Three Simple Customization Features Windows 10 Must Get in 2020

This year brought us two different feature updates for Windows 10, but undoubtedly, just one really matters in terms of features and enhancements for that Average person.

This is because unlike Windows 10 May 2019 Update (Windows 10 version 1903), Windows 10 November 2019 Update (Windows 10 version 1909) brought hardly any as far as additional features are concerned, with Microsoft focusing more on under-the-hood and gratifaction refinements.

However, 2020 is expected to witness the development of two major feature updates for Windows 10, as Microsoft explained that rolling out something pack-like update for the operating-system every fall is not part of its long-term strategy moving forward.

The first feature update of the season is already finalized. Windows 10 version 2004, currently codenamed 20H1, has been completed this month and Microsoft uses the time left until the public launch (because of happen in April or May) for further polishing.

Using the feature lineup of Windows 10 20H1 already decided, all eyes are now on the second update of the year for further improvements. And judging from recent user feedback, these three customization options ought to be put into the autumn feature update:

Windows Spotlight for desktop wallpapers

Windows Spotlight is a superb feature, there’s without a doubt. It uses Bing to download and hang high-quality photos as the lock screen wallpaper, whilst displaying a lot of the landscape, animals, buildings or anything you see on the lock screen.

Windows Spotlight can automatically switch the lock screen background with a brand new image every day, and all you need to have is definitely an active Web connection for the feature to download the updated content.

What exactly Microsoft must do is push this selection even further by bringing Windows Spotlight to the desktop. A high-quality background that is refreshed every day would clearly breathe new life into an otherwise dull area of the operating-system where users spend a lot of time when working on their devices.

At this time, this is only possible with more complex tweaks or third-party software, but natively, Windows 10 enables you to use as desktop background a picture, a good color, or a slide show.

Per app volume controls

Among the features missing from Windows 10 at this time is a more complex volume controller that will have the ability to create the amount per each app running around the device.

Once again, you could do thanks to third-party software, but at operating-system level, the amount controller itself hasn’t evolved too much in Windows 10.

Automatic theme changer

Windows 10 presently has both an easy theme along with a dark theme, so why not allowing users to control the way they want these modes to become enabled on their own devices?

While it’s possible to manually enable a theme from the Settings app, Windows 10 requires a feature to automatically activate the dark theme at night and the light mode in the morning. This would perfectly align with Night light, a blue light filter that comes in so handy when working on the pc inside a darker room.

Similar capabilities already are on other platforms and users there like it, so there’s basically no reason for Microsoft to not give a scheduler in the Settings app that will have the ability to enable a specific theme in a user-defined time. Of course, this can be an optional feature that will prove useful not only to those who want their screens to always be easier on the eyes but additionally to users attempting to make their desktops more dynamic.

Windows 10 zero-day vulnerability revealed, with increased to come

Windows 10 has another zero-day vulnerability, as discovered with a security researcher who specializes in finding bugs in Microsoft’s operating system – and it has previously publicly outed them unexpectedly before.

The unpatched vulnerability highlighted by SandboxEscaper has been confirmed to work on Windows 10 (32-bit) systems, reported by ZDNet. Furthermore, with some tweaking, it might theoretically be leveraged against any form of Windows (going as far back as Windows XP).

Utilizing a bug in the Task Scheduler in Windows, this can be a local privilege escalation security flaw, meaning it can be used by a hacker to boost an account with low-level privileges on a PC to some full admin account (quite simply, allowing them to do anything whatsoever around the victim’s computer).

Note, however, that this security flaw can’t be used to gain access to a PC. It’s an exploit for malicious parties who’ve already hacked their way onto a computer, along with a way for these to subsequently elevate their privileges so that you can do more.

Even so, this is obviously something Microsoft must address swiftly, and will perhaps be patched within the next round of security updates to reach in June.

More where that originated from

As we mentioned at the outset, SandboxEscaper is renowned for as being a thorn in Microsoft’s side, and in October 2018 she released information on a bug that may also be abused to raise privileges on a system, and drew attention to a similar flaw in August 2018.

