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Microsoft Plans OneDrive 64-Bit ARM Preview to Windows and Apple M1

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At the recent Ignite 2021 conference, Microsoft announced OneDrive will support ARM devices across Windows and Apple M1. Both will arrive in 2022, but Microsoft is now revealing its plans about the Preview of ARM for OneDrive on the Current Channel.

Microsoft says once the support passes through the Current Channel it will reach General Availability. Support for both Apple’s M1 and Microsoft’s own Windows on ARM will come to OneDrive preview builds early next month.

According to Microsoft, the preview rollout will be complete by midway through December. Looking ahead, OneDrive users will get the non-review release will start rolling out between January and mid-February.

Preview

Enabling the preview involves joining the Current Channel (Preview) and start it through OneDrive Settings > About. It is possible to opt out of the preview through the same path. Microsoft points out the ARM clients may behave differently on Windows or M1, despite having the same functionality.

“The 64-bit version is the right choice if you plan to use large files, if you have a lot of files, and if you have a computer that’s running a 64-bit version of Windows,” Microsoft’s Ankita Kirti said in a blog post at the time.

“Computers running 64-bit versions of Windows generally have more resources – such as processing power and memory – than their 32-bit predecessors. Also, 64-bit applications can access more memory than 32-bit applications (up to 18.4 million Petabytes).” 

Having a 64-bit version of OneDrive is important, not least because it means the app can support larger files more efficiently on Windows. Of course, this will depend on whether your version of Windows 10 supports 64-bit.

Tip of the day: Did you know you can use Windowss built in antivirus Microsoft Defender also with scheduled scans? In our tutorial we give you step-by-step instructions on how to program your personal scan-schedule to keep your free of malware.

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Business Technology

Alphabet Develops Robots to Handle Mundane Office Tasks

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Alphabet says it is going to use robots to overtake some mundane tasks during the day-to-day running of its offices. Google’s parent company says the robots come from the X Moonshot Factory, which is a team dedicated to finding innovative technology to solve next-gen problems.

Moonshot Factory has been open since 2010 and perhaps the best-known product was the Google Glass smart glasses. Other projects include autonomous vehicles through Waymo, and special kites for sustainable wind energy.

In the latest effort, the X team at Moonshot Factory are developing robots that can open doors, wipe tables, and handle waste management. Alphabet says productivity can increase across organizations if these tasks are automated.

The company wants to place robots into office environments to see how they interact and work alongside humans.

Training

X trained the robots using real office environments. This took four months at first, but the team says it can now train robots within a day with 90% accuracy.

“Over the last few years, we’ve been building an integrated hardware and software system that is designed for learning — including transferring learning from the virtual world to the real world. Our robots are equipped with a mix of different cameras and sensors to take in the world around them. Using a combination of machine learning techniques like reinforcement learning, collaborative learning, and learning from demonstration, the robots have steadily gained a better understanding of the world around them and become more skilled at doing everyday tasks.”

Alphabet will begin by rolling out the robots into its own offices at Mountain View. If the project is successful, the robots could one day come to offices of Google customers.

Tip of the day: Did you know that as a Windows 10 admin you can restrict user accounts by disabling settings or the control panel? Our tutorial shows how to disable and enable them via Group Policy and the registry.

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Business Technology

Microsoft Authenticator Receives New Major Update

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Microsoft-Passwordless-Progress-Authenticator-Windows-Azure

Microsoft Authenticator is getting a new update that makes it easier for organizations to better handle the service and roll it out across their business.

New features coming to the tool include the ability for admins to use number matching and more context to make it harder to give accidental approvals. This feature is now arriving in public preview.

Elsewhere, Microsoft Authenticator now allows admins to create GPS locations for Conditional Access policies. Lastly, the service now gives admins the ability to nudge users to setup the Authenticator thanks to a Registration Campaign features. Both these additions are now generally available.

Microsoft launched its Authenticator app back in 2016. The service provides native two-factor authentication on devices when accessing a Microsoft Account. Since the launch, numerous features have been added, including a phone sign-in ability, fingerprint support, password free login, and Apple Watch support.

Full Changelog

“Number matching in Microsoft Authenticator MFA experience (Public Preview)

To increase security and reduce accidental approvals, admins can require users to enter the number displayed on the sign-in screen when approving an MFA request in Authenticator.

To learn how to enable number matching, click here.

