Chromium Microsoft Edge Browser Drops Beta Tag In front of January 15 Launch

Microsoft is getting closer to the launch of their Chromium-based browser, so the company has recently started rolling out a change that confirms we’re in the final development stages from the application.

German site WU reveals that Microsoft has begun dropping the beta tag for a number of testers, and therefore the existing installs of Microsoft Edge no more indicate they’re part of a beta program.

The modification looks like it’s rolling out to users in stages, so not everybody sees the beta tag disappearing at this point.

However, it’s more interesting to discuss why the beta flag is really being removed from devices.

Release date set for January 15

Microsoft will launch the new browser in stable version on January 15, as well as on Windows 10 systems it will be pushed via Windows Update. Microsoft itself confirmed the stable build of Chromium Edge will work side by side with testing versions in the Canary, Dev, and Beta channels. Quite simply, the stable build doesn’t switch the beta sibling, so taking out the beta flag isn’t actually necessary.

“Updates won’t alter the user experience until the Stable channel from the next version of Microsoft Edge is installed. Installing Microsoft Edge Beta, Dev, or Canary won’t trigger any alterations in Windows. These browser releases is going to be installed alongside existing browsers,” Microsoft said.

Microsoft Edge is going to be released on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and macOS. A Linux form of the browser can also be likely because of the Chromium engine, but an ETA with this platform isn’t yet available.

On Windows 10, the new browser will be configured as default, replacing the existing Edge version. Microsoft hasn’t yet provided timing specifics once the old Edge could be removed, as this version will continue to be bundled using the OS for compatibility reasons.

Windows 10 Settings Banner: Useful or Not?

If you’re an earlier Windows 10 adopter, you know that the Settings app in the OS has become one of Microsoft’s priorities and is the current home of all things originally contained in the classic User interface.

Even though Microsoft needs more time emigrate all User interface options to Settings, the organization also attempts to refine the knowledge with the new menu, all so that they can make everything more straightforward for everybody.

The newest improvements presented for that Settings app may be the banner at the top of the UI, which displays essential information like user account, email, OneDrive quick access, and Windows Update.

The objective of this improvement is precisely this: display essential information and supply users with quick access to particular features.

Microsoft first introduced the new Settings header in Windows 10 build 18305 released in December 2018 and then rolled out in Windows 10 May 2019 Update for production devices. Microsoft explained in late 2018:

“We’re introducing a new way to assist users finish their Windows setup and quickly access probably the most commonly used settings. Inspired by the Microsoft account homepage, the Settings home page presently has a header at the very top allowing you to take quick action for things like logging into websites and managing your Microsoft account, making the Windows and Microsoft experience better. Additionally, it gives you a simple to glance at system status, such as when updates can be found.”

However, you will find users who believe that the Settings banner barely improves usability in Windows 10 and, in fact, it actually utilizes an excessive amount of space on screen without offering enhanced functionality.

Many think Microsoft should allow users to customize the Settings header with their very own shortcuts, which at some level makes sense given the whole purpose is to make everything faster and much more straightforward. An option to pin Settings pages to the header would definitely seem sensible as far as customization goes.

Furthermore, others demand Microsoft to help polish the Settings header and reduce its dimensions. At this point, the header indeed eats up too much space on the screen, although I think that it aligns with the look and feel of Windows 10.

A Feedback Hub suggestion which receives more votes nowadays discusses how the Settings header can be further polished past the current implementation. The poster, however, requires Microsoft to apply an option that would allow user to disable the header.

“I truly hope you let us turn off that Settings banner. It is actually a total waste of space, and honestly is only providing useless trivial information that may be easily found elsewhere. It must be scaled down, complete with options of what you might want in there, if desired at all. Take a look at hardware specs for example, cpu temp. fan speed, etc. If MS wants to put monitoring items in Settings, allow it to be useful,” the poster reads.

The next Windows 10 feature update is the 20H1 release, that will land early in the year of 2020 as version 2004. There are no changes for the Settings header whatsoever, therefore the feedback which i mentioned previously could only improve things in the long term and definitely not overnight. Obviously, if you think that Microsoft should further refine the Settings header, you should post your thoughts in the Feedback Hub – the greater votes, the bigger the chances for this feedback to go through and make its way to the production builds of Windows 10.

How should Microsoft improve the Settings header? Let us know what you believe within the box after the jump.

Windows 10 users be careful – some default apps are showing scam adverts

Windows 10 continues to be struck by a worrying problem in that some of its core (installed automatically) apps are displaying fraudulent adverts that could potentially play all sorts of nasty tricks around the user.

