End of Windows 10 Mobile is natural conclusion of Microsoft’s transfer of strategy

This news that Microsoft is ending support for Windows 10 Mobile should come as no great surprise to anyone who has followed the company’s mobile efforts in the last few decades.

Microsoft dominated smartphones in the early 2000s with Windows Mobile, however this first mover advantage was restricted to the fact the market for such devices am small. When the first modern smartphones arrived later in the decade, it was BlackBerry, Google and Apple that benefited.

It was widely acknowledged that Microsoft has missed the boat if this came to smartphones however this didn’t stop it trying.

When Windows 10 arrived back in 2015, it had been positioned as ‘one operating system to rule them all’, able to running almost any system you may realise of. Naturally, this included desktop and laptop PCs, but also tablets, connected devices and smartphones.

Microsoft had set itself an ambitious target of reaching one billion devices – an objective which was rendered achievable the very fact Windows 10 was available as a free upgrade to many users – as it sought to create the widest possible install base to push its services and attract developers.

Windows 10 Mobile

For a brief period, the much-loved Windows Phone was a genuine alternative to Android and iOS. Innovative hardware in the likes of Nokia, integration with Microsoft applications, and the live-tile interface set itself in addition to the competition.

But Windows Phone never snared more than 10 % of the market and despite a number of critically-acclaimed Nokia flagships, the primary successes were in the mid-range segments in The european union.

Amongst other things, deficiencies in applications cited as one of the reasons for poor uptake. It had been hoped that cross-platform apps for Windows 10 would address this drought and drive adoption, however this critical mass never occurred.

It wasn’t until March 2016 that smartphone owners might get their hands on Windows 10 Mobile, with a quantity of select Nokia Lumia devices in a position to upgrade. But precious little new hardware was released, and Microsoft’s efforts were focused on getting its services on any as many devices as possible.

It absolutely was speculated that Microsoft would gear up for one last assault on the market using the oft-rumoured Surface phone, but such a device never materialised.

In late 2017, Microsoft confirmed what many had long suspected – there would be no new features or hardware. The organization promised that it would still fix bugs and issue security updates, but ongoing development had all but ceased.

Now those security updates will end in December 2019, giving users less than a year emigrate to iOS and Android – that’s if they haven’t done this already.

Why made it happen fail?

Experts believe that despite critical acclaim plus some brief success, Microsoft’s efforts to become major player with Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile were doomed to failure.

“Windows 10 Mobile failed for various reasons,” Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight tells TechRadar Pro. “Arguably the only biggest blow was that Microsoft was late towards the smartphone party. It just started putting significant effort into its mobile operating system many years after Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android were already well-established. This meant that it struggled to obtain traction with app developers leaving it lagging rival platforms with regards to the experience it could offer.

“Despite securing Nokia since it’s lead licensee, the products were never truly competitive and only having one large phone maker committed to Windows 10 Mobile was not enough to build broad platform support.

“Ultimately it always believed Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile were second class citizens to PC based Windows OS which meant features didn’t come suddenly and eventually it was not a strategic enough platform to justify the on-going investment.

What next for Microsoft?

Microsoft’s philosophy has shifted significantly since the launch of Windows Phone. It no longer wants to own the mobile platform, but rather really wants to get its cloud-based services on as many devices as possible – increasing revenues from subscription fees and advertising.

Microsoft Office, once considered a key differentiator for Windows mobile platforms, continues to be on Android and iOS for a while, while cross-platform versions of Cortana happen to be provided. A Windows Launcher for Android was also released and efforts to increase the install lower Bing internet search engine happen to be a priority.

While former CEO Steve Ballmer seemed committed to catching the last boat when it found mobile – most notably with the acquisition of Nokia – current leader Satya Nadella is comfortable with having missed the boat entirely. His tenure continues to be characterised the introduction of a cloud-first, mobile-first mentality over the entire company.

