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Privacy Conscious? Don’t Be Too Hasty To Download Windows 10 Creator’s Update

A white Windows 10 Logo on a blue background

The wait is nearly over for Windows users. On April 11th, the long-awaited "Creators Update" will launch for Windows 10, bringing with it such useful features as a new "night light" mode that reduces the amount of blue light emitted by your screen so that you an sleep better; a new Windows Defender Security Centre, where users can tweak their security options in one place; and a Game Mode for better performance while gaming among lots of other tweaks. People who do not want to wait for the update to be offered to them through Windows Update can get ahead of the game by downloading Microsoft's upgrade tool to apply the update right now – but a recent report suggests privacy-conscious users may want to hold off from jumping on the bandwagon early.

According to an article by Tom's Hardware, which has been backed up by numerous less patient users, Microsoft's Windows 10 Update Assistant may not honour your Privacy Settings if you use it to upgrade to the Creators Update yourself. Instead, the Assistant tries to use default settings – whether or not you choose to upgrade or clean install the new version – meaning that if you changed your privacy settings when you installed Windows 10 and subsequently use the Assistant, you may need to keep a close eye on just what is being set, or you may find Windows suddenly gathering more data about you than you originally intended.

Those default settings encourage you to share your location and provide full diagnostic data to Microsoft to fix issues and improve future iterations of Windows 10. The default options also encourage enabling Cortana and receiving targeted ads rather than generic ones. The good news here is that Microsoft is being much more transparent about the data it collects – and when applying the Creators Update, the privacy options offer up clearer descriptions of what they do and the effects enabling or disabling them will have.

If you're not looking forward to going back through all those checkboxes, however, Microsoft state that when the upgrade is made available through Windows Update some time during April 11th, existing privacy settings WILL be honoured. We'll know for sure if this is the case soon enough – but as always, it's wise to look before you leap.

This article first appeared on Sanitarium.FM under the title Windows 10 Creators Edition Available Now – But Keep An Eye On Your Privacy Settings.

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    Take a look at Panasonic’s breathtaking new Super-HD 20″ Tablet

    CES continues to spit out interesting Tech News left, right and centre; but this one really caught me by surprise. Situated at their booth and briefly discussed earlier in the main CES talks, Panasonic blew many people out of the water by revealing a new Windows 8 tablet that, quite frankly, is gigantic.

    Panasonic 4k Tablet demonstrated at CES (credit Engadget)

    (With credit to Engadget for the above picture)

    This Windows 8 tablet from Panasonic measures a surprising (unexpectedly large for this form factor) 20 inches in screen width; and sports a “super-HD” 4k resolution which is best described as “photorealistic”. For those of you confused by big words, this means the screen looks like something out of a photograph, with graphics that supposedly remain good-looking from nearly any angle. It also sports a touchscreen display and stylus, which Panasonic claim can be used together for super-detailed manipulation of images. Little else is known so far, so stay tuned!


    Microsoft announces TWO own-brand Windows 8 ‘Microsoft Surface’ tablets

    Microsoft have made it clear during development of the next version of their popular Windows operating system, Windows 8, that the company is looking to expand beyond the traditional PC market and offer "one system for any device", including Tablet computers and phones. To this extent, Windows 8 is being developed in two distinct flavours and a number of sub-flavours – as well as the traditional Windows builds PC users will be long familiar with, Microsoft are also developing Windows 8 RT (short for Runtime), which is a version of Windows geared specifically towards ARM-powered devices (a first for the company) and designed to give a more mobile-centric feel, with focus on an App Store and iPad-like functionality.

    Naturally, many people expected Microsoft would announce they had been working on their OWN tablet device to sell at the time of Windows 8's launch in order to give this new system a fit-for-purpose home – and on a mystery press conference by Microsoft, held in Los Angeles, these suspicions were confirmed correct. However, the company surprised everyone by revealing that there will actually be TWO tablets, one for each Windows experience.

