Brace Yourself for the Windows News of 2016

Tina Sieber 30-12-2015

A lot has happened at Microsoft over the past year. Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended Microsoft Retires Windows 7: This Is How You Can Still Get A Copy Windows 7 Home and Ultimate editions have been retired. If you want to get a computer without Windows 8.1, your options are limited. We have compiled them for you. Read More in January, Windows 10 was released How to Upgrade to Windows 10 Now & Why You Should Wait Have you been waiting patiently since July 29 for your Windows 10 upgrade? You should probably wait until you receive an official notification, but if you are determined, you can force the Windows 10 upgrade. Read More in late July, Office 2016 followed 13+ Reasons You Should Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016 Microsoft Office 2016 is here and it's time for you to make a decision. The productivity question is -- should you upgrade? We give you the new features and the fresher reasons to help you... Read More barely two months later, and the Insider Preview of Windows 10 Mobile has been gaining traction Will You Be Getting Windows 10 Mobile? [MakeUseOf Poll] Windows Phone is dead, soon to be replaced by Windows 10 Mobile. So, we want to know whether Microsoft latest mobile operating system holds any interest for you. Welcome to this week's MakeUseOf Poll. Read More .


Windows 10 left a firm impression on the second half of 2015. In November, Windows 10 received its first major upgrade An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update The Windows 10 Fall Update contains many minor improvements, a few feature updates, and a bunch of new settings. We show you what to expect and which default settings you might want to adjust. Read More , causing major havoc owing to reset privacy settings 5 Settings You Must Check After Windows 10 Fall Update With every upgrade, Windows 10 introduces new options, changes user settings, and pushes its default apps. We show you how to revert the changes from the November Upgrade back to your own preferences. Read More and removed applications Windows 10 Can Auto-Remove Software Against Your Will Windows 10 is uninstalling software it doesn't consider compatible. Have you been affected? We show you which applications you could lose and why. Read More . Microsoft also began pushing the upgrade more aggressively.

Where will Microsoft’s ambition take Windows users in 2016? We have some clues and bold speculations for you.

What 2016 Will Bring for Windows Users

1. Free 15 GB OneDrive Storage & Camera Roll Bonus Expire

In 2016, Microsoft will remove unlimited Office 365 cloud storage How to Move OneDrive to Google Drive After Storage Cut The Internet is angry at Microsoft. After promising unlimited storage with the Office 365 subscription, and 15 GB of storage for free users, the company has reneged on its promise. All because some users abused... Read More and set the limit back to 1 TB. Apparently, a few took unfair advantage of the offer. That alone would not have been a big deal. What caused massive frustration, however, was that Microsoft is also going to drop free OneDrive storage to 5 GB and remove the camera roll bonus.

Following protests from over 60,000 users, Microsoft backtracked. By going to a certain page and logging in with your Microsoft account, you could keep your 15 GB of free OneDrive storage How To Best Use Your 15GB Of Free OneDrive Storage OneDrive gives you a healthy dose of cloud storage for free. Let's take a look at what you can do with that. Read More , as well as the 15 GB camera roll bonus.

Keep OneDrive Storage


This offer expires in early January.

2. Internet Explorer Upgrade Notification

Support for older versions of Internet Explorer (IE) is expiring in January 2016. Microsoft writes:

Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. Please visit the Internet Explorer Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ here for list of supported operating systems and browser combinations.

The most current version of IE depends on your current operating system. For example, if you’re running Windows 7, any browser version below IE 11 won’t be supported anymore, while on Windows Vista SP2, IE 9 will still receive security updates.

If you’re running an unsupported browser, expect to receive an End of Life upgrade notification via update KB3123303, which is expected to be delivered as part of a cumulative security update on January 12, 2016. This Microsoft support page advises how to upgrade IE now Why You Should Upgrade To Internet Explorer 11 Now Restoring Internet Explorer to a browser that people actually wanted to use was always going to be a hard road, but it's just possible that with Internet Explorer 11 this stage has been reached. Read More .


