MD-100 Windows 10 mission |

MD-100 mission - Windows 10 Updated: 2023

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Exam Code: MD-100 Windows 10 mission June 2023 by team

MD-100 Windows 10

Deploy Windows
Deploy Windows 10
• configure language packs
• migrate user data
• perform a clean installation
• perform an in-place upgrade (using tools such as MDT, WDS, ADK, etc.)
• select the appropriate windows edition
• troubleshoot activation issues

Perform post-installation configuration
• configure Edge and Internet Explorer
• configure mobility settings
• configure sign-in options
• customize the Windows desktop

Manage devices and data
Manage local users, local groups, and devices
• manage devices in directories
• manage local groups
• manage local users

Configure data access and protection
• configure NTFS permissions
• configure shared permissions

Configure devices by using local policies
• configure local registry
• implement local policy
• troubleshoot group policies on devices

Manage Windows security
• configure user account control (UAC)
• configure Windows Defender Firewall
• implement encryption

Configure connectivity
Configure networking
• configure client IP settings
• configure mobile networking
• configure VPN client
• troubleshoot networking
• configure Wi-Fi profiles

Configure remote connectivity
• configure remote management
• enable PowerShell Remoting
• configure remote desktop access

Maintain Windows
Configure system and data recovery
• perform file recovery (including OneDrive)
• recover Windows 10
• troubleshoot startup/boot process

Manage updates
• check for updates
• troubleshoot updates
• validate and test updates
• select the appropriate servicing channel
• configure Windows update options

Monitor and manage Windows
• configure and analyze event logs
• manage performance
• manage Windows 10 environment

Deploy and update operating systems
Plan and implement Windows 10 by using dynamic deployment
• evaluate and select an appropriate deployment options
• pilot deployment
• manage and troubleshoot provisioning packages

Plan and implement Windows 10 by using Windows Autopilot
• evaluate and select an appropriate deployment options
• pilot deployment
• create, validate, and assign deployment profile
• extract device HW information to CSV file
• import device HW information to cloud service
• troubleshoot deployment

Upgrade devices to Windows 10
• identify upgrade and downgrade paths
• manage in-place upgrades
• configure a Windows analytics environment
• perform Upgrade Readiness assessment
• migrate user profiles

Manage updates
• configure Windows 10 delivery optimization
• configure Windows Update for Business
• deploy Windows updates
• implement feature updates
• monitor Windows 10 updates

Manage device authentication
• manage authentication policies
• manage sign-on options
• perform Azure AD join

Manage policies and profiles
Plan and implement co-management
• implement co-management precedence
• migrate group policy to MDM policies
• recommend a co-management strategy

Implement conditional access and compliance policies for devices
• implement conditional access policies
• manage conditional access policies
• plan conditional access policies
• implement device compliance policies
• manage device compliance policies
• plan device compliance policies

Configure device profiles
• implement device profiles
• manage device profiles
• plan device profiles

Manage user profiles
• configure user profiles
• configure Enterprise State Roaming in Azure AD
• configure sync settings
• implement Folder Redirection, including OneDrive

Manage and protect devices
Manage Windows Defender
• implement and manage Windows Defender Application Guard
• implement and manage Windows Defender Credential Guard
• implement and manage Windows Defender Exploit Guard
• implement Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection
• integrate Windows Defender Application Control
• manage Windows Defender Antivirus

Manage Intune device enrollment and inventory
• configure enrollment settings
• configure Intune automatic enrollment
• enable device enrollment
• enroll non-Windows devices
• enroll Windows devices
• generate custom device inventory reports Review device inventory
Monitor devices
• monitor device health (e.g., log analytics, Windows Analytics, or other cloud-based tools,
• monitor device security

Manage apps and data
Deploy and update applications
• assign apps to groups
• deploy apps by using Intune
• deploy apps by using Microsoft Store for Business
• deploy O365 ProPlus
• enable sideloading of apps into images
• gather Office readiness data
• configure and implement kiosk (assigned access) or public devices

