Microsoft’s Monthly Rollup Updates

Windows monthly rollup updates

 

You may have noticed that since October 2016 Microsoft introduced monthly rollup updates for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1.

Why?

Well, according to Technet it’s because:

“Historically, we have released individual patches for these platforms, which allowed you to be selective with the updates you deployed. This resulted in fragmentation where different PCs could have a different set of updates installed leading to multiple potential problems:

  • Various combinations caused sync and dependency errors and lower update quality
  • Testing complexity increased for enterprises
  • Scan times increased
  • Finding and applying the right patches became challenging
  • Customers encountered issues where a patch was already released, but because it was in limited distribution it was hard to find and apply proactively

By moving to a rollup model, we bring a more consistent and simplified servicing experience to Windows 7 SP1 and 8.1, so that all supported versions of Windows follow a similar update servicing model. The new rollup model gives you fewer updates to manage, greater predictability, and higher quality updates. The outcome increases Windows operating system reliability, by eliminating update fragmentation and providing more proactive patches for known issues. Getting and staying current will also be easier with only one rollup update required. Rollups enable you to bring your systems up to date with fewer updates, and will minimize administrative overhead to install a large number of updates. (Note: Several update types aren’t included in a rollup, such as those for Servicing Stack and Adobe Flash.)” (Technet)

Now, as a user, you will get a monthly rollup that addresses both security issues and reliability issues in a single update.

Sounds OK, but what about this single monthly update rollup means users don’t have the ability to figure out exactly what fix in the rollup is causing the headache.

Only time will tell how successful this approach is going to be, so we shall continue to monitor the situation.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Setting Up Windows 8.1 – Some Thoughts

I love reading about other people’s experiences with technology and this particular article about setting up a Windows 8.1 machine tickled me so much I just had to share it.

Everyone has their Achilles heel of technology, and although I’ve been very familiar with the Windows operating system until now, Windows 8 machines are far too stressful for me to get my head around. Here are 29 thoughts I had during my most recent attempt at setting up a new Windows 8.1 machine:

1.         So many terms and conditions

2.         Scroll through…

3.         So many!

4.         But it’s ok, because I get to customise with a pretty colour.

5.         Not very business-like, but let’s go for PURPLE.

6.         What, I need a Microsoft account to use a computer now?

7.         Maybe I can skip it…

8.         No, no I can’t.

9.         Two factor authentication takes such a long time!

10.        At least it’s keeping me safe.

11.        Wow, it’s taking a long time to set up!

12.        I wonder if it’s frozen?

13.        Have I broken it?

14.        It says don’t turn off…

15.        “Almost ready”

16.        Really?

Windows 8.1

17.        You’ve been saying that for 5 minutes now.

18.        I’ve broken it and I’ve not even done anything yet.

19.        Finally the desktop!

20.        The panels are sort of cool

21.        I like how some of them update in real time.

22.        Why does anything I try to open go straight to classic view?

23.        What’s the point of the panel view if that’s just going to happen?

24.        I keep forgetting Windows button doesn’t do Windows button things anymore…

25.        How do I find the settings? Where’s the control panel?

26.        This operating system doesn’t know what it wants to be.

27.        How do I get to my documents? Where are those guys hiding?

28.        How do I use this app store, where are the things I need?

29.        Never mind, I’ll do it on my phone.

Thanks Clare McDonald (Computer Weekly), that was brilliant.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Windows 8 Update – Will it be 8.2 or 9?

According to PCPro Microsoft are gearing up to launch its next major round of updates to Windows 8, which will be a follow up to the Windows 8.1 update codenamed “Threshold”.

It is due to be announced at a dedicated press event on 30th September.

A Microsoft post on a Weibo suggested the next version of its OS would be called Windows 9 (the post has since been taken down), adding weight to reports that Microsoft is keen to drop the tarnished Windows 8 brand in favour of a fresh start with Windows 9.

Details of what it will be like are sketchy, but it is tipped that the new hybrid Start Menu will be unveiled along with the removal of the Charms bar.

We’ll bring you more news soon.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Have You Noticed Windows 8 Has No COA?

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic 32-bit COA ORY OEI PC OEMAct - OEM
(Image source)

The Certificate of Authentication is a common sight for any Windows OS users.

But users of Windows 8 may be puzzled to notice that there is no COA sticker to prove their computer has an authentic legal operating licence.

Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’ve fallen prey to a bogus seller.

In a bid to thwart nefarious users gaining access to legitimate product keys, Micorsoft has changed tack from stickers to more sophisticated BIOS embedded product keys.

Of course, removing the stickers also negates that highly annoying habit they have of getting scuffed or damaged and eliminates the arduous process of typing in a string of numbers and letters when trying to install your new Operating System.

What about reinstalling?

Should the need to reinstall arrive, don’t worry.

You won’t have to hang on to the help line for hours trying to work out how to get hold of your product key. During the installation process the computer automatically grabs the software product key from the motherboard BIOS without you having to do anything.

What edition of Windows 8 am I using?

It’s easy to find out which edition of Windows 8 you have by:

  • Pressing the Windows key + X
  • Click ‘System’
  • Look under Windows edition

All in all, a much safer and wiser way of dealing with COAs.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

Image source

Windows 8.1 is Coming

Ever since the launch of Windows 8, users have been patiently waiting for the update that Windows 8.1will, hopefully, iron out all the niggles that have blighted their user experience.

Well, it would appear that Windows 8.1, or Blue, will be available from October.

But, before you get over excited there is one warning you should heed – if you install the Windows 8.1 Preview over your current Windows 8 installation, you will have to reinstall all Windows Store and desktop apps when the final version is released (all user data and accounts should be retained).

Best not test the update on your main PC then.

But there is good news – the start button is coming back!

