CWmike writes: "Faced with an unfamiliar operating system that at first glance seems more difficult to customize than earlier versions of Windows? What to do — give up and simply use it as it came out of the box? Nope. There are plenty of ways to tweak, hack and make Windows 8 do things you wouldn't think were possible. Windows expert Preston Gralla shows you how to cobble together your own quick-and-dirty Start menu as well as customize the hidden Power User menu. Looking for 'God Mode,' want to hack the lock screen and Start screen, or to master File Explorer? Fire up Windows 8 and get ready to hear it cry 'Uncle.'"
CWmike writes: "Steven Sinofsky, the executive in charge of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system and the driving force behind the new OS, is leaving the company effective immediately, Microsoft announced late Monday. Sinofsky was also the public face for Windows 8 and its new Metro interface, posting constant updates in a Windows 8 blog that charted its development. His last post, fittingly, was entitled 'Updating Windows 8 for General Availability.' The OS was officially launched at the end of last month. According to the All Things D blog, there was growing tension between Sinofsky and other members of the Microsoft executive team, who didn't see him as enough of a team player. But Microsoft's official position is that the decision was a mutual one. Sinofsky had only good things to say about his former employer."
CWmike writes: "Vupen, a security company in the business of selling zero-day vulnerabilities, said Friday that it has found a way to bypass security mechanisms on Windows 8 and execute code via a Web page. Vupen CEO Chaouki Bekrar told CSO Online that the company's researchers had found 'multiple vulnerabilities' in Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10, the latest version of Microsoft's operating system and Web browser. 'We have researched and discovered multiple vulnerabilities in Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 that we have combined together to achieve a full remote code execution via a Web page which bypasses the new exploit-mitigation technologies included in Win8,' he said. Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, said the fact that Vupen had to chain vulnerabilities was an indication of how well Microsoft has bolstered security in Windows 8. To exploit such a collection of bugs would take considerable skill. Nevertheless, the fact that it was done reminds the industry that Windows is unlikely to ever be bulletproof. 'We've not reached the point where the product is perfect, but that's probably not reachable anyway,' Kandek said."
CWmike writes: "Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has called Windows 8 'puzzling' and 'confusing initially,' but assured users that they would eventually learn to like the new OS. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, left the company in 1983 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. In a post to his personal blog on Tuesday — strangely titled in the third person as, 'Paul's take on Windows 8,' Allen said he has been running Windows 8 Release Preview — the public sneak peak Microsoft shipped May 31 — on both a traditional desktop as well as on a Samsung 700T tablet, designed for Windows 7. 'I did encounter some puzzling aspects of Windows 8,' Allen wrote, and said the dual, and dueling user interfaces (UIs), were confusing. 'The bimodal user experience can introduce confusion, especially when two versions of the same application — such as Internet Explorer — can be opened and run simultaneously,' Allen said."
CWmike writes: "After a Chinese version of the Windows 8 Release Preview was leaked to the web on Tuesday, Microsoft said it will ship Windows 8 Release Preview on Thursday, several days earlier than expected, according to a blog post up only briefly. The post, written by Chuck Chan, an executive with the Windows development team, went live for a few minutes late Wednesday, long enough for several users to take notice. Unlike traditional release candidates — which are feature complete, in that all final features are included — Windows 8 Release Preview is unfinished. Two weeks ago, Microsoft acknowledged that it was ditching the 'Aero' user interface — familiar to users of Vista and Windows 7 — in Windows 8, but would not unveil most of the new look and feel in the Release Preview. Pricing is expected to mirror Windows 7. The Release Preview will be available here."
CWmike writes: "Microsoft may have simply run out of time with Windows RT, Directions on Microsoft analyst Michael Cherry said on Friday. Windows RT, the name Microsoft slapped on the OS earlier this week after calling it "Windows on ARM," or WOA, for months, is the forked version of Windows 8 designed to run on devices powered by ARM SoCs, or system-on-a-chip. Cherry was referring to gaps in Windows RT's feature set, particularly the lack of 'domain joining,' the ability to connect to a corporate Windows network and the lack of support for Group Policies, one of the ways IT administrators use to manage Windows devices. 'This is pure speculation on my part, but it seems like they had to make a trade-off with Windows RT,' Cherry said. 'What we're hearing now about Windows RT is a function of time and how they wanted the thing to behave. It seems to me that the a key goal was to get battery life decent and keep the weight [of devices] down.' His analysis on RT's chance of success: 'I think you can take Windows RT off the table for enterprises,' he said."
CWmike writes: "Pulling a page from Apple's playbook and not Google's, Microsoft indicated last week that Metro apps for Windows 8 will be available only through Microsoft's own app store. But while Microsoft went to pains to say that it would not discuss the business side, a Microsoft primer said that it, like Apple, will take a 30% cut of all sales. Microsoft's 'Windows Store' will be the sole distribution channel for Metro apps, those that run on Windows 8 PCs, and the only ones that will be permitted on ARM-based Windows 8 tablets. Microsoft is restricting Metro apps to ensure the software is secure and appropriate, Microsoft's Ted Dworkin said in a BUILD session last Wednesday."
CWmike writes: "Microsoft's long-awaited deeper look at Windows 8 on Tuesday has piqued consumer interest, says a firm that scores online news and social media trends. Interest in Windows 8 exploded Sept. 12, the day Microsoft demoed it, said NetBase Solutions, which tracks online coverage and social media comments about brands and products for a wide range of industries. The percentage of positive mentions about Windows 8 quickly climbed starting Tuesday, said NetBase, ending at above 60% by the close of Wednesday. Negative comments made up about 20% of the total. Not surprisingly, the mentions and comments garnered by Windows 8 crystalized around the usual Microsoft versus Apple argument. 'Windows 8 will be the death of the iPad!' crowed one of the Twitter messages NetBase highlighted. Negative commenters climbed on OS soapboxes as well. 'Remember, the people who think Windows 8 just killed the iPad are the same who thought Windows ME was the best OS ever,' said a tweet, referring to the abused Windows Millennium of 2000. 'Dislikes for the Windows 8 tablet focus around how it does not support Adobe Flash and how it's not that easy to use... but there are many more positives than there are negatives,' noted NetBase."
CWmike writes: "Windows 8 will include a new feature that lets IT administrators provide workers with a portable Windows environment on a USB thumb drive. Called 'Windows To Go,' the feature seems aimed at enterprises that want to equip employees with 'complete managed Windows images' that they can use to turn a PC into a doppelganger of a secured in-house machine. It's not known whether individuals will be able to use Windows To Go for the same purpose. It's also unclear whether Windows to Go comes with a price tag: One report, based on a briefing with reporters at BUILD on Monday, said that the feature will cost about $50 per seat. Microsoft declined to provide more information about the feature, other then to refer to its a two-and-a-half-hour demonstration of some of the operating system's key components and changes that left many questions about Windows 8 unanswered, analysts said."
CWmike writes: "Tuesday's long-awaited look at Windows 8 has left analysts almost as perplexed as they were before Microsoft's top Windows executive walked onto a California stage. But if Microsoft was hoping to generate excitement about the upgrade, it succeeded, if only because of the fast-paced presentation by Windows president Steven Sinofsky. 'It all looks great,' said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. 'If the goal was to get everyone excited, they did that. I was impressed by what they showed, by what they've done, but it's too much to digest. I think I'll have to watch the keynote [webcast] two or three more times to get it all.' But for Cherry and and Gartner analyst Michael Silver, who spend most of their time scrutinizing Windows for corporate clients, not consumers, there were tons of unanswered questions. 'We still don't know when this will be shipped,' noted Cherry. 'And we don't know how stable Windows 8 is. Remember, these were all demos, and demos are carefully rehearsed.' Silver echoed Cherry: 'They haven't made the case yet that enterprises will want this. I expect that they will have [enterprise-specific features] to show later, but at this point there are still lots of questions that haven't been answered.'"
CWmike writes: "As rumored, Microsoft on Tuesday gave the 5,000 developers attending its BUILD conference preview units of a Samsung tablet running Windows 8 software. The device appeared to have the same body as Samsung's Series 7 Slate, introduced in August, which runs a dual-core 1.6 GHz Intel i5 chip, has an 11.6-in. screen and weighs slightly less than 2 pounds. The Microsoft developer version has several added sensors to that Series 7 device, according to Windows President Steven Sinofsky during a presentation at the conference. Among them, it features Near-Field Communications for mobile payments, USB and HDMI ports and a microSD slot. AT&T also added a 3G-capable radio to the tablet. The developers will get one year year of free data access allowing up to 2GB of service a month for a year."
CWmike writes: "On the Windows computer of the future, live tiles will replace icons, touch-based gestures will replace mouse clicks and semantic zooming will replace the arduous traversal through nested menus and folders. In a demonstration Monday for journalists and analysts, Microsoft showed off a beta of its next generation OS, Windows 8. The event was held the day before Microsoft's Build Professional Developers Conference opens. Although Microsoft has revealed many of Windows 8's features in blog posts and earlier demonstrations, Monday's presentation showed how these elements would work together as a whole. Windows 8 is a 'bold re-imagination' of Windows, said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division. The Windows 8 user experience will be fundamentally different than it was for earlier iterations. Users will no longer be asked to see the screen as a desktop. Nor will they find menus running across the top of boxy applications. This change comes thanks to a new user interface, called Metro, which borrows heavily from the interface Microsoft created for Windows Phone 7, in which applications are accessed by touching tiles."
CWmike writes: "Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, said this week that Windows 8 will let users treat the traditional desktop as 'just another app' that loads only on command. When it unveiled Windows 8's UI in June, Microsoft said it would feature a 'touch-first' interface to compete in the fast-growing tablet market. Underneath that, however, would be a traditional Windows-style desktop. 'Having both of [the] user interfaces [work] together harmoniously is an important part of Windows 8,' Sinofsky said in a blog post on Wednesday. The Metro-style UI — the one inspired by Windows Phone 7's tile-based design — will be the first to show up when a user boots a device. At that point, users reach a crossroads. 'If you want to stay permanently immersed in that Metro world, you will never see the desktop — we won't even load it (literally the code will not be loaded) unless you explicitly choose to go there,' Sinofsky said. 'If you don't want to do... 'PC' things, then you don't have to and you're not paying for them in memory, battery life or hardware requirements.' If using a conventional PC with keyboard and mouse, Windows 8 users will run an 'app' to load the desktop, he said. 'Essentially, you can think of the Windows desktop as just another app.'"
CWmike writes: "Microsoft said on Monday that it will 'ribbonize' the file manager in next year's Windows 8, adding Explorer to the short list of integrated applications that already sport the interface in Windows 7. Microsoft's Alex Simons, director of program management, released screenshots of the new ribbon interface planned for Explorer (scroll way down). 'We evaluated several different UI [user interface] command affordances including expanded versions of the Vista/Windows 7 command bar, Windows 95/Windows XP style toolbars and menus, several entirely new UI approaches, and the Office style ribbon,' explained Simons. 'Of these, the ribbon approach offered benefits in line with our goals.' Plans by Microsoft and others — including Mozilla at one point — to ribbonize applications have often met resistance. 'We knew that using a ribbon for Explorer would likely be met with skepticism by a set of power users, but there are clear benefits,' Simons said."