More worryingly, she’s also claimed that she’s found four further unpatched bugs in Windows, therefore we can get more revelations within the pipeline fairly soon, without doubt.

SandboxEscaper previously highlighted these bugs on Twitter, but seemingly has had a number of her Twitter accounts suspended in the past.

Microsoft admits the Windows 10 Your Phone app works best with Samsung Galaxy Note 10

The Your Phone app in Windows 10 is really a handy tool allowing you to connect smartphones up to the operating-system, enabling you to view and reply to messages, but Microsoft has admitted that to obtain the most out of the app, you’ll need to have the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.

The revelation is available in a Twitter exchange, where Microsoft employee Analy Otero Diaz reveals that the new Note 10 may use the Phone Screen feature – where the screen of the phone is shown in Windows 10 – on any Windows PC running the Windows 10 May 2019 Update without the need for a Bluetooth connection.

This really is notable (excuse the pun) since your Phone doesn’t offer the Phone Screen feature for any other smartphones – only Microsoft’s Surface products.

Not needing Bluetooth is yet another boon for people with desktop PCs without Bluetooth built in. Again, Diaz confirms that for the moment, this is “part of the Link to Windows feature coming out first on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 devices.”

Yes! The new Note10 may use the telephone screen feature on any Windows PC running 1903, no requirement for Bluetooth.August 22, 2019

Microsoft loves Samsung

These exclusive features are part of the Link to Windows tool that Microsoft and Samsung have collaborated for the Note 10, and make Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone even more of a powerful productivity tool.

However,if you use the Your Phone app and don’t want to purchase the expensive Galaxy Note 10, because you’re missing out on some very useful features will be disappointing.

Another Twitter user asked Diaz if those features will come to all devices in the future – not only the Galaxy Note 10. Based on Diaz, “we will share more details in the future about expanding to additional devices,” so there’s still expect non-Note 10 owners.

It belongs to the hyperlink to Windows feature coming out first on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 devices. We will share more details later on about expanding to additional devices.@javiergualix @okutkanAugust 23, 2019

Businesses unprepared for Windows 10 migration

A new study from WinMagic has revealed that organisations are largely unprepared for when support of older versions of Microsoft’s Windows will be withdrawn in January 2020.

The study was carried out during this year’s IP Expo working in london once the company surveyed 150 people to Europe’s largest IT exhibition and conference on their own understanding of the need to migrate to Windows 10.

WinMagic’s study discovered that nearly a quarter of businesses (23%) have yet to start preparations for that migration to Windows 10 and that 17 percent were unacquainted with the subject all together without any idea if preparations within their organisation are even in place.

Additionally, one third of respondents (30%) had no idea that support for older versions of Windows would stay in under 18 months’ time.

Growing migration concerns

Of the attendees surveyed, only 29 percent were fairly or very concerned while one third (34%) didn’t have concerns about migrating to Windows 10.

The ones that are worried about the migration cited security and user loss of data his or her biggest concerns (28%) while 68 percent feared the migration process could expose their organisation to some security vulnerability. Other concerns included application management (25%), software and hardware compatibility and user disruption or lack of productivity (18%).

When it found actual migration process, 36 percent had not considered migration technology as an option and 28 per cent of respondents didn’t know if their organisation was considering migration technology. Additionally, around 1 / 3 (33%) did not know if they currently had the correct tools in place to deliver a safe and secure migration.

VP EMEA at WinMagic, Luke Brown provided further insight on the findings of the company’s survey, saying:

“The clock is ticking and when organisations don’t move fast they might end up scrabbling last second to deliver a seamless and secure migration to Windows 10. The outcomes of our survey reveal that there is still limited knowledge around what’s going to be considered a very significant IT transition for a lot of organisations. IT teams need to take action now. If they don’t, come January 2020 they could end up experiencing the worst ever Year hangover.”

Windows 10 shutdown bug makes powering down take over one minute

Windows 10 has a fresh bug with the October 2018 Update, whereby shutting down your personal computer may take a remarkably long time to complete – potentially on the minute – if a USB Type-C system is unplugged (or indeed plugged in) during the process.

