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Getting to know Windows 10 – Part 3

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In last week’s column, I touched on the most attractive features of Windows 10 – aimed at making usage of your devices easier and more intuitive. This will be the last in this series before Windows 10 becomes available – the date is still July 29, 2015. Watch out for the ongoing introductory courses we will be carrying out – based on demand.

In this column, I will summarise some of the new or value added features this version will bring to all users. Firstly, the enhanced security of Windows 10. Password protection of devices is now old fashioned and a nuisance when speedy access is required to your device.

Some of the newer smartphones have fingerprint recognition access. Microsoft includes this in its raft of biometric identification options in Windows 10.

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This includes fingerprint, iris and even face recognition options. Note though that they all require the appropriate hardware, and the last two require more specialised cameras than are currently shipped with devices.

This is to ensure that the functionality works in low light and high contract conditions. Look out for these features when considering a new device. Corporate support, do not despair. Administrators are still able to access these devices using the usual password protected sign on option.

And if you are not considering upgrading in the near future, you can still benefit from this update by changing to a PIN (much easier to remember) or picture based authentication option.

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Additional security is built into the Windows Firewall and the Defender anti virus program. Windows Defender is a fully fledged anti virus solution, therefore personal users need not purchase any other anti virus package.

However, this option will and should not replace corporate anti virus solutions – for bandwidth and monitoring reasons. Do not forget that for optimum malware protection, Defender updates must be regularly made – at least every day. And of course, continue to be vigilant, as no anti virus solution can protect a device from user actions – intentional or otherwise.

Other security enhancements include BitLocker and Device Encryption (which is also available on all versions of Windows 8.1).

Device Encryption automatically encrypts the operating systems and fixed data drives by utilising 128bit AES symmetric encryption. This means, no password, no access – and Microsoft have confirmed that this protection is complete – with no “backdoor” option available to Microsoft in the event of requests from official agencies such as the FBI.

These encryption tools require the creating and saving of an encryption key by the user – and can also be used to lock down flash and other removable media devices. To attest to its effectiveness, our technical team has faced problems when trying to retrieve data from damaged device, by removing it and accessing it via a different device. This far, we have had no success without the key being made available.

Microsoft One Drive has been available to Microsoft account users for quite some time. This is simply an allocation of password protected remote space for users to store their files online – you could call it an online private vault.

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