Microsoft has released the Windows 10 15002 Preview Build for PC Testers. This preview build gives us a look at what we can expect when Microsoft releases their Windows 10 Creators Update later this year.
In Windows Enterprise, Education and Professional, Microsoft is giving you the ability to pause incoming updates for up to 35 days. They are also giving you the ability to choose whether or not you want to include driver updates in the download package.
It is no secret that Microsoft would really prefer you use their browser as oppose to say Google Chrome or Firefox. In this preview build, we see that Microsoft has made some improvements to their Edge, in the hopes, it will encourage you to use it more often. For example, the tab bar lets PC users see a preview of every tab without actually leaving your current tab. They also make it easier to launch a new tab or an InPrivate window by adding those respective options directly to the taskbar. Edge will also block flash content by default.
Microsoft has introduced settings that allow you to set the amount of blue light that is emitted from the screen. This is important for people who use their computers a lot at night or in dark spaces. By adjusting this setting the light that is emitted will be easier on your eyes and supposedly will assist you in being able to sleep after use, by blocking melatonin.
Not a whole lot has changed with the start menu but there are some things worth mentioning. The overall look and mechanics of the start menu remain the same but Microsoft has added some features. For example, start tiles can now be grouped into folders, there is a new screenshot feature that allows you to capture an area of the screen and copy it to the clipboard, and the Windows Share Experience pop-up lets users quickly pick the app they want to share content to.
Microsoft has made some updates to Cortana, apparently making it smarter. They have simplified and made the VPN access faster. They have added high DPI support for desktop apps.
No doubt, when the Creators update is released this year there will be many more features that are not included in the preview build. A more detailed list and overview of the new features can be found here.
It is very likely that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows to be released, indefinitely and at the very least for a very, very long time. During the Ignite 2015 Conference Microsoft employee, Jerry Nixon stated that although Windows 10 has been released, it will be the last version of Windows and therefore development is ongoing. Does this mean the end of Windows? No, not at all – Windows is not going anywhere. What is really changing is the way in which Microsoft releases newer updated versions of its Windows software. Microsoft released a statement that helps clarify where they are headed with Windows. “Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner, with continuous value for our consumer and business customer.” Basically what this means is future updates, patches and version releases will be released under the Windows 10 brand or just “Windows”.
With all this being said when is the next big update likely to happen? It looks like it will be sometime in Spring of 2017, as of right now it looks like the next big update will come in March. However, if software releases have taught us anything it is that release dates don’t necessarily hold true so don’t hold your breath just yet.
There is suppose to be a second big update in 2017 as well, which at this point looks like it will come in late summer or early fall.
Let’s admit it. We don’t do as good of a job as we should keeping our computers (and technology in general) maintained and while you might think it doesn’t really matter, or perhaps it is inconvenient, a properly maintained computer helps ensure it lives well beyond its typical life expectancy. And sure there are exception to this where either you got a lemon and it died well before it should have or you have a computer that just doesn’t want to die – but this are exceptions and not the rule.
Cleaning and maintaining your computer means both the physical machine and the virtual computer itself. Dust impact can cause many problems inside the computer, for example, if there is not enough air flow and the computer begins to overheat it can cause serious damage to the components. Not maintaining the virtual computer can cause a whole host of problems you would rather avoid.
Scanning your computer is a no brainer, and yet sometime we simply forget to do it (I am no exception to this and I work in the industry). Most Anti-virus programs can be configured to run scans at predetermined times, once a month, once a week or whenever you really want it to. But these often times get missed, for example if your computer is shut down during the allotted time. Additionally, these scan are usually quick scans of the computer system which are not as thorough. That is why it is important to open your anti-virus program and run a ‘Full Scan’ at least once in a while – I would argue you should do this at least once a week.
Applications are seemingly harmless programs that sit on your computer. Some of them you use and some of them get automatically downloaded with other software you downloaded and other you downloaded but don’t use any more. The problem with applications or any type of software is that they a prone to security failures and holes. This is not intentional (in most cases) but hackers and programs are good and exploiting holes in software. That is why it is so important to one, remove unwanted or unnecessary programs from your computer and two keep your applications up to date, because these updates often come with important security patches that help fix these security flaws.
Your hard drive, I am begging you, literally on my hands and knees begging you to back up your data. Have you ever seen a grown man cry like a baby? As you all know, your hard drive is where all your data is stored, from application data to your personal data. What you might not know is that hard drives are incredibly finicky and temperamental creatures and if not properly cared for they will bite you. In some case you might get away with a minor flesh wound in other cases a limb. Okay, okay, enough with being dramatic.
Over time the data on your hard drive can become fragmented, data stored is not always stored in contiguous blocks which cause pieces of your data to become separated from the pack. Your computer in all likelihood can find those fragments but I would expect there to be some degradation in performance and wear and tear on the drive itself (they don’t live forever). Again, it is important to uninstall programs that are not frequently used so they are not taking up space on your hard drive. It is also important to clean up your temporary files and any files that are unnecessary. For example, sometime when you uninstall a program there are residual files that are left behind. Always a good idea to keep your downloads folder cleaned as well so you are not using up unnecessary space.
Do backup your data. This isn’t so much maintenance protocol but a keep your personal data safe protocol. Hard drives will stop working and if you don’t have your data backed up there are no guarantees that it can be retrieved. There are tools out there that will read your hard drive and give you some important information, for example, how many hours are on it, what the temperature is and if there are any bad sectors. This will help you determine if you need to replace your hard drive or not.
Quick side note: if you do decide to replace your hard drive, I highly recommend a SSD (Solid State Hard drive). They are significantly more stable and faster.
Windows, much like other pieces of software on your computer are prone to security flaws. As with other applications it is important to install Windows Updates, this will help protect your from any bugs within windows itself and also help protect your from any security flaws.
Computer maintenance is key, not only can it help protect you but it can increase the life of your computer. Some of these things you can do yourself – and I highly recommend that you do. However, if you want a complete top to bottom cleaning come in and see us at GMF Computers, we will clean your computer of any viruses and malware, do all your updates to windows and other software, clean out your temporary files, junk files, unnecessary files, clean your registry and do a dusting of your physical computer. Plus, we will test your hard drive and let you know its condition.