated soon as well.

Considering that it’s in line with the same engine as Google Chrome, the two browsers share a lot of settings, albeit the parent company can further fine-tune them with additional options and a redesigned UI to create everything more straightforward for everybody.

No ETA continues to be provided in terms of when Microsoft Edge could get to the stable production channel, until then Microsoft invites everyone to try out the Dev and Canary builds after which send feedback towards the company for additional refinements in front of the final launch.

The next major Windows 10 update could bring big changes to Cortana

Microsoft’s drive to continuously update Windows 10 and its features looks set to carry on, with a brand new build (18922) released to Windows Insiders to try out – which includes a radically different Cortana app.

Windows Insiders are those who have agreed to test upcoming versions of Windows 10 before they are officially released. Tiwtter user Albacore did a little bit of digging around and found a new UI (interface) for the Cortana app, that can bring a really different method of getting together with the va.

It seems the new-look Cortana will be not far off, also it can use the brand new conversational engine that Microsoft announced at Build 2019, which will make speaking with Cortana feel natural.

So later on you should be in a position to chat to Cortana and ask it to set up calendar entries, check the weather and more, either via voice or through text.

Dealing with changes

Albacore posted several screenshots of the new-look Cortana app, and it looks very similar to how Cortana works on cellular devices.

Also, while the recent Windows 10 May 2019 Update separated Cortana from the Search engine around the taskbar, this new build goes even more, using the two completely separate – using the creation of a new Search app.

It appears as though separating the 2 features means Microsoft to create further changes to Cortana. Reported by Windows Latest, Microsoft revealed last year that Cortana is used by 150 million people around the world, and while it doesn’t have the market share of virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, it’s clear that Microsoft is keen to keep on improving Cortana with each major Windows 10 release.

Latest Windows 10 update has a bug that kills VPN connection

Microsoft has confirmed the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) contains a bug that could break the Remote Access Connection Manager (RASMAN) service on some devices, consequently killing users VPN connections.

In an update to its support document, the company says the bug has effects on Windows 10 version 1903 using the KB4497935 update installed.

According to Microsoft’s updated changelog, the RASMAN service may cease working and administrators or users will get an “0xc0000005” error whenever a system running the latest form of Windows 10 is manually configured to the non-default telemetry setting of zero.

The issue itself is the place a VPN profile is configured being an Always on VPN (AOVPN) without or with device tunnel. Luckily though, the problem does not affect manual-only VPN profiles or connections which are more widely used by consumers looking to secure their devices online and prevent unwanted tracking.
RASMAN issues

If you do make use of an Always on VPN connection though, you can fix the problem by setting a new value for two group policy settings:

Group Policy Path: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Data Collection and Preview Builds\Allow Telemetry
Safe Policy Setting: Enabled and set to 1 (Basic) or 2 (Enhanced) or 3 (Full)

Alternatively, you may make the following changes to the Registry:

SubKey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection
Setting: AllowTelemetry
Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1, 2 or 3

After applying these changes to either the group policy settings or registry, you will have to restart the Remote Access Connection Manager service to allow them to work.

Windows 10 is really a step closer to never needing passwords

Microsoft’s vision of a passwordless future is one step closer to being a reality now that the organization has gained official FIDO2 certification for Windows 10‘s biometric authentication system, Windows Hello.

The certification is perfect for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (Windows 10 version 1903) that is scheduled to be made publicly available at the end of May.

Currently Windows 10 users may use Windows Hello to access their devices using a fingerprint or by facial recognition on their PC.

Users can now sign in to Microsoft accounts with no password
World Password Day: is that this the last one?
Empowering CISOs to bolster password security

In a article announcing the Windows Hello Fido2 certification, group manager for Microsoft’s crypto, identity and authentication team in Azure Core OS, Yogesh Mehta explained the business’s reasoning behind trying to eliminate passwords, saying:

“People don’t like passwords because we have to remember them. As a result, we often create passwords that are simple to guess-which makes them the very first target for hackers trying to access your pc or network at work.”

