All posts in “Windows”

This hot MacBook replacement is from a company you’ve never heard of

Laptops are hot fire once again.

Microsoft announced its first laptop, the Surface Laptop, earlier this month, and now Huawei, the world’s third-largest phone manufacturer, is getting into Windows 10 laptops, too.

Though Huawei is known mostly for its budget and midrange phones (more recently with its Honor sub-brand) in the U.S., the Chinese tech giant has made more concerted efforts to be seen as a premium device maker.

The company’s flagship P10 phone sits with the best Android phones. Hell, Huawei’s even hired former “Get a Mac” actor Justin Long to push its products.

Last year, Huawei dipped its toes into the PC world with its MateBook 2-in-1 Surface Pro competitor. It was a decent device, but like all first tries it had its shortcomings such as poor battery life.

Huawei’s new MateBook X — the company’s first clamshell laptop — is aimed squarely at Apple’s entire MacBook lineup. 

Thinner than MacBook

Image: huawei

More ports than MacBook

The MateBook X has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.

The MateBook X has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.

Image: huawei

Like its flagship phones, the MateBook X has a unibody aluminum design and is built for thinness and lightness. The 13-inch laptop measures just 0.49 inches at its thickest point — thinner than the MacBook (0.52 inches) and MacBook Pro (0.59 inches). It only weighs 2.31 pounds compared to the MacBook Pro’s 3.02 pounds.

Thin as the laptop is, it’s still plenty powerful inside. The 13-inch non-touchscreen IPS display is made of Corning Gorilla Glass and boasts a 2,160 x 1,440 resolution. And, yes, the keyboard’s backlit.

Image: huawei

Under the hood, it’s packing a fanless 7th-generation “Kaby Lake” Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, Intel HD Graphics 620, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage. Huawei also claims up to 10 hours of battery life for watching 1080p-resolution video. There’s also Dolby Atmos Sound inside.

For ports, the MateBook X has two USB-C ports, a power button that doubles as fingerprint sensor (fancy!), and a headphone jack. In the U.S., Huawei’s including the MateDock 2, which includes a full-sized USB port, USB-C, VGA, and HDMI port. Also bundled is a USB to USB-C dongle.

I haven’t seen the laptop in person so I can’t say how the device feels. But if the old MateBook tablet and Huawei’s excellent industrial design for its phones are any indication, the MateBook X could be the laptop to keep any eye on when it launches this summer. Plus, it comes in rose gold. Hopefully the price is lower than a MacBook, too.

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Huawei MateBook D

Huawei MateBook D

Image: huawei

The MateBook X isn’t Huawei’s only laptop. Alongside the 13-incher is a the MateBook D, a 15.6-inch Windows 10 laptop.

While not quite as premium as the MateBook X, the MateBook D is still a decent machine with an all-aluminum body, a full HD resolution display, a discrete graphics card, and a full range of ports.

No dongles needed on this laptop!

No dongles needed on this laptop!

Image: huawei

Specs for the MateBook D include seventh-gen Kaby Lake Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage with several configurations split combining a traditional hard drive and SSD, and discrete graphics (up to Nvidia 940MX). Battery life is pegged at around 8.5 hours of local video playback.

The MateBook D has two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and an HDMI port.

The MateBook D ships this summer. Pricing is also TBD.

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The MateBook E.

The MateBook E.

Image: huawei

In addition to the new laptops, Huawei’s also updated its 2-in-1 to the MateBook E. 

The new 2-in-1 has the same 12-inch screen as the old one, but this time around the 1080p screen’s been upgraded to 2K (2,160 x 1,440) resolution. 

Performance gets a boost across the board with seventh-gen Intel Core m3 or Core i7 processors, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of SSD storage. The company advertises up to 9 hours of video playback.

Huawei says it’s also improved the 2-in-1’s less noticeable features; the magnetic connector for the keyboard is stronger thanks to a reduction in pins from seven to three, and the included folio case is adjustable from 10 degrees to 160 degrees, compared to the original folio case’s three angles.

The MateBook E also ships this summer with pricing TBD.

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Security researcher says he’s figured out how to decrypt WannaCry

WannaCry no more.
WannaCry no more.

Image: B. TONGO/EPA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

The ransomware WannaCry has infected hundreds of thousands of computer systems around the globe, but a security researcher claims he’s figured out how to beat it. 

In some cases, that is.

Adrien Guinet says that he was able to decrypt a ransomwared computer running Windows XP in his lab by discovering the prime numbers that make up the WannaCry private key. The private key is what a ransomware victim would need to buy off his attackers in order to regain access to his own files, but Guinet says he was able to do this without paying any Bitcoin ransom

Importantly, Guinet acknowledges this technique has only been demonstrated to work on a computer running Windows XP. Why does that matter? Despite initial reports, those systems were not affected by the major May 12 outbreak as the worm that spread the ransomware didn’t hit those systems

However, WannaCry itself does work on XP — suggesting that if the ransomware manages to spread to XP this new technique could be used to help future victims. 

There are some other provisos as well. 

“In order to work, your computer must not have been rebooted after being infected,” Guinet wrote on Github. “Please also note that you need some luck for this to work,” he added, “and so it might not work in every cases!”

Why luck? As Guinet explains, when WannaCry infects a computer it generates encryption keys that rely on prime numbers. Here comes the important part: The ransomware “does not erase the prime numbers from memory before freeing the associated memory.”

“If you are lucky (that is the associated memory hasn’t been reallocated and erased),” continues Guinet, “these prime numbers might still be in memory.” 

If you can recover those prime numbers, as Guinet says he did, you can decrypt your files. 

