So we know that work is underway at Microsoft to release an ARM-native build of Office for Apple devices running their new M1 chip.
Obviously right-now ARM versions of Office apps already exist for Android and iOS. (And didn't Windows RT have ports of the mobile versions?)
I'd imagine in-tandem with the new ARM build for Apple M1 devices, it should help an official release for Windows 10 on ARM get nearer.
BUT... one thing all those platforms share is that they only run around half of the Office family apps. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.
So what will happen to the Windows-only apps: Access, Publisher, Project and Visio?
Will they eventually just get dropped, or will they remain only-as AMD64 apps, and never get ported to ARM? (So future versions of Office on W10oA will be a mix-of ARM and AMD64 apps?)
I've been thinking lately about some of the features in Windows 10, and two things are striking to me: first, just how many of the current new or revised features last saw a major refresh (or were introduced) in Vista; and also how Windows 7 was actually a bit of an odd-one-out.
On the first point: the comparison below. Yes, some features listed for Vista did debut in editions of XP first (such as "Journal" and "Snipping Tool" in the tablet-edition, and "Media Center" from that respective edition; but Vista was the first OS they were "there for everyone", similar to how Plus! features in the 9x days became integrated in future releases); and yes, a number of features listed for Windows 10 (File History, File Explorer, Task Manager) were first introduced or revamped in Windows 8 (but let's face it, the vast-majority of users will have never used 8, so 10 is where they'd first encounter them).
And as for Windows 7: it is striking how a number of new or updated apps (Calendar; Mail; "Meeting Space"; "Movie Maker"; "Photo Gallery") and Control Panel options ("Pen and Touch", "People Near Me", "Tablet PC Settings") in Vista didn't make it into Windows 7; and yet today, in Windows 10, virtually all have re-appeared in one-form-or-another.
(Tip: to find "Movie Maker" in Windows 10: open an image in the default "Photos" app, then click "Edit & Create", then "Create a video with music". The UI is very-much like the old Me/XP/Vista layout!)
So Microsoft have just released a tool to fully-remove Adobe Flash Player from Windows 8.x or 10 systems:
I'm a little confused what this update will actually do though, so if anyone is more clued-up and can answer any of these points I'd appreciate it:
Does this only remove the preinstalled (ActiveX) flash in Windows 8.x and 10 systems, or does it also remove the NPAPI version, used by Firefox?
Does it stop Flash from working inside Chromium browsers, such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, or will it only affect IE and legacy Edge (or any-other browser that relies on the ActiveX plug-in version)?
As Windows 7 is not mentioned as a supported platform for the update, then I'm guessing after Dec 31, 2020 that Flash content will continue to work inside IE11?
Has anyone heard if Adobe plans to do a remote-update after Dec 31, 2020 to remotely uninstall or disable their Flash Player, or is this purely left to the OS and browser makers only?
(Also, on a side-note: is the "Adobe Shockwave Player" also dying on the same date, and is "Adobe Air" still supported, as the last update for it was released in April of last-year...)
Considering the current investigations into the iOS App Store rules and policies, I do find it somewhat confusing when Apple would charge and not.
In their "App Store - Principals and Practices" document (https://www.apple.com/ios/app-store/principles-practices/) they give examples of types of app categories and some example named apps, but to me even some of these don't always make-sense.
FREE: an example app is "Wikipedia", which is well-known for doing regular donation-drives. When such a drive occurs within the iOS app, can you choose to pay via any payment method, or only via Apple Pay, and if the latter do they take a 30% cut of the donation? (Similarly, how does it work for charity apps where you can make donations?)
FREE WITH ADVERTISING: it appears from the wording Apple make no revenue on these apps at-all. But don't apps on iOS have to use Apple's ad platform to serve ads, and so they would make revenue that way from them, just like Google does with adverts in many Android apps?
READER: confusing. Apple say that developers "receive all of the revenue they generate from bringing the customer to their app" which I guess is shorthand for "if they sign-up outside the app, we'll let them sign in" but isn't part of Spotify's argument they don't actually allow this for them, yet for things like Netflix and Amazon Prime they do? I'm also not sure how you "read" music or "read" a movie (unless you get a songsheet or transcript, or use subtitles ;) ).
FREE WITH SUBSCRIPTION: worth noting the wording says "after the first year, the developer earns 85% for all successive years THAT THE USER REMAINS A SUBSCRIBER, and Apple collects a 15% commission". So if someone ends their subscription, then starts it up again later-on, would they be classed as a new subscription so it goes-back to 30% again for one year?
CROSS PLATFORM: these are basically the apps that Apple just let you sign into with an external account and don't force the developer to promote signing-up inside the app and only showing Apple Pay as the only payment option. But this category in itself is confusing: why are Word and Dropbox given as examples of apps which are cross-platform, yet Spotify, Skype and Netflix aren't? Netflix is available on Android, Windows, macOS, games-consoles and some Smart TVs; Spotify the same, but it also offers a web-version; Skype also has an official Linux client. So, how are any of these not "cross-platform" when apparently Microsoft Word is (despite not being on any games-console, Linux (as an official-port, anyway) or any Smart TV)?
