Microsoft moves Notepad to the Microsoft Store

The plain text editor Notepad has been turned into a Microsoft Store application in the latest preview builds of the next major feature update for Windows 10, version 20H1.

Notepad is certainly not the first core Windows program that Microsoft turned into a Store application and it certainly won’t be the last. Microsoft announced in 2017 that it would move Microsoft Paint to the store but that has not happened yet. Paint will be turned into an optional feature though in Windows 10 20H1.

Notepad remains installed on Windows 10 devices going forward and most users may not even notice that something has changed.

Moving Notepad to the Store offers certain advantages; most notably, the option to update the Notepad application directly. Microsoft has to include Notepad updates in Windows Updates currently. The move to the Microsoft Store changes that as updates can be pushed without relying on Windows Update.

Microsoft updated Notepad several times in Windows 10. The company added extended line endings support in 2018, and a number of new features such as text zooming or find & replace improvements later that year.

Microsoft states in the announcement that the migration allows the company to respond quicker and with more flexibility to issues and feedback.

notepad microsoft store windows 10

Windows users may notice changes as well. If you search for the Notepad application on a device running Windows 10 version 20H1 or right-click on Notepad’s entry in the Start Menu, you will notice that new options such as uninstallation or rate & review are available in that version.

Notepad looks and behaves just like the classic version of the application. If you dig deeper, you may notice that notepad.exe is still in the Windows folder. Problem is: it is not the classic version of the application but a launcher application (Notepad Launcher) that starts the app version on Windows 10 20H1.

Notepad is listed on the Microsoft Store already. Note that you do need Windows 10 version 20H1 to install the application on your devices.

Are there any downsides? The Store version is still in development and it is too early to come to a conclusion. Windows users who block Store updates or the Microsoft Store won’t receive updates until they upgrade Windows to a new version.

Users who don’t use Notepad can uninstall the application but it won’t free up lots of hard disk space. Check out our replacing Notepad with Notepad++ guide on how to replace Notepad with a capable text editor.

Now You: What is your take on Notepad being turned into a Microsoft Store application?

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Microsoft releases KB4512478 and KB4512514 previews

Microsoft released the monthly rollup previews KB4512478 and KB4512514 for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 this weekend.

The release on a Saturday is a deviation from the Tuesday or Thursday release schedule for the preview updates. Whether that is a one-time deviation or something that could happen more often in the future remains to be seen.

KB4512478 and KB4512514 are preview updates of the monthly rollup patch that Microsoft will release on September 10, 2019. Designed to give organizations time to test changes made in these updates, the previews are available on all devices running one of the supported operating systems.

A check on Windows Update will return these as optional updates and they may also be downloaded from the Microsoft Update Catalog. The previews are not available on WSUS but they can be imported to WSUS manually.

KB4512514 for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

KB4512514 august 2019

KB4512514 is a non-security update that fixes two issues on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 systems:

  • Fixed an issue affecting svchost.exe hosting WSMan Service (WsmSvc) that caused it to stop working and to stop other services in the same host process.
  • Fixed the long-standing Preboot Execution Environment issue that could prevent devices from starting.

Microsoft lists three known issues that affected previous updates as well:

  • IA64 or x64 devices provisioned after the July 9th updates may fail to start with error” File: Windowssystem32winload.efi Status: 0xc0000428 Info: Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file.”
  • Certain Symantec or Norton security applications may block or delete Windows updates.
  • VBScript should be disabled by default in Internet Explorer 11 but this is apparently not the case all the time.

The release notes list only one known issue that Microsoft fixed in the new update; what about the fifth known issue that is no longer listed as a known issue in KB4512514 but also not listed as fixed?

It is unclear if the Visual Basic issue is fixed in the preview update; Microsoft makes no mention of it. If you check the August 2019 Monthly Rollup update KB4512506 you find it listed there under known issues and the reference that the optional update KB4517297 fixes it.

A quick check of the package details on the Microsoft Update Catalog website shows that KB4517297 is not replaced by this update.

KB4512478 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

KB4512478 august 2019

KB4512478 is a preview of the monthly rollup for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 that Microsoft will release on the September 2019 Patch Day.

The update fixes the following three issues:

  • Fixed a memory leak issue in LSASS that caused it to grow until it became necessary to restart the device.
  • Fixed an issue that caused rdpdr.sys to stop responding or working.
  • Fixed the Preboot Execution Environment issue.

Microsoft lists a single known issue:

  • Operations such as rename may fail on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume.

The August 2019 Monthly Rollup log lists three known issues; the Visual Basic issue is not listed as fixed but it is not listed as a known issue either.

Now you: do you install update previews or do you wait?

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Back to Basics: Windows Shutdown Autostart explained

Windows supports autostart functionality; the autostart on startup feature is the better known variant but there is also an option to autostart on shutdown.

Some programs add entries to the autostart list when they are installed. Programs like antivirus and security software may add entries so that they are launched as early as possible on the Windows PC.

Windows administrators may configure devices running Windows to run certain programs or scripts during shutdown as well. Examples include running a script to clear temporary folders or the browsing history on the device, backing up certain files, delaying the shutdown of the system, or adding entries to log files.

The caveats

The autostart of programs or scripts during shutdown of the system has two caveats that need to be mentioned. First, that the functionality is only found in professional or Enterprise editions of Windows and not in Home versions, and second, that the scripts or programs are run on every shutdown or restart.

The autostart entries are run each time, e.g. after installing updates that require a restart or installing a program that requires a restart to finalize the installation.

The shutdown

windows tutorial shutdown autostart

The shutdown of the system begins with the termination of running (user) processes and signing out of the user. System processes are shut down after that first phase, and the device is turned off or restarted in the end. Windows supports running tasks in both of the shutdown phases, and both may be configured in the Group Policy Editor.

  • User Configuration > Windows Settings > Scripts (Logon/Logoff) > Logoff
  • Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Scripts (Startup/Shutdown) > Shutdown

The first policy runs scripts during user log off on the system, the second after the user has been logged out of the system.

The script’s purpose determines where you need to add it for execution on shutdown. Scripts that you configure in the user configuration run with the rights of the user. The scripts are started after the termination of running processes including those that run in the system tray or in the background.

Windows displays a blank screen usually when configured scripts are run but it is possible to run scripts with graphical user interfaces that the user may interact with. Scripts are terminated automatically unless configured to do otherwise, e.g. by using the wait command.

display instructions in logoff scripts as they run

You may also configure a policy to display a window when scripts run so that you know what is happening. Enable the policy “Display instructions in logoff scripts as they run” under User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Scripts to do so.

A similar option is available for scripts that run in the second phase of shutdown. You find it under Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Scripts; it has the same name as the User Configuration policy: Display instructions in shutdown scripts as they run.

Windows gives the combined scripts 10 minutes (600 seconds) of execution time by default. You can change the interval by configuring “Specify maximum wait time for Group Policy scripts” in the same Computer Configuration policy folder. You may select a range between 0 and 32000 seconds; 0 means that scripts run for as long as they need and that Windows won’t interfere. Note that the policy affects startup and shutdown scripts.

Shutdown scripts, those run in the second phase of the shutdown process run when no user is logged in anymore. These scripts run with system rights and not user rights. Administrators need to be aware that referenced user folders in scripts use the folders of the system user.

The shutdown and logoff properties policy windows look identical. Both feature a tab that separates scripts from PowerShell scripts, options to add, edit, remove, and sort scripts, and a button to show files.

shutdown properties

A click on show files opens a script directory on the local system:

  • For Logoff scripts: C:WINDOWSSystem32GroupPolicyUserScriptsLogoff
  • For Shutdown scripts: C:WINDOWSSystem32GroupPolicyMachineScriptsShutdown

You may place the scripts that you want executed in those folders; it is no requirement though and you can pick any folder on the system that is accessible during shutdown for storage.  It may nevertheless be a good idea to place scripts in these folders for organizational purposes.

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Windows 10 20H1: Paint and WordPad turned into optional features

Windows 10 20H1, the first feature update version of 2020 for Windows 10 and the first major update for Windows 10 after Windows 10 version 1903, will introduce quite a number of changes to the operating system.

Microsoft continues to push new builds to the Insider Channel that feature some of the changes. The latest Windows 10 20H1 build, build 18963, makes a handful of Windows tools optional features. The tools, e.g. WordPad and Paint, are still available by default.

All recent versions of Windows support optional features; this come with the operating system by default and can be enabled or disabled through the Settings application in Windows 10, Control Panel in previous versions of Windows and earlier Windows 10 versions, and via Windows PowerShell.

Some optional features are enabled by default, others are disabled. You may find that certain business tools and features, e.g. IIS-related tools, RSAT components, OpenSSH Server, or WMI SNMP Provider, are not enabled by default.

Microsoft started to turn some core Windows programs into optional features. Windows Media Player was one of the first tools that Microsoft made an optional feature.

New optional features in Windows 10 20H1

paint wordpad steps recorder-optional features windows 10 20h1

Note: the following observations are based on a preview version of Windows 10 20H1. Things may change before release.

When you check the list of optional features in recent Windows 10 version 20H1 builds, you may notice that several components were added to the list by Microsoft.

A quick comparison between the optional features of Windows 10 version 1809 and Windows 10 20H1 reveals the following core additions:

  • Microsoft Paint
  • Microsoft Quick Assist
  • Microsoft Windows User Experience
  • Steps Recorder
  • WordPad

Microsoft listed Microsoft Paint (MS Paint) as deprecated in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update as it favored a new interpretation of Microsoft Paint called Microsoft Paint 3D instead. After some outcry, Microsoft confirmed that Paint would be included in Windows 10 version 1903 and that it would be included in Windows 10 for the time being.

Microsoft planned to move Paint to the Microsoft Store initially but that has not happened and there are not any signs that this is going to happen anytime soon.

The integration as an optional feature does not remove Microsoft Paint from the Windows 10 operating system; in fact, Paint is enabled by default in recent builds of Windows 10 20H1 which suggests that it remains available by default in that version at the very least.

The same is true for WordPad, a trusted but somewhat dated application to view and edit Word documents, and Steps Recorder, a basic desktop recording application.

Why is Microsoft making these components optional?

Optional features that are enabled by default may be disabled on the system. While that does not free up any disk space on the computer’s hard drive, it removes traces of these applications from the Start Menu and some other locations, e.g. the context menu. Paint or WordPad can’t be uninstalled in previous versions of Windows 10 or Windows.

Microsoft’s decision to make these tools optional could have practicable reasons as well as it may be the first step of the removal process. The entire process could look like this:

  • Windows 10 20H1: make certain tools optional features that are enabled by default.
  • Later on: change the initial state of the tools to disabled by default.
  • Even later: remove these tools entirely or move them to the Microsoft Store to offer them there.

Closing Words

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KB4512534 for Windows 10 version 1809 fixes VB bug and more

Microsoft released the cumulative update KB4512534 for its Windows 10 version 1809 operating system on August 17, 2019.

The update follows the release of the updates KB4517297 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2,
KB4517298 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, and KB4512494 for Windows 10 version 1709 which the company released on August 16, 2019.

KB4512534 is available on Windows Update, as a direct download on the Microsoft Update Catalog website, and on WSUS for organizations.

Note: We recommend that you back up the system partition before you install any updates on Windows machines. You may use free tools such as Macrium Reflect or Paragon Backup & Recovery Free for that.

KB4512534

KB4512534 windows 10 1809

Important links

The cumulative update fixes the VB bug that Microsoft acknowledged shortly after the release of the August 2019 Patch Day for Windows. The update addresses the long-standing Preboot Execution Environment issue as well.

Here is the list of fixes and changes in the release:

  • Fixed an issue with Windows Hello not working after restarts.
  • Improved reliability of push notifications about app deployments to Microsoft HoloLens 1 devices.
  • Fixed an issue with downloading DRM files from certain websites in Edge an IE.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the Universal C Runtime Library from returning proper time zone global variables values.
  • Fixed a Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) issue that caused it to stop responding under certain conditions.
  • Fixed a default keyboard issue that affected the English Cyprus (en-cy) locale.
  • Fixed a Microsoft Edge printing issue so that PDF documents with portrait and landscape pages print correctly.
  • Fixed another issue with PDF documents configured to be opened only once in Microsoft Edge.
  • Addressed performance issues for the Win32 subsystem and Desktop Window Manager.
  • Fixed an input and display of special characters issue when application used imm32.dll.
  • Addressed a composition leak in UWP apps.
  • Fixed a memory leak in dwm.exe that could lead to loss of functionality and cause a device to stop working.
  • Fixed an automatic sign-in issue that affected the bypass Shift-key.
  • Fixed a reporting issue in the Windows Management Instrumentation class Win32_PhysicalMemory.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented App-V applications from opening.
  • Fixed a User Experience Virtualization issue that prevented exclusion paths from working correctly.
  • Fixed a Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection issue that caused the program to prevent others from accessing certain files.
  • Fixed an issue that caused workstations to stop working when users signed in using an updated user principal name.
  • Fixed a Windows Defender Application Control issue that prevented third-party binaries to be loaded from UWP applications.
  • Fixed a Trusted Platform Module issue that prevented TPM devices from being used for Next Generation Credentials.
  • Fixed an issue that caused applications on a container host to lose connectivity.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented some users from receiving a TTL value when being added as members of Shadow Principals.
  • Addressed an issue with the disabled attribute of the input element, which didn’t allow a scope to be passed to the authorization endpoint.
  • Fixed a leak issue in Windows notification sockets that caused the operating system to run out of ports.
  • Fixed a server edition authentication issue.
  • Fixed an issue that could break domain trust when the Recycle Bin was configured on the domain that carried the trust.
  • Increased the number of supported interrupts per device to 512 on systems that have x2APIC enabled.
  • Fixed the Preboot Execution Environment issue.
  • Fixed the VB issue.

Known Issues

Microsoft lists four known updates (down from six). All known issues are not new.

  • Certain operations on Cluster Shared Volumes may fail.
  • Errors on devices with certain Asian language packs installed.
  • Black screen on first logon after update installation issue.
  • Apps and scripts that use the NetQueryDisplayInformation API or the WinNT provider equivalent may only return 50 or 100 entries.

Now You: Have you installed the new update (updates) that Microsoft released in August? What is your experience so far?

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