Once the new update is installed, you can right-click on the Start button to bring up the Win+X menu to reveal a new sub menu that allows you to directly shut down and restart your PC.

Plus, (it gets better) you will also have the option to boot directly to the desktop, rather than having to go through the Start screen. But it does take some finding as it’s hidden away within the Task bar and Navigation properties dialog.

You will also be able to disable the ‘hot corners’ that bring up the Charms menu and app-switcher taking you closer to a pure desktop experience. Plus, you can switch over to the All Apps view instead of the Start screen and you hit the Start button.

So, all in all, it looks as though Windows 8.1 should improve your user experience.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos

The Windows 8.1 Free Upgrade

The following is brought to you by Misco who report that the Windows 8.1 (and update) Windows 8 updatewill be available free of charge to Windows 8 users through the Windows Store.

They go on to say that:

The announcement was made by Tami Reller, Microsoft vice-president and chief financial officer of the Windows division. She disclosed this information on Tuesday during the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference taking place in Boston.

Reller used the opportunity to highlight Microsoft’s commitment to enriching the Windows user experience through continual updates. Windows 8.1 comes as part of that ambition and represents the next step in the Windows 8 journey, which began in the autumn of 2012. The forthcoming Windows update will help Microsoft and its OEM partners bring out the next generation of personal and tablet computers, providing both enterprises and consumers with the experiences they need and expect, Reller said. Windows 8.1 will be available for a public preview on 26 June, when Microsoft will be holding its Build developer conference in San Francisco.

The blog post once again stressed the fact that Windows 8 was developed to provide a seamless experience in a mobile and constantly connected world. Microsoft is happy with the progress made so far. Windows 8 features on tablets, touch-enabled laptops and convertibles and OEM partners have delivered some outstanding products. Among them are the Dell XPS 12, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, the Sony VAIO Tap 20 and the recently unveiled Acer Aspire R7. In addition, the Windows Store now offers over 70,000 apps.

We’ll bring you further updates as and when they happen.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.
Image Courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotos

Do You Have Skype Issues?

Skype has probably saved most of us a lot of petrol and car miles. It is a fantastic tool that Skype issueskeeps us in touch with customers, colleagues, friends and family all over the world.

But what happens when it won’t work?

A number of our customers have experienced issues when using Skype, so we thought it would be a good idea to run through some of them just in case you’re also experiencing similar problems.

By far the biggest issue is with sound – or rather not being able to hear or be heard.

The best way to check these aspects of Skype is to go to the Tools menu and click on Options and go to the Audio Settings where you can test your microphone, speakers and webcam.

Of course, it does help if you have your webcam plugged in and the drivers installed (just a quick tip there to save your blushes).

To make sure you can be heard, select the internal microphone on your laptop. But, if yours is more than 5 years old you’ll need an external one.

As you test it, if you can see little green dashes going across on the microphone and speakers, they are working OK. As for the webcam, as you would expect, if you can see yourself others will be able to see you too.

Windows 8 and Skype

Yes, Window’s 8 strikes again.

If you use the tiled option of Skype, when you get a call the phone will ring, but clicks off unanswered before you get the chance to click on it.

Unfortunately, there are no current fixes for this from Microsoft, so we suggest you download a previous version of Skype and save it on your desktop. After logging in, all your contacts will carry over automatically and you will be up and running again.

Have you experienced any other Skype issues? If so, leave a comment and let us know what they are and we’ll see if we can come up with an answer for you.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

 

 

Windows 8 – Microsoft U-turn

Were you seduced by Microsoft’s shiny new operating system?

Did you rush out and go mad for Windows 8 as soon as it hit the shelves?

Do you now regret that?

If you do, you’re not alone.

According to an article in The Sun (I just happened to glance at a copy whilst waiting for my Chinese takeaway – honest) the software giant will be back peddling on its radical Windows 8 operating system after a backlash from users.

It was only 6 months ago that Microsoft launched its product in a bid to keep pace with the growing tablet market.

But it would appear as though consumers (and fans of Windows OS) weren’t ready for the abandonment of the ‘Start’ button, which had been around since 1995, in favour of ‘live tiles’. For many it was a step too far that led to confusion.

Although they played down this outcry, Microsoft has admitted that some users had found it difficult to use.

As a result, the Head of Marketing Tami Reller, announced that “key aspects” of the software will be changed in a forthcoming upgrade. One of those is expected to be the reintroduction of the ‘Start’ button.

What’s your take on Windows 8?

If you use Windows 8, what’s been your experience of it?

Is it really that alien in comparison to previous operating systems, or have you found it easy to adapt to the new way of doing things?

Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

A Couple of Windows 8 Tips For You

Over the past few months, we’ve been offering various tips on getting the most out of Windows 8.

It’s so frustrating isn’t it, when you move from an operating system you know well to one that you’re all at sea with?

Sometimes you wonder why they can’t just leave things alone, the old version worked, so why play around with it? But as technology advances, we all have to move with the times to be more productive – at least when we’ve finally got to grips with everything.

So here are a couple of tips for you for when using Windows 8.

Quick Access Menu

The secret Start button for power users is hidden at the bottom-left of the screen.

By right-clicking on the lower left of the screen (whether you’re in Windows 8 Start screen or in the desktop) you will bring up the Quick Access Menu, which enables a direct line to many key system management chores, including:

  • Disk Management
  • Task Manager
  • Device Manager
  • Control Panel

Changing Startup Items

You don’t have to run the MSConfig programme any more to change startup items.

Startup items now show up in a tab on Task Manager. All you have to do is press Ctrl + Alt + Del and select Task Manager.

Click the ‘More details’ tab at the bottom and find the Startup tab at the top.

Hopefully, that will make your life a bit easier as you get to grips with Windows 8.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.