    CEO Steve Ballmer revealed the two variants of Microsoft tablets, dubbing them 'Microsoft Surface' tablets. Surface for Windows RT will be the entry-level version, released on or around Windows 8's launch. Powered by an ARM-based chip produced by NVIDIA, this will run the RT version of Windows 8 and is intended as more of an iPad competitor. It comes with a 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display and a 31.5 W-h battery and there is a choice of 32 GB or 64 GB of storage on board. As for expansion, you'll get one each of HDMI, microSD and USB connectivity – although interestingly, it supports only USB 2.0.

    The real eye candy is expected to be released around 90 days after Windows 8's launch according to Microsoft's own press release, and is known as Windows 8 Pro. Unlike the RT, Windows 8 Pro is Intel-based and intended to be a full-blown desktop Windows experience like you'd get on a traditional computer, but within the smaller and sleeker form factor of a tablet. The Windows 8 Pro tablet packs a 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display with Gorilla Glass, USB 3.0, a 42 W-h battery, and a choice of either 64 GB or 128 GB of storage; with an Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor powering it.

    Both tablets will come with an extra dubbed the "Touch Cover". Intended to be used as a cover for the tablet's screens when not in use and as a work surface when in use, the Touch Covers feature a wireless keyboard and trackpad, which when connected to the tablet via a magnetic clip allow the tablet to be used in a style more akin to the traditional laptop. Only 3mm thick, the Touch Covers contain "unique pressure-sensitive technology" which allow them to "sense keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard"; and will be available in a variety of colours. The tablets also come with an integrated kickstand to help you stand them up vertically on surfaces; and dual wi-fi antennae for wireless connectivity.

    With the announcement of these two new tablets Microsoft expects to give iPad and the Android tablets a run for their money. The fact that these tablets run Windows is a huge advantage, if leveraged properly by Microsoft, over rival competition because of the ability to create a harmonious ecosystem with our traditional computers – and they certainly do appear an exciting prospect for both users and developers. However, it is really up to the future to decide whether the Microsoft tablets will live on or die out.

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    Acknowledgements: Image Courtesy Engadget; fair use.
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    Aomei release Partition Manager for Windows 8. (Yeah, you read that right.)

    Windows 8 – the next version of Windows after the current Windows 7, which will be the first to target computers, smartphones and tablets in the same system – is still yet to receive an official launch, though Microsoft did launch a Windows 8 Consumer Preview recently, to allow everyone to download a test version of Windows – so that the general public can try out the new system before it launches and see whether they like it, as well as to allow them to prepare themselves for the many changes it will bring.

    Despite this, many software developers are already working on new versions of their applications that are specifically tailored to work on, or take advantage of extra functionality Windows 8 will bring. However, most of these applications were either Microsoft-developed and to be expected anyway (e.g. Office), or only needed small tweaks to function; and most of these are just small, simple programs. So when Aomei emailed Technically Motivated today boasting that their Partition Assistant 4.0 is "perfectly compatible with Windows 8 at first time", I was naturally curious. Read the rest of this entry »


    Aomei update Partition Assistant Home Edition, adds more compatible OSes, changes licencing restrictions

    One of Technically Motivated’s regular partners, Aomei Technology, who specialise in disk management, recovery and conversion software, got in touch today to inform us of an updated release of one of their key products.

    Aomei Partition Assistant Home Edition received a small update earlier this week, bringing a few minor software improvements. The main new feature is improved OS compatibility, meaning that APA can now be run on a wider range of Windows systems – the new additions being Windows 2000 Professional 32-bit; and a new 64-bit release for 64-bit editions of Windows 7, XP, Vista and 2000 Professional. Their lesser “Lite” edition goes further by also adding support for Windows Server 2000/2003/2008, for those who maintain servers but just need basic partition features or are strapped for cash.

    Interestingly, with the new Home Edition release, Aomei have also changed the terms of the licence governing usage of the software. The new Home Edition licence permits the software to be used for commercial uses, making Aomei Partition Assistant Home Edition a perfect choice for home-based businesses. Looks like there’s a new face in town…

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    Acknowledgements: Information courtesy of AomeiTech
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    Rumour: Microsoft blurring line between Windows and Xbox for upcoming Windows 8 OS?

    New rumours spreading around the Blogosphere today make the tantalising proposition that Microsoft may be considering baking in support for XBox 360 games and services within the upcoming next generation of their market-leading (for better or worse) Operating System, Windows. Numerous explanations have been given as cause of this rumour, but chief among them is a new entry in the error message tables for Windows that was discovered in closed Beta builds of the upcoming system, which stated: “Could not read XBox 360 disk media”.

