Microsoft helps troubleshoot Windows 10 activation with new beta

As Microsoft hurtles towards the release of its major Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the company introduced a tool that’s supposed to help PC owners resolve problems with activating the operating system on their computers.

Microsoft has a complex system in place to ensure people are using a copy of Windows that hasn’t been pirated. But that system sometimes gets too aggressive and ends up dinging users with authorized copies of Windows. The new Activation Troubleshooter should make it easier for users to reactivate their computers after changing hardware, such as swapping out their motherboard or hard drive.

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Microsoft will bring BitLocker and Secure Boot to Windows 10 IoT Core

Raspberry Pi

Microsoft is beefing up the security capability of Windows 10 IoT Core, the compact version of Windows intended for Internet-connected devices. Microsoft’s BitLocker data encryption technology and its Secure Boot system for only supporting trusted software will both appear in in an upcoming release of the operating system, Microsoft announced today.

“By building this into IoT Core you can get these highly valuable security features without needing to build your own implementations meaning you can get your project done faster and still be more secure,” Steve Teixeira, director of program Management for the Internet of Things team in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, wrote in a blog post.

The build packing BitLocker and Secure Boot will be available to people participating in the Windows Insider Program, Teixeira wrote.

The OS became publicly available last month following a preview that came out in April, days after the formal release of Windows 10 proper.

For those who want to try it out, a new Windows IoT Core Starter Kit might be just the thing. It costs $ 114.95 with a Raspberry Pi 2 and $ 75 without the Pi. An SD card in the kit comes with the OS installed.


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Microsoft launches meeting app Invite for iPhone, coming soon to Android and Windows Phone

One of the meeting rooms at Communitech, a startup mecca in Waterloo, Ontario. Google also has 200 employees here.

Microsoft today launched a new standalone app for scheduling meetings called Invite. Available only for iPhone users in the U.S. and Canada for now, you can download Invite now directly from Apple’s App Store.

Here is how it works. First you suggest times that work for you, and then invite attendees to vote. You can send invites to anyone with an email address — even if they are outside your organization. The recipients select all the times they can attend from the app itself or from a browser, once votes are in, you pick the time that works best.

microsoft_invite

The best part is that anyone invited can see what options work best for other attendees, and suggest their own times as well. The sender chooses a final date and time whenever they’re ready, hitting Send Calendar Invites to get it on everyone’s calendars.

Here is how Microsoft explains its thinking behind the app:

Invite is designed to overcome the biggest obstacle when scheduling meetings — not being able to see the calendars of attendees outside your organization. As a result, your proposed meeting can be repeatedly declined until you find a time that works.

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Certain events and meetings can be moved if something more important comes up, but only each person knows best where they are flexible. By letting attendees pick times that work for them, even when it means moving one of their own meetings, can stop that meeting from being scheduled on a Friday evening.

Invite is mainly designed for users with Office 365 business and school accounts. That said, the app also works with any email account, including Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.

The app’s launch and limitations are very similar to Microsoft’s Send, a lightweight email app that debuted in July. Like Send, Invite is starting out as iPhone-only, available only in two countries, and with the promise of “coming soon” to Android and Windows Phone.

Invite is the latest in a long line of apps to emerge from Microsoft Garage, the software giant’s lab for experimental tinkering. At this rate, Microsoft will soon have more experimental apps than “final” apps.

And that’s okay, as long as some of them are eventually released or integrated into existing products.

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