Best of the Web for Windows users - 25 September - 1 October 2016

This week we have found many new interesting details about Microsoft’s plans for the future: Microsoft will focus heavily on democratizing access to Artificial Intelligence, it will launch a Surface desktop keyboard and the company is bringing p laceholders back to OneDrive on Windows 10. For more details as well as other interesting news, read this week’s recap of what matters in Microsoft’s consumer ecosystem:

Microsoft: the news of the week

These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:

Microsoft: Windows 10 now on 400 million devices - Microsoft officials said Windows 10 has hit the 400 million 'active' device milestone, up from 300 million in early May.

Microsoft expert who predicts future technology says Qwerty keyboard 'will die out' - Microsoft's man in charge of predicting the future has forecast the slow death of the Qwerty keyboard — with facial tracking, voice and gesture recognition taking over.

Internal email: Microsoft forms new 5,000-person AI division; key exec Qi Lu leaving after bike injury - The company is creating a new group, the AI and Research Group, by combining the existing Microsoft Research group with the Bing and Cortana product groups, along with the teams working on ambient computing (a world in which everything around us is computerized and connected and responsive to our presence), robotics, and the Information Platform Group (which covered both Bing advertising and natural user interfaces).

Surface desktop keyboard rumored alongside Microsoft’s all-in-one PC - Microsoft appears to be readying a Bluetooth-powered keyboard with the Surface branding attached. Microsoft has typically designed Surface accessories for its line of tablet and laptop hybrids, but a desktop keyboard would signal a new area for the brand.

Xbox Platform chief Mike Ybarra on UWP, Windows 10, Scorpio and more - What's on the horizon for Team Xbox? What will the future of the console landscape look like? Read this interview to find out.

Focused Inbox and other features coming to Outlook Mail on Windows 10 - Ever since Microsoft announced that it would be merging Outlook with Sunrise Calendar, the iOS and Android versions of the app have enjoyed certain features that Windows 10 did not. According to a session at Microsoft's Ignite 2016 conference, that will no longer be the case.

Microsoft's vision of Continuum revealed in a new video, and it looks marvelous - With the next stage of Continuum, Microsoft is improving and refining the experience as they continue to blur the line between PC and smartphone. This progression will only increase with each Windows milestone reached until the hardware and software experience closely mimics today's PCs.

OneDrive Placeholders are coming back, now called On-Demand Sync - Microsoft has announced that it is bringing p laceholders back to OneDrive on Windows 10. Now, they are not called Placeholders anymore — Microsoft is renaming the feature to “On-Demand Sync” which makes a lot more sense than “Placeholders”.

Microsoft pushes its three pillars at Ignite—security, intelligence, and cloud - Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for cloud and enterprise, explained that the company wants IT professionals to feel empowered and digitally transform their organizations. Accordingly, Microsoft is focusing on three areas to do this: security, intelligence, and the cloud.

Skype 6.25 for iOS: Great new features of iOS 10 on Skype - Microsoft released a new version of Skype for iPhone and iPad, and deeper Siri integration is its biggest new addition. You can now ask Siri to place a Skype call to any of your contacts without launching the Skype app first.

Open Live Writer blogging tool is now in the Windows Store - The Open Live Writer blogging tool has been released as a Windows 10 PC app in the Windows Store. The team behind the app used Microsoft's Desktop App Converter tool to make this possible.

Windows 10 will soon run Edge in a virtual machine to keep you safe - Microsoft has announced that the next major update to Windows 10 will run its Edge browser in a lightweight virtual machine. Running the update in a virtual machine will make exploiting the browser and attacking the operating system or compromising user data more challenging.

Cool tips and guides

We would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:

Uninstalling Fonts Probably Won’t Speed Up Your PC or Mac - You’ve seen it on plenty of PC help sites. “Uninstall fonts to speed up your computer!” Don’t follow this advice–it’s a myth. Uninstalling fonts is a troubleshooting tip for fixing a specific problem, not a general performance tip for speeding up your computer.

How to Get Work Done While You Travel - Maybe you have to squeeze in some email during vacation. Maybe you’re one of those much-envied digital nomads and work from anywhere you roam. Whatever your situation, if you have to work and travel at the same time, it can be a challenge to balance both. Here’s how.

3 Reasons Why Snapchat’s Spectacles Might Fail - At first, Snapchat Spectacles seems cool. It’s impressive to fit a camera, light, plus wireless connectivity into glasses. But it doesn’t take long to figure out the number of substantial issues Spectacles could and probably will face once Snap releases them into the wild. A great piece of technology is little to nothing without good design and a clear problem to solve.

Digital Citizen: The best articles of the month

We would like to end with the most popular articles that were published on Digital Citizen, in September 2016:

How to turn off Cortana completely in Windows 10, in 2 steps - Even though this guide has been published at the very end of the month, it quickly gathered lots of interest, becoming one of the most popular guides we ever published. Apparently, lots of people want to disable Cortana in Windows 10.

Simple questions: What is a file's metadata and how to edit it in Windows? - Do you want to know what kind of data is stored alongside your files? Do you want to know what kind of information they offer and how to edit it or remove it?

The complete guide to personalizing the taskbar in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 - The internet still has many users of Windows 7. It’s no surprise that they want to know how to personalize their taskbar to meet their preference.