Windows 10 version 2004: better Reserved Storage management

Microsoft introduced Reserved Storage in Windows 10 version 1903. Reserved Storage reserves storage for the operating system that is used exclusively for system updates, temporary files and other system activities.

The main idea behind Reserved Storage is to improve the reliability of critical system procedures, e.g. updating to new versions of Windows 10, that require a certain amount of storage.

Downside to Reserved Storage is that several Gigabytes of storage become unavailable for user activities, e.g. downloads, program installations or media.

Reserved Storage is limited to new installations of Windows 10 version 1903 or newer at the time of writing. Systems that get upgraded from earlier versions of Windows 10 won’t have Reserved Storage enabled.

windows 10 reserved storage

Windows 10 users who run Windows 10 version 1909 or 1903 can use the following method to check whether Reserved Storage is enabled on the device:

  1. Use the shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings application.
  2. Go to System > Storage.
  3. With the c: drive selected on the page, select “show more categories”
  4. Activate “System & reserved”.
  5. Reserved Storage is listed on the page that opens next to other system storage, e.g. system files or virtual memory, if it is enabled. If you don’t see Reserved Storage, it is not used.

Starting in Windows 10 version 2004, the next Feature Update of Windows 10 and the first feature update of 2020, Microsoft will make it easier for administrators to manage Reserved Storage. In particular, Microsoft added DISM options to check, enable, or disable Reserved Storage on devices running that version of Windows 10.

Up until now, it was required to edit the Registry on the Windows 10 device to activate or deactivate Reserved Storage.

Here is the list of the new commands and an explanation for each of these:

  1. Start an elevated command prompt window, e.g. by opening Start, typing cmd.exe and right-clicking on the result and selecting the “run as administrator” option.
  2. Now run one of the following commands:
    • Check Reserved Storage: DISM.exe /Online /Get-ReservedStorageState
    • Activate Reserved Storage: DISM.exe /Online /Set-ReservedStorageState /State:Enabled
    • Deactivate Reserved Storage: DISM.exe /Online /Set-ReservedStorageState /State:Disabled

The new commands make it easier for administrators to check, enable or disable Reserved Storage on Windows 10 devices. An option to change the size of Reserved Storage is still not available.

Now You: Reserved Storage, a good idea? (via Deskmodder)

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Microsoft Windows Security Updates March 2020 overview

Welcome to the overview for Microsoft’s March 2020 Patch Day; the company released security updates for all supported versions of Microsoft Windows as well as other company products.

The overview provides you with important information about released patches. It includes links to support articles and summaries of patches, links to security advisories, non-security updates, as well as direct download links for Windows updates.

Feel free to check out the February 2020 Patch Day overview here.

Microsoft Windows Security Updates March 2020

windows-security updates march 2020

You may download the following Excel spreadsheet to get a full tabular listing of patches and updates that Microsoft released on the March 2020 Patch Day. Click on the following link to download the Excel spreadsheet to your local system: microsoft-security-updates-windows-march-2020

Executive Summary

  • Microsoft released updates for all supported versions of the Windows operating system.
  • Updates were also released for Microsoft Edge (classic and new), Internet Explorer, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office, Windows Defender, Visual Studio, Azure, Azure DevOps, Microsoft Dynamics.
  • The Microsoft Update Catalog lists 113 patches.

Operating System Distribution

  • Windows 7  (extended support only):39 vulnerabilities: 3 critical and 36 important
  • Windows 8.1: 55 vulnerabilities: 3 rated critical and 52 rated important
  • Windows 10 version 1803: 71 vulnerabilities: 7 critical and 64 important
  • Windows 10 version 1809: 73 vulnerabilities: 7 critical and 66 important
    • same as Windows 10 version 1803
  • Windows 10 version 1903: 75 vulnerabilities: 7 critical and 68 important
    • same as Windows 10 version 1803
  • Windows 10 version 1909: same as Windows 10 version 1903

