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 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 and Fresh Start options

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.

Windows 10 Fresh Start will perform a clean reinstallation and update of Windows while keeping user personal data and most Windows settings intact, but Fresh Start will remove installed apps and digital licenses and digital content associated with apps.  Fresh Start can be run by selecting Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender > Device performance & Health.  Under Fresh Start, select Additional info > Get Started.  Update: in the Windows 10 May 2020 update (version 2004), this functionality has been moved to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started.

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

A list of Recovery options in Windows 10 is also at support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12415/windows-10-recovery-options.

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.

Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL) – Run Bash on Windows 10

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is an optional Windows 10 feature that allows you to run in order to run Bash shell scripts and Linux command-line applications without using a virtual machine.  WSL is designed as a development tool and not as a Linux production tool.  It is installed under Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows features on or off – > Windows Subsystem for Linux.

WSL is no longer Beta and is fully supported as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in 2017.  WSL is also available on Windows Server 2016 Build 1709 or later versions.

Further documentation can be found at docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/about and the Windows Command Line Tools Blog.