3. Service Pack Support for Windows 8 Ends

Also on January 12, 2016, support for all editions of Windows 8 will expire.

Customers have 24 months to move to Windows 8.1 after General Availability in order to remain supported. See the Windows 8.1 FAQ for more information.

If you wish to remain supported, i.e. receive security updates, it’s high time to upgrade to Windows 8.1 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 Are horror stories of how Windows 8.1 upgrades went horribly wrong keeping you from upgrading yourself? If you are longing to try Windows 8.1, you can now learn from other people's lessons and upgrade safely! Read More or move directly to Windows 10.

4. Aggressive Windows 10 Promotions

Microsoft is aiming for 1 billion devices running Windows 10. Those of you running Windows 7 or 8.1 can expect to get hassled by Microsoft to upgrade to Windows 10 How to Block the Aggressive Windows 10 Upgrade on Windows 7 and 8.1 Microsoft ramps up its efforts to make users upgrade to Windows 10. Come 2016, many people will wake up to a new operating system, despite never having consented to the upgrade. Don't be one of... Read More . We have already seen some of Microsoft’s strategies, such as removing the option to decline the upgrade.

In early 2016, Windows 10 will be released as a recommended update. This is the time to review your Windows Update settings Windows Update: Everything You Need to Know Is Windows Update enabled on your PC? Windows Update protects you from security vulnerabilities by keeping Windows, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Office up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes. Read More .


5. Windows 10 Redstone Update to Be Deployed

The first Redstone Preview Build was just released to Windows Insiders, but only contains minor changes. Most notably, Microsoft has made structural improvements to OneCore, the shared code of cross-device Windows versions.

Essentially, OneCore is the heart of Windows, and these improvements to OneCore make building Windows across PC, tablet, phone, IoT, Hololens and Xbox more efficient. We’re doing some code refactoring and other engineering work to make sure OneCore is optimally structured for teams to start checking in new features and improvements in the new year.

One feature everyone seems to be craving is browser extensions for Microsoft Edge 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Edge Now Microsoft Edge marks a complete break from the Internet Explorer brand name, killing off a 20-year-old family tree in the process. Here's why you should be using it. Read More . In November, Microsoft accidentally released an unfinished website announcing Edge extensions. The page was quickly taken down, but what this means is that browser extensions for Edge will soon show up in a Windows Insider Preview build.

The Windows 10 Redstone update is expected to be released in June 2016. While it’s very likely that Redstone will come with Edge extensions, we can only speculate what other features will be part of the package. Meanwhile, you can follow changes to preview builds on

6. Free Upgrade Offer for Windows 10 Expires

Windows 7 and 8.1 users have until July 29, 2016 to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. To secure this offer, it’s sufficient to activate Windows 10 The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ One of the big confusions surrounding Windows 10 concerns its licensing and activation. This FAQ will shed some light, explain what has changed with Windows 10 version 1511 (Fall Update), and translate activation-related error codes. Read More once, which will tie the license to your current hardware. Once you have done that, you will be able to re-install Windows 10 indefinitely on this particular device.


VirtualBox Windows Setup

To secure the free upgrade offer without giving up your current Windows installation, you could install a Windows 10 dual boot How to Install Windows 10 for Free on any Windows, Linux, or OS X PC You don't have to upgrade to Windows 10 to try it. Whether you qualify for the free upgrade or want to try Windows 10 on Linux or OS X, you can evaluate it for free. Read More . This is easier than it sounds!

7. Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 OEM Licenses Expire

October 31, 2016 marks the end of sales for PCs pre-installed with Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1. If you need to buy a new computer and want to avoid Windows 10, this is your last chance. From November 2016 on, second hand licenses and devices will be the only way to obtain a copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 Microsoft Retires Windows 7: This Is How You Can Still Get A Copy Windows 7 Home and Ultimate editions have been retired. If you want to get a computer without Windows 8.1, your options are limited. We have compiled them for you. Read More .