After reading Paul's Pixel 4a articles it made me think what I'd like to see become standard on mid-range smartphone handsets. Some thoughts:
OPTICAL-ZOOM: digital-zoom algorithms are certainly a lot better than they used to be, but nothing will beat optical for quality. On premium/high-end handsets I'd expect the optical lens to be motorised, but I can't see why on mid-range a non-motorised, manually-adjusted optical-lens (such as by rotating the lens, or using a physical slider-button) could become a thing.
BIGGER BATTERIES: 3000mAh is the norm now for most mid-rangers, though 3500-4000 is becoming more-standard, with 5000 only seen in some handsets (like the Moto G8 Power), and while greater chip-efficiency will certainly help, battery-life is still a main thing I look for. No-one expects 1990's Nokia-era levels of battery-life, but 15-20 hours would be great to see.
SD CARD SUPPORT: I really see no reason why some vendors (like Google) choose not to support it. Yes, it can make some apps more-difficult to use, and confuse some users where their content is saved, but I'd prefer the option overall.
TEMPERATURE SENSOR: GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and proximity are all fairly-standard at mid-range, but rarely do you see a phone with a built-in temperature sensor -- not sure why, given even cheap cycle-computers or digital wall-thermometers for the home (around $10 or less) can do this, so why not phones? (Also add to this a reliable odometer, so you can use your phone as a pedometer without relying on the gyroscope, which is often inaccurate for this purpose, or apps which rely on battery-draining GPS to be constantly on).
STEREO, FRONT-FACING SPEAKERS: for mid-range it feels inexcusable to have a single, mono, rear-facing speaker.
USB-C and FAST-CHARGE: I'd not expect wireless-charging for a mid-ranger, but USB-C and some standard of Fast-Charge should be standard.
FRONT-FACING FLASH: given the tiny cost for an LED bulb, makes me wonder why this hasn't become a thing. Sure, some camera apps have an "illuminate" mode, where the screen will go white around the preview-area to provide a light-source, but it's not the same.
HEADPHONE-SOCKET: all mid-range handsets should retain this.
OLED: given the battery-savings that can be made by using a dark-mode theme (especially for "always on" mode), OLED should be standard for the mid-range.
SMALLER SIZES: given the demise of the Sony Xperia XZ range, it would be good to see more mid-rangers available in smaller-sizes. Most Android phones now that are small-sized are mostly low-end specs. Not everyone wants a massive phone, or to have to choose Apple and iOS if they do!
The Ransomware Protection feature of Windows Security in Windows 10 seems a bit overzealous!
It suddenly decided to stop letting me delete files in File Explorer in my Downloads folder (nor can any browser, such as the new Microsoft Edge, download anything new into it):
I get why it would do this -- protection against those rogue operators who remote onto victims PCs using something like TeamViewer and then delete their files -- but surely they could improve it to detect when a local-user is in-control or when remote-control software is?
Mad thing too is: to unlock access you always have to enter an administrator-level account password -- you'd think to allow access to folders inside your own user-profile it would be enough to enter just your own account-password/PIN, and only require an admin password for system folders, or the "Public" shared folders.
This could be a useful feature, but at-present it's not-difficult to see why it ships off by-default.
10 BAD things about Windows 10, as-of Version 2004, 5 years on:
UI THEMING: er, *what* UI theming? Your choices are Dark or Light mode, and choice of a single colour, which can appear on the Start Menu/Taskbar and/or the active-window's titlebar and border. That's it (unless you count the High-Contrast themes). Sure, Aero in Windows Vista and 7 was the same, and Luna in XP even less-so (colour choices of only Blue, Olive green or Silver), but all those OSes still offered the "Classic" (2000/ME) UI, in which virtually-everything could be customised.
JUNK APPS GET INSTALLED: no-matter how many times you uninstall things like "Free VPN", "Cool radio", "Shopping saver" or some random game, they randomly get re-added, especially after major Version upgrades. Bit annoying, given neither Android or iOS do this. (The nearest I can think of is the Opera or Opera Mini browsers on phones/tablets, where extra bookmarks will get added from time-to-time on the Speed-dial and can be deleted).
CONTROL PANEL: 5 years on and it's still there, and in a number of cases settings are now split between Settings and Control Panel (such as Sound, Regional, Date & Time, Fonts, Network & Sharing Centre). I get some applets can never go, as there are too-many old drivers that hook into them (such as Mouse or Keyboard) but there is no reason why the old applets can't just get launched from inside the Settings app via a hyperlink. And it's surprising fairly-simple and recently-added Control Panels, like Credential Manager (essentially just a list of saved credentials, like RDP logins, with export and import to file ability), still haven't been migrated over.
CONFUSING POWER-SLIDER: compared to the Power Plans of Windows Vista to 8.1, where you could click "Change advanced power settings" to see a complete list of settings, 10 now (in a fresh install) only offers "Balanced", and has a slider when you tap the Power icon. It's not at-all clear though what settings that slider affects.
LEGACY APPS SEEING NO IMPROVEMENTS: WordPad and Paint haven't changed since their Windows 7 Ribbon-UI updates; Character Map doesn't appear to have changed since Windows 2000 (can't even resize the window to make the symbols bigger!) and Fax & Scan has been untouched since Vista. Really inconsistent, given others, like Command Prompt, Notepad and Snipping Tool, have all seen updates.
