Windows 10 is making too many PCs obsolete

Windows 10 will be supported until Oct. 14, 2025 — unless your computer has a Clover Trail CPU. Then you’re out of luck.

Microsoft released its latest Windows 10 update earlier this year. The name, Creators Update,makes it sound bigger than it is; it’s really a minor step forward. But about 10 million Windows 10 customers have to face up to an unpleasant surprise: Their machines can’t update to Creators Update.

That’s how many poor sad sacks bought a Windows 8.x laptop in 2013 or 2014 with an Intel Clover Trail processor. Any of them who have tried to update their PC with the March 2017 Creators Update, version 1703, had no success and were presented with this message: “Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC.” Boy, that must have been fun!

Not the end of the road for your three-year-old machine, though. I mean, you could always keep running the last version of Windows 10 on your PC. It wasn’t as if you went directly to a permanent blue screen of death. And anyway, Microsoft eventually backed off some, announcing that, while you can’t update those machines, you can still get security patches.

Now, that’s one giant corporation with a big heart.

I remember when Microsoft was forcing “upgrades” to Windows 10 down our throats. There you were with a machine on the low end of Windows 10 hardware compatibility. You might have had some doubts about making the move to 10, but Microsoft was just so persistent. You must be pleased as punch you surrendered now.

Some people have told me that it’s not fair of me to expect Microsoft to support aging hardware. That’s bull, and I’ll tell you why.

You may have noticed that PC sales have been declining for years. Know why? PCs last for years. I’m still running computers that are over a decade old.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Better still, don’t spend your IT money replacing it.

PCs aren’t smartphones, which die in two to four years. I expect my PCs to last for at least ten years — especially when I’m running desktop Linux on them.

But what do I expect? Of course Windows 10 needs more hardware muscle than older systems can supply. But tell me — I’m serious — what the heck did Windows 10 add to PCs that was worth having? I can’t think of a thing. Windows 7, to me, is still the best version of Windows. Microsoft, of course, wants you off Windows 7.

People tell me, “No, no, we need new powerful hardware to deal with today’s operating systems and applications.”

Really? Excuse me if I missed something, but aren’t we moving our applications to the cloud? Sure, if you’re editing videos on your PC, you need power. But I can do 99% of my work on an ARM-powered Chromebook with 2GBs of RAM. So can you, I would bet.

So tell me, Microsoft, why can’t you fully support Windows 10 on these older PCs? They’re not that old, and they can already run the earlier versions.

Admittedly, the first generation of Clover Trail was … odd. The graphic processing units in Clover Trail PCs were underpowered from day one. Still, Microsoft urged Clover Trail owners to move to Windows 10 just as tirelessly as it did those running PCs with a best-of-breed 2015 i7 Skylake processor.

I’m ticked off not just that Microsoft is willing to dump customers. It’s that it is treating poorly people who upgraded in good faith. To my mind, Microsoft made an implicit promise that it would be there for these customers. It has broken that promise, and those customers deserve better.

But, looking ahead, why should I believe that Microsoft won’t dump me, with my powerful, but no longer new, chips, on the next go-round?

Yes, I get it. Microsoft can’t support old hardware forever. But maybe Microsoft should adjust its business model in recognition of the fact that today’s hardware doesn’t become obsolete as fast as yesterday’s hardware did. And maybe, when it introduces a new operating system that demands a lot more from hardware, it should throw in a few new features that make it all worthwhile.

Or maybe you would like me to introduce you to a nice Chromebook or suggest you try, say, Mint Linux on your PC. I think you’ll be a lot happier, and if you’re already running mostly cloud-based applications, you won’t be missing anything by bidding Windows adieu.

 

http://www.computerworld.com/article/3209977/microsoft-windows/windows-10-is-making-too-many-pcs-obsolete.html

True Key by Intel Security review: This password manager wants to eliminate passwords

One common pitfall of all password managers is that you have to remember a master password. If you forget it, you lose access to all the others. True Key offers an alternative to this burden by allowing you to log in to the app using something unique to you. Depending on your device, that could be your fingerprint, your face, or a second device. You can even combine authentication methods for stronger security.