Interestingly, even though support ends in January, Windows 8 will theoretically be sold pre-installed until June 30, 2016.

Some Bold Speculations for 2016

We can’t tell you whether any of the following things will really happen, but let’s say these are educated guesses.

1. Windows 10 Legal Trouble in Europe

Microsoft will get into trouble for forcing Windows 10 onto consumers. One consumer protection agency in Germany has already given Microsoft a warning regarding its aggressive upgrade practices and further legal steps may follow.

We speculate that Europe will take Microsoft to court over its Windows 10 upgrade strategies. The European Commission will subsequently pass a directive similar to the 2009 browser ballot Is Internet Explorer Making A Big Return In 2015? Microsoft no longer has to offer EU Windows users a choice of browsers. Moreover, Microsoft is working on a new browser. Nevertheless, we'll show you how to install your favorite browser without touching IE. Read More , forcing Microsoft to offer Windows users a choice of free operating system upgrades, along with Windows 10. This will push Linux market share into double digits by 2017. Alright, maybe we’re slightly exaggerating here.

2. Microsoft Will Extend Free Windows 10 Upgrade

In late 2015, Windows 10 adoption rate began to crawl. Microsoft’s flagship operating system didn’t manage to overtake any of the most recent and still popular older Windows versions, including Windows XP.

Windows 10 Adoption Rate

By summer 2016, despite increased efforts to get laggards into upgrading, Windows 10 will barely surpass Windows XP Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon People cannot let go of Windows XP. In businesses and homes the world over, it will stick around. We spoke with three Windows XP users from different generations and backgrounds to find out why. Read More and Windows 8.1 to become the second most used operating system. But it won’t even be close to catching up with Windows 7. This will force Microsoft to extend its free upgrade offer, possibly even to Windows XP users, which will still make up around 8% of the market.

3. Microsoft Will Open Source Media Center

Since late 2014, Microsoft has been making headlines with open sourcing How Microsoft's Move Into Open Source Is Affecting You Microsoft is radically changing its culture. Open sourcing is a hallmark of this transformation and it benefits coders and consumers alike. We explain why you should care. Read More previously closely guarded tools, such as the .NET Framework A GNU Beginning For Microsoft: What An Open Source .NET Framework Means For The Rest Of Us Microsoft just released a significant part of its code under a permissive open source license. This move breaks with years of tradition. But why and what does it mean for you? Read More or the blogging software Windows Live writer Microsoft Continues Open Source Move with Live Writer Microsoft continues its bold move into open source by transferring Windows Live Writer -- now Open Live Writer -- to the .NET Foundation. Does this herald the resurrection of many neglected niche applications? Read More .


The death of Media Center Microsoft Kills Windows Media Center, Periscope Beats Pay-Per-View, & More... [Tech News Digest] Microsoft kills fan favorite, Periscope fights for streaming, WikiLeaks wants to know your secrets, Instagram loves emoji, Samsung gives Apple the Edge, and Jar Jar Binks ruins Star Wars again. Read More has been painful for many fans. Alternative media centers 5 Alternatives to Windows Media Center for Windows 10 Windows 10 will offer many new features, but some old favorites will be deprecated. The Windows Media Center will no longer be supported. Here are alternative media center application compatible with Windows 10 to take... Read More  are a cold comfort. Although it is possible to install Media Center on Windows 10 How to Get Windows Media Center in Windows 10 & Its Limitations Windows 10 can run Windows Media Center after all. However, it is not officially supported, creating limitations, which might not make you want it in the end. Let us save you the time and explain... Read More , it has serious limitations. This certainly prevents some die-hard users from upgrading.

In 2016, Microsoft will announce the open sourcing of Media Center. It will be the ace up their sleeve, thrown in to distract from unrelated bad press. Of course, all of this is just speculation.

