Gates spends entire first day back in office trying to install Windows 8.1

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REDMOND, WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Bill Gates’s first day at work in the newly created role of technology adviser got off to a rocky start yesterday as the Microsoft founder struggled for hours to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

The installation hit a snag early on, sources said, when Mr. Gates repeatedly received an error message informing him that his PC ran into a problem that it could not handle and needed to restart.

After failing to install the upgrade by lunchtime, Mr. Gates summoned the new Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella, who attempted to help him with the installation, but with no success.

While the two men worked behind closed doors, one source described the situation as “tense.”

“Bill is usually a pretty calm guy, so it was weird to hear some of that language coming out of his mouth,” the source said.

A Microsoft spokesman said only that Mr. Gates’s first day in his new job had been “a learning experience” and that, for the immediate future, he would go back to running Windows 7.

Final version of Windows 8 leaked online, No Windows Media Player yet

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Ubergizmo: Good news for those looking to get their hands on Windows 8 before everyone else does, the final build of Windows 8 has just been leaked online. This news comes a day after it was announced that the final version of Windows 8 had been finished. MSDN and TechNet customers won’t be able to download their version of Windows 8 until August 15th, an enterprise version of Windows 8 is currently making rounds at different file sharing websites across the web.

Windows-8-announcement

Unfortunately, if you were hoping for the Windows Media Player to be included in this version, you’re out of luck as it is the “N” version of Windows 8 which doesn’t come with the Player. Microsoft was forced to create a “N” build of its operating system as the European Commission ruled in 2004 that they need to create a version of Windows OS without the Windows Media Player included. Microsoft has yet to release a comment on the situation yet. Consumers will be able to get their hands on Windows 8 officially starting October 26th. We’ll keep you updated on the situation as more info becomes available and let us know in the comments section below if you plan on downloading the leaked build of Windows 8.

One in four Windows 7 PC run out of date anti-malware

MSDN: One of the things we talk quite a bit about with Windows 8 is making sure Windows is a safe, secure, and reliable computing environment. We have always provided a broad range of solutions for achieving these goals and work closely with a broad range of industry partners. We continue to enhance these capabilities with Windows 8 while making sure you always have choice and control over how to protect and manage your PC. With Windows 8 we are extending the protections provided by Defender to address a broader range of potential threats. Jason Garms, the group program manager of our reliability and security team authored this post that represents work across several teams. –Steven

Read the story here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/15/protecting-you-from-malware.aspx

Microsoft To Improve File Management Processes In Windows 8

Windows 8 News Blog: The recently created Building Windows 8 blog seems to be up in full swing, with new articles about the upcoming operating system being released regularly. Steven Sinofsky revealed in “Improving our file management basics: copy, move, rename, and delete” that Microsoft intents to improve file management processes under Windows 8.

According to Steven, Microsoft had three goals to improve the copy experience:

  • One place to manage all copy jobs: Create one unified experience for managing and monitoring ongoing copy operations.
  • Clear and concise: Remove distractions and give people the key information they need.
  • User in control: Put people in control of their copy operations.

Consolidating the copy experience is a great idea. This means that you won’t have to deal with multiple copying windows when you run multiple copy or move operations in the operating system. All copy jobs are now consolidated in one screen.

Microsoft furthermore added the ability to pause copy processes, which goes along with a new real-time throughput graph that users can display on the system.

The copy conflicts screen gets an overhaul as well. The screen, which is very confusing and with to much text has been replaced with an easier to access conflicts window that is giving the user more control over the process.

Here are all screenshots of the new features that have been posted by Microsoft:

The consolidating of copy jobs, pausing copy jobs and a better conflict experience are all features that will be well received by users of the new operating system. Sometimes it is the little things that make more of an impact than larger changes.

And here is a video with the announcement:

You can read the full announcement over at the Building Windows 8 website.

Windows 8: The death of malware? The death of anti-malware?

BetaNews: There is a lot of buzz about a recent set of tests by NSS Labs that show the Smartscreen reputation system in Internet Explorer 9 head and shoulders and most of the rest of the body above the competition in blocking malware on the web.

I think the results of the test are even more important than they seem, considering previous reports that Microsoft plans to make Smartscreen a base part of Windows 8. This would extend parts of the protection to any executable hitting the file system. This would be big news.

Smartscreen in IE9 has 2 components: A URL reputation system and a file reputation system. The URL reputation system is similar in concept to the Google Safe Browsing API, used by Chrome, Firefox and Safari, but vastly superior in results. It picked up 92 percent of malware-serving sites. Safe Browsing never reached 30 percent in the tests and generally settled much lower.

