Windows Picture Passwords – are they really as “easily crackable” as everyone’s saying? If you've used Windows 8, or even just seen the ads for it, you'll know it has a feature called Picture Passwords.
You choose a picture, any picture, and then "annotate" it with three finger movements: you can tap a point, draw a stroke, or sweep a circle. The picture helps you to remember where you made the gestures, so you can repeat them reliably enough to pass the test and unlock your device. If you have a touch screen tablet, Picture Passwords are surprisingly handy. (Pun intended.) But how safe are they? One of the ads I've seen for Windows 8 made a pretty big deal out of the coolness of Picture Passwords, and illustrated their convenience with a login sequence to which my immediate reaction was, "Surely not?
" The ad showed a picture of someone's two young daughters, heads close together and looking at some distant object; the password involved circling their heads and then drawing a line in the direction they were looking. But what did the researchers really find? Oh dear. Just saying. Recovered Windows 8.1 Spring Update to Focus on Non-touch Device. New Microsoft medicine fixes Surface RT slabs bricked by Windows 8.1. Microsoft has quietly released a recovery image for Surface RT tablets rendered unusable by bugs in last week's upgrade to Windows RT 8.1.
The image can be downloaded here, along with a short instruction sheet explaining how to create a bootable recovery drive using any PC running Windows 7 or later and any USB drive larger than 4GB. An unknown number of Surface RT owners got a nasty surprise when they tried to upgrade their Microsoft fondleslabs to the latest OS version over the weekend, only to be left with a device that boots into a Blue Screen of Death that reads, "Your PC needs to be repaired.
" Microsoft hastily yanked the update once the first reports of catastrophe made their way to Redmond. But that still left Surface RT owners who had already applied the poison patch in a bit of a pickle: just how could their tablets be repaired? Those who were prescient enough to have made their own USB recovery drives on their Surface RTs may have dodged a bullet. Microsoft relents: 'Go ahead, install Windows 8.1 on clean PCs' Updated Microsoft says that in addition to offering Windows 8.1 as a free update for Windows 8 users in October, it will also be easier for customers to buy versions of Windows 8.1 that don't require an upgrade from a previous edition of the OS.
Redmond launched Windows 8 in October 2012 as essentially an upgrade-only product. "System Builder Editions" of Windows 8 that can be installed on clean hard drives (OEM versions by another name) are available through select online retailers at extra cost, but all of the versions that are offered through retail stores or by direct download can only be used to upgrade existing Windows PCs. Microsoft: YES Windows 8.1 is finished, but NO you can't have it. High performance access to file storage Microsoft says it has already begun seeding the final code of Windows 8.1 to its manufacturing partners, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to get your hands on the update any sooner.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Windows corporate VP Antoine Leblond said that while hardware makers are being given time to incorporate Windows 8.1 support into their latest devices, the public release date for the Windows 8.1 update remains October 18. "In the past, the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone traditionally meant that the software was ready for broader customer use," Leblond wrote. "However, it's clear that times have changed, with shifts to greater mobility and touch as well as the blurring of work and personal lives.
" In other words, just because Microsoft says its work on Windows 8.1 is done doesn't mean the new version will install on every device without a hitch. Windows 8.1: Microsoft's reluctant upgrade has a split-screen personality. High performance access to file storage Review Microsoft will release Windows 8.1, a free update for Windows 8, on 18 October.
The plan had been for no pre-release code until then, but Microsoft has back-tracked. The release to manufacturing (RTM) code is now available early to developers and IT professionals via Microsoft’s MSDN and TechNet subscription sites. There are indications, though, the “release” build is not quite what will be released. Company vice president Stephen "Guggs" Guggenheimer said: “The primary purpose of Windows 8.1 RTM and Visual Studio 2013 RC availability is for testing as our engineering teams continue to refine and update the product and tools in preparation for Windows 8.1 general availability on October 18.”
Who knows, perhaps SkyDrive – Microsoft’s cloud storage platform, which is prominent in Windows 8.1 – will be renamed in time for general availability following the High Court’s June ruling that it might be confused with BskyB. Customizing the Windows 8.1 Start Screen? Don’t follow Microsoft’s guidance. For enterprises, Windows 8.1 delivers the control around the Start Screen that should have been there in Windows 8.0, although I’m sure what they’ve delivered won’t appease everyone as there’s still no programmatic way to pin or unpin shortcuts from the Start Screen.
Windows 8.1 introduces a Group Policy method for distributing a Start Screen layout, but that’s a policy – i.e. it’s enforced and unless you’re a control freak, that approach only makes sense in specific cases (e.g. schools, kiosks etc.). Microsoft KILLS Windows 8.1 Update 2 and Patch Tuesday. The essential guide to IT transformation Microsoft has at last revealed the date when its second major update to Windows 8.1 will ship to customers: never.
Despite months of speculation that the software giant has been planning to push out another major update roll-up for its latest OS this year, much like it did with the oddly named Windows 8.1 Update in April, Redmond mouthpiece Brandon LeBlanc blogged on Tuesday that we can forget it. "Rather than waiting for months and bundling together a bunch of improvements into a larger update as we did for the Windows 8.1 Update, customers can expect that we'll use our already existing monthly update process to deliver more frequent improvements along with the security updates normally provided as part of 'Update Tuesday'," LeBlanc wrote.
That's right, it's "Patch Tuesday" no more. "Examples of some of these non-security updates are the Windows Store Refresh in May and the June update to OneDrive to improve your control of sync," LeBlanc said. Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low. Boost IT visibility and business value Windows XP's demise is finally starting to accelerate, but Windows 7 and not 8 appears to be picking up the slack.
Those are the conclusions we draw from Netmarketshare's latest monthly dump on desktop computer operating system market share. Here's the company's counts of what's what on the desktop, going back to October 2013. It's a little easier to grok the trends on display in the data once we turn it into a lovely line graph, as below. The mighty power of spreadsheets turns mind-numbing numbers into easier-to-understand lines! Once gain, let's note that Netmarketshare's methodology isn't perfect and therefore look for a second source of data. Statcounter's OS market data for Oct 13 to July 2014. While the two traffic-counters come up with different numbers, the trend lines are very similar.