Inside a support document, Microsoft explains that the USB Type-C Connector System Software Interface (UCSI) is bugged within the October 2018 Update, and when you’re shutting down your computer, or it’s sleeping, the problem occurs if the UCSI software needs to handle a brand new disconnection (or connection) event throughout the power-down operation.

If that occurs, you’ll have to potentially wait for a 60-second delay (over the normal shutdown time) while the UCSI software gets its act together, and seems to process the Type-C device being unplugged or connected.

Microsoft notes: “Apart in the extra one minute the sleep or shutdown process consumes this circumstance, this bug does not affect normal functionality of USB Type-C in your machine. The system and the USB Type-C ports should still function properly following the next wake or restart from the system.”

Which means this bug isn’t an enormous issue, by all accounts, but tend to certainly be a puzzling and annoying one. And if you’re running the October 2018 Update, and have recently encountered a shutdown that appeared to take forever, well, a minimum of you’ve now learned why it happened. You most likely yanked out a USB stick at the last-second.

No patch – just upgrade

Interestingly, Microsoft doesn’t mention any potential resolution for this bug, instead advising the gremlin continues to be ironed out in the most recent May 2019 Update, and that you should upgrade for this (Windows 10 version 1903).

That’s great, until there are more potential hardware or software compatibility difficulties with your computer and also the May 2019 Update, you might find the upgrade is blocked, and also you can’t get it yet.

If that’s the situation, then no doubt you can simply sidestep the issue by avoiding unplugging USB Type-C devices at shutdown time.

On a side note, it’s interesting to see that even though the October 2018 Update has become being skipped over – using the most of users being sent straight to the new May 2019 Update – the bugs still continue to come with it.

Windows 10 steals more Windows 7 users – but macOS makes surprising headway too

Windows 10 made solid gains in September, albeit not quite as much progress because the previous month, with Windows 7 falling quite heavily – and Apple’s macOS made headway at the expense of Microsoft’s desktop operating system in general.

That’s the story going by the latest figures from analytics firm Net Applications, using the breakdown for all desktop operating systems showing that Windows 10 reached 52.38% of share of the market in September, a rise of 1.39%. As mentioned, that’s not quite as impressive as the major gain of 2.13% witnessed in August.

Despite Windows 10 not doing quite this type of good job of poaching Windows 7 users this month, the latter outgoing operating system fell by a significant amount: 2.2% in fact.

That’s a significantly larger drop compared to 1.49% decline seen in August, and it leaves Windows 7 having a share of 28.17% of desktop PCs. Windows 8.1 also dropped 0.72% in September, and is dwindling away on the total 3.48% share.

Mac attack

So, Windows 10 didn’t gain as much as it ought to did evidently of it, looking at the quantity of folks abandoning the older Windows os’s, but some from the overall shift was felt elsewhere – in Apple’s PCs, actually.

The latest version of macOS (10.14) forged ahead to a 7.15% market share this past month, up considerably from 5.95% recently (and even the 4.85% share macOS 10.14 held if you go back to February).

Considering all versions of macOS collectively, Apple’s operating system rose to an overall share of 11.55%, up strongly from 9.68% the previous month. Granted, it had been on 10.6% back at the beginning of the entire year, however this continues to be a full percentage point better than we’ve seen throughout the span of 2019. And indeed much better than the Mac operating system has ever done going back to 2016 (that is in which the historical statistics from Net Applications tail off).

In the overall picture, of course, it isn’t surprising to see Windows 7 decline, since end-of-life for that aging OS rolls around in January 2020, just a couple months away now.

Even though the boost for macOS is one thing of the eye-opener. That said, we’d be foolish to place that much stock in a single month’s figures in one source, as there could simply be statistical variances at play to some degree. But still – when the Mac creeps up again the following month, maybe we’ll begin to see an upward trend for Apple computers.

Which would certainly make things interesting…

Some users are stuck in Windows 10 S Mode hell – but Microsoft is focusing on a fix

You will find reports that many people are getting stuck in Windows 10 S Mode and are not able to upgrade fully form of Windows 10.

Windows 10 S Mode is a version of Windows 10 that ships with certain devices, like the Surface Go, and just allows users to download apps with the Microsoft Store, and never from websites.

While Microsoft argues that Windows 10 S Mode helps protect people – while you shouldn’t be able to download malicious software from the internet while using the it – many people find being limited to the Microsoft Store frustrating, especially as not every program includes a version available like a Microsoft Store app (also referred to as a UWP or Universal Windows app).

The savior of Windows 10 S Mode was that it’s said to be relatively simple to change to the full form of Windows 10 – but people on Reddit, Twitter and Microsoft’s own support forums happen to be complaining that they cannot switch out of Windows 10 S Mode.

Just like a bat from S Mode

Usually, the process of leaving Windows 10 S Mode would be to go through the Microsoft Store (of course), where the option to upgrade to full Windows 10 will be there.

However, individuals are reporting the ‘Switch out of S Mode’ page isn’t loading – instead, the Microsoft Store is showing a blank screen.

It’s this kind of unreliability making people keen to leave Windows 10 S Mode rather than use the Microsoft Store again.

The good news is that Microsoft is aware of the issue. Windows Latest got in contact with Microsoft Support, and was told that: “Microsoft is aware that some users cannot upgrade to Pro Edition or switch out of S mode as a result of this blank page. We are investigating the reason so when a resolution is available the Store will update without any user action necessary.”

So, a fix is coming, but Microsoft notes that: “There is no current estimate on if this condition is going to be resolved.” Essentially, if you’re stuck in Windows 10 S Mode hell, you may be there for any short while longer.

Bing Shows More Russian Propaganda, Disinformation than Google

Yahoo is also known as the only real good alternative to Google, and truth be told, Microsoft may be the only tech giant as well as the Mountain View-based rival that keeps purchasing search engines.

Bundled into Windows 10 as well as in other products from various companies, Bing is currently the second most-used internet search engine, comprising 33 percent of all searches in the United States, based on Microsoft’s very own figures.

But a study conducted by Standard reveals that despite the market share, Bing doesn’t necessarily provide the best results.

Researchers compared the very best 50 recent results for 13 different queries on Bing and Google, discovering that Microsoft’s search engine displays links to sources referred to as spreading disinformation and misinformation more often than Google’s.

“In reaction to a search for “white helmets” – the Syrian civil defense group that’s been the subject of disinformation campaigns conducted through the Syrian and Russian governments-Bing shows users a minimum of 12 disinformation articles and untrustworthy sources in the top 50 results. Google shows three,” the study reveals.

Russian propaganda

As far as conspiracy-related submissions are concerned, Yahoo is once again trailing behind Google.

“For example, if you search Bing for comet ping pong, you get Pizzagate-related content in its top 50 results. Should you search for fluoride, you get content accusing the U.S. government of poisoning its population. And when you look for sandy hook shooting, you will find sources claiming that the event was a hoax. Google does not show users conspiracy-related content in its top 50 recent results for these queries,” the comparison notes.

Simultaneously, Bing also shows more information related to Russian propaganda than Google, with lots of more links to RT and Sputnik shown on Microsoft’s search engine as compared to Google’s.

Microsoft is yet to release any comments on this study, however the company often brags about Bing being “bigger than you believe,” so it’ll be interesting to see exactly what the company says about these findings.

Ads in Windows 10 Apps: Yes or No?

Ads in Windows 10 is really a topic that keeps returning occasionally, but simultaneously, additionally, it keeps evolving, as Microsoft is experimenting with new ways to highlight other products.

Specifically, not a years ago, many Windows 10 adopters referred to the app suggestions showing up in the Start menu as “ads,” especially simply because they pointed to third-party titles and not necessarily to apps produced by Microsoft itself.

Go forward even today and here’s Microsoft trying another strategy. Small banners that demonstrate up in specific apps pre-loaded in Windows 10, also called core apps, advertise Microsoft apps, including Microsoft News and Microsoft Outlook for cellular devices.