Windows Server products

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (extended support only): 47 vulnerabilities, 5 critical, 42 important
  • Windows Server 2012 R2: 55 vulnerabilities: 3 critical and 52 important.
  • Windows Server 2016: 71 vulnerabilities: 6 critical and 65 important.
  • Windows Server 2019: 72 vulnerabilities: 7 critical and 65 are important
    • Same as Windows Server 2016 plus
    • CVE-2020-0807 | Media Foundation Memory Corruption Vulnerability

Other Microsoft Products

  • Internet Explorer 11: 6 vulnerability: 6 critical
  • Microsoft Edge:  14 vulnerabilities: 13 critical, 1 important
    • CVE-2020-0768 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0811 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0812 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0816 | Microsoft Edge Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0823 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0825 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0826 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0827 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0828 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0829 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0830 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0831 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • CVE-2020-0848 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
  • Microsoft Edge on Chromium:
    • see here (latest security patches from the Chromium project)

Windows Security Updates

Windows 7

Improvements and fixes:

  • Fixed an issue that might prevent icons and cursors from appearing as expected. (monthly-rollup only)
  • Security updates

Windows 8.1

Improvements and fixes:

  • Fixed an issue that might prevent ActiveX content from loading.
  • Fixed an issue that might prevent icons and cursors from appearing as expected.
  • Security updates

Windows 10 version 1803

Improvements and fixes:

  • Security updates

Windows 10 version 1809

  • Support article: support

Improvements and fixes:

  • Security updates

Windows 10 version 1903 and 1909

Improvements and fixes:

  • Fixed an issue that prevented some users from upgrading the operating system “because of corrupted third-party assemblies”.
  • Security updates.

Other security updates

KB4540671 — 2020-03 Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer

KB4540694 — 2020-03 Security Only Quality Update for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

KB4541504 — 2020-03 Security Only Quality Update for Windows Server 2008

KB4541506 — 2020-03 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows Server 2008

KB4541510 — 2020-03 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

KB4539571 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 Version 1809

KB4540670 — 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 Version 1607

KB4540681 — 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1709

KB4540693 — 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1507

KB4540705 — 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1703

KB4540721 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1507

KB4540722 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1703

KB4540723 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 Version 1607

KB4540724 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1803

KB4540725 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2

KB4540726 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

KB4541338 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Server, version 1909, Windows 10 Version 1909, Windows Server, version 1903, and Windows 10 Version 1903

KB4541731 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1709

KB4550735 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

KB4550736 — 2020-03 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Server 2008

Known Issues

Windows 7

  • May receive “failure to configure Windows updates. Reverting Changes. Do not turn off your computer” if the update is installed on non-ESU systems.
  • Certain operations that are performed on files or folders on Cluster Shared Volumes may fail with the error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”.

Windows 8.1

  • Certain operations that are performed on files or folders on Cluster Shared Volumes may fail with the error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”.

Windows 10 version 1809

  • After installing KB4493509, devices with some Asian language packs installed may receive the error, “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND.”
    • Mitigation: uninstall and reinstall the language pack, then install the April 2019 Cumulative Update. If that does not help, Microsoft suggests Resetting the PC.
  • May encounter issues in Windows Server containers and 32-bit applications and process.

Windows 10 version 1903 and 1909

Security advisories and updates

Non-security related updates

KB890830 — Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool – March 2020

Microsoft Office Updates

You find Office update information here.

How to download and install the March 2020 security updates

Security updates for all supported version of Windows and products included in Windows, e.g. Microsoft Edge, are made available via Windows Update, WSUS, and other update distribution systems. Administrators may download standalone patches to systems to apply these directly without using Windows Updates.

We recommend that backups are created of important date or, better, the entire system, before patches are installed.

Do the following to check for new updates:

  1. Open the Start Menu of the Windows operating system, type Windows Update and select the result.
  2. Select check for updates in the application that opens. Updates may be installed automatically when they are found or offered by Windows; this depends on the operating system and version that is used, and update settings.