DEVICE ENCRYPTION IN HOME SKU: only supported on devices with UEFI, TPM v2 and "Modern Standby". In today's world, I think full-disk encryption really should be offered to all. macOS has had it for ages; most Linux distros offer it (and under Linux, it also works on legacy BIOS); and I think both iOS and Android for years now encrypt internal-storage by-default.
FEATURE DUPLICATION: some features provide similar functions, and it's not always clear what the differences are, or if one does more than the other, e.g.: (1) "Disk Cleanup" versus Settings > System > Storage; (2) "SFC /SCANNOW" versus "DISM /online /cleanup-image /restore-health"; (3) "Snipping Tool" versus "Snip & Sketch". Oh for the old days when a feature got replaced and it was made clear which to use ("CHKDSK has been superseded by Microsoft ScanDisk") or when apps were entirely replaced (WRITE.EXE with WORDPAD.EXE).
NATIVE TOUCHPAD SUPPORT STILL POOR: this is very model-specific, but for around 15 years now, most Linux distros offer a wide-range of settings for a typical built-in laptop touchpad; Windows 10 though (again, model-specific) may only let you natively adjust sensitivity; turn "tap-to-click" on or off; and switch primary-button from right to left.
STILL OFFERS 32-BIT MAINSTREAM VERSIONS: OEMs are no-longer allowed to install 32-bit Windows 10 from 2004 onwards... but Microsoft will still offer 32-bit images for home-users and businesses to install. But... why? If you've an old PC in a company running an old business app, would you not keep an old Windows OS on it, and segregate that PC from the network? If you're a retro-gamer, surely you'd run Windows 98SE or use DOSBox than faff-around getting the game to run under Windows 10. If you have a piece of medical-equipment that runs 32-bit Windows, it's likely not upgradable anyway, or the LTSC would likely do. But I really cannot see the use-case for needing the current-channel 32-bit Windows 10 on a new PC now. Even if you have an old device, with only a 32-bit driver, will it even work under Windows 10? macOS, iOS and Android have been 64-bit only for a while now, and Ubuntu/Linux Mint's latest releases are now 64-bit only. I'd say for home and small business users, Microsoft should stop offering new images of 32-bit Windows 10 for download, or in retail boxes, and not allow activation on new devices that shipped-with 64-bit; and for enterprises, advise them to switch to the LTSC releases instead. Should free-up some developer resources!
TESTING VIA WINDOWS INSIDER: leaving-aside whether this is even a good way to test to begin with, the Feedback Hub app is still a mess: while Collections tries to reduce duplicate issues, it is still full of them, most have no official reply and many lack enough detail to action. Screenshots, once attached, also do not show publicly, unless its an issue you created.
10 MEH things about Windows 10, as-of Version 2004, 5 years on:
WINDOWS STORE: great-idea to have a central-place to get apps from (safer than random website downloads), but many common-apps, even free ones, aren't in there. It can also be a bit awkward to use with an old-style, local Windows account: the built-in apps may not auto-update, and its unclear you can click X when asked to sign-into a Microsoft Account to continue without one. It could also do with making it visually-clearer when an app is the official, genuine one, and remove a lot of the junk apps, and move items currently in the wrong categories.
WINDOWS SECURITY: nice new features, such as Ransomware Protection or Offline Scan, but the UI doesn't feel as-simple as Microsoft Security Essentials was, and some settings, such as "Allow an app through the Firewall", resort to opening a legacy Control Panel window, rather than it being integrated. The UI during a manual definition-update barely updates progress, so appears hung. And in the Exploit / Application Guard area there is a wealth of per-app settings your average-user won't have a clue on. Especially for home-users, feels overly-complicated.
TIMELINE: useful, I'm sure, but not entirely sure what percentage of the user-base actually uses it, compared to say the "old-habits-die-hard" method of just using standby or hibernate to have all the apps you were working on last-session all re-appear next-time.
SETTINGS: still feels a bit-messy in how things are categorised. For example, (1) you'll find "Display", "Sound" and "Battery" are all in the "System" area, not "Devices" and (2) "Backup", "Recovery" and "Troubleshoot" are all found inside the "Update & Security" area.
FILE EXPLORER: it still cannot view/extract any archive-format other-than CAB or ZIP (ZIPX, 7-Zip and RAR are all no-nos); there's no tabbed view, to keep everything inside one window (though via the Store you could download the revived Windows File Manager app!); and still something as-simple as ripping an Audio CD is done via Windows Media Player, rather than going into the CD, copying-and-pasting the tracks and being asked after clicking Paste what format to save them as. (I also think it was a mistake originally, when users had their in-place upgrades from Windows 7 or 8 to hide the drives in File Explorer by-default: "Open File Explorer to: This PC" should have been set as the default to avoid user-confusion.)
VIRTUAL DESKTOPS: one I use a lot, but the feature's name is a bit misleading compared to Spaces on macOS: each desktop shares the same icons and wallpaper, they are not truly separate: you just run different apps on each one. But even that needs more tweaking, as (1) it still doesn't always remember which desktop you last used an app on, (2) dialog-boxes do not always show on the same desktop the app is on: some only appear on the first one and (3) some app dialog-boxes roam as you change desktops, others stay on the one they first appeared on.
CORTANA: Microsoft are slowly unwinding Cortana's integration, and I'm not too-surprised as barely anyone I know ever uses it, beyond just for fun. I also don't think some of the voices sound very-natural: try listing to some of the phrases said during a Windows 10 install: some are very-natural ("Okay, enough intro, let's dig in!"), and some very robotic ("A splash of <something> here and dash of Wi-Fi there and we'll have your computer ready for all you plan to do.") When it does turn robotic, at-least its not back to Microsoft Sam levels, I guess.
BUILT-IN MODERN UI APPS: all are useful on touch-screen devices, given their more spaced-out UI with larger buttons, but functionality-wise some are still better than others. Mail has got-better over-time; Photos is fine, but takes too-long to load; Calculator doesn't seem to do anything new since the Windows 7 era update; Alarms & Clock has a very basic, bland UI; I rarely find myself using News, compared to just Google News in a browser; Weather I guess does all you could ask of a weather app; Maps works, but I still generally use Google Maps.
SEARCH: slower than the old Windows Search (and often gets broken by various Windows Updates), and also doesn't show anything from the old Control Panel, so if you type EFFECTS you'll not see "Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows": you have to open Control Panel, and use the search box inside there. (This wouldn't be an issue, of course, if Microsoft had made more-progress by-now on getting stuff moved-over!)
PERFORMANCE: this will of course be-subjective, but Windows 10's boot-up is more hard-disk heavy than Windows 7: from a cold-boot or restart to a stable desktop takes a lot longer, especially on machines which still use a magnetic HDD. If we upgrade machines at work from Windows 7 to Windows 10 (a typical machine is max 3-4 years old; minimum 8GB of RAM, and we usually insist on upgrading to 16GB; Intel Core i5 or i7 (no i3 or lower); and 500GB-1TB HDD, or 250GB SATA or M.2 SSD), a common-complaint is "it's slower than Windows 7". This also despite how in Windows 10 builds, we use SCEP (Microsoft's own, enterprise-targeted AV) and BitLocker, whereas on Windows 7 we used third-party solutions for each. Sure, Windows 10 on a HDD isn't as-bad as Vista was, when Superfetch would load into RAM all of the apps it thought you'd use that day, but its still bad-enough to irritate users. Microsoft really either see what they can do to speed-up the boot ("Fast Startup" doesn't seem to have helped, much), or insist OEMs use an SSD or SSHD as the default-option.
Windows 10 turns 5 years old this July. As Version 2004, just released, will be the newest release during that time (20H2 releasing after) I thought: why wait until the end of July to do a look-back. So here's my thoughts on 10 GOOD things about Windows 10 (MEH and BAD to follow in separate posts).
TOP 10 GOOD
YOUR PHONE: assuming you own an Android device, then it has been constantly getting-better, and is a genuinely-useful feature. It would be better though if (1) it didn't require Bluetooth, and could connect over Wi-Fi or mobile-data; (2) the pairing was as-simple as pointing your phone/tablet at a QR code on your Windows 10 device, and didn't require a Microsoft Account sign-in on either-side and (3) more devices were supported by it. (As for iOS devices: Microsoft should either really reach-out to Apple here, or just drop-support.)
RESET & REFRESH: a super-easy way for end-users to do a reinstall or reset of Windows, including a nice-option to do a secure-wipe. Far-better than the "OEM Recovery Partition" days-of-old! It could be made-easier to access though on PCs which will boot, but not log into Windows (say due to a virus or malware). Few people know about the login-screen "hold-SHIFT-then-click-Power-then-Restart" method to access the Recovery menu. And Windows 10's boot-up sequence goes too-quick for F5 or F8 to invoke anything.
XBOX GAMEBAR: another great feature that is improving over time, and given the amount of YouTube/Twitch game-streamers, is a relevant, modern-tool for today's audience.
DARK MODE: no further comment required!
NEW MICROSOFT EDGE: a great-alternative to Google Chrome, and one I can see many businesses switching/defaulting to, especially once it starts to ship as a preinstalled part of the OS. Still missing some features of the legacy Edge for now though (and I think the enterprise option to load specific, GPO-defined sites using the IE-engine inside an Edge tab is limited currently to just the old Edge?)
ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES: another area that continues to improve over-time, with new features, such as eye-control, being added, and older features being much-better than in previous Windows versions, such as Narrator. Anything that makes Windows more-accessible is obviously a good thing! (Though for people who use screen-reader apps, apparently most don't work well reading-aloud websites in any-browser other than legacy IE, so perhaps for their new Chrome-Edge this should become an urgent area-of-focus.)
SUBSYSTEM FOR LINUX: won't appeal to the vast-majority of Windows users, but I'm sure there's a decent audience for it, and those who do use it seem generally pleased by it.
DPI SCALING: while still not-perfect, continues to improve as time goes by.
WINDOWS VERSION UPDATES: getting quicker to install with each new major version: gone are the days of 1 hour+ wait times, and multiple reboots.
TASK MANAGER: provides a lot of useful hardware-specific information, such as L1/L2/L3 CPU cache sizes, RAM speed and physical slots used, and type of hard-disk, compared to the older one, meaning less-reliance on third-party utilities. Though it is slower to load-up than the legacy Task Manager, and I still dislike how they can't just program it to remember the last tab you were on (instead of having to use Options > Set default tab).
(You could also include some app-specific improvements, such as in Notepad and Snipping Tool.)
Hadn't seen Paul cover it, but for 2004, Microsoft no-longer allow any OEM to pre-install a 32-bit version of Windows 10 2004:
(You can still use 32-bit Windows 10 on a personal basis, and businesses can still install it; it only affects pre-built laptops/desktops/tablets you'd buy online or in a store)
I'd be curious to know how-many PCs actually do run 32-bit versions of Windows 10: the Steam user-survey for April 2020 says 64-bit versions of Windows 7, 8 and 10 combined make-up 94.4% of all their user-base, and 32-bit Windows 7 and 10 make-up around 0.6%.
I'd also be curious to know for what reasons you'd still use 32-bit Windows 10 on a new PC: sure, sure, "16-bit app support" or "32-bit driver support", but in a business setting, why would you not just keep an older version of Windows on that PC, and segregate it from the rest of the network / Internet? Likewise I'm sure most retro-gamers won't bother frustratingly trying to get Windows 9.x games to run on 32-bit Windows 10 (endlessly scouring forums to find what DLL files they need to put into the folder, and other hacks) when they could just run Windows XP, 2000 or 98SE and be-done. (And DOSBox will meet most of your MS-DOS gaming needs, and installs on 64-bit Windows 10).
So... for what specific reason would one absolutely have to still use 32-bit Windows 10 for thesedays, that an older version of Windows (isolated from threats) wouldn't work for?
In Windows Vista, 7 and 8, you manage your power/performance options via "Power Options" in Control Panel, and by-default have three plans:
In Windows 10, by-default (i.e. on a clean install), recent versions only come with "Balanced" and offer a slider to adjust the power/performance:
Does anyone know though when you drag the slider left or right what settings actually get set/affected by doing so?
Ideally I'd like a table that shows for each position what is altered, but Googling-around I can only find vague summaries for each notch.
(I'm also aware you can still create custom Power Plans in Windows 10 and still use those, if you wish, but I'd imagine this slider may cover some additional settings, especially related to UWP apps, that the Advanced settings for old-style plans don't).
Having just done a test-install of Windows 10 2004, I thought I'd revisit the Microsoft Store and see how-many apps I use (and some other common apps) are in there.
TL;DR: not many.
Take for example a rarely-used piece of software called "Google Chrome" (/s).
All you find are user-guide PDFs/eBooks, but not the actual software (same for Firefox):
Other results were:
APPS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE MICROSOFT STORE: Adobe Creative Cloud • Adobe Reader • Bleachbit • Brave • CCleaner • CDBurnerXP • dBpoweramp • DOSBox • FileZilla • FoxIt Reader • GIMP • Google Chrome • Google Drive • Google Earth • Malwarebytes • Media Player Classic - Home Cinema • Mozilla Firefox • Mozilla Thunderbird • Oracle VM VirtualBox • Steam • SumatraPDF • Vivaldi • VMWare Player • WinRar
APPS NOT OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE (UPLOADED BY A THIRD-PARTY): 7-Zip • Audacity • LibreOffice (Paid) • OpenOffice (Paid)
APPS THAT WERE AVAILABLE VIA THE MICROSOFT STORE: Blender • Dropbox • Inkscape • IrfanView • iTunes • Paint.NET (Paid version only) • Skype • Spotify • TeamViewer • VLC Media Player (has warning: "does not offer all features of regular version") • WhatsApp • Windows File Manager • WPS Office (formerly Kingsoft Office)
Overall the Microsoft Store does come-over a bit pointless: you'd think 5 years on it would have more to offer.
I know there is a new Linux-style Package Manager coming (maybe that might be better?), but I do wonder why Microsoft doesn't just allow companies to put the .MSI version of their app installers into the Store (especially given the Windows RT/10S SKUs never really took-of, where use of Win32 was restricted). With UWP apps no-longer such a priority (Win32 apps will be allowed to use UWP UI elements and APIs soon), surely allowing .MSIs in would create a quick-boost in the available apps?
I've done a clean-install (on a separate HDD, for test-purposes) of the 2004 final-release, via the Media Creation Tool.
I'm surprised to find though that 2004 comes by-default with only the old Edge:
I've installed Windows 10 Home, so I'd expect in a clean-install now to only get the new Chrome-based Edge, not the old one.
(I could understand the Enterprise SKU still coming with the old Edge, and perhaps Pro, but surely Home should drop it?)
The new-one also hasn't been offered while I've been in Edge, nor in the Windows Update area in Settings.
Is it still just manual-install only for now -- Microsoft aren't yet replacing the old Edge in the install images just yet (or remotely upgrading it)?
Another 10 things I'd like to see in Windows 10...
(11) Better native support for Touchpads
Given virtually all touchpads are made by Synaptics, you'd think there could be better built-in support by now. It's shocking how many settings you can adjust in Linux natively compared to Windows 10, which still treats many touchpads as PS/2 mice. Turn tap-to-click on or off, adjust sensitivity and swap primary button from right to left and that's about it.