It’s a brand new approach that has quickly become rather controversial, especially because many believe that Microsoft shouldn’t bring ads to a product which they paid.

While I’m not likely to spend over our limits time discussing whether Microsoft has the to introduce apps in the own Windows 10 apps, there’s two stuff that must be said here. First, Windows has been pushed from the traditional platform to Windows as a Service, so it’s constantly evolving and receiving new updates. And 2nd, customers pay for the authority to use Windows, to not own the merchandise.

Returning to ads in Windows 10, let’s see two such examples that many people already spotted.

In Mail for Windows 10, the e-mail client that’s offered as native in the OS, there’s now a small banner within the left sidebar that recommends users to download Outlook for Android. It doesn’t even matter if you already run Outlook for Android, and it doesn’t even matter if you’re logged along with exactly the same Microsoft account as in Windows 10. The ad is still there, and there’s not a way to get rid of it.

Weather for Windows 10 is another core app showing a small banner in the sidebar. This time around, users are told to test Microsoft News, and clicking the ad points these to a webpage where they’re provided with instructions to download the app on their mobile devices. Again, there’s no method to steer clear of the banner from turning up.

Opinions appear to be rather mixed on whether ads in Windows 10 are the right way to go.

Some think the present approach isn’t by any means intrusive, as the small banners can barely be viewed. Our long-time reader @Buddahfan told me on Twitter:

“I use the Windows 10 Mail App a minimum of many times a day. Evidently I am not very observant or maybe blind because I never noticed the tiny banner within the lower left before I just read an article about it. Then I needed to put on my glasses to actually view it.”

On the other hand, Joshua Rob asked on mail if there’s any way to disable the ads because “Microsoft is playing it dirty and using Windows 10 to create its mobile apps seem accepted they really are.”

A discussion in the Feedback Hub, Microsoft’s feedback platform Windows 10, also requires Microsoft to get rid of the Outlook mobile ad from Windows 10’s Mail client.

“Need an option to remove redundant ads – I have the telephone app, I’ve the outlook on my cell phone, I personally use MS launcher – the windows 10 outlook ads on a small computer screen use real estate I need!” one user explains.

Microsoft has to date remained tight-lipped on these banners in Windows 10 core apps, so for the moment, it’s still unclear what the long-term plan really is.

Are Windows 10 ads the proper way to go moving forward or should Microsoft take them off? Let us know what you believe in the box below.

Windows 10X for dual-screen devices could run regular Windows applications as well

It appears as though Windows 10X could run regular Windows applications, that is good news for anyone who desired to run popular Windows 10 programs on their dual-screen devices.

A leaked document shows that Windows 10X will support Win32 apps. This really is noteworthy, as it’s the very first time we’ve seen mention that Windows 10X, which is a special version of Windows 10 made to operate on dual-screen devices like the upcoming Surface Neo, could be able run regular Windows 10 apps.

Microsoft has previously released ‘special’ versions of Windows 10, like Windows 10 S, which are restricted to only running certain apps (such as UWP apps from the Microsoft Store), therefore the proven fact that Windows 10X might not have those restrictions – enabling you to run your favorite applications without worry – is welcome news.

Appy days

Of course, this doesn’t mean Windows 10X will definitely have the ability to run every Windows 10 app in existence. The mention of the Win32 app support is only brief, and appears in leaked documentation that has since been deleted.

Based on Windows Latest, that has published the most recent leak, the document states that “Office – Co-existence of Win32 apps and PWA (Progressive Web Apps) on Santorini; associated with Shellification efforts.”

Now, that might seem like lots of jargon, but what it really might be suggesting is the fact that Windows 10X (codenamed Santorini) will come with PWA versions of Microsoft Office applications – however, you might upload the entire Win32 versions if you’d like.

Like a previous rumor suggests that Windows 10X will also operate on regular laptops, as well as dual-screen devices, the opportunity to run regular Windows 10 programs would be most welcome. Let’s hope this leak turns out to be correct.