    In addition, with Microsoft known to be working on a Software Development Kit for using Kinect on Windows computers; and Microsoft’s own admission that they’d like to see the technology incorporated beyond the XBox, many claim Microsoft may also be planning to bake Kinect support into Windows directly.

    Microsoft have yet to confirm or deny either rumour, which come from multiple sources, some more trustworthy than others. But knowing a little about Microsoft current conceptualising for the next Windows platform, we can draw some conclusions which give the rumours some support. We already know that Windows 8, as it is being called currently, is taking many design philosophies from Windows Phone 7, including the tiled interface and web widgets. One reason for this, as revealed by Microsoft, is to make the interface more intuitive to touch-screens. Microsoft claim two reasons for taking this measure: Firstly, Microsoft want Windows 8 to support as many different types of input as possible, in order to make for a seamless experience. Could this also include Kinect?

    Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Microsoft claim they wish to unify the Windows experience across several devices; and believe it is best achieved by making a single system that can easily be adapted to any device the consumer wants – from traditional computer, to tablet device, to smartphone and possibly even TVs. In this case, Windows 8 can be seen as a replacement for the Windows Phone system as well as the next step for the personal computer system. One of the key selling points in recent launches of Windows Phone has been its tight integration with XBox live services, which range from profile management to actually being able to play certain games through the phone. If Microsoft integrates XBox 360 support directly into Windows 8, then brings Windows 8 into smart phones, the XBox gaming platform may suddenly become bigger, stronger and capable of even more games and features than ever; plus game developers will suddenly find they’d only need to develop for one platform to potentially target several. This could be the killer combination that puts Windows for smart devices firmly on the map.

    What’s your take on all this? Let us know in the comments.


    JottiQ: Scan mutiple files for malware at once – and get the results without opening your browser.

    Jotti’s malware scan is a service that allows users to scan files with 18 different anti-virus/anti-malware scanners and get a report from each. Users upload individual files to their website, and Jotti’s malware scan sends it to all the scanners, which then scan the file and report back the result. Jotti then collects and displays them on the page. You can only upload one file at a time, and there may be a delay before results come in, in order to prevent the server being overloaded.

    JottiQ is a desktop program that extends the usability of Jotti’s malware scan. Its main purpose was to get around the single-file limitation for those who have a need to scan several files at once, but there’s many more things it can do. Read the rest of this entry »


    January 25-28 ONLY: Get Aomei Partition Assistant Professional Edition 3.0 for free!

    Update: This promotion has now expired. Make sure you keep coming back to Technically Motivated, and consider subscribing to our RSS feed so you don’t miss another great giveaway!

    Popular with computer geeks, programmers, and those people who like – or have good reason – to run multiple systems on the same computer, partitioning is a very useful trick for everyone to know. What is Partitioning, you wonder? Well, in the simplest possible terms, partitioning is a process by which a single hard drive can be split into multiple parts, or combined back into fewer parts, each of which can be made to use a defined amount of space on the drive, to allow you to organise the drive better. By splitting your drive like this, it’s possible to do things such as have one computer run two or more different systems (so you could have like two different flavours of Windows, or one Windows and one Linux or MacOS, etc), or you can make it so that one part of the drive is the main system and the other is personal files… there are many possible uses.

    For a limited time, a company called Aomei Technology is offering one of their star programs, Aomei Partition Assistant Professional Edition, for anyone to download – completely free! This program is, as the name suggests, a Partition Management software. You can use it to create, move, resize and delete partitions, change the “format” of each partition, and several other features. There are also two new features just in to the latest version – Disk Copy and Partition Copy. These allow to copy a whole partition to another partition or another drive; or even copy an entire drive to another location – this could come in very useful for keeping backups in case a partition or drive starts to fail, which can happen with age. Here’s Read the rest of this entry »

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    [Review] SmartClose

    This is a review of the Software product SmartClose, developed by BM-productions.

