Several mainstream tech sites this week published details of a purported new Microsoft support tool designed to fix problems with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. After some digging, Ed Bott can report that it is no such thing. His advice: Stay far away from this "Windows Self Healing Tool." If you want to be a Windows expert, one of the most important lessons to learn is skepticism. Whenever someone claims to have a magic fix-it tool or a MakeRocketShipGoFast registry tweak, you should keep it away from any system you care about until you can confirm it does what it says it does.
In a recent TechNet article itemizing new IT pro features for the Anniversary Update (codenamed "Redstone 1"), Microsoft officials included this line: "Windows 10, version 1607 is our third Windows 10 feature update released. Based on feedback from organizations moving to Windows 10, this will be our last feature update for 2016, with two additional feature updates expected in 2017."
Microsoft originally announced the Skype Bot Platform in March at the company's Build developer conference. As of July 8, Microsoft officials said 30,000 developers are building building bots for its platforms. As part of the updates to the Skype Bot Platform, Microsoft added groups support so that bots can now be part of group conversations. Skype Bots now also can take advantage of visual image cards, carousel cards, and receipt cards. The team also is working on single sign-in directly on cards, resulting in users having to authorize their credentials one time only.
Microsoft this week announced a seemingly minor change to its activation rules for Windows 10, effective with the Anniversary Update coming this summer. The announcement was buried in the release notes for build 14371 of Windows 10, released a few days ago. Those notes were published in the Feedback Hub, which is available only to registered members of the Windows Insider Program running a Windows 10 preview edition.
The new EU-US Safe Harbor agreement, Privacy Shield, is a step in the right direction for transatlantic transfers of personal data, but it's not enough by itself, according to Microsoft. The firm's EU government affairs VP John Frank is upbeat about the yet to be finalized agreement, a draft of which was published by the US in February, following President Obama's signing of the Judicial Redress Act.
Microsoft has quietly stopped supporting bitcoin payments just over one year after it added support for the crypto currency within the Windows Store. Software encyclopedia Softpedia first noticed the change, which is confirmed in an FAQ note for customers: "You can no longer redeem Bitcoin into your Microsoft account. Existing balances in your account will still be available for purchases from Microsoft Store, but can’t be refunded."
Microsoft is ending support for Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 next week on January 12th, releasing a final patch encouraging users to upgrade to one of the company's more recent browsers. The end of support means that these older versions of Internet Explorer will no longer receive security updates or technical support, making anyone who uses them much more vulnerable to hackers. A recently-announced patch will deliver the last few bug fixes, as well as an "End of Life" notification telling users to upgrade to IE 11 or Microsoft Edge — the company's successor to Internet Explorer, built for Windows 10.
Uber on Wednesday took to Microsoft's Windows blog to announce its universal Windows 10 which can run on phones, tablets and PCs. Uber product team member Yuixin Zhu credited the "power of the Universal Windows Platform" for the company's ability to do what Microsoft hopes what more developers will do: "deploy a single app through a unified store that delivers the right experience to whatever device downloads the app".
Microsoft has launched its version of Black Friday with a week-long promotion offering content for only 10 cents. The Redmond giant announced the deals late last week. Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft said in a blog post for the next 10 days Windows 10 users can take advantage of the promotion, which will over offer over 1,000 movies, music, applications and games for 10 cents each.
When, why and how much diagnostic data Windows 10 sends back to Microsoft has been a source of considerable debate for the last couple of weeks. By default Windows 10 collects some data about how Windows and Windows apps are performing plus some additional details - such as about crashes, so-called telemetry data. (Calling all this 'telemetry data' makes it sound much more grand than it is, like the sort of information that would be sent back by a probe en route to a distant star, rather than the more humdrum details of why your PC crashed halfway through you writing a Facebook post.)