Microsoft Release Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 Update (previously known as Windows 8.1 S14 Update) on April 8th 2014

Microsoft Release Windows 8.1 Update (previously known as Windows 8.1 S14 Update)

Important updates to the Windows platform: Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update. With these updates, we continue to refine and improve Windows based on feedback from customers to deliver ongoing value to all their Windows devices. Joe Belfiore post goes into detail on all the awesomeness that’s in Windows Phone 8.1 (Cortana is rad – trust me!) but also gives some great context around our new engineering culture in the Operating Systems Group now that we’re in this mobile-first, cloud-first world. It also underscores how we are moving more quickly to improve the Windows experience for customers. In this post, I wanted to share a little bit more about the update for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.

With the current generation of Windows, we made a pretty big bet on touch and mobility. Along with building on top of the strong foundation in Windows 7, we also introduced a brand new approach to the Windows user experience that brought touch to the forefront. Since the original introduction of Windows 8 in 2012, we have been continuously refining the experience, and we are making steady progress. More than 40 percent of Windows PCs at big box retailers, like Windows Stores Only at Best Buy, this past holiday season were touch-enabled – up from only 4 percent a year ago. As Joe Belfiore recently said at Mobile World Congress, customer satisfaction for a device running Windows 8 with touch is actually higher than it was for a PC running Windows 7 without touch. We believe deeply in the notion that delivering a compelling personal and modern experience across all the devices that matter in your life should not mean sacrificing familiarity. Windows 8 and 8.1 were first steps, and we continue to make refinements based on customer and partner feedback.

Last fall, less than a year after we shipped Windows 8, we released Windows 8.1– bringing a large set of customer-driven improvements including the return of the Start button, tutorials, more personalization options, the ability to boot to desktop, improvements to multi-tasking, and more. Today marks the next step as we release a new update for your Windows experience.

The Windows 8.1 Update deliversa collection of refinements designed to give people a more familiar and convenient experience across touch, keyboard and mouse inputs. It also brings improvements for business customers, really accelerates opportunity for developers, and enables device makers to offer lower cost devices.

Easier access to your favourite apps and key controls:

On the Start screen, on select devices you will now find Power and Search buttons at the upper-right corner next to your account picture. You can now more quickly shut down your PC if you need to and do a search right from the Start screen.

If you like using the desktop, you will be happy to know that select devices will now boot to desktop as the default setting. And on your taskbar, you can now pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store as well as your favourite websites. You can now pin any app you want to the taskbar so you can open or switch between apps right from the desktop. I’ve got some of my favourite apps like Xbox Music, Skype, Facebook, Flip board, and Mint pinned to my taskbar. You can also access the taskbar from anywhere when you’re using a mouse; you can see the taskbar on any screen by moving your mouse to the bottom edge of your screen. Just click on any of the apps pinned to your taskbar to open or switch to them.

More familiar mouse and keyboard options:

We’ve made it so your mouse works more consistently anywhere in Windows. If you move your mouse to the top of the screen when using a Windows Store app, you will see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons. And as I mentioned above, when you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen in a Windows Store app, the taskbar comes up.

On the Start screen, if you right-click on an app tile, you will get a context menu next to the app tile that shows you what you can do with the tile, like unpin from Start, pin to the taskbar, change the tile size or even uninstall the app. Right-clicking on an app tile on the Start screen works just like right-clicking on something on the desktop.

Simpler way to find new apps:

After installing the update, you’ll find the Windows Store is now pinned to the taskbar by default so you can easily discover new apps (yes, you can unpin it if you don’t want it there).

And after installing new apps, you’ll notice a message at the lower-left corner of the Start screen that points you to the Apps view so you can see what you recently just installed.

Seamless browsing on all devices:

With today’s update, Internet Explorer 11 adapts your browsing experience by detecting your Windows device and input type – whether an 8-inch touch tablet in portrait mode or a 24-inch desktop with mouse and keyboard. The web is still front-and-center but new design enhancements make your browsing experience feel like it was made just for your device – like the number of tabs on-screen, the size of the fonts and menus. You can also now control when the browser remains on-screen or hides away for full-screen browsing. Check out 22tracksto see these updates in action.

Improvements for business customers: We are introducing several key improvements for businesses such as Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) and extended Mobile Device Management (MDM). EMIE enables Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11 so companies can run existing web-based apps seamlessly on Windows 8.1 devices. And with extended MDM, we are introducing additional policy settings that can be managed with whatever MDM solution an enterprise chooses including whitelisting or blacklisting Windows Store apps and websites. Look for a blog post later today on the Windows for your Business Blog that discusses these in greater detail and a post on the Springboard Series Blogon deployment guidance for the Windows 8.1 Update.

New low cost devices:With the Windows 8.1 Update, we have enabled our hardware partners to build lower cost devices for Windows such as devices with only 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage that provide customers with the experience they expect from a Windows device without sacrificing performance.

We have made the Windows 8.1 Update available today for MSDN subscribers, and will begin to roll it out for free to Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 customers via Windows Update next Tuesday April 8th. For the majority of folks, they will receive the update automatically. If you are still on Windows 8, you can get the Windows 8.1 Update via the Windows Store on April 8th as well.

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Microsoft MSDN Blog tells how to uninstall or remove Internet Explorer 9, 10, and 11

Internet Explorer, the browser you all once loved to hate, has grown stronger over the last few years. After ignoring its web-browser for a long time,
the software giant not only added many enticing features into it, but also made the browser much more secure and stable. However, there are some
of you out there that dislike Internet Explorer, for whatever your reasons may be.

In an MSDN blog post, a Microsoft employee has outlined the process to uninstall Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, and Internet Explorer 11
via command line. In order to proceed, you must be logged into your computer as an administrator, or an account that has administrative rights.

Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, and then click cmd under Programs. Copy and paste the following commands into the Command Prompt window,
and then press Enter (the first command is for IE9, the second command is for IE10, and the last command is for IE11):

Examples covered in this blog are for:

Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 10

Internet Explorer 11

Example for uninstalling Internet explorer 9

Log on to the computer by using an administrator account or an account that has administrative rights.

Close all Internet Explorer browser windows.

Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, and then click cmd under Programs.

Copy the following command:

FORFILES /P %WINDIR%servicingPackages /M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-*9.*.mum /c “cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /quiet /norestart

Paste the command into the Command Prompt window, and then press Enter.

Restart the computer.

Example for uninstalling Internet explorer 10

Log on to the computer by using an administrator account or an account that has administrative rights.

Close all Internet Explorer browser windows.

Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, and then click cmd under Programs.

Copy the following command:

FORFILES /P %WINDIR%servicingPackages /M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-*10.*.mum /c “cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /quiet /norestart

Paste the command into the Command Prompt window, and then press Enter.

Restart the computer.

Example for uninstalling Internet explorer 11

Log on to the computer by using an administrator account or an account that has administrative rights.

Close all Internet Explorer browser windows.

Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, and then click cmd under Programs.

Copy the following command:

FORFILES /P %WINDIR%servicingPackages /M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-*11.*.mum /c “cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /quiet /norestart

Paste the command into the Command Prompt window, and then press Enter.

Restart the computer.Once you have executed the command, you must restart your computer.

Internet Explorer 11 is a fantastic browser and is the company’s latest internet browser available on Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you dislike Internet Explorer, hit the comments below and tell us why! We won’t judge you for wanting to remove Internet Explorer – everyone has their preferences! Just keep in mind that Internet Explorer 11 sports some unique and intuitive features that make it stand tall against its competitors.

Click for more at source or Microsoft MSDN Blog

Microsoft Kinect for Windows 2.0 hardware design revealed, available by summer of this year

Microsoft is getting close to releasing the second version of the company’s Kinect for Windows hardware. In an official blog post, Microsoft is showing off the hardware design. "The sensor closely resembles the Kinect for Xbox One, except that it says “Kinect” on the top panel, and the Xbox Nexus – the stylized green “x” – has been changed to a simple, more understated power indicator," Microsoft stated in an official blog post.

The sensor requires the hub and the power supply, which accepts three connections: the sensor, USB 3.0 output to PC, and power. The power supply itself supports voltages from 100 – 240 volts.

Developers were able to get their hands on an alpha version of the hardware last summer, as well as early access to the SDK. Developers are expected to get a final version of the Kinect for Windows 2.0 hardware for free when it becomes available.

Microsoft plans to offer more updates as we inch closer to the release of Kinect for Windows 2.0. According to ZDNet, Microsoft is planning on releasing this product by summer of this year.

You can take a look at the new design below.

As Microsoft continue the march toward the upcoming launch of Kinect for Windows v2, we’re excited to share the hardware’s final look. Sensor

The sensor closely resembles the Kinect for Xbox One, except that it says “Kinect” on the top panel, and the Xbox Nexus—the stylized green “x”—has been changed to a simple, more understated power indicator:

Kinect for Windows v2 sensor

Hub and power supply

The sensor requires a couple other components to work: the hub and the power supply. Tying everything together is the hub (top item pictured below), which accepts three connections: the sensor, USB 3.0 output to PC, and power. The power supply (bottom item pictured below) does just what its name implies: it supplies all the power the sensor requires to operate. The power cables will vary by country or region, but the power supply itself supports voltages from 100–240 volts.