As spotted by Ghacks and first highlighted on Microsoft’s German support site, a post has since appeared on the US Answers.com website clarifying the issue that affects apps including Microsoft News and Weather, and possibly other applications or indeed Microsoft services (MSN Cash is also mentioned).

These malicious banner adverts are now being erroneously picked up by Microsoft’s ad servers and given to the consumer. They contain some type of bait to obtain the user to click them, either claiming that the PC is have contracted viruses, or suggesting you have won a lottery.

If clicked, they will get you to some malicious site that will seemingly sell you a ‘cure’ for the (non-existent) virus, drop malware on your machine (or maybe both), or carry out some other type of nefarious activity.

A Microsoft moderator notes: “The fake virus warnings eventually direct to a download page for Reimage Repair, that is indexed by Microsoft as potentially unwanted application (PUA) but not detected as malware by Windows Defender at this time.

“A scan of the downloaded file at VirusTotal indicates nine different antivirus/antimalware programs detect it as being malware plus some may block the download or even the landing page for that download.”

Normally, these sorts of malicious ads ought to be policed and stripped from Microsoft’s ad serving network, but evidently these rogue banner ads are slipping through the net somehow.

Countermeasures such as Windows Defender SmartScreen should still block these, but because Microsoft notes, SmartScreen isn’t recognizing all of the current malicious adverts available, so is failing to defend against a number of them.

Close and don’t click

The upshot is that if you use these core Microsoft apps and see any suspicious adverts, take care not to click them. All you need to do is close your window providing the ad, which should be the end of it, Microsoft advises.

It’s possible for that more tech-savvy to block these ads in the DNS level, as Microsoft Support explains, “for example using a central ad blocker within the network like a Pihole, you should block the following pages: * .adnxs.com / * .nuxues.com / * .vungle.com”.

Otherwise, the only thing to complete is wait until Microsoft gets on the case and blocks the ad operators from running these banner adverts, which you would hope may happen sooner rather than later.

One of the major reasons to upgrade to Windows 10, obviously, would be that the newest OS comes to be safer than Windows 7/8.1, so glitches within the default operating system’s apps really are a bit embarrassing for Microsoft to say the least.

Microsoft launches new Office app for Windows 10

Microsoft has launched a brand new Office app for Windows 10 users that appears to make while using company’s products even easier.

Replacing the previous “My Office” app currently available, the brand new tool looks to provide a more useful method for Windows 10 users to easily discover and access Office documents, apps and services.

The app is free to use, and will come preinstalled with Windows 10 moving forward, but users won’t require an Office 365 subscription for doing things – it may be installed from the Microsoft Store as needed too.

Windows 10 Office app

The launch may come as a part of Microsoft’s efforts to promote using its online form of Office, including free versions of popular programs including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, if you are not really a subscriber to Office 365.

With that in mind, the brand new Office app presents a complete list of all the services and apps open to the consumer, together with tutorials, tips and tricks, along with other helpful information for Microsoft’s office solutions.

Microsoft states that IT administrators may also be able to customise the app, adding branding and enabling access to third parties, as well as utilising Microsoft Search to produce internal search apps.

“The Office app provides users with a simple experience that can help them reach what they desire quickly – whether that’s an app, a document, or even a part of your business,” Microsoft’s Bill Doll wrote in a blog post announcing the launch.

Latest Windows 10 update includes a bug that kills VPN connection

Microsoft has confirmed the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (Windows 10 version 1903) includes a bug that could break the Remote Access Connection Manager (RASMAN) service on some devices, consequently killing users VPN connections.

In an update to the support document, the company says the bug has effects on Windows 10 version 1903 using the KB4497935 update installed.

According to Microsoft’s updated changelog, the RASMAN service may cease working and administrators or users will get an “0xc0000005” error whenever a system running the most recent form of Windows 10 is manually configured to the non-default telemetry setting of zero.

The problem itself is the place a VPN profile is configured as an Always on VPN (AOVPN) with or without device tunnel. Luckily though, the issue does not affect manual-only VPN profiles or connections for widely used by consumers looking to secure their devices on the internet and prevent unwanted tracking.