Additional context in Microsoft Authenticator approval requests (Public Preview)

Another way to reduce accidental approvals is to show users additional context in Authenticator notifications. This feature will show users which application they are signing into and their sign-in location based on IP address.

To learn how to enable additional context click here.

 GPS-based Named Locations (Generally Available)

Admins can now use Conditional Access policies to restrict resource access to the boundaries of a specific country by using the GPS signal from the Microsoft Authenticator.

Users with this feature enabled will be prompted to share their GPS location via the Microsoft Authenticator app during sign-in. To ensure the integrity of the GPS location, Microsoft Authenticator will deny authentication if the device is jailbroken or rooted.

To learn more, check out admin documentation, Graph API documentation, and FAQ page.

Microsoft Authenticator Registration Campaign (Generally Available)

Using the Microsoft Authenticator Registration Campaign, you can now nudge users to set up Authenticator and move away from less secure telephony methods. The feature targets users who are enabled for Microsoft Authenticator but have not set it up. Users are prompted to set up Authenticator after completing an MFA sign-in and after the set-up experience their default authentication method is changed to the Microsoft Authenticator app.

To learn how to enable a Registration Campaign, click here.”

Tip of the day: Did you know that as a Windows 10 admin you can restrict user accounts by disabling settings or the control panel? Our tutorial shows how to disable and enable them via Group Policy and the registry.

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Business Technology

Activision Blizzard: Microsoft is Evaluating all Aspects of Relationship

Xbox-E3-Phil-Spencer-Microsoft (1)

Xbox-E3-Phil-Spencer-Microsoft

Activision Blizzard is currently caught in a spiral of controversy over systemic abuse that seems to have been happening in the company for years. Following the shocking Wall Street Journal report exposing the situation, Microsoft says it is revaluating its relationship with Activision Blizzard.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft’s Xbox and gaming chief Phil Spencer had said the company is investigating and will consider its relationship with Activision Blizzard.

Spencer is reported to have told staff the company is  “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at Activision Blizzard and the company is “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments.”

Reports coming from insiders at Activision Blizzard paint a sorry picture of consistent abusive behavior. according to The Wall Street Journal, the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick knew about harassment, hid it, and may have been complicit in it.

Microsoft’s statement is not official and the company has yet to publicly criticize Activision Blizzard. It seems Microsoft is waiting to see how the accusations play out before making any formal decisions. However, it is clear the partnerships between the two companies are under threat.

Response

Sony has taken a similar stance according to Bloomberg. PlayStation chief Jim Ryan has reportedly told staff the company has “deep concern” over the accusations.

Spencer has taken a strong stance internally, according to the report. Spencer’s memo includes him saying “This type of behavior has no place in our industry.”

As for Activision Blizzard, the company is trying to weather storm. Speaking about Microsoft’s and Sony’s apparent stance on the matter, the company says:

“We respect all feedback from our valued partners and are engaging with them further. We have detailed important changes we have implemented in recent weeks, and we will continue to do so. We are committed to the work of ensuring our culture and workplace are safe, diverse, and inclusive. We know it will take time, but we will not stop until we have the best workplace for our team.”

Tip of the day: The Windows default font these days is Segoe UI, a fairly simple and no-nonsense typeface that’s used across many of Microsoft’s products. However, though some like this subdued style, others look to change Windows font to something with a bit more personality.

Thankfully, Microsoft does let you change Windows fonts, but it doesn’t make it particularly easy. I our tutorial we show you how to change system font in Windows 10, or restore it again if you don’t like the changes.

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Business Technology

AMD Leading Semiconductor Market Resurgence Following Record Shortage

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AMD-Threadripper-Official

For over a year, there has been a global chip shortage that has impacted PC sales, but could we be about to come out of the crisis? It is probably too early to tell. What is clear is semiconductor companies like AMD have continued to thrive during this shortage.

According to IC Insight, the 2021 forecast for semiconductor sales is to jump 23% thanks to a 20% rise in unit shipments and a 3% jump in the average selling price (ASP) of chips. The company points out such a rise in the market would be the biggest since 2010.

AMD will enjoy the biggest growth, with a revenue growth forecast of 65% increase, followed by MediaTek (60%), Nvidia (54%), Qualcomm (51%), and SMIC (39%). Intel is missing from that list, with IC Insights predicting  -1% decline.

So, what is all this talk about a semiconductor shortage?

Well, the very reason the market is able to make a decade-long best increase is because of that shortage. The market is slowly recovering from the worst global chip shortage ever seen. Both GPU and CPU markets were at all time lows. It is worth noting the recovery is not over yet, despite the forecasted increase.

Continued Shortage

Microsoft’s Xbox chief said in September the chip shortage will continue to affect manufacturing of devices into 2022:

When I think about, what does it mean to get the parts necessary to build a console today, and then get it to the markets where the demand is, there are multiple kind of pinch points in that process. And I think regretfully it’s going to be with us for months and months, definitely through the end of this calendar year and into the next calendar year.”

Tip of the day: The Windows default font these days is Segoe UI, a fairly simple and no-nonsense typeface that’s used across many of Microsoft’s products. However, though some like this subdued style, others look to change Windows font to something with a bit more personality.

Thankfully, Microsoft does let you change Windows fonts, but it doesn’t make it particularly easy. I our tutorial we show you how to change system font in Windows 10, or restore it again if you don’t like the changes.

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Business Technology

Microsoft Announces SynapseML to Help Streamline Machine Learning Development

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Microsoft-SynapseML-Azure

Microsoft has announced a new component of Azure Synapse Analytics. Called SynapseML, this is an open source library that Microsoft says will help machine learning development by offering “scale and intelligent” systems.

SynapseML was known as MMLSpark during development and provides tools for streamlining speech processing, domain management, text analytics and more during the creation of machine learning models.

“Over the past five years, we have worked to improve and stabilize the SynapseML library for production workloads. Developers who use Azure Synapse Analytics will be pleased to learn that SynapseML is now generally available on this service with enterprise support [on Azure Synapse Analytics],” Microsoft software engineer Mark Hamilton says in a blog post.

A big part of the Azure SynapseML service is scaling up AI development. At the moment, machine learning pipelines are hard to create and manage, even for experienced developers. Pooling code from multiple resources and managing clusters is no easy task.

ML Development

Microsoft wants to help customers overcome these challenges. With SynapseML, the company is unifying machine learning frameworks into a single API. The platform also include Microsoft’s own algorithms and works across various languages such as Java and Python.

On the official website for SynapseML, Microsoft explains how the engine provides scale for organizations and developers.

“[SynapseML allows] users to craft powerful and highly-scalable models that span multiple [machine learning] ecosystems. SynapseML also brings new networking capabilities to the Spark ecosystem. With the HTTP on Spark project, users can embed any web service into their SparkML models and use their Spark clusters for massive networking workflows.”

Developers who use SynapseML can also access models available on the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX), a collaborative framework co-created by Microsoft and Facebook.

Tip of the day: By default computer names in Windows tend to be quite plain. By default, they tend to be ‘WIN’ or ‘Desktop’, followed by a string of random letters and numbers. We show you how to change your PC name with Settings, Command Prompt or PowerShell to make it more easily identifiable.

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Business Technology

Microsoft Debuts Strategic Missions and Technologies Team

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Microsoft is reshuffling its Cloud + AI business by making some important executive changes. Specifically, the company is creating a new team known at the Strategic Missions and Technologies (SMT) division.

SMT will be led by current Executive Vice President of Azure, Jason Zander. He will report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The goal of the Strategic Missions and Technologies team is to boost development of important emerging businesses at Microsoft. It will be tasked with the ongoing growth of key businesses.

ZDNet reports SMT is a combination of Azure Quantum, Microsoft U.S. Federal, and Azure Space & Mission Engineering for Azure. In an email announcing the team, Zander said the following:

“The common bond shared by the teams in this new division is next generation opportunity — opportunity that is so profound in potential impact that each area deserves dedicated focus to grow.”

Executive Changes

Microsoft will not replace Zander directly as Executive Vice President of Azure. Instead, Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of Cloud + AI is restructuring the leadership team. Girish Bablani will now take charge of the Azure Core Team, which handles apps and infrastructure on the platform.

Azure Dedicated Team and Azure Global Infrastructure will now move under the charge of Bablani within the Azure Core Team.

Microsoft is also opening a new Cloud for Industry and Global Expansion team. This will be led by Corey Sanders, who will oversee the growing list of Microsoft vertical cloud platforms. He will also take charge of the Digital Transformation Platform Group within the new team.

Tip of the day: By default computer names in Windows tend to be quite plain. By default, they tend to be ‘WIN’ or ‘Desktop’, followed by a string of random letters and numbers. We show you how to change your PC name with Settings, Command Prompt or PowerShell to make it more easily identifiable.

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Business Technology

Microsoft Launches Windows 10 21H2

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Windows-10-Laptop-HP

Microsoft yesterday released Windows 10 21H2 generally, allowing users to finally get their hands on the November 2021 Update. Of course, this is for anyone remaining on Windows 10 and not making the upgrade to Windows 11, for any reason.

Alongside the launch, Microsoft is also making some changes to how it delivers updates for Windows 10. In the wake of Windows 11, the company says it will continue to support Windows 10 until 2025. However, it will no longer update the platform twice every year (H1, H2 releases) and will instead send out annual updates.

The means Windows 10 21H2 will not be followed by a 22H1 update in the spring. Microsoft will instead wait until the end of 2022 to deliver the upgrade. That streamlines updates and brings Windows 10 on course with Windows 11’s annual updates.

Microsoft will maintain the length of time it supports individual Windows 10 builds. So, Pro and Home SKU users will get support for 18 months, while Education and Enterprise users will have 30 months.

Details

Other house-cleaning changes include renaming Windows 10 service releases as the “General Availability Channel” instead of the “Semi-Annual Channel”. I bet you absolutely needed to know that vital piece of info.

As always, Microsoft is releasing the new update in stages. That means some users will not be able to upgrade to Windows 10 21H2 automatically just yet. If you cannot wait, grab the manual update through Windows Update by following the path Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and check for the relevant release.

Tip of the day: When you boot Windows it delays the launch of startup programs for ten seconds so your desktop and Windows services will have finished loading. If you want to speed up boot time, have a look at our tutorial about how to disable startup delay.

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Business Technology

Microsoft Releases Full Windows App SDK Stable Build

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Microsoft Store Not Working? Fix It with a Re-Register or Uninstall It

Microsoft is rolling out the first full stable build of Windows App SDK after several previews. This essentially means the service is now fully available. With the launch of Windows App SDK 1.0.0, Microsoft is adding a bunch of new features across the platform.

If you are unfamiliar with the SDK, it was once known as Project Reunion and was introduced at Build 2020. It serves as a unification toolkit for Win32 and UWP app development on Windows 10.

Now known as Windows App SDK, the platform integrates Microsoft’s current Win32 and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) APIs. Win32 apps are legacy applications, while UWP is Microsoft’s modern app API. Under Project Reunion, the tool will also be available independently from Windows, allowing dev’s to use tools like Budget.

Microsoft has made sweeping changes to the SKD for its full launch, covering the following modules:

WinUI 3 UX

New features and updates:

  • “Microsoft has added new controls (PipsPager, Expander, BreadcrumbBar) and updated existing controls to reflect the latest Windows styles from WinUI 2.6.
  • Single-project MSIX packaging is supported in WinUI by creating a new application using the “Blank App, Packaged…” template.
  • Microsoft now support deploying WinUI 3 apps without MSIX-packaging on Windows versions 1809 and above. Please view Create a WinUI 3 unpackaged desktop app for additional information.
  • WinUI 3 projects can now set their target version down to Windows 10, version 1809. Previously, they could only be set as low as version 1903.
  • In-app toolbar, Hot Reload, & Live Visual Tree for WinUI packaged apps are supported in Visual Studio 2022 Preview 5 and GA.”

Windowing AppWindow Class

New Features

  • “AppWindow is a high-level windowing API that allows for easy-to-use windowing scenarios that integrates well with the Windows user experience and with other apps. Represents a high-level abstraction of a system-managed container of the content of an app. This is the container in which your content is hosted, and represents the entity that users interact with when they resize and move your app on screen. For developers familiar with Win32, the AppWindow can be seen as a high-level abstraction of the HWND.
  • DisplayArea represents a high-level abstraction of a HMONITOR, follows the same principles as AppWindow.
  • DisplayAreaWatcher allows a developer to observe changes in the display topology and enumerate DisplayAreas currently defined in the system.”

Input APIs

New Features

  • “Pointer APIs: PointerPoint, PointerPointProperties, and PointerEventArgs to support retrieving pointer event information with XAML input APIs.
  • InputPointerSource API: Represents an object that is registered to report pointer input, and provides pointer cursor and input event handling for XAML’s SwapChainPanel API.
  • Cursor API: Allows developers to change the cursor bitmap.
  • GestureRecognizer API: Allows developers to recognize certain gestures such as drag, hold, and click when given pointer information.”

Deployment

New Features and updates

  • “You can auto-initialize the Windows App SDK through the WindowsPackageType project property to load the Windows App SDK runtime and call the Windows App SDK APIs. See Create a WinUI 3 app for instructions.
  • Unpackaged apps can deploy Windows App SDK by integrating in the standalone Windows App SDK .exe installer into your existing MSI or setup program. For more info, see Windows App SDK deployment guide for unpackaged apps.
  • Unpackaged .NET apps can also use .NET wrapper for the bootstrapper API to dynamically take a dependency on the Windows App SDK framework package at run time. For more info about the .NET wrapper, see .NET wrapper library.
  • Packaged apps can use the deployment API to verify and ensure that all required packages are installed on the machine. For more info about how the deployment API works, see the deployment guide for packaged apps.”

Tip of the day: When you boot Windows it delays the launch of startup programs for ten seconds so your desktop and Windows services will have finished loading. If you want to speed up boot time, have a look at our tutorial about how to disable startup delay.

Source Winbuzzer

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Business Technology

Microsoft Updates Windows Subsystem for Linux

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Featured - Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in Windows 11

Microsoft is sending out a new preview for its Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) service that allows users to run Linux distros natively on Windows 10 and Windows 11. With the release of WSL Preview version 0.50.2. Microsoft is making some subtle but important changes.

First up is a new logo for Windows Subsystem for Linux, featuring the famous Linux Penguin symbol. Elsewhere, Microsoft is allowing hardware performance counters when supported by the device. Of course, this release also bumps the Linux kernel, moving it to version 5.10.74.3.

You can see the full changelog below:

  • “Added new logo for Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • Enable hardware performance counters if the hardware supports them [GH 4678]
  • A USERPROFILE%\.wslconfig option has been added to opt-out:

[wsl2]

hardwarePerformanceCounters=false

  • Fix issue when printing system error messages that contain inserts.
  • Update the user tile to launch in the user’s home directory instead of C:\WINDOWS\System32
  • Restore default signal dispositions for /etc/wsl.conf boot.command process to prevent zombie processes [GH 7575]
  • Switch to using a static CRT for Windows binaries
  • Use store API to download distributions via wsl.exe –install
  • Add –no-launch option to wsl.exe –install
  • Many updates to localized strings.
  • Switch to an updated tar for importing / exporting WSL2 distributions.
  • Update to the official 22000 sdk
  • Strip Linux symbols for release builds
  • Update Linux kernel to 5.10.74.3
    • Update to upstream stable kernel release 5.10.74
    • Enable BPF Type Format (CONFIG_DEBUG_INFO_BTF) for use by eBPF tools [GH 7437]
    • Changed Dxgkrnl version to 2110
      • Implemented D3DKMTShareObjectWithHost
      • Fixed QueryStatistics VM bus alignment issue for the result
      • Implemented D3DKMTCreateSyncFile
      • Address upstream submission feedback
      • Moved d3dkmthk to include/uapi/misc
      • Replaces u32 by __u32 and u64 by __u64
      • Added “_” in front of the enumerator values to support including both WDK and Linux headers
      • Removed holes in the user mode visible structures to be compatible with 32 bit apps
      • Replaces pointer in the user mode visible structures with a define to be u64 for user mode apps
      • Fix build failure with GCC versions older than 8.1 [GH 7558]
  • Enable the Buffer Sharing and Sync File Frameworks (CONFIG_DMA_SHARED_BUFFER, CONFIG_SYNC_FILE) for Dxgkrnl usage”

Microsoft Store App

Last month, Microsoft revealed it will update WSL separately from the wider Windows platform. This means the subsystem is now available as a standalone application on the Microsoft Store. Microsoft says the WSL Windows 11 app will be serviced through the Store. Users will get updates separately from Windows. This essentially means that updates will come in-between major Windows feature upgrades.

According to the company, WSL users can “get the latest WSL updates and features faster, and without needing to modify your Windows version.”

Tip of the day: Did you know that Task Manager lets you set CPU affinity to claw back some resources from running apps and give selected apps higher priority. Our tutorial shows how you can use this helpful feature.

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