FIDO2 certification

Since Windows Hello has gained FIDO2 certification, users can expect to determine FIDO Certified logos on new Windows 10 PCS.

The Windows 10 1903 FIDO2 certification will also extend beyond Microsoft’s software and users will be able to log to their Microsoft Account and also to other FIDO-supported sites from Mozilla Firefox. Windows Hello authentication may also be visiting the business’s Chromium-based Edge browser soon.

Based on Microsoft, users will be able to register using Windows Hello to the various apps and services including Outlook, Office 365, Skype, OneDrive, Cortana, Xbox Live on PC, the Microsoft Store and more.

The times of utilizing a traditional password are slowly coming to an end and thankfully Microsoft and other tech giants for example Google are fully embracing our passwordless future.

Microsoft Releases KB4507437 and KB4507463 Windows Monthly Rollup Previews

Microsoft has released the normal previews from the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 monthly rollups which will go live for all users included in the next Patch Tuesday cycle.

The Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 monthly rollup preview is KB4507437, while the Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 sibling is KB4507463.

These new updates don’t include too many changes, and the Windows 7 update, for instance, only brings updated time zone information for Brazil.

A similar improvement belongs to the Windows 8.1 monthly rollup preview as well, but this time, the patch also fixes a problem with the Workflow definition cache and increases the go through the Window-Eyes screen reader application.

No new known issues

There aren’t any new known issues during these updates, albeit those that haven’t been fixed in the previous monthly rollups are still there. The most notable is a problem affecting McAfee security products and causing some devices to become unresponsive after installing the updates.

“Microsoft and McAfee have identified an issue on devices with McAfee Endpoint Security (ENS) Threat Prevention 10.x or McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention (Host IPS) 8.0 or McAfee VirusScan Enterprise (VSE) 8.8 installed. You can get the machine to have slow startup or become unresponsive at restart after installing this update,” Microsoft explains.

These previews are available on Windows Update, the Microsoft Update Catalog, and also the Windows Server Update Services. However, when it comes to Windows Update, they’re only offered as optional and need to be manually selected for install.

As the monthly rollup previews are meant to help IT pros and administrators test the updates prior to the public release, individuals are recommended to hang about until Microsoft ships them via Windows Update as an automatic patch. This is projected to happen around the August Patch Tuesday.

Study Shows the World’s Not Ready to Let Windows 7 Go

Microsoft will retire Windows 7 in January 2020, but with around 35 % of the world’s computers still running it, there’s a good chance a significant quantity of devices could be left without security patches when the time comes.

Research conducted by Kollective reveals that while 96 percent of the businesses have already started the migration to Windows 10, most are unlikely to accomplish the process before the January 2020 deadline.

And it’s all due to a number of factors that could reduce the process, such as the typical compatibility issues that enterprises may need to deal with.

Earlier this year, Microsoft said that 99 % from the software running on Windows 7 also needs to fully support Windows 10, with the company offering assistance throughout 1 percent.

Companies not in a rush to update devices

What’s also worrying is the fact that according to the study, 79 percent of the organizations didn’t even install updates immediately, meaning they prefer to wait after Microsoft releases them. This may be caused by update reliability concerns, as some are worried that botched patches could be disruptive for their internal activities.

Additionally, 53 percent of the respondents said they wait a minimum of a month before their install operating system updates, even though these often include critical security patches.

Kollective says this is also one of the consequences of the migration to a new Windows approach.

“This new ‘Windows like a Service’ model includes a unique group of challenges. Monthly quality updates or bug fixes will normally be under 1GB; whereas bi-yearly feature updates could be up to 5GB. Due to the increased frequency and size these updates, IT teams will have limited time for testing and distribution,” it says in its research.

Microsoft will continue to offer custom support for Windows 7 following the January 2020 milestone, albeit this method will become more expensive every year. Companies will be necessary to pay $50 per Windows 7 device within the first year after EOL, using the pricing doubling to $100 in the second year.