Microsoft: 2TB or not 2... OK, OK! 2TB. OneDrive dragged kicking and screaming into selling more storage

Oh alright then, we'll take your money – if we must

Microsoft finally joined the likes of Google and Apple and admitted that, yes, users might want more storage while also upping the security on its file shack.

Need more than 1TB? After years of begging, OneDrive users are finally going to get some more space. For a fee.

Once upon a time, Microsoft's cloudy storage was unlimited. The idyll was broken, however, when a few naughty users abused the company's largesse by, er, taking it at its word and shovelling prodigious amounts of data into the service. How much? As much as 76TB, said Redmond at the time.

Fearing that it may be taking on demanding users in a storage arms race, the company hauled customers' snouts from the trough and set a ceiling of 1TB per user. It wasn't alone. The likes of Amazon followed suit, pulling unlimited storage from all bar its beloved Prime members (and even then, it restricted users to photos).

While Microsoft's Enterprise customers had some options, normal paying customers could have no more than 1TB per user.

Things, of course, have moved on. Arch-rival Google will take £7.99 a month off you for 2TB of space. Heck, if your pockets are deep enough, 30TB can be yours for £239.99 a month (no, we're not sure how the maths works either). Even Apple, famed for its ability to extract cash from fans, has a 2TB iCloud tier for £6.99.

Microsoft, however, refused to budge. No matter how much its users pleaded or offered cash.

But last night the company finally accepted that, in the age of 4K video recording and ever higher pixel counts, 1TB of OneDrive space might not be enough. It has therefore finally added some storage tiers to take users up to the dizzying heights of 2TB. For Office 365 subscribers, of course.

Those paying for an Office 365 subscription will be able to add extra storage in 200GB increments, starting at $1.99 for the first block to $9.99 for the full additional 1TB.

Those who don't want Office 365, but do want OneDrive, will also see storage double from 50GB to 100GB in the standalone $1.99 plan, but won't be charged extra for the privilege by kindly old Microsoft. While UK pricing hasn't been shared, we can imagine that 100GB tier won't be far off the £1.59 charged by Google.

The company plans to roll out the new storage plan over the coming months.

Start the countdown clock for the first request for 3TB.

Vaulting over the competition with MFA

Along with the storage box-ticking exercise, Microsoft also added the concept of a "Personal Vault" to its cloudy storage service. A box-within-a-box, the Personal Vault needs some extra authentication for access, such as a fingerprint, PIN or code sent to a phone. Or, obviously, Microsoft's Authenticator app.

Once authenticated, it's pretty much business as usual as far as file access is concerned.

Microsoft said it reckons that, combined with the ability to send images directly into the Personal Vault from a device's camera, it'll be a handy place to stash thing like passport imagery or personal documentation.

The local storage used by Personal Vault is BitLocker-encrypted on Windows 10 PCs and the gang recommends enabling encryption on iOS and Android devices to make life harder for miscreants hoping to sniff around files on a stolen device.

The door of the Personal Vault will also slam shut after a user-defined period of inactivity.

The feature, curiously, is hitting Australia, New Zealand, and Canada first, with other countries being added toward the end of year.®

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Microsoft unboxes Exchange Online certification in bid to push customers off-prem

More support engineers needed to keep the email flowing, it seems

Microsoft has added a certification to augment the tired eyes and haunted expressions of Exchange support engineers.

The "Microsoft 365 Certified: Exchange Online Support Engineer Specialty certification" was unveiled yesterday and requires you to pass the "MS-220: Troubleshooting Microsoft Exchange Online" exam.

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Microsoft postpones shift to New Commerce Experience subscriptions

The whiff of rebellion among Cloud Solution Providers is getting stronger

Microsoft has indefinitely postponed the date on which its Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) will be required to sell software and services licences on new terms.

Those new terms are delivered under the banner of the New Commerce Experience (NCE). NCE is intended to make perpetual licences a thing of the past and prioritizes fixed-term subscriptions to cloudy products. Paying month-to-month is more expensive than signing up for longer-term deals under NCE, which also packs substantial price rises for many Microsoft products.

Channel-centric analyst firm Canalys unsurprisingly rates NCE as better for Microsoft than for customers or partners.

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Start using Modern Auth now for Exchange Online

Before Microsoft shutters basic logins in a few months

The US government is pushing federal agencies and private corporations to adopt the Modern Authentication method in Exchange Online before Microsoft starts shutting down Basic Authentication from the first day of October.

In an advisory [PDF] this week, Uncle Sam's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) noted that while federal executive civilian branch (FCEB) agencies – which includes such organizations as the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and such departments as Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, and State – are required to make the change, all organizations should make the switch from Basic Authentication.

"Federal agencies should determine their use of Basic Auth and migrate users and applications to Modern Auth," CISA wrote. "After completing the migration to Modern Auth, agencies should block Basic Auth."

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Wi-Fi hotspots and Windows on Arm broken by Microsoft's latest patches

Only way to resolve is a rollback – but update included security fixes

Updated Microsoft's latest set of Windows patches are causing problems for users.

Windows 10 and 11 are affected, with both experiencing similar issues (although the latter seems to be suffering a little more).

KB5014697, released on June 14 for Windows 11, addresses a number of issues, but the known issues list has also been growing. Some .NET Framework 3.5 apps might fail to open (if using Windows Communication Foundation or Windows Workflow component) and the Wi-Fi hotspot features appears broken.

