Sony might not technically be in the PC business anymore, after selling its VAIO brand last year, so why is it advising customers not to upgrade to Windows 10?
As part of the deal with Japan Industrial Partners, which now owns the VAIO brand, Sony agreed to continue to offer aftercare customer services around those products – even though it no longer manufactures them.
Now it is warning customers not to upgrade to Windows 10, at least not for the time being, as the VAIO drivers are not compatible with Microsoft’s new operating system.
On this Windows 10 support page, Sony said in a statement: “Do not upgrade yet. To ensure your VAIO PC works with Windows 10, it is strongly recommended that you wait to upgrade your PC until the drivers are ready.
Approximately 250 to 300 Sony Corporation and Sony EMCS Corporation staff involved in PC operations are expected to be hired by the new company established by Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).
Sony says it will also ‘explore opportunities’ for other employees to be transferred to other businesses within the Sony Group.
Windows 10 is available today as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. If you’ve followed our guide on how to upgrade, then you might be interested in some new keyboard shortcuts. Microsoft has introduced a variety of keyboard shortcuts to navigate between new features, like virtual desktops, and even activate the new Cortana digital assistant. All the new important additions use the Windows key, so they’re easy to activate. If you’re a trackpad user, then there are also some changes here: tapping three fingers activates Cortana (you can change this to activate Action Center), swiping three fingers up shows the new Task View, and swiping three fingers left or right alternates between apps. Here are the most important Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts:
Winkey 10 keyboard shortcut Description
Winkey + Tab Activates Task View
Winkey + A Activates Action Center
Winkey + C Activates Cortana with speech>
Winkey + D Shows desktop
Winkey + E Opens File Explorer
Winkey + G Activates the new Xbox Game car to let you record games or take screenshots.
Winkey + H Activates share feature in Windows 10 apps
Winkey + I
Opens Windows 10 settings
Winkey + K Activates Connect feature to stream to wireless displays and audio devices
Winkey + L Locks a machine
Winkey + P Project a screen
Winkey + R Run a command
Winkey + S
Winkey + X Opens power user features
Winkey + Left / Right / Up / Down Snaps apps to the side of a screen (press Up or Down after snapping left / right to enable four apps to snap)
Winkey + Ctrl + D Creates a new virtual desktop
Winkey + Ctrl + F4 Close virtual desktop
Winkey + Ctrl + Left or Right Switch between virtual desktops
Winkey + Shift + Left or Right Move apps from one monitor to another
Winkey + 1 / 2 / 3… Open programs that are pinned on the taskbar. The first app is number one.
Starting today, Microsoft is offering most Windows 7 and Windows 8 users a free upgrade to the software giant’s latest operating system — Windows 10. But there’s a very important security caveat that users should know about before transitioning to the new OS: Unless you opt out, Windows 10 will by default share your Wi-Fi network password with any contacts you may have listed in Outlook and Skype — and, with an opt-in, your Facebook friends!
This brilliant new feature, which Microsoft has dubbed Wi-Fi Sense, doesn’t share your WiFi network password per se — it shares an encrypted version of that password. But it does allow anyone in your Skype or Outlook or Hotmail contacts lists to waltz onto your Wi-Fi network — should they ever wander within range of it or visit your home (or hop onto it secretly from hundreds of yards away with a good ‘ole cantenna!).
I first read about this disaster waiting to happen over at The Register, which noted that Microsoft’s Wi-Fi Sense FAQ seeks to reassure would-be Windows 10 users that the Wi-Fi password will be sent encrypted and stored encrypted — on a Microsoft server. According to PCGamer, if you use Windows 10’s “Express” settings during installation, Wi-Fi Sense is enabled by default.
“For networks you choose to share access to, the password is sent over an encrypted connection and stored in an encrypted file on a Microsoft server, and then sent over a secure connection to your contacts’ phone if they use Wi-Fi Sense and they’re in range of the Wi-Fi network you shared,” the FAQ reads.
