Android custom distributions (ROMs) for smartphones and tablets

Android custom distributions (ROMs) are replacement operating systems for Android smartphones and tablets.  This allows users to customize older devices that may not have available Android updates and extend their service life.   This may erase data and void your device’s warranty.  Available security updates are usually based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).  More information is at

Chrome OS automatic updates may not be available for older devices

Google’s Chrome OS is a secure choice for an operating system, but older devices may no longer be supported.  When a Chrome device reaches its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date, automatic updates from Google will no longer be provided.

IFixit has instructions on how to convert a working Chromebook past its expiration date to use CloudReady.

TrueNAS CORE is the new name for FreeNAS

iXsystems announced in March 2020 that TrueNAS CORE is the new name for FreeNAS, the popular open source NAS (Network Attached Storage) operating system. This was done to unify branding with its TrueNAS Enterprise product.  Additional features were added to the TrueNAS CORE product as well. Documentation for TrueNAS is available at www.truenas.com/docs/hub/.

End of support for Windows 7 and other Microsoft products

Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 7 after January 14th 2020 and will no longer provide security updates.  For volume license customers, Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available for a fee through January 2023. A future option may be Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) for Windows 7, which was announced in 2018 but not yet available in Preview mode.

Update: paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available for businesses of all sizes through January 2023.

Office 2010 will no longer be supported as of October 13th 2020.   Microsoft is also ending support for Windows 10 Mobile OS for smartphones on December 10th 2019 and recommends that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device.

Internet Explorer 11 will be the last release, and Microsoft has released more information at its Internet Explorer FAQ page.

Support life cycle dates for Microsoft products can be found at support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/search.

Windows Sandbox allows you to run programs in isolation without a VM

Microsoft announced the upcoming release of Windows SandBox, which allows you to run untrusted programs in a new isolated temporary desktop environment without setting up a virtual machine.  Windows Sandbox builds upon Windows Containers and is currently only available as part of Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise Insider Preview Build 18305.

Windows Sysinternals Suite of system information tools

Windows Sysinternals are a free set of utilities originally written by Mark Russinovich to display and diagnose system information for Microsoft Windows.

Windows 10 October 2018 update now available

Update: Microsoft paused the installation of update version 1809 temporarily while it investigated reports that some users have lost files after installing it.  As of October 9th 2018, Microsoft stated that the prior issue was fixed and this update was now available to Windows Insiders.

Microsoft released the Windows 10 October 2018 update (version 1809 build 17763) on October 2nd 2018, and it will be automatically downloaded as part of regular Windows updates.   One of the new features is better integration between smartphones and Windows 10 devices using the Your Phone app.

A more complete list of changes for version 1809 is available at the Windows IT Pro Blog. The Windows IT Pro Center site also includes a list of removed features for this update.