Stories by Woody Leonhard

Windows 10 reality check: Separating fact from fiction

With the world officially on a collision course with Windows 10 on July 29, it's time to clear up common misconceptions about Microsoft's latest, evolving version of its flagship OS. Perhaps not surprising, there's quite a bit of misinformation floating around, some of it harmless, but some of it potentially damaging to any decisions you make about Windows 10.

How to make shortcuts to Windows 10 settings on your Desktop

Want to see Windows 10's log of your I/O usage -- the Data Usage app in Settings -- by simply clicking or tapping on the Desktop? Enable or disable your microphone with two clicks? Turn off your webcam? Manage your Wi-Fi settings? It's easy.

Where Windows 10 stands right now

With beta builds arriving at an ever-increasing pace, Windows 10 testing proceeds full speed ahead, with new features unveiled at every turn. If you don't have the time -- or the interest -- to keep up with the details, this report will keep you posted on how things stand. Like, right now. And we'll update it as Microsoft fleshes out more of Windows 10.

Widespread outages hit Windows 8/8.1 Metro Mail, Windows Live Mail, Windows Phone 8.1 mail

Last night at about 12:30 a.m. EDT, Microsoft issued a bulletin warning of widespread outages for Windows 8 and 8.1 Metro Mail, Windows Live Mail, and Windows Phone 8.1 mail. The bulletin stated:

Leaked Windows 10 build 10051 finally shows new Mail, Calendar apps

Over the weekend, Russian leaker(s) WZor once again proved their mettle by posting a new leaked Windows 10 build, the 64-bit only 10051, on the mail.ru website. Others rapidly took the leaked WIM file (stuffed in a RAR!) and turned it into an ISO for general consumption.

Inside the new Windows 10 Technical Preview tools, SDK

Most of us were expecting a new Windows 10 SDK and assorted tools to arrive in time for Microsoft's Build Developer Conference next month. Instead, the company surprised by releasing an enormous SDK and Visual Studio Tools for Windows 10 package on Monday, five weeks ahead of the annual gathering of the Windows faithful. Microsoft clearly aims to give developers a head start on building Windows apps.

First look: Windows 10 preview for smartphones is off to a slow start

Last Thursday, Microsoft released its long-anticipated Windows 10 Technical Preview for smartphones. This first public release of Windows 10 for smartphones improves on many Windows Phone 8.1 features, but it offers few compelling new capabilities. Also, while Win10 TP for smartphones is supposed to run universal-style apps (the latest incarnation of what have been called Metro, Modern, and Windows Store apps), there's still little congruence between the new universal smartphone apps and their big-screen universal namesakes.

Satya Nadella at one year: Grading Microsoft's CEO

Make no mistake: A year after he succeeded Steve Ballmer in the job, CEO Satya Nadella firmly controls Microsoft's fate.

In Pictures: Secrets of Office for iPad masters

Tips, tricks, tweaks, and twerks for Office gurus looking to make the most of the iPad variant

10th time's the charm: Microsoft finally solves big problems with Surface Pro 3

Judging by many comments on the Microsoft Answers forum and elsewhere, Microsoft's Jan. 15 firmware update for the Surface Pro 3 has solved almost all outstanding issues with Wi-Fi connections, hibernating, Bluetooth connectivity, battery drain on standby, Hyper-V interference with Wi-Fi, and more.

Microsoft pulls Exchange Server 2010 SP3 update rollup 8, KB 2986475

Microsoft has just acknowledged a problem with Exchange Server 2010 SP3 Update Rollup 8, which I first saw described on the German language site heise.de. Apparently there have been many more reports of problems.

Review: 6 business-class Chromebooks test their mettle

I've spent the last three weeks taking six business-oriented Chromebooks through their paces. I started out as a skeptical Windows-rules-them-all kind of guy: I've been using Windows since the early days, and I've rarely strayed from the ghosts of my Windows masters. By the end of my Chromebook experiment, however, my old biases were shaken.

Microsoft cold-shoulders Server 2003 and XP users hit with Microsoft Update error 0x80248015

The causes of the problem remain cloudy, but the symptoms are quite clear. Starting on Nov. 18, some Server 2003, Windows Home Server 2003, and Windows XP SP3 machines suddenly refused to connect to Microsoft Update. As best I can tell, Microsoft has not responded to the problem, not documented a workaround, and is basically doing nothing visible to fix it.

Microsoft endorses workaround for botched Windows patch KB 3000061

This month's Black Tuesday crop of patches held more than a few surprises. True to form, my choice for the "most likely to splat," the KB 3000061 kernel mode driver patch, repeatedly fails to install on many machines. Although the Knowledge Base article hasn't been updated, Microsoft support engineer joscon confirmed a workaround for the problem on Thursday afternoon.

In Pictures: What you'll love and hate about Windows 10

Hated Windows 8? Good news: Many of the features in Windows 10 aren't nearly as annoying