Windows 8

Microsoft revises privacy policy in wake of Hotmail search case

Microsoft promised to toughen policies regarding the company's potential reading of Hotmail users' emails, after an outcry over Microsoft searching a user's Hotmail account to discover the identity of someone now charged with stealing company secrets.

John Frank, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, said that in the future, the company would meet a more rigorous standard before peeking into a non-employee's Hotmail account.

There are four parts to the new standard, Frank said:

We will not conduct a search of customer email and other services unless the circumstances would justify a court order, if one were available. … Read more

Microsoft defends opening Hotmail account of blogger in espionage case

Microsoft defended what it called the "exceptional" step of a "limited review" of a blogger's Hotmail account as part of a larger Windows espionage case, saying it had caught the blogger selling Microsoft's intellectual property without permission.

A court filing alleges that the unnamed blogger had been provided prerelease Windows 8 RT source code by then-Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo. Kibkalo is being charged with stealing trade secrets.

The filing says that Microsoft triggered an internal investigation into the blogger's actions when the blogger sent the source code to an unnamed person, hoping for … Read more

Mozilla scraps Metro version of Firefox, citing low interest

After more than two years of work, Mozilla has scrapped its effort to build a Metro-specific version of Firefox for Windows 8, saying that users have shown almost no interest.

Microsoft designed what it previously called the Metro interface for touch-screen devices like tablets and introduced it with Windows 8 along with a version of Internet Explorer designed to run on it. Two years ago, after winning a debate with Microsoft over whether it even could be possible to bring a modern third-party browser to Metro, Mozilla embarked on its Firefox for Metro journey.

But it's over for now, … Read more

How to switch your Windows 8.1 log-in to a local account

When you configure a Windows 8.1 system the very first time, you're asked to use a Microsoft account to log in, and though you don't have to use one, it's not real clear at the time. If you used a Microsoft account to set up your Windows 8.1 PC and would like to use a local account instead, you can switch.

Using a Microsoft account does have some advantages over using a local account. For example, using a Microsoft account log-in lets you sync your settings across different Windows 8.1 PCs. You can also … Read more

Windows 8.1 update reportedly hits final stage

The "spring" update to Windows 8.1 is purportedly now in the hands of PC and tablet makers.

Microsoft has signed off on the update and moved it into the RTM (release-to-manufacturing) stage, The Verge said on Tuesday, citing "sources familiar with Microsoft's plans." A similar tidbit was served by Russian leaker Wzor, who tweeted that the Windows 8.1 spring update was signed off by Microsoft on February 26 and is now final.

The update has begun to reach device makers to test and install on their products, The Verge added. Windows 8.1 … Read more

Uninstall native Windows 8 apps you don't need

Think of those poor, lonely apps pre-installed on Windows 8 PCs that are destined to remain unopened: Travel, Reminders, Maps, Camera, Notes...Reading List?

These are only a few of the many programs preloaded on my Windows 8 PC that I have never opened and am unlikely to use in the future. Windows 8's Start screen is jam-packed with shortcuts to orphan apps such as these. If you'd rather not live with an overcrowded Start screen, you can remove the unused programs -- or at least unpin them from the screen -- with just a few clicks.

Unclutter … Read more

Free utility finds unwanted programs uninstallers miss

Software happens...sometimes more often than we intend.

Distributors of free apps are adept at getting us downloaders to agree to including special offers along with the programs we mean to install. Often the option to add the extra software is preselected, so we have to uncheck a box to prevent the unsolicited programs from hitching a ride.

Potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) can be a challenge to uninstall. I recently found myself with some PUPs that eluded the Windows 8.1 uninstaller as well as two popular utilities: Piriform's CCleaner and Revo Uninstaller. Fortunately, the system inventory created by … Read more

Nokia's Here Maps to expand to all Windows 8.1 devices

All Windows 8.1 users will soon be able to tap into Nokia's free mapping and navigation app.

Currently limited to Nokia's Lumia 2520 tablet, Here Maps for Windows 8.1 will land in Microsoft's online Windows Store over the coming days, Nokia said on Friday. Starting its new journey in North America and Europe, the app will be free to download for any PC or tablet owner running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1.

Like other mapping apps, Here Maps offers navigation and directions, points of interest, and satellite and 3D images of any … Read more

Nokia Lumia Icon goes on sale today at Verizon

Verizon's newest flagship Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia Icon, goes on sale today, Thursday, February 20. If you want to pick one up, head into a Verizon store or grab one off Verizon's Web site.

The phone will set you back $200 with a new two-year contract. For that price, you get a stellar 5-inch 1080p HD AMOLED screen, a 20-megapixel camera module and dual-LED flash, and an ultra-fast quad-core processor 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.

Coinciding with the phone's launch, Nokia announced a promotion: if you purchase a Nokia Lumia Icon, you get $100 off … Read more

Google Chrome's shutdown glitch defies an easy fix

When diagnosing PC problems, sometimes it pays to take the easy route.

About every other time I open Google Chrome lately, an error message alerts me that the browser failed to close correctly. I'm then prompted to click the Restore button to reopen the tabs that were active when Chrome last closed.

Who's got the time to figure out what's causing the browser to hiccup when it closes? Just go the restore route or start the browsing session afresh. No big deal, right?

Having nothing better to do over a holiday weekend, I decided to look into … Read more