Best Of The Web For Windows Users - 9 - 15 August 2015

This week, we have learned new hidden details about the activation rules that are used for Windows 10 and that the free Office 365 offer for small, low-cost devices is being phased out with Windows 10. Also, Microsoft has released for free, the slimmed down version of Windows 10 for 'Internet of Things' devices. To learn more details about these events as well as other interesting news, read this week's recap:

The Best Tech Related News

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

Microsoft quietly rewrites its activation rules for Windows 10 - Windows activation is alive and well in Windows 10. Microsoft doesn't like to talk about the inner workings of its anti-piracy software, but it's clear from testing that Windows 10 included a major change in the way activation works. All the juicy details are shared by Ed Bott.

Lenovo used a hidden Windows feature to ensure its software could not be deleted - A recently uncovered feature – which had been swept under the rug – allowed new Lenovo laptops to use new Windows features to install the company's software and tools even if the computer was wiped.

Windows 10 brings the end of free Office 365 for small, low-cost devices [Update] - Neowin says that Microsoft is phasing out the Office 365 offer across all Windows 10 devices, except its own Surface 3. Microsoft isn't pulling the offer with immediate effect, though; indeed, it will remain available for small tablets and ultra-affordable notebooks sold with Windows 8.1, but all those with Windows 10 pre-installed will no longer come with a free year of Office 365.

Microsoft confirms Start Menu coming in Windows RT 8.1 Update 3, along with improved lockscreen - Microsoft has confirmed that the Start Menu is indeed coming in Update 3, along with improvements to the lockscreen.

Microsoft rolls out Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build 10512 - Microsoft is rolling out a new Windows 10 Mobile build that takes a big leap over its predecessor in terms of its number and quality.

Hello, Windows 10 IoT Core - The slimmed down version of Windows 10 for 'Internet of Things' devices is now available for download along with developer tools with support for various maker boards such as the Raspberry Pi 2 and MinnowBoard Max. More details in the official announcement.

Apple's Boot Camp now supports Windows 10 - With Boot Camp version 6, Apple users can dual-boot Mac OS X with the 64-or 32-bit version of Windows 10. Learn more from this news article.

Firefox Brings Fresh new Look to Windows 10 and Makes Add-ons Safer - The new Windows 10 version features a new look, which Mozilla says is full of "thoughtful tweaks to the interface", along with "bigger, bolder design elements as well as more space for viewing the Web."

Microsoft Surface Hub to ship starting January 1, 2016 - Microsoft's Surface Hub conferencing system will begin shipping on January 1, 2016, rather than September 1, 2015, as originally planned. More details are shared by Mary Jo Foley.

The smartphone price wars are not victimless - A very good editorial about the cost of cheap smartphones and what companies and customers have to lose in their rush for lower cost devices.

The Best Tech Tips & Guides

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

Windows 10 vs. Windows 8.1 vs. Windows 7 Performance - TechSpot has run many benchmarks to compare the performance offered by Windows 10 with that of Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. Here's what they have learned.

Top 10 Simple Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do - A very good roundup of the things that you should learn about your computer and how to manage it.

Android's Stagefright Exploit: What You Need to Know and How to Protect Yourself - Android has a massive security bug in a component known as "Stagefright." Just receiving a malicious MMS message could result in your phone being compromised. How-To Geek explains what Stagefright is, how it works, how to check whether your smartphone is vulnerable and what you can do about it.