By Bradley Prior for MyBroadband
Only a third of PCs being shipped to Africa include genuine software, which is a reason for the increase in data breaches and malware attacks in the region.
This is according to Deniz Ozen, regional general manager for consumer and device sales at Microsoft Middle East and Africa.
Ozen said that this has resulted in the loss of important data and decreased productivity on the continent.
Benefits of legal software for Africa
“Africa’s emerging market potential is unparalleled and business development and the growth of existing SME’s remains a key focus across the continent,” Microsoft said in a statement.
“To tap into this potential growth, access to affordable genuine software and hardware is necessary if the digital divide is to be closed.”
Microsoft believes that access to genuine software ensures comprehensive security for devices and data, making legitimate software important to the long-term success of businesses.
The same applies to students who rely heavily on access to devices, software and information to complete their required tasks and projects.
Fixing the piracy problem
The Software Alliance said in its June 2018 report that the overall rate of pirated software in the Middle East and Africa region stood at 56%.
“Pirated software is often installed without the end user’s knowledge, and it is those users who suffer the consequences including lost data and unusable PCs,” said Microsoft.
Microsoft EMEA VP of consumer and device sales Bradley Hopkinson told MyBroadband in October that Microsoft has various measures in place to fight piracy in South Africa and in Africa as a whole.
“We have come up with a programme called the Africa Coverage Programme, which is an affordability programme with our multinational partners,” said Hopkinson.
“Effectively, it is a programme that we believe will address affordability, and at the same time we need to drive awareness for the value of genuine software, which we will do as part of that programme.”
Microsoft has also launched its Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of Microsoft software piracy in the African market.
“Through the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, we aim to educate consumers on the risks of using pirated software, and to work with our PC ecosystem partners including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, Mustek and SMD to make Genuine Windows 10 PCs more affordable across Africa,” said Hopkinson.
“We have high aspirations to bring piracy almost to zero across Africa. We see a world across Africa where we can get genuine Windows in excess of 80% and even higher, and that is also based on the success we’ve seen through similar programmes in other emerging markets.”
By Paul Lilly for PC Gamer
Did I ever tell you about the time Microsoft doled out a Windows 10 update to the wrong set of users? Probably not, because I don’t recall it happening before now. I’m not saying it never has, I just can’t think of another time, other than this one.
This one, by the way, refers to KB4523786, an optional update offered alongside a cumulative update for Windows 10 version 1903 with fixes for several bugs. The optional KB4523786 offers “quality improvements to Windows Autopilot configured devices.”
Business and IT admins use Autopilot to set up and configure new devices. In this case, however, Microsoft offered it to Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro users. The issue with this, as Microsoft notes, is that “Windows Autopilot update is not installed on Windows 10 Pro or a later version when the device is not registered or configured for Windows Autopilot deployment. Windows Autopilot update is never offered to Windows 10 Home.”
Fortunately, as far as facepalms go, this one is relatively minor.
As first reported by Windows Latest, Microsoft’s Intune Support Team noted on Twitter that it pulled the update, noting that anyone who might have already installed it (and shouldn’t have) need not worry about adverse effects.
No harm, no foul, in other words. It’s just a bit embarrassing, and it comes at a time when Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates have been put under the microscope due to several previously reported issues. One of the more persistent issues as of late is a Start Menu bug. I’m not sure how widespread it actually is, but affected users get an error message when trying to open the Start Menu. It reads, “Your Start Menu isn’t working. We’ll try to fix it the next time you sign in.”
While on the topic of updates, the next big upgrade to Windows 10 will be here soon. It’s called the November 2019 update (previously known as 19H2), and while it will not be as big as some of the previous major upgrades, now is a good time to think about backing up your important data, if you are not already on a backup routine.
By Peter Bright for ARS Technica
Last week, Microsoft started distributing the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, version 1809, to Windows users who manually checked for updates. The company has now halted that rollout after many reports that installing the update is causing serious data loss: specifically, deleting the Documents, and perhaps Pictures, folders. Microsoft is also advising anyone who has downloaded the update but not yet installed it to not install it at all.
The exact circumstances causing data loss aren’t clear; the handful of reports on Microsoft’s forums and Reddit don’t have any obvious commonalities, and people report seeing only one affected system among many when upgraded. There will need to be some amount of investigation before a fix can be developed.
This will be too late for anyone that’s suffered data loss; although file recovery/undelete tools might be able to salvage the deleted files, the only reliable way of recovering them is to restore from a backup.
A data-loss bug is bad. Data-loss bugs are the worst kind of bug that Microsoft could ship; for rarely backed-up home users, at least, they’re worse even than a security flaw—who needs hackers and malware to destroy your data when the operating system does it for you? This bug is sure to raise new doubts about Microsoft’s testing, pace of delivering updates, and dependence on the Insider Program to find and report such problems.
Making this worse is that the bug does appear to have been reported. Numerous reports in Feedback Hub, Microsoft’s bug-reporting tool for Windows 10, complain of data deletion after installing preview releases. None of the bug reports appears to have many upvotes, and the reports generally lack in detail. So just as with the more recent reports, they make it hard to pin down the root cause. But it’s obvious that, at the very least, something was going wrong and that it was important enough that it should have been investigated and addressed.
Compounding this issue is that Microsoft’s rollout of version 1809 was already unusual. For reasons unknown, Microsoft didn’t release this update to the Release Preview ring, so the most realistic installation scenario—someone going from version 1803 to 1809—didn’t receive much testing anyway. And all this is against the longer-term concern that Microsoft laid off many dedicated testers without really replacing the testing that those testers were doing.
Microsoft issues a fix
Microsoft has fixed a bug in its latest Windows 10 October 2018 update that deleted files en masse for some users.
The software giant was forced to pull the update over the weekend due to the data deletion issues.
Now, the update is back online, but Microsoft says it is only releasing it to members of the Windows Insider program before making it available to the general public.