(12) Speedier Task Manager and Start Menu
Both now take around 3-5 seconds to appear on-screen, when in most previous Windows they'd appear instantly. The Start Menu sometimes doesn't appear at-all unless you click again.
(13) Install better drivers from Windows Update, or at-least offer users a choice
On most PCs I've seen Windows 10 installed on, the sound card generally gets a generic "High-Definition Audio Device", not the proper Intel or Realtek driver; touchpads also have some generic driver, not the full Synaptic one, and you'll also often find generic drivers for things like hotkey support, so some functions, like keyboard backlight toggle, don't work. There are times I think "basic drivers" are great, especially printers, to avoid the bloatware apps they otherwise come with, but losing functionality is not great. At-least give users a choice of drivers: perhaps prompt to ask which they'd like?
(14) Auto-disable the pagefile on high-RAM PCs with SSDs
If your PC has an SSD and loads of RAM, the pagefile can mean unnecessary additional writes which shortens their life. While some old apps may be hard-coded to expect a pagefile, most newer apps aren't and it should get disabled on PCs where an SSD is present and no calls to the pagefile have been detected.
(15) Only permit Windows 10 to be installed on an SSD
Controversial one, perhaps, but we get constant cries from users at work of "my machine is slow" (even though all our Windows 10 PCs are minimum Core i5 with 8GB of RAM, though all more-recent ones have 16GB RAM and some even have Core i7s). A quick check in the Performance tab in Task Manager shows the culprit: the traditional HDD is locked at 100%. SSDs (either SATA or M.2) would really help user's have a better experience, but where is the incentive for manufacturers to fit them unless forced-to?
(16) Allow Android apps to run in Windows
I agree with Paul that Microsoft should just replicate their old Windows 10 Phone UI and experience by creating their own Android phones, with their own launcher and apps pre-loaded. But is anything stopping Microsoft (as in legally, not technically) from letting Android apps run on Windows 10?
(17) Better replacement for HomeGroup
Removed in 1803, HomeGroup allowed really simple sharing of printers and folders on a workgroup. The workarounds: for printers, share them as you would via a print server, and connect via \\<computername>\<printersharename>. And for files, use an app like OneDrive, or e-mail them to other family members. I'd say neither are great. Especially given AirDrop on macOS has made file-sharing even simpler, removing HomeGroup seems a very backwards step.
(18) Improve the Virtual Desktops feature
If you switch between desktops after re-ordering Taskbar apps, then switch back the order gets lost. It doesn't remember which apps you use on which desktop, so after a reboot, an app will open on whichever desktop you're currently on, not the one you move it to. And some pop-up messages will appear in the centre of the desktop you're on, rather than staying on the one the app is running on. They should also add icons on the taskbar (e.g. 1,2,3) for each virtual desktop you have open to make switching between them easier.
(19) Remove Internet Explorer 11
Add a "compatibility view" style button, like IE has, so if a user comes across an old website, they click it and that site renders using the IE engine, but inside a tab in Edge. Then modify the iexplore.exe file so when a user double-clicks it, it opens an IE-engine tab in Edge. This will help prevent users accidentally using IE11 on Windows 10.
(20) Allow Xbox games to run on Windows 10
Remote-streaming of Xbox games is becoming a thing, but given Xbox was built around DirectX, why not create an Xbox Dashboard app for Windows 10 and allow Xbox games to be installed from the optical discs on Windows 10 PCs that meet the hardware spec for that title, or downloaded as you would on Xbox? Why not essentially see Xbox as a service, and for those who have money to purchase high-end PCs, allow that PC to also function as an Xbox?
Some thoughts on things I'd like to see in Windows 10:
(1) A better Your Phone experience
The current Your Phone (in the Settings app) experience is clunky, requiring you to sign into the phone app (which only supports the latest Android OS versions) and the Your Phone app as a Microsoft account. Why not make it more Teamviewer-like and simply show a QR code or PIN on the PC, enter this on the phone and then it connects up? Then add support for older Android devices, and include things like screen-mirroring and file-transfers.
(2) Consolidate the Control Panel
Windows 10 first appeared in, what, 2015? And still there is stuff in the Control Panel that isn't yet merged into the Settings app. I wish Microsoft would spend one of it's "non-feature" half-year releases really working on this. I totally appreciate some old applets, such as Keyboard and Mouse, can't be got rid of easily, due to how many drivers hook-into them and add additional tabs, but surely a link to those old applets could be added into the Devices page in the Settings app as shortcuts, and then the shortcuts in Control Panel deleted?
(While I'm on this one, am I the only one who finds it weird in Settings that Display, Sound and Battery are all in "System" and not "Devices"? I'd rename Display to "Screens & projectors" and Sound to "Speakers, headphones, microphones" and move these into Devices immediately!)
(3) A more-modern file system that supports data duplication
I understand this is a thing for Exchange and SQL (not sure about the new ReFS, in Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and Windows Server 2019?) but I find it mad that if you have multiple instances of the same file on your current NTFS volume that each instance takes-up the exact same space. In some cases, this wastes 100s of MBs and sometimes even GBs -- think family computers where each person installs Google Chrome, which goes into their AppData\Local folder for each install. Or corporate PCs where each member of staff in a team logs into the same shared computers, opens Outlook and each use the same shared mailbox, so the same .OST file is created for each one.
(4) 7-Zip and RAR extract support
Ever since built-in ZIP support first arrived in Windows ME (possibly 2000?, though it was first in the Plus! Pack for Winows 98SE) no newer formats have been added. Would it be that difficult to add the ability to extract other file-formats such as 7-Zip and RAR? I believe the unextract ability for both is free...
(5) In-place upgrade from 32-bit Windows 10 to 64-bit
It should be made possible to upgrade a Windows 10 32-bit OS to the same SKU of 64-bit. So if a PC currently runs Windows 10 Pro 32-bit it should be possible to change it into Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. A compability check should run first, and flag up any issues (such as the old Upgrade Advisor tools used to do, e.g. to see if you could upgrade from XP to Vista, or Vista to 7) and advise against if a device will have no driver, or an old app won't work. But if everything is okay, do a reboot, wait an hour or so while Windows essentially reinstalls itself, then migrates your settings and folders (which is what it does anyway, during one of the major updates, e.g. 1803 to 1809 to 1903). To be clear, this would be same-SKU only. So no Windows 10 Home 32-bit to Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. In that case, you should first update to the 32-bit SKU, then change it into the 64-bit one: Home 32-bit -> Pro 32-bit -> Pro 64-bit.
(6) Add BitLocker to the Home editions
It's crazy that in today's world, the Home editions of Windows don't have any built-in encryption, given macOS, Linux and most newer iOS and Android devices do, and in a lot of cases, is on-by-default. There is a different thing in Windows 10 called "device encryption", but I understand this only works on machines with UEFI and a TPM chip. Why not allow Home users to also be able to use a boot-time password option, or plug-in a USB key or even use 2FA to get a boot-time code each time? Sure, there are third-party options, such as VeraCrypt or a self-encrypting SSD, but I'd still prefer better built-in options here.
(7) Udpate some of the Inbox apps
Some of the built-in "inbox" apps that come with Windows 10 either have not seen updates in years (Character Map, Fax & Scan or WordPad) or perform similar functions (Snipping Tool, Snip & Sketch, Problem Steps Recorder and the screen-recording part of Game Bar). Surely the last four could be combined into a single app that could do screenshots and screen-recording? It's also a pity there isn't anything thesedays as good as the old Windows Movie Maker from the XP SP2 or Vista days, and the Windows Live suite simply isn't a thing nowadays. And ditto for all the effects ad stuff that used to be in Sound Recorder in XP and below; "Sound Recorder" in Vista and 7 barely did anything, as does Voice Recorder now in Windows 10.
(8) Allow for a higher resolution than your screen's native one
Some drivers do actually allow this, but I'd love to see a native option to let you go beyond the native screen resolution. Some laptops have large screens but with low resolutions (e.g. HD Ready) and even though it would make the image slightly "soft" I'd love to be able to go past the native resolution to fit more on-screen at the expense of a blurrier image.
(9) Improve the System Image backup type
A simple (albeit long, especially on USB 2.0 speeds) way of backing up a Windows Vista or 7 computer (yes, the option does still exist in Windows 10, but is depreciated and could be removed in a future Windows 10 release) this would backuo your entire System partition to an external drive. You could then either restore the entire thing in one go, or mount the .VHD file as a drive to restore individual files and folders. I wish Microsoft would have improved, rather then try to retire, this feature. Make it easier to get back individual files and folders, and have an option to modify an existing backup, to save time by only copying new and changed files, and delete out any from the previous VHD that no-longer exist. Given mounted VHDs can be repaired by CHKDSK this seemed like an awesome feature originally, but sadly Microsoft have let it die.
(10) Improve support for old MS-DOS and Windows 9x games
Okay, so this won't be for most people, but in the age of Client Hyper-V and Windows Sandbox, would it really be that difficult to make it so MS-DOS, Win 3.x and Win 9x games could actually be installed (e.g. into C:\Program Files\VDOS9X) and ran in their own, secure environments with the only file access to the folder the app is installed in, and perhaps within your Documents folder, a folder called "VDOS9X Files". Still seems mad to me it's easier to get PS1, N64, Dreamcast, Gameboy and so-on games working on Windows via their respective emulators than it is old Windows or MS-DOS apps! Maybe as part of their renewed PowerToys they could make such support a Windows Store downloadable app?
Anyone else think it's about time for Microsoft to look to ending the 32-bit (x86) releases of Windows 10?
Apple's latest OS (Catalina) has dropped support for 32-bit apps and libraries.
I believe iOS also either already has, or is due to very soon.
Many vendors of apps that require high RAM use (e.g. Adobe, CAD software) no-longer provide current 32-bit app versions.
NVIDIA and AMD no-longer offer new features in their graphics-drivers for 32-bit (not sure about Intel?)
Ubuntu only officially now offers a 64-bit ISO for download.
According to a ZDNet article, from 1 Aug 2021, anyone with a 64-bit Android OS on their phone won't see any 32-bit only apps in the Store.
So... isn't it time for Microsoft to finally consider plans for retiring the 32-bit version of Windows 10?