If You Had One Wish…

Imagine it’s the end of 2016. The year has passed and it was a good one. You ticked several items off your bucket list, the world was surprisingly peaceful, and to everyone’s surprise, Microsoft did one major thing right.

What do you wish Microsoft would do in 2016? What is your biggest wish for Windows? If Microsoft had one chance to win you back over, what would they have to do right?

Image Credits:morning news by Dr. Botwing Photography via Shutterstock

Related topics: Microsoft, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Office 2016, Windows 10.

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  1. frederick Love
    November 24, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    I Have struggled for two years now with erratic working of XP Media Centre due to changes in Guide providers and their failure to produce timely guide updates. Often there were long periods without the guide and then persistent failure to update for days after each expiry. Now Media Centre updates successfully only to show the Guide as still expiring on 16 November. 8 days ago.
    Please, Please, either provide a satisfactory replacement for XP Media Centre or start supporting it again and sacking REVO. For many of the elderly this is a significant loss in the quality of life.

    • Tina Sieber
      December 4, 2016 at 9:48 am

      Unfortunately, Media Center was not open sourced like I speculated. Have you tried Kodi as an alternative?

  2. Loodwing Murillo
    June 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    All of this people who complain about everything MS produces, why don't they switch to another OS or even better why don't they code their own OS since it seems they know how to do it at perfection ?

    • Tina Sieber
      June 17, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      They are. Windows market share is declining. And it's good that they are sharing with Microsoft why that is. Otherwise, the company couldn't do anything about it.

  3. God
    February 15, 2016 at 9:34 am

    dogshit is free - doesnt mean i want it.
    w10 is an abomination. Our offices banned it from the buildings.
    Does MS have shares in Linux?

  4. Maggie
    February 11, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    I love my Windows XP...... Please don't stop the updates.Otherwise I will have to use Linux.

  5. bo
    January 3, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I wish I will see better boot options in bios not like the shit I got with Asus eeebook, Legacy boot, 64 bit UEFI boot, and a lot of other things..So I have to wait until the summer for MS to fix the problems with all the updates. With Manjaro LXqt or PClos Mate I think I would be happier. They don´t need 20 GB. A better filesystem. A possibility to uninstall Metro Apps, and things like EDGE, IE 11, and a lot of other stuff I don´t need or want maybee a windows 10 Lite. If more and more people use Linux it is just positive.

  6. Keith
    January 3, 2016 at 9:05 am

    If I had 3 wishes one would be that Microsoft stopped pushing 10 onto people who are not comfortable with it and leave them alone to choose for themselves. 2. That MS keep at least Windows W7 pro to run alongside 10 and keep at least keep security updates going for W7.
    My third wish would be that I had the money to transfer all my computer needs over to Apple Mac and be done with all the fuss. My wife ditched Android for Apple's iOS and it just works. I have heard many people who have upgraded say 10 is an absolute nightmare (as I expected it would be) whist some people have had no problems at all with it. A friend who tried the upgrade for two months just got so fed up with update failure that he wiped his hard drive clean and installed 8. Microsoft are just bullying people to use a system they may not like, so I can see many people ditching them in 2016 and either going Ubuntu, Mint or Linux. And if they have the money, Apple.

  7. Anonymous
    December 31, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Things I'd like to see in Windows-land:

    1. The return of a GUI-based data transfer tool. Windows 10 doesn't have Easy Transfer and I can't just tell an end user to run the User State Migration Tool. Ideally, this is something that should actually be integrated into account creation.

    2. Control Panel should be put on the default Start Menu for Windows 10, right next to Settings. There are some particular sore spots with Settings, such as not being able to manage printer options. Control Panel is still essential and many users think it has disappeared entirely.

    3. Fix the ongoing problems with Cortana hosing its own search index. If Cortana can't even find an application in my %PATH% environment variable, it's not even as good at searching for things as MSDOS 2 was. At least let us go back to the reliable search Windows 8.1 offered. I definitely shouldn't have to have memorized the ~300 character powershell command to make Windows 10 rebuild its search index.

