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.

Microsoft resumes release of Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Microsoft has announced that it will resume the release of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809).   This update was temporarily stopped because some users had lost files after the earlier version of update was installed.    This issue should not occur with the newest update release.

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.

 

Windows 10 clean install option

Windows 10 offers a recovery option to do a clean install.  Warning:  this option will remove installed applications and files.  Do a backup of your PC before choosing this option.

This tool may be accessed by clicking Start button > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > “More recovery options” – “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows”.  This option can also be found at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10startfresh.

Another option for reinstalling Windows is to create installation media. Instructions for this are available at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/15088/windows-create-installation-media.

Windows Admin Center – a new management tool for Windows 10 and Server

Microsoft announced the release of Windows Admin Center, a new web based administrative management interface for Windows systems.  The original development name of this tool was Project Honolulu.  This tool consolidates data from Event Viewer, Device Manager, Disk Management, Task Manager, Server Manager and other console windows into one interface.  It can be downloaded and installed on Windows 10 Fall Anniversary Update (version 1709) or newer, or Windows Server 2016 or newer.   More information can be found at:

Windows Admin Center is part of a set of management solutions from Microsoft, which also includes Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), System Center, Operations Management Suite and Azure Stack for Azure-related management, as well as Intune for iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS devices.

Fedora – a free Linux based set of operating systems

Fedora is a free open-source set of Linux based operating systems and is sponsored by Red Hat.  Versions include:

More information can be found at docs.fedoraproject.org.

Meltdown and Spectre security flaws forces tech companies to release updates

Two recently detected security flaws currently named “Meltdown” and “Spectre” are causing Apple, Microsoft, Google, Intel, and others to release security updates to fix any potential problem.  The flaws potentially affect all recent computers, smartphones, and tablets that use a CPU performance feature called speculative execution.  There is no evidence that the flaws have been exploited at this time.  The general recommendation is to download updates for all devices.

Current Apple products may have the security flaws with the exception of the Apple Watch.  Apple is continuing to work on updates and released a statement at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208394.

Microsoft issued guidance for Windows users, SQL Server, Windows Server, and has updated most of its Azure infrastructure and will continue to do so.  Security update KB4056890 also updates Internet Explorer and Edge browsers.   Microsoft also issued update KB4056892 for various Windows versions but notes that some AMD processor machines to stop working after installing it.

Google recommended that Chrome users should turn on site isolation.  Google also responded with these blog posts:
https://support.google.com/faqs/answer/7622138
https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2018/01/reading-privileged-memory-with-side.html

Mozilla is working on updates and a fix is available in Firefox 57.0.4 version.

Amazon has updated its servers already and will continue to do so.

Intel released a statement as well and is releasing updates.  It also reported some systems rebooted more frequently after the updatesAMD also released a statement on their CPUs and speculative execution.

Oracle issued updates for MySQL, Java, PeopleSoft and other products that it maintains.

The CERT Vulnerability Notes Database has logged this issue as Vulnerability Note VU#584653.

eWeek reported that Linux 4.15 was released with Meltdown and Spectre patches and that further patches would be made for this issue.

More information can be found at https://spectreattack.com.