    Contents of this review:

    The Basics

    System Requirements:

    Windows 95, 98, Millennium, NT 4.0 (with Service Pack 6 or higher), 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008 and Windows 7. 32 and 64-bit versions supported, but on 64-bit versions of Windows, SmartClose will not be able to retrieve the command-line arguments or working directory of 64-bit processes, nor will it be able to kill these processes.

    Windows 95 and NT 4.0 require Internet Explorer 4 to be installed.

    At least 1MB free space.



    Software description as per the developer:
    (Note: Developer software descriptions are copied directly from the developer’s websites, so all spelling and grammar mistakes are taken in context)

    SmartClose is a free program that automates the process of closing all running programs. It can also save the state of the system to a system snapshot, so all the programs that have been closed can be easily restarted later by SmartClose.

    Read on for a full review and ratings »


    Microsoft Security Essentials updated to v2 – with tons of new stuff!

    Microsoft Security Essentials is a product created by Microsoft themselves, to help address the ever-growing malware issue on Windows computers. While it is commonly thought to be a terrific effort by Microsoft and the product tends to get very favourable reviews, I myself have found myself in the minority of people who feel the product was not really up to scratch. My main reasoning for this is because MSE felt like an unfinished and unpolished software in my viewpoint – the scans were slow, and it offered very little in terms of features other than a malware scan, and analysis of programs in your Startup. I also personally felt a tiny niggle in that the program seemed just a bit too basic when compared to other Anti-Malware solutions. In effect, it felt almost too much like a beta product, and the fact it was "v1" didn't help this viewpoint.

    It seems Microsoft have listened to my critiques, as now, Microsoft has released v2 of MSE, adding few features and making improvements. Strangely, Microsoft seems to be keeping fairly quiet about the update – I cannot even find an official announcement nor an official changelog for the release. However, the Help file of MSE v2 lists the following changes made in v2:

    This version of Microsoft® Security Essentials includes the following new features and enhancements to better help protect your computer from threats:

    • Windows Firewall integration. Security Essentials setup enables you to turn on or off Windows Firewall.
    • Network Inspection System. This feature enhances real-time protection by inspecting network traffic to help proactively block exploitation of known network-based vulnerabilities.
    • New and improved protection engine. The updated engine offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities with better performance.

    These features are described in more detail in the following sections.

    • Windows Firewall integration
      • Windows Firewall can help prevent attackers or malicious software from gaining access to your computer through the Internet or a network. Now when you install Security Essentials, the installation wizard verifies that Windows Firewall is turned on. If you have intentionally turned off Windows Firewall, you can avoid turning it on by clearing a check box. You can change your Windows Firewall settings at any time via the System and Security settings in Control Panel.
    • Network Inspection System
      • Attackers are increasingly carrying out network-based attacks against exposed vulnerabilities before software vendors can develop and distribute security updates. Studies of vulnerabilities show that it can take a month or longer from the time of an initial attack report before a suitable security update is developed, tested, and released. This gap in protection leaves many computers vulnerable to attacks and exploitation for a substantial period of time. Network Inspection System works with real-time protection to better protect you against network-based attacks by greatly reducing the time span between vulnerability disclosures and update deployment from weeks to a few hours.
    • Award-winning protection engine
      • Under the hood of Security Essentials is its award-winning protection engine that is updated regularly. The engine is backed by a team of antimalware researchers from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, providing responses to the latest malware threats 24 hours a day.

    The new MSE v2 also seems to include some sort of "behaviour monitor". This is not mentioned in the help file, but appears in the program's Settings tab, with the explanation, "Tick to check for certain patterns of suspicious activity".

    Even more unusually, it seems like at this time there is no update of MSE available from MSE itself or Windows Update; you need to download v2 manually.

    I am yet to fully test out MSE v2, but from an initial viewpoint, it definitely isn't an unfinished product any more. In fact, it certainly seems to have become a much more comprehensive and professional-looking tool, which even feels like it could hold its own against some other commercial anti-malware solutions. The new version supports Windows XP, Vista and 7 in both 32- and 64-bit builds; and takes 7.5-9.5 MB of space to download depending on the build. You can download MSE v2 from the following links:

    Microsoft Security Essentials homepage

    [Direct download – 32-bit] [Direct download – 64-bit] Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2010-2018