We started this week with a look back at the launch of Windows 95 and proceeded to learn more about the future of Microsoft with updates to SharePoint Server 2016, Windows 10, and Cortana for Android.
Monday, Aug. 24 marked the 20th birthday of Windows 95, an operating system that proved a major milestone for Microsoft.
The widely publicized launch was reflective of the impact Windows 95 would have on personal computing. Microsoft's upgraded 32-bit OS brought us the familiar Windows UI, built-in Internet support, mobile computing features, and Plug and Play for hardware and software installation.
Days after it celebrated the 20th anniversary of Windows 95, Microsoft announced the rapid growth of Windows 10. Since its July 29 launch, the new OS has been downloaded on 75 million PCs and counting.
In less than a month, more than 90,000 unique devices in 192 countries have been upgraded to Windows 10. The Windows Store has seen six times more app downloads than it did per device with Windows 8. Cortana has responded to "tell me a joke" with over half a million witty comebacks.
Twenty years is a century in the tech world, and the key features in Windows 10 are largely different from those marketed in Windows 95. Familiar desktop interface aside, the latest version of Windows emphasizes cloud and mobility with universal apps and the Windows-as-a-Service model for delivering new fixes and features.
Windows Insiders saw the newest batch of Windows 10 updates this week with the release of preview build 10532 for PCs. Insiders will continue to preview and test builds before they roll out to the public, as they did throughout Windows 10 development.
The updates in build 10532 are minor fixes in response to Insider feedback, including changes to the desktop color theme. Insiders can now also share their feedback with one another through apps that support Windows Share or direct links copied to the clipboard. Microsoft promises to bring the updated sharing feature to its next Windows 10 Mobile build.
As for known issues, Microsoft reports the Windows Hello facial recognition will not work for some devices; other sign-on methods such as pin, password, or fingerprint scan still work. The 64-bit Google Chrome will crash upon launching, but the 64-bit Google Chrome Canary build and 32-bit Google Chrome still work.
Other updates from this week include the arrival of Cortana for Android beta, which is currently limited to smartphones in the US. Android users who download Cortana can use it for voice-powered Web searches and setting reminders, but Microsoft notes it's still on its way to having the same functionality as Cortana for Windows.
Also released in preview were SharePoint Server 2016 and a new cloud hybrid search service.
The upcoming release of SharePoint is built on the same platform as SharePoint Online, so testers can expect similarities between the two. New features include an app launcher and new control surface for managing and sharing content. SharePoint Server also delivers new compliance tools and support for files up to 10GB.
Customers running SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365 can preview a new hybrid cloud search tool, which enables users to browse cloud and on-premises content in a search index within Office 365. Users can search specific information, discover data via Office Delve profiles, or organize content in boards.Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio