microsoft surface2

Microsoft’s high-end Surface Book 2

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is the most powerful mobile Surface device yet. It easily blows away the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop and, of course, the old Surface Book. It’s also one of the odder devices in the lineup, though. It’s not just a Surface Pro with a rigid keyboard. It’s a relatively heavy base with a powerful processor and graphics card and a big battery — and it has a surprisingly light removable screen that turns it into a tablet and that features a less powerful processor and graphics chip.There surely a world of difference between the performance of these low-end and high-end machines, so you get what you pay for. But Microsoft’s message here is pretty clear: the Surface Book 2 is basically a mobile workstation for those who want to edit videos and photos, play games on the road or just need a really powerful mobile machine to crunch numbers or compile a Linux kernel or two. It’s Microsoft’s challenger to the MacBook Pro and it’s not shying away from the comparison.


Docker will pack Kubernetes in the box

Docker announced they will integrate a version of Google’s Kubernetes container-orchestration tool as a native part of Docker. The Kubernetes integration will be available as a beta release. The integration will be available to all Docker’s versionsll the operating systems they currently support. One reason of including Kubernetes is to spare developers the effort of standing up a Kubernetes instance, whether for simple dev/test or for actual production use. Historically it’s been a chore to get Kubernetes running, and so a slew of Kubernetes tools and third-party Kubernetes projects have emerged to simplify the process. Most of the time, it’s easier to use a Kubernetes distribution, becayse the distribution’s packaging deals with these problems at a high level. Docker’s inclusion of Kubernetes makes Docker itself a Kubernetes distribution.To integrate the two, Docker is using a Kubernetes feature called custom resources, a native way to customize particular installations of Kubernetes. Previous repackagings of Kubernetes sometimes made changes that subtly broke compatibility, and custom resources was devised as a way to avoid that. Any changes Docker makes to Kubernetes can be kept separate from the Kubernetes code base, and done entirely on the Docker side. Another reason is integrating Kubernetes to provide an easy alternative to its own orchestration tool, Swarm.

Apple focuses on enterprise users

Last week, Apple made it clear that it intends for iOS to remain the dominant mobile platform for the enterprise. iOS 11, which will be released as a public beta later this month and is due out in final form this fall, doubles down on productivity, offers a more intuitive UI, and ensures that the iPad Pro can actually replace a PC for the vast majority of worker tasks. The most notable iOS 11 features for business use are, not surprisingly tied to the iPad Pro, which in the past has been useful for certain tasks — especially for designers and for word processing — but often didn’t meet the bar to serve as a true PC alternative. The biggest issue with the iPad has always stemmed from its inception as a mobile device. When Apple’s tablet arrived seven years ago, there was a lot of dismissive talk that it was really nothing more than a larger iPhone or iPod Touch. It didn’t help that Apple initially positioned the iPad as a consumer device, one for viewing content rather than creating it. Despite Apple’s efforts to make iOS devices true enterprise citizens — and it’s had a fair amount of success doing so — the belief persists that the iPad isn’t a PC (or Mac) and therefore is a secondary device rather than a primary computing solution. Mobile first set Apple’s direction Within that debate, there’s a nugget of truth. iOS is, and always has been, a mobile OS. It was originally designed for a phone, where the capabilities needed for business are rather different. We don’t expect to do 3D modeling or write long documents or presentations on a phone, despite its processing power and today’s larger form factors. Apple also made an effort to ensure continuity of user experience across all iOS devices, which includes devices with displays ranging from four inches to almost 13. Apple has been largely successful in doing that. But trying to keep a single user experience across those form factors and use cases had the effect of hobbling how users, particularly business users, could be productive on the iPad. iOS 11 breaks that tradition by delivering a more capable, even somewhat desktop-like, user interface on the iPad compared to the iPhone. From what we’ve seen so far, Apple managed this without truly disrupting the relation between the iPad and iPhone. Apple’s decision to deliver a more unique experience on the iPad this year also had a side effect. Many of the newly unveiled interface elements in iOS 11 on the iPad take design cues from macOS. Drag and drop, the on-screen Dock, the Files app, the ability to have multiple paired apps and slide between them, all are strongly reminiscent of their desktop counterparts. In making the iPad more capable, it’s becoming more Mac-like. If you put Apple’s product lines side by side, there is now a very effective and obvious progression of user interface from desktop to tablet to phone to watch. This gives all of Apple’s products a greater sense of cohesion. And it strengthens Apple’s ecosystem because one device leads so naturally to the next. That’s even clearer when you consider services like the Continuity features Apple released two years ago, or even the ease of setup for products like the Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple and Microsoft shoot for the same goal from opposite directions Apple is certainly trying to cement its position in enterprise mobility and take a share of the enterprise desktop market. What’s interesting is that Apple and Microsoft (with the Surface line) both appear to be aiming for the same sweet spot: a device that combines the best of desktop productivity, intuitive user experience, and integration in the 21st century enterprise stack. While Apple started with a completely mobile platform and refined it into a powerful business solution that supports enterprise management, Microsoft started with the traditional desktop and then attempted to mobilize it. Both companies have made missteps along the way. For Apple, that was restricting iOS as a single user experience, regardless of device. For Microsoft, it was pushing too far, too quickly, with Windows 8. iOS 11 and Windows 10 represent both companies’ attempts to course correct and deliver a next-generation computing experience that balances the best of both worlds, mobile and desktop. Nowhere is this course correction more visible than in enterprise device/PC/Mac management. Microsoft is pushing for Windows 10 to be managed using EMM rather than the heavier solutions PC management has required in the past. That represents a bit of catching-up, given that Apple began that journey six years ago with macOS Lion. But it’s also a change that will eventually change how IT manages PCs. This is significant because it goes to the heart of an issue I discussed two years ago: that EMM is a significant shift from Active Directory group policies and SCCM. Microsoft’s change in strategy, while perfectly reasonable, actually helps Apple. If IT departments need to shift to EMM as their primary PC and device management strategy, a lot of the barriers to Apple devices begin to fade away. The same software can easily manage all mobile devices, Macs and PCs. By focusing on EMM as a total management approach, businesses can become even more device agnostic — allowing workers to be more productive on the devices they already have. In the end, Apple and Microsoft are headed in the same direction. iOS is becoming more desktop-like, even as Windows is becoming more mobile, both in terms of user experience and IT integration. Both have significant advantages, depending on whom  you ask. The reality is, we’re fast approaching a workplace in which user choice may dictate the device of choice — and IT will be able to readily secure and manage any platform. That changes a lot of the dictates of traditional operations, and frees up workers to be even more productive. Apple has a unique opportunity with iOS 11 and the company is taking seriously the sentiments of consumers and business users alike. That opportunity will finally allow the iPad Pro to fully live up to the word Pro. Source:

New Mac malware discovered

The stronger OS X (now macOS) security model and lower market share used to mean it was of no interest to malware creators. It’s still not exactly a major target, but running a Mac without antivirus protection is getting increasingly risky. Case in point: A new piece of malware has been discovered, but it’s not technically all that new. The “Fruitfly” malware is believed to have been circulating since late 2014, and it can spy on everything you do on the computer. Security firm Malwarebytes only heard about the malware recently from an IT administrator who discovered unusual internet traffic from one of the machines under his care. The investigation by Malwarebytes revealed this is some pretty serious malware. According to Malwarebytes, when Fruitfly is deployed on a system, it begins taking screenshots of the user’s activities. It’s also able to covertly activate the webcam to get a look at what’s happening near the computer. Researchers who have looked into the malware report that it may even have the ability to take over control of the system. Interestingly, Fruitfly has some components that are clearly Linux-based and pre-date OS X. For example, it’s using the libjpeg tool to create jpeg files, which was last updated in 1998. The system calls it uses are similarly antique. With some tweaking, Malwarebytes was able to get it running on a Linux system. Researchers believe it may be derived from some piece of previously unidentified Linux malware. It’s possible the use of old code and archaic system calls could be a method to evade detection. It’s even been patched with specific fixes for OS X Yosemite, indicating it has been around since at least 2014. Fruitfly has been added to the Malwarebytes database, but only a few other security firms have updated their Mac clients with the signature. So far, Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos, and Symantec have added support for detecting and removing Fruitfly. It is believed the prevalence of this malware is quite low, and no one knows for sure how it is being spread. That could indicate a very focused attack, and there’s some evidence to indicate that it’s being targeted at biomedical companies in particular. It may be custom designed to steal trade secrets. Malwarebytes has provided Apple with the details of Fruitfly, but there’s been no public statement from Cupertino yet. Apple has, however, created an update to macOS that blocks Fruitfly. If you are running a completely updated version of macOS, you should be protected from this threat soon. You probably aren’t in danger from Fruitfly, but it’s just another reminder that the internet is a dangerous place, no matter what operating system you use. Source:  

Why Didn’t BSD Beat Out GNU and Linux?

If you use a free and open source operating system, it’s almost certainly based on the Linux kernel and GNU software. But these were not the first freely redistributable platforms, nor were they the most professional or widely commercialized. The Berkeley Software Distribution, or BSD, beat GNU/Linux on all of these counts. So why has BSD been consigned to the margins of the open source ecosystem, while GNU/Linux distributions rose to fantastic prominence? Read on for some historical perspective. Understanding BSD requires delving far back into the history of Unix, the operating system first released by AT&T Bell Labs in 1969. BSD began life as a variant of Unix that programmers at the University of California at Berkeley, initially led by Bill Joy, began developing in the late 1970s. At first, BSD was not a clone of Unix, or even a substantially different version of it. It just included some extra utilities, which were intertwined with code owned by AT&T. That all started to change in the early 1980s, however, when AT&T’s decision to commercialize Unix raised demand for a Unix clone that would be freely redistributable without steep licensing fees. As a result, BSD programmers worked throughout the mid-1980s to separate their code from AT&T’s, and made slow but steady progress toward releasing a complete Unix-like operating system of their own. They finally achieved their goal in June 1991, when the Net 2 release of BSD became available. In contrast to the Net 1 release that preceded it, which comprised mostly networking code but not a full operating system, Net 2 was a complete, Unix-like system. Because Net 2 BSD was available under a permissive license that granted access to the source code and the right to redistribute the system or derivatives of it freely, it was effectively the first “open source” operating system to see the light of day. The term “open source” did not yet exist at the time, and the BSD license did not satisfy the Free Software Foundation’s requirements for free-software licensing, but Net 2 was still a major step forward for the free-software community, since it showed that efforts to create a free, Unix-like system could succeed. Net 2 was also an important leap because it was the only free Unix clone that actually worked. At the time, the Linux kernel did not yet exist. (Linus Torvalds released the first version of Linux several months after Net 2 appeared, and it took more than two more years before Linux became fully functional.) And the GNU operating system, which Richard Stallman and his supporters had been working on since 1984, lacked a kernel. So, if BSD Net 2 was the first—and, at the time, by far the best—free Unix-like system, why did it not end up taking the hacker community by storm, and become the open source platform we all use today instead of GNU/Linux? Fighting the Law Part of the answer was the lawsuit that Unix Systems Labs (USL), which by the early 1990s had acquired rights to what had been AT&T Unix, sued Berkeley Software Design Inc. (BSDI) in early 1992, claiming that BSDI’s commercial implementation of BSD infringed USL’s copyright. In March 1993, a court dismissed most of these claims, but the legal drama continued when the University of California countersued. It was not until early 1994, by which time Novell had acquired the rights to Unix, that the legal disputes were fully resolved through settlement. Ultimately, the legal drama did not undercut programmers’ ability to use or redistribute BSD. However, it did stunt adoption of the operating system by creating doubts about BSD’s legal future. As a result, it arguably forged an opening that allowed Linux to gain ground despite being developed primarily by an undergraduate in his Helsinki apartment, rather than a team of professional computer scientists at a major American university. Licenses, Licenses But the lawsuits do not fully explain BSD’s slow adoption. After all, the GNU/Linux community faced its own series of major legal battles in the early 2000s, when the SCO Group sued several major Linux distributors and corporate users. Yet the GNU/Linux community emerged relatively unscathed from those disputes, which were essentially resolved in 2007 in Linux’s favor. Part of BSD’s lack of immense popularity with hackers—that is, the people who made GNU and Linux what they became—also had to do with the permissiveness of the Net 2 licensing terms. Unlike GNU’s GPL license, which required the source code of all derivative works of GPL-licensed software to remain publicly available, the BSD license did not force developers who borrowed or tweaked the BSD code for their own projects to share their source code publicly. That was good news for commercial companies wary of sharing their code, but bad for hackers who valued openness and transparency. The BSD Cathedral Last but not least, it also mattered that BSD was built by a relatively small, mostly centralized team of professional programmers based in Berkeley. That set it apart from a system like Linux, which Torvalds created in collaboration with a wide network of loosely organized volunteer developers spread across the world. Thus, while BSD functioned as what Eric S. Raymond would call a software “cathedral,” carefully and elegantly built by a small group of master coders, the Linux development scene looked more like a “bazaar,” with code released early and often by a decentralized team of programmers whose only qualification was their ability to get the job done. The cathedral approach—which GNU, for its part, also adopted for the first 15 years of its history—did not lead to the rapid innovation that helped make Linux so popular in its early years. Thus, the fact that Torvalds, mostly by mistake, stumbled upon a very new, more effective development strategy lent momentum to Linux that BSD never saw. BSD’s Legacy Of course, BSD hardly disappeared entirely once Linux had become popular by the mid-1990s. On the contrary, a variety of operating systems based on Net 2, including NetBSD, OpenBSD and FreeBSD, remain alive and well today, with small but passionate communities of users. At the same time, BSD’s permissive licensing terms made its derivatives popular with some proprietary-software companies—most notably Apple, which included some code derived from BSD in its OS X and iOS operating systems. In this sense, BSD—or some form of it—has a massive following today, although the vast majority of people who own Macs, iPhones and iPods have no idea that their hardware relies partially on “open source” code developed at Berkeley in the 1980s and early 1990s. Maybe that’s sad. After all, Apple software is about as closed as closed can be, making it the total opposite of the type of system the BSD developers envisioned when they unveiled Net 2 in 1991. Either way, it’s an interesting outcome. Source:

A spy in Windows 10

When I first saw Mr. Spock talking to the Enterprise’s computer, I thought it was so cool. I still do. But the more I look at Cortana, Windows 10’s inherent virtual assistant, the more creeped out I get. Let’s start with Cortana’s fundamental lust for your data. When it’s working as your virtual assistant it’s collecting your every keystroke and spoken syllable. It does this so it can be more helpful to you. If you don’t like that, well, you’ve got more problems than just Cortana. Google Now and Apple Siri do the same things. And it’s not just virtual assistants; every cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) does this to one degree or another — Google Docs, Office 365, whatever. But Cortana doesn’t stop there. With the recently released Windows 10 Anniversary Update, hereafter Windows 10 SP1, you can’t shut Cortana off. Maybe you don’t mind Microsoft listening to your every word so it can catch when you say, “Hey, Cortana.” I do. Yes, I want the coolness factor of being able to talk to my computer. But I want the reassurance that it’s not listening when I don’t need it to be. I want a simple on/off switch. Windows 10 SP1 doesn’t have one. This is interesting, though: Windows 10 Education does. Microsoft apparently is willing to respect the privacy of students. The rest of us? Not so much. What you can do in Windows 10 SP1 is cripple Cortana when you install the operating system. But Cortana then becomes no more than a front end to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. You lose the ability to talk to your computer. You’ll no longer be able to tell Windows 10 to get you an Uber or tell you how the Chicago Cubs did today. If you’re anti-Cortana, don’t install Windows 10 SP1 with “Express settings.” Instead, follow the steps described by Jared Newman in PC World. You will make Windows 10 less useful but a lot more private. If you’re not comfortable with Cortana collecting your contacts, location, calendar data, and text and email content and communication history, you’ll want to do this. Don’t, though, if you want the full Cortana experience and you don’t mind Microsoft collecting everything except your car keys. And maybe you don’t. Many of us are reconciled to the mantra of the internet economy: “If you’re not paying for it, you are the product.” Companies such as Facebook and Google give all their free social and search goodies in return for our web history, which they then transform into cash with targeted advertising. And as for Microsoft, it makes a point of saying Cortana doesn’t do that. Why do I not feel reassured? Now that I think of it, though, you can’t (easily) get Windows 10 for free anymore. So you get to pay Microsoft with both cash ($199.99 for Windows 10 Pro) and your data. Oh boy! Microsoft also claims that Windows 10 SP1 is safer than ever, which I find even less assuring than the promise not to exploit all that Cortana data. Think about this: You can use Cortana from the lock screen. That’s right; Cortana is active and listening to when your PC is locked. Well, it’s supposed to be locked, but if it’s able to listen, how locked down is it, really? Not very! Microsoft calls this a feature that gives you the ability to ask your PC simple questions without logging in. But I call anything that lets me input data into a PC without being logged into it a bug. It’s a security hole begging to be exploited. Windows, which God knows has had more than enough security problems, now has a new attack surface. Fortunately, you can fix this one easily. Just open Cortana’s Settings and turn off the “Use Cortana even when my device is locked.” By the way, Microsoft always claims that Windows is new and improved and more secure than ever. And yet, if you look at any significant Windows patch report, you will notice that every major bug affects every supported version of Windows. Shouldn’t the new and improved Windows 10 be immune from the bugs that affect Windows 7, 8 and 8.1? It’s funny how they seem to slug every version of Windows.I like Microsoft a lot more than I used to, but I’m not ready to trust it with everything and the virtual kitchen sink. So I followed Newman’sadvice when installing the OS. I’m afraid I will never be as cool as Spock. I should note that, if your distrust of Microsoft exceeds mine, you can rip into your operating system’s guts and totally disable Cortana. You need to beware, though, because it involves going in deep, to places where it’s really way too easy to foul up Windows. In killing Cortana, you could end up seeing a lot more Windows crashes. In Windows 10 Pro, you type gpedit.msc into the Start menu. Head down to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search. Once there, double-click on Allow Cortana to toggle it to Disable Cortana. Log off and back on, and you’re done. In Windows 10 Home, open the registry with regedit and head to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search Next, right-click the Windows Search folder and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name this new DWORD AllowCortana and set it at 0. Now log off and reboot your computer. Let me reiterate: If any of that sounds mysterious, don’t do it. And, you know, why should you have to? Why can’t Microsoft just make it easy to turn off Cortana? I’d appreciate it. Source:

Why Is Microsoft Showing So Much Interest In Linux?

So many answers mentioning the technical superiority of Linux. That is totally not what this is about for Microsoft! Microsoft has decided that the operating system is no longer an important battle-ground, and it’s more important to gain market share in cloud (Azure and Office 365) than it is to put energy into battling Linux for application market share. If you want to see what a company really values, you look at their sales compensation approach. Microsoft focuses all of its accelerators and sales training on Azure and Office 365. Its sales people lead with these. Customers renewing their Windows/Office software licenses get free credits for Azure when they ask for a discount. Microsoft will (of course) absolutely take a Windows renewal deal, but it is going to come with a chunk of free Azure because it wants you to use that instead of Windows on your own servers. It also has a program for its VARs (value-added resellers — people who help you get value out of Microsoft stuff) to provide professional services to help customers use those free Azure credits. It also has VARs who will help customers transition off Exchange and onto hosted Exchange instead, which is far easier to manage than hosting it yourself. So why this shift away from caring about Windows? An operating system only matters because it is a platform for applications. Apps make money for businesses and productivity for individuals — i.e. they deliver the real value of computing. Microsoft very effectively monetized apps with Windows and the .NET application platform. While the various proprietary UNIX vendors (Sun, HP et al) were duking it out with each other in the server market, they built a very well-integrated and easy to use app development platform for the desktop. When Linux and Intel x86 based servers came along and started to cannibalize the UNIX market, keeping Sun and others occupied, Microsoft spent its time expanding Windows from the desktop into x86 servers too. In recent years, 75% of the servers going into corporate data centers ship with a Windows license – the rest run Linux, mostly from Red Hat, who had spotted the need for Linux server distro that enterprises could actually run reliably and spent 10 hard years building a business around that. Linux was largely successful in replacing proprietary UNIX in data centers (mostly Sun), and outside the enterprise in the hosting business (again, mostly Sun) where Intel x86 servers were now “good enough” and no-one wanted to pay for the operating system. Microsoft didn’t care too much about this because there is no OS market when no-one wants to pay. However, being free, Linux app capabilities grew as did the base of people who knew how to write apps for it. So Linux has grown in scale and usage, even though it’s hard to make money as a server OS vendor with a Linux distro (proof points: Canonical, SUSE). Only Red Hat has managed it, but they have broadened their business into management software to find growth. So if you’re Satya Nadella and in charge of Azure and Windows, what is the single best strategy for growth when AWS is a $10Bn business, >10x the size of Azure [2]and growing 64% per year [3], while Windows licenses are growing in single digits? AWS, the cloud that is a platform for apps in its own right, regardless of which OS you run? Do you keep pouring money into making Windows the platform for more apps vs. Linux? Or should you just not care which OS the app runs on, throw open the doors and welcome every single app that runs on Linux onto Azure? Although it is doubtless painful, as Satya you stop caring about the OS and focus on the cloud app platform, embarking on a program to make yourself as attractive as possible for every Linux app. That includes joining the Linux Foundation. Source:  

Microsoft’s Home Hub will chase Amazon’s Alexa and Echo as a software service

Microsoft’s rumored Home Hub was once thought to be a device rivaling Amazon Echo or Google Home. A new report suggests it will instead be a Windows 10 software service aimed at families, complete with a new Cortana assistant that will run on upcoming Windows 10 PCs. Just like in real families, Home Hub will put an emphasis on sharing, according to the source of the report, Windows Central. The site said it would have a communal, interactive calendar, presumably touch-based like Windows 10’s current Calendar app. Microsoft may also be planning to create a family-friendly version of its Cortana digital assistant that will be the primary, voice-driven interface. According to the site, the new Cortana—code-named “FamTana”—will surround her classic blue circle with an orange one, to signal users that they’re on a shared service. The company has quietly tried to establish itself as a smart home player since its HomeOS project of 2010, an Insteon partnership in 2014, and an agreement to implement the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) protocols for connected devices when they roll out next year. WIndows Central hedges its bets by noting that the technology is expected to roll out in stages across 2017, concurrent with the next iterations of Windows 10 (namely, the “Redstone” updates due next year), and perhaps continue developing into 2018. By this reckoning, Home Hub’s final form won’t take shape for months. It’s also possible Microsoft will introduce new hardware that works with the Home Hub. According to Windows Central, they wouldn’t be the slim appliances of its competitors, but essentially repurposed all-in-ones, presumably quite a bit cheaper than the Surface Studio. Why this matters: While the scope of Microsoft’s efforts merits discussion, the timing is troubling. 2017? 2018? That would place Home Hub even further behind Amazon and Google’s own home appliances. Home Hub sounds technically interesting, but the business aspects will be a challenge—not the least of which will be to convince consumers to buy a large, touch-based PC versus a cheap Echo Dot. Source:

Getting into Windows Safe Mode

Microsoft Windows 10 users Press the Windows key, type Change advanced startup options, and then press Enter. Under the Recovery tab, select the Restart now option under Advanced startup. After a moment, you’ll see a menu with three options, select Troubleshoot. Select Advanced options, Startup Settings, and then the Restart button. You should see a screen just like the one pictured to the right. Select your appropriate Safe Mode option by pressing the corresponding number on your keyboard. Microsoft Windows 8 users Press the Windows key, type Change advanced startup options, and then press Enter. Under the Recovery tab, select the Restart now option under Advanced startup. After a moment, you’ll see a menu with three options, select Troubleshoot. Select Advanced options, Startup Settings, and then the Restart button. You should see a screen just like the one pictured to the right. Select your appropriate Safe Mode option by pressing the corresponding number on your keyboard. Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Vista users Tip: If you are running Safe Mode because you cannot get into Windows, you may want to first try loading the last known good configuration. To get into the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Safe Mode, as the computer is booting, press and hold your F8 Key, which should bring up the Choose Advanced Options screen as shown below. Use your arrow keys to move highlight Safe Mode and press your Enter key. Note: On some computers, if you press and hold a key as the computer is booting, you will get a stuck key message. If this occurs, continuously tap F8 upon startup rather than holding it. Windows XP and Windows 2000 users Tip: If you are running Safe Mode because you cannot get into Windows, you may want to first try loading the last known good configuration. To get into the Windows 2000 and XP Safe mode, as the computer is booting, press and hold your F8 Key, which should bring up the Windows Advanced Options Menu screen as shown below. Use your arrow keys to move to highlight the Safe Mode option and press your Enter key. Note: On some computers, if you press and hold a key as the computer is booting, you will get a stuck key message. If this occurs, continuously tap F8 upon startup, rather than holding it. Windows 98 and Windows ME users To get into Windows 98 and ME Safe Mode, press and hold either the F8 or Ctrl key as the computer is booting up. If done properly, you should see the “Windows 98 Startup Menu” or “Windows ME Startup Menu” screen, similar to the example below. In this menu, choose option 3 by pressing the 3 key and then pressing Enter. Windows 95 users To get into Windows 95 Safe Mode, as the computer is booting, when you either hear a beep or when you see the message “Starting Windows 95.” Press your F8 key on the top of your keyboard. If done properly, you should see the “Windows 95 Startup Menu” screen, similar to the example below. In this menu, choose option 3 by pressing the 3 key, and then pressing Enter. How to get out of Safe Mode From Windows Safe Mode, click Start, Shutdown, and restart the computer to boot back into Normal Mode. Which Safe Mode option should I choose? Users who are running later versions of Windows will get different options for different versions of Safe Mode. For example, you may have options for “Safe Mode”, “Safe Mode with Networking”, and “Safe Mode with Command Prompt.” Below is a brief description of each of these different modes. Safe Mode The basic Safe Mode option is usually what most users will want to choose when troubleshooting their computer. This is the most basic Safe Mode option and has no additional support. Safe Mode with Networking Users who need access to the Internet or the network they’re connected to while in Safe Mode should select this option. This mode is helpful for when you need to be in Safe Mode to troubleshoot, but also need access to the Internet so you can get updates, drivers, or other files to help troubleshoot your issue. Safe Mode with Command Prompt This Safe Mode allows you to have access to the command line (MS-DOS prompt). Source:

How to find your Windows or Office product key

Most pieces of commercial software come with some form of protection to deter unauthorized copying and installation. Although software makers use different methods to achieve this goal, one common approach involves asking the user to type in a product key or serial number, which is the case for both Microsoft Windows and Office. This string of letters and/or numbers is a unique identifier that the software decodes to verify that your copy is legal. It’s required to authorize the software’s installation and your eligibility for product support, so it’s important to know where it is and how to access it. Here are some easy ways to find your product key for both Windows and Office. Find your product key Try to remember how you purchased your Microsoft software, which determines where you need to look to find the product key. If you bought a retail copy of Microsoft Windows or Office, the first place to look is in the disc jewel case. Retail Microsoft product keys are usually on a bright sticker located inside the case with the CD/DVD, or on the back. The key consists of 25 alphanumeric characters, usually split into groups of five. If your computer came preloaded with Microsoft Windows, the software product key is usually on a multicolored, Microsoft-branded sticker on your PC case. For Microsoft Office, you can find the s ticker on the installation disc that accompanied the computer. If all else fails, you will need to contact Microsoft to obtain a replacement key. Typically you can find your Microsoft Windows product key on a sticker attached to your PC. Windows 10 With Windows 10 Microsoft introduced a new method for authenticating the operating system called a digital entitlement, but it doesn’t apply to all Windows 10 PCs. Basically, you have a digital entitlement if you upgraded your PC from Windows 7 or 8.1 for free. You will also have a digital entitlement if you paid for a Windows 10 upgrade via the Windows Store, or did a fresh install of Windows 10 and then paid for it via the Windows Store. If, however, you obtained Windows 10 by buying a new PC, buying a Windows 10 installation DVD, or buying a digital copy of Windows 10 from a retailer that’s not the Windows Store then you have a traditional product key, not a digital entitlement. What a digital entitlement means f your PC has a digital entitlement, Microsoft keeps a record of your right to run Windows 10 on its servers. The good thing about this system is there’s no product key to lose. If you ever need to do a fresh install from a USB drive, for example, you will not have to activate your PC. Instead, after the reinstall Windows will activate seamlessly in the background within a few hours (or at worst a few days). The one thing to keep in mind is that your digital entitlement is based around your system configuration. If you change too many components at once and then try to reinstall Windows 10 you may run into problems. This is a rare issue, but it’s something to keep in mind if you are planning on swapping out your hard drive or SSD and hope to do some other upgrades at the same time. It would be better, for example, to do the HDD to SSD swap first, reinstall Windows 10, and once it’s activated take care of the other component upgrades. Otherwise, you might be putting in a call to Microsoft’s robo-activation line. That said, major upgrades like swapping out your motherboard are almost certainly guaranteed to require a call to Microsoft for activation. Extract your key from Microsoft Windows or Office If you can’t find your key but the software is installed, you can use a program such as the Magical Jelly Bean Key Finder. This utility can quickly locate your Windows key (along with the keys for many other installed programs) and display it for you. Download Magical Jelly Bean and follow the installation process to install it on your computer. Launch the program. You can find it by opening the Start menu, typing keyfinder, and pressing Enter. The program will scan your installations and find the product keys of supported programs, including various versions of Windows and Microsoft Office. When the scan is complete, the tool will display a window with entries in the left pane for whatever installed versions of Windows and Office it detected. Click the entry for your version of Microsoft Windows to reveal the key and other information about the installation. The key will be listed under ‘CD Key’ on the right side of the window. Record this information in case you need to reference it in the future. Make sure to record the information exactly, as the key will not work otherwise. Do not confuse this with the ‘Product ID’ entry, which is unneeded. Click the entry for your version of Microsoft Office to reveal the key and other information about that installation. The same advice goes for Office: Your key will be listed under ‘CD Key’ on the right side of the window. Record this information exactly, as the key will not work otherwise. Use Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder to extract the CD keys for software you currently have installed. Source: