Earlier in the week, Microsoft snuck an update in on one of the support notes. If you’re running on of Intel’s 7th-generation processors, an AMD “Bristol Ridge” or Qualcomm “8996" processor, Windows Update will display a message telling you have reached the end Windows Update road.
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Just when you think you can rest easy, Microsoft decides to release a bunch of updates that once again add telemetry (information-gathering) services to your machine. While not harmful, they can sometimes hog system resources and be annoying in other ways, so here's how you can purge your PC and -- hopefully -- keep your computer clean for good.
Microsoft is not as Service Pack happy as it once was. While Windows XP and 2000 had three and four SPs respectively, Windows 7 had just one while Windows 8 went with a versioning approach instead, in the form of 8.1. Microsoft now looks like it's bringing Service Packs back for older platforms, except they're called 'Convenience Rollups'.
If you have an MSDN subscription, grabbing current and old versions of Microsoft's operating systems is a trivial affair. However, if you have a valid license, but don't have the DVDs on hand or the aforementioned privileges, downloading disk images directly from the source doesn't have to be complicated.
Everyone has their own bag of diagnostic tricks when Windows decides to chuck a wobbly. While OS corruption isn't as big a problem as it used to be thanks to journalled file systems and tools such as System Restore, you can still be caught with your pants down by malware, viruses and other nasties. In those cases, a utility called SFCFix might get you out of trouble where other options fail.
With Windows 10, lots of built-in apps (like the calculator) are now "Modern UI" apps. Other Modern UI apps (like Netflix) are a lot more useful now that you can run them in a window. There's just one problem: There's no obvious way to make shortcuts of these apps so you can put them on your desktop, or start them with an app like Launchy.
Microsoft's new operating system officially launches on July 29. If you own a copy of Windows 7 or 8, you could be in line for a free upgrade. However, first you need to check whether your machine is up to the task. Here are the minimum hardware requirements for each version of the new OS.
Automatic updates sound like a great idea in theory, but having a newer driver install itself behind your back, cause a problem and force you to troubleshoot for a few hours is no fun at all. Fortunately in Windows, it's possible to tell the operating system to apply platform patches only and leave the driver updates to you.
Windows 10 will support a much larger variety of video codecs and container formats, but until it arrives (and you make the decision to upgrade), you can install a shell extension in Windows 7 and 8 to get, at the very least, thumbnail previews in Explorer.
Task Manager can't replace dedicated tools such as Process Manager, but the application has seen incremental improvements with each major Windows update. In 8 and 10, it even includes a new tab, called "Startup", that lets you see which applications are slowing down the boot process.
Windows 9 is still far enough away that it's worth persisting with Windows 8.1, rather than digging out your Windows 7 DVD (or downloading to disc image) and going backwards in time. If you're still not satisfied with the operating system's reworked user interface, you might be able to solve a few of your problems with a new tool called ModernUI Tuner.