    4. Edge needs addon and search plugin support. From the management side, It also needs a lot of Group Policy Template Options that IE and Chrome have.

    5. Windows Mail needs support for in-line (i.e. "Proper reply style") replies, something it cannot do at all right now.

    6. Modern-style apps need work. I've encountered a number of machines that won't launch them at all. This might be related to the problems Cortana has? I'm not sure. But the application ecosystem is functionally incomplete, particularly with regard to its lack of decent streaming video and an local or streaming music clients. This is most keenly felt on low-spec devices like Dell Venues and HP Streams, where the lack of powerful hardware in the first place makes fullscreen apps a lot more appealing than using browser tools. The reason almost no one uses Modern style apps is that right now they just

    IT Guy bonus gripe: Per-Core Licensing on Server 2016 is happening and I can't even say how much I don't want that. The costs for running Windows Server instead of Linux are heading in the wrong direction. Since the cost to build a 16 or 24 core Xeon system has fallen to relative affordability, Microsoft is apparently going to pick up the budgetary slack. Thanks, Redmond.

  8. JM
    December 31, 2015 at 4:58 am

    I have windows 10 since the beginning when it was offered. I wish to be notified when an update would happen instead of being surprised by it and waiting for it to be done.

    In addition, (it was Windows 7 updated to windows 10) sometimes it will come up as a temporary windows 10 desktop, so then had to select restart to bring up as my windows 10 desktop. I dont know why it does that, no explanation.

    That is the biggest reason I have, is there is no guidance when there are updates and would be good to have help more easily available. I have to seek internet sites to find answers, when I believe Windows should have the answers.

  9. Jim
    December 31, 2015 at 2:44 am

    Offer a "professional" quality Movie Maker for free that is stream-lined with all the necessary transitions, pan & zooms, audio fades, etc. I have used original and current Movie Maker (at least on my Windows 7 desktop) and don't like it. I have been using ProShow Gold for several years and it has all the great features, even though I had to pay for it.

  10. bben
    December 30, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    My one wish is MS would back off on their DEMAND! that I must update to their super duper fantastic new OS right NOW! When that OS doesn't even work on 2 out of the 3 computers I have tried to update. My experience was so bad I rolled back the one that did work. 2 days of lost productivity caused by MS that cost me far more than actually buying a new copy of Win7Pro that actually works. Their FREE upgrade actually cost me money to get rid of.

  11. Rann Xoerxx
    December 30, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    A prediction, or at least a wish: Microsoft addresses the privacy issues in Windows 10. The EU, if they make a stink about pestering users about updating to 10, they prove their ceaselessness and uselessness in understanding their people's real needs. People need to update just to be more secure and to have better updates. But the privacy issues in W10 need to have a nation state sue MS into compliance.

  12. Anonymous
    December 30, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    My biggest wish? Stop the nonsense with forced updates. It was nice of them to allow us to schedule the restart after an update, but I need to also control the download. At least allow that. I am on a metered connection and have it set as such but it doesn't stop all the downloads. And, given their shenanigans with putting malware on Windows 7 and 8 machines to nag for updates, I don't trust them to honor the setting. There are heavy-handed ways to stop the forced downloads and I don't particularly like doing it that way but I have no other choice. A built-in way to schedule the checking for, downloading of, and installation of updates would help regain some of the goodwill of users.

  13. Anonymous
    December 30, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    In the spirit of this article, I will do some speculating of my own.

    I will bet that Microsoft is pushing for the upgrade at the NSA's behest because of a secret backdoor inserted into the new operating system.

  14. Anonymous
    December 30, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    One wish? Releasing lots of themes for Windows 8.x and 10. I can't stand the flat, ugly interface, and the first thing I did when trying out Win10 was to use the UXTheme patcher and install a Windows 7/Vista-style theme.
    Another thing they could do is unify the Control Center/Settings, possibly by moving everything back to the Control Panel (unlikely), or all in with the Settings App (more likely).