Once you’ve created an account and master password and installed the browser extension, True Key brings you up to speed with a helpful welcome wizard. The tour starts by displaying a couple dozen popular website logos. You pick one and it takes you that site, explaining that all you have to do is log in and True Key will capture your credentials and store them in your vault. When you return to a site, True Key logs you in automatically.

True Key is free to download and use on all your devices for up to 15 logins. Beyond that you need to upgrade to a Premium plan, which lets you store unlimited passwords for $20 a year.

Bottom line

Thanks to its emphasis on multifactor authentication, True Key stands above all other password managers when it comes to protecting your passwords. However, it lacks advanced-but-essential features like one-click password changing, secure password sharing, and auto-form filling. If you just want password peace of mind, True Key offers it at a nice price. For robust password management, though, look elsewhere.

true key vault

PCWorld

True Key displays your login accounts as tiles on a customizable launchpad.

True Key can tell when you’re creating a new account and presents the password generator in a pop-up. By default it creates a strong 16-character password, though you can use up to 30 characters.

You access all your logins from a customizable launchpad, where they can be displayed as icons or in a list. From a menu at the top, you can also access a digital wallet where you can enter your address, driver’s license, credit cards, memberships, passports, and social security number into individual “cards” and color-code them. This is just for safe keeping, though, as the data can’t be used to autofill web forms. The menu also includes a Secure Notes tab where you can store and color-code free-form text data.

True Key requires you to verify your identity using your face, fingerprint, or master password along with at least one other factor such as a trusted or second device. You can choose whether you want Basic (two-factor) or Advanced (three-factor) protection and which factors to use in your profile settings. You can also adjust other security settings such as how long True Key should wait before automatically signing you out and resetting your master password if you forget it.

true key walletPCWorld
True Key features a digital wallet where you can store your address, driver’s license, credit cards, memberships, passports, and social security number into individual “cards” and color code them.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3206774/security/true-key-by-intel-security-review-this-password-manager-wants-to-eliminate-passwords.html
 

Microsoft Paint won’t be hung out to dry just yet

Graphics app isn’t getting binned with the Fall Creators Update

We heard yesterday that Microsoft was dumping the venerable Paint app from Windows 10 with the incoming Fall Creators Update, but it seems that the nostalgia-sparked outcry at the move may have been premature, as the app will now be relocated in the Windows Store.

Come the fall, MS Paint will still be ‘here to stay’ Microsoft noted in a blog post, but rather than a default part of Windows 10, it’ll be moved to the Windows Store where the app will be a free download.

So anyone who doesn’t want to let go of the simple graphics app can still enjoy it, even though it won’t be developed any further.

Going 3D

Of course, it has been superseded by Paint 3D, and much of its functionality has been integrated into this successor.

Microsoft reminded us: “Paint 3D – the new app for creativity, also available for free with the Windows 10 Creators Update, will continue to get new feature updates. In addition to the new 3D capabilities, many of the MS Paint features people know and love like photo editing, line and curve tools, and 2D creation are in Paint 3D.”

Microsoft Paint has been present in Windows since the very first version of the operating system, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that a good deal of nostalgic fondness surrounds the software.

As has been the case since the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft is keen to be seen as listening to its user base, and this is another demonstration of the company taking on board feedback. (Which is all part of laying the ghost of Windows 8 to rest – the OS which most users felt was forced on them, and that ‘nobody’ really wanted but Microsoft pressed ahead with regardless).

Related product: Microsoft Windows 10 Home

Our Verdict:

While some of its improvements have minor kinks to work out, the Creators Update is the most exciting Windows 10 revision to date with both welcome changes and sweet new tools.

 FOR

  • Start menu improvements
  • Action Center, Cortana are useful
  • Edge continues to improve
  • Windows Hello is simple and secure
  • Ink finally gets momentum

 AGAINST

  • OneDrive needs work
  • Improvements also cause issues
  • Some changes are incomplete

http://www.techradar.com/news/microsoft-paint-not-hung-out-to-dry-just-yet-will-be-available-in-windows-store

 

Mac ‘Fruitfly’ malware variant still lurking in the wild

The Mac malware, originally discovered back in January, creates a “backdoor” that allows the controller of the malware to take over an entire computer.

