Best of the Web for Windows Users – 30 December - 5 January 2014

The New Year started off with a surge in Windows 7 & 8 users to the detriment of Windows XP, no doubt due to its upcoming retirement. Surface Pro 2 now sports a faster processor, clocked at 1.9GHz. Internet Explorer 11 nabbed 10.42% of the browser market share only two months after its launch. Skype had a less than stellar start to the year, falling victim to a cyber attack. Also, Microsoft is allegedly in talks with Sony over a potential new line of Windows Phones. For links to these stories and more, check out this week's round-up.

The Best Tech Related News

First, the most interesting news of the week about Microsoft and its products:

At year's end, XP usage plunges as Windows 7 and 8 take over - The number of Windows XP users plummeted as Windows 7's and 8's surged.

Surface Pro 2 now shipping with faster processor, just two months after launch - Microsoft has started updating the Intel processor in its Surface Pro 2 tablets, they now contain a processor clocked at 1.9GHz.

IE11 more than triples market share to 10.42%, Firefox slips a bit, and Chrome gains back share - After only its second month of availability with Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer 11's market share has risen to 10.42%.

Skype's Twitter, Facebook, and blog hacked by Syrian Electronic Army demanding an end to spying - One of the New Year's first cyber attacks was aimed at Skype's social media accounts. Here are some details about it.

Microsoft reportedly talking to Sony about Windows Phone launch in 2014 - Rumors have surfaced about a potential collaboration between Microsoft and Sony.

Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit - German newspaper Spiegel reviewed internal NSA documents that revealed the security agency has developed an elite hacking unit.

Holiday Mobile Progress Report: iPhone, Kindle, Surface Biggest Winners of Holiday Season - A recent study from Chitika reveals that in North America, Microsoft's Surface tablets were more popular than Google's Nexus tablets, during the holiday season.

The Best Tech Tips & Guides

Here are some useful tips and tricks from our friends in the IT blogosphere:

5 Terrible Cellular Carrier Practices That Are Changing - How-To Geek started the year with a list of the positive changes cellular carriers have been making in recent years. We hope carriers will continue improving their prices, services and attitudes towards their customers.

Create Direct Links to your Files on Google Drive - An easy way to skip the web viewer on Google Drive and access or download your files directly from your Desktop.

Best apps for your new Windows Phone - A great roundup of Windows Phone apps, made by The Verge. If you have a Windows Phone, you must check it out.

The Best of 7 Tutorials in December 2013

Last but not least, we would like to share the best articles we have published in December 2013:

Who Tried to Hack Your Microsoft Account? When, Where & Did They Succeed? - This was by far the most popular article of the month and for good reasons. It shares how to figure out whether your Microsoft account is used by unauthorized parties.

How to Customize Mouse Cursors/Pointers in Windows 7 & Windows 8 - An old and very popular tutorial that was updated to cover Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

5 Ways to Take Screenshots in Windows 8 & 8.1, Using Built-in Tools - Do you know all the tools and shortcuts that can be used to take screenshots on Windows 8 PCs and tablets?

We hope you've enjoyed our selection of articles for this week. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to use the form below.