Implement Mobile Application Management (MAM)
• implement MAM policies
• manage MAM policies
• plan MAM
• configure Windows Information Protection
• implement Azure Information Protection templates
• securing data by using Intune
Windows 10
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Windows 10
Question: 60
You have 20 computers that run Windows 11.
You need to enable Windows Sandbox on the computers.
How should you complete the command? To answer, select the appropriate options in the answer area. NOTE: Each correct selection is
worth one point.
Box 1: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature
To Enable Windows 10 Sandbox with PowerShell,
Question: 61
You have a Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant.
Some users sign in to their computer by using Windows Hello for Business.
A user named User1 purchases a new computer and joins the computer to Azure AD.
User1 attempts to configure the sign-in options and receives the error message shown in the exhibit.
You open Device Manager and confirm that all the hardware works correctly.
You need to ensure that User1 can use Windows Hello for Business facial recognition to sign in to the computer.
What should you do first?
A. Purchase an infrared (IR) camera.
B. Upgrade the computer to Windows 10 Enterprise.
C. Enable UEFI Secure Boot.
D. Install a virtual TPM driver.
Answer: B
Question: 62
You have a public computer named Computer1 that runs Windows 10/ Computer1 contains a folder named Folder1.
You need to provide a user named User1 with the ability to modify the permissions of Folder1. The solution must use the principle of
least privilege.
Which NTFS permission should you assign to User1?
A. Full control
B. Modify
C. Write
D. Read & execute
Answer: A
Question: 63
You have a computer that runs Windows 10.
You need to configure a picture password.
What should you do?
A. From Control Panel, configure the User Accounts settings.
B. From the Settings app, configure the Sign-in options.
C. From the Local Group Policy Editor, configure the Account Policies settings.
D. From Windows PowerShell, run the Set-LocalUser cmdlet and specify the InputObject parameter.
Answer: B
Question: 64
You have computers that run Windows 10 Enterprise as shown in the following table.
Both computers have applications installed and contain user data.
You plan to configure both computers to run Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 and to retain all the existing applications and data.
You need to recommend a method to deploy Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 to the computers. The solution must minimize effort to
install and configure the applications.
What should you include in the recommendation for each computer? To answer, select the appropriate options in the answer area.
NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
Graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message
Description automatically generated
Question: 65
Please wait while the virtual machine loads. Once loaded, you may proceed to the lab section. This may take a few minutes, and the wait
time will not be deducted from your overall test time.
When the Next button is available, click it to access the lab section. In this section, you will perform a set of tasks in a live environment.
While most functionality will be available to you as it would be in a live environment, some functionality (e.g., copy and paste, ability
to navigate to external websites) will not be possible by design.
Scoring is based on the outcome of performing the tasks stated in the lab. In other words, it doesnt matter how you accomplish the task,
if you successfully perform it, you will earn credit for that task.
Labs are not timed separately, and this test may more than one lab that you must complete. You can use as much time as you would
like to complete each lab. But, you
should manage your time appropriately to ensure that you are able to complete the lab(s) and all other sections of the test in the time
Please note that once you submit your work by clicking the Next button within a lab, you will NOT be able to return to the lab.
Username and password
Use the following login credentials as needed:
To enter your password, place your cursor in the Enter password box and click on the password below.
Username: Contoso/Administrator
Password: Passw0rd!
The following information is for technical support purposes only:
Lab Instance: 10921597
You need to create a user account named User5 on Client2.
The solution must meet the following requirements:
Prevent User5 from changing the password of the account.
Ensure that User5 can perform backups.
Use the principle of least privilege.
To complete this task, sign in to the required computer or computers.
Answer: On Client2, press the Win + X keys on your keyboard. Then, click or tap the Computer Management option from the menu.
Expand the Local Users and Groups from the left side of the window, and select Users.
Right-click somewhere on the blank space found in the middle section of the window, and click or tap on New User. This opens the
New User window, where you can enter all the details about the new user account.
Type the user name and, optionally, its full name and description.
Type the password to be used for that user and confirm it.
Select the User cannot change password check box.
Click Create and Windows immediately creates the user account. When you are done creating user accounts, click Close in the New
User window.
Press the Win + R keys to open Run, type secpol.msc into Run, and click/tap on OK to open Local Security Policy.
Expand open Local Policies in the left pane of Local Security Policy, click/tap on User Rights Assignment, and double click/tap on
the Back up files and directories policy in the right pane.
Click/tap on the Add User or Group button.
Click/tap on the Object Types button.
Check all the boxes for Object types, and click/tap on the OK.
Click/tap on the Advanced button.
Click/tap on the Find Now button, select the name of the user or group
Click/tap on OK.
Click/tap on OK.
When finished, you can close Local Users and Groups.
Question: 66
Your company has an on-premises network that contains an Active Directory domain. The domain is synced to Microsoft Azure Active
Directory (Azure AD). All computers in the domain run Windows 10 Enterprise.
You have a computer named Computer1 that has a folder named C:Folder1.
You want to use File History to protect C:Folder1.
Solution: You enable File History on Computer1. You then encrypt the contents of Folder1.
Does this meet the goal?
A. Yes
B. No
Answer: B
File History only backs up copies of files that are in Libraries, and Desktop folders and the OneDrive files available offline on your PC.
If you have files or folders elsewhere that you want backed up, you can add them to one of these folders.
Question: 67
For each of the following statements, select Yes if the statement is true. Otherwise, select No. NOTE: Each correct selection is worth
one point.
Graphical user interface, text, application, email
Description automatically generated
Question: 68
Your network an Active Directory domain named The domain contains 50 computers that runs Windows 8.1. The
computer has locally installed desktop application that are compatible with Windows 10.
You need to upgrade the computers to windows 10, The solution must preserver the locally installed desktop applications.
Solution: You use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and create a task sequence. One each compute, you run the task sequence.
Does the meet the goal?
A. Yes
B. No
Answer: B
Question: 69
You have a computer named Computer1 that runs Windows 10. Computer1 is in a workgroup.
Computer1 contains the local users shown in the following table.
The Users group has Modify permissions to a folder named D:Folder1.
User3 creates a file named File1.docx in Folder1.
Which users can take ownership of File1.docx?
A. Administrator and User1 only
B. Administrator only
C. Administrator, User1, and User2
D. Administrator and User2 only
Answer: B
Only a member of the Administrators group can take ownership of a file or folder.
Question: 70
You have a computer that runs Windows 10.
You view the domain services status as shown in the following exhibit.
Use the drop-down menus to select the answer choice that completes each statement based on the information presented in the graphic.
NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
Device is Azure AD joined; not domain joined.
The MDM URLs in the exhibit indicate the device is enrolled in Intune.
Question: 71
Note: This question is part of a series of questions that present the same scenario. Each question in the series contains a unique solution
that might meet the stated goals. Some question sets might have more than one correct solution, while others might not have a correct
After you answer a question in this section, you will NOT be able to return to it. As a result, these questions will not appear in the
review screen.
You manage devices that run Windows 10.
Ten sales users will travel to a location that has limited bandwidth that is expensive. The sales users will be at the location for three
You need to prevent all Windows updates from downloading for the duration of the trip. The
solution must not prevent access to email and the Internet.
Solution: From Accounts in the Settings app, you turn off Sync settings.
Does this meet the goal?
A. Yes
B. No
Answer: B
Question: 72
You have two workgroup computers named Computer1 and Computer2 that run Windows 10.
The computers contain the local security principals shown in the following table.
Which security principals can be members of GroupA and GroupC? To answer, select the appropriate options in the answer area.
NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
Graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message
Description automatically generated
Question: 73
You have a file named Reg1.reg that contains the following content.
What is the effect of importing the file?
A. A key named command will be renamed as notepad.exe.
B. In a key named Notepad, the command value will be set to @="notepad.exe".
C. In a key named command, the default value will be set to notepad.exe.
Answer: C
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Microsoft Windows mission - BingNews Search results Microsoft Windows mission - BingNews Microsoft’s mission to make Windows 11 worse continues with ads in the Start menu null © Ollyy / Shutterstock null

Windows 11 has just received an optional update which applies some useful fixes... but also something a bit more controversial for the Start menu.

As spotted by Bleeping Computer, that’d be what Microsoft describes as “notifications for Microsoft accounts” appearing in the Start menu, a feature that some suspect has a hidden agenda.

What do we mean by that? Well, in the support document introducing patch KB5023778 for Windows 11 22H2 PCs, which is still in preview but will be fully rolled out next month, Microsoft gives an example of a notification: a pop-up panel warning the user that they need to back up their files.

Sensible advice, and of course, it's a good idea to back up your main folders (documents, pictures, and so on) to the cloud every now and then as suggested (and locally too, maybe using an external drive for instance).

You can guarantee, though, that starting a backup from this prompt will try to get you to use OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service. Because as we know, these Start menu prompts are notifications related to Microsoft accounts and connected services like OneDrive.

Past leaks from Albacore (a well-known leaker on Twitter) have also shown Microsoft prodding users (in test builds) to hit up OneDrive in this manner, or to create a Microsoft account (or to complete their Microsoft profile).

Regarding this new feature, Microsoft tells us: “This is only available to a small audience right now. It will deploy more broadly in the coming months. Some devices might notice different visual treatments as we gather feedback.”

The freshly unleashed optional update also provides a bunch of bug fixes, including one for a glitch that affects printers (connected via a USB port) and makes them appear to be multimedia devices.

So, this Start menu feature is progressing, clearly. We saw it in the Release Preview channel for Windows Insiders (testers) just a week ago, and now, it’s hitting real Windows 11 PCs going forward.

Admittedly, it’s still an optional (test) update right now, but it’ll almost certainly be part of April’s cumulative update for Windows 11 deployed in a couple of weeks. Unless Microsoft has a last-minute change of heart and pulls the plug at the precipice of deployment (and at this point, that’s very unlikely).

Of course, it’s only rolling out to a small subset of Windows 11 users initially. Although that in itself is telling – Microsoft is evidently concerned about the response and is still testing the waters in a limited fashion, as it were, with a broader rollout not coming for ‘months’ to boot. The software giant is being careful about this one, and doubtless for good reason.

