Archive for the ‘Windows 10’ Category

Critical Windows 10 vulnerability used to Rickroll the NSA and Github

January 16th, 2020
Chrome on Windows 10 as it Rickrolls the NSA.

Enlarge / Chrome on Windows 10 as it Rickrolls the NSA. (credit:

Less than a day after Microsoft disclosed one of the most critical Windows vulnerabilities ever, a security researcher has demonstrated how attackers can exploit it to cryptographically impersonate any website or server on the Internet.

Researcher Saleem Rashid on Wednesday tweeted images of the video "Never Gonna Give You Up," by 1980s heartthrob Rick Astley, playing on and The digital sleight of hand is known as Rickrolling and is often used as a humorous and benign way to demonstrate serious security flaws. In this case, Rashid's exploit causes both the Edge and Chrome browsers to spoof the HTTPS verified websites of Github and the National Security Agency. Brave and other Chrome derivatives, as well as Internet Explorer, are also likely to fall to the same trick. (There's no indication Firefox is affected.)

Rashid's simulated attack exploits CVE-2020-0601, the critical vulnerability that Microsoft patched on Tuesday after receiving a private tipoff from the NSA. As Ars reported, the flaw can completely break certificate validation for websites, software updates, VPNs, and other security-critical computer uses. It affects Windows 10 systems, including server versions Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019. Other versions of Windows are unaffected.

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Posted in Biz & IT, Certificates, cryptography, exploits, validation, vulnerabilities, Windows 10 | Comments (0)

Hands-on with Microsoft’s barrage of new Surface devices

October 2nd, 2019
Surface Earbuds

Enlarge / That charging case uses USB-C. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a slew of laptops and tablets for its Surface line of Windows computers and related accessories. The announcements include the Surface Pro 7, the latest iteration of the company's popular line of 2-in-1 tablets; the Surface Laptop 3, a refresh of its traditional clamshell laptop; the Surface Pro X, a new 2-in-1 with a svelter design and a custom ARM-based chip called the Microsoft SQ1; and the Surface Earbuds, a pair of true wireless earbuds that integrate with the company's Office 365 software.

I attended Microsoft's reveal event in New York City and was able to get some hands-on time with the new hardware. Below you can find a few quick impressions.

Of note: perhaps the biggest news of the day was Microsoft's tease of the Surface Neo, its long-anticipated dual-screen PC, and a surprise reveal of the Surface Duo, essentially a smaller version of the Surface Neo that works as an Android smartphone. I wasn't able to get hands-on time with either of those devices beyond checking out a couple non-functional dummy models, but Microsoft says they are scheduled to release in late 2020. Regardless, here's what Microsoft has coming for the rest of 2019.

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Posted in 2-in-1, Laptops, microsoft, surface earbuds, surface laptop 3, surface pro 7, surface pro x, Tech, true wireless earbuds, Windows 10 | Comments (0)

Apple’s iCloud has been a poor experience in Windows, but a new update seeks to fix that

June 12th, 2019

Apple has released a new version of iCloud for Windows 10 in the Microsoft Store, according to a recent blog post by Microsoft and a handful of Apple customer support documents. The new version claims to be a major improvement, with more robust features and more reliable syncing—the latter of those has been a common complaint for users of Apple's previous version.

Features listed by Microsoft include:

  • Access your iCloud Drive files directly from File Explorer without using up space on your PC
  • Choose the files and folders you want to keep on your PC
  • Safely store all your files in iCloud Drive and access them from your iOS device, Mac, and on
  • Share any file right from File Explorer and easily collaborate with others—edits will be synced across your devices

Interestingly, Microsoft says the new iCloud app is "powered by the same Windows technology that also powers OneDrive's Files On-Demand feature"—an unexpected technical and corporate partnership. But it shouldn't be too surprising at this point; despite the storied history and rivalries of the 1980s and '90s (as well as competition in areas like, yes, cloud services), Microsoft and Apple have largely played together nicely in recent years.

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Posted in apple, File Explorer, icloud, iCloud Drive, Microsoft Store, Tech, Windows, Windows 10 | Comments (0)

Microsoft Windows 10 will get a full built-in Linux Kernel for WSL 2

May 7th, 2019
Yes, you heard me right. Microsoft is taking another step forward to show its love for Linux and open source community by shipping a full Linux kernel in Windows 10 this summer. No, that doesn't mean Microsoft is making its Windows 10 a Linux distro, but the company will begin to ship an in-house custom built Linux kernel later this year starting with the Windows 10 Insider builds. <!--

Posted in linux, Linux operating system, linux subsystem, Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 10, windows linux | Comments (0)

Windows 10 will soon ship with a full, open source, GPLed Linux kernel

May 6th, 2019
Windows 10 will soon ship with a full, open source, GPLed Linux kernel

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Earlier today, we wrote that Microsoft was going to add some big new features to the Windows Subsystem for Linux, including native support for Docker containers. It turns out that that ain't the half of it.

The current Windows Subsystem for Linux uses a Microsoft-authored kernel component that provided the same kernel API as the Linux kernel but written from scratch by Microsoft. Essentially, it translated from Linux APIs to Windows NT kernel APIs. That worked pretty well, but the current subsystem had a few shortcomings: there was no ability to use Linux drivers, in particular file system drivers. Its file system performance, layered on top of Windows' own NTFS, was often 20 times slower than a real Linux kernel. It was also a relatively old version of the kernel; it offered approximately the set of APIs that Linux 4.4 did, and that was released in 2016. Some APIs aren't implemented at all, and others are only partially implemented to meet the needs of specific applications.

All is changing with Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. Instead of emulating the Linux kernel APIs on the NT kernel, WSL 2 is going to run a full Linux kernel in a lightweight virtual machine. This kernel will be trimmed down and tailored to this particular use case, with stripped-down hardware support (since it will defer to the host Windows OS for that) and faster booting.

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Posted in GPL, Open Source, Tech, Windows, Windows 10, windows subsystem for linux, wsl | Comments (0)

Coming soon: Windows Terminal—finally a tabbed, emoji-capable Windows command-line

May 6th, 2019
The Windows 7 console didn't support VT codes, so it completely garbles the output of applications that depend on VT codes. The Windows 10 console, however, does support VT codes, making it much more capable.

The Windows 7 console didn't support VT codes, so it completely garbles the output of applications that depend on VT codes. The Windows 10 console, however, does support VT codes, making it much more capable. (credit: The Windows console)

Details are currently scarce, but Microsoft has announced some big changes coming to its command-line interface. In Windows 10, Microsoft has been working to make the Windows command-line experience vastly improved, making it work much more like Unix command-line environments. But a couple of issues are still waiting to be fixed: people want tabs in their command-line, and they want support for emoji.

Coming in June, Windows Terminal will bring both of these. It sounds as if Windows Terminal will be able to replace the existing conhost console (the Windows component that's responsible for drawing command-line windows) with its limited feature set, ensuring that the new features are available to anything and everything that uses the command-line, including the traditional Windows NT cmd.exe but also including PowerShell and the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Windows Subsystem for Linux is also in line for some big improvements. Also coming in June, Microsoft intends to add full support for running containerized applications using Docker on WSL. This has been a much-requested piece of compatibility that developers have wanted in WSL.

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Posted in command line, Emoji, linux, microsoft, Tech, Windows 10, wsl | Comments (0)

Windows 10 May 2019 update blocked for anyone using USB or SD storage

April 24th, 2019
Better unplug all these if you want the new Windows version.

Enlarge / Better unplug all these if you want the new Windows version. (credit: Miia Sample)

While it's not officially out yet, the Windows 10 May 2019 update is available to Windows Insiders on the Release Preview distribution channel (and also to MSDN subscribers). So anyone who wants to get a head start on the next major iteration of Windows 10 can do so right now—unless they have USB storage connected to their PC.

Because of an issue that's frankly remarkable, Microsoft is blocking the update for anyone using USB storage or SD storage. That is to say: if you have a USB hard disk or thumb drive, or an SD card in an SD card reader, the update won't install. Perhaps more strangely, this is only the case if you're currently running version 1803 or 1809; upgrading from 1709 or 1703 (both of which are still supported, at least for Enterprise and Education users) means everything is, apparently, fine.

The reason for blocking the update is that it appears to be prone to shuffling the drive letters assigned to USB and SD storage devices. In other words, while your USB drive might show up as "D:" now, it could end up getting renamed to "E:" after upgrading to 1903. Fortunately, there is a straightforward to workaround: unplug the drives and remove the memory card, and the installation will proceed normally. You can then plug them back in after it's finished.

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Posted in may 2019 update, microsoft, Tech, Windows, Windows 10, windows as a service | Comments (0)

Crap artists rejoice! MS Paint is getting a last-minute reprieve

April 23rd, 2019
Who needs Aurich's artistic talents, anyway?

Enlarge / Who needs Aurich's artistic talents, anyway? (credit: Peter Bright)

Long, long ago, Microsoft quietly announced that it was going to remove the venerable mspaint.exe from Windows 10. The app was listed as deprecated, indicating intent to remove it in a future Windows 10 update, and the app itself was even updated to warn users that it was going to be removed from Windows in a future release.

Microsoft said that Paint would still be installable from the Store, but it was no longer going to be included by default. The app was even updated to include a "Product alert" button on its ribbon that, when clicked, showed a message box to warn that Paint would soon be moving to the Store. Paint's role would be filled by the new Paint 3D application, which contains most Paint features, as well as lots of 3D things.

But there's good news. The very latest builds of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update have removed the "Product alert" button, and Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc has confirmed that Paint will in fact continue to be shipped with Windows 10. You won't need to get it from the Store. As such, there will be nothing standing between Windows users and terrible artwork.

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Posted in legacy, microsoft, paint, Store, Tech, Windows, Windows 10 | Comments (0)

Windows 10 May 2019 Update now available on the Release Preview ring

April 9th, 2019
Who doesn't love some new Windows?

Enlarge / Who doesn't love some new Windows? (credit: Peter Bright / Flickr)

For a day or two, members of the Windows Insider Program are in that special limbo period that lets them opt out of the preview program without having to reinstall their operating system from scratch. At the same time, anyone not in the Insider Program can now get early access to the May 2019 update, build 18362.30.

For most of the year, the only way out of the Insider builds is to reinstall the previous stable Windows release. But twice each year, there's a short period where the Fast and Slow rings are shipping the same build as will be used for the stable release of the twice-annual feature updates. During this time, users of the Insider builds can drop out of the Insider program entirely or switch to the Release Preview ring, and their systems will update to the stable release and then stay on the stable track from that point onward.

Microsoft will soon close the window by distributing a build of Windows 20H1, the preview of the first 2020 update, to the Fast and Slow rings. Once this happens, dropping out of the preview scheme once again means reinstalling from scratch or waiting until 20H1's eventual stable release next year.

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Posted in insider program, microsoft, Tech, Windows 10 | Comments (0)

Microsoft going to extreme lengths to ensure May update avoids mistakes of 1809

April 4th, 2019
Stylized image of glass skyscrapers under construction.

Enlarge / Windows is now perpetually under construction. (credit: David Holt / Flickr)

Microsoft really wants to avoid a repeat of the mess surrounding the release of the last Windows 10 feature update. Windows 10 version 1809, the October 2018 update, was found to have a bug that in some circumstances destroyed user data, forcing the company to suspend the update's rollout. It turned out that the bug had been reported but was overlooked, and even once that problem was resolved, that version still suffered certain other awkward bugs.

Accordingly, the company is going to take a very different tack with the next feature update to Windows 10. Codenamed 19H1 and currently still branded 1903 (denoting it was completed in March of 2019), the next update was expected to be released as the April 2019 update. But that's not the case. It's going to be the May 2019 update, because Microsoft is being a great deal more cautious about this release. Next week, a build will be pushed to the Release Preview ring, which should provide around a month of testing before its expected release date.

This alone is a major difference as compared to 1809, as that release largely skipped the release preview ring for reasons that remain unclear. But Microsoft is going much further to make this release a success.

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Posted in bugs, microsoft, reliability, Tech, updates, upgrades, Windows, Windows 10 | Comments (0)