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U.S. Air Force phasing out most desktops as it upgrades hardware to Windows 10

The United States Air Force is preparing to migrate its fleet of computers to Windows 10. There’s no word on whether the service was receiving Microsoft’s calls to update, but apparently there are a number of advantages to making the jump that have prompted the decision.

The Air Force will upgrade all of its computer systems to Windows 10 by January 31, 2018, according to a report from WinBeta. The Department of Defense has already announced its plans to complete a similar upgrade by January 31, 2017.

A statement from the Air Force cites “improved security features” as one of the biggest reasons behind its decision to make the jump. Windows 10 will allow the service to install software patches more quickly, and will apparently help counter an increasingly popular cyber-intrusion technique that’s being referred to as “pass the hash.”

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The technique apparently allows hackers to access remote servers by using a stored hash of a user’s password, rather than a plain text password. The Air Force expects that Windows 10 will empower its “cyber defenders” to have a better chance of detecting any malicious activity.

Units are being authorized to upgrade their existing hardware to Windows 10, and to buy new laptops and tablets if they are required. However, the service is putting a stop to the acquisition of new desktop hardware unless it is mission-critical — it seems that mobile devices offer more utility to the Air Force.

The version of Windows 10 that the Air Force is looking to implement will be slightly different from the standard version that civilian users have installed on their systems. Instead, it will use the Windows 10 Secure Host Baseline, a version of the operating system that also includes preconfigured secure applications to ensure a standard level of security across all devices.