If I were them, I'd plan as follows:
Home users: announce that the 20H2 release will be the final 32-bit one with new features, and from 21H1, only bug-fixes and security-fixes will be offered. Built-in apps won't see new features, except perhaps those considered separate from the OS, such as the new Edge. The bug-fixes and security-updates should continue for "the lifetime of that device".
Business users: advise them to move to the 32-bit LTSC release this year, and advise no LTSC released after this years' will be offered in 32-bit. Provide 10 years support for bug and security fixes, as is usual for LTSC releases, so that by 2030 no 32-bit releases are offered in the LTSC, Pro or Enterprise SKUs.
Kiosks/PoS systems: 32-bit could continue here, as these are specific-use cases, though Microsoft should start to charge more for 32-bit installs than 64-bit to discourage their use.
As for some issues people may comment on:
Driver support: maybe Microsoft should use their telemetry to see which are the most-common devices still in-use that only have 32-bit drivers and see if any 64-bit drivers for similar models could have their .INF file tweaked to support some of them? Or see if they could fudge-together some generic drivers to cover them?
16-bit app support: surely some sort of virtual Windows 9x kernel could be added to run these apps in? (Think "XP Mode" in Windows 7). The Windows 9x kernel must be tiny!
DOS support: integrate DOSBox?
CPUs that are 32-bit only: aside from ARM CPUs for some smartphones, I doubt any desktop/laptop/server CPU has been 32-bit only for some time now, so the only PCs needing this would be very-old ones, or those cheap-as-dirt tablets/netbooks you can find online. Surely by now 64-bit CPUs must be cheaper to use even in those dirty-cheap devices, given how many will be made in a production-run batch compared to 32-bit ones?
Just to be clear: I'm not suggesting the removal of 32-bit app support from 64-bit versions of Windows 10, just the retirement of the 32-bit versions of Windows 10
I'm aware that Windows 7 support officially ends 14 Jan, except for business customers (e.g. E5 licences, those willing to virtualize their Win7 estate into Azure, or companies who decide to pay extra to gain new MAK keys until Jan 2023).
But for home users:
After Windows XP support ended, a Registry hack to lie to Windows Update that you were running PoSReady 2009 allowed updates to continue.
And for Vista, it is possible to download the Server 2008 update files manually via the Windows Catalog site, then install them manually (true, not all worked).
Does anyone know for Windows 7 Home users if the patches made available to enterprise customers might leak anywhere, so one could manually install them?
When you go to install Windows 10 from a bootable DVD or USB pen-drive one option is "Windows 10 Home Single Language":
I wonder if anyone could assist in two things around this please:
1 What exactly are the benefits (if any) in installing this compared to the regular Windows 10 Home?
(I'd guess a slightly-smaller installation footprint, due to some additional language files not being there, but anything else?)
2 If you use a Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 8/8.1 Home key during Windows 10 installation, will they activate an
install of Windows 10 Home Single Language or only work for the regular Windows 10 Home?
Thought I would do a post here as none of the tech sites or individual bloggers I follow have done anything around the future of Windows 7, and it would be great to see if anyone could provide some answers. So if anyone could help with these points (or Paul would perhaps kindly write an article!) that would be great! Here's some of the things I'd like to know:
Microsoft Edge (based on Chrome): after Jan 14, 2020 will it continue to receive security updates? If the updates are delivered via Microsoft Update, I'd guess the answer is no. If they come via a Windows Service (as Chrome and Firefox currently do on Win7) then I guess the answer is one of: (a) yes, but only for enterprise customers paying for support until 2023; (b) yes, for as long as Google also support Chrome on Windows 7; (c) until Microsoft decide or (d) there will be no updates, making it a security risk. It's kind of hard at the moment to know if I should recommend friends or family on Windows 7 try the "Chrome Edge" as it'd be a bit pointless if it'll get no further updates after the last Patch Tuesday...
Office365: after Jan 14, 2020, for home users or companies not paying for extended support, will it still install, activate and receive monthly updates? Will OneDrive still sync on Win7? I know of friends who have Windows 7 computers and use the Family Pack (the one where up-to 5 PCs can use Office365). Will it still work on Windows 7 after end-of-life?
Windows Updates and Activation: if anyone re-installs Windows 7 after Jan 14, 2020, will it still activate, and will Windows Updates still download? I know for Windows Vista that it is very difficult to get the updates to now download, and I believe both XP and Vista now only support phone-based activation, not Internet-based.
Windows 10 upgrade: after Jan 14, 2020 can Windows 7 licence-keys still be used to upgrade to Windows 10, such as during a clean-install of Windows 10 (Ed Bott hasn't done an update of his article on this lately...)?
Drivers: do we know of any major PC components (such as AMD or nVidia video-cards) where there has been a public announcement for end-of-support for drivers on Windows 7 yet?
(I know both have dropped support for new features and moved to security-fix-only on all 32-bit Windows, but that's due to the 4GB memory limit.)
Common Apps: have any popular apps said when Windows 7 support will end? The only one I know-of for sure is Office 2019 is Windows 10 only, but that's from Microsoft. Anyone know of any major third-party paid or free apps saying when they will drop support?
TLS 1.3: given the release of "Chrome Edge" on Windows 7, will TLS 1.3 be backported, or will Edge either use it's own library to support this, or only support up-to TLS 1.2 on Win 7?
Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer any information here!