Tuesday, May 14, 2019

PowerToys coming back as opensource with Windows 10 support

If you are one of those who have used Windows 95, then you must be familiar with the very popular PowerToys set of tools. The PowerToys project was originally launched for Windows 95. It had a set of very useful utilities to make Windows 95 ‘s user work efficiently. Most famous was TweakUI, which would tweak Windows 95 with an easy interface instead of digging into Registry. Many Windows 95 users had the opinion that what PowerToys had brought should have been in Windows 95 to begin with. With a size of just 205 KB to download and with over a dozen enhancements, it was very popular.
Inspired by Windows 95 era PowerToys project, these are being brought again as opensource and with Windows 10 support. So this reboot will provide Windows 10 power users with ways to squeeze more efficiency out of Windows 10 shell and customize it.
The first preview of these utilities and corresponding source code will be released in Summer 2019.
Now as an opensource, 2 utilities are being worked out first:
  • Maximize to new desktop widget - The MTND widget shows a pop-up button when a user hovers over the maximize / restore button on any window. Clicking it creates a new desktop, sends the app to that desktop and maximizes the app on the new desktop.
  • Windows key shortcut guide - The shortcut guide appears when a user holds the Windows key down for more than one second and shows the available shortcuts for the current state of the desktop.
This opensource project welcomes contributions and suggestions.
For more details, please check GitHub

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Upgrade block list for Windows 10 May 2019 Update (19H1)

Windows 10 May 2019 Update will be made available in late May for commercial customers on a currently supported version of Windows 10 who seek to update via “Download and install now (”limited to devices with no known compatibility issues). A phased rollout using ML model* will start to intelligently target those devices running Windows 10, version 1803 or prior versions that Microsoft’s data and feedback predict will have the best update experience.

Upgrade blocks for the May 2019 Update (19H1) :
Recently Microsoft has released a list of Upgrade Blocks for the May 2019 Update. So one must be aware if he’s having any issues when this update is made available.
  • If you have an external USB device or SD memory card is attached to your PC, you will be blocked from updating to the May 2019 Update. If you remove any external USB devices and/or SD memory cards, the update should proceed normally. This issue will be resolved in a future servicing update for Windows 10. For Windows Insiders, this issue is resolved in Build 18877 and later builds.
Windows Insiders who are trying to upgrade to the May 2019 Update may experience an upgrade block and receive the following error:
"This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10"

Example: An upgrade to the May 2019 Update is tried on a computer that has a thumb drive inserted into a USB port. Before the upgrade, the device would have been mounted in the system as drive G based on the existing drive configuration. However, after the upgrade, the device is reassigned a different drive letter. For example, the drive is reassigned as drive H.
Note The drive reassignment is not limited to removable drives. Internal hard drives can also be affected.

Workaround: To work around this issue, remove all external media, such as USB devices and SD cards, from the computer. Then, restart the May 2019 Update installation

  • If you have older versions of anti-cheat software used with games installed on your PC, you will be blocked from updating to the May 2019 Update. Some older versions of anti-cheat software may cause PCs to experience crashes after updating to the May 2019 Update. This block is specific to older versions of anti-cheat software. Microsoft is working with partners on getting their software updated with a fix, and most games have released patches to prevent PCs from experiencing this issue. To minimize the chance of hitting this block, please make sure you are running the latest version of your games before attempting to update the operating system.
  • If you have redirected any Known Folders (for example: Desktop, Documents, Pictures), an empty folder with that same name is created in your %userprofile% directory when you update. Your Known Folders are redirected if you chose to back up your content to OneDrive using the OneDrive wizard, or if you chose to keep your content backed up during the Windows Out-of-box-Experience (OOBE). You may have also redirected your Known Folders manually through the Properties Dialog in File Explorer. ​This issue does not cause any user files to be deleted and a fix is in progress.
So keep these upgrade blocks in mind before installing Windows 10 May 2019 update
*(check this for more details on Next generation of ML-based intelligent rollout)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Chromium open-source project based Microsoft Edge builds released

As announced by Microsoft in December last year that it’ll become a significant contributor to the Chromium project, by making Microsoft Edge Chromium based. Recently Microsoft shipped the first Dev and Canary channel builds of the next version of Microsoft Edge, based on the Chromium open-source project.
Since few years, Microsoft has significantly increased its participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world’s largest supporters of OSS projects. And release of Chromium based Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers is one more big step.
Microsoft announced its First Canary and Developer builds are ready for download on Windows 10 PCs. Canary builds are preview builds that will be updated daily, while Developer builds are preview builds that will be updated weekly. Beta builds will come online in the future. Support for Mac and all supported versions of Windows will also come over time.
get these builds from the Microsoft Edge Insider site.

Microsoft Edge Insider builds refers to both Microsoft Edge Canary and Microsoft Edge Dev.
If you are interested in these builds and have downloaded, also refer to this for any errors you might get. 
Microsoft Edge Insider builds: Troubleshoot install and updates

Friday, April 12, 2019

Microsoft announce significant changes in the Windows update process

After Windows users asking for more control over updates, Microsoft responded to the users feedback. Microsoft announces significant changes in the Windows update process which will improve the experience, will put the user in more control and will improve the quality of Windows update.
Earlier, whenever Windows 10 feature update was rolled out, the update installation was automatically initiated on a device. This was initiated after the gathered data provided the go ahead for that device.
Starting with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, users will get more control of initiating the feature OS update. A notification will be provided that an update is available and it will be up to the user to initiate this. When Windows 10 devices are at or soon reaching end of service, Windows update will continue to automatically initiate a feature update, keeping machines supported. All users will now have the ability to explicitly choose if they want to update their device when they “check for updates” or can pause updates for up to 35 days.
Windows 10 May 2019 Update will be made available in the 2nd week of Apr in the Release Preview Ring for Windows Insiders.For commercial customers, it will be made available in the May end.

