Windows 7 share decline stalls, hinting at tough transition to 10

Windows 7’s decline in user share, driven for a year by desertions to Windows 10, has stalled for the last eight months, data published today showed.

According to analytics vendor Net Applications, the user share of Windows 7 — an estimate of the proportion of the world’s personal computer owners who ran that operating system — climbed by 1.2 percentage points last month to 48.4%, the highest mark since June 2016.

And Windows 7 ran more Windows machines than any other edition, accounting for 52.8% of the personal computers powered by Microsoft’s OS. The difference between the user share of all PCs and only those running Windows stemmed from the fact that Windows ran on 91.8% of all personal computers, not 100%.

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Microsoft’s budget Windows VR headsets roll out to developers soon

A lucky few developers will be able to get their hands on a low-cost Windows virtual reality headset starting this month. Microsoft announced Wednesday that the Acer Mixed Reality Developer Edition headset will start rolling out to a handpicked batch of software makers starting the end of March, with more coming later.

This marks the first release of a Windows Mixed Reality headset, which Microsoft first previewed last year. The headsets are supposed to stand out from the crowd because of a lower price and their support for “inside-out” tracking that uses sensors on the device to determine a user’s position, rather than relying on external trackers to gather that information. That’s why Microsoft is calling them mixed reality headsets.

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Microsoft's Rumoured Windows 10 Cloud Could Promise Cheaper and Safer Cloud Computing …

Although just a concept, this cloud computing platform will bring about a remarkable change in terms of how people look at Windows, cost wise.

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Microsoft lets some Windows 10 users hit pause on updates

Microsoft today delivered a new Windows 10 build that includes changes designed to address long-standing complaints about the operating system’s update practices.

Testers — those registered with the Windows Insider program and on its “Fast” release track — were handed build 15002 today. Dona Sarkar, the Microsoft software engineer who serves as the public face and voice for Insider, called 15002 “a BIG update” in a post to a company blog that spelled out a slew of changes.

Among them are several related to how Microsoft updates the OS.

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Trump’s Weirdo Doctor Uses Windows XP, Which Could Be a Violation of HIPAA

NBC News has a new article about Donald Trump’s doctor of 35 years, Dr. Harold Bornstein—the guy who claimed that Trump, if elected, would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” The dude looks like a character from a bad 70s porno flick, but Deadspin’s Tim Burke spotted something weirder: Dr. Bornstein is using Windows XP.

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Instagram for Windows 95 is everything I wanted it to be

Windows 95 is something of a cultural phenomenon. You can run it in your browser, endlessly stare at its screensavers or even check out its weird, arty cousin. Thanks to Russian graphic designer Misha Petrick we can now even run Instagram on it — kind of. Instagram for Win95 is a small art project that showcases what the popular app would look like with those mid-90s aesthetics. It’s remarkably well done, and shows different parts of the interface. Everything, including the filters, are very low-tech and breathe the spirit of the long lost operating system. Just don’t be surprised if you hear a familiar…

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5 Reasons You Should Upgrade To Windows 10 While It’s Still Free

When Windows 10 officially launched in 2015, Microsoft gave Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users one year to decide if they wanted to make the switch to the company’s new OS for free.

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Microsoft plans to show critics how Windows is an open platform at Build

Microsoft is trying to unify its business, and this has some big names in tech feeling anxious.

Microsoft is fending off criticisms of its plan to unify its products and to raise the profile of its Windows Store, and the company is now planning to take that debate into its annual gathering of developers later this month.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer responded to the ongoing criticism of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) today by reiterating that it is not a closed system. The Microsoft executive also promised to address concerns at the company’s Build conference for developers, which kicks off March 30 in San Francisco. Spencer is responding in part to an opinion piece GamesBeat published yesterday from Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney in which he meticulously argued that Microsoft is attempting to change the definition of an open software platform. The global gaming industry is worth $ 99.3 billion and general PC software is worth even more, but Epic doesn’t think developers in that market should have to share their revenues with Microsoft.

Sweeney has repeatedly said that the industry must stop UWP, and it’s obvious that his company — which makes the game-development tool Unreal Engine — has a lot at stake here. Epic has made efforts to get more people to use its standalone game launcher, which enables players to launch upcoming releases like the strategy shooter Paragon as well as the Unreal software. Sweeney wants to avoid a future where it has to go through Windows to get most people to install that, in which case Epic would have to give Microsoft 30 percent of any revenue it makes through a UWP channel.

Sweeney is making a lot of noise about this subject, and it’s clear that Microsoft is hearing him.

@PNF4LYFE It’s not closed and yes, //build will be a good time for us to show we are hearing the feedback.

— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 11, 2016

But when the Windows company does go on stage to talk UWP at Build later this month, it will probably have to address Sweeney’s very specific points. Key among those is that while Windows 10 today enables every user to install apps outside of an official Windows channel, developers still need to register with Microsoft and get their software approved with a digital signature.

“Is this open? You be the judge,” writes Sweeney. “It’s certainly a departure from the win32 precedent, in which any developer can compile a program, put it on a web site, and any user can install or run it by downloading and clicking on it.”

If you tried that today, your software would likely set off a number of ominous warnings on Windows 10, which would scare off a significant portion of customers.

And that’s the key to this debate: Microsoft and Epic are trying to win the war to define “open,” and Microsoft will have to make a compelling case at Build to prevent Sweeney’s side from gaining more momentum.

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Microsoft will bring BitLocker and Secure Boot to Windows 10 IoT Core

Raspberry Pi

Microsoft is beefing up the security capability of Windows 10 IoT Core, the compact version of Windows intended for Internet-connected devices. Microsoft’s BitLocker data encryption technology and its Secure Boot system for only supporting trusted software will both appear in in an upcoming release of the operating system, Microsoft announced today.

“By building this into IoT Core you can get these highly valuable security features without needing to build your own implementations meaning you can get your project done faster and still be more secure,” Steve Teixeira, director of program Management for the Internet of Things team in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, wrote in a blog post.

The build packing BitLocker and Secure Boot will be available to people participating in the Windows Insider Program, Teixeira wrote.

The OS became publicly available last month following a preview that came out in April, days after the formal release of Windows 10 proper.

For those who want to try it out, a new Windows IoT Core Starter Kit might be just the thing. It costs $ 114.95 with a Raspberry Pi 2 and $ 75 without the Pi. An SD card in the kit comes with the OS installed.

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Microsoft, Baidu Deal Drives Windows 10 Adoption

Microsoft announces a partnership with China’s Baidu to broaden Windows 10 adoption in the world’s most populated country.

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