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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.

Windows 9 to be released November 2014?

March 2, 2013 2 comments

Original Post: http://www.ghacks.net/2013/02/28/windows-9-to-be-released-november-2014/?_m=3n%2e003a%2e116%2evh0ao03kwj%2e487

By on February 28, 2013 – TAGS: None

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We do not know a lot about the operating system that is coming after Windows 8. It has been rumored for a while that Microsoft wants to reduce the time span between operating system releases considerable, and one of the technologies that got mentioned in this regard over and over again is Windows Blue.

As it stands now, Windows Blue does not seem to be Windows 9, and while none of this has been confirmed officially, it appears as if we are going to see a release of Windows Blue this year. It is interesting to note that Microsoft is keeping the tight-lipped approach about future products after the departure of Steve Sinofsky.

If rumors turn out to be true, Windows Blue will be a free update for Windows 8 users coming this August. Information about Windows Blue were posted on a Chinese forum. The main points posted there are:

  • No major UI changes, which means no start menu, no changes to start screen / desktop interface.
  • Lower power consumption.
  • Better performance, downsized Kernel.
  • Scaling improved for Metro apps
  • Multi-screen applications.

If you take this into account, it looks more like a service pack then a new version of Windows. Instead of releasing service packs, Microsoft seems to move towards a system that is similar to Apple’s release schedule.

Today news about Windows 9 were posted on Soft-forum that suggest the following timeline for the operating system:

  • 7 January 2014 Windows 9 Beta
  • July 2014 Windows 9 Release Candidate
  • October 2014 Windows 9 RTM
  • November 2014: Windows 9 Release

windows 9 release date

It needs to be noted that this has not been confirmed and should be taken with a grain of salt until it is. If true, it would confirm the faster deployment of operating systems as Windows 9 would be released only 2 years and 1 month after Windows 8.

What strikes me as odd is that there is only one month between the Windows 9 RTM and the public availability of the operating system.

With Windows Blue being released in 2013, it could very well mean that we will see a new version of Windows being released each year from now one.

Based on all the rumors currently in circulation, it seems as if Windows Blue will be more like a service pack type of update for Windows 8, while Windows 9 may introduce major changes to the system instead.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 finally released

February 28, 2013 1 comment

Original Post: http://www.ghacks.net/2013/02/26/microsoft-internet-explorer-10-for-windows-7-finally-released/?_m=3n%2e0038%2e807%2evh0ao03kwj%2etuv

By on February 26, 2013 – TAGS: None

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Microsoft just a few seconds ago released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7. The web browser that got initially released for Windows 8 last year, and then later on as a preview version for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, has been much awaited by the Internet community.

It is important that Windows 7 users pick the right download of the web browser. The 32-bit version of Internet Explorer 10 can only be installed on 32-bit versions of Windows 7, while the 64-bit version is reserved to 64-bit versions. The 64-bit version is almost double in size with its 42.3 MB than the 32-bit version with its 22.0 MB.

The following system requirements are required to install IE10:;

  • CPU: at least 1 GHz with support for PAE, NX and SSE2
  • RAM: at least 512 MB of memory
  • Hard Drive: at least 70 MB of storage space for 32-bit versions, and 120 MB for 64-bit versions
  • Windows 7: Service Pack 1 installed

internet explorer 10 screenshot

Please note that you may need to reboot your system before all functionality becomes available.

So what is new in IE10 for Windows 7? Microsoft back in October mentioned that the browser would offer better performance, developer capabilities, improved real-world site performance and better standards support than Internet Explorer 8 or 9 on the operating system.

The web browser is scoring 320 and 6 bonus points in the HTML5 test which gives an indication on how well – or not – HTML features are supported. That is a lot better than Internet Explorer 9′s 138 and 5 bonus points but still trailing browsers such as Chrome 24 with its 448 and 13 bonus points, Opera 12.10 with its 419 and 9 bonus points or Firefox 19′s 393 points and 10 bonus points. Still the gap has been closed considerable and that is a good sign for Internet Explorer users.

Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 does not ship with a native version of Adobe Flash which makes it similar to the desktop version of the browser on Windows 8 which also does not ship with native Flash support.

For users of IE8 or IE9, Internet Explorer 10 is definitely an improvement in many regards including performance and standards support. While Microsoft’s browser is still trailing behind other browsers, and sometimes even in front depending on which benchmark and test you run, it is fair to say that the company managed to close a wide gap with the release.

Note that IE10 will not be released for Vista or previous client or server versions of the Windows operating system.

My personal recommendation: upgrade if you can even if you are not using Internet Explorer.

What’s new in Internet Explorer 10

Apart from better web standards support and performance, IE10 users do benefit from a number of features that Microsoft added to the browser.

The browser supports Do Not Track now and sends the header by default to all sites you connect to. This caused some controversy with companies like Yahoo stating that they would not honor Microsoft’s Do Not Track implementation. The core reason for that is that the feature has been designed as a conscious choice. To find the setting tap on the Alt key in the browser and select Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Security > Always send Do Not Track header.

IE10 do not track screenshot

The second feature worth writing about is the inclusion of a spell-checking and auto-correction module in the browser. Microsoft’s Internet browser did not support spell checking up until now, and you had to resort to extensions such as IE7 Pro to add spell-checking to IE9 and previous versions.

Here is how you can disable the spelling correction feature of Internet Explorer if you find it too obtrusive. Tap on the Alt key again, and select Tools > Manage Add-ons from the menu at the top.

Here you find spelling correction listed under add-on types. The installed languages are displayed here by default. You can click on Get more Spelling Dictionaries online to install dictionaries for other languages. Here you can also disable the spelling correction feature.

internet explorer 10 spelling correction screenshot

Blocking automatic updates

If you do not want to use Internet Explorer 10 on your computer or network of PCs yet, you may be interested in blocking the automatic update delivery so that it is not automatically installed on the system.

Internet Explorer 32-bit or 64-bit?

Note that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 runs in a 64-bit and 32-bit hybrid mode on 64-bit versions of Windows 7. To change that, enable Enhanced Protected Mode in the Internet Options. This breaks plugins that are only compatible with the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer.

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