For the 8 percent of sites that Smartscreen doesn’t block, there’s backup protection. Smartscreen tracks downloaded files (presumably by some hash like SHA-1) and a reputation for them. If the file is known to be good, it goes through. If it’s known to be bad, it’s blocked. If the system doesn’t recognize it, the file throws up a warning:

This warning could be a bit clearer at the cost of brevity, but I think it’s worth it: “Microsoft has not yet encountered this file. If you know this file is new and unusual and know that it is safe, you may proceed. If it doesn’t make sense that Microsoft has not yet seen this file, you may wish not to execute it in the interests of your own safety.” I hope Microsoft submits such files to VirusTotal or some such service in order to share them with the rest of the AV community.

So back to Windows 8: At least some betas have included indications that this version of Windows will apply Smartscreen to any file, or at least any executable, that hits the file system. This would address one misplaced criticism in Smartscreen in IE9, that it only protects against the web vector. Of course, the web is how the vast majority of malware is distributed these days, but fix that route and attackers will move elsewhere, so Microsoft has to think ahead.

I’ve argued that Microsoft should open up Smartscreen to other apps the way Google opened up the Safe Browsing API; Firefox was using it long before there was a Google Chrome. But putting the system into Windows itself may make that less advantageous.

Another thing that Smartscreen doesn’t do is protect against application vulnerabilities. If a site is not blocked and it exploits some browser vulnerability, Smartscreen doesn’t block it. Of course if you’re Microsoft you should patch the browser, and there are plenty of other defense-in-depth techniques, like ASLR and DEP, to limit the damage of vulnerabilities. I’d argue that Smartscreen plus timely patching is really good protection, even without an AV product.

We’re always hearing about the coming obsolescence of antivirus software. Could this be it? A Win8 Smartscreen as I see it doesn’t cover everything an anti-malware product should. For instance, if you’re offline and copy a file in via a USB drive would you be at all protected? I don’t know. It’s getting there though.

Leaked: Windows 8 build 7910 screenshots

TechSpot Wrote: A few new Windows 8 user interface screenshots have leaked. Windows 8 build 7910 is part of the Milestone 2 branch, so we’re not seeing the latest, but it is rather interesting that it took just eight minutes to install, approximately 2.5 times faster than Windows 7. You have to thank the Chinese website Win7China for offering a glimpse into the future even though the leaks did include several wallpapers with a “ssh…let’s not leak our hard work” message.

The first and second screenshots show that users can choose an image that “will appear on your taskbar and represent you throughout Windows.” In fact, this appears to be linked with your Windows Live ID, though it’s not yet clear to what extent. The third screenshot shows a progress bar on the taskbar when installing a mouse driver, which only further builds on Windows 7’s various progress bars in the taskbar (such as the one for IE8 downloads).

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The website also claims that Windows 8 will have a new restore feature that will return the computer to its factory state in under two minutes. The factory restore feature will not require an installation disc and the required hard disk space is said to be minimal.

A rumor from earlier this year suggested that Microsoft has compiled Windows 8 Milestone 2 and is working on Windows 8 Milestone 3. Another rumor also from two months ago claimed that Windows 8 will include a new tile-based user interface, codenamed Mosh, as well as a new app model, codenamed Jupiter, that will target a new Windows Marketplace app store. Three months ago, a rumor stated the OS would have two user interfaces, a new fast hibernation system, and would intelligently manage an SSD.

Microsoft CEO: next Windows release is “riskiest product bet”

Windows 7 might be selling like hotcakes but that’s only going to make it even harder for Microsoft to top. When asked about the riskiest product bet that the software giant is currently developing, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer answered “the next release of Windows” without so much as a second of hesitation. Unfortunately, his interviewers don’t ask him for an explanation, so we’ll have to speculate as to why he chose Windows and not something else like Windows Phone, Xbox Kinect, or Bing.

Microsoft sells more copies of Windows than anything else. It’s the most popular piece of software in the world. That alone makes it “risky” to improve on because so many people depend on it. It’s interesting that Steve calls it “the next release of Windows” rather than simply “Windows 8” but then again, Microsoft makes a point of not using a product’s name, or even its codename, till after the official announcement. You can watch Ballmer’s most recent interview, at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, below:

Early details on Windows 8, which is expected to arrive in 2012, leaked in June 2010 but we wouldn’t classify any of them as particularly risky. Highlights included USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0 support, “instant on” booting, stereoscopic 3D, facial recognition as a security option, touch improvements for slates, and an app store.

Taken from: TechSpot.com