“Microsoft has pivoted to becoming a provider of cross-platform software and services for mobile devices rather than providing the operating-system itself,” explains Wood. “This is little surprise considering that Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms account for over 98 per cent of smartphones sold.

“The decision to offer Microsoft’s core products such as the Word, PowerPoint and Excel on these platforms has been an inspired move which has further bolstered Microsoft’s transformation for an ‘as-a-service’ software provider under the stewardship of Nadella.”

Microsoft’s bid to become “third way” has seemingly failed and the reality is that relatively few consumers and organisations is going to be affected by the end of support for Windows 10 Mobile. The company appears to have made peace with the proven fact that Apple and Google’s duopoly will continue.

“With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, it is recommended that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device,” says Microsoft. “Microsoft’s mission statement to empower every person and each organization on the planet to achieve more, compels us to aid our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices.”

Its likely that fans of Microsoft’s mobile platforms could be more sentimental and affectionate in their own epitaphs than the company continues to be.

How to speed up Windows 10

Windows 10 could well be the most efficiently coded operating-system from Microsoft, it includes a multitude of features which require considerable amounts of resources. On the plus side, the most recent iteration of Windows also has some extremely useful built-in features to enhance overall efficiency.

If you have found that your computer’s performance has slowed down, there are a variety of usual suspects who’re most likely responsible including bloatware, temporary files and fewer powerful hardware.

Within this guide, we’ll explore ten the best way that you can speed up Windows 10 today, including defragging, clearing out unwanted programs, disabling superfluous special effects and even performing hardware upgrades.

1. Restart your PC

Although this might seem a clear step, many users keep their machines running for weeks at any given time. Windows 10 will automatically put the display to sleep, but any processes that have previously been started will continue. These may accumulate with time and slow down your computer.

You can fix this problem by closing your PC each day after you have finished utilizing it, by clicking on the Windows button and selecting the ‘Power’ button.

Be sure to close any running programs and save your valuable work before you decide to do so. In case your PC has slowed up to the extent that you simply can’t display the Windows menu, manually hold down the Power button before the computer is fully powered off.

2. Update, Update, Update

Microsoft continually releases updates for Windows 10 that are designed to fix common bugs that reduce system performance. Some of these are fairly minor whereas others make significant changes to your system, maximising efficiency.

If machine performance is lagging, open the Windows menu and type ‘Update’ within the search bar and click on ‘Check for Updates’ to access your settings.

If a major update is available, then make certain to save and support your private data before continuing. Your computer may need to restart many times to use all available updates. Whether it’s been a while as your last update, make sure to click ‘Check for Updates’ again after restarting to ensure no more are available.

3. Check startup apps

PCs can become bogged down through the amount of running processes. This is often because many installers will instruct Windows to run their programs soon after you sign in, reducing system speed.

To check your startup programs, open Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del), then click on the ‘Startup’ tab. Seriously consider the ‘Startup Impact’ values for every program e.g. ‘High’ because this is a great way to spot apps that are prone to slow the body down.

To prevent a course from launching on login just right-click and choose ‘Disable’.

4. Run Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is an extraordinarily built-in Windows utility. Technology-not only to clear out temporary files which accumulate in your machine, such as image thumbnails, downloaded program files and offline webpages.

Click on the Windows menu and type ‘Disk Cleanup’ in the search bar to get started. The utility will give you a range of files to get rid of. Simply mark the check box next to each option. Click ‘Clean up system Files’ to start. Disk Cleanup will calculate the quantity of space you will lay aside.

This is also a good opportunity to delete any files in your hard disk that you simply no more need. A simple starting point is the ‘Downloads’ folder.

5. Remove unused software

Many PC vendors ship their machines with bundled 3rd party software, which because of its large size and unnecessary nature is sometimes known as ‘Bloatware’. Many computer users also install software for any specific purpose and never use it again e.g. designing a newsletter.

Redundant programs occupy space on your hard disk and may reduce performance. To check on your installed apps visit ‘Control Panel’>’Programs’>’Programs and Features’>’Uninstall a Program’.