Mac malware is very rare, but the Fruitfly malware first revealed back in January has proven to be both stealthy and mysterious. And now a new variant of the invasive software has been found on hundreds of Macs, according to CNET sister site ZDNet.

The controller of the malware has the capability to remotely take complete control of an infected computer — files, webcam, screen, keyboard and mouse. That’s based on information provided ZDNet’s Zack Whittaker by Patrick Wardle, a former NSA hacker and chief security researcher at ‎Synack who has been investigating the malware’s capabilities.

Prior to the January revelation of Fruitfly’s existence, the malware had apparently existed undetected in the wild for several years “because current Mac security software is often rather ineffective,” Wardle explained. While Apple patched to protect against earlier versions of Fruitfly back in January, it’s unclear whether Macs running Apple’s latest operating systems are vulnerable to the current iteration of the malware.

Wardle’s early analysis was that as many as 90 percent of the victims were in the US, according to the article, with no obvious connection between the users. Based on the target victims, however, Wardle thought the malware was run by a single hacker “with the goal to spy on people for perverse reasons” than a nation state attacker. While he wouldn’t comment on how many were affected by the malware, he suggested it wasn’t widespread.

“I believe the attacker is MIA [missing in action],” Wardle told CNET, “so I don’t think people are still being targeted with this malware. Also it likely required user interaction to infect a Mac computer (you’d have to be tricked into downloading/running something). But the malware itself still runs on MacOS,” he added.

Wardle is scheduled to speak about the malware at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday. In the meantime you can read the full ZDNet article here.

Apple did not respond to CNET’s request for comment.

 

https://www.cnet.com/news/mac-fruitfly-malware-variant-still-lurking-in-the-wild/

Gigabyte Announces Tiny PC More Powerful and Upgradeable Than Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi has proved itself to be a versatile little computer, and you can get them for pocket change. It’s a bit light on power, though. Now, Gigabyte is preparing to launch a similar device called the GA-SBCAP3350. Yeah, it really needs a better name, but this slightly larger micro-computer offers more power and modularity than the Raspberry Pi.

The GA-SBCAP3350 measures 146 x 102mm, which is nearly twice the size of the Raspberry Pi at 85 x 56mm. Gigabyte’s board looks more like a PC motherboard, and in some ways it works like one. It is still much smaller than even mini-ITX form factor boards, which measure 170 x 170mm. Gigabyte built this board with a Copper PCB design and a large aluminum heat spreader on the underside. This will allegedly allow for better thermal performance and longer life.

This board doesn’t actually come with everything you need built in, which some might consider an advantage. You can add your own RAM to the board thanks to the single DDR3L SO-DIMM slot (it can handle up to 8GB). There’s also a mini PCIe slot for plugging in an mSATA SSD drive. Next to that is a second slot to accommodate a half-length Wi-Fi card. There are two standard SATA connectors as well.

At the heart of Gigabyte’s mini computer is an Intel Celeron N3350 CPU (Apollo Lake family), which is a dual-core chip clocked to 1.1GHz with turbo boost up to 2.4GHz. This is not exactly a blazing fast GPU by mainstream computer standards, but the Raspberry Pi 3 is much more modest with its Broadcom quad-core ARM chip. The x86 architecture on the GA-SBCAP3350 allows you to run more powerful software and operating systems. The CPU is soldered to the board, so it’s the one thing you can’t upgrade.

The GA-SBCAP3350 comes with a ton of I/O ports as well. You’ve got two USB 3.0 plugs on the back, plus four more USB 2.0 connections available via pin headers on the board. There are dual gigabit Ethernet ports. For video, you get both VGA and HDMI, and the HDMI can do 4K resolution at 30Hz.

So, the GA-SBCAP3350 is sort of in between the Raspberry Pi and a “full” PC motherboard. Gigabyte seems poised to market this board to businesses, but anyone interested in building a tiny PC might be interested. We don’t yet know the price or launch date, the latter of which will probably determine how popular this device is with hobbyist tinkerers.

 

Gigabyte Announces Tiny PC More Powerful and Upgradeable Than Raspberry Pi