The company says your contacts will only be able to share your network access, and that Wi-Fi Sense will block those users from accessing any other shared resources on your network, including computers, file shares or other devices. But these words of assurance probably ring hollow for anyone who’s been paying attention to security trends over the past few years: Given the myriad ways in which social networks and associated applications share and intertwine personal connections and contacts, it’s doubtful that most people are aware of who exactly all of their social network followers really are from one day to the next.
El Reg says it well here:
That sounds wise – but we’re not convinced how it will be practically enforced: if a computer is connected to a protected Wi-Fi network, it must know the key. And if the computer knows the key, a determined user or hacker will be able to find it within the system and use it to log into the network with full access.
In theory, someone who wanted access to your company network could befriend an employee or two, and drive into the office car park to be in range, and then gain access to the wireless network. Some basic protections, specifically ones that safeguard against people sharing their passwords, should prevent this.
I should point out that Wi-Fi networks which use the centralized 802.1x Wi-Fi authentication — and these are generally tech-savvy large organizations — won’t have their Wi-Fi credentials shared by this new feature.
Microsoft’s solution for those concerned requires users to change the name (a.k.a. “SSID“) of their Wi-Fi network to include the text “_optout” somewhere in the network name (for example, “oldnetworknamehere_optout”).
It’s interesting to contrast Microsoft’s approach here with that of Apple, who offer an opt-in service called iCloud Keychain; this service allows users who decide to use the service to sync WiFi access information, email passwords, and other stored credentials amongst their own personal constellation of Apple computers and iDevices via Apple’s iCloud service, but which does not share this information with other users. Apple’s iCloud Keychain service encrypts the credentials prior to sharing them, as does Microsoft’s Wi-Fi Sense service; the difference is that it’s opt-in and that it only shares the credentials with your own devices.
Wi-Fi Sense has of course been a part of the latest Windows Phone for some time, yet it’s been less of a concern previously because Windows Phone has nowhere near the market share of mobile devices powered by Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS. But embedding this feature in an upgrade version of Windows makes it a serious concern for much of the planet.
Why? For starters, despite years of advice to the contrary, many people tend to re-use the same password for everything. Also, lots of people write down their passwords. And, as The Reg notes, if you personally share your Wi-Fi password with a friend — by telling it to them or perhaps accidentally leaving it on a sticky note on your fridge — and your friend enters the password into his phone, the friends of your friend now have access to the network.
An article in Ars Technica suggests the concern over this new feature is much ado about nothing. That story states: “First, a bit of anti-scaremongering. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, you should not be mortally afraid of Wi-Fi Sense. By default, it will not share Wi-Fi passwords with anyone else. For every network you join, you’ll be asked if you want to share it with your friends/social networks.”
To my way of reading that, if I’m running Windows 10 in the default configuration and a contact of mine connects to my Wi-Fi network and say yes to sharing, Windows shares access to that network: The contact gets access automatically, because I’m running Windows 10 and we’re social media contacts. True, that contact doesn’t get to see my Wi-Fi password, but he can nonetheless connect to my network.
While you’re at it, consider keeping Google off your Wi-Fi network as well. It’s unclear whether the Wi-Fi Sense opt-out kludge will also let users opt-out of having their wireless network name indexed by Google, which requires the inclusion of the phrase “_nomap” in the Wi-Fi network name. The Register seems to think Windows 10 upgraders can avoid each by including both “_nomap” and “_optout” in the Wi-Fi network name, but this article at How-To Geek says users will need to choose the lesser of two evils.
Either way, Wi-Fi Sense combined with integrated Google mapping tells people where you live (and/or where your business is), meaning that they now know where to congregate to jump onto your Wi-Fi network without your permission.
Prior to upgrade to Windows 10, change your Wi-Fi network name/SSID to something that includes the terms “_nomap_optout”.
After the upgrade is complete, change the privacy settings in Windows to disable Wi-Fi Sense sharing.
If you haven’t already done so, consider additional steps to harden the security of your Wi-Fi network.
What Is Wi-Fi Sense and Why Does it Want Your Facebook Account?
