Monday, July 24, 2017

Windows Template Studio 1.2 released!

We’re extremely excited to announce the Windows Template Studio 1.2. What makes this release even more special is we’ve been accepted into the .NET Foundation! We are thrilled to be accepted in.
In this release, our major new feature is adding content into an existing application with Right-click add. We’ve grown up past only File->New 🙂
What’s new:
Full list of adjustments in the 1.2 release, head over to WTS’s Github.
Improvements to the Wizard:
Add new content to existing WTS generated projects in your solution window via right-click
We will be working toward seeing how we can enable this for non-WTS generated projects
Adjusted ordering of templates based on popularity and logical groupings
Under the hood, we’ve done a lot of work toward localization and started some accessibility improvements
Simplified descriptions
Logo adjustment to help at smaller icon sizes
Feature updates:
First-time load prompt
What’s New prompt
Template improvements:
Upgraded references to UWP Community Toolkit 1.5
Styling adjustments
Template generation post-action improvements
Process improvements:
Added in pull request template
Added in Issue template
How to get the update:

There are two paths to update to the newest build:
Already installed: Visual Studio should auto update the extension. To force an update, Go to Tools->Extensions and Updates. Then go to Update expander on the left and you should see Windows Template Studio in there and click “Update”
Not installed: Head to https://aka.ms/wtsinstall, click “download” and double click the VSIX installer.
What else is cooking for next versions?
We love all the community support and participation. In addition, here are just a few of the things we are currently building out that will in future builds:
Fluent design in the templates
Project Rome features as options for your project
Ink templates
Improved Right-click->add support for existing projects
Localization in the wizard
Full accessibility supported in both wizard and in the templates
Visual Basic support
With partnership with the community, we’ve will continue cranking out and iterating new features and functionality.  We’re always looking for additional people to help out and if you’re interested, please head to our GitHub at https://aka.ms/wts. If you have an idea or feature request, please make the request!
.NET Foundation:
We are happy to say that we’ve been accepted into the .NET Foundation. Such great open source projects like .NET Core, Roslyn and UWP Community Toolkit are just a few of the projects there, and now Windows Template Studio will be there as well!
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Friday, July 21, 2017

Windows 10: Microsoft releases 1st major update

Microsoft has released its first major update for Windows 10 PCs and tablets.
It also launched a Windows 10-powered update for its Xbox One gaming console that lets users play many of their Xbox 360 games on the newer console.
And its Cortana virtual assistant finally arrives in Canada – in English only.
A "test mode" of Cortana, a Siri-like, voice-recognizing assistant for both PCs and mobile devices, had previously been available in Canada, Australia and India. Today, a full version with "features and experiences customized for each market" launched in all three countries, along with Japan. The app provides reminders about appointments and aims to serve up helpful information such as weather updates.
Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system version, was released as a free update to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users in July. The company aims to have Windows 10 installed on a billion devices within the next three years. By the end of October, it was installed on 110 million.
In a blog post, Terry Myerson, executive vice-president of the Windows and Devices group, called the new Windows 10 update for PCs and tablets a "milestone."
"With this free update, we have reached the point in the platform's maturity where we can confidently recommend Windows 10 deployment to whole organizations," he wrote.
He added that Windows 10 now boots up nearly 30 per cent faster than Windows 7 on the same device, but did not indicate how much faster the update made Windows 10.
The update includes:
A new "tab preview" feature for the Microsoft Edge browser that lets you hover over open tabs to see what's on those pages without leaving the page you're already on, as well as browser performance and security improvements.
Unspecified improvements to Mail, Calendar, Photos, Groove, OneNote and Solitaire.
New security features.
Several new Cortana features available only in the U.S., such as support for the use of a device's pen, Uber bookings and coupon notifications.
Businesses targeted
The bulk of the update targets business users specifically, including:
Windows Update for Business, which lets IT departments control how updates are deployed across devices in their organizations.
Windows Store for Business, which helps IT departments find, acquire, manage and distribute apps for Windows 10 devices.
Mobile Device management, which lets IT departments manage devices ranging from PCs to phones, including devices that are brought by employees themselves rather than supplied by the business.
Azure Active Directory Join, which lets people use a single login across Windows 10 devices.
Xbox One updates
Mike Ybarra, director of program management for Xbox, wrote in a blog post that the Xbox One Experience update for Microsoft's gaming console:
Lets users play many games they purchased for their last console, the Xbox 360, on the Xbox One if the game is among those on Microsoft's list of backward-compatible games. Users can either insert the game disc and download it, or install the digital version from their ready-to-install queue. For a limited time, they will also have access to multiplayer benefits without the Xbox Live Gold subscription that is usually required.
Provides a redesigned home screen and a new "community" section that highlights social activities such as which friends are playing the same games as you.
Revamps OneGuide to help users find TV, movies and video.
Adds avatars, game hubs, the ability to remap buttons on any controller, and new navigation modes such as a "narrator" that reads text on the screen aloud.
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Windows Phone is dead - Here's why you need to upgrade your smartphone today

