Some Windows 8 Updates Are Still Being Released

Canadian users of the Windows 8 operating system may still see sporadic updates issued by Microsoft in 2017. The Seattle tech giant has been resolute in its efforts to force Windows 7 and 8 users into upgrading to Windows 10 to take advantage of all the new features, but it seems as if there is still life left in these old operating systems.

In late 2016, users of computers powered by Windows 7 and 8 were surprised to see updates that they were not expecting due to Microsoft’s end-of-support announcement in January. To a certain extent, the OS developer is enacting the same policy applied to Windows XP users a few years ago; even after cutting out support to the legacy OS, more computers are running XP than Windows 8 these days.

Failed Windows Update Affects European Computers

Despite Microsoft’s end-of-life announcement, some updates and patches are still being released for Windows 7 and 8, many British customers of internet service providers BT and Plusnet found themselves being kicked off the network in early December 2016.

The problem was tracked down to an update rolled out for Windows 8 and Windows 10. The update somehow interfered with the DHCP system, which prevented DNS server settings from being downloaded from Plusnet and BT. Users could see this issue from their Network Settings menus; some were able to fix the issue by simply rebooting their routers while others were instructed by Plusnet to change their DNS and LAN IP settings to static.

The aforementioned issue was surprising for British users who have not yet transitioned to Windows 10; a couple of days later, however, other internet service providers in Europe reported similar issues. In Belgium, national provider Proximum reported that the DHCP problem affected many Windows 10 users, and once again a Windows Update appeared to be the issue.

A Grand Theft Auto Surprise

Video game enthusiasts who have Windows 8 custom rigs received an unexpected surprise from the developers of the Grand Theft Auto series. GTA IV, a game that seemed to be stuck in Windows 7 machines, can now be reliably played on PCs running Windows 10, 8.1 and even Windows 8.

Although GTA IV was a best-selling title in Canada and around the world, its developers could not keep up with Microsoft’s tinkering of the Windows operating system between 2008 and 2015. Rockstar Games waited until Microsoft stabilized its OS release schedule to issue a patch that would bring the game to as many Windows PCs as possible. While GTA 5 is far more popular these days, some gamers still enjoy the online multiplayer experience of Liberty City.

Top New and Improved Features in Windows 10

Microsoft’s first entrance into a cross-compatible operating system designed for computers and tablets was a flop with Windows 8.1, but they certainly didn’t make the same mistakes with Windows 10 when it was first released in July of 2015. Frequent updates have improved functionality and added features, and the option for a free upgrade for users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 for the first year, certainly helped their reputation and pleased consumers. Take a look at the top new features available in Windows 10 to maximize your computer or tablet’s functionality.

The Start Menu
One of the primary complaints from people with Windows 8 was the elimination of the Start menu. Microsoft listened and brought it back to Windows 10 with a newer, fresh look. The newly designed start menu includes a list of all your applications and programs, with the most used and recently added at the top. The right side includes tiles that were first introduced with Windows 8 that can be resized or removed if you prefer. You can also revert to a Windows 8 appearance by making the start menu full-screen. Users have the option to customize their experience however they want.

The Windows Store
As the popularity of Windows phones and tablets rises, more app developers are expanding beyond Android and iOS and introducing versions for Windows tablets and computers. Another improvement is that applications open in windowed mode, instead of full-screen, which previously took over anything else you might have been doing.

Cortana Assistant
The Cortana assistant, first introduced on Windows 8.1 phones, helps users search through their computer to find personal information, files, and online information. Voice commands allow you to search the Internet for virtually anything, and “she” is also capable of creating reminders, alarms and play music. Cortana’s capabilities will expand continuously with new updates.

Edge Browser
Internet explorer has a history of being slow and inefficient and Microsoft took the hint with their new Edge browser, built from the ground up. It offers extensions similar to other popular web browsers and allows users to use digital ink to make marks on sites and share them with other users.

Notifications and the Action Center
Notifications give users pop-ups along the right side of the screen. These range from updates available in Windows to game and app notifications. These notifications are archived so you don’t have to be sitting at your computer to get them. The action center also includes options to manage networks, switch to tablet mode and modify other computer settings.

Windows 10 is a fresh, versatile operating system with multiple new and improved features to appeal to a wide market of consumers.