UH OH: Windows 10 Will Share Your Wi-Fi Key With Your Friends’ Friends
Why Windows 10 Shares Your Wi-Fi Password and How to Stop it
Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10: Yes, It Shares Your Passkeys, No You Shouldn’t Be Scared
Windows 10 may only be a matter of hours old but Microsoft has put the finishing touches to a humongous Day One patch.
First reported by WinBeta, the day one patch is around 1GB in size and as such contains plenty of different fixes to last minute bugs that made it into the final release due to the fact they arrived too late for Microsoft to fix them.
The patch itself is a mere 500MB in size, however, this expands to the size mentioned above when it is applied and there are two different files that can already be downloaded depending on whether you have an X86 or X64 system.
You only need to download the files yourself if you haven’t downloadedWindows 10 as an upgrade because the installation will automatically be updated to 10240.16405 as soon as you decide to make the jump to the new OS.
More bugs soon?
Releasing this patch hot on the heels of the OS itself makes it even less likely that any large scale bugs will affect the OS in its early days, however, it remains an almost nailed-on certainty that more small bugs will be discovered in the coming days.
[Updated] There’s more to Windows 10 than just the revamped Start menu. I’ve been keeping this FAQ up to date throughout the Preview program. Here are the latest details, now that Windows 10 has been officially released.
[Most recent updates: July 29, 2015]
As of July 29, 2015, Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade to every qualified device running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. The free upgrade offer lasts for one year. Windows 10 is also available on new hardware today.
In this post I cover what’s in Windows 10, how you can get it, and what you can expect through the remainder of 2015 and into next year.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is Windows 10?
Windows 10 is the successor to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. (Yes, they skipped Windows 9.)
It was formally unveiled in fall of 2014, with a Technical Preview opening to the public on October 1. On January 21, in a two-hour-plus event at its Redmond headquarters, Microsoft unveiled a much broader vision for Windows 10, with features appearing “over the next three, four, five months.”
Those who signed up with the Windows Insider program have received multiple updates since the beginning of the preview program. Microsoft divides the preview program into two “rings,” Fast and Slow, with the Slow ring being for builds that have passed muster after evaluation by the Fast ring.
The final preview release, Build 10240, was released to both Fast and Slow rings on July 15, 2015, two weeks before the public release. Over the intervening two weeks, anyone with that version of Windows 10 installed received a steady stream of updates, sometimes daily. Those updates have been rolled into the upgrade package being distributed to the general public beginning on July 29.
How is the upgrade being delivered?
You must reserve the upgrade, using the Get Windows 10 app, which appears in the taskbar as a notification icon and in Windows Update. Click the icon and then click Get Windows 10 to open the app and reserve your copy.
The update (which takes up roughly 3 GB of bandwidth and disk space) is downloaded as a background task for anyone who reserves the upgrade. When it’s ready for installation, you’ll be prompted from Windows Update.
How long the upgrade process takes is primarily dependent on the performance of your system. Windows Setup uses hardlinks to migrate data files, so the amount of data you have shouldn’t have a significant effect on install times.
I don’t have the Get Windows 10 icon. What’s wrong?
My upgrade is complete. Can I delete the setup files?
I recommend that you leave them for now, unless disk space is so tight that you absolutely must remove them.
The Windows.old folder contains files needed to roll back to your previous version if necessary. It will delete itself automatically in 30 days. You can do it manually by running Disk Cleanup Manager in administrator mode and choosing the option to remove your old Windows version. But don’t do this just because you like a tidy system.
The setup files themselves are in a hidden folder called C:\$Windows.~BT. These will be very handy if you need to do a Reset or if you continue in the Insider program and need to roll back a build. These too can be deleted from Disk Cleanup Manager, but I recommend that you leave these files alone. They can be very useful.
Will Microsoft make Windows 10 available as an ISO file?
Yes, you will be able to download Windows 10 as an ISO disk image and use it for clean installs or upgrades. The general public can download from here, beginning on July 29. Note that no product key is required if you are upgrading over a previously activated Windows 7 or 8.1 installation. If you are performing a clean install using the downloaded ISO, read this FAQ first!
ISO files and product keys are now available to MSDN subscribers.
Volume License customers will be able to download the Windows 10 Enterprise edition and VL keys on August 1.
If I upgrade using Windows Update, can I create an ISO disk image?
After I’ve successfully completed an upgrade install using the final distribution, I will confirm that this method still works.
Will my Windows desktop programs work with Windows 10?
Virtually all desktop programs that run on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will work with Windows 10. Some types of low-level system utilities, including backup tools and antivirus software, will require updates from the developer. Check with the developer of your software if you’re not certain whether they plan to support Windows 10.
The Windows 10 compatibility checker should flag known issues.
The biggest change is the new Start menu, which completely replaces the Windows 8-style Start screen, as well as the ability to run so-called modern apps in windows on the desktop. Cortana, the voice-powered personal assistant, makes her debut here after an extended run on Windows Phone. Cortana takes over the search box to the right of the Start button after you complete a few quick setup steps.
An Action Center, with notifications and buttons for common system tasks, appears on the right side. It completely replaces the now-defunct Charms menu.
Windows 10 includes a new tablet mode designed to make operation easier on devices that lack a keyboard and mouse. As shown here, it expands the Start menu to a full screen, although the design is very different from the Windows 8.x Start screen. The hamburger menu (three vertical lines) in the upper left corner shows or hides the menu items on the left side.
The list of Windows 10 features also includes new biometric support (Windows Hello) and a collection of first-party apps: Photos, Mail, Calendar, and MSN News, Sports, Money, and Weather apps.
All Windows 10 devices share a single Windows Store, which offers access to Universal Windows Apps capable of running on devices of many different sizes.
The Microsoft Edge browser is taking shape rapidly but still lacks support for extensions..
Beginning with build 9879 last fall, there was an most important change in the way the OneDrive sync utility works. Microsoft has gotten rid of the placeholder files introduced in Windows 8.1, which allowed File Explorer to display cloud-based files folders even when they’re not synced to local storage.
A new sync utility that integrates the OneDrive and OneDrive for Business services is promised for later this year but will not be ready when Windows 10 launches on July 29. You can find a full report on the OneDrive changes and the roadmap for the next version in these two posts:
All Windows 10 devices will continue to receive updates “for the supported lifetime of the device.” What does that mean? At some point in the future, your hardware will no longer meet the specifications for a new release, and that will be the end of the line. But as long as your device can accept updates, it will get them.
Microsoft contributed to the confusion with some clumsy wording, but its intent is clear. The free upgrade offer is designed to get as many current devices as possible to move to a single platform with a single Windows Store. And the one-year deadline is intended to add some urgency to the decision so that Satya Nadella, Terry Myerson, and company meet their self-professed goal of seeing Windows 10 on one billion devices.
How can I sign up to receive the free upgrade when it’s released?
Yes, you can sign up for the Windows Insider program and continue receiving preview builds ahead of their general release.
How do I get my copy of Windows 10 activated?
When you upgrade over an existing, activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, the Setup program checks the current activation status. If it determines the installation is properly activated, it contacts the Microsoft Store and generates a license certificate that is linked to that hardware. (A Microsoft Account is not required for this step.)
This automatic activation process is identical whether you use an ISO file to start the upgrade or do so from the downloaded upgrade files.
After that first activation is complete, you can perform a clean install on that same hardware using an ISO file, which has a product key embedded in it. As long as the hardware matches the previous installation ID, the installation is activated automatically. (Microsoft does not provide details of what goes into the hardware ID, except to confirm that it does not contain any personally identifiable information and is not used for tracking purposes.)
A watermark on the desktop reflects the build number of preview releases. Fully activated, non-Insider installations have no watermark.
When does the Windows 10 Preview expire?
The Insider Preview program will continue after the launch of Windows 10 on July 29, 2015.
All preview builds released in 2014 have already expired. Beginning with the January 2015 release, build 9926, the license for the preview edition expires on October 1, 2015, at 4:59 PM. On October 15, 2015, those builds will no longer boot.