Kinect for Windows v2 hub (top) and power supply (bottom)

As this first look at the Kinect for Windows v2 hardware indicates, we’re getting closer and closer to launch. So stay tuned for more updates on the next generation of Kinect for Windows.

Click for more at source or Kinect Blog Link

Microsoft Releases VDI ‘Starter Kit’ as Preview – Redmond Channel Partner

Microsoft Releases VDI ‘Starter Kit’ as Preview

Microsoft on Wednesday released a preview version of a new tool, dubbed Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Starter Kit 1.0,
which lets organizations test VDI scenarios using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) protocol.

The kit is only for testing purposes, and should not be used for production environments. The kit "complements" the
management console and wizards used with the RDS server role of Windows Server 2012 R2, according to Microsoft’s
announcement. It comes with a couple of applications, Calculator and WordPad, for testing virtual desktop access scenarios.

The final Starter Kit product is scheduled for release in the second quarter of this year. In the meantime, the preview can be
downloaded at this page.

The kit consists of PowerShell scripts that automate VDI deployments using Microsoft’s RDS protocol (formerly known as
"Terminal Services"). It deploys the Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS server-role components needed, including the connection broker,
session host, virtualization host and Web access components. It can be used with various virtual desktop "collections," including
personal, pooled or session-based ones.

Microsoft defines "a collection" as a group of servers that are managed together as part of a virtual machine (VM) deployment,
according to this TechNet Magazine article. The session-based collections are used for "desktop sessions and RemoteApps housed
on RD Session Host servers." The pooled and personal collections are used for "VM-based desktop sessions and RemoteApps
housed on VMs running Windows 7 or Windows 8."

Microsoft’s RemoteApps technology is a bit different in that the applications are accessed from a window on the end user’s local
machine, according to this TechNet library overview description.

The kit includes configuration settings for VDI deployments, which are contained in an XML file. Testers can modify the file to suit
their needs. For instance, it’s possible to alter the settings to expand from the default number of collections that are preconfigured
with the kit.

The lab environment needed to use the kit requires Windows Server 2012 R2 plus Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 clients, along with two
physical servers. There are some required initial setup steps, too, according Microsoft’s "Part 2" description of the kit. The kit comes
with a "readme" file that provides details about the architecture needed, as well as a deployment guide.

View more at source article…

BYOD scenarios will become a great experience in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

Networking features optimized for mobile productivity. Windows 8.1 improves mobile productivity for today’s workforce with new networking capabilities that take advantage of NFC-tagged and Wi-Fi connected devices, including:

  • NFC tap-to-pair printing– Tap your Windows 8.1 device against an enterprise NFC-enabled printer and you’re all set to print. No more hunting on your network for the correct printer and no need to buy a special printer; just attach a NFC tag to your existing machines. And you don’t need to buy new printers to take advantage of this; you can simply put an NFC tag on your existing printers to enable this functionality.
  • Wi-Fi Direct printing– Connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and the printer.
  • Native Miracast wireless display– Present your work wirelessly without any dongles needed; simply project your content to a Miracast-enabled device by pairing the device through Bluetooth or NFC. Miracast will then use the available Wi-Fi connection to let you lean back and project wire-free.
  • Broadband tethering– Turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet.
  • Auto-triggered VPN – When you select an app or resource that needs access through the inbox VPN – like a company’s intranet site – Windows 8.1 will automatically prompt you to sign in with one click. This feature will be available with Microsoft and third-party inbox VPN clients.

Security enhancements for device proliferation and mobility.Security continues to be a top priority for companies across the world, so we’re making sure we continue to invest resources to help you protect your corporate data, applications and devices:

  • Modern Access Controls– Sign in and authenticate devices with new support for fingerprint-based biometrics. Multi-factor authentication using Virtual Smart Cards will also be made even easier in Windows 8.1.
  • Malware Resistance –Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free antivirus solution in Windows 8, will include network behavior monitoring to help detect and stop the execution of known and unknown malware. Internet Explorer will scan binary extensions (e.g. ActiveX) using the antimalware solution before potentially harmful code is executed.

Improved management solutions to make BYOD a reality. As BYOD scenarios continue to grow in popularity among businesses, Windows 8.1 will make managing mobile devices even easier for IT Pros:

  • Improved IT controls– IT departments can now control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued devices to ensure key apps are easily accessible. IT departments can also prevent users from customizing their start screen to ensure consistency across individual workgroups or the entire company.
  • Remote business data removal– Allows personal devices to connect to, access and store company content that can be efficiently removed from the device by IT at a later date while leaving the personal data intact.
  • Open MDM– With Windows 8.1, new Open Mobile Alliance Device Management (OMA-DM) capabilities are built into the OS and enable mobile device management using third-party MDM solutions, such as MobileIron or AirWatch, with no additional agent required. Enhanced policies allow administrators to manage more settings from both Windows Intune and the third-party MDM solutions for both Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.
  • Workplace Join – Further control access to company data by ensuring that only registered and trusted devices are allowed to access secured enterprise data.

More control over business devices. Businesses can more effectively deliver an intended experience to their end users – whether that be employees or customers.

  • Assigned Access – Enable a single Windows Store application experience on the device (e.g. a learning application for a child, a customer service application at a boutique.) Enabling this feature turns on a predefined set of filters that blocks other actions so the user only experiences the specified application and is unable to access system files and other applications.
  • Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry – Our offering for Industry devices like POS Systems, ATMs, and Digital Signage that provides a broader set of device lockdown capabilities.

The preview of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 will be released June 26th.

BYOD scenarios will become a great experience in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

Networking features optimized for mobile productivity. Windows 8.1 improves mobile productivity for today’s workforce with new networking capabilities that take advantage of NFC-tagged and Wi-Fi connected devices, including:

  • NFC tap-to-pair printing– Tap your Windows 8.1 device against an enterprise NFC-enabled printer and you’re all set to print. No more hunting on your network for the correct printer and no need to buy a special printer; just attach a NFC tag to your existing machines. And you don’t need to buy new printers to take advantage of this; you can simply put an NFC tag on your existing printers to enable this functionality.
  • Wi-Fi Direct printing– Connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and the printer.
  • Native Miracast wireless display– Present your work wirelessly without any dongles needed; simply project your content to a Miracast-enabled device by pairing the device through Bluetooth or NFC. Miracast will then use the available Wi-Fi connection to let you lean back and project wire-free.
  • Broadband tethering– Turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet.
  • Auto-triggered VPN – When you select an app or resource that needs access through the inbox VPN – like a company’s intranet site – Windows 8.1 will automatically prompt you to sign in with one click. This feature will be available with Microsoft and third-party inbox VPN clients.

Security enhancements for device proliferation and mobility.Security continues to be a top priority for companies across the world, so we’re making sure we continue to invest resources to help you protect your corporate data, applications and devices:

  • Modern Access Controls– Sign in and authenticate devices with new support for fingerprint-based biometrics. Multi-factor authentication using Virtual Smart Cards will also be made even easier in Windows 8.1.
  • Malware Resistance –Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free antivirus solution in Windows 8, will include network behavior monitoring to help detect and stop the execution of known and unknown malware. Internet Explorer will scan binary extensions (e.g. ActiveX) using the antimalware solution before potentially harmful code is executed.

Improved management solutions to make BYOD a reality. As BYOD scenarios continue to grow in popularity among businesses, Windows 8.1 will make managing mobile devices even easier for IT Pros:

  • Improved IT controls– IT departments can now control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued devices to ensure key apps are easily accessible. IT departments can also prevent users from customizing their start screen to ensure consistency across individual workgroups or the entire company.
  • Remote business data removal– Allows personal devices to connect to, access and store company content that can be efficiently removed from the device by IT at a later date while leaving the personal data intact.
  • Open MDM– With Windows 8.1, new Open Mobile Alliance Device Management (OMA-DM) capabilities are built into the OS and enable mobile device management using third-party MDM solutions, such as MobileIron or AirWatch, with no additional agent required. Enhanced policies allow administrators to manage more settings from both Windows Intune and the third-party MDM solutions for both Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.
  • Workplace Join – Further control access to company data by ensuring that only registered and trusted devices are allowed to access secured enterprise data.

More control over business devices. Businesses can more effectively deliver an intended experience to their end users – whether that be employees or customers.

  • Assigned Access – Enable a single Windows Store application experience on the device (e.g. a learning application for a child, a customer service application at a boutique.) Enabling this feature turns on a predefined set of filters that blocks other actions so the user only experiences the specified application and is unable to access system files and other applications.
  • Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry – Our offering for Industry devices like POS Systems, ATMs, and Digital Signage that provides a broader set of device lockdown capabilities.

The preview of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 will be released June 26th.

Click for Source