Right-click on any programs you no longer need and select ‘Uninstall’. Windows 10 will ask for permission to create changes for your system. Click ‘Yes’ to carry on.

6. Disable effects

Windows 10 is rather heavy on the effects side. By default Windows and other features are developed to fade in and fade out of view. Other resource-intensive but unnecessary features include translucency and animations.

To take your PC back to basics, open the Windows menu and check for ‘System’, go to ‘Advanced Settings’ tab and select ‘Performance Settings’.

Under the ‘Visual Effects’ tab, click the radio button for ‘Custom’. Came from here, you are able to uncheck the tick boxes next to any visual affects you need to disable. Click ‘Apply’ to verify your changes.

7. Disable transparency effects

Besides making heavy use of the body resources to show features like animation, Windows 10 also employs transparency effects for certain features such as the task menu. This seemingly light and simple effect is actually quite complicated to draw, as the system must calculate the same plane twice.

To disable transparency effects, open the Windows menu and type ‘Make Start, taskbar and Action Center transparent’. This can pull-up the ‘Color’ Settings. Came from here you are able to decide to turn off transparency.

You may also change the default app mode here between ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’. This may not affect your system speed, but may make your Desktop easier around the eye.

8. Change your RAM

Your PC’s overall speed can be very improved by enhancing the quantity of virtual memory (RAM). Windows 10 requires a minimum of 4GB to operate smoothly, although this doesn’t take into account resource hungry applications such as video games.

The easiest means to fix this really is to install more RAM. Your PC includes a certain quantity of RAM ‘slots’ into which you’ll insert chips. To determine the kind of memory your machine uses, open Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del), then click ‘Performance’. The system will display any memory slots being used along with the type use e.g. DDR4.

Installing new RAM chips is quite simple. If you do it yourself use an anti-static wrist strap to avoid harm to delicate components. Alternatively many PC repair stores is going to be pleased to do the hardware upgrade for you personally, for a small fee.

9. Make use of an SSD

SSDs (Solid State Drives) use Flash memory, the same kind present in USB sticks. They permit for considerably faster access and writing times then traditional mechanical hard drives which use magnetized disks.

SSDs do cost much more per GB than regular hard drives, but if you’re are prepared to spend the money for cost, you’ll notice an enormous improvement in boot time, files access times and overall system responsiveness.

If you wish to buy an SSD to install yourself make sure you possess the correct size for the machine (2.5″ for portable devices, 3,5″ for desktop machines). You should use free software this type of Clonezilla to copy content form your present hard disk for your new SSD. See our guide on how to clone your hared drive with Clonezilla.

10. Run System Maintenance

Windows 10 includes a built-in utility which performs routine system maintenance tasks for example defragmenting the hard drive, scanning for updates, and checking for malware.

These tasks usually run without anyone’s knowledge while your PC is idle but if you have noticed an issue with system performance you are able to run maintenance manually if you want.

To get started, open User interface, select ‘System and Security’ then choose ‘Security and Maintenance’. Click the arrow to expand the constant maintenance options. From here you can select ‘Start Maintenance’. Close and save any open files before going ahead.

Windows 10 providing you with a black screen after latest patches? Don’t panic!

The most recent cumulative updates for many versions of Windows 10 have a bug that’s causing some PCs to make a black screen after they’ve been installed, potentially leading some users to worry that their system might be seriously broken – but fortunately, solution is straightforward to use.

Windows Latest reports that the problem can occur to those running the April 2018 Update as well as those found on the October 2018 Update, even though it apparently only affects a small number of those users. As mentioned, the problem crops up after you have the latest patches for that operating system, and rebooting the PC post-installation.

Microsoft observed: “We are investigating reports that the small number of devices may startup to some black screen during the first logon after installing updates.”

Fortunately, all you need to do when confronted with said black screen is to press Ctrl + Alt + Delete together, click the Power button (lower-right) and choose Restart. Your PC will reboot, and the desktop should then appear according to normal.