The final release removes the expiration date completely. New builds, post-launch, should have an expiration date in early 2016.
Will I be able to update from the Insider Preview to the final release of Windows 10?
Microsoft says yes, that scenario will be fully supported. And indeed, I have confirmed that machines with Windows 10 installed via this upgrade process appear to be properly licensed.
How many Windows 10 editions are there?
Microsoft announced its lineup of Windows 10 editions in May. All of the editions share common features, but are sold and distributed differently depending on the type of device for which they’re intended.
There are two and only two editions of Windows 10 for installation on new PCs. Remember, the Windows 10 upgrade is free for consumers and small businesses who already have a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC, but OEMs still pay Microsoft for Windows 10 licenses for installation on new PCs. Those costs are passed along to PC buyers.
Windows 10 Home is the cheaper option. It includes the entire Windows 10 feature set, minus a handful of features reserved for the Pro edition. OEMs commonly install this edition on devices aimed at the price-conscious consumer and small business markets.
Windows 10 Pro is typically found on higher-quality, higher-spec business-class devices. It costs more and includes a group of features that enthusiasts, professionals, and anyone on a Windows business network will appreciate: Hyper-V virtualization, BitLocker encryption, the ability to set up a PC as a Remote Desktop server, and the ability to join a Windows domain or enroll with Azure Active Directory are the key ones.
Windows Enterprise edition upgrades are available as of August 1, through the Volume Licensing Service Center. If you want the Windows 10 Technical Preview for Enterprise, go to this download page and register. You’ll find a FAQ for IT Pros here.
The Enterprise edition is also available in an evaluation edition and to anyone with a current MSDN subscription.
The MSDN Subscriptions download page is also where you’ll find checked and debug versions for use by developers.
When do I need product code to install Windows 10?
If you boot from installation media, you may be required to enter a product key to continue. I have not been able to test using final media yet.
Can I uninstall Windows 10?
Upgrading a PC to Windows 10 creates recovery files that allow you to roll back to your previous operating system. I will attempt that after completing some upgrades.
Is it true that updates are automatically installed?
Yes, with Windows 10 Home there is no way to selectively block updates, although you can schedule when the installation and any accompanying restarts take place, up to six days in the future.
Note that security updates and new features will be included in cumulative updates. In theory, if you restore an old backup you will only need to install the most recent cumulative update to get fully up to date.
Windows 10 Pro allows you to defer upgrades for several months, and Enterprise edition customers with Volume License contracts that include Software Assurance can deploy machines using the Long Term Servicing Branch, which accepts only security updates and no new features.
What are the keyboard shortcuts for working with Windows 10 virtual desktops?
Create a new desktop: Windows key + Ctrl + D
Switch to previous desktop: Windows key + Ctrl + Left arrow
Switch to next desktop: Windows key + Ctrl + Right arrow
For this release, there’s no way to save virtual desktop configurations.
Why is it called Windows 10 instead of Windows 9?
Microsoft’s official responses to this question have been almost comically vague. It’s reminiscent of the decision to abandon the Metro name, which was also never explained in a satisfactory way .
So we’re left to speculate, and my best guess is that choosing the number 9 would imply that Windows 10 is just around the corner, followed by 11, 12, and so on. That’s a recipe for delay, as customers play a “watch and wait” game.
One (unlikely) theory speculates that assigning 9 as a version number could wreak havoc with old versions hard-coded to search for Windows 95 or 98 version strings.
It’s more likely, though, that the name is about branding. This really is the last big release of Windows, with future updates coming in incremental form. As a brand name to stick with for the long term, Windows 10 is numerologically satisfying, almost … perfect.
Or, alternatively, there’s the “dad humor” explanation: Seven ate nine.
What this error means is, your Windows 10 installation folder is unfinished and/or corrupted. Now, how do you fix that?
1. Go into “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download” and delete everything in that folder.
2. Now, run the command prompt as an administrator. Type in “wuauclt.exe /updatenow”.
3. Go to your Control Panel > Windows Update and your Windows 10 should start re-downloading from scratch, hopefully without flaws this time.