Direct update downloads

Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2

  • KB4540688 — 2020-03 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7
  • KB4541500 — 2020-03 Security Only Quality Update for Windows 7

Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

  • KB4541509 — 2020-03 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 8.1
  • KB4541505 — 2020-03 Security Only Quality Update for Windows 8.1

Windows 10 (version 1803)

  • KB4540689  — 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1809

Windows 10 (version 1809)

  • KB4538461  — 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1809

Windows 10 (version 1903)

  • KB4540673  — 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1903

Windows 10 (version 1909)

  • KB4540673  — 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1909

Additional resources

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Windows 10 drivers will be rolled out gradually

Microsoft started to work on improving how drivers are pushed via the Windows 10 operating system’s automatic update features. Windows 10 includes functionality to distribute drivers to user systems, e.g. when a driver is required for a device to work at all or properly.

While Windows 10 users may install drivers manually if available, many devices rely on these drivers initially or at all.

In late 2019, Microsoft revealed plans to make it easier to discover optional drivers through Windows Updates. Microsoft introduced yet another change in January 2020 that gives device manufacturers better control over driver distribution. One of the benefits allows manufacturers to flag drivers as incompatible with certain versions of Windows 10 to prevent device updates.

Gradual Driver rollout on Windows 10

windows 10 gradual driver rollout

Gradual rollout is yet another new feature that aims to improve drivers on Windows 10. Instead of pushing new drivers to all devices in the ecosystem right away, drivers are rolled out over time similar to how new Windows 10 versions are made available to a subset of devices at first.

Microsoft plans to monitor the driver using Telemetry to step in if a driver appears to be unhealthy. The distribution of the driver may then be paused so that issues may be investigated and fixed. A driver distribution may even be cancelled if no solution is found.

Gradual rollout drivers will only be made available to systems running Windows 10 version 1709 or later. Devices that run Windows 10 version 1703 or earlier will always receive the driver after the throttle is complete.

The entire gradual rollout process is divided into two phases:

  1. The 30-day monitoring period — Begins on the first day that a driver is throttled and ends about 30 days later.
  2. The driver throttling period — Each driver is assigned a release throttle curve and a risk is assessed against several factors. Microsoft lists three typical throttle curves:
    1. Throttle through 1% go 100% of the retail Windows population.
    2. Throttle to 100% of the retail Windows population.
    3. Throttle  with an initial set of a highly active population before progressing to 1% to 100% of the entire retail Windows population.

The throttle curve is “tightly related to its risk assessment”. Microsoft notes that optional drivers are usually throttled to 100% immediately but subject to the 30-day monitoring period.

Closing Words

Drivers may be throttled going forward and high risk drivers may be released to a small subset of the entire Windows 10 retail population only to monitor the experience and react to potential issues before the driver is made available to a larger percentage or even the entire population.

The new gradual rollout feature may reduce the number of devices impacted by driver issues distributed via Windows Update.

Now You: do you install drivers manually on your devices? (via Windows Latest)

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Here is the fix for the Windows 10 error "A driver can't load on this device"

Some Windows 10 users may get the error message “A driver can’t load on this device” currently that may prevent devices from working properly on the device. Windows 10 may throw the error when a driver is installed manually on a device running Windows 10.

Manual driver installations may happen through Windows Update but also by downloading drivers or entire driver packages from manufacturer websites or third-party sites to install those. Popular third-party drivers are Nvidia and AMD video card drivers, drivers from sound adapters, or drivers that add printing or connectivity functionality to the device.

Tip: Microsoft is working on improving third-party driver support and controls that manufacturers have.

Microsoft published a new support article under KB4526424 that provides details on the issue and two suggestions on how to fix the issue.

A driver can’t load on this device

You are receiving this message because the Memory integrity setting in Windows Security is preventing a driver from loading on your device.

Microsoft notes that the Memory Integrity security feature may prevent drivers from being installed correctly on Windows 10 devices. The company recommends that administrators try and find an updated driver that may not have the issue. Updated drivers may be offered via Windows Update or provided by manufacturers of the device.

If that is not possible, because there is no driver that is more recent than the one that fails to install, Microsoft suggests that administrators disable the Memory Integrity feature on the system.

windows security memory integrity

Here is how that is done:

  1. Use Windows-I to open the Settings application on the device.
  2. Go to Update & Security > Device Security > Core Isolation Details
  3. Locate the Memory Integrity setting on the page that opens and set the feature to off.
  4. Restart the device so that the changes take effect.

Microsoft notes that a security issue in the driver, which could be minor, might prevent it from being loaded in first place. The company advises users to get an updated driver if possible before the second option, the turning off of Memory Integrity, is considered.

Now You: Did you run into driver loading issues before on Windows 10?

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Microsoft will change Diagnostic Data (Telemetry) Naming in Windows 10

Microsoft released a new build to the Windows 10 Insider channel recently which brings the build number to 19577.

The accompanying blog post highlights the changes in that version and the very first entry reveals that Microsoft will change diagnostic data naming in future versions of Windows 10.

Windows 10’s Settings application lists two different diagnostic data levels currently. The levels, Basic and Full, determine how much data is collected and transferred to Microsoft. Generally known as Telemetry data, it has been at the center of controversy surrounding Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

Tip: check out our overview of privacy tools for Windows 10.

windows 10 telemetry

According to the announcement, both Basic and Full settings will be renamed in upcoming versions of Windows 10 starting with Insider versions this month (subject to change). Basic will be renamed to required, and full to optional.

The company notes:

As part of the Microsoft initiative to increase transparency and control over data, we’re making some changes to the Settings app and Group Policy settings that will start showing up in Windows Insider builds this month. Basic diagnostic data is now known as Required diagnostic data and Full diagnostic data is now Optional diagnostic data.

A post on Microsoft’s answers forum reveals plans to change the Enterprise-only Telemetry levels Security and Enhanced as well. According to it, Enhanced is going to be removed and Security renamed to Diagnostic Data Off.

  • Security diagnostic data becomes Daignostic Data Off.
  • Basic diagnostic data becomes Required diagnostic data.
  • Enhanced diagnostic data is removed.
  • Full diagnostic data becomes Optional diagnostic data.

Microsoft will provide “more granular” Group Policy settings to commercial customers to better configure the data that is collected in the organization. Details about these improved Group Policy settings have not been published yet but will be made available “closer to the retail release”.

Organizations who have set diagnostic data collecting to Enhanced, one of the options only available in Enterprise editions of Windows 10, need to change the level on PCs running Insider builds as these won’t be provided with future flights if diagnostic data collecting is set to Enhanced.

To continue receiving Insider build updates, devices need to be set to Full diagnostic data (Optional diagnostic data).

It appears that the planned changes only affect the names of the diagnostic data levels but not what is being collected. The only change to that comes in the form of new Group Policy options that organizations will have access to.

Now You: What is your take on the change?

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Microsoft changes its Cortana strategy, drops features

Microsoft announced plans yesterday to change the digital assistant Cortana into a tool that is focused on “productivity” and more closely aligned with the company’s vision for Microsoft 365.

Cortana, which Microsoft introduced in Windows 10 when it launched the operating system back in 2015, was designed as a direct competitor to Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.

Microsoft integrated Cortana deeply in the operating system in an effort to boost the reach and exposure of Cortana; not the first time Microsoft tried the strategy as it has a track record of making features exclusive to newer versions of Windows such as DirectX 10 exclusivity in Windows Vista or making the old Microsoft Edge browser Windows 10 exclusive.

cortana

Microsoft bundled Search and Cortana together in Windows 10 which increased the exposure of the feature significantly. It appears that Microsoft’s strategy has not pushed Cortana as much as Microsoft hoped it would. The company split Cortana and Search in Windows 10 version 1903.

Microsoft plans to change Cortana into a productivity assistant in Microsoft 365 in future versions of Windows 10. Cortana is changed from a digital assistant that competes with Alexa and Google Assistant to a tool that is more closely linked to Microsoft’s own services and tools.

Microsoft notes:

The upcoming update to Windows 10 will include access to a new Cortana experience with an emphasis on productivity, helping you quickly find the information you want across Microsoft 365. The new Cortana experience in Windows 10 features a chat-based UI that gives you the ability to interact with Cortana using your voice or the keyboard.

Most of the new features of Cortana appear to be limited to US-English versions of Windows 10. Cortana will help users in better managing tasks and schedules, and to better focus on “what matters with meeting insights”.

Cortana continues to provided answers from Bing, set alarms and timers, open applications, adjust settings, and for jokes.

Some features that are currently supported by Cortana will go away, however. Microsoft mentions features such as controlling music using Cortana, connected home, and third-party skills in particular. Whether other features will go away as well remains to be seen.

Closing Words

Is the change a last attempt at establishing Cortana as a new service? It seems clear that Cortana did not meet Microsoft’s expectations; this left Microsoft with options to drop Cortana entirely or try to reinvent it to give it another chance of success.

Now You: What is your take on the change? Will Cortana be there in two years?

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Microsoft releases KB4535996 for Windows 10 version 1903 and 1909

Microsoft has released a new (optional) cumulative update for the company’s Windows 10 operating system versions 1903 and 1909.

KB4535996 is available as an optional update via Windows Update, via Windows Server Update Services, and as a direct download on the company’s Microsoft Update Catalog website.

The update introduces non-security changes only. Note that it is optional at this point in time and that its changes will be included in the March 2020 cumulative updates.

KB4535996  for Windows 10 version 1903 and 1909

KB4535996 windows 10 1903 1909

The updates for Windows 10 version 1903 and 1909 are identical. Microsoft fixed Windows Search and battery issues in this update among other things.

Here is what is fixed in the new update:

  • Fixed a speech platform issue that prevented it from opening in “high noise environments”.
  • Fixed a Windows Mixed Reality home environment issue that reduced the image quality.
  • Fixed a PeerDist-encoded content issue in Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.
  • Fixed an ActiveX issue that might prevent it from loading.
  • Fixed an issue in Microsoft browsers that might cause the browsers to bypass proxy servers.
  • Fixed an issue that could prevent Centennial apps from opening.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the installation or upgrading of UWP apps in some situations.
  • Fixed a Microsoft Narrator issue that caused it to stop working if a user session exceeded 30 minutes.
  • Fixed an update issue that caused an unwanted keyboard layout to be set as the default after upgrades or migrations even if it was already removed.
  • Fixed an unmentioned issue when editing MOV file properties.
  • Fixed an issue that caused usbvideo.sys to stop working after a device resumes from Sleep or Suspend after using the Camera app or Windows Hello.
  • Fixed a Group Policy issue that caused the policy “Allow uninstallation of language features when a language is uninstalled” from taking effect.
  • Fixed a Windows Search box issue that prevented it from “rendering fully in the space allotted for it2.
  • Fixed an Input Method Editor issue that prevented the use of the user dictionary when “leveraging folder redirection with user profiles”.
  • Fixed a Windows Search issue that prevented it from showing results.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Windows installation to stop responding on a VMWare guest machine wit a USB 3.0 hub.
  • Fixed an unnamed Windows Autopilot self-deploying mode and white glove deployment issue.
  • Fixed a PowerShell workflow issue that might make these fail with compilation errors for long sessions.
  • Fixed a product key activation issue in a user’s Managed Service Account in the Windows activation troubleshooter.
  • Fixed an issue that caused applications deployed using the Microsoft Installer from being installed using the mobile device management platform.
  • Fixed an “unknown username or bad password” error when attempting to sign in in an “environment that has a Windows Server 2003 domain controller (DC) and a Windows Server 2016 or later DC”.
  • Fixed an issue with sign-in scripts that caused them to fail to run.
  • Fixed a data collection issue with isTouchCapable and GetSystemSKU.
  • Fixed an issue that caused AAD joined systems to rejoin the AAD domain.
  • Fixed an issue with the WinHTTP AutoProxy service and the maximum Time to Live on Proxy auto-configuration files.
  • Fixed a printer selection issue in the SQL reporting service that caused the wrong printer name to be selected.
  • Fixed a printer user interface issue that prevented it from being displayed correctly.
  • Fixed a Network Profile Service issue that might cause the computer to stop responding.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause some applications to fail to print to network printers.
  • Fixed an issue that caused some printers to be a hidden device in Device Manager.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Host Networking Service PortMapping policies to leak.
  • Fixed a stop error that occurred when mounting Resilient File System volumes without a physical device.
  • Fixed an Open Database Connectivity issue that caused an infinity loop.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service to stop working and to trigger a restart of the system.
  • Fixed an issue that intermittently generated Online Certificate Status Protocol (OSCP) Responder audit event 5125 to indicate that a request was submitted to the OCSP Responder Service.
  • Fixed an issue that caused queries against large keys on Ntds.dit to fail with the error, “MAPI_E_NOT_ENOUGH_RESOURCES”.
  • Fixed a log corruption issue when a storage volume is full.
  • Fixed an unnamed error that caused _NFS4SRV_FILE_CACHE_ENTRY and DirectoryCacheLock to stop responding.
  • Fixed a Server Message Block Multichannel issue that prevented it from working within a cluster network that has IPv6 Local-Link addresses.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause Storage Migration Service inventory operations on a Windows Server 2003 source computer to fail in clustered environments.
  • Fixed a timing issue that could lead to the stop error 0x27 in mrxsmb20!Smb2InvalidateFileInfoCacheEntry.
  • Fixed an issue in the Storage Migration Service that caused the Cutover stage to stop working during migration if an administrator assigned a static IP address to the source adapter.
  • Fixed an issue in which canceling a deduplication (dedup) job to rebuild hotspots prevented other deduplication PowerShell commands from responding.
  • Fixed a Remote Desktop session disconnect issue.
  • Fixed an issue that made Windows Defender Application Control’s Code integrity-based events unreadable.
  • Fixed a certification issue that caused Internet Explorer mode on Microsoft Edge to fail.

Improvements:

  • Battery performance during Modern Standby mode improved
  • Improved Event Forwarding scalability to ensure thread safety and increase resources.
  • Improved Urlmon resiliency when receiving incorrect Content-Length for a PeerDist response.

Microsoft lists no know issues for the update.

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Rumor: Microsoft preparing to remove Live Tiles from Windows 10

A Windows Latest report suggests that Microsoft may be in the process of removing Live Tiles from the company’s Windows 10 operating system.

Live Tiles was one of the key features of the Windows 8 operating system when it launched. Microsoft decided to launch it with a new fullscreen Start interface filled with tiles.

Windows applications could use Live Tile functionality to update tiles automatically. A Weather application could update the weather data that it displays and a News app could push new stories using Live Tiles.

Microsoft even contemplated introducing interactive Live Tiles to the operating system but nothing ever came out of it.

Microsoft kept Live Tiles supported when it launched Windows 10 and even promised some “surprises” that would come to Live Tiles in 2016 but it seems that Live Tiles have not received a meaningful update in a long time.

The rumor suggests that Microsoft could end support for Live Tiles sometime after the release of Windows 10 20H2, the second feature update of the year 2020 (and likely a smaller update again).

Tip: check out the new and improved features of Windows 10 version 2004 (the first feature update of 2020) here.

Live Tiles would simply be replaced with static icons according to the report and the Start Menu would look similar, but not identical, to the Start Menu of Microsoft’s Windows 10X operating system.

windows 10x start menu

Microsoft released a Windows build recently that introduced a new range of colorful icons and is working on other Start Menu changes that it plans to launch in future versions of Windows 10.

Closing Words

Some of the default applications that are included in Windows 10 and some third-party applications support Live Tiles. Some users may keep the default ones enabled on the system, others may turn Live Tiles functionality off.

One of the first things that I do on new systems is to disable Live Tiles entirely as I have no use for the feature.

Considering that Microsoft has not really invested a lot in Live Tiles in recent time, I’d say that it is likely that Live Tiles support will be dropped eventually.

Now You: Do you use Live Tiles?