Maybe we won’t even see these kind of ads – or reminders, as Microsoft couches them – all that often in the Start menu. They could just be very occasional things. We don’t know, and we also don’t know exactly where Microsoft is going to be drawing the line between suggestions or recommendations, and pushing its own services as a form of help to the user which effectively crosses over into the realm of advertising.

Time will tell, but it’s clear enough that suggestions are set to be a big thing in the future for Windows 11 (or indeed Windows 12). Recently we’ve seen further hints of personalized recommendations in the Start menu, including recommended websites to visit (yes, that concept is seemingly back on the table), which again would seem to be ripe territory for what could effectively be advertising.

Wed, 29 Mar 2023 07:31:00 -0500 en-US text/html
It's now possible to activate Windows XP offline, algorithm gets cracked

Bottom line: It is now possible to activate a new installation of Windows XP, despite the fact that Microsoft no longer operates its online activation servers. Windows XP has long since been left in the dust but there are still plenty of machines running the legacy OS that could benefit from this tool.

The Register points to a blog post from tinyapps highlighting semi-recent developments on the matter. Of course, folks have been cracking Windows XP for decades but it is now possible to do so safely, securely, and without having to get Microsoft involved. Per a Reddit post on the matter, the tool is based on a reverse engineering effort of Microsoft's telephone activation algorithm.

According to the latest data from StatCounter, Windows XP is installed on just 0.35 percent of PCs worldwide. That's a hardly a blip on the radar, you say, so why is this even relevant?

StatCounter and other analytics services only measure systems that are connected to the Internet and visit sites with tracking code installed. The truth of the matter is that there are lots of systems in the wild that are not connected to the Internet. But why would they still be using an ancient operating system like Windows XP? Out of necessity.

There is no shortage of legacy hardware and software that is only compatible with older operating systems like XP. I once did IT work for a tanning salon years ago, and they used proprietary software from a company called Helios to control hardware-based T-Max bed timers. The software and hardware has probably come a long way since then but at the time, it had to be run on an older version of Windows.

In many cases, upgrading these mission critical systems simply is not possible because the proprietary hardware or software is no longer in development. If you find yourself in this boat and Windows XP is your only paddle, it is good to know that there's a way to activate the OS without an Internet connection. Microsoft also offered phone-based activation, but it is unclear if this method is still functional today.

Full details on what you will need to activate XP can be found over on the tinyapps blog. It also begs the question - will Microsoft ever release an official activation tool for XP?

Fri, 26 May 2023 05:12:00 -0500 Shawn Knight en-US text/html
Program Spits out Cracked Windows XP Keys, if You’re Real eager to Return to 2001

Imagine it’s 2001. You turn on your old Dell shoebox computer and boot up your newly-installed Windows XP copy to hear that choppy “bummm” sound and see the classic rolling hills of the stock desktop wallpaper. Well, if you’re really interested in returning to the ancient operating system more than 20 years after its release (note: you probably shouldn’t), users can now generate cracked product keys in all their pirated glory.

Like George W. Bush once declared during XP’s heyday: “mission accomplished,” even if this latest crack is close to 20 years late to the draw.

As first reported by The Register, the tinyapps blog revealed back in April that somebody had cracked Windows XP’s product activation encryption algorithm, allowing users to create usable XP activation keys.

The real xp_activate32.exe program is hash listed on the blog. It essentially takes the number string generated by the old Windows XP phone activation system and turns it into a correct code for unlocking the OS. The Register tested the process on an XP virtual machine running on Windows 7 and found that the key generation program created a working 25-digit activation code. Other users on the r/windowsxp subreddit have also confirmed that the process worked and generated accurate keys.

Microsoft has long since shut down activation servers for its product keys, meaning users can no longer activate keys using the company’s online service. So this development may be one of the few ways those with ancient hardware can actually use older machines that simply will not work on any modern OS software.

It’s not as if this is the first time users have tried to subtly or brute force a key for XP. A GitHub repository from back in 2019 could create confirmation IDs for the operating system, but that required linking to a separate server that seems to be down. The XP source code had been leaked to the internet back in 2020, but even still users have been hard pressed to access the once-loved Microsoft OS after activation servers shut down. Users have reported being able to use legitimate keys over the phone.

Of course, you shouldn’t go off and obtain whatever version of XP you find on Google. Even if you do get it up and running, connecting it to the internet is also risky. Windows has long stopped doing any sort of security updates for Windows XP. The crack could prove useful for accessing older hardware, and it could be used to run legacy software that’s long been discontinued.

Before XP, older versions of Windows, like Windows 95, were much easier to crack, since they required little more than a correct sequence of numbers in a row. Even ChatGPT can easily manufacture those keys once it understands the correct parameters for them.

Want more of Gizmodo’s consumer electronics picks? Check out our guides to the best phones, best laptops, best cameras, best televisions, best printers, and best tablets. If you want to learn about the next big thing, see our guide to everything we know about the iPhone 15. Click here to save on the best deals of the day, courtesy of our friends at The Inventory.

Sat, 27 May 2023 05:03:00 -0500 en text/html
Microsoft hypes new games console, doesn't talk about games | 10 Years Ago This Month

The games industry moves pretty fast, and there's a tendency for all involved to look constantly to what's next without so much worrying about what came before. That said, even an industry so entrenched in the now can learn from its past. So to refresh our collective memory and perhaps offer some perspective on our field's history, runs this monthly feature highlighting happenings in gaming from exactly a decade ago.

Last month we talked about one of Microsoft's big missteps with the Xbox One which was readily apparent at the time but has only become more obvious in retrospect, namely the attempted adoption of required daily online check-ins so that publishers could still command a fee when people bought a used game.

Microsoft's rush to force an inevitable and imminent future into the present was a spectacularly bad decision, a mistake that simply could not have been made at any other point in time.

Before the Xbox One, Microsoft couldn't be assured that its userbase could be assumed to have reliable online connections in order to facilitate the check-ins.

After the Xbox One, the shift to digital consumption had become so pronounced that there was basically no need for Microsoft to even bother rocking the boat with such a policy; consumers largely decided the convenience and deep discounts possible with digital distribution far outweighed the benefits of having a physical copy of the game to lend or trade in.

Today we're going to talk about another of Microsoft's terrible Xbox One strategies, but this one has a more timeless feel to it. It's the story of a company badly misreading the room, like Nintendo insisting people didn't want online games or Sony deciding it was fine to suggest users work longer hours to afford the PS3.

Xbox One was supposed to be the culmination of Microsoft's long-term strategy for the Xbox, the payoff for it getting into the console business in the first place.

The original Xbox lost a ton of money to establish a beachhead in the living room. The Xbox 360 made the brand a legitimate pillar of the industry, one every bit as relevant to gaming as Nintendo or Sony.

But Microsoft didn't want just another game system. It wanted its ecosystem to extend to every aspect of people's lives. How many people already interact with Windows every minute of their work life? The Xbox extended Microsoft's reach a little further into people's gaming lives, and the popularity of Xbox 360 apps like Netflix showed the potential for the company to have its hands on an even greater share of the 24 hours each user has in a day.