New features in the Windows Update process:

The new features will provide additional clarity and control over the update experience both for feature updates and optional monthly non-security updates.
Download and install now: This new Download and install now option will provide a separate control to initiate the installation of a feature update on eligible devices with no known key blocking compatibility issues. Users can still “Check for Updates” to get monthly quality and security updates.

If a version of Windows 10 is nearing end of support, Windows will automatically initiate a new feature update. Its availability will be notified when its ready for your machine. While all Windows 10 devices with a supported version will continue to automatically receive the monthly updates. This “Download and install” option will also be available for Windows 10 version 1803 and 1809 by May end.
Pause updates ability gets extension: Users can now pause feature and monthly updates up to 35 days. (7 days at a time , up to 5 times). Once the 35 days pause period is reaches, users will have to update their devices before pausing again. Any update can come at an inconvenient time, such as when a PC is needed for a big presentation so such an option is made available.
Intelligent Active hours: Users will now have the option to let Windows Update intelligently adjust active hours based on their device-specific usage pattern.By default active hours are set at 8AM to 5PM.
Improved update orchestration: This feature will improve system performance by intelligently coordinating Windows updates and Microsoft Store updates, so they occur when users are away from their devices to minimize disruptions.
(More details at source)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

[Tip]: Grammar tools in Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is the only browser that comes with Microsoft Learning Tools built-in that helps in to to improve reading and focus. Grammar tool is part of that Learning tool. With Grammar tool, you can identify parts of speech with different colors.
Grammar tools can separate words into syllables and highlight parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. Along with highlighting parts of speech, you can now also change the color as well as turn on an indicator right over what you’ve highlighted, making it much easier to identify the part of speech.
How to enable & use Grammar tools?
Microsoft Edge comes with a Reader mode which strips out unnecessary elements from the opened web page and turns it into cleaner looking page without any ads or scripts, which makes it easier to read and focus on the content.
  • Open the desired web page in Microsoft Edge.
  • Click on the Reading View icon or Ctrl+Shift+R is the keyboard shortcut.
  • This will enable the Reading View feature in the Microsoft Edge. (The opened page should support the Reading view feature. If the Reading View button is not available & is grayed out, it means that the current web page does not support reading view.)
  • Now to get Reading View’s options toolbar, click on the empty area of the page or press Ctrl+Shift+O. Now you can see a toolbar.
  • Click on Learning Tools. Then Click on Grammar tools. The Grammar tools is not installed by default. So if you are using it for 1st time, you’ll see Get button else if its already downloaded & installed , you’ll not see the Get button.
  • Clicking on installed Grammar tools, you’ll see various options.
  • You can enable or disable the grammar tools syllables and highlight parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives according to your preferences.One can show the labels too.
As said earlier, Grammar tools separates words into syllables and highlight parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. Check it out in action:

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Phone Screen – Access your phone apps on your PC

With release of Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18356 (19H1), an early preview of a new feature Phone Screen is being provided. You can now mirror your Android phone’s screen directly on your PC without having to dig for your phone.

This new feature of Phone Screen provides access to your phone apps on your PC. So one can use phone apps from the comfort of their PC without having to take out the phone. This feature will be rolled out gradually and will show up inside the Your Phone app (ver 1.0.20701.0 and above)
Phone Screen requirement:
Supported PCs:
You can use the Your Phone app on any Windows 10 PC running Windows builds 1803 or newer and any Android phone running Android version 7.0 or newer. The new Phone Screen feature requires you to be running the latest Insider builds (1903) and is initially only compatible with a limited set of devices. Your PC also needs to support Bluetooth with Low Energy Peripheral mode. Android phone must be on, within Bluetooth range of the PC, and connected to the same network as the PC.
How to check if your PC supports Bluetooth Low Energy Peripheral Role?
  • Open Device Manager by right-clicking on the Start menu.
  • Select and expand the Bluetooth option.
  • Select the Radio Driver or Adapter for Bluetooth.
  • Double click to open Properties.
  • Navigate to the Details tab.
  • Find the “Bluetooth radio supports Low Energy Peripheral Role” property on the dropdown and select it.
  • See if the value is true or false.
  • If it’s “true” then your PC will be able to display your phone screen and interact with it.
Supported Phones:
Currently the feature is only available on the following select Android phones running Android 7.0 or greater:
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
List of devices over time will be expanded for both the PC and phone.

Friday, March 08, 2019

[Tip]: Now you can search emojis

Set of emoji to be included with Emoji 12.0 was finalised by Unicode in Feb. With Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18348, Emoji 12.0 gets updated. Now all these emojis have keywords attached to them. This makes it very easy & convenient to search for your emojis by typing the word related.
Just press Winkey+(period) or Winkey+(semicolon) to open the emoji picker and just start typing the word so that all emojis related to it will be shown.
Emoji – Kaomoji – Symbols:
To add, if you haven’t tried it yet, the emoji picker also now has Kaomoji and Symbols section.
Kaomoji translated literally from Japanese means “face characters” – basically, it’s a way to create faces using only text.
While in symbols section, you’ll find it includes sections for punctuation, currency, geometric, math, Latin and language symbols.

At present only the emoji section supports type to search.