So this is hardly a huge problem, but nevertheless, it might cause some heart-stopping moments since the last thing you want to see post-patching is really a blank screen instead of your desktop.

Microsoft says it’s working on an answer at this time, so hopefully this isn’t a glitch which will hang around for too much time.

Bluetooth blues

Meanwhile, in other Windows 10 bug news, there’s a further issue affecting the famously gremlin-plagued October 2018 Update, also it pertains to Bluetooth devices.

Specifically, it’s brought on by cumulative update KB4494441, which was actually deployed in May with a quantity of important security countermeasures. However, this update causes problems with certain devices using Realtek’s technology.

As highlighted by Softpedia, Microsoft explains: “Devices with Realtek Bluetooth radios in certain circumstances might have issues pairing or connecting to devices.”

If you’re experiencing such difficulties, then your great news is that Microsoft promises a fix is going to be delivered later in June, so either this week or next.

It hasn’t been a lot of fun for Bluetooth devices where Windows 10 is concerned, seeing as very recently we learned that Microsoft is blocking certain pieces of hardware from wirelessly connecting – however for good security reasons.

New Windows 10 preview enables you to go passwordless and improves Your Phone app

Windows 10 has witnessed the release of a new preview build for those within the fast ring testing the update due to land within the first half of 2020.

Build 18936 ushers inside a passwordless sign-in system for that Microsoft account(s) in your device, meaning rather than a traditional password, you can use your fingerprint or Windows Hello facial recognition (or a PIN) for better security. (If you’re wondering why a Windows Hello PIN is much more secure than a password, Microsoft has got the answer for you inside a video).

To enable this option, head into Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options, where it says ‘Make your device passwordless’ you have to choose ‘On’. You will possibly not see the option in your account settings yet, though, because only half the normal commission of testers are getting the functionality initially, having a gradual rollout planned.

It may sound like the majority of folks should get the option to visit passwordless in the next couple of weeks, though.

Surface benefits

This latest preview build also bolsters the Your Phone app, making screen mirroring of your handset on more of Microsoft’s Surface devices. The so-called ‘phone screen’ feature now works together with the Surface Laptop and Surface Laptop 2, as well as the Surface Pro 4, 5, and 6, and the Surface Book along with the Surface Book 2.

And a final change for build 18936 may be the capability to swiftly produce a new event or reminder from the Taskbar: all you need to do is click on the date (bottom-right corner), choose a day, and you’ll see a box that lets you produce the event there and then. Nothing major, but a nifty little extra.

That about wraps up for this preview build, aside from the usual bug fixes and minor tweaks, and also known issues which tend to be more prevalent in these early builds, which are indexed by Microsoft’s article introducing the changes.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update has become having on those still while using April 2018 Update

Microsoft has begun the entire process of pushing the May 2019 Update to Windows 10 PCs which are still running the April 2018 Update.

And that’s a large number of users by all accounts, since most didn’t get upgraded to the October 2018 Update, which was dogged with a raft of serious bugs and a highly problematic rollout generally.

In June, Microsoft announced it would soon be forcing those still around the April 2018 Update to upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10, because the end of service date for that April update is November 12, 2019 for Home and Pro users – and the software giant wants to make certain most people are upgraded in good time before that.

Microsoft has kicked off this upgrade process, although the November deadline means it will be a very gradual rollout.

Security first

Microsoft stated: “We are initiating the Windows 10 May 2019 Update for purchasers with devices that are at or nearing end of service and also have not updated their device. Keeping these devices both supported and receiving monthly updates is critical to device security and ecosystem health.

“Based around the many devices running the April 2018 Update, reaching the end of 1 . 5 years of service on November 12, 2019, we’re starting the update process now for Home and Pro editions to help ensure adequate here we are at a smooth update process.”

Microsoft further stressed that the update rollout will be observed at close range to look at for just about any compatibility issues, and blocks will be put in place to avoid the upgrade from being sent to PCs where such issues might cause problems.