Those ambitions were absolutely the focus during the original Xbox One reveal, which kicked off with a monolog cobbled together from clips of developers, players, and celebrities like Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams each reciting a few words for an intro segment that was not shy about making Big Promises that were equal parts creepy, sad, and dystopian.

"We're about to change entertainment forever. Again. Because we're going to take all that we learned in more than 30 years of innovation, and use it to change everything. For the first time, you and your TV are going to have a relationship.

"It's going to recognize my name, my voice, my friends, my family, my movies, me. It's going to remember all the things I like, love, and really love.

"We're going to use ground-breaking technology and the power of the cloud to set my imagination free. Free to create worlds and feelings I can only begin to imagine, where I'll laugh more, cry more, scream more, and cheer more. Where I'll stop just watching and start feeling alive.




So there I was, all ready to have a consumer product reveal to fill the presumed sad void in my existence and have me start feeling alive. But just when I was about to experience self-actualization within the Xbox family of products, Microsoft instead served up one of the most deathly dull press briefings I've ever seen.

Microsoft interactive entertainment business president Don Mattrick came out to kick off the show and wave the first red flag, referencing Xbox's "new mission." That new mission included games, but it was definitely more interested in a bunch of things that were absolutely not games.

"Today, we're thrilled to unveil the ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system," Mattrick said, "the one with the power to create experiences that look and feel like nothing else. The one that makes your TV more intelligent. The one system for a new generation. Ladies and gentleman, introducing Xbox One."

After that, it was a flashy unveiling of the new Kinect sensor, controller, and the Xbox One itself, which met with the sort of uproarious approval you might expect from a well-orchestrated product reveal. But rather than capitalize on that momentum, they turned the show over to senior VP of marketing and strategy Yusuf Mehdi, who briefly said gaming stuff would be talked about later and at E3, "but for now, though, I want to share how we're going to take that passion for gaming and apply it to your entire TV experience."

We watched some Price is Right. We watched a trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness and learned we could order movie tickets. We watched some basketball. We used voice commands to watch The Today Show. We watched people chat on Skype.

Fucking Skype.

Then we watched some more Price is Right. (Although in Microsoft's defence, Plinko is the literal manifestation of my passion for gaming applied to the TV experience.)

A screen of the Xbox One dashboard highlighting TV programs like The Today Show, The View, and The Price is Right
I hope there were fierce debates at Microsoft about whether they should supply The Today Show or The View the featured positioning in this clip of the Xbox One reveal.

That took us to the 18-minute mark, with more than half of the show to that point consisting of Mehdi's TV demonstration. Next up was Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten to talk system specs and Kinect talk, with some promises about the power of cloud computing that would never be paid off, unless you were a weirdly big fan of that one multiplayer mode for Crackdown 3 that finally arrived some six years later.

It was 33 minutes before we finally got our first focus on real games, a pre-rendered hype trailer for the EA Sports lineup. And sure, sports games aren't necessarily what the core gamer audience shows up to console reveal events for, but they were undeniably games, and after such a long stretch without, the audience was probably grateful just to be edging into familiar territory.

The move toward what people actually cared about continued, as trailers for Forza Motorsport 5 and Quantum Break followed. But just when the audience might have suspected the show was getting back on course, it swerved right back into the world of Not Games with an extended Xbox Entertainment Studios segment focused on "our mission to transform television."

"Xbox is about to become the next water cooler"Nancy Tellem in May 2013

And here to detail those plans was Xbox Entertainment Studios president Nancy Tellem, who quickly established her credibility with the hip young gamer audience by, uh… namedropping her previous work at CBS on CSI and early '00s reality show phenom Survivor? Hrm.

"Only on Xbox will TV become social in ways unknown to us today, driven and shaped by the community of tens of millions on Xbox Live," Tellem said. "Xbox is about to become the next water cooler."

That's great, but you're not selling a water cooler, and telling people you don't really know what it will do is not a particularly compelling sales pitch. (Remember kids, if any exec ever hypes a potentially neat feature saying "We can't wait to see what people will do with this," it's probably because they don't have a clear and compelling idea of their own as to what people would want to do with it.)

Then 343 Industries' Bonnie Ross came out not to announce a new Halo game, but a Halo TV series "created in partnership" with Steven Spielberg. While Xbox Entertainment Studios was shut down the very next year in a Microsoft-wide restructuring, this was actually one of the more successful things to come out of the show. It just took a very long while, as the first episode of Halo's first season debuted almost nine years later in March of 2022.

Bonnie Ross and Nancy Tellem on stage at the Xbox One reveal. On the screen behind them is an image from the Halo TV show with the words "Wake up John"
The Halo TV bit contained some no-doubt helpful advice for anyone watching the reveal with a person named John.

Microsoft must have been thinking about spoiling gamers with something even tangentially related to their interests, because the next segment was right back to the land of television with an extended discussion of Microsoft's partnership with the NFL.

I understand why Microsoft felt the need to include this segment, seeing as how the company was spending $400 million on this partnership (which also included Microsoft branding on sidelines and coaches using Surface tablets on the sidelines) and was more concerned with making the most of that money rather than making the most of the billions it had already spent to make itself a viable console player in the first place.

What I don't understand is why Microsoft felt the best way to talk about this partnership was a Don Mattrick one-on-one sit-down interview with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Whatever you might think of their business acumen or their moral culpability for the horrifying quality of life problems experienced by former players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, neither is a particularly charismatic screen presence.

They proved unable to pull off the nigh-impossible feat of making me care about about Xbox One bringing fantasy football functionality to the console experience, much less that they were integrating it with Skype.

Fucking Skype!

Don Mattrick and Roger Goodell talking while sitting in large black chairs in a locker room. An Xbox One sits on a small table placed between them
Microsoft overestimated the ability of corporate synergy talk amongst the jock straps to drive preorders

We're at the 50-minute mark here, people. Microsoft blew way past "ill-advised" in this one and landed somewhere between Andreessen Horowitz's blockchain investment portfolio and Elon Musk paying $44 billion for an unprofitable social network knowing that it would thereafter be run by Elon Musk.

But Microsoft knew it couldn't end with the NFL and a release window announcement of "later this year," so its big finale was a look at the next entry in the biggest franchise in games, Call of Duty.

Activision Publishing head Eric Hirshberg took the stage with a bit of self-effacing humor showing he was well aware how the show had gone.

"Just to be clear, I am the last human speedbump standing between you and seeing the world premiere of the next-generation of Call of Duty up on that screen in a couple of minutes, so knowing my audience as I do, I'm going to try and get through this as fast as possible," Hirshberg said.

It was too little, too late. After an excruciating hour-long build-up, Microsoft's "one more thing" was a behind-the-scenes clip and trailer package for Call of Duty: Ghosts, a next-gen debut for the franchise that would disappoint both critically and commercially.

The most positive thing I can say about the Call of Duty: Ghosts capper – and perhaps the Xbox One reveal as a whole – is that it gave us the gift of "dogmouthing."

People hated it

Needless to say, this did not go over terribly well with a significant chunk of the audience. From the focus on TV and sports to the lack of any mention about the digital restrictions that had dominated talk leading up to the reveal, there was no shortage of complaints.

As far as us media types go, Rob Fahey called it confused and boring, saying, "The tone of Microsoft's event rankled gamers, for good reason – the reveal of a game console which focuses so heavily on how good it is at controlling television shows and movies shows basic disregard for the reasons most people watching the reveal online have to actually buy game consoles."

Our staff roundtable had a variety of views ranging from my "hated it" to Matt Martin's less judgmental description of the strategy.

"Xbox One isn't a video games console," Martin said. "Whether you like that or not, that's the case. Xbox One is the collective Microsoft entertainment and communications business sitting under your television. Games are part of that, sure, but Skype is just as important for Microsoft."

Fucking Skype?

We talked to a handful of indie developers, who definitely picked up on the differences between Microsoft's show and Sony's PS4 reveal, where prominent indie Jon Blow was given the stage for a lengthy segment promoting The Witness.

Double Fine's Tim Schafer told us he wasn't sure what to make of his future employer's new hardware because unlike Sony, Microsoft hadn't ever sought feedback about what kind of things a studio like Double Fine would want out of a new system.

"This will be a marketing game and right now Sony seems to be winning"DFC's David Cole

Analysts were split on the reveal, with DFC Intelligence's David Cole noting the different approaches Sony and Microsoft were taking, and expressing concern that Microsoft was "going after a need that isn't really there."

"In the US Microsoft has a major advantage but they could easily screw that up very quickly," Cole said. "We only need to look at Nintendo's disastrous recent product launches for a lesson. This will be a marketing game and right now Sony seems to be winning."

Wedbush's Michael Pachter likewise identified the approach as "exactly upside-down what Sony did," but thought that could be a good thing.

"Sony was all games all the time and this was all entertainment, saying games would be at E3," Pachter said. "The gaming press was really excited by the games focus by Sony, but I think this has more mass appeal and I think E3 is a games-focused show so I think maybe that strategy is smarter."

While much of the reaction to Microsoft's mass appeal push was negative, it was not terribly surprising to those familiar with the company.

Peter Molyneux saw his former employer's misstep coming well before the Xbox One was actually unveiled, saying, "The big question left in my mind and lots of people's minds, I think, is are they going to be saying this is the ultimate gaming console or this is something everyone should have in their living room? Because those two messages...trying to mix those two messages may just end up confusing people."

Even just-ousted Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello was foreshadowing Microsoft's problems in a guest column for Kotaku the day before the unveiling, saying, "The risk is that either or both of the new platforms emphasize these 'value-add' experiences too much, both in the user interface on the consoles themselves, or in the story they tell consumers when they unleash their avalanche of advertising."

Perhaps the most frustrating part of this is that outside of this crucial tone-setting reveal, Microsoft wasn't ignoring games. It was actually spending $1 billion to bring exclusive games to Xbox One, promising 15 such titles in the system's first year, eight of them new IPs. (Dead Rising 3, Titanfall, Ryse: Son of Rome, Sunset Overdrive, and Crimson Dragon were among the first-year console exclusives Microsoft did not mention at the event.)

If Xbox One really was intended to be Microsoft's Trojan Horse to take the living room, they probably would have been better served to make it look more like a horse and less like a troop transport with transparent walls.

What else happened in May of 2013

● While EA was busy conducting a search to find its next CEO, EA Sports executive VP Andrew Wilson sold every last share he owned in his employer.

The board must have seen that lack of faith in EA's future as evidence of a shrewd financial intellect at work; Wilson would be named EA CEO that September, and still holds the position today.

● EA was busy making deals, signing separate ten-year pacts to make FIFA and Star Wars games. Neither turned out quite as we expected, with the lengthy and lucrative FIFA-EA partnership dissolving last year as the publisher rebrands the series to EA FC and the Star Wars exclusivity going by the wayside with the likes of Zynga, Ubisoft, and Quantic Dream sharing the license in recent years.

● EA also broke some deals, saying it would stop making licensing agreements with firearms manufacturers, but would keep featuring their guns in games anyway.

I don't know, maybe if the gun makers aren't sending the legal team after you for blatantly unlicensed use of their products in your games, it means just having the guns in your games supports their business much more than whatever they made from licensing deals in the first place?

And not giving them the licensing money on top of that is a meaningless attempt to wash your hands of responsibility and criticism even as you continue effectively advertising their products to an audience they cannot directly market toward? Just a thought.

● Five months after release, Resident Evil 6 sales totaled 4.9 million copies, enough to make it the fourth best-selling game in Capcom's history, behind Street Fighter 2 on SNES, Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation, and the multiplatform Resident Evil 5. In one of those moments that ramped up hand-wringing about the sustainability of AAA development, Capcom called the sales disappointing.

● Blizzard gave up on Titan, its big MMO follow up to World of Warcraft that had been hinted at for years. While that project never came together, it led to the creation of Overwatch, which fared considerably better.

● With some free time on his hands after Disney closed Junction Point Studios, Warren Spector wrote a few guest columns for us, including this one that notes how Epic Mickey was his game with the lowest Metacritic average, but the most fan mail. It also included this lovely sentiment well worth taking to heart:

"At the end of the day, understand that 'success' is a word with as many meanings as there are people to define it. Choose your meaning carefully and live with the joy – and consequences – of your choice. In this way, life is like a game. If only more games were like life. Accomplishing that goal, making games more like life and encouraging others to do the same, is my definition of success – what's yours?"

Good Call, Bad Call

BAD CALL: Microsoft interactive entertainment business VP Phil Harrison said the packed-in Kinect sensor would be the Xbox One's game changer because every developer could count on every user having one.

In reality, developers didn't provide more robust support for Kinect because it didn't really suit the traditional games popular with early adopters and multiplatform third-party publishers still had most of their playerbase lacking Kinect because they were on PS4 (which sold better in part because it was $100 cheaper thanks to the lack of a pricey camera peripheral pack-in). Developers also couldn't count on everybody having one because it would start selling Kinect-less Xbox Ones less than a year after launch anyway.

BAD CALL: Just in case gamers weren't alienated enough by the Xbox One reveal, Don Mattrick drove the point home to the Wall Street Journal with an answer to Xbox One backwards compatibility questions that was equal parts dismissive and hostile, saying, "If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards."

Microsoft would become really backwards two years later when Xbox 360 backward compatibility was one of its big E3 2015 announcements.

BAD CALL: Xbox senior director of product planning Albert Panello echoed Harrison's point about the benefits of a mandatory Kinect and also hyped up the promise of cloud computing to open up new kinds of experiences, but we're mostly including him here for treating an unpopular decision as if it were simply a matter of what was possible.

"To deliver the performance that we needed, we had to switch architectures, and that was just going to make backward compatibility impossible," Panello said.

Reminds me a lot of the excuses for SimCity and Diablo 3 being always-online because it was impossible to deliver devs' vision for the game otherwise, even though offline versions of SimCity and Diablo 3 were suddenly very possible once it suited the publisher's interests.

VERY BAD CALL: Those were all bad calls from Microsoft execs, but Yusuf Mehdi offered some sales projections that make those other calls look downright accurate. Mehdi was just the messenger conveying the company's internal projections, but there's nobody else here to shoot. Sorry Mehdi.

"Every generation, as you've probably heard, has grown approximately 30%," Medhi said. "So this generation is about 300 million units. Most industry experts think the next generation will get upwards of about 400 million units. That's if it's a game console, over the next decade. We think you can go broader than a game console, that's our aim, and you can go from 400 million to potentially upwards of a billion units."

The Wii U sold almost 13.6 million units, and Sony's final sales update for the PS4 last August put it at 117 million units.

We don't really know what the Xbox One sold. Microsoft stopped reporting hardware sales numbers in 2016 because they weren't as relevant as engagement metrics / looked real bad next to Sony's numbers.

Regardless, we're pretty sure Xbox One didn't sell the 169 million units needed to make that conservative estimate of 300 million for the generation, or the 269 million needed to hit the 400 million that "most experts" had predicted.

And somehow, even with Skype integration (say it with me now) it's still a safe bet the Xbox One still fell short of the 869 million units sold it would have needed to realize the generation's potential for 1 billion units.

GOOD CALL: It wasn't exclusively Bad Calls for Microsoft in May of 2013. After all, the company did say that it was finally getting rid of the value-obscuring Microsoft Points virtual currency for digital Xbox purchases and would instead allow people to purchase things directly for their exact asking price. It was way late in coming, but it was a Good Call nonetheless. Now if only the free-to-play market would follow suit...

GOOD CALL: In similarly belated but welcome news, Electronic Arts shelved its Online Pass program, an effort to undercut used game sales by locking online play behind a $10 paywall, but including a single-use code to unlock online play for free with every new copy of a game. EA had launched the Online Pass for its sports games exactly three years earlier, but was discontinuing it due to feedback as "many players didn't respond to the format."

BAD CALL: Nintendo began claiming monetization rights on YouTube videos featuring its games, because why wouldn't you try to take money from your biggest fans doing free marketing?

BAD CALL: In a post-earnings conference call, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick pooh-poohed suggestions that the company was missing the boat on mobile, saying, "If you look at the last four or five years, you've seen changes in the top ten almost every year that are significant. Nothing that's driven any sizable amount of operating profit. While we're going to continue to look at it, and we think that over the long term there'll be opportunities, right now we just don't see anything that would suggest that changing the way we approach investing against mobile would be a good idea."

That same month, Candy Crush Saga claimed the top spot on the highest-grossing iOS charts. Activision Blizzard would change the way it approached investing against mobile two years later, when it forked over $5.9 billion to buy Candy Crush maker King, which is now the largest part of the Activision Blizzard empire despite not even sharing top billing in the company name.

You can debate whether Activision Blizzard was right to ignore mobile for so long (and I have done just that), but it's easy to imagine a different strategy would have let it establish itself in mobile quicker, cheaper, and with less reliance on external parties like NetEase (for Diablo Immortal) and TiMi Studios (on Call of Duty Mobile).

Wed, 24 May 2023 02:20:00 -0500 en text/html
Microsoft aims to win the AI app race with three big advantages

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Microsoft is racing to extend its AI-powered app ecosystem: At Build yesterday, the company announced it is expanding its Copilot applications and adopting the same standard for plugins (that interact with APIs from other software and services) as its partner OpenAI introduced for ChatGPT. This allows developers to build plugins that work across ChatGPT, Bing Chat, Dynamics 365 Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot and the new Windows Copilot.

But this is no easy win for Microsoft, say experts. After all, Google announced at I/O that Bard will soon be compatible with additional apps and services, both from Google — including Docs, Drive, Gmail and Maps — and from third-party partners like Adobe Firefly.

“Because we are talking about APIs and not hardware-dependent applications or apps, it is much harder to defend a position of hegemony,” Whit Andrews, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research, told VentureBeat. If someone else builds APIs that are just as good, “there’s not that big of a switching cost,” he said.

Microsoft is enjoying a head start

Andrews emphasized that Microsoft certainly has a head start and three key advantages.


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First, Microsoft has an “extraordinary” first-mover advantage as OpenAI’s partner. “So the more they can establish familiarity and appeal, the more they can generate a defensible value,” he said.

In addition, without a moat, brand strength will also be an important driver, he explained. “With the intense value of Microsoft’s brand, that’s why things have to move so fast for Microsoft to have the best possible outcome.”

Finally, Microsoft, with its tremendous developer community, has the opportunity to grab market share and familiarity. “Microsoft attracts developers better than anybody else,” said Andrews. “So if you’re Microsoft, you lean on that this week [at Build]. Can you present your developers, your faithful, with the opportunities to participate in this extraordinary AI world that they will find attractive and familiar?” Microsoft needs to be synonymous in the developer’s mind with access to easy artificial intelligence-powered functionality, he added: “That means growth needs to be explosive — every developer in the Microsoft family needs to say to themselves, ‘I’ll start by looking there.'”

‘An impressive, all-out assault’ has limits

According to Matt Turck, a VC at FirstMark, Microsoft’s AI app ecosystem and plugin framework is an “impressive, all-out assault by Microsoft to be top of mind for developers around the world who want to build with AI.”

Microsoft is certainly pushing hard to lead the space and reap ROI on its multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI, Turck told VentureBeat. But he said it “remains to be seen whether the world is ready to live in a Microsoft-dominated AI world” and suspects there will be “stiff resistance,” particularly on the enterprise side — where many want to leverage open source and multi-agents for customization, and will also want to protect their data from going out to a cloud provider (in this case, Azure).

Andrews agreed that it’s too early to know whether Microsoft will prevail — or if the AI app and plugin ecosystem will even flourish. “For lots of consumer users, ChatGPT is pretty amazing for what it does right now, and there might be problems with plugins that conflict with each other, things might begin to get a little challenging. The value of a plugin demands education, explanation and usage.”

Harder to implement effective controls and safeguards

Other experts point out that the growth of the app ecosystem will make it even harder to develop effective controls and safeguards in an era when AI regulation is becoming a top priority.

“The main concern in my mind is a distribution of accountability between the third parties and the entity that provides the source LLM,” Suresh Venkatasubramanian, professor of computer science at Brown University and former White House policy advisor, told VentureBeat in a message.

While he said there is also an opportunity if the companies proving the LLM service are willing and able to establish more controls, “I don’t see that happening any time soon. To me, this continues to reinforce the importance of guardrails ‘at the point of impact’ where people are affected.”

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Wed, 24 May 2023 11:12:00 -0500 Sharon Goldman en-US text/html
Windows Phone is dead! What is next for Windows 10 Mobile users?

Despite a series of acquisitions (Nokia) and tie-ups (Samsung), Windows Phones weren’t as profitable for Microsoft as planned, and thus the company stopped manufacturing and focusing on them. The major cause for its failure can be attributed to the lack of quality apps. However, the support continued for the devices, until Microsoft ceased support for Windows 8.1 Mobile in 2017.

In a recent announcement, the IT giant has now clarified that the support for Windows 10 Mobile would end as of December 10, 2019. This means Windows 10 Mobile users would not receive any updates or any assistance at all from Microsoft.

Windows 10 Mobile support end date

Microsoft has released an FAQ for users who may still be using the Windows 10 Mobile handsets.

With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device, says Microsoft.

Why is Microsoft ending support for Windows 10 Mobile?

Technology has evolved along with the needs and expectations of your customers and partners who have already adopted Android or iOS platforms and devices. Microsoft’s mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more compels us to support our Mobile apps on the supported Android and iOS devices.

What about the app support on Windows Mobile devices?

Both Microsoft and third-party apps on Windows Mobile devices have a different support system and are separate from the general operating system support. This makes sense because the same apps could be compatible with your PC, Xbox, or Hololens device.

Thus the apps would be supported by their provider the way it was intended to be and has nothing to do with this announcement in particular.

Can users use Windows Mobile devices after 10th December 2019?

Why not! While Microsoft is ramping down the support for its mobile devices, it doesn’t shut down the device itself. Users could continue using their Windows Mobile devices. However, since Microsoft wouldn’t roll out any security updates, you would need to understand that you would be using the device at your own risk.

What should Windows Mobile users do on such a situation?

It needs to be understood that Microsoft stopped manufacturing mobile devices quite some time ago and the current situation was anticipated. Thus, if you have a Windows Mobile device, you could consider buying a new Android or iOS mobile device.

If you wish to continue using your old Windows Mobile device, it would be advisable to backup your phone. To back up the data of a Windows 10 Mobile device, go to the following location Settings > Update & security > Backup > More Options. Select Back up now.

Will the phone work after December 10, 2019?

Yes. The Windows 10 Mobile device should continue to work after December 10, 2019, but there will be no updates after that date, and device backup functionality and other backend services will be phased out.


No Windows mobile device is an exception to this announcement, even if they were procured commercially. However, this announcement is for devices running on Windows update 1709. Support would cease for devices running on 1703 on June 11th, 2019.

For more information, please check the reference on Microsoft’s Support website.

Thu, 31 Mar 2022 10:21:00 -0500 en-US text/html
China hacking group caught spying on US organizations

US needs to 'reindustrialize' to compete with China: Dr. Jonathan Ward



A recent report from Microsoft and the National Security Agency reveals a targeted cyberattack by a Chinese hacking group on critical infrastructure organizations in the United States. The attack was carried out by a state-sponsored group known for espionage and information gathering. 

The hacker group, known as Volt Typhoon, is believed to be behind a mysterious computer code that was discovered in telecommunications systems across the United States, including Guam.

The presence of this code is concerning due to Guam's strategic importance in potential military responses to a Taiwan invasion or blockade, given its Pacific ports and significant American air base. The code, referred to as a "web shell," is a malicious script that grants unauthorized remote access to a server. 


Other organizations believed to be affected span various sectors, including information technology, education, communications, maritime, government, manufacturing, utilities, transportation and construction. The hacking group’s behavior suggests a focus on long-term access and espionage, with an aim to remain undetected within target networks. 

Volt Typhoon can mask activity by sending data traffic through small business and home office network hardware they control, such as firewalls, routers and VPN hardware. © Volt Typhoon can mask activity by sending data traffic through small business and home office network hardware they control, such as firewalls, routers and VPN hardware.

Volt Typhoon achieves initial access to their targeted organizations through Fortinet FortiGuard devices. These devices are designed to help protect organizations from cyber threats. However, in this case, the hackers find weaknesses or loopholes in the FortiGuard devices that allow them to break in. 


They try to mask their activity by sending data traffic through small business and home office network hardware they control, such as firewalls, routers and VPN hardware. They also rely on resources already within their operating systems. Once they have gained this initial access, the hackers can then proceed to carry out further malicious activities within the targeted organizations. 

Volt Typhoon could use their tactics to damage infrastructure plans for the U.S., or it could be part of a larger plan that China is brewing that is connected to the spy balloon that floated across American nuclear sites in late January and early February of this year. 

The biggest security concern is for Anderson Air Force Base in Guam. If that gets attacked, it could reveal some much-needed answers to China for a desired attack on Taiwan. Plus, it is a major hub for many of our country's ships stationed in the Pacific Ocean. Because of these threats, the Biden administration says it will be stepping in to help protect its infrastructure with new security requirement plans. 

Following Microsoft’s report, China has vehemently denied the allegations. 


It is worth mentioning that Microsoft did make a statement about how people can protect themselves by saying, "Microsoft has directly notified targeted or compromised customers, providing them with important information needed to secure their environments." 

Although this is likely to help prevent attacks on a much larger scale than individual's devices, it is a good reminder to take the proper precautionary steps for yourself to protect your data and privacy. 

Whenever possible, enable two-factor authentication for your accounts and devices. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a secondary verification method, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device in addition to your password. 

Regularly update your operating system, web browsers and other software on your device. These updates often include security patches that address vulnerabilities and protect against known threats. 

How to schedule a free virtual session with Microsoft support




If you get an email or a text message asking you to click a link either to view or verify your information, don't fall for it. Hackers use this technique all the time to try to fool people. They'll even pretend to be a real high-ranking official from the IRS or some other government organization to try to scare you into falling for their schemes. 

Having antivirus software running on your devices will make sure you are stopped from clicking on any malicious links or from downloading any files that will release malware into your device and potentially have your private information stolen. The software will also remove any existing malware from your devices.  

See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices by visiting

Create strong passwords for your accounts and devices and avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts. Consider using a password manager to securely store and generate complex passwords. It will help you to create unique and difficult-to-crack passwords that a hacker could never guess. Second, it also keeps track of all your passwords in one place and fills passwords in for you when you're logging into an account so that you never have to remember them yourself.  The fewer passwords you remember, the less likely you will be to reuse them for your accounts.


What qualities should I look for in a password manager? 

When it comes to choosing the best password manager for you, here are some of my top tips. 

  • Deploys secure
  • Works seamlessly across all of your devices
  • Creates unique complicated passwords that are different for every account
  • Automatically populates login and password fields for apps and sites you revisit
  • Has a browser extension for all browsers you use to automatically insert passwords for you
  • Allows a failsafe in case the primary password is ever lost or forgotten
  • Checks that your existing passwords remain safe and alerts you if ever compromised
  • Uses two-factor authentication security.


Microsoft exec Brad Smith says censorship is not the answer to combating new era of foreign threats



Check out my best expert-reviewed password managers of 2023 by heading to

Consider using a VPN to protect against being tracked and to identify your potential location on websites that you visit.  Many sites can read your IP address and, depending on their privacy settings, may display the city from which you are corresponding. A VPN will disguise your IP address to show an alternate location. 

For the best VPN software, see my expert review of the best VPNs for browsing the web privately on your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by visiting 

This latest news about the Chinese hacking group called Volt Typhoon is troubling. They are targeting critical infrastructure organizations in the U.S. with stealthy tactics to conduct espionage activities. There are concerns about potential damage to infrastructure plans and national security. The Biden administration plans to implement new security requirements to protect U.S. infrastructure. This is a good reminder to do what you can to protect your data and privacy. I recommend you install antivirus software, use a password manager, and consider using a VPN to protect against potential cyber threats. 

