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Windows 8.1 to be released officially on October 17

August 18, 2013 1 comment

You will have to wait another two months before you can install the final Windows 8.1 update on existing Windows 8 machines or buy computer systems that ship with it pre-installed. Many users expected Microsoft to release the update in August, but that was never more than a rumor.
Windows 8.1 will hit the market about a year after the official release of the Windows 8 operating system, and it will be free for existing users.

The update will be available for all Windows 8 users through the Windows Store on October 17th, and as a retail version starting October 18th. While not explicitly mentioned, it is likely that the update will also be made available as a standalone download.

Interested users can still download and install the Windows 8.1 Preview which provides them with some but not all of the new features that Microsoft has integrated in the update.

Some of the features that are already available are Internet Explorer 11, a revamped search behavior, a redesigned Windows Store, integrated cloud connectivity with SkyDrive or more personalization options.

Features that were not included in the preview are a new bunch of tutorials that help you understand how to operate Windows 8.1 new cues that help users find and use features in the operating system, or the new “motion accents” personalization feature that animates the background when you scroll on the start screen interface of the operating system.

windows 8.1 help

New features added after the Windows 8.1 Preview

  • Windows-X menu now with sign-out option.
  • New “motion accents” feature on start screen.
  • New tutorials, including screenshots, short textual explanations, animations or links to Internet contents.
  • Apps list extended.
  • Several core apps have received updates.
  • Tooltips in the lower right corner for additional options are displayed in many core Microsoft apps which shows more commands (similar to right-clicking on pages or using Windows-Z)
  • Assigned Access is back. Select a (user) account to have access to only one Windows Store app.
  • SkyDrive fully integrated in the system. You can now change the location of the SkyDrive folder on your hard drive.

The most likely scenario right now is that Microsoft will finish up testing of the operating system in August, get the RTM release of Windows 8.1 out soon thereafter and distribute it to OEMs and partners so that they can start integrating it into their products.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft may not make the RTM version available on MSDN or Technet soon after it is hitting RTM status. That’s however just a rumor at this time and not something that got confirmed by Microsoft yet.

If you want to get your hands on the update at the earliest possible – legal – moment, you may need to download and install it by visiting Windows Store.

Here is a video that highlights many of the changes of the latest Windows 8.1 build.

It is clear that Microsoft is addressing several of the issues that users of Windows 8 had with the operating system. Windows 8.1 attempts to provide users with additional visual cues and tutorials to understand features of the system.

Dropbox Torrent uses Dropbox to load torrents on local PCs

March 15, 2013 2 comments

Original Post: http://www.ghacks.net/2013/03/14/dropbox-torrent-uses-dropbox-to-load-torrents-on-local-pcs/?_m=3n%2e0038%2e820%2evh0ao03kwj%2euev

By on March 14, 2013

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If you work on multiple computer systems, some local some remote, you may have encountered situations where you’d want one of your remote machines to handle a task. Maybe you discovered a torrent that you want to download, but since you are not at the right location to do so, you may have come up with a workaround. Maybe you have attached the torrents to emails for safekeeping or loaded them into online storage.

Services like Iffft may have improved the handling for you, by automating the task so that you do not have to load that torrent manually on a system once you got access to it locally. And some clients, like uTorrent, can monitor locations on a computer systems for new torrents that you add to it.

The basic idea behind Dropbox Torrent is very similar. It is a program that monitors your Dropbox folder for new torrents, and when it finds any, it will start to add those torrents to its internal client and start the downloading right away.

Here is how it works in detail:

  1. You install Dropbox Torrent on a local Windows system and run it from C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\PhrozenSoft\PDBOXTORRENT afterwards.
  2. A click on Settings displays the Dropbox path, device name, the number of tasks that you want the program to run at the same time, and the logs count you want displayed. Make sure the Dropbox path is set correctly here. There does not seem to be an option to change it though.
  3. All you need to do now is save torrent files you want to download on the computer Dropbox Torrent is running on into the main Dropbox directory.

dropbox torrent

You do not really have control over the downloading itself. You can’t for instance specify upload or download limits, remove broken or non-working downloads from the finalized work table, or change other torrent related settings such as ports.

You can configure the uTorrent client for pretty much the same task. The main benefit here is that you get better controls over the process.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Open uTorrent and click on Options > Preferences or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-P.
  2. Switch to Directories on the left and locate the “automatically load .torrents from” section here.
  3. Select a Dropbox folder, or any other file hosting folder, e.g. SkyDrive or Google Drive, here.
  4. Torrents that you move into that folder will be loaded into uTorrent automatically, provided that the system uTorrent is running on is up and connected to the Internet.

utorrent load remote torrents dropbox

I do prefer uTorrent for this right now as it is offering better controls over the whole process.

Microsoft to turn on Flash by default in Windows 8

March 15, 2013 Leave a comment

Original Post: http://www.ghacks.net/2013/03/11/microsoft-to-turn-on-flash-by-default-in-windows-8/?_m=3n%2e0039%2e117%2evh0ao03kwj%2e496

By on March 11, 2013

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One of the new features of Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 is that Microsoft integrated Adobe’s Flash Player natively into the start screen version of the web browser. This native integration, much like Google does when it comes to the company’s Chrome browser enabled Microsoft to integrate Flash in a way that it is technical no longer a plugin that needs to be loaded from external sources. By doing so, Microsoft bypassed the operating system’s limitation on the start screen that would prevent the Flash plugin from being loaded otherwise.

The company made the decision to limit Flash contents to a list of whitelisted websites. If the site was on the list, Flash would run just fine, if the site was not on it, Flash would not be loaded. It was not really difficult to edit the site list and many users did so that used the app version of Internet Explorer 10.

Today Microsoft announced that it made the decision to change that behavior in Windows 8. Instead of using a whitelist approach, Microsoft from tomorrow’s patch day on will use a blacklist approach instead. This means that Internet Explorer 10 will support Flash on all websites except for those that are on Microsoft’s compatibility view list.

  Windows 8 Windows RT
Immersive IE Enabled unless on CV list Enabled unless on CV list
Desktop IE Enabled for all sites Enabled unless on CV list

It needs to be noted that this affects only Flash in the app version of Internet Explorer 10, and not Flash on the desktop in Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. That version of Flash still needs to be installed separately and will run on all sites automatically.

Microsoft notes that the update will be made available via Windows Update tomorrow with this month’s Patch Tuesday.

You are probably wondering why Microsoft made the decision to make a 180° degree turn in regards to Flash in Windows 8. The reason that Microsoft provides us with is that it has tested thousands of sites and discovered that only a small fraction of sites are not compatible with the Windows experience goals.

If you are asking me, it may have just realized that limiting Flash contents in IE10 is too limiting for users of the operating system. If your favorite sites do not work because of that, it is likely that users will blame Microsoft in the end and switch browsers if they can. On Windows RT though, they can’t.

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