Windows 10 sees its largest surge ever as Microsoft’s forced-upgrade push rolls on

Putting away the carrots and breaking out the sticks appears to be paying off for Microsoft, at least in raw market share.

After pushing Windows 10 onto legions of Windows 7 and 8 PCs as a Recommended update, Windows 10 saw its largest-ever surge in month-to-month usage share in May, according to Net Applications. Windows 10’s usage share jumped by 2.09 percent between April and May, to 17.43 percent overall. That may not sound like much, but it’s a huge leap in such a short time. The only other month that even comes close is January, which saw Windows 10 usage spike by 1.89 percent after the holiday season.

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Log in to your Windows 10 PC with your fitness tracker

Pretty soon, your fitness band won’t just track your steps, it could also help you log in to your Windows 10 PC. Microsoft recently announced it would soon extend Windows Hello capabilities to third parties. During Computex on Wednesday, Microsoft showed off using the Microsoft Band and other wearables to unlock a Windows 10 computer, as first reported by The Verge.

The new feature is part of an addition to the Windows Hello Companion Device Framework. We got our first look at the new framework in early April when Microsoft posted some developer documentation online. The basic idea is that when you are near your computer, a companion device like a fitness band or smartwatch can pair up with your PC and authenticate your presence. This can happen any number of ways, including over USB, Bluetooth, NFC, or by performing a special gesture—hardware permitting.

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Microsoft wants Windows Holographic to power all VR devices, not just the HoloLens

Think of virtual reality devices as PCs and you’ll better understand what Microsoft wants to do with Windows Holographic—establish it as the de facto operating system for augmented reality and virtual reality devices.

At Computex on Tuesday night, Microsoft executives said that it had opened up Windows Holographic to all devices, and had begun working with HTC’s Vive team to port the Windows Holographic Windows 10 interface to it. According to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Device Group at Microsoft, “Windows is the only mixed reality platform.”

Myerson showed off a video (below) where a HoloLens user was able to “see” the avatar used by a Oculus Rift user, and vice versa. The two, plus an additional HoloLens user, were all able to collaborate on a shared project, passing holographic assets back and forth. On stage, two employees did the same, digitally painting a virtual motorcycle that was “seen” by both a HoloLens as well as an HTC Vive. 

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Microsoft wants Windows Holographic to power all VR devices, not just HoloLens

Think of virtual reality devices as PCs and you’ll better understand what Microsoft wants to do with Windows Holographic: establish it as the de facto operating system for augmented reality and virtual reality devices.

At Computex on Tuesday night, Microsoft executives said the company had opened up Windows Holographic to all devices, and had begun working with HTC’s Vive team to port the Windows Holographic Windows 10 interface to it. According to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Device Group at Microsoft, “Windows is the only mixed reality platform.”

Myerson showed off a video (below) where a HoloLens user was able to “see” the avatar of an Oculus Rift user, and vice versa. The two, plus an additional HoloLens user, were all able to collaborate on a shared project, passing holographic assets back and forth. Two employees did the same on stage, digitally painting a virtual motorcycle that was seen by both a HoloLens as well as an HTC Vive. 

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Fearing forced Windows 10 upgrades, users are disabling critical updates instead

Microsoft stepped on the gas in its quest to drive Windows 7 and 8 users to Windows 10 over the past couple of weeks, rolling the upgrade out as a Recommended update. Watch out! The only behavior that could deny the Windows 10 upgrade before—closing the pop-up by pressing the X in the upper-right corner—now counts as consent for the upgrade, and worse, the upgrade installation can automatically begin even if you take no action whatsoever.

It’s nasty business, and it’s tricking legions of happy Windows 7 and 8 users into Windows 10. Over the past week, I’ve received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I’ve written over the rest of my career combined. But beyond merely burning bridges with consumers, these forced, non-consensual upgrades could have more insidious consequences.

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PCWorld Show Episode 18: Windows 10’s upgrade tricks, Windows Phone’s death rattle, Twitter’s big changes

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