MICROSOFT has today ended mainstream support for Windows Phone 8.1 – the most popular version of its mobile operating system – forcing users to upgrade to Windows 10.
Windows Phone 8.1 support has this week ended.
Those who are still using a smartphone powered by Windows Phone 8.1, it’s time to upgrade the operating system.
Windows Phone 8.1 is still by far the most popular version of the mobile operating system, with some 70 per cent of Windows Phone devices running the outdated software.
Those who want to ensure their phone is updated with the latest security patches and features will now have to upgrade their phone to Windows 10 Mobile.
Unfortunately, Windows 10 Mobile is not compatible with every smartphone capable of running Windows Phone 8.1.
Microsoft requires the majority of Windows Phone 8.1 users to install a separate app – dubbed Upgrade Advisor – in order to execute the software upgrade.Windows Phone will no longer be supported by Microsoft, the US company revealed
Whether Microsoft will choose to push-out a Windows 10 Mobile update for all Windows Phone 8.1 owners is not yet known.
On the Windows 8.1 lifecycle support page, Microsoft clearly states it will release operating system updates and patches for a minimum of 36 months after the lifecycle start date, which was June 24th 2014.
Clearly, those 36 months have already passed.
“Microsoft will make updates available for the Operating System, including security updates, for a minimum of 36 months after the lifecycle start date,” the support page reads.
“These updates will be incremental, with each update built on the update that preceded it. Customers need to install each update in order to remain supported.
“The distribution of these incremental updates may be controlled by the mobile operator or the phone manufacturer from which you purchased your phone, and installation will require that your phone have any prior updates.
“Update availability will also vary by country, region, and hardware capabilities.
The news comes as Microsoft General Manager for Surface Ryan Gavin offered smartphone fans an intriguing tidbit about the long-rumoured Surface Phone.
Mr Gavin was speaking to Business Insider about the new Surface line-up, which includes an overhauled Surface Pro, brand-new Surface Laptop and desktop behemoth, Surface Studio.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Best VPN for Windows: Our 5 top choices

All the best services from the most secure to the most affordable
One of the perks of having Windows as your operating system is that you have a lot of options when choosing a VPN service (or any software, for that matter). Virtually every VPN service caters to users of the most popular desktop OS in the world with a variety of features. However, with a massive selection of possible VPN services, that only makes choosing one more difficult. Luckily, as ever, we are here to help.
Check out our other VPN content:
How to choose the best VPN for Windows
Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, is a significant improvement in terms of security and protection. Even so, there are some widely discussed, controversial privacy issues pertaining to the OS, and what’s more you can never be ‘too’ secure, let’s face it.
When picking a Windows VPN service, you should look for good all-round performance with a little bit of everything – a friendly client, P2P support, clearly written and straightforward privacy policy, and so on.
The 5 best VPN services of 2017
Then there’s the matter of pricing as not every service is worth the money they’re asking. Sometimes paying a little bit extra ensures a superb experience, but other times a cheaper service provides the optimal quality.Yes, there are some difficult choices to be made for sure, which is exactly why we’ve done all the legwork and selected our five best VPN services for Windows across various different categories. You won’t go wrong with any of these.
1. IPVanish
Best all-round VPN Number of servers: 750+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5 
Excellent clientGreat performanceA bit more expensive than someNo free trial
[57% Off] IPVanish (Official Promotion) - Get up to 57% Off TechRadar's #1 Rated VPN Service  with IPVanish's top-tier network delivering some of the fastest speeds in our tests. Zero logs gives you total privacy. 

This VPN features a well-designed client that offers a wide array of both basic and advanced settings, with enough options to satisfy even expert tinkerers. The service is one of the best for torrenting and other P2P traffic, as well.

In our testing, we witnessed a significant increase in download speeds (close to 20%) which is fantastic, obviously. IPVanish has a firm no logs policy in place, and more than adequate protection with 256-bit encryption over OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols. 

The slight drawback is this is a little pricier than much of the competition, and there’s no free trial either. However, IPVanish does offer a 7-day money-back guarantee across all three of its pricing plans. The 1-year subscription clearly provides the best value. The packages available are:

[$4.87 a month] 1-year - $58.14
[$6.74 a month] 3-month - $20.24
[$7.50 a month] 1-month - $7.50


2. NordVPN

Most secure VPN

Number of servers: 1015 | Server locations: 59 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6

Double data encryptionStrict no logs policyOnly one device on the same server with the same protocolFree trial is hidden away
NordVPN is a mainstay on many ‘best of’ lists for several good reasons – although the one that matters most is its tight security. The service offers a certain number of ‘Double VPN’ servers which pass your data through two separate VPN servers, not just one, which makes things even more secure. You can also route its encrypted traffic over the Tor network, adding another layer of security, along with the existing KEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols.

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The client is easy-to-use, featuring a compact interface that has all the essentials and then some. NordVPN is P2P-friendly and has a strict zero logs policy. The performance of the VPN is above-average, but there is a small fly in the ointment. Namely, you can't connect multiple devices to the same server with the same protocol, which restricts you to four devices per server.

There's a free 7-day trial (but it's tucked away in the FAQ), and NordVPN is rather affordable, offering three plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The best value option is the 2-year plan. The packages available are:

[$11.95 a month] 1-month
[$7.00 a month] 6-months - $42.00
[$5.75 a month] 1-year - $69.00
[$3.29 a month] 2-years - $79.00


3. Hotspot Shield

Best balance of performance and price

Number of servers: 2000 | Server locations: 20 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5

Favourable privacy policyFast download speedsSomewhat expensive pricingLimited configuration options
Hotspot Shield’s rather colourful client provides all the necessary basics which are simple enough to use, but lacks extra settings options. The low number of server locations doesn’t help either, but what you’ll really like here is the performance levels. This VPN posted some excellent results in our testing, with only marginal latency increase and a bit faster upload and download speeds compared to our normal rates.

It also features the standard security protocols with an added bonus of cloud-based malware protection. The privacy policy is favourable, deleting data which might be recorded upon ending the VPN session.

Perhaps the most questionable aspect of Hotspot Shield is its pricing. There are five plans, including a free plan which only allows you to use one US server (and is ad supported), and a special ‘Lifetime’ offer that's undeniably the best option in the long run. If you don’t fancy that much of a commitment, the 1-year plan offers the best value. The packages available are:

Free Plan
[$12.99 a month] 1-month
[$8.99 a month] 6-months - $53.95
[$5.99 a month] 1-year - $71.90
Lifetime - $139.99


4. TigerVPN

Best VPN for novice users

Number of servers: 300+ | Server locations: 63 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 2-5

Great performanceFree 500MB/month planOverly basic clientMinimum of two connections
This Slovakian-based provider runs its own network, DNS servers, and infrastructure. And this definitely shows as the performance levels were well above-average and fairly consistent when we tested TigerVPN. The global choice of available servers certainly helps the cause here.

The dedicated Windows client is very user-friendly, too. However, it only offers some basic options, with advanced settings being few and far between – but that’s not likely to bother novice users. Another issue with the service is that you only get two simultaneous connections with the monthly plan, which means those looking for a genuine multi-device experience need to subscribe to the yearly plan.