Guinet released the software he used to decrypt the infected system to the public. He calls it “Wannakey.”

As mentioned above, Wannakey has not been tested on a large scale and so it may not be a silver bullet. It does, however, suggest that data considered lost in future ransomware attacks may actually be recoverable. And that is some much needed good news. 

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Microsoft releases Windows XP patch for WannaCrypt ransomware

Image: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Still stubbornly running an ancient version of Windows, despite the security threats? You’re in luck, this time.

The ransomware attack known as WannaCrypt that sent organizations and individual users around the world scrambling for security cover has been addressed by Microsoft, the company behind the most widely used operating system on the planet, with a new software update.  And, to the relief of many holding onto old versions of Windows, the update plays nice with some old school systems, too. 

Late Friday, the company posted an official notice on its site regarding the update as well as general guidance regarding the WannaCrypt attack. The update covers users on Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003 (the attack didn’t target Windows 10, according to Microsoft). Additionally, Microsoft advises users to “use vigilance when opening documents from untrusted or unknown sources.” 

The patch goes all the way back to Windows XP, a version of Windows Microsoft stopped supporting several years ago.

This update is particularly noteworthy because the patch goes all the way back to Windows XP, a version of Windows Microsoft stopped supporting several years ago. Regarding that unusual move, Microsoft’s blog post states, “This decision was made based on an assessment of this situation, with the principle of protecting our customer ecosystem overall, firmly in mind.” 

“Today our engineers added detection and protection against new malicious software known as Ransom:Win32.WannaCrypt,” a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Mashable. “In March, we provided a security update which provides additional protections against this potential attack. Those who are running our free antivirus software or have Windows Update enabled, are protected.”

The new update is available here and those looking for more detailed information regarding WannaCrypt ransomware and how it may impact Windows can find it listed on the Microsoft security blog. 

The rapid response from Microsoft indicates just how worrisome the ransomware attack has been for businesses around the world including vital organizations where computers are central to daily work such as hospitals and utility companies.

On Saturday, a report from Reuters indicated that the impact of the ransomware has been greatly reduced in recent hours due to the work of an unnamed UK-based researcher who worked to limit its spread. 

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The next version of Windows embraces iOS and Android like never before

Image: lili sams/mashable

The Windows 10 Creators Update may have only started rolling out, but Microsoft just gave us our first look at what’s next for Windows.

During the second day of its Build developer conference on Thursday, Microsoft unveiled the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which will launch later this year.

Though the update doesn’t bring many dramatic changes to Windows, Microsoft is adding a suite of new productivity tools that allow users to move between their PC and their iPhone or Android. 

A feature called Timeline allows you to “jump back in time to find what you were working on” at some point in the past. Functionally, Timeline is something of an extension of Windows’ Task View, only now you’re able to see “a visual timeline that displays what you were doing when, you can easily hop back into files, apps and sites as if you never left.” 

Image: Microsoft

This also applies to Timeline-supported Microsoft apps running on your smartphone. So you could “look back” at, say, a Microsoft Word document you only opened on your iPhone.

Next up, a (very creatively named) feature called Pick Up Where You Left Off, which lets you start a task on your Windows PC, say editing a Word document, and pick it up on your phone exactly where you left off. A bit like Apple’s Handoff, the feature uses Cortana (so yes, you’ll need the Cortana app installed) to enable the switching.

Image: Microsoft

Finally, Microsoft introduced Clipboard, which lets you copy and paste between your Windows PC and your smartphone, even if it’s an Android or iPhone. That may sound impossible but there’s one caveat: On iOS and Android the feature is powered by SwiftKey (that’s the keyboard app Microsoft acquired for $250 million last year), so you’ll need to have that app installed in order to use the feature.

Image: mashable/lance ulanoff

While Microsoft embraced a cross-platform strategy ever since Satya Nadella took over as CEO more than three years ago, these updates are some of the most significant strides yet the company has made moves toward embracing iOS and Android. It’s also something of a tacit acknowledgment that the vast majority of smartphone users are simply not using Windows on their mobile device (for the second year in a row, Microsoft had almost nothing to say about Windows 10 mobile onstage at Build). 

The Fall Creators Update also marks the debut of a new design language for Windows called Fluent Design (this is the official name for Project Neon). Rather than a dramatic shift, though, Fluent Design is all about helping enable similar experiences across many different types of devices, Microsoft says.

“Fluent Design will deliver intuitive, harmonious, responsive and inclusive cross-device experiences and interactions,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, wrote in a blog post. “For developers, Fluent Design is built to help you create more expressive and engaging apps that work across a wide range of device and input diversity.”

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How to watch the Microsoft Build keynotes

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Image: lili sams / mashable

Microsoft will soon kick off the beginning of developer conference season with its event: Build. In addition to annual updates on the performance of Windows, Office and the Surface devices, Microsoft is expected to comment on a new Windows design language, codenamed “Project Neon” and share updates to the company’s AI research

The keynotes will feature CEO Satya Nadella, EVP Scott Guthrie, EVP Harry Shum and EVP Terry Myerson across two events on Wednesday and Thursday.

The keynotes will kick off at 8 a.m. PT Wednesday and 8:30am PT Thursday when the company’s execs will take the stage at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Here’s how to follow along: 

You can watch Microsoft’s official livestream here.

  • Mashable‘s Lance Ulanoff and Karissa Bell will be sharing updates live before, after and during the event.

  • You can follow them on our Twitter account @MashableTech and our Facebook Pages at Mashable and Mashable Tech.

We’re also expecting to hear more about Hololens, Bing bots and Cortana and hopefully some fun surprise hardware announcements. Stay tuned!

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