Observe that when the May 2019 Update knocks on your PC’s door, you don’t have to allow it to in immediately – even Windows 10 Home users now have the opportunity to delay an update by as much as 35 days.

Microsoft decides expiring passwords aren’t useful for Windows 10

Microsoft apparently now believes that having passwords expire – in other words, a method whereby the consumer is forced to change their login password every, say, 6 months – isn’t a useful security measure.

In a new draft piece of security guidance, Microsoft has changed its baseline rules for the next form of Windows 10 (the imminent May 2019 Update – as well as Windows Server) to drop strategies for “password-expiration policies that require periodic password changes”.

Microsoft argues that whenever people are instructed to create passwords which are hard to remember, they’ll often write them right down to make sure they are simpler to recall, with obvious major security risks therein. And, when folks are forced to change passwords, “too often they’ll create a small , predictable alteration for their existing passwords, and/or forget their new passwords”.

Microsoft’s post on TechNet further explains: “Recent scientific research calls into question the value of many long-standing password-security practices such as password expiration policies, and points instead to better alternatives for example enforcing banned-password lists (a great example being Azure AD password protection) and multi-factor authentication.”

The argument will be made that if it’s a “given” that the password is likely to be stolen in the user, just how long is definitely an acceptable time for you to permit the thief to carry on to use and potentially abuse that login?

Windows’ default is currently 42 days, which the post notes: “Doesn’t that appear just like a ridiculously long time? Well, it is, and yet our current baseline says Two months – and accustomed to say 90 days – because forcing frequent expiration introduces its very own problems. And when it’s not really a considering that passwords is going to be stolen, you acquire those problems for no benefit.

“Further, in case your users would be the kind who’re prepared to answer surveys within the parking area that exchange a candy bar for his or her passwords, no password expiration policy can help you.”

That’s, of course, a fair point, and Microsoft’s conclusion is that having passwords expire over set periods of time is an “ancient and obsolete mitigation of really low value”, and also the firm doesn’t believe it’s worthwhile for that Windows baseline security guidelines to enforce any specific value about this.

Quite simply, information mill liberated to do whatever best suits them, with Microsoft not making any recommendations on this front moving forward.

Draft measures

Note that this is only a draft document right now, and therefore these are just proposed changes, but Microsoft certainly has place a weighty argument behind the move.

Of course, this (potential) switch in security stance is guidance for businesses, and so obviously doesn’t affect folks running Windows 10 at home. However, a lot of us use password-protected systems or services of one sort or another at work, and these usually have periodic forced password reset policies.

So this draft document could lead to a rethink of said policies, given Microsoft’s fairly forceful arguments as stated – and maybe the pain of getting to modify your password regularly at work may soon be considered a subject put to rest, replaced by better and much more apt modern safety measures for example multi-factor authentication.

Windows 10 can make finding files easier in File Explorer

A brand new preview build for Windows 10 continues to be released to fast ring testers testing out the 20H1 update – in other words, the update that’ll come out within the first 1 / 2 of the coming year – which greatly increases the search experience of File Explorer.

File Explorer is the app which you use to search through files and folders around the desktop, and as it stands, searching conducted in the folder window – using the box top-right using the tiny magnifier icon – is really a rather basic affair compared to the full Windows Search experience.

So, the idea is to bring the latter full experience – meaning the search functionality you receive when hunting for things through the search/Cortana box near the Start button – into File Explorer, so when you’re typing searching query, you’ll get a drop-down listing of suggested files which you may be looking for.

If you notice the file you require after you’ve only typed a few letters, you can just click it to open the file (or right-click should you would like to navigate to the file’s location).

Microsoft further explains this change will also integrate your files stored online on OneDrive inside the search engine results. The broad idea, then, is to make search more consistent (and useful) wherever you’re using it within Windows, which can’t be a very bad thing.

Having said that, the feature is still within the very early stages of testing, and has only presented to some ‘small percentage’ of testers right now. It is open to more Windows Insiders testing the 20H1 update before long, we’d imagine, but you might not see it for a short while yet.

Nifty Narrator

That’s the major change for this preview build (version 18894), but Microsoft has also done some fine-tuning on the accessibility front. That includes making Narrator (the screen reader app) more efficient when reading tables, along with a new command that prompts Narrator to give a summary of a web page (highlighting details such as headings, links and so forth).

As always, there are a load of bug fixes, along with a listing of known issues – because this is an early preview version, there is always the possibility of glitches that could be ‘painful’ to see in Microsoft’s words. One of the bigger problems with this build is that the Your Phone app (which Microsoft continues to be tweaking a great deal lately) doesn’t work with it.

In the event you missed it, we recently saw that rounded corners on windows – instead of sharp edges – are going to create a return using the 20H1 update for Windows 10.

Microsoft Re-Releases the Notorious Windows 10 Update KB4023057

Microsoft has re-released a previously famous update for Windows 10 whose purpose would be to improve “update reliability” on older versions from the operating-system.

In other words, the purpose of update KB4023057 would be to prepare devices running Windows 10 version 1809 and older for that upgrade to Windows 10 version 1903.

Furthermore, the update attempts to determine whether the device meets the upgrade requirements, and if not, it attempts to apply a series of changes to prepare the upgrade.

Not sure on what’s changed

For instance, it can clean disk space, reset network settings, repair disabled or corrupted services, compress files in the user profile directory, and cleanup registry keys that may prevent updates from installing correctly. All versions of Windows 10 are becoming this update via Windows Update as well as on the Microsoft Update Catalog (for manual downloads).

“This update includes reliability improvements to Windows Update Service components in consumer Windows 10, versions 1507, 1511, 1607, 1703, 1709, 1803, and 1809. It may take steps to free up disk space on your device if you do not have enough disk space to set up Windows updates,” Microsoft explains on the linked KB page.

“This update includes files and resources that address problems that affect the update processes in Windows 10 that may prevent important Windows updates from being installed. These improvements help to make certain updates are installed seamlessly in your device, plus they help improve the reliability and security of devices that are running Windows 10.”

While it’s not clear what has changed because the previous form of the same update, it’s believed the updated patch should really power a new rollout of automatic updates for Windows 10 version 1903.

Like the other Windows 10 feature updates, version 1903, or May 2019 Update, ships in phases to devices across the world, as Microsoft uses this approach to discover bugs before they hit a bigger number of devices.

Windows 10 (20H1) Build 18950 Now Available for Download

Microsoft has just released a new Insider build that’s area of the 20H1 development branch because the work on the very first Windows 10 feature update due in 2020 continues.

Windows 10 build 18950 comes with additional Japanese IME improvements, with Microsoft saying that it focused specifically on addressing user feedback with this particular release.

For example, this new build the experience with the prediction candidate continues to be further refined, as the company resolved an issue causing the focus within it to neglect to move when the up arrow secret is used.

There are also additional key customization options, with Microsoft explaining the next:

“We’ve improved the discoverability of key assignment settings. Also, based on feedback, we’ve updated the default assigned value of Ctrl + Space to be “None”. Ctrl + Space can nonetheless be employed for toggling IME-on/off by changing the value through its setting.”

Snip & Sketch improvements

The more important update for almost all users, however, concerns Snip & Sketch, the screenshot tool which now comes with a single window mode.

“Do you tend to retake snips multiple times in order to get an ideal screenshot? We’re updating the New button to now open new snips in your current app window, so you don’t get a ton of open snips (that you simply then have to close.) If you’d rather keep all snips open in separate windows. the choice is now a toggle in settings, so you can choose which mode you prefer,” Dona Sarkar, chief from the Windows Inside program, explains.

Another improvement for the app brings zoom support, which you’ll trigger with CTRL+Plus, CTRL+Minus and Ctrl+Mouse wheel.

As it’s the case of every build released included in the Windows Insider program, there are many other changes and improvements, in addition to known issues, and you can check them in full within the box after the jump.