This Week in Computer Hardware 409: Titan Xp: The Fastest GPU you can get This Week

Nvidia unlocks GP102 performance for consumers with the Titan Xp, Microsoft reveals the specs for Project Scorpio, Nvidia Quadro cards tested, Corsair’s Carbide 600Q case reviewed, Windows 10 Creators Edition is here, and more! All in this episode of This Week in Computer Hardware!

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Chinese users blast Microsoft’s draconian Windows 10 upgrade

By | PCWorld

Chinese users have complained about Microsoft’s latest aggressive move to get them to adopt Windows 10, according to the news service backed by the country’s Communist government.

“IT giant Microsoft is under fire in China as the company pushes users to upgrade their operating systems to Windows 10,” said China Daily, an English-language newspaper in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in a story reprinted from Xinhua, the government’s official news agency.

Xinhua’s account resembled those in Western media, describing users whose PCs were upgraded to Windows 10 without their approval or because they overlooked an on-screen notification.

Earlier this month, Microsoft began another push to boost adoption by pre-scheduling the free Windows 10 upgrade. On-screen notices warned users of the impending upgrade, but limited the cancel option to an easily-overlooked, one-word link in the notification’s text. And clicking the red “X” in the upper-right corner of the dialog box — by convention a last resort for users wanting to cancel an operation — instead authorized the upgrade to begin at the allotted time.

“Just because I didn’t see the pop-up reminder does not mean I agreed,” Yang Shuo, an employee of a Beijing-based public relations firm, told Xinhua.

Microsoft remains on shaky ground in China as a two-year-old antitrust investigation continues. But the Redmond, Wash. company has also scored victories, including partnering with one of the country’s largest defense conglomerates to promote and sell Windows 10 to PRC government agencies.

Microsoft has also joined forces with Baidu to distribute the Windows 10 upgrade in China in exchange for making the search provider the default within Edge, the operating system’s newest browser.

The Chinese government often uses Xinhua to express its views on Western technology firms, which makes another quote in the story stand out. “The company has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play,” Zhao Zhanling, a legal advisor with the Internet Society of China (ISC), told the news service.

The ISC is supported by several Chinese government agencies, including the Ministry of Information Industry, the Ministry of Education and the State Council Information Office.

The Windows 10 upgrade offer is to expire July 29.

Windows Weekly 452: The Ludicrous Ring

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley, Paul Thurrott
A new Windows Insider Ring?  A developer ports an iOS app to Windows 10 in 5 minutes (wait for the “but”), Microsoft mistakenly caps some OneDrive users’ storage early, PowerBI’s publish to web feature, the latest mysterious Groove acquisition, do you need the Xbox One Elite Controller?  And more!

The 10 most popular TechSpot news stories of 2015

By TechSpot Staff | TechSpot

As 2015 comes to a close we’re taking a look back at the year’s most popular stories on TechSpot. Throughout the day we’ve gone compiled the most read stories narrowed down by company/topic, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, tech culture news, security and our reviews and longer-form features. To wrap up, these are the most read posts overall in any category.

We hope you enjoyed our daily dispatch of technology news and analysis as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing it to you. Here’s to an even more exciting 2016!

#10 Amazon may soon give FedEx, UPS and USPS the boot

Amazon is reportedly the entity behind a secretive air cargo operation launched this past September codenamed “Aerosmith.”

#9 Multi-monitor, ultra wide or 4K: What delivers the best gaming experience?

delivers gaming experience guest

A performance and overall gaming experience analysis using four different display setups: 16:9 (1080p or 2560×1440), multi-monitor surround, 21:9 ultra-wide, and 4K (technically 16:9, but different due to high pixel density).

#8 Panasonic’s consumer-grade exoskeleton can be yours in September

Read More

What’s ahead for Windows 10: Needed upgrades, forced updates, and developer love

By | PCWorld

Windows 10 was the biggest news story out of Microsoft in 2015, and looking forward to the coming year, it’s slated to continue as one of the pillars of the company’s business.

To recap: Microsoft first announced its new operating system in late 2014, skipping over Windows 9 and showing the world what it wanted to see: a version of Windows that kept some of the key innovations of Windows 8, while smoothing out some of the jarring or rough edges of its predecessor that drove people to stick with Windows 7 (or worse, Windows XP).

That strategy has been remarkably successful for Microsoft, which reported in November of this year that there are 110 million devices running Windows 10 after its launch at the end of July. Of those devices, 12 million are already running in a business setting, which is a good sign for the business prospects of Microsoft’s new operating system.

One of Microsoft’s big changes with its new operating system is that it will be regularly updated with new features and fixes, rather than the company holding back key features for a service pack release. That’s a double-edged sword, since Microsoft is also pushing out cumulative updates in an effort to ensure that all of its users are running (roughly) the same version of Windows 10—this means that administrators don’t have control over which update packages they install.

That’s where the operating system has been. So what’s coming next?

A more forceful push for upgrades

Microsoft will keep offering consumers free upgrades to Windows 10 until the end of July in 2016. Expect the company to do more to encourage businesses and consumers alike to pick up the new operating system. Case in point: Microsoft has already revealed that it will start automatically downloading the Windows 10 installer on some Windows computers as a recommended update.

As part of that, the installer will run automatically, though users will have to choose to go forward with the upgrade process themselves. The good news in all of this is that Windows 10 is reaching a point of maturity that Microsoft believes it can get away with downloading an installer on users’ devices that automatically runs. It also means that some people may end up upgrading to Microsoft’s new OS before they’re ready.

On the enterprise side of things, expect a lot of companies to start rolling out Microsoft’s new OS, especially after their experiences with replacing Windows XP.

Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans expects that half of all enterprises will have at least started their roll-outs of the new operating system by January 2017. That’s a marked difference from the uptake of Windows 7 and Windows 8, and bodes well for the operating system’s long-term prospects.

Enhancements to Cortana, Microsoft Edge and more

When Windows 10 launched, Microsoft focused an awful lot on what was available right then, without giving too many details about what was coming next. That makes sense—the company wants to make sure that users are focused on cool features that are out now, rather than waiting for something that they want in order to upgrade. But there are a couple things the company has said are coming, and more that we can intuit from past upgrades.

If there’s one big thing that Windows 10 users can look forward to in the new year, it’s support for extensions inside Microsoft Edge, the replacement for Internet Explorer that Microsoft shipped with the new OS. Right now, Edge’s feature set is fairly bare bones, and it shipped without extension support, which is a standard feature on all of its competitors.

Earlier this year, Microsoft promised support for extensions inside Edge before the end of 2015, but ended up postponing the feature’s launch. There’s a silver lining in all that, though: accidentally released details about Edge’s extension support suggest that it should be easy for developers to convert existing extensions for Google’s Chrome browser to work on Microsoft’s new software.

Owners of old Windows Phone devices also have to wait until 2016 until Microsoft publicly releases a version of Windows 10 Mobile for them, too. The company revealed last week that it isn’t quite ready to release a consumer version of its new operating system for smartphones that currently run Windows Phone 8.1.

On top of those awaited launches, we can also expect some other surprises. According to Tom Warren at the Verge, an upcoming update to Windows 10 will allow the virtual assistant to leave the Windows 10 taskbar and float around the screen. Given the cadence of Cortana updates thus far, which have included integrations with Uber and Microsoft’s Power BI service, it’s likely that Microsoft’s virtual assistant will remain a focus of its future feature releases.

An appeal to developers

If there’s one thing that Microsoft is banking on with Windows 10, it’s hoping that developers will believe in the new operating system enough to build applications for the Windows Universal App Platform, which lets people make one app that runs across any device running the new OS.

It’s part of the company’s strategy to boost the number of applications available for Windows smartphones and tablets, which have been hurting for native applications. Those new apps will be sold to users through the Windows Store, a digital goods marketplace that includes apps, movies and music.

What remains to be seen is whether that marketplace will actually be profitable for developers. Right now, Microsoft’s app store sits at a crossroads: it could turn into something akin to the iOS App Store, or the Mac App Store. If it’s the latter, that’s bad news for the company’s smartphone plans in particular.

Next year, we’ll get to see how the plans that Microsoft set in motion for Windows 10 this year actually hold up when put into action. Making an aggressive push for upgrades could result in more people making the move to Windows 10, or a sizable backlash, and it won’t be possible to determine the outcome until 2016 is under way.

New Windows 10 beta build is all about bug fixes

| PCWorld

Microsoft on Thursday launched another beta build of Windows 10 to public testers that’s crammed full of bug fixes and performance improvements.

Build 10586 is going out to people who have signed up to get bleeding-edge updates through the Windows Insider Program, and is supposed to smooth out some of the bugs that Microsoft introduced into the operating system. The biggest change is a fix that allows small form-factor devices that run in a resolution larger than their screen size (like the Dell Venue 8 Pro) to upgrade to the latest build. In a few recent beta builds, the system crashed and downgraded those devices instead.

Surface Pro 3 users can now safely push their tablets’ power buttons to put them to sleep, now that Microsoft has squashed a bug that would accidentally shut down the device instead. The company also fixed a bug that caused audio to drop by 75 percent for a time after a notification showed up.

The build also includes a number of enhancements. Windows 10 now remembers what method people use to log in, so they don’t get prompted to enter a password if they chose to log in with a PIN. Apps also download more reliably from the Windows Store — something that’s important as Microsoft continues to push its online storefront as a way to get applications for Windows 10.

Gabe Aul, a general manager at Microsoft who has been the public face of the Windows Insider Program, said in a blog post that the build is something Microsoft engineers have been loving internally, because of how fast and smooth it is. (Users’ mileage may vary, of course.)

That’s not to say that this build is without bugs. Users will find that if they upgrade from another preview build, their Skype contacts and messages will disappear from the Messaging and Skype apps. It’s not a new bug — users had to deal with the same issue with the last build that Microsoft released. Here’s how to get them back, according to Aul:

You can get Skype messages and contacts back by navigating to “C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Messaging_
8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalCache” in File Explorer and deleting or renaming the “PrivateTransportId” file. After deleting or renaming that file, go to the Skype video app and sign out of Skype and sign back in.

The bug fix-focused build isn’t surprising, considering that Microsoft is supposed to be gearing up for its first major update to Windows 10 this month after launching the operating system at the end of July.

Major Windows 10 PC update tipped to land in November

By | @ianpaul

Microsoft is getting ready for its next major update to Windows 10, dubbed Threshold 2, and to hear Paul Thurrott tell it we’ll be getting the update next month. We’ve been hearing about a major update to Windows 10 this fall, which will be followed by the major ”Redstone” updates in 2016.

Thurrott doesn’t specify a date for the Threshold 2 release—although Zac Bowden over at WinBeta says it’s coming Monday, November 2. Whatever the exact date is, Threshold 2 is almost upon us.

The new update will be a cumulative release, meaning you can jump straight to it if you’re already on Windows 10 even if you’ve put off a few updates. The build itself is called Windows 10 Fall Update, Thurrott says, although when you see the update in the Settings app it will be called “Windows 10 November 2015.”

The build number will reportedly be 1511 (year/month), which may confuse some considering the current build number is 10240. At least we know that Microsoft’s staggering ability to give one thing multiple, confusing names is still intact.

Threshold 2 should include the newer features from the recent fast ring Windows Insider builds that are ready for prime time. That should mean items like the new Messaging app, improvements to Cortana, and Windows 10 Mobile integration. One thing we apparently won’t see, however, is Edge browser extensions, which are now expected in 2016.

The Windows 10 Fall Update should also include the ability to activate Windows 10 with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 product keys.

Why this matters: Microsoft is making good on its promise to deliver regular, timely updates to Windows 10 users. While you need to be on the fast ring to see the new features as they come out, we’re already expecting three major Windows 10 updates in the next twelve months. That’s not bad for an operating system that’s merely three months old.

Didn’t ask for Windows 10? Your PC may have downloaded it anyway

Whether you want Windows 10 or not, Microsoft says it may download the files to your PC regardless.

In a statement to the Inquirer, Microsoft confirmed that it automatically downloads Windows 10 installation files on eligible PCs, provided automatic updates are enabled through Windows Update. The download occurs even if users haven’t opted in through the Windows 10 reservation dialog.

“For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade,” Microsoft told the Inquirer.“When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.

”When reached for comment, Microsoft told PCWorld that the downloads occurred around the time of Windows 10’s July 29 launch.

Why this matters: Microsoft appears to have crossed a line in its zeal to move people onto its latest operating system. Several reports indicate that the Windows 10 files take up as much as 6GB of storage in a hidden folder, potentially hamstringing machines that don’t have much free space left. Even worse, users who have strict data caps could face hefty overage charges for a massive download that they didn’t even ask for.

Bye-bye bandwidth

PCWorld has also heard from several readers on this issue, including one whose data plan has been affected by the automatic download. The reader, who runs a small computer repair shop, did not reserve Windows 10, yet recently noticed 6GB missing from his main desktop.

Upon further investigation, the reader’s daughter—who lives in an area without wired Internet and relies on Verizon Wireless for connectivity—had also automatically downloaded the installation files. “They do not wish to upgrade at this time, as they prefer to stay with Windows 7,” the reader said. “But they’re four days into their wireless plan, and have used more than half of their allowance because of the Windows 10 download.”

The Inquirer also spoke to a reader who said Windows 10 tries to install itself every time the machine is booted. It’s unclear if this is typical behavior for those who haven’t opted into the upgrade.

This isn’t the only instance where Windows 10 has gotten users into trouble with data caps. By default, the system also uses peer-to-peer networking to distribute Windows 10 updates, potentially eating up bandwidth without users’ knowledge.

What you can do

It’s worth noting that Windows Update provides users with a few auto-install options. Enabling “Important” updates provides security and stability fixes, while “Recommended” updates are meant to improve non-critical issues. There’s also a “Microsoft Update” option for other software such as Office. We’ve reached out to Microsoft to see which of these tiers enables the auto-download of Windows 10 files.

In the meantime, some users have reported success at removing the files and Windows 10 update prompts by entering the following into command prompt as an administrator:

WUSA /UNINSTALL /KB:3035583code>

This should at least remove Windows 10’s update notifications, but we haven’t confirmed whether it removes the installation files and prevents further downloads.

Source: Didn’t ask for Windows 10? Your PC may have downloaded it anyway | PCWorld