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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10565 released yesterday with numerous functional improvements, but also a key change in the activation scheme: Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 product keys can be used to activate Windows 10. Previously, you could install these operating systems as normal and then upgrade to Windows 10 for free; Microsoft is mercifully making that step unnecessary by allowing you to simply enter in the product key of the previous OS to validate your new Windows 10 install.
There is a stipulation: if you're going through the upgrade process instead or clean installing, the key you use with the PC you've installed Windows 10 on must have been used to activate the previous installed version of Windows. So for example, if you installed Windows 7 on your PC and then want to upgrade to Windows 10, you can do so, but you can't install Windows 7 on your laptop and then use that key to upgrade to Windows 10 on your desktop and then activate it (you'd have to have installed it on your desktop first at some point).
To start the process, go to Settings > Update & security > Activation, and then select Change Product Key if upgrading, and if clean installing, simply use the key during setup.
The Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10565 has been released for Windows Insiders in the "Fast ring" today, and with it comes a slew of improvements and changes to the operating system.
Among the long list: Skype integration (including Quick Reply from Action Center functionality), Tab Preview and Favourites and Reading list items syncing for Edge, Cortana event reminders and trip planning functions , darker title bars, and smaller context menus for mouse usage.
Hit the source if you want the full list of details.
If you're still on Windows 7, you may have been put off by a strange update in the past 24 hours going by a name something like "gYxseNjwafVPfgsoHnzLblmmAxZUiOnGcchqEAEwjyxwjUIfpXfJQcdLapTmFaqHGCFsdvpLarmPJLOZYMEILGNIPwNOgEazuBVJ". The update is flagged as "important".
No need to worry about your system being compromised by Shodan, though: Microsoft says it was a mistakenly released test update and should be removed by now.
We've seen Microsoft merge the worlds of Windows RT and the desktop side of Windows 8 at the time into a singular OS; Windows 10, but Apple has no such plans of merging iOS and OS X.
Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated the news in a chat with Aaron Levie from Box, where he said that it "subtracts from both", with Cook arguing that you "don't get the best experience with either". Cook said he feels no pressure to catch up to Microsoft in this regard, adding that he doesn't believe in "holding grudges" and that Microsoft and Apple can "partner on more things" than they compete in.
We've seen iOS-friendly versions of Office updates that were unveiled with the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro and iOS 9, showing that Microsoft and Apple are very friendly indeed. The enterprise on the other hand, wants to see Apple and Microsoft working together, and not fighting. Considering Apple secured itself a very hefty $25 billion in enterprise revenue in the last 12 months, it should come as no surprise that Apple has pushed into the enterprise-class market with the iPad Pro and its collaboration with Microsoft on iOS-friendly Office apps.
Google has just unveiled their new Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X smartphones, a couple of new Chromecast dongles, and unleashed Android 6.0 Marshmallow all this afternoon. But how many people are using Android?
According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, over 1.4 billion active monthly users are now on Android. This is quite the increase from a few months ago, where back in June the company announced it had 1 billion users - indicating a huge 400 million additional users on Android. The company is expecting continued growth with Android, as smartphones becomes more affordable, especially under their Android One initiative.
Insider sources have divulged some impressive knowledge to the Petri IT Knowledgebase: Windows 10 has exceeded 100 million installs as of last week. This means it took Windows 10 just two months to do what Windows 8 did in eight months. That's the power of free (and good), we suppose.
All signs point to that number increasing even more before long: analysts claim more interest in the OS is just going up, Microsoft has recently signed a deal to get it over to China (which, if you live under a rock, is home to well over 1 billion potential customers), and the Surface Pro 4 is expected to be announced very soon.
Microsoft wants to hit 1 billion installs within three years. Given the rate of progress so far, that should be doable.
Privacy has been a big concern for a lot of Windows 10 users since the operating system's launch two months ago. If you believed the rumors, you might think we really were headed for a Skynet situation.
Today, Microsoft's Terry Myerson assures users there's nothing to be alarmed about, that their only goal with the information they collect is to make Windows perform better and be more personal. From the Windows Blog: "We collect a limited amount of information to help us provide a secure and reliable experience. This includes data like an anonymous device ID, device type, and application crash data which Microsoft and our developer partners use to continuously improve application reliability. This doesn't include any of your content or files, and we take several steps to avoid collecting any information that directly identifies you, such as your name, email address or account ID".
He continued: "A great example of how this data was used effectively was just last month, when aggregate data showed us that a particular version of a graphics driver was crashing on some Windows 10 PCs, which then caused a reboot. This driver was not widely used, but still the issue was impacting customers. We immediately contacted the partner who builds the driver and worked with them to turn around a fix to Windows Insiders within 24 hours. We used the data on Insiders' devices to confirm that the problem was resolved, and then rolled out the fix to the broad public via an update the next day - all-in-all, this data helped us find, fix and resolve a significant problem within 48 hours".
Enterprise customers will be able to disable this tracking soon, though the company strongly advises against it.
That's all well and good, but there's also text message tracking (for suggestion purposes) and personalization tracking (which lets Microsoft know you're really into the Seahawks, for example). If that sort of thing creeps you out, you can disable it via the Settings > Privacy menu, if you haven't already done so when you installed the OS.
Said to help deliver "a custom experience" for Chinese users through the implementation of local browsing and search options, Microsoft's partnership with Baidu was announced in September 23 and aims to spread Microsoft throughout this Eastern nation.
This partnership will see Baidu.com become the new Windows Edge browser home page, plus a 'Windows 10 Express' app will be developed in order to help end users install the operating system in the first place. If this wasn't enough to entice users, Baidu will also be offering "Universal Windows Applications for Search, Video, Cloud and Maps for Windows 10" as reported by ZDNet.
Microsoft says that "we remain deeply committed to delivering Bing around the world and we're also committed to offering locally relevant experiences - like Baidu in China - to provide great Windows 10 experiences" when asked about what this partnership will do to its own search engine.
According to a few users, the ~BT Windows 10 folder has been appearing on users' machines even without them agreeing to the upgrade from their Windows 7 or Windows 8 installations.
Microsoft has confirmed the news with The Inquirer, VentureBeat and PCWorld. PCGamer reports: "Users have been able to opt-in to the free Windows 10 upgrade if they're running Windows 7 or 8, but apparently even if they don't, the files are being downloaded anyway. It's happening on devices which have automatic updates allowed, which we'd generally recommend to catch the latest security and stability updates for Windows".
Microsoft sent a response, where they said: "For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they'll need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device".
The latest Android OS market share numbers are here, with Android 5.x Lollipop with 21% but interestingly, a huge 39.2% are still using Android 4.4 KitKat.
Android 4.x.x Jelly Bean is still rocking along on 31.8% of devices, with the older versions of Android still being enjoyed in big numbers. Android 2.2 Froyo and Android 2.3.x Gingerbread are still holding onto 4.3% between the both of them. Back to Android 5.x Lollipop, which is up to 21%, up from the 18% of devices it was on recently.