TigerVPN is P2P friendly and it even has a free plan, although a 500MB monthly limit means you can’t do much with it – although it at least allows you to give the service a bit of a try. There are three affordable price plans to choose from, and subscribing for a year gives you the best savings, plus you get up to five simultaneous connections (rather than two), along with bonus features like a password manager. The packages available are:

Free plan (500 MB/month)
[$6.67 a month] 12-month - $79.99
[$8.33 a month] 6-month - $49.99
[$11.99 a month] 1-month - $11.99
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Monday, July 3, 2017

New Microsoft Surface device PICTURED, but here’s why you will NEVER be able to use it

Leaked pictures have shown the Microsoft Surface Mini the Redmond based firm had designed but cancelled just weeks before its planned unveiling.
Microsoft had been planning to introduce the Surface Mini tablet alongside its Surface Pro 3 tablet at an event back in May 2014.
However, weeks before Microsoft were set to announce it CEO Satya Nadella and ex-Nokia boss Stephen Elop cancelled the project.
Now years later Windows Central has obtained images of the canned iPad Mini and Kindle Fire rival.
The Surface Mini had an eight inch screen with a 1440 x 1080 display, and it was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.
It had 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and Microsoft also included a kickstand on the Surface Mini.
It appears to have a rubber-style exterior that would have shipped in a number of different colours.
The Surface Mini was designed to run Windows RT and support the Surface Pen. There was a loop on the kickstand where it would have been stored.
Surface boss Panos Panay previously described the Surface Mini as “like a Moleskine,” and it looks like the tablet was designed to look like a notepad.
In the years following the Surface Mini being scrapped, the market has shifted more from 7 or 8 inch tablets towards larger smartphones.
Microsoft have also focused more on the strengths and uniqueness of the Surface line-up instead of launching products very similar to big rivals.
This include the Surface Studio, an all-in-one PC, and a new Surface Laptop.
Recently, repair experts iFixit conducted tests to see how easy it is to repair a Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop.
They described it as “impossible” to repair and said it can’t be opened up without destroying it.
They labelled it ‘hellish’, and advised anyone hoping to repair it themselves that they were bound to “inflict a lot of damage”.
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is Android getting multi-window support in time for Google I/O?

Is Android getting multi-window support in time for Google I/O?
Android 5.1 is now out in the wild, but it might be holding a few secrets.
The diligent folks at Phandroid have dug up something interesting in the code: references to apps running in multiple windows. The change could be announced at Google I/O in May.
There’s not much detail to go on here — it’s essentially just a couple of lines referring to “multiwindows” hidden inside the software — and as yet Google hasn’t said anything about what’s going to be on show at its developer conference in a couple of months.
With smartphone screens getting bigger all the time, it would make sense for Android to offer support for side-by-side apps. It’s a feature already available on some Samsung devices and would be another key differentiator when comparing Android against iOS.
On smaller screens, multi-window support could quickly become a confusing mess, particularly when trying to drag and resize panels to get everything important in view.
On the other hand, many of today’s smartphones and tablets are easily big enough to support two apps on screen at the same time — and with Office for Android now available it could be a useful feature for those who are looking to stay productive away from the desk.
Google I/O is going to be held in San Francisco from May 28–29. We’re hoping to hear more about Project Ara (Google’s modular phone), Android Auto and Google’s efforts in virtual reality — get the latest from our I/O hub page.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Major BitLocker encryption security fail caused by new Windows 10 update?

It seems that Microsoft has dropped the ball on the security front, as the new autumn update for Windows 10, while introducing lots of juicy new features, unfortunately also messes up BitLocker encryption – at least for some folks.
It's not unheard of for updates to break things as well as fix stuff, of course, although this is a surprisingly major Windows 10 hitch when it comes to the security of user data.
Apparently, according to some users posting on the TechNet forum (spotted by Neowin), if you do a clean install of Windows 10 build 10586 (the new November update), you can't enable BitLocker encryption.
BitLocker encryption still works just fine in the build of Windows 10 previous to the November update.
And if you had BitLocker encryption enabled previously before applying the November update, it won't cause any problems with the system – unless you later turn encryption off, and then try to enable it again, in which case you could get the same error message and failure as those applying a fresh install (something about a parameter being incorrect, by all accounts).
 
So be warned – if you've updated Windows and are using BitLocker encryption, it might be an idea just to leave it well alone until Microsoft manages to look into this issue.
Users have said that this affects the hardware encryption mode of BitLocker, and it could depend on the exact hardware configuration you're running whether or not you encounter problems.
The new Windows 10 update applies a variety of stability and performance tweaks, new features for the Edge browser, tweaks to Cortana and business features to make the deployment of the OS easier for IT admins.
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click Here: Revealed: Microsoft’s high-tech plan to stop laptop thieves