How concerned are you for the safety of our infrastructure now that you know about Volt Typhoon and its malicious plans? How ready is your own technology to fend off an attack?  Let us know by writing us at 

For more of my security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to 

Copyright 2023 All rights reserved. 

Fri, 02 Jun 2023 05:05:48 -0500 en-US text/html
Microsoft confirms System Restore points break apps on Windows 11 22H20 0
A modified red Windows 11 logo indicating a known issue

Windows System Restore is a maintenance tool that can save users a lot of time when their computers misbehave. Restore points backup mission-critical software bits and pieces that allow restoring the operating system to the working state without clean-installing it and losing data. Unfortunately for Windows 1 1 22H2 users, an ally turned into an enemy—Microsoft has confirmed that using System Restore points on its latest OS might break some apps and cause the "This app can't open" error message.

Fortunately, not all apps are affected by the problem. According to an official post on the Microsoft Support website, the bug breaks first and third-party applications that use the MSIX Windows app
package format (Notepad, Paint, Office, Cortana, Terminal, etc), resulting in one or several of the following symptoms:

  • An error message “This app can’t open” is displayed instead of the app starting.

  • The app might have multiple entries on the Start menu.

  • An app may not respond when you try to start the app.

  • An I/O error may occur, followed by the app not responding, and then the app crashes.

  • If you try to start the app again, the app now runs.

Microsoft says affected customers should try the following to mend the broken apps:

  • Open the app again
  • Reinstall the app from the Microsoft Store or the original source
  • Install available Windows updates

Users can also resort to other methods mentioned in the official documentation that describes how to repair broken apps on Windows.

Thu, 19 Jan 2023 03:18:00 -0600 en text/html
Apple transformed the iPhone 10 years ago — and we’re still feeling it today

iOS 7 brought a bold new design, but much of what was introduced in that release still serves as the foundation for what we see on our iPhones today.

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An image of iOS 7 from Apple’s September 2013 event.
This is what iOS 7 looked like in September 2013 — three months after Apple first announced it.
Image: Apple

Heading into WWDC 2013, Apple had a lot to prove. The company was still licking its wounds from the botched launch of Apple Maps in iOS 6, and complaints had been growing around iOS’s increasingly stale design. Though the iPhone was by then a proven hit, iOS was starting to look outdated. Remember the notepad-like Notes app? The weird linen background behind Notification Center? The felt-ish green background of the Game Center app? When compared to things like Microsoft’s very flat and, for the time, very modern Windows Phone platform (RIP), it felt like iOS needed a shake-up.

So it was no surprise that, on June 10th, 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced what’s perhaps become Apple’s most important iOS update ever: iOS 7. But he didn’t linger onstage, quickly giving up the spotlight to a video narrated by Apple’s then-SVP of industrial design, Jony Ive, who had taken over software design from the ousted iOS exec Scott Forstall just months before.

“I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity. In clarity. In efficiency,” Ive said at the beginning of his video. “True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It’s about bringing order to complexity. iOS 7 is a clear representation of these goals.”

The video revealed a transformed operating system. iOS 7 would change the way nearly everything looked, eschewing skeuomorphic designs in favor of a more modern appearance. Many of those changes felt radical at the time — pushing too far in the direction of simplification, empty space, and a digital-first design language — but much of what was introduced in that release still serves as the foundation for what we see on our iPhones today.

iOS 7’s changes were apparent immediately. The iPhone’s homescreen was much brighter, thanks in large part to Apple’s totally redesigned app icons that were flatter and filled the screen with bright reds, greens, and blues. Apple added translucency all over iOS to supply the operating system a sense of layers. Even the signal bars were reevaluated, replaced by five circles.

The new design also felt less cluttered. Apple (at first) switched the font to Helvetica Neue Light, a much thinner typeface. That flat design and thinner font carried over into Apple’s apps, which were changed to match the new aesthetic and to better support swipe gestures. And apps used a lot more white and empty space. “We just completely ran out of green felt!” Craig Federighi quipped while presenting iOS 7 onstage. 

The new design wasn’t a hit from the jump. The same day Apple revealed iOS 7, Joshua Topolsky, The Verge’s former editor-in-chief, called the redesign “simply confusing” and criticized things like the design of many of the app icons (“Messages’ word balloon is so puffed up and oversized compared to its fine point that it looks like it will topple over”) and how Apple added strange new icons inside of apps (iOS 7 introduced the weird “box with an arrow pointing up” design for sharing).

Apple heard the complaints and made some small changes between the operating system’s June reveal and September release, including updating the font to the more legible Helvetica Neue and making the battery and cell signal indicators bigger on the lock screen. But the overall design philosophy was still there, regardless of whether you liked it; when everyone got iOS 7 on their phones, they still saw the weird blobs that now somehow represented Game Center. 

I think David Pierce said it best in his September 2013 review of iOS 7: “Apple’s on a mission to convince buyers that it’s still relevant, still innovative, still interesting. iOS 7 is full of big, sweeping changes to that effect, and there’s real power in making something look fresh and bright, but in the end the new visuals don’t offer much change under the surface. Not yet, anyway.”

That last line is important — because we now know just how important it actually turned out to be. “A lot of the criticism around iOS 7 was very focused on its initial implementation: fonts being too thin, inconsistent iconography, uninterruptible animations taking too long,” Janum Trivedi, a design engineer at The Browser Company, tells The Verge. “But that’s expected of any new design language — it takes time to bake.”

While Apple has refined many elements of the way iOS looks over the years, on the whole, the core ideas remain. Apple’s app icons are still pretty flat. Apps still have a lot of white space and even some translucency, like in Safari and Messages. “Over the years, the design language did mature, and the novel elements of iOS 7 became foundational parts of all Apple design today: blurs, translucency, vibrancy, interactivity, animation, depth,” Trivedi says. 

We shouldn’t forget that iOS 7 also introduced new features that have since become iOS staples. The new-at-the-time Control Center felt revolutionary when it was added — finally, an easy way to turn on airplane mode! — and while it was something of a jumbled mess at first, it got a big redesign with iOS 10 and another with iOS 11 that turned it into the very handy panel you might recognize today. iOS 7 added AirDrop, which has become an incredibly useful way to share things between Apple devices. The iOS 7 Camera app let you switch between things like the photo, square photo, panorama, and video modes with a swipe, which you can still easily do with the app.

After all this time, though, people are getting itchy; way more people use the OS now than in 2013, and there’s a growing desire for change and personalization. That might be why we’ve seen people jump through hoops to customize their iPhones and why Apple gave users some design control with iOS 16’s awesome lock screen tools. And even though Apple itself still largely avoids skeuomorphism, we’ve recently started to see some app designers — like at The Browser Company — having some fun with it again.

Apple has perhaps played it too safe as of late with iOS’s design. “After a decade, today, I still can’t believe that the iOS 7 design style is still present in the new iOS versions,” Enid Hadaj, an indie iOS developer, tells The Verge. “Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between them because they look very similar.” But for the most part, iOS just works, so Apple probably doesn’t need to rock the boat. 

To conclude his introduction video, Ive said something that sounded like typical inspirational Apple: “Together, we see iOS 7 as defining an important new direction. And in many ways, a beginning.” Ten years on, it turns out that he was right.

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