Friday , December 2 2022

Five steps Microsoft should take NOW to help us with the pandemic

Microsoft’s response to the COVID-19 threat was admirable. Free from six months Team subscriptions and bings COVID-19 tracker to enormous computing power for Immunotherapy research to a joint project with the CDC With an assessment bot, Microsoft has more than lived up to its reputation for taking part in bad times.

At the same time, those of us who are on site trying to keep things going are made by some old bad decisions. What we need is not sexy or the stuff for fancy headlines. What we need is a stable environment that helps the first, second and third leaders do their jobs.

Some of the decisions Microsoft made years ago have returned to haunt the roughly one billion people who rely on Windows. It’s time to rethink it.

Postpone the release of Windows 10 version 2004

I don’t know anyone in the industry who supports Microsoft’s damned torpedo approach to Windows updates. We noticed a certain delay in the self-destructive update pace: Today we expect a “big” new version in the first half of the year, followed by a “small” new version in the second half of the year. The problem, of course, is that every new version, whether major or minor, has significant problems.

The half-yearly pace may have made sense in a world where Microsoft was on its heels. But in a world where people’s lives depend on stability, it certainly doesn’t make sense. look at that We had problems with the only “small” upgrade so far.

Now the next, newest and best version of Windows 10 is waiting in the starting blocks. Version 2004. With the promise that Cortana will get the ax, more sign-up options, a taskbar for the calendar app (ooh!), A file explorer search that finally works (take that, 1909), reduced overhead in the indexer (where’s Magellan? ), Customizable virtual desktop names (aah!) And much more: This update, which was frozen in December, doesn’t offer anything worth overloading a machine for an hour or a day.

Isn’t it time to put the old “You have to get the newest” mentality to bed? Microsoft should review their motivations and consider the pain that each upgrade caused. If 2004 only causes a critical failure or delay, is it worth the price?

Give all Windows 7 security patches

Microsoft hoped to move most customers from Windows 7 to Windows 10 by cutting off security patches. This is demonstrably the case did not work. No one knows how many people have dusted old Windows 7 computers to work from home or keep their kids online for school, but in my experience the number is considerable.

Microsoft is already creating Win7 patches. It is only charged extra and the “Extended Security Updates” are hidden behind a confusing bulwark of operational waste. Isn’t it time to give Win7 users a break and keep them updated?

Extend the lifespan of Win10 1809 Home and Pro

Windows 10 version 1809 Home and Pro reached support skids on May 12th – just over a year since 1809 was declared “operational” in March 2019 (remember this stupidity?). Enterprise versions get an additional year.

Microsoft has already extended the end-of-service date for Win10 version 1709 Enterprise and Education. These are now set for October 13th. But what about 1809 Home and Pro?

Microsoft will continue to create security patches for 1809 well into the next year. We hear that the powers are I don’t want to let 1809 users off the hook. Why not give Home and Pro users a break?

Stop the stupid “optional, non-security” updates

We have already seen some relief here. Microsoft has announced this stop producing and offering “Optional, non-security C / D week” patches, with the last pile of offal available this month. Too often, unsuspecting Windows users clicked a “download and install” link and encountered something that was far outside their salary range.

Of course, Microsoft can’t stop publishing bug fixes. In one Clarification postMicrosoft confirmed that non-security patches are included in the regular Patch Tuesday patches and not in a separate patch for the late month.

This means that the (inadequate) non-security-related patch tests that we carried out with “optional, non-security-related” patches are no longer carried out. Starting in May, non-security patches will be bundled with security patches that are all subject to the same test levels that we have always seen on Patch Tuesday.

The saints keep us.

Here’s an idea: Why isn’t Microsoft limiting its monthly updates to just pressing do-or-die patches and saving the less immediate patches (“important / less likely to exploit”) for a quarterly rollup? I don’t know a service pack?

Microsoft may be able to persuade groups that publish newly discovered vulnerabilities to hold back for a quarterly update. For the good of all.

The number of errors may not decrease, but at least the animals are localized.

Start beta test updates

Would someone tell me why Microsoft has Insider Rings – groups of beta testers – for the next version of Windows and the next and next version for the future? I am not a fan of the Insider Program in its current form. Adding bodies doesn’t improve quality, and 18 million testers are three or four orders of magnitude too much for responsive testing. However, the infrastructure is in place to perform technical (as opposed to marketing) beta tests.

Why can’t we have a simple insider ring just for invitations for around 1,000 people who are actually testing patches? The Release Preview Ring was originally developed to test patches shortly before they were released. At least I think that was intended. The definitions of the rings and their implementation have changed so much over the years that it’s hard to say who’s first. Times have changed and not for the better.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to create an insider ring that actually tests patches before deploying them. One where the feedback is carefully considered. One that the testers know about. One that is dedicated to the idea that Microsoft can really create quality updates.

I know. Cake in heaven. But it could happen – and it wouldn’t be that difficult to implement.

All five suggestions require a thorough rethinking of Microsoft’s previous decisions, taking into account the computer situation we are in. They all have the potential to make the lives of a billion Windows users easier, easier, and more predictable.

About Nikola Dodson

She is a Chicago blogger and tech enthusiast.

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