Items tagged with Microsoft

When it was found that Microsoft Exchange on-premises was vulnerable to hackers, quite a bit of havoc ensued across a wide range of industries. Since then, the FBI obtained a court order to go in and remove backdoors to hacked servers, but there are likely many hacked Exchange servers still out there. In recent days, researchers have noticed an uptick in DNS queries and new infrastructure and components associated with the Lemon Duck cryptocurrency mining botnet that targeted these vulnerable Exchange servers. In March, Microsoft first caught onto Lemon Duck “adopting different exploit styles and choosing to use a fileless/web shell-less option of direct PowerShell commands” for some... Read more...
Windows 10X, which we have been talking about for quite some time, could have been the “Chrome OS killer,” but Microsoft has seemingly put the kibosh on it for now. Perhaps this is due to a newly invigorated effort into the upcoming “Sun Valley” update or concerns about the market share a ChromeOS competitor would have. Either way, Windows 10X is on hold, and we will have to wait and see what happens soon. Since at least 2019, we have been hearing about a Windows 10 branch called Windows 10X, which was to be used for dual for folding display devices. After that, leaks and snippets of information came out until 2020, where Microsoft went rather quiet about the entire project... Read more...
Have you ever opened some buried menu in Windows 10 or stumble upon an icon and think, “Huh, that looks old”? That may soon be a thing of the past as Microsoft is prepping to deliver a visual rejuvenation with Project Sun Valley. Testers from the Insider program will get an early look, with the visual changes rolling out sometime later this year. We have talked about the Sun Valley refresh since at least late last year, with rumors of File Explorer changes, among other things. As we get closer to the presumed launch, reportedly coming sometime around October or November, information is slowly starting to trickle out about the update. Most recently, some have noticed some new icons... Read more...
AI is spreading, and not in the creepy sci-fi dystopian kind of way, but by way of programs to help manage large tasks in critical business sectors, such as healthcare, finance, and defense. Now, Microsoft is releasing a tool called Counterfit, an “automation tool for security testing AI systems as an open-source project.” This way, companies will be able to “ensure that the algorithms used in their businesses are robust, reliable, and trustworthy.” As mentioned, AI systems are becoming more prevalent in business, powering many different services. Thus, these systems must be secure from adversaries so that important or confidential information is not lost. However, performing... Read more...
Somehow or another, Adobe's Flash Player has stuck around way longer than it should have, even though Adobe has already stopped supporting it. Adobe also began blocking Flash content from running in Flash Player this past January and "strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems." Adding another nail in its coffin, Microsoft is getting ready to scrub the Flash Player from Windows 10. The first effort will commence on June 2021, in which Microsoft will package its 'Update for Removal of Adobe Flash Player' with its KB4577586 cumulative preview update for Windows 10 versions 1809 and later. That will be an optional update, though the same tool will... Read more...
In February, Microsoft unveiled FPS Boost, a new way to revive older games with lower frame rates. Initially, the Xbox team gave a select few games the performance enhancing treatment, and then some Bethesda games followed later after the Microsoft acquisition was complete. Now, the company is bringing the FPS boost love to another 70 titles in the “largest drop of games featuring FPS Boost to date.” FPS Boost is a user-adjustable setting to make older games “visually smoother, resulting in more immersive gameplay.” For the most part, it can nearly double frame rates on select titles when the game engine adapted to render things more quickly. To accomplish this impressive... Read more...
Microsoft is partnering with Spotify to offer four months of the streaming music service's ad-free Premium subscription tier at no cost to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate customers. It is not quite as long as the six months of Spotify Premium that Microsoft gifted to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate customers around this time a year ago, but hey, free is free, right? "Play all your favorites with access to millions of tracks and podcasts titles. Ultimate members can enjoy ad-free music listening, music + podcast offline downloads, and on-demand listening with Spotify Premium for 4 months," Microsoft stated in a blog post. There are some caveats. You have to be an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber (duh), and... Read more...
Do you feel that breeze? It is a shift in the winds of gaming, spurred by Microsoft's decision to join Epic Games in allowing game developers to keep a bigger share of revenue. Following last week's announcement that Microsoft is going to slash its cut of PC game sales to just 12 percent (down from 30 percent), court documents in the Epic Games lawsuit against Apple reveal the same reduced royalty rate is also headed to the Microsoft Store on Xbox. This is a big deal, and assuming there are no strings attached, just as none exist on the PC side, the 88/12 split of revenue will apply no matter how many sales a particular game achieves. This is in contrast to Apple's reduced 15 percent royalty... Read more...
Let's say you splurged on a ginormous 49-inch monitor like AOC's fast and wide Agon AG493UCX, which offers a 5120x1440 resolution and 32:9 aspect ratio. Well, guess what? Microsoft revealed that Halo Infinite will natively support such ultrawide displays when the game launches this year, and it teased a few amazing looking screenshots. In the image above, for example, you can see what one of the scenes looks like on a 32:9 display compared to a 21:9 monitor, and if you click to enlarge it, there's also a 16:9 comparison. It is super expansive, and is part of an effort to build a "native, first-class PC experience" so players who game on PC do not feel like an afterthought to their console brethren.... Read more...
Though Halo Infinite may have been delayed, information about the game is slowly trickling out, and it seems the wait may be worth the reward. Back in February, we got to see some gorgeous screenshots from the game, which were rather impressive. Now, Microsoft is giving us another exciting breadcrumb of information with a recent blog post outlining cross-play, progress syncing, and free multiplayer in Halo Infinite. Today, Microsoft and Xbox Game Studios looked at the company’s “Gaming Journey in 2021 and Beyond.” This included some information for developers, such as game revenue changes, and some interesting information for gamers. Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios, announced... Read more...
Once you have gone with a multi-monitor setup, you may wonder have you ever managed with just a single display. It is a boon for gaming and productivity alike. Unfortunately, it can also be maddening, because of an issue in Windows 10 that rearranges your app windows after your system wakes up from sleep. Fortunately, a fix is on the way. This "annoying" (MIcrosoft's word, but also ours) quirk is not a new development, it has been around for several years. It can happen when your desktop or laptop is connected to an external monitor with a DisplayPort cable (and is totally separate from the DisplayPort flickering and sync issue caused by crappy cables). Let's say you spend some time placing your... Read more...
The ongoing court case between Epic Games and Apple has been revelatory. Epic Games has revealed that it has intentionally not added Fortnite to Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud). It also does not appear that Epic Games intends to add Fortnite to the service in the future. A deposition was recently made public ahead of the May 3rd trial date. Joe Kreiner, Epic’s vice president of business development, was asked why Fortnite was not available through xCloud. Kreiner responded, “We viewed Microsoft’s efforts with xCloud to be competitive with our PC offerings.” The remainder of his explanation has been redacted. Epic Games is primarily fighting Apple’s resistance... Read more...
Microsoft is taking a big step towards putting more money into the pockets of game developers by reducing the amount of money it withholds whenever a game sells via the Microsoft Store. Microsoft currently takes an industry-standard cut of 30 percent for games sold, but it will reduce that cut to just 12 percent in the coming months. "A clear, no-strings-attached revenue share means developers can bring more games to more players and find greater commercial success from doing so," said Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios. "You can read more about this new revenue share and our work with developers from Head of Game Creator Experience and Ecosystem Sarah Bond." According to Booty, this switchover... Read more...
It took a little longer than Microsoft expected for Windows 10 to reach 1 billion active devices, having hit that milestone in March 2020, a little over four and a half years after the operating system launched to the public. Now just over a year later, another 300 million monthly active Windows 10 devices have entered the fray. That's according to Frank X. Shaw, communications lead for Microsoft, who announced the updated milestone on Twitter. It is not a shocking feat, given that the pandemic has spurred PC sales over the past year, as more people find themselves working from home and educating remotely, as part of a social distancing effort. "Windows 10 now has more than 1.3 billion monthly... Read more...
It seems as though Microsoft isn't done with ripping Apple's popular line of devices, as the MacBook Air is now in the Redmond giant's crosshairs. The MacBook Air is one of Apple's best-selling Macs and was refreshed late last year with the much-ballyhooed M1 SoC. With its ideal balance of performance and efficiency, the MacBook Air is a potent go-to for mobile warriors. However, Microsoft just launched its refreshed Surface Laptop 4, which means that it is coming out with guns blasting. The new Surface Laptop 4 is available with either 11th generation Intel Tiger Lake-U or AMD's Ryzen 4000 mobile processors. The actors in the ad start right out of the gate praising the Surface Laptop 4's touch... Read more...
Cryptocurrency mining was once just a way to use extra CPU cycles, but it has since become an economy in and of itself with a dark underbelly. Over the years, black-hat hackers have adapted cryptocurrency mining to make money for themselves using other peoples’ resources via malware. This year, Microsoft recorded a spike in this activity, likely fueled by the extreme rise in the price of all cryptocurrencies. Now, the company is working with Intel to help prevent cryptojacking with machine learning and Microsoft Defender For Endpoint. Cryptojacking is the term coined for when an attacker deploys a crypto-miner as a malicious payload rather than other options such as ransomware. Considering... Read more...
Earlier this month, we thought that Woot hit rock bottom with pricing on the first-generation Microsoft Surface headphones. At the time, the company sold the headphones for $105.99, with free shipping for Amazon Prime subscribers. Sweetening the deal was an April Fool's day bonus, which gave shoppers an additional 10 percent off if they purchased using the Woot app. Today, Woot is simultaneously lowering the price of the Surface Headphones while increasing the value of the in-app coupon. Now, the Surface Headphones are ringing up at $95.99 -- a $10 discount compared to the previous low -- while the discount for using the Woot app has increased to 15 percent. That brings the total to just $81.60... Read more...
A recent Windows 10 update has some gamers fuming over crippled frame rates and blue screen of death (BSOD) errors—it is related to this month's Patch Tuesday update, which began rolling out to PCs on April 12. Now a couple of weeks later, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem, found the culprit, and is somewhat stealthily pushing out a fix (more on that in a moment). "A small subset of users have reported lower than expected performance in games after installing this update. Most users affected by this issue are running games full screen or borderless windowed modes and using two or more monitors," Microsoft explains in a support article. The issue is related to KB5001330 for Windows... Read more...
There's a struggle deep within every portable PC between the need for maximum performance and a desire for longer battery life. Reduced power consumption is why modern processors spin down to very low frequencies when they're not busy. At the same time, maximum performance is why seemingly every processor these days has boost clocks that scale far beyond the base rated speed of the CPU. Even boost modes can help power efficiency, as most work loads are burst-focused and processors race towards an idle state. This behavior requires the cooperation of the operating system, and now Microsoft has introduced a new way to find the right point on the curve between power and efficiency. Most enthusiasts... Read more...
Have you been experiencing gaming issues since the release of the latest Windows 10 update? You are not alone. The problems associated with the last Windows 10 update are being investigated by NVIDIA and others, and so far the suggestion is to just roll back the update. NVIDIA staff member “Manuel” stated in a forum post, “If you are seeing lower performance in games, check if rolling back Windows 10 Update KB5000842/KB5001330 solves the issue.” This solution has been previously tested by several Reddit users as well and, many confirmed that rolling back the update did seem to resolve the issues. Users have experienced a wide range of performance issues since they installed... Read more...
Were you worried that Microsoft would ruin Discord if a deal went through? If so, you can rest easy—Discord is no longer for sale, apparently, having ended discussions with Microsoft about a massive buyout offer. It's not just Microsoft, either. It seems Discord is no longer interested in being acquired, after seeing a big uptick in users during the pandemic. Microsoft tried to make it happen, according to previous reports. The company was said to have offered at least $10 billion in a bid to buy Discord, which would have been the latest in a growing line of massive acquisitions. Last month, for example, Microsoft received regulatory approval to move forward with a $7.5 billion buyout of... Read more...
Earlier today, we reported on DNS issues with the latest Patch Tuesday update (KB5001330 and 1337), and the Windows 10 pain train does not seem to be slowing down. Users are now reporting a variety of gaming-related issues such as unstable frame rates and game stutters.  Earlier this week, Reddit user /u/m4dden posted to the Windows 10 subreddit that he was facing numerous issues while trying to play games. These included stuttering, unstable FPS, broken VSync, and FPS drops when sharing games in Discord calls with screen share. After he uninstalled the new patch, the issues seemed to all disappear, making Windows 10 the culprit. There are 72 comments on the post at the time of writing,... Read more...
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