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Microsoft gives its partners power to change AD privileges on customer systems – without permission

Somewhat counterintuitively, this is being done to improve security

Microsoft has created a window of time in which its partners can – without permission – create new roles for themselves in customers' Active Directory implementations.

Which sounds bonkers, so let's explain why Microsoft has even entertained the prospect.

To begin, remember that criminals have figured out that attacking IT service providers offers a great way to find many other targets. Evidence of that approach can be found in attacks on ConnectWise, SolarWinds, Kaseya and other vendors that provide software to IT service providers.

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FabricScape: Microsoft warns of vuln in Service Fabric

Not trying to spin this as a Linux security hole, surely?

Microsoft is flagging up a security hole in its Service Fabric technology when using containerized Linux workloads, and urged customers to upgrade their clusters to the most recent release.

The flaw is tracked as CVE-2022-30137, an elevation-of-privilege vulnerability in Microsoft's Service Fabric. An attacker would need read/write access to the cluster as well as the ability to execute code within a Linux container granted access to the Service Fabric runtime in order to wreak havoc.

Through a compromised container, for instance, a miscreant could gain control of the resource's host Service Fabric node and potentially the entire cluster.

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PowerShell pusher to log off from Microsoft: Write-Host "Bye bye, Jeffrey Snover"

'If you ever were rooting for somebody, please do him a favor and go tell him'

Jeffrey Snover's lengthy and occasionally controversial term at Microsoft is to come to an end this week, as the PowerShell inventor sets off for pastures new after more than two decades at the Windows giant.

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Azure issues not adequately fixed for months, complain bug hunters

Redmond kicks off Patch Tuesday with a months-old flaw fix

Updated Two security vendors – Orca Security and Tenable – have accused Microsoft of unnecessarily putting customers' data and cloud environments at risk by taking far too long to fix critical vulnerabilities in Azure.

In a blog published today, Orca Security researcher Tzah Pahima claimed it took Microsoft several months to fully resolve a security flaw in Azure's Synapse Analytics that he discovered in January. 

And in a separate blog published on Monday, Tenable CEO Amit Yoran called out Redmond for its lack of response to – and transparency around – two other vulnerabilities that could be exploited by anyone using Azure Synapse. 

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Microsoft promises to tighten access to AI it now deems too risky for some devs

Deep-fake voices, face recognition, emotion, age and gender prediction ... A toolbox of theoretical tech tyranny

Microsoft has pledged to clamp down on access to AI tools designed to predict emotions, gender, and age from images, and will restrict the usage of its facial recognition and generative audio models in Azure.

The Windows giant made the promise on Tuesday while also sharing its so-called Responsible AI Standard, a document [PDF] in which the US corporation vowed to minimize any harm inflicted by its machine-learning software. This pledge included assurances that the biz will assess the impact of its technologies, document models' data and capabilities, and enforce stricter use guidelines.

This is needed because – and let's just check the notes here – there are apparently not enough laws yet regulating machine-learning technology use. Thus, in the absence of this legislation, Microsoft will just have to force itself to do the right thing.

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Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio: Too edgy for comfort?

And perhaps too heavy, which is a weighty issue for a machine that turns into a tablet

Desktop Tourism My 20-year-old son is an aspiring athlete who spends a lot of time in the gym and thinks nothing of lifting 100 kilograms in various directions. So I was a little surprised when I handed him Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio and he declared it uncomfortably heavy.

At 1.8kg it's certainly not among today's lighter laptops. That matters, because the device's big design selling point is a split along the rear of its screen that lets it sit at an angle that covers the keyboard and places its touch-sensitive surface in a comfortable position for prodding with a pen. The screen can also fold completely flat to allow the laptop to serve as a tablet.

Below is a .GIF to show that all in action.

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Microsoft Defender goes cross-platform for the masses

Redmond's security brand extended to multiple devices without stomping on other solutions

Microsoft is extending the Defender brand with a version aimed at families and individuals.

"Defender" has been the company's name of choice for its anti-malware platform for years. Microsoft Defender for individuals, available for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers, is a cross-platform application, encompassing macOS, iOS, and Android devices and extending "the protection already built into Windows Security beyond your PC."

The system comprises a dashboard showing the status of linked devices as well as alerts and suggestions.

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Windows 11: The little engine that could, eventually

Stalled marketshare seems to be creeping upwards again in consumer, enterprise – but adoption still a slog

Advertising company AdDuplex has published its latest set of Windows usage figures and it looks like there might be light at the end of the tunnel for Windows 11.

Only the most ardent Microsoft apologists would insist all is well with Windows 11 adoption. Share growth of the OS stalled earlier this year and between March and April, with AdDuplex registering less than a 0.4 per cent increase. Windows 11 stood at a 19.7 per cent share, well behind the 35 percent and 26.4 percent of Windows 10 21H2 and 21H1 respectively.

The figures for the end of June show Windows 11 has clawed its way to a 23.1 percent share of PCs surveyed by AdDuplex, within touching distance of the chunk occupied by Windows 10 21H1 (23.9 percent) but still a long way behind Windows 10 21H2, which grew its share to 38.2 percent. Microsoft itself has not produced any official usage statistics.

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