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Windows 10 version 1809 will reach end of support in May 2020

Microsoft dropped support for the popular Windows 7 operating system as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 in January 2020 except for business and Enterprise customers who pay the company for extended support. Windows 10 version 1803 reached end of support last November, and in May 2020, it is Windows 10 version 1809 which won’t be supported anymore by the company (again with exceptions for Enterprise and Education customers).

windows 10 version 1809

The support page KB4541558 reveals that several editions of Windows 10 version 1809 will reach end of support on May 12, 2020. The data coincides with Patch Tuesday of May 2020 which means that Microsoft will release security updates for the versions that reach end of servicing on that day for the last time.

Windows 10, version 1809 will reach the end of servicing on May 12, 2020. This applies to the following editions* of Windows 10 released in November of 2018:

Windows 10 Home, version 1809
Windows 10 Pro, version 1809
Windows 10 Pro for Education, version 1809
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, version 1809
Windows 10 IoT Core, version 1809

Microsoft notes that the listed editions won’t receive security updates after May 12, 2020 anymore. Customers who run these versions after May 12, 2020 who contact support will be asked to update to a supported version of Windows 10 to remain supported.

Enterprise customers get extended support; instead of the 18 months that consumers get, Enterprise customers get 30 months of support for Windows 10 versions for the second feature update release of any year.

Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 version 1809 on October 2, 2018 officially. The company had to pull the release shortly after general availability because of serious bugs that it contained. Among the many issues were confirmed reports of data loss, bluescreens, media playback issues, reset Settings, startup issues, issues with mapped network drives, and font display issues.

It took Microsoft until December to increase the roll out speed of the operating system version again; the issues made Windows 10 version 1809 arguably the worst release of Windows 10 yet from a bug point of view.

Closing Words

Devices running Windows 10 version 1809 will receive security updates for three months before support ends (unless Enterprise or Education editions). Upgrades to newer versions of Windows 10 are available and most systems should be able to receive these upgrades via Windows Update or other update options.

Now You: do you run Windows 10? If so which version and why?

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Microsoft pulls the security update KB4524244 for Windows 10

Microsoft published a standalone security update for Windows 10, KB4524244, on the February 2020 Patch Tuesday. The security update addressed “an issue in which a third-party Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot manager might expose UEFI-enabled computers to a security vulnerability” according to Microsoft.

The update was released for Windows 10 versions 1607 to 1903. Cumulative updates installed on February 11, 2020 or any other update installed on that day are not affected by the issue according to Microsoft.

microsoft pulls KB4524244 windows 10

Confirmed user reports about system freezes, boot problems, and installation issues started to emerge after the release of the standalone update; Microsoft made the decision on February 15, 2020 to pull it from Windows Update, WSUS, and the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

Tip: we have published a guide on installing Windows updates manually.

The company updated the support page on February 15, 2020 to inform its customers about the decision:

This standalone security update has been removed due to an issue affecting a sub-set of devices. It will not be re-offered from Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or Microsoft Update Catalog. Note Removal of this standalone security update does not affect successful installation or any changes within any other February 11, 2020 security updates, including Latest Cumulative Update (LCU), Monthly Rollup or Security Only update.

Microsoft does not detail most issues that users may experience. The known issues section is vague as well but it highlights one issue that users may run into. According to the description, the operating system’s “Reset this PC” feature may not work correctly after installation of the update. Affected users get “there was a problem resetting your PC” error messages during the process.

Reset this PC is used to reset the PC to a baseline. Customers are asked to remove the update KB4524244 from devices if they are affected by any of these issues.

  1. Select the start button or Windows Desktop Search and type update history and select View your Update history.
  2. On the Settings/View update history dialog window, Select Uninstall Updates.
  3. On the Installed Updates dialog window, find and select KB4524244 and select the Uninstall button.
  4. Restart your device.

Reset this PC should work again after the problematic update has been removed successfully from the machine.

Note that Microsoft has not updated (some?) localized versions of the support page yet. The German page does not contain the update; this once again shows that users and administrators need to consult the English version of support pages to make sure the information is up to date.

Now You: did you install the update? Are you affected by the issue? (via Bleeping Computer / Born)

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