RASMAN issues

Should you choose use an Always on VPN connection though, you can fix the issue by setting a brand new value for 2 group policy settings:

Group Policy Path: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Data Collection and Preview Builds\Allow Telemetry
Safe Policy Setting: Enabled and set to 1 (Basic) or 2 (Enhanced) or 3 (Full)

Alternatively, you may make the following changes towards the Registry:

SubKey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection
Setting: AllowTelemetry
Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1, 2 or 3

After applying these changes to either the audience policy settings or registry, you will have to restart the Remote Access Connection Manager service for them to take effect.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update runs into challenge with some Intel drivers

Windows 10 users seeking to move to the most recent May 2019 Update – perhaps for security reasons, as we’ve recently seen – must be aware that the upgrade has been blocked for certain older Intel drivers.

As Microsoft explains, there are compatibility issues with certain Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers – between versions 15.1.0.1002 and 15.5.2.1053 – and also the May 2019 Update. So if you’re running those versions of the Intel drivers, you won’t have the ability to install the latter.

Should you attempt to upgrade, you’ll receive a message informing you that: “The inbox storage driver iastora.sys doesn’t focus on scalping strategies and results in stability problems on Windows.”

These drivers look after various storage configuration tasks as you might imagine, and specifically Intel Optane memory and also the upkeep of various RAID arrays (RAID 0/1/5/10).

Update to obtain the update

To treat the problem, you obviously need to update your Intel drivers to at least version 15.5.2.1054 (although the recommended version is really a later build: 15.9.6.1044). Of course, you really should update all your drivers ought to be routine, anyway (and become running the most recent Optane firmware for those who have one of Intel’s memory modules in your PC).

The easiest method to update is via your hardware manufacturer – check its website – but failing that, as sometimes third-party vendors aren’t on the ball.

Windows XP Bug Still There in Windows 10 November 2019 Update

An insect that triggers context menus to become displayed under the taskbar is still around in Windows 10 November 2019 Update (Windows 10 version 1909) despite similar problems originally reported in Windows 10 April 2018 Update (Windows 10 version 1803).

In just a few words, here’s what happens: right-clicking an icon in the system tray displays area of the context menu right underneath the taskbar, which makes it impossible to click the lower options.

In my case, the choice at the bottom from the context menu is “quit,” meaning the context menu displayed under the taskbar causes it to be impossible to exit the app.

The bug happens every once in a while and for various apps, that is normally an indication that it’s certainly not associated with an app, but towards the way context menus are displayed for system tray icons. However, it takes place more regularly for many specific apps, such as Pidgin instant messenger.

Bug dating back to Windows XP era

The very first time I wrote about this issue was at June 2018 when I confirmed it existed in Windows 10 April 2018 Update. While I’m unsure Microsoft introduced a fix in the meantime, this unexpected behavior returns in Windows 10 November 2019 Update.

As mentioned more than a year ago, others experienced the same problem, which discussion thread on Microsoft’s Community forums confirmed that the context menu was displayed under the taskbar for other users too. A workaround doesn’t exist, other than clicking away from context menu and then right-clicking the app icon in the system tray once again.

A number of our readers explained within the comment portion of the aforementioned article that this is a bug dating back to Windows XP, which makes it even more frustrating that it’s still around after a lot of years.

“That bug/feature is not new whatsoever. It exists since a minimum of in Win XP era and it is because the taskbar tries to be the topmost element,” our reader Avant said at that time. “This bug actually goes back to Windows XP days,” Caleb Scribner also confirmed.

I’ve reached out to Microsoft to ask for more information relating to this bug and can update the content if the ETA for any fix is provided.

How to Run that old and New Edge Browser Alongside on Windows 10

Microsoft gets ready to launch a new form of Edge browser on Windows and Mac, however the biggest change will take put on Windows 10 where users will be provided with a new default app.

Quite simply, in mid-January Microsoft will ship an update which will switch the current form of Edge browser with the Chromium-powered sibling, because this is the app the company will continue to invest in continuing to move forward.

Everything will happen with an update published on Windows Update for Windows 10 devices, so unless products are configured to block installing the brand new Edge, systems is going to be supplied with a new default browser when next month.

On the other hand, the old form of Edge won’t just be removed. Microsoft is only going to hide the app on Windows 10 devices, meaning that although it might seem impossible to launch it initially, the browser it’s still there for individuals who need it.

Obviously, the question is who needs that old form of Edge? Just think of developers who created apps for that default Windows 10 browser a long time ago when the legacy version was thought to be Microsoft’s big bet in the long run. Web-developers, companies, yet others may need the legacy Edge on their devices for compatibility reasons, so it’s essential for the app to not go away so fast.

What’s also important to know is the fact that Microsoft will allow Windows 10 users to operate the old and also the new Edge side by side, albeit some additional tweaks are required. And while you’ll find them detailed below, the thing that’s worth mentioning would be that the steps here only focus on Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise because they require the Group Policy Editor, which isn’t available on Windows 10 Home.

Microsoft has thus created a dedicated policy that allows system administrators to permit the legacy form of Edge to exist alongside its Chromium successor.

First of all, launch the Group Policy Editor by typing the following command:

gpedit.msc

Once the Group Policy Editor is loaded and running in your screen, you have to browse towards the dedicated policy that allows you to enable the event. The road to this policy is that this:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge Update > Applications

The policy is known as:

Allow Microsoft Edge Alongside browser experience

The default state from the policy means that you’re blocked from using the legacy version of Edge, so double-click it and choose the Enabled option.

The device doesn’t have to be restarted in order to save your changes. If you wish to go back to the original configuration and block the old Edge, just stick to the same steps and select the default or even the disabled state of the policy.

Additionally, Microsoft allows Windows users to run multiple builds from the Chromium-powered Microsoft Edge alongside. This means that in addition to the stable version that’s offered through Windows Update, you may also install Canary, Dev, or Beta builds manually on a Windows device. This really is necessary for testing, and allows users to try out additional features and changes coming to Edge browser before they’re released within the production build.

Microsoft will finalize Edge at the begining of January, and also the update that provides the browser to Windows 10 devices is due to land fourteen days into the new year. The public build for older Windows and macOS is also expected in the near future.

Microsoft’s Free Antivirus to get Virus Definitions After Windows 7 Death

Microsoft is projected to retire Windows 7 in January next year, meaning the operating-system would no more receive security updates for that found vulnerabilities.

Earlier this year, a support document authored by Microsoft for purchasers purchasing extended support for Windows 7 established that updates for Microsoft Security Essentials could be pulled too, for those paying for more updates.

Microsoft Security Essentials is Microsoft’s free antivirus that may be installed on Windows 7.

But according to a recent thread on Microsoft’s own forums, Security Essentials continues to receive virus definitions despite Windows 7 is retired, albeit the security product wouldn’t get any other patches. In other words, feature updates and other improvements would be halted, so eventually, migrating to a newer application is the only way to go anyway.

Windows 7 set to go dark on January 14

“Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) continues to get signature updates after January 14, 2020. However, the MSE platform won’t be updated,” a Microsoft engineer said inside a reply to Woody Leonhard of AskWoody. “I’ll get this corrected as soon as possible.”

The document currently receives:

“Will Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) continue to protect my computer following the end of support? No, your Windows 7 computer is not protected by MSE after January 14, 2020. MSE is unique to Windows 7 and follows exactly the same lifecycle dates for support.”

Microsoft recommends users to upgrade Windows 7 devices to Windows 10, the most recent form of its operating-system that comes with antivirus protection pre-loaded. Windows Defender is definitely an evolved form of Microsoft Security Essentials that includes a bunch of extra tools, including ransomware protection and a cloud-based analysis engine.

Windows 7 support will end on January 14, therefore the next round of updates will be the 4g iphone of the 2009 operating system.

Microsoft Releases New Microsoft Edge Beta Candidate

Microsoft has released a brand new Microsoft Edge Dev build, which time it’s a notable update not only because of the improvements that it brings, but also because it’s the ultimate build for major version 80.

Quite simply, this is a release candidate for the Beta channel, and depending on stability and reliability data, it could be graduated to Beta in the coming days. Microsoft says no other Dev build is expected until January.

Microsoft confirms it’s focusing on a pinning wizard, an element that can make it more convenient for users to pin their most favorite websites towards the taskbar.

“It will occasionally appear from your Task Bar and suggest top websites from your history to pin directly to the job Bar as installed websites. It may also be used at any time from … > More tools,” the company explains.

Crash fixes

Additionally, Edge can also be getting support for high-contrast themes, and it’ll adapt to the visual settings in Windows 10. And last but not least, Immersive Reader now includes more color themes supposed to help reduce eye strain and increase reading comprehension.

Microsoft Edge build 80.0.361.5 also adds support for Dolby Vision playback for 360-degree videos on VR headsets for users of Windows Mixed Reality.

As it happens in every update, there’s also crash fixes, with Microsoft saying that it corrected a problem resulting in the app to close when opening certain PDFs or when closing the browser. Furthermore, the browser gets additional Netflix polishing, as in previous versions the playback failed for many videos with error D7381.

Microsoft hasn’t yet announced the date when the new beta could be published online, but we’re probably just a few days away from this release. The stable form of Microsoft Edge is also projected to produce the following month.