Windows 8.1

This All-In-One System Rescue Toolkit Automatically Repairs Your PC

By Lifehacker on at

We highlighted Paul Vreeland’s System Rescue Toolkit a few months ago, but now he’s built a new, “lite” version that packs most of the same tools and can automatically run against and repair common Windows problems for you. If you liked the original, you’ll love this.

The beauty of the original was that it offered a number of great utilities to help you troubleshoot your system if you had PC problems, without a whole bunch of trial versions, bloated utilities, or “we found X errors now call me to fix your computer” demos. The Lite version dials some of those tools back and makes the scan and repair process automatic, so you can use the toolkit, walk away and grab a bite to eat, and, hopefully, come back to a repaired and functioning Windows system—or at least some more information about what you should do next if the toolkit couldn’t fix your problems. He notes:

The Lite version of my toolkit runs all of the autoFIX steps from “Automatic Mode” found in the full version. You do not have to be a techie to use it! No technical expertise is necessary because all the repair tasks are run automatically! These repair steps include:

  • CPU/Cooling Test
  • Memory Test
  • Hard Drive Test
  • Windows Security Centre Check
  • Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Scans
  • Reset Windows Networking
  • System File Checker
  • Disk Cleanup and Defrag

Best of all, it’s completely free (although Paul does accept donations to maintain the project.) Hit the link below to try it out yourself.

AiO-SRT Lite | Paul Bryan Vreeland

Microsoft Opens Skype to the Business World

You’ve probably used Skype to chat with your family and friends. Now you can use it to chat with colleagues and co-workers as part of your official workday.
Unveiled Monday, the Skype for Business Technical Preview will give you a chance to try the workday edition of the software before it officially launches next month, Giovanni Mezgec, general manager for the Skype for Business team, said in a blog post.

Designed to replace and expand on Microsoft’s Lync communications platform, Skype for Business will allow you to search for, connect with and chat with other Skype users, whether inside or outside your organization. The new Skype for Business will also be integrated into Microsoft Office, so instant messages and voice and video calling with be accessible within Office as well. Otherwise, Skype for Business will work and act like the consumer version.

Meanwhile, don’t fret about any changes to those weekly video chats between the little ones and their grandparents. “The consumer experience known and loved around the world will continue to be referred to as Skype,” Microsoft’s Skype team said in a blog post. “You will still be able to use Skype the way you always have — with the same user account and contacts.”

Since taking over as Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella has been on a mission to transform the company into one that emphasizes “productivity and platform” and not just devices and services. Skype for Business falls into that new strategy, as the product is geared toward helping business users better collaborate with each other. The business-oriented version also emphasizes Microsoft’s need to continue to focus on corporations as a key source of customers and revenue.

Skype for Business is specifically geared toward companies and other organization as it offers enterprise-level security along with the necessary management controls for IT professionals. IT pros and business users can browse to the Office Evalutions page to register for and download Skype for Business.

Along with Skype for Business, a preview edition of Microsoft Office 2016 is now available for the enterprise crowd. The IT Pro and Developer Preview of Office 2016 for the Windows desktop offers enhancements for both users and IT administrators, including quicker searching and improved readability in Outlook and easier ways to deploy Office bug fixes and updates.

IT admins and business users who want to check out the new Office can sign in to download the program at the Office 2016 Preview (for Business) Profile page.

Source: Microsoft opens Skype to the business world – CNET.

This Is How Microsoft Will Unite Your Windows 10 Devices

Microsoft’s big promise with Windows 10 is its ability to run apps across the entire platform. The framework for these universal apps hasn’t been described in much detail, but a post on the Windows Blog gives a bit more insight under the hood. Redmond’s calling these “mobile experiences,” meaning apps you can use across many different devices; the software is mobile, not the gizmo you’re using it on. Cortana moving from smart phone to desktop and the Xbox One’s Game DVR tool being available on your gaming PC are but a few examples. The idea is to offer a set of standards across the Windows 10 platform so everything remains familiar regardless of what piece of hardware you’re accessing the application from. That means everything should have, in Microsoft’s words, an adaptive user experience with natural inputs; calls for cloud-based services including Cortana integration and the action center and one design language across the board.

Let’s break that down a bit, shall we? “Adaptive user experience” means that the app will, well, adapt to the size or resolution screen you’re using without skipping a beat in terms of inputs, menus and interface. This is where it gets interesting:

“Because Windows handles all of these inputs, we free you from needing to worry about how to parse the input for meaning – you only need to worry about which inputs are appropriate for your app and we’ll determine if they are present and parse the intent for you.”

Microsoft wants applications to take advantage of inputs that makes sense based on the device you’re using them on. So, touch input for OneNote on phones, a pen input with Surface Hub or a tablet, voice and eye tracking for desktop software. Another example Redmond gives is if you tap an icon with your finger, it’ll automatically get bigger than if a mouse-click is detected. This design philosophy will apparently travel across every Win10 device — including HoloLens and internet-of-things gadgets like the Raspberry Pi 2.

Developers will have access to the tools that Microsoft’s internal teams do, too, with the blog post specifically name dropping animations, APIs and controls. What does that mean for you, dear reader? Well, hopefully that apps keep up a consistent look and feel with Redmond’s internal projects like the Spartan browser, such as. Windows 10 is still on track for release sometime later this year, and the post promises even more detail come the software giant’s Build event in April.

For more technical information see Windows Blog

Source: Engadget – This is how Microsoft will unite your Windows 10 devices.

Microsoft’s New Browser Previewed In Video

It was back in January that Microsoft showed off its long-awaited replacement for Internet Explorer, currently named “Project Spartan.” The new browser is designed to be light, nimble and secure, with the company stressing how deeply Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, is baked into the software. Now, thanks to WinBeta, we’ve gotten the first sense of how that’ll work out in the real world. For instance, visit the homepage of a restaurant and the blue circle in the address bar will bounce to advise you that more information is available. In addition, you can highlight and right-click a word to define it, and typing in keywords in the address bar — such as weather — will bring up relevant information. The video is short, but you can expect plenty more like that when the previews of Windows 10 (with Spartan) arrive at the end of the month.

Source: Engadget – Microsoft’s new browser previewed in video


Microsoft’s After-Hours Employee App Project Offers A Slate Of New Software

Microsoft Garage is an initiative at Microsoft that works like an internal accelerator, taking ideas that employees have outside of their ordinary day jobs and turning them into real apps. The first batch broke cover last October, and now there are nine new projects making their official debut today.

These include a mobile app that lets software engineers check in on Visual Studio Online projects in a secure way without having to be on the company intranet on their notebook; a weather app designed for use in China that offers air quality reports customized for each user; and a conference call management app that can pull meeting ID and pins from invites and automatically enter the details to connect you to your call with a simple tap or voice command.

DevSpace, Your Weather and Join Conference are the apps Microsoft highlighted in a blog post announcing the new slate, but a few that might be even more useful for some users include Keyboard for Excel, which replaces your software keyboard with something specific to Excel, for optimal input of figures and formulas. The SquadWatch app, another Garage production, provides real-time location on friends and family who agree to take part, much like a Find My Friends for Windows Phone.

Other new apps that have already broken cover but that are re-launching with new features or updates in this batch include Mouse without Borders, which allows you to control multiple computers with a single mouse and keyboard; Developer Assistant, which offers a way to browse and re-use code snippets and samples from Visual Studio; Picturesque Lock Screen, which puts Bing home page pictures on your Android lock screen, as well as direct search and call/text notifications; and finally Torque, which gets updates that let you define Android shake behavior to trigger a range of actions, including voice search, calls, dictation or app launching.

Microsoft’s Garage is producing some of the most interesting software to come out of Redmond or any of the MS satellite offices in years, and this collection is no exception. Fostering innovation in an organization that size, which in many ways depends on stability and an innate conservatism is no small feat. Garage has managed to produce some interesting stuff you probably wouldn’t see come out of Microsoft’s main businesses, so it’s definitely helping to reduce the risks associated with large, slow-moving corporate entities.

Source:  Tech Crunch – Microsoft’s After-Hours Employee App Project Offers A Slate Of New Software.