Back to basics: free learning just in time for Christmas

For lots of Us Windows 10 has become a habit.  The muscle memory from Win 7 days is long gone.  The same is not true for everyone however.  Microsoft has released some nice learning materials for those who are a bit late taking up the charge.

Check out this wonderful presentation if you are new to Windows 10 (or just 10 curious):

Once you have read through the presentation deck you can delve deeper with the Microsoft IT Showcase:

Calling home for the holidays: Use Skype without any strings

Missing loved ones? Have to call Nana to thank for her for that “awesome” sweater.  Now you can use Skype without any account.  The team recently released the functionality to use the web client without having an account.  Just navigate to the page and “Start a Conversation”.  You can IM, voice and video call.  You get all the stuff that a free Skype account would normally give you but the draw back is that you have no contacts so you have to email a link to someone in order for them to connect with you.  Still seems to be a pretty good way to go!  Free calls for the holidays 🙂 …and beyond!

Cortana is an Android ™

Well… she works on Android OS is a more accurate way of putting it.  The app, which can be downloaded from the app store, allows you to push notifications from you mobile device to your Windows 10 desk/lap top device

To get started just follow these steps.
1) Login with your Microsoft account
2) go to the settings menu
3) Select sync Notifications

Microsoft Download Center

In my last post I talked about the Microsoft Update Catalogue which is a fantastic tool for enterprise environments. There is an equivalent tool for home/SMB users as well.   Just search “Microsoft Download Center” or navigate to

From there in the Search box just type the name of the update you are looking for (eg “kb3172605″) and you will get all the articles related to the KB including a link to download the individual fix itself

This is a great way to patch your machines – especially if you have a problematic machine. It has long been a concern of mine that if you use a roll up model but have a machine that can’t install one of the updates what do you do. This clearly addresses the problem and will help me sleep more soundly tonight 😉

Nap time!

Microsoft Update Catalogue

Need an update?  Can’t find an old update that addressed a specific issue on one of your devices?  Running older apps and don’t have the update anymore?  Take a digital stroll to the Microsoft Update Catalogue (  As my new friends at say: “(This has been) developed specially for corporate and enterprise environments, Microsoft Update Catalog provides access to these updates as well as the hotfixes”

Windows update changes

Back in October Microsoft announced some changes to the Windows servicing model.  Now, they really mean, that older OSs (7 and 8) as well as Server 2012 products will start to follow the same model as Windows 10.  Updates will still get pushed out and be available in WSUS but there will be more of a structure to them.

Security updates will come in one giant package that can be consumed by WSUS, Config Mgr, Windows Update Catalogue.. This will include the previous updates as well since we are now looking at roll up model instead of the existing methodology

There will be a separate roll up for other non-security fixes.  In an very interesting change there will also be a preview rollup which will contain some of the fixes planned for the next release  It will give you a chance to preview and test the fixes before they are released

And they have also stated that “With WSUS, you can enable support for “express installation files” to ensure that client PCs only download the pieces of a particular monthly rollup that they haven’t already installed, to minimize the network impact.” which is great news for sys admins and network admins (and lots of us home/power users as well)

Free stuff, discounts and rebates galore!

Microsoft has announced their 12 days of deals. It is live on the Microsoft site.

Here are the highlights:

Tuesday, December 6 – Only $199 for a Lenovo Ideapad 110 laptop (save $100).

Wednesday, December 7 – Save up to 50% on select Xbox One games, now $19.99.

Thursday, December 8 – Save $250 on Surface Pro 4 with Intel Core m3 and 128GB SSD (now $649), plus free sleeve.

Friday, December 9 – Save up to 70% on select Windows 10 tablets, now starting at $49.

Saturday, December 10 – Save up to $250 on Windows Premium Collection devices, starting at $499.

Sunday, December 11 – Buy select Xbox controllers and get a $25 Microsoft Store gift code.

Monday, December 12 – Save $50 and get 2 free games with select Xbox One consoles, plus save big on Xbox accessories and games.

Tuesday, December 13 – Get a $100 Microsoft Store gift code with purchase of HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift.

Wednesday, December 14 – Save up to $1,000 on select gaming PCs, starting at $799.

Thursday, December 15 – Save up to 40% on select Dell PCs, starting at $199.

Friday, December 16 – Save up to $200 on select Surface Pro 4, plus get a free Type Cover (up to $359 value).

Interesting new patent

It seems like multitasking applies to devices and people. In a recently filed patent Microsoft is looking at having one device that controls many others.  Share screens and keyboards – and your computing experience!  Access the memory, screen and other hardware in nearby devices from your computer!  Really interesting stuff and if rumors are correct